LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 9,11-17. The crowds, meanwhile, learned of this and followed him. He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, "Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here."
He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves." They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people." Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of (about) fifty."
They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.
The Lebanon Front. By Dr. Walid Phares.FrontPage magazine.com. June 11/07
The Lebanese Army needs your urgent help and support. By: Elias Bejjani.Canada Free Press. June 11/07
Latest News Reports
From Miscellaneous Sources for June 11/06/07
LEBANON: One in three Lebanese want to leave-Reuters
Lebanese Troops Fight Abssi Terrorists with Bayonets and Daggers-Naharnet
Lebanon to Propose Judges to the Hariri Court-Naharnet
Controversial Hariri court comes into force
Saniora Points Finger at Syria, Calls for Understanding Over Cabinet Expansion-Naharnet
Lebanese Army Makes Big Push Against Nahr al-Bared-Naharnet
Israeli Cluster Bomb Leaves 1 Dead-Naharnet
Syria 'silent' on Israel offer-Gulf News
Mofaz confirms messages sent to Syria-Jerusalem Post
Syria casts doubts on Israel's peace intentions-Monsters and Critics.com
Second Israeli minister confirms feelers to Syria-Philippine Star
Controversial Hariri court comes into force
(AFP)-10 June 2007
BEIRUT - A controversial international court to try suspects in the murder of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri came into force automatically on Sunday, Justice Minister Charles Rizk said. The UN Security Council on May 30, passed a resolution setting Sunday as the date on which a 2006 agreement between the United Nations and the Beirut government to establish the court is to enter into force. “UN Security Council Resolution 1757 concerning the establishment of an international tribunal to examine the assassination Rafiq Hariri came into force on Sunday,” Rizk said in a statement.
Five members of the Security Council, including veto-wielding Russia and China, abstained from the May 30 vote, objecting to a decision that bypasses Lebanon’s constitutional process. The UN ruling was also condemned by the powerful pro-Damascus Shiite movement Hezbollah as illegal and as “an aggressive interference in (Lebanon’s) internal affairs.”
Syria, Lebanon’s former power broker, was widely blamed for the Hariri killing but has denied all involvement. Hariri, who was a leading opponent of Syrian domination of Lebanon, was killed along with 22 others in a massive bomb blast in Beirut on February 14, 2005. Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora’s Western-backed government charges that the opposition is working at the behest of its masters in Damascus to block the court. Sunday’s date for the entry into force of the court was set under a so-called “sunrise clause” to give the rival Lebanese sides a final chance to break their deadlock over the tribunal. But in the absence of a domestic accord, Belgium’s UN Ambassador Johan Verbeke, who chairs the Security Council this month, said Friday: “The sunrise clause is being activated.” “This is an automatic clause so it will be entering into force automatically as of June 10,” he told reporters. Verbeke said the council did not plan any formal meeting on the case either Sunday or Monday. The court will not be up and running for several months, diplomats and UN officials say.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem warned last week that Damascus would not cooperate with the tribunal and deplored “the speed with which the Security Council decided on a tribunal without unanimity either on an international or Lebanese level.” The tribunal is to be held in an as yet undetermined “neutral” location.For reasons of security, administrative efficiency and fairness, the location will be outside Lebanon, with both Cyprus and Italy mooted as possibilities.
It will include a three-member trial chamber — two foreigners and one Lebanese — and a five-judge appeals chamber — two Lebanese and three foreigners.
All foreign judges are to be named by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who will also appoint the prosecutor from nominations made by a panel of two international judges.
Meanwhile, the UN probe of the Hariri case continues under the leadership of Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz. Last March, he said the murder was most likely politically motivated and spoke of progress in the investigation although he did not identify any suspects. Nine suspects, including Lebanon’s once feared top pro-Syrian security chiefs, have however been under arrest for about two years over the murder and may stand trial before the international court.
Four of the main suspects were Syria’s key security generals in Lebanon until Damascus was forced to complete a troop pullout from Lebanon in 2005 after 29 years of military dominance. They include presidential guard chief General Mustafa Hamdan, former general security chief General Jamil Al Sayed, ex-internal security head General Ali Al Hage and former army intelligence director General Raymond Azar.
