July 15/07

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 10,24-33.
No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. hat I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

Hizbullah d
ivine victory' in ruins.Ynetnews. July 15/07
Bad timing, PR and policy in Tehran's threats in the Gulf -By The Daily Star. July 15/07
Once mighty, Egypt is weak-kneed and without a clue-By Daniel Kurtzer-July 15/07
As privacy fritters away, normal life becomes impossible-By David Ignatius. July 15/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for July 15/07
Lebanese Factions Seek To Ease Crisis-Guardian Unlimited
Army continues bombardment on Lebanon

Army Closes in on Fatah al-Islam as Militants Fire Katyushas for 2nd Day-Naharnet
Lebanon's Pro, Anti-Government Politicians Face-to-Face in Paris-Naharnet
Lebanon's 14 feuding factions meet for talks outside Paris-International Herald Tribune
Lebanese premier appeals for country to unite-Monsters and
U.S. Urges Syria to Cooperate with Hariri Probe, Possibility of Generals' Release Dwindles-Naharnet
Aoun: My Candidacy is Only Hope for Lebanon Because I am a Free Man-Naharnet

Lipkin-Shahak: Syria isn't showing it wants peace-Jerusalem Post
Olmert Wants No War with Syria-Christian Broadcasting Network
Brammertz report on Hariri probe satisfies Damascus
Expectations low as Lebanese start talks in Paris
Fatah al-Islam fires rockets into civilian areas
Salameh says society needs 'dose of liberalism'
Aoun: 'Maybe ... I can be the bridge between all sides'
NGO wants citizens to know about rights in conflict in case 'situation explodes'
Rate of cluster-bomb fatalities declines amid demining
Environmental threat persists a year after Israeli strike in Jiyyeh
MP warns of 'disaster' if EDL problems are not resolved

Army Closes in on Fatah al-Islam as Militants Fire Katyushas for 2nd Day
The Lebanese army closed in on positions of Fatah al-Islam militants holed up in the besieged refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared on Saturday after two days of heavy fighting as the Islamists fired more Katyusha rockets. The troops traded machine-gun fire with the terrorists at the Palestinian camp in north Lebanon, which was coming under heavy army bombardment early Saturday. Television footage showed plumes of black smoke rising in the air over Nahr al-Bared's bullet-punctured buildings.
A spokesman said the army has further closed in on the Islamists who were now only controlling an area 300 meters by 600 meters on a small hill inside the camp.
The state-run National News Agency said the army made advances on the eastern flank of the camp and is besieging a group of terrorists inside a shelter considered to be an operations room at al-Sfouri street. The terrorists again fired three rockets which struck outside the camp, said the spokesman. NNA said, however, that two out of three Katyusha rockets which fell on the outskirts of the coastal town of Kfarmilki in Akkar exploded.
It also said that a rocket which did not explode fell near Arqa bridge.
On Friday, Fatah al-Islam militants fired 18 Katyusha-type rockets, most of which crashed into fields several kilometers to the northeast and south of the camp without causing casualties, the army said. An Nahar daily, however, said Saturday that two Lebanese citizens were injured from the attacks which left behind some material damage. Three more soldiers were killed in the latest clashes, and another died of wounds from fierce fighting on Thursday, an army spokesman said, raising to 11 its losses in two days. Military sources said the body of another soldier killed in the camp on Thursday was retrieved. They said 50 soldiers were also wounded on Friday.
While artillery and tanks blasted the camp, the military said elite troops on the ground seized control of a number of buildings that had been used by Fatah al-Islam snipers, while army engineers cleared mines and demolished barriers.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 14 Jul 07, 07:30

Lebanon's Pro, Anti-Government Politicians Face-to-Face in Paris
Lebanon's rival politicians open French-sponsored talks near Paris Saturday afternoon to try to ease Lebanon's ongoing political deadlock. An Nahar newspaper said the representatives of the pro-government March 14 forces held a meeting on Friday to stress the coalition's participation in the all-party talks "with a positive spirit to make it successful."The daily said that the two-day meeting, which is hosted by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in the Saint-Cloud suburb, will focus on three major issues: the government, the presidency and parliamentary elections law. French officials say they hope the informal talks, away from the media glare, will produce a relaxed atmosphere that could mark the beginning of restored dialogue. An Nahar said the meeting will be held between representatives of 14 rival leaders and 5 civil society representatives.(AFP photo shows resigned Energy Minister Mohammed Fneish who will represent Hizbullah in the Paris talks) Beirut, 14 Jul 07, 10:00

