LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
May 16/2007

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 16,5-11. But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. Coming of the Advocate

Free Opinions
Hizbullah: Rockets fired into Israel directed by Iran.By: Aaron Klein. May 16/07
Westminster Notes (Blair's Lebanon Blunder), By: Sir Cyril Townsend. May 16/07
Lebanon's next president: Let the games be dispensed with. Daily Star. May 16/07
The quest for power.Gulf News. May 16/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for May 16/4/07
Welch to Pay Surprise Visit to Beirut.Naharnet
Hizbullah Predicts 'Discord' if Tribunal Passed by U.N.
Pro, Anti-Government MPs Rattle Sabers in Parliament
U.N. Creation of Tribunal Could Further Deepen Power Struggle
1 Killed, 2 Wounded in Gas Tank Explosion in Lebanon
High-Speed Internet Launched in Lebanon
Saniora Officially Gives U.N. Go-Ahead to Establish Tribunal

Lebanon PM asks UN to impose Hariri court.Middle East Online
Iran, Saudi, Syria to resolve crisis in Lebanon
.IranMania News
Israel Plays Hi Tech War Game While Hizballah Throws Rocks for ...
DEBKA file
US tells Syria to release jailed writer, others
.Washington Post
Lahoud, Siniora discord continues.PRESS TV
Don't get high-and-mighty.Ha'aretz

Awaiting the Next aggression on Lebanon or Ways to Avoid It.Alternative Information Center
Lebanon president warns UN over Hariri court.Washington Post

Latest News Reports From The Daily Star for May 15/4/07
Siniora officially asks UN to form Hariri tribunal
Hizbullah vows to intensify demands for compensation
UNIFIL denies Israeli reports it uprooted Hizbullah flags along border
Amal MP dismisses claims of rising tension between Berri and Aoun
Court reschedules Franjieh's hearing in libel case
Fatah commander says Ain al-Hilweh still 'tense'
Siniora meets committee on detainees in Syria
'Every genuine Arab feels that anybody who distorts the image of Islam is distorting his identity'
AUB honors 140 long-time staff members
NDU students expect 'positive'outcome from probe into protest
Thousands flock to 'Hawaiian Paradise' at AUB
Lebanese pioneers brave pitfalls of organic farming industry

Welch in Beirut for Talks with Saniora
U.S. Middle East envoy David Welch arrived in Beirut on Tuesday on the first such visit by a U.S. official since the July-August war between Hizbullah and Israel, Government sources said. The Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs is to meet later in the day with Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir before holding talks with parliamentary majority leaders Saad Hariri and Walid Jumblat. On Wednesday, Welch is to hold talks with Prime Minister Fouad Saniora, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and ex-President Amin Gemayel. The visit comes one day after Saniora asked the U.N. Security Council to set up an international court to try suspects in the 2005 murder of former premier Rafik Hariri even without Lebanese parliamentary approval.
The Saniora government accuses the pro-Damascus opposition of deliberately blocking parliament's ratification of the tribunal plan at the behest of its Syrian masters. Damascus, which has been widely blamed for the Hariri murder, has made clear it will not allow any Syrians to be tried by a court it regards as an affront to its sovereignty. Syria denies involvement in Hariri killing. Welch was the last member of the U.S. administration to visit Lebanon on August 11 -- three days before the end of a 34-day Israel-Hizbullah war.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 15 May 07, 07:43