Army announces details of 4 more soldiers killed yesterday
Sunday, 10 June, 2007 @ 3:16 PM
TRIPOLI - The Lebanese army officially announced today that four more Lebanese soldier at the Nahr el Bared Palestinian refugee camp were killed yesterday by enemy fire at the Nahr el Bared camp, where battles have been raging for the past 20 days.
Earlier today the army announced that 2 soldiers were killed. This makes total loss for the Lebanese Army today 6 soldiers.
Here are the details on the four soldiers:
1- Ali Hassan Hamoudi - Date of Birth: Aug 23, 1980 - Married, no children
Date enlisted with the army: Nov. 5, 2000
Funeral arrangements will take place at his home town, Jebaa, Nabatiyeh.
2- Bassam Gerjus Ayyub - Date of Birth: Jan. 1, 1971 - Bachelor
Date enlisted with the army: Aug 21, 1991
Funeral arrangements will take place today in his home town Western Tel Abbas.
3- Gerjus Antanious el Bayseri - Date of Birth: Jan. 20, 1974 - Married with 3 children
Date enlisted with the army: April 6, 1992
Funeral arrangements will take place today in his home town Hawwareh, Tripoli.
4- Majed Elias Gerjus Date of Birth: May 6, 1987 - Bachelor
Date enlisted with the army: Sept. 9, 2004
Funeral arrangements will take place today in his home town Hikr el Sheikh Taba, Akkar.
The loss of the four soldiers brings the total number of soldiers killed since the fighting began to 53.
Sources: Lebanese army
Lebanese Troops Fight Abssi Terrorists with Bayonets and Daggers
Lebanese troops have pierced into the last stronghold of Fatah al-Islam terrorists in the northern refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared fighting Syria's allies with bayonets and daggers. At least five soldiers were "martyred" in the face-to-face confrontation Saturday while 20 terrorists were killed. The daily an-Nahar reported ferocious confrontations in the camp to finish off the Fatah al-Islam gang, headed by Jordanian-Palestinian Shaker al-Abssi. It quoted unnamed security sources as saying fighters from all the factions affiliated with Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime are taking part with Abssi terrorists in confronting the army at Nahr al-Bared. An-Nahar also said security forces busted suspected terrorist hideouts in north Lebanon's Zghorta province and arrested an undisclosed number of suspects, including two Syrian men. The region is a traditional stronghold for Suleiman Franjieh's pro-Syrian Marada Movement.
Meanwhile, Maronite Bishops have called for the formation of a national unity government based on a joint policy plan accepted by the various political factions to end the nation's ongoing power struggle. The bishops, in a statement released Saturday, also stressed on the necessity of holding presidential elections according to constitutional schedule. The call Saturday was welcomed by leaders of the March 14 majority alliance. Mediation efforts to broker a peaceful end to the three-week confrontation have suffered a setback. One of the mediators said that their mission was being complicated by the disappearance of senior commanders among the militants. On a mission into Nahr al-Bared on Friday afternoon, they were only able to meet the militants' spokesman, Shahine Shahine, mediator Sheikh Fathi Yakan said. "Something is going on within Fatah al-Islam ranks," the cleric said. "Their leaders are no longer visible. We were only able to meet a junior official while their top leaders like Shaker Abssi … aren't talking." Meanwhile, France announced on Friday that it was willing to chair informal fence-mending talks between the March 14 majority alliance and the Syrian-backed Hizbullah-led opposition. French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran, a former ambassador to Syria, is due in Beirut on Sunday to prepare for the talks. He is to meet Premier Fouad Saniora and other officials. Beirut, 10 Jun 07, 08:21
Lebanese Army Makes Big Push Against Nahr al-Bared
Lebanese tanks moved deep into the northern Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared Saturday, taking up positions near the Samed center, where Fatah al-Islam militants have been dug in. An army spokesman said three soldiers were killed and a dozen wounded by Fatah al-Islam sniper fire. Meanwhile, mediation efforts to broker a peaceful end to the 21-day siege of Nahr al-Bared have suffered a setback. Fatah al-Islam militants holed up inside Nahr al-Bared have booby trapped corpses as well as buildings in order to inflict as many casualties as possible among Lebanese soldiers determined to finish off the terrorists, state-run Tele Liban said.
