November 26/07

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 23,35-43. The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God." Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself." Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews." Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us."The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Releases. Reports & Opinions
To General Aoun: You Have No Right! Ghassan Charbel. November 25/07
Stop gloating-Arab Times - Kuwait.By Ahmed Al Jarallah. November 25/07
Political Chaos in Lebanon-American Thinker. November 25/07
Back on the block-Ha'aretz By Aluf Benn. November 25/07
Multiculturalism Exposes the US to Terrorism. By Frank Salvato.Canada Free Press. November 25/07
Annapolis' House of Cards-By: Frank J. Gaffney Jr. FrontPage. November 25/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for November 25/07
Hizbullah blames US for blocking Lebanese election-Jerusalem Post
Hezbollah raises specter of long Lebanon power void-Reuters
Christians pray for
Dispelling Lebanon's stench of war-Sunday Herald
Syria wants Golan Heights on talks

World Powers Appeal for Calm to Avoid Unrest in Absence of President-Naharnet
There is no state of emergency ' Siniora tells Lebanon.Reuters, Ya Libnan
Lebanon PM: Cabinet priority - to elect new president.Al-Bawaba, Jordan
Hezbollah recruits thousands in Lebanon
Hamas, Hezbollah lambast Mideast peace conference-AFP
Syria welcome at peace talks: Olmert-Reuters
Syrian MP: Syria will 'almost certainly' attend Annapolis-Jerusalem Post
Syria Blocks
A history of turmoil-Globe and Mail
Lebanon will Attend Annapolis Peace Conference-Naharnet

World Powers Appeal for Calm to Avoid Unrest in Absence of President

The United States, the European Union and other countries appealed for calm and urged the feuding sides to quickly negotiate an end to the presidential crisis and spare the country further turmoil.
Washington offered its support to Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government and urged "all Lebanese political groups to do their part to maintain calm and promote security for Lebanon's citizens."
In Paris, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he was still optimistic a solution would be found next week.
Spain, in turn, urged the warring factions to continue exerting efforts to overcome differences.
"Madrid hopes that all the political leaders will work to preserve peace and stability in Lebanon and (urge them) against taking unilateral action that could further aggravate political differences," a statement from the Spanish foreign ministry said.
"I don't believe there will be serious tension," said Kouchner, who spent last week in Lebanon trying to mediate. "I know that any local conflict can degenerate into something extremely serious in Lebanon, but I am optimistic."
Russian foreign ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin, whose country maintains close relations with Syria, voiced "deep concern" over the situation after President Emile Lahoud resigned amid a raging dispute over who was in charge in the politically divided nation.
"The situation has been greeted in Moscow with regret and deep concern," foreign ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement.
"The priority remains the avoidance of open or even armed confrontation and to continue the search for the broadest possible consensus in Lebanon within the constitutional framework," Kamynin said. Lahoud, regarded as one of Lebanon's most controversial presidents, left office shortly before midnight Friday at the end of his term with no elected successor. He handed over responsibility for the country's security to the army. Egypt hailed Saniora, saying the prime minister "enjoys appropriate expertise and wisdom to run Lebanon through this critical stage and bring peace to the country.""Egypt looks forward to a Parliament session to elect a new president … on Nov. 30," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu al-Geith said. Beirut, 25 Nov 07, 10:29

Lebanon PM: Cabinet priority - to elect new president
Posted: 25-11-2007 , 09:08 GMT
Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora assured his people Saturday that the military was in control of the streets while lawmakers struggled to overcome a political crisis that has left the country without a president. The army made clear it will stay out of politics, the AP reported.
In his first remarks since President Emile Lahoud left office, Saniora defended his government, saying it will continue to function according to the constitution. In the absence of a president, Saniora's cabinet, which the opposition considers illegitimate, takes executive power under the constitution.
The president's authorities have been referred, in line with the constitution to a "collective government handling, and this is only an interim procedure pending the election of a new president," Saniora stressed. He also opposed any attempt to elect an interim president, stressing that the constitutional term of the head of state is six years.
"Our main goal in the coming stage, which we hope will not take longer than few days, will be to exert all possible efforts ... to end this situation as soon as possible," conveyed Saniora.
He dismissed a declaration by Lahoud, who before departing the presidential palace at midnight Friday said the country was in a "state of emergency" and he was handing over security powers to the army. "There is no state of emergency, and there is no need for that," Saniora said. "There is absolutely no need for any Lebanese to be concerned about the security situation. The army is doing its work and is in full control of the situation on the ground."
"We respect the army's performance and highly appreciate its mission," Saniora said. He called for re-activating the role of parliament, which he termed "the mother authority so that it can host true dialogue."In answering a question regarding a warning by Iran that Lebanon is heading towards civil war, Saniora said: "We've learned painful lessons from the past and the Lebanese do not want to resort to violence again.""The people's main interest is in the election of a new president," he added, according to Naharnet.