Saniora Officially Gives U.N. Go-Ahead to Establish Tribunal
Prime Minister Fouad Saniora on Monday officially gave the U.N. the go-ahead for establishing an international tribunal to prosecute suspects in the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes.Information Minister Ghazi Aridi told reporters at the end of a cabinet meeting Monday evening that Saniora sent the letter earlier in the day urging U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to set up the court after attempts to ratify the draft law in parliament have failed. "In a letter sent this morning, the prime minister made a strong request to Ban Ki-moon to ask the Security Council to take a binding decision," Aridi said.
Aridi read out Saniora's letter which said: "The Lebanese government believes that the time has come for the Security Council to help make the special tribunal for Lebanon a reality. "We therefore ask as a matter of urgency to put before the Security Council our request that the special tribunal be put into effect.
"A binding decision regarding the tribunal on the part of the Security Council will be fully consistent with the importance the U.N. has attached to this matter from the outset, when the investigation commission was established." He was referring to a U.N. commission of inquiry, now headed by Serge Brammertz of Belgium, which has implicated senior Syrian officials and their Lebanese allies in the killing of Hariri.
The daily As Safir, citing Western diplomatic sources in New York, said Monday the U.N. was likely to approve creation of the court within the next 48 hours.
The sources said the Security Council was expected to meet on Tuesday and thereafter "unanimously" vote to approve the draft law to create the tribunal.
As Safir said the obvious question now was what the next phase would be like following set up of the tribunal in the wake of MP Saad Hariri's announcement of a fresh political initiative to enter into dialogue with the Hizbullah-led opposition. The tribunal, the heart of Lebanon's worst political crisis, has been a major issue that has divided Lebanon into pro and anti-Syrian camps. All six pro-Syrian government ministers quit last November, accusing Saniora of riding roughshod over the power-sharing arrangements in force since the 1975-90 civil war. Both House Speaker Nabih Berri and pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud have since refused to recognize the rump anti-Syrian cabinet.
The Hizbullah-led opposition has made it plain that it strongly opposes any move by the Security Council to impose the international court under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, so Saniora's action is likely to inflame the political crisis which has seen opposition supporters camped outside his offices for months.
"We say no to the establishment of a tribunal under Chapter Seven," Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, a key Berri ally, said earlier this month.
Saniora's government accuses the opposition of deliberately blocking ratification of the tribunal blueprint, which has already been endorsed by the Security Council, at the behest of their Syrian masters. But the opposition insists that it backs the tribunal in principle, and is merely insisting on its legitimate right to be consulted over the details. Damascus has made clear that it will not allow any Syrians to be tried by a court it regards as an affront to its sovereignty.(Naharnet-AFP)
Beirut, 14 May 07, 07:31

Hizbullah Predicts 'Discord' if Tribunal Passed by U.N.
Lebanon's Damascus-backed Hizbullah on Tuesday predicted "discord" in Lebanon if the United Nations imposes an international court to try suspects in the 2005 murder of former Premier Rafik Hariri. The warning followed a letter by Prime Minister Fouad Saniora asking the U.N. Security Council to set up the court even without Lebanese parliamentary approval, amid deep political divisions over the tribunal. "I warn the Security Council and the United Nations that international institutions should not be the means to sow divisions and discord," Hizbullah MP Ali Ammar told reporters.
"The United Nations will be held responsible for any Security Council resolution that pushes Lebanon into discord, and we warn against such a decision," he said.
"The sovereignty of international institutions stops at Lebanon's sovereignty. We reject any undermining of constitutional institutions." The Western-backed Saniora government accuses the pro-Damascus opposition -- led by Hizbullah -- of deliberately blocking parliament's ratification of the tribunal plan at the behest of its Syrian masters. Although it has been widely blamed for the Hariri murder, Syria denies any links with the assassination. It has made clear it will not allow any Syrian to be tried by a court it regards as an affront to its sovereignty.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 15 May 07, 15:56