By early afternoon, troops were able to destroy several buildings where militants were believed to be hiding, causing a large number of fatalities, NNA said.
LBCI said at least eight buildings used by the militants to snipe out soldiers or fire rockets and grenades at them were demolished in Saturday's incursion.
The militants have booby trapped corpses as well as buildings in order to inflict as many casualties as possible among Lebanese soldiers determined to finish off the terrorists, state-run Tele Liban said.
It said some militant ammunition dumps were blown up in the army shelling Saturday. The unrest, which has also seen at least eight bomb or grenade attacks in and around the capital, is by far Lebanon's deadliest since the 1975-90 civil war. The resulting insecurity has further dented an economy still reeling from last year's devastating war with Israel. Heavy artillery opened up against Nahr al-Bared camp at dawn targeting high-rise buildings in its northern reaches where Fatah al-Islam militants are dug in. After a lull during the morning, the shelling resumed in earnest in the middle of the day, starting fires and sending plumes of black smoke into the sky over the Mediterranean coast. The militants responded with anti-tank and small-arms fire against the encircling troops.
Fatah al-Islam spokesman Shahine Shahine said that the artillery bombardment had been cover for a ground assault on militant positions on the outskirts of camp. "The assault was repulsed," he added. Shahine said the bombardment was also intended to influence mediation efforts by a group of Muslim clerics.
"The army is tightening its noose because army chief Michel Suleiman is due meet the mediators," he charged.
But earlier one of the mediators said that their mission was being complicated by the disappearance of senior commanders among the militants.
On a mission into the camp on Friday afternoon, they were only able to see Shahine not more senior Fatah al-Islam leaders, delegation member Sheikh Fathi Yakan said. "Something is going on within Fatah al-Islam ranks," the cleric said. "Their leaders are no longer visible. We were only able to meet a junior official while their top leaders like Shaker Absi have gone to ground and aren't talking." But troops have so far refrained from penetrating the camp on the Mediterranean coast north of Lebanon's second city of Tripoli, where some 4,000 civilians are still believed to be trapped by the fighting. By longstanding convention the army does not enter Lebanon's 12 refugee camps leaving security inside to Palestinian militants. However in an interview broadcast on Friday, Prime Minister Fouad Saniora hinted that those arrangements might have to be reviewed in light of the failure of mainstream Palestinian groups to deal with the Islamist threat.
"Fatah al-Islam's entry into the Nahr al-Bared camp shows the failure of the Palestinians' autonomous security system," Saniora told Paris-based news channel France 24. The premier, who is a staunch opponent of Syria, also implicated intelligence agents from Lebanon's once dominant neighbor in sponsoring the militants. "Undoubtedly ... there is a link between them and some of the Syrian intelligence services," he said.
The legislative program of Saniora's government has been paralyzed by a nearly seven-month-old standoff with the pro-Syrian opposition.
Since six pro-Damascus ministers quit last November and pro-Syrian House Speaker Nabih Berri has refused to convene MPs to debate draft legislation proposed by the rump cabinet. Former colonial power France announced on Friday that it was willing to chair informal fence-mending talks between the two sides, a proposal that received a broad welcome across the political divide. French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran, a former ambassador to Syria, is due in Beirut on Sunday to prepare for the talks, a Lebanese official said. The bills blocked by the political crisis have included flagship plans for an international court to try suspects in the 2005 murder of five-time Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in which a U.N. inquiry has implicated several senior Syrian officials despite Damascus' denials.
In the face of the deadlock, the U.N. Security Council last month adopted a resolution imposing the court's creation on Sunday without need for ratification by Lebanon.(Naharnet-AFP) Beirut, 09 Jun 07, 16:19
Lebanon to Propose Judges to the Hariri Court
The U.N.-Sponsored tribunal to try suspects in the murder of Lebanese ex-premier Rafik Hariri came into force automatically on Sunday, Justice Minister Charles Rizk said. The U.N. Security Council on May 30, passed a resolution setting Sunday as the date on which a 2006 agreement between the United Nations and the Beirut government to establish the court is to be applied. Rizk in a statement said U.N. Security Council Resolution 1757 has a clause which automatically brings the court "into force" on Sunday. Meanwhile, Rizk asked the Supreme Judicial Council to propose a list of 12 Lebanese judges so that the U.N. can choose four of them to take part in presiding over the tribunal. Five members of the Security Council, including veto-wielding Russia and China, abstained from the May 30 vote.