U.S. Urges Syria to Cooperate with Hariri Probe, Possibility of Generals' Release Dwindles
Washington has said it was pleased with the progress of a U.N. probe into the assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri and urged Syria to cooperate with the investigation. State Department spokesman Tom Casey hailed progress in the investigation led by Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz, after the U.N. team issued its eighth report in the ongoing probe Thursday. "We are pleased with the work he is doing, we are pleased that he continues to make progress on this," Casey said of the 20-page report on the killing of Hariri and 22 others in a massive Feb. 2005 bomb blast on the Beirut seafront.
The report noted that U.N. investigators have identified several people who may have been involved in the slaying, but also cautioned that Lebanon's worsening political and security situation was likely to hamper the investigation. Previous U.N. reports have implicated top-level Syrians and their Lebanese accomplices in the plot. However, Damascus, a longtime power broker in Lebanon that was forced to withdraw its military after the killing, has denied involvement. "It does note that Syria has been engaged in some cooperation although certainly not complete cooperation with him. And we certainly urge them to give him their complete support," Casey said.
He said it was his hope that an international tribunal authorized to try suspects in Hariri's murder and related crimes would make "good use" of the probe's conclusions.
"We want to make sure that the full effort that he (Brammertz) has made is put to good use by the tribunal in terms of conducting any trials of individuals who are responsible for this."The tribunal was created following a U.N. Security Council resolution in May, but diplomats and U.N. officials have said the tribunal will not be up and running for several months. An Nahar newspaper on Saturday quoted ministerial sources as saying the U.N. secretariat is working hard to set up the court after the Beirut government suggested the names of Lebanese judges.
They said that the court will be established at the end of the year. The sources also said that Brammertz' latest report ended any possibility for the release of the four arrested pro-Syrian generals after it mentioned the following in paragraph 54:
"The Commission has brought together and summarized its findings regarding the organization of certain security and intelligence institutions of relevance to the investigation and present in Lebanon in the period prior to the assassination of Rafik Hariri and particularly during 2004 and early 2005…"
The four generals who are held in Roumieh prison are Gen. Jamil Sayyed, Brig. Gen. Ali Hajj, Brig. Gen. Raymond Azar and Brig. Gen. Mostafa Hamdan.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 14 Jul 07, 07:52

Hizbullah’s ‘divine victory’ in ruins
Hizbullah's divine victory' in ruins.Ynetnews. July 15/07
Despite Shiite group’s propaganda efforts, criticism of its conduct during Last summer’s war and its aftermath filtering through. ‘When you have a criminal neighbor such as Israel, you must think a hundred times before provoking it,’ Beirut resident says
Roee Nahmias Published: 07.14.07, 20:59 / Israel News
“Tell me, do you know what this means?” a Shiite from south Beirut asks a reporter from the Al-Awan news website as he makes the victory sign with his two fingers. “It means that we have only two buildings still standing.”
Shoal Rada’s macabre joke demonstrates the general atmosphere in Lebanon in the aftermath of the war with Israel, despite Hizbullah’s continuous attempts to present last summer’s conflict as a “divine victory”. Unbiased reports on the situation in Lebanon are few and far between, as Hizbullah representatives accompany each and every journalist to make sure no reports and photos that may be detrimental to the organization’s propaganda efforts are published.
However, some criticism against Hizbullah and the Lebanese government does filter through every now and again.
“I don’t understand the benefit of this war,” says Rada, who works as a driver. “When you have a criminal neighbor such as Israel, you must think a hundred times before provoking it.
“Hizbullah should have expected this outcome. What’s heroic about having a million refugees? Believe me, if they don’t pay reparations to all those who have lost their homes in the war, the Shiites will rise up against them and spit at them,” he says.
'They want to drag the country into chaos'
Muhammad, a university professor from west Beirut, says “I was against Hizbullah’s attack (on Israel), but when Israel attacked – I supported Hizbullah. Now I am glad that the UNIFIL forces are here. What would become us, the secular Muslims, if we would have had to face Hizullah on our own?”
Words of condemnation and fear of another war with Israel can even be heard in Bint Jbeil, considered to be the Shiite capital in south Lebanon.
“We will never really be compensated in full; the destruction has turned Bint Jbeil upside down,” Fatma Baidun tells an Asharq Al-Awsat reporter. “A year has passed since the war, and the situation remains very difficult. There is no one who can help us.”
Dozens of structures suspected of containing bomb duds are marked with red tape, which is not removed until the buildings are ‘cleansed”.
The duds spread out in the area also make it difficult for farmers to cultivate their lands.
“I’ve lost millions and haven’t received any compensation,” says Abbas Ibrahim, a 60-year-old local farmer. “All of our leaders are liars. They make promises, but destroy homes, just like the leaders of the people of Palestine.”
Residents from other south Lebanon towns, such as Marj Ayun and el-Hiam, are also finding it hard to deal with the new reality.
“People who left the area last July due to the war have not returned because of the cluster-bomb duds,” Hadj Muhammad tells a reporter from the Saudi newspaper –Al-Watan. “The recent attack (against a Spanish UNIFIL battalion in south Lebanon) has killed out hope that life here will ever return to normal,” he says.
During a recent meeting of about 150 Shiite academics at the Commodore Hotel in Beirut, participants called on Hizbullah to halt its attacks against Lebanese government institutions and authorities.
“Hizbullah and the opposition have lost their credibility,” says Hamad Sayef, who took part in the conference. “They want to drag the country into chaos on behalf of the Syrian regime. Hizbullah must stand by the government in its war against the Fatah el-Islam militia in Tripoli.”