Pro, Anti-Government MPs Rattle Sabers in Parliament
Deputy Speaker Farid Makari on Tuesday slammed the opposition without naming it, saying those who are hinting at obstructing the upcoming presidential elections want a president who would have the power over the Lebanese people. "The Lebanese know that those who hint at obstructing the presidency want a president who opposes the Lebanese and controls them," Makari said after a meeting between pro-government legislators at the parliament building.
"Let us discuss (our disputes) in parliament and elect a new president," he said in a statement read on behalf of the pro-government March 14 Forces.
The MPs gathered at the legislature for the ninth Tuesday in a row to urge Speaker Nabih Berri to call for a parliament session.
Makari also said the majority's hand was stretched to the Hizbullah-led opposition but slammed it for obstructing the formation of the international tribunal to try ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's suspected assassins. Hizbullah legislator Ali Ammar was quick to issue a violent retort, accusing the March 14 coalition of wanting to use the court for purposes beyond the "truth" into Hariri's murder.He also warned of "discord" if the U.N. imposes the tribunal.
"I warn the Security Council and the United Nations that international institutions should not be the means to sow divisions and discord," Ammar told reporters.
"The United Nations will be held responsible for any Security Council resolution that pushes Lebanon into discord, and we warn against such a decision," he said.
"The sovereignty of international institutions stops at Lebanon's sovereignty. We reject any undermining of constitutional institutions," he added.
Ammar also accused the ruling majority of thwarting all efforts to end the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon.(Photo shows Makari speaking at the parliament building) Beirut, 15 May 07, 12:19

U.N. Creation of Tribunal Could Further Deepen Power Struggle

The official request by Prime Minister Fouad Saniora urging the U.N. to go ahead and establish an international tribunal to prosecute suspects in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination was bound to further deepen Lebanon's internal strife. Information Minister Ghazi Aridi told reporters at the end of a cabinet meeting Monday evening that Saniora sent the letter earlier in the day urging U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to set up the court after attempts to ratify the draft law in parliament have failed. In his letter, Saniora made a "strong request" to Ban urging the Security Council to take a "binding decision," Aridi said.
The Hizbullah-led opposition has not yet come out with a unified reaction to Saniora's letter. However, a first response from the opposition was highlighted in Beirut's daily As Safir on Tuesday. Citing opposition officials, As Safir said the anti-government camp would handle the tribunal issue as "yet another international resolution like that of 1559.""We are practically liberated from repeated accusations that we are obstructing the tribunal," one leading opposition figure told As Safir. "We will deal with it (court) depending on the American performance," the official added.
He said establishment of the court under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter would "automatically deepen the political crisis" gripping Lebanon. As Safir also quoted Berri as saying that creation of the tribunal under Chapter 7 would not help break the political deadlock. "Those who were saying that the problem is with the tribunal and not with the government are going to find out quite the contrary," Berri was quoted as telling visitors.
The tribunal, the heart of Lebanon's worst political crisis, has been a major issue that has divided Lebanon into pro and anti-Syrian camps. In turn, An Nahar said President Emile Lahoud and House Speaker Nabih Berri would deal with the tribunal issue as status quo the same way they would deal with the possibility of forming two governments if efforts to shape a national unity government that would secure "constitutional" presidential elections failed. Both Lahoud and Berri have refused to recognize Saniora's cabinet after resignation of all six pro-Syrian ministers last November. The issue of an international tribunal has sharply polarized Lebanon. It is at the core of a deep political crisis between the government and opposition groups - a conflict that has taken on an increasingly sectarian tone and erupted into street battles, killing 11 people in recent months. At U.N. headquarters in New York, a U.N. official confirmed that Ban's office had received the letter and said it was being studied.
The official said Ban would likely discuss the prospect of setting up a tribunal with Security Council members when they meet for a scheduled lunch Tuesday.
Hizbullah, which is leading the anti-government campaign, has warned that Saniora's seeking international intervention would threaten Lebanon's security and stability. Last week, Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah rejected U.N. intervention to create the tribunal without first receiving the politically divided country's approval. Lahoud has also warned that Lebanon's unity and stability would be "at stake and severely shaken" if the tribunal was set up by the Security Council.
Hariri and 22 others were killed by a massive truck bombing in Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005, and the Security Council authorized a commission to investigate the assassinations.(Naharnet-AP) Beirut, 15 May 07, 11:04