The U.N. ruling was denounced by the pro-Damascus Shiite movement Hizbullah as illegal and "an aggressive interference in (Lebanon's) internal affairs."
Syria, Lebanon's former power broker, was widely blamed for the Hariri killing but has denied involvement in the crime.
Hariri, who was a leading opponent of Syrian domination of Lebanon, was killed along with 22 others in a massive bomb blast in Beirut on February 14, 2005.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's majority government accuses the Hizbullah-led opposition of working at the behest of its masters in Damascus to block the court. Sunday's date for the entry into force of the court was set under a so-called "sunrise clause" to give the rival Lebanese sides a final chance to break their deadlock over the tribunal. But in the absence of a domestic accord, Belgium's U.N. Ambassador Johan Verbeke, who chairs the Security Council this month, said Friday: "The sunrise clause is being activated.""This is an automatic clause so it will be entering into force automatically as of June 10," he told reporters.
Verbeke said the council did not plan any formal meeting on the case either Sunday or Monday. The court will not be up and running for several months, diplomats and U.N .officials say.(Naharnet-AFP) Beirut, 09 Jun 07, 07:48
Saniora Points Finger at Syria, Calls for Understanding Over Cabinet Expansion
Naharnet: Premier Fouad Saniora has said Fatah al-Islam, whose fighters are engaged in fierce battles with the Lebanese army at the Nahr al-Bared camp, was connected to Syrian intelligence agents. "Undoubtedly ... there is a link between them and some of the Syrian intelligence services," Saniora told French news channel France 24 On Friday. He said foreign fighters had entered Lebanon from Syria. Saniora also appealed to the Assad regime to exercise greater control over the border.
"They passed through Syria, and there is a joint responsibility. I do not deny Lebanon's responsibility, but nobody can deny Syria's responsibility either," he said.
"We call on the Syrians to take up the responsibility of controlling the border and prevent the infiltration of individuals and arms smuggling into Lebanon."
The prime minister said the violence at the Palestinian camp in north Lebanon also raised questions about the longstanding convention under which the army leaves security in Lebanon's 12 refugee camps to Palestinian militant groups. "Fatah al-Islam's entry into the Nahr al-Bared camp shows the failure of the Palestinians' autonomous security system," he said. About calls by the Hizbullah-led opposition for the premier's resignation and formation of a cabinet of national unity, Saniora said: "We have to reach an understanding over a national unity government by expanding the current cabinet." "The expansion of the current government is being currently discussed away from spotlight," he said.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 09 Jun 07, 08:04
Israeli Cluster Bomb Leaves 1 Dead
A cluster bomb left over from last summer's Israeli offensive on Lebanon denoted Friday, killing a 40-year-old man, the National News Agency reported.
It said Jamal Jafal was seriously wounded when the device exploded near his house in the southern Lebanese village of Bazouriyeh.
He later died in hospital at the port city of Tyre, NNA said. A mortar shell also blew up late Friday at an orchard in Howsh area, four kilometers east of Tyre, causing no casualties. Beirut, 09 Jun 07, 08:21
LEBANON: One in three Lebanese want to leave
10 Jun 2007 09:58:08 GMT
Reuters -BEIRUT, 10 June 2007 (IRIN) - Researchers warn that economic instability and persistent security threats are driving ever more young, educated Lebanese abroad, creating a brain drain that threatens the country's economic and social future.
"We're suffering a huge brain drain," Kamal Hamdan, head of the Lebanese Centre of Research and Studies, told IRIN.
"Those who have the brains take their diplomas and leave. They are the young people who would go on to be middle executives and entrepreneurs. In the long term, their absence means we may face a serious shortage of policy developers and managers."
A poll published in April conducted by Information International, an independent Beirut-based research centre, found that 30 percent of Lebanese - nearly one in three people - wanted to emigrate abroad, and 60 percent in the 18-25 age bracket. The poll also found that nearly 12 percent of undergraduates want to emigrate, along with over 15 percent of professionals.
However, economist Elie Yachoui, board member of the National Council of Scientific Research in Lebanon, estimated that over the past two years more than 50 percent of graduates had left Lebanon.