There is no state of emergency ' Siniora tells Lebanon
Sunday, 25 November, 2007
© 2007 Al Bawaba (
Beirut : Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora called for calm on Saturday as his cabinet assumed executive powers in the absence of a president, in accordance with the constitution
The presidential palace was left empty for the first time in nine years when outgoing head of state Emile Lahoud's mandate expired at midnight (2200 GMT) on Friday.
Parliament had failed to find a successor acceptable to the anti-Syrian ruling coalition and the opposition led by pro-Syrian Hezbollah.
"When the presidency is vacant, the powers of the presidency devolve to the cabinet ... which is the legitimate and constitutional cabinet," Siniora told a news conference after meeting the patriarch of the Maronite Christian church, Nasrallah Sfeir.
"There is nothing to worry about ... Our natural concern is to work on how to ... complete the presidential election. None of the Lebanese, with myself at the forefront, will accept that there not be a president for the Republic."
But the opposition, led by the Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah, backed by Syria and Iran, says the country no longer has any recognized executive.
Earlier, anti-Syrian Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh told Reuters: "We'll mainly act in order to obtain a very speedy president. We believe this should be a period of short transition." The political void had no immediate impact on the streets of Beirut, where shops and cafes opened as normal and traffic circulated freely. The army, which deployed in force for a session of parliament on Friday, relaxed its controls.
The United States, the United Nations, the European Union and conservative Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan are expected to recognize the cabinet's authority. Before relinquishing the presidency, Lahoud ordered the army to take charge of security, saying the country ran a risk of descending into a state of emergency. The cabinet dismissed his decree as meaningless. Interior Minister Hassan al-Sabaa was quoted as saying there was no reason for citizens to feel worried about the security situation and Siniora said there was "no state of emergency."
On Friday, parliament failed to elect a president before Lahoud's term ended, prompting speaker Nabih Berri, an opposition leader, to postpone the vote for the fifth time until November 30 for another attempt. The delay means the presidency, always held by a Maronite Christian under Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system, will be vacant for at least a week. Key members of the majority faction, including the son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, kept the political temperature down by saying they remained in favor of finding a consensus candidate for the presidency.
Anti-Syrian members have blamed Damascus for Hariri's and other political killings, a charge Syria denies.
Syria ended a 29-year military presence in Lebanon in 2005, but the ruling coalition accuses it of interfering in Lebanon's affairs through its Hezbollah ally. Lately it has toned down its anti-Syrian rhetoric. "I always suspect some forces whether Syria or Iran of wanting to destabilize Lebanon, but I think there has been Arab and international containment on that," Hamadeh told Reuters. "There's the Annapolis conference and the Syrians maybe want to show good conduct, but I don't know how long it will last," he said, referring to the November 27 U.S.-hosted Israeli-Palestinian peace talks which Syria has indicated it may attend.Sources: Reuters, Ya Libnan