1 Killed, 2 Wounded in Gas Tank Explosion in Lebanon

A gas tank explosion in the coastal town of Amsheet on Tuesday set off a fire that resulted in the death of a maintenance worker, security sources said.
They said two other workers were injured in the 10 a.m. blast which took place while the workers were doing repair work on the tank which belonged to United Gas Co.The sources told Naharnet that Civil Defense volunteers rushed to the scene to battle the blaze. Beirut, 15 May 07, 10:03

High-Speed Internet Launched in Lebanon
Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh has launched high-speed Internet service that is capable of transmitting data with speeds to customers in ten densely populated key districts throughout the country.
The new service powered by Ogero will cover neighborhoods in Greater Beirut, like Ashrafiyeh, Riad Solh, Karantina, Ras Beirut and Bir Hassan.
The service dubbed "Blink" would also cover Jounieh as well as Minat al-Hosn, Zahle, Sidon and Mina in Tripoli.
It allows customers to use their existing analog phone lines simultaneously with phone conversations without any interruption.
The inauguration ceremony on Monday of the high-speed ADSL Internet access was held under the auspices of Prime Minister Fouad Saniora.
Lebanon's Internet Service Providers (ISP) completed installation of the new lines last week.
Blink starts at $23.90 per month for 128 kbps, $33.90 for 256 kbps, $46.90 for 512 kbps and $76.90 for 1 mbps.
Hamadeh said the next round of Blink network would include Mazraa, Ras el-Nabaa, Antelias, Qornet Shahwan, Jal el-Dib, Jdeideh, Zouk, Mazraat Yashouh as well as Broummana and Mansourieh. Beirut, 15 May 07, 09:20

Hizbullah: Rockets fired into Israel directed by Iran

Militia deputy chief says 'all policies and activities' coordinated with Tehran
Aaron Klein, WND Published: 05.07.07, 16:00 / Israel News
All of Hizbullah's policies and activities are coordinated with the leadership of Iran, including the firing of rockets into Israeli population centers for which direct Iranian approval is required, said a senior Hizbullah official in a rare admission.
"Even when it comes to firing rockets on Israeli civilians, when they (Israel) bombed the civilians on our side, even that decision requires an in-principle permission from (the ruling jurisprudent)," said Sheikh Naim Kassem, the deputy chief of Hizbullah, in an Arabic language interview translated Sunday by the Information and Terrorism Center at Israel's Center for Special Studies.
Naim Kassem
Hizbullah says prisoner swap talks with Israel 'serious' / Associated Press
Organization's deputy leader stresses two kidnapped Israeli soldiers will be freed only in exchange for freedom of all Lebanese prisoners held in Israel
According to the Center, "the ruling jurisprudent," or "al-wali al-faqih" in Arabic, is the title of Supreme Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In the interview, given last month to the Al-Kawthar, Iranian Arabic-language TV channel, Kassem says Khamenei's authority is crucial for all Hizbullah operations:
"Hizbullah relied and relies still in its Islamic religious position, which has to do with its activity in general and its jihadist activity in particular, on the decision of (Khamenei). The ruling jurisprudent is the one who allows and the one who prohibits."
He said Khamenei approves acts suicide terror.
"We ask, receive answers, and then apply (them). This is even true for acts of suicide for the sake of Allah no one may kill himself without a jurisprudent permission (from Khamenei)."
During Israel's war in Lebanon last summer, Hizbullah fired over 3,000 rockets into Israeli civilian population centers, killing 43 civilians and injuring thousands. There were multiple reports, denied by Hizbullah, of Iranian officers operating in Lebanon to aid the militia.
Kassem's statements come as Israeli defense officials said this weekend Hizbullah is stronger now than before last summer's war. According to the officials, Hizbullah, aided by Iran, is preparing for another conflict with the Jewish state.
In an interview Saturday with al-Jazeera, Hizbullah's Kassem admitted his group rebuilt its militia and is ready for war. He claimed Israel will attack first.
"We have new military plans. We have completed our ground work in preparing our men, as well as our land, so that we would be ready if the Israeli government thought one day (of launching an attack)," said Kassem.