The survey polled 997 Lebanese citizens of varying ages and creeds from across the country in February. Nearly half of all Maronites, the largest Christian denomination in the country, said they were considering emigrating, while some 22 percent of Shias and 26 percent of Sunnis say they are considering moving abroad.
Lebanon is home to just under four million citizens, but some 16 million people of Lebanese descent live abroad, the largest communities being in South America, West Africa, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Abdo Asmar is 24, and has been trying to leave Lebanon for years, without any success. He has found work as a security guard for a private company, in what he says is "a flourishing career in Lebanon, given the circumstances".
Lebanon has been plagued by a recently re-emerged campaign of bombings, as well as political assassinations, since the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.
Recently Asmar received a job offer that would finally allow him to leave. But it's not the destination he was hoping for.
"I received a job offer to work as a security officer in the Green Zone in Baghdad, for 10 times the salary I'm paid now," he said. "Why would I bother to stay? If I'm going to die anyway, I'd rather die rich."
Hadi Sabaa, 27, is equally pessimistic about the future of his country, even though he has a steady job on a local newspaper. Like many other journalism graduates, he's trying to leave for Dubai, "where reporters are appreciated, respected, and decently paid". "There at least," he said, "I will not have to worry about where my children are at the time of the next explosion."
Political sensitivities are hampering efforts to record data on actual numbers of émigrés.
No official census has been taken since 1932, for fear of upsetting the delicate power-sharing agreement between Lebanon's rival sects.
"We haven't been allowed to conduct serious research for over 16 years now, because in Lebanon, this subject is taboo, due to official fear of revealing the new confessional and religious make-up of the population," said Hamdan, whose own three children have left and have no plans to return.
Hamdan accused successive governments of "deliberately neglecting the need for an organised database, so that we don't know who left and who came back".
The money trail
The minimum state wage in Lebanon is less than US$300 per month and has not changed since 1996.
A report issued by the World Bank in May 2007 found nearly 26 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), worth around $5.6 billion, comes from emigrants, based on a calculation of the balance of payments for 2006.
The report also showed 45 percent of these transactions come from the 400,000 Lebanese residing in Gulf States, in particular those living in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
Economist Elie Yachoui, blamed the high rates of brain drain on "bad policies undertaken by successive governments, which failed to produce economic growth as the public debt skyrocketed".
He told IRIN that, in addition to the current deteriorating security, the country's huge indebtedness also stands in the way of achieving economic growth.
According to estimates, Lebanon's public debt in 2006 stood at just over $40 billion, at the higher estimates, the equivalent of 209 percent of GDP, one of the highest debt burdens in the world.
Billions of dollars pledged to Lebanon at the Paris III international donor conference in January will go simply to service pubic debt repayments, and they have mostly yet to be approved because of the current political stalemate that has seen parliament closed all year.
"Lebanon has three sources of revenue," said Yachoui. "One is natural, the second monetary, and the third - the most important- is our human resources. When this disappears, we lose the capability of managing the first two."
For some, though, even successful economic reforms and a better salary would not entice them to stay.
"I don't care if they fix the situation now or ever," said journalist Hadi Sabaa. "What good will economic reform do me if on my way to buy some bread a car bomb blows me away?"
By Dr. Walid Phares
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 22, 2007-Naharnet
Sunday in northern Lebanon, a group named Fatah al Islam conducted several attacks against the Lebanese Army killing up to 25 soldiers and losing up to 15 members in addition to civilian casualties. The fighting is still raging at this hour. This security development, which could be happening in many other spots in the troubled Middle East, from Iraq to Gaza, and from Somalia to Afghanistan, has however a special dimension. It signals in fact the opening of a new front in the War with al-Qaeda Terror: Lebanon. Here are the reasons Fatah al Islam is based in the Palestinian camp of Nahr al Bared in Northern Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city with a Sunni majority. The group is an offshoot of another group, Fatah al Intifada, both dissidents from the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas and both importantly backed and financed by Syrian intelligence. But Fatah al Islam, formed last November and headed by Palestinian-born Shaker Absi, is linked directly to al-Qaeda. Absi was a colleague of Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqaqi who was killed by an U.S. air raid last year. Since its inception, Fatah al Islam has told its supporters and the population in its areas of training and operations that follow the Jihad of al-Qaeda.