Analysis: Political Chaos in Lebanon
Saturday, 24 November, 2007 @ 5:23 PM
By: Rick Moran
Beirut - At the stroke of midnight last night, pro-Syrian Lebanese President Emil Lahoud, his extended term finally at an end, walked out of the hilltop Baabda Republican Palace and waved goodbye to the assembled photographers and journalists. What he left behind was political chaos that threatens to engulf the country in civil war. That's because the majority government forces in parliament led by Said Hariri, son of the beloved ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri who was murdered in 2005 and the opposition led by the terrorist group Hezbollah have been unable to reach agreement on a consensus candidate to replace him:
Lebanon woke up Saturday a state without a president, a government termed "illegitimate" by the Hezbollah-led opposition and an army guarding social order with consent of the feuding parties.
Foreign powers called for calm and speed up of efforts to elect a new head of state, while Iran cautioned that Lebanon is "so close to civil war."
Former Syrian-backed President Emile Lahoud left the hilltop Baabda Republican Palace at midnight Friday, ending a controversial term of nine years in office after Parliament failed to elect a successor hurling the nation into power vacuum.
"Lahoud's term end to a republic without a president," the daily an-Nahar headlined its front page. "Political and security guarantees govern the transition era," it added in the eight-column double headline. "Lahoud walked out," shouted al-Moustaqbal daily, which is affiliated with MP Saad Hariri, leader of the largest parliamentary bloc that opposed Lahoud.
"A republic without head .. protected by organized vacuum," outlined as-Safir in its front-page banner.
That "organized vacuum" protecting the "republic without a head" is the Lebanese army. Just prior to his vacating office, President Lahoud transferred the responsibility for security to the army. And while Prime Minister Siniora has rejected this move as unconstitutional, both sides for the time being seem content with the idea that neither controls the troops in the streets:
An air of organized vacuum was evident in the streets of Beirut late Friday evening where partisans of Hariri's al-Moustaqbal Movement celebrated the end of Lahoud's term with fire crackers and chants of "Lahoud out, out" in Tarik Jedideh district while supporters of Hezbollah and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri's AMAL movement maintained calm in the adjacent district of Barbour.
An army captain in charge of checkpoints along the Kourniche Mazraa thoroughfare, which separates the two neighborhoods, told reporters:
"Things are under control. Both sides know that we are here and we will not tolerate disturbances."
Businesses and public institutions were open for normal services Saturday as calm prevailed over Lebanon, amidst calls by the United States, The European Union and the United Nations to maintain calm and speed up efforts to elect a new head of state.
The only difference observed, however, was that Lahoud's pictures have been removed from offices of some government institutions in areas traditionally hostile to the ex-president and the pro-Syrian opposition.
It is just one manifestation of a highly volatile and dangerous situation. Who controls the army?
At issue is the presidency who by law is elected by a 2/3 majority in parliament. Failing to achieve that super majority, parliament by law can then elect the president by simple majority. However, the March 14th forces who control parliament have been reluctant to take that latter step because the opposition has made it known that they would view any president elected by simple majority as illegitimate. Hence, the strenuous efforts to find a consensus candidate who would enjoy the support of both sides.
However, as the weeks and months dragged on, it became apparent that Hezbollah was not interested in consensus but rather chaos. They have rejected every plan, every formula, every candidate offered by the majority as well as those offered by respected, non partisans like the Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir. Hezbollah will have it all or nothing when it comes to the choice for president.
What next? More negotiations, more of the same. Eventually, most observers believe that the March 14th forces are simply going to have to bite the bullet and elect a president by simply majority. At that point, Hezbollah may very well name their own president who would, in turn, name a prime minister and cabinet.
Two governments backed by two factions - a recipe for civil war. The future is dark and unknowable in Lebanon at the moment. The people are on edge - hugely disappointed in their politicians who they blame for the impasse. But perhaps their anger should be directed toward Damascus where President Assad sits, spinning his webs of intriuge and confusion, all designed to maximize Syrian influence in that tiny, divided nation. Sources; American Thinker

Stop gloating
By Ahmed Al Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
It is clear that Hezbollah has not learnt any lessons from the destructive war against Israel, which rained doom on Lebanon, all because of a miscalculated adventure by Hezbollah, as admitted by its leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. This subject is being broached now because of a recent statement by a Hezbollah MP in Lebanon, Hussein Al Haj Hassan, who repeated a lie voiced by Hezbollah in his country’s Parliament Friday: that Hezbollah liberated Lebanon in 2000 and gained a victory against Israel in 2006. This has become Hezbollah’s leitmotif both inside and outside Lebanon, and they like to dub it the “Divine Victory.”
Hezbollah’s sheikh and his cohorts have forgotten that Israel withdrew from Lebanon on its own accord when it saw that there was no justification to prolong its stay there. Ehud Barrak announced the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon a year after he assumed power. That was how Lebanon got liberated, and Nasrallah and his followers should stop filling our heads with their stale slogans.
Regarding Hezbollah’s claim that it won the war against Israel last July, which was also admitted by Israel, it should be remembered that this so-called victory proved very costly to Lebanon both materially and in terms of human lives at a scale never seen before — not even during the 15-year civil war. The defeat from the point of view of Israel was not that they could not wreak havoc in Lebanon or remove Hezbollah from the south of the country, but their inability to kill Nasrallah himself. Israel could not find his hideout, and there were also indications that he had escaped to Iran during the war. Nasrallah