Westminster Notes (Blair's Lebanon Blunder)
Sir Cyril Townsend Al-Hayat - 15/05/07//
It is understood on all sides that when Prime Minister Tony Blair departs voluntarily from No. 10 Downing Street in a few weeks, having occupied it for ten years, his legacy will be Iraq. In particular, he will be remembered for persuading the House of Commons with false and doctored evidence, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which somehow represented a threat to the United Kingdom, and he had to be removed by force of arms.
It would be right if his other shocking blunder in the field of foreign affairs, namely his support for Israel's war on Hezbollah, mainly in Lebanon last summer, should also be remembered - as well as the appropriate lessons learnt.
When he became Prime Minister he was far too cautious, and reluctant to spend the new Government's vast reserve of political credit. Popularity appeared to be all. He saw himself as the people's President - a British Bill Clinton - and he used his considerable charm to maintain public support. But when Israel started the bombing of Lebanese villages, which in the end killed over one thousand Lebanese civilians and combatants, Tony Blair decided to 'do his own thing' ignore the waves of criticism that poured over his Government and Party, and set himself at odds with public opinion in a manner that I described at the time as reckless.
As soon as the conflict erupted last July Tony Blair decided to back the White House all the way - no surprise there - but, most significantly, he refused for weeks to join the world's chorus for a ceasefire. President Jacques Chirac described Israel's daily bombing of Lebanon as "completely disproportionate" Tony Blair refused to use the word "disproportionate". Jack Straw, the former Foreign Secretary, had openly broken ranks by using that word. Had he remained Foreign Secretary he might have been able to dampen down No. 10's enthusiasm for Israel's cruel bombardment.
To the horror of the Foreign Office, which had been increasingly critical in private of No. 10's thinking on the Middle East, Britain found itself in the same doghouse internationally as Israel and America. Historically that was a most unusual position for Britain to be in. It represented a huge diplomatic failure, and opened up divisions with Britain's European and Commonwealth partners. In domestic terms it helped radicalise young British Muslims with horrendous results.
On 26th July Sir Stephen Wall, who had been a much respected adviser to the Prime Minister on Europe, having previously been Britain's Ambassador to the European Union, decided to speak out as he believed Britain's moral authority was being destroyed by its too close relationship with America. He asked publicly:-
"Could the Prime Minister really not speak up for the simple proposition that the slaughter of innocent people in Lebanon, the destruction of their country and the ruin of half a million lives were wrong and should stop immediately."
I found many people agreed with him.
I suspect Sir Stephen believed like me that the United Kingdom should be looking to the European Union, rather than the United States, for advice on how to handle Israel. The United States is mainly concerned in the Middle East with the security of Israel and oil, while Europe has the Arab world as its neighbour and long and still important historic ties.
By chance the then new Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, had made his first official visit to the United Kingdom in June and had had talks with Tony Blair. In the weeks that followed, while correctly supporting Israel's right to defend itself against Hezbollah's numerous rocket attacks into Northern and Central Israel, Tony Blair came close to backing Israel right or wrong. The British Prime Minister insisted his country would continue selling arms to Israel - a big mistake.
Tony Blair temporarily forgot his considerable achievement in Northern Ireland in getting the IRA involved in the peace process. You cannot only deal with the moderate voices. In the Middle East he foolishly thought that Israel, given sufficient time, could pulverise Hezbollah. It could not. Israel's bombardment brought Hezbollah massive regional support. At the same time it weakened the elected Government of Lebanon which had grave consequences for the stability of Lebanon.
Of course, these reflections on Tony Blair's huge mistake of last summer, which further damaged his standing within the Labour Parliamentary Party, followed the publishing in Israel on 30th April of the first report of the Winograd Commission. I have seldom, if ever, read such a scathing criticism of a Prime Minister and his Government from an official Inquiry. Its report on the handling of the conflict with Hezbollah came after an investigation lasting six months. I am sure that in a few weeks Mr Olmert will join Mr Blair in the ranks of ex-Prime Ministers. Mr Olmert's reputation has been totally destroyed