Fatah al Islam aim at creating an "Emirate" (an Islamist principality, as in the Taliban model) in the Sunni areas of Lebanon, and is planning on conducting operations similar to the ones in the Sunni Triangle of Iraq. But according to the Lebanese government and terrorism experts, the group is being secretly supported by the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad. The question arises in the West about the logic of having a so-called “secular” Ba'athist regime supporting an “Islamic fundamentalist" organization. First, the Ba'athist logic is to use groups not necessarily carrying its Pan-Arab ideology to attack the regime’s foes and achieve strategic goals: For decades, the Hafez al-Assad regime supported and used the national-socialist SSNP (Syrian neo-Nazi organization), the Christian war lord Frangieh, the Maronite militiaman Elie Hobeika, Arab Socialist factions, the Shiia Jihadist Hezbollah and, most importantly, a roaster of Jihadi Sunni networks. From Tripoli to Sidon, the Assads regime manipulated Harakat al Tawheed al Islamee and the Gamaat Islamiya, both al-Qaeda-like Jihadists. Inside the Palestinian camps of Lebanon, the Syrian Mukahabarat remote controlled many groupings – Jihadist in their ideology and outlook, but feeding from the Baathist machine.
The Fatah al Islam is one of the latest marriages of convenience between a group of committed Jihadists, rotating in al-Qaeda’s constellation but gravitating around Damascus influence. The group accepts Bashar’s support and the Syrian regime tolerates the organization’s “Sunni” outlook: Both have a common enemy, even though they may come at each other’s throats in the future. The men of Bin Laden anywhere in the world, including in Lebanon, have the same standing order: Bringing down the moderate Arab and Muslim Governments (even in multiethnic societies) and replace them with Emirates. The men of Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmedinijad have converging goals, bring down the democratically elected government in Lebanon and replace it with a Hizbollah-Syrian dominated regime, as was the case before 2005. Thus, both “axis” have one objective in Lebanon: crush the Seniora Government. They will take all their time to fight each other after.
Yesterday's clashes between the al-Qaeda linked terror network and the Lebanese Army are a prelude to terror preparations aimed at crumbling the Cedar Revolution, in both government and civil society, this summer. It is a move by the Assad regime to weaken the cabinet and the army in preparation for a greater offensive later on by Hezbollah on another front. In short, the Damascus-Tehran strategic planners have unleashed this “local” al-Qaeda group in Tripoli to drag the Lebanese cabinet into side battles, deflecting its attention from the two main events threatening Assad: the forthcoming UN tribunal in the assassination case of Rafiq Hariri, and the pending deployment of UN units on the Lebanese-Syrian border. Both developments can isolate the Syrian regime. Thus, the Fatah al Islam attacks can be perceived as part of a preemptive strategy by the Tehran-Damascus axis. But the results, if the Lebanese Army fails to contain the terrorists, could be very serious to the Seniora Government and the UN. Worse, if the first piece of a Sunni Triangle is put in place in Lebanon, this could affect the geopolitics of the War on Terror globally: The rise of Salafi Jihadism along the coasts of Lebanon, from Tripoli to Sidon, passing by Beirut. This Emirate-to-be could become the closer strategic enclave of Bin Laden to the US Sixth Fleet, Europe’s cities and Israel.
The United States and the West are now faced with a new development which they cannot allow to grow unchecked: an al-Qaeda base on the Eastern Mediterranean. The strategic responses are only two: Reshape the Lebanese Army to face off with the Jihadists and deploy multinational forces on the Syrian Lebanese borders as soon it is possible. The Seniora Government also has work to do: It must without hesitation call on the UN Security Council to deploy forces on the borders, in application of UNSCR 1559 and under Chapter 7. The three main leaders of the parliamentary majority supporting the cabinet have opened the path for such a move: Saad Hariri, the leader of the Sunni community, has blasted Fatah al Islam as a threat to Muslims; Walid Jumblat, leader of the Druses and Socialists, has already been calling for a UN military intervention; and last but not least, the various Christian parties opposed to Assad have accused the Syrian regime of igniting terror. All planets are now aligned for a successful move against al-Qaeda in Lebanon, before it is too late. But the question is: will the Lebanese politicians seize the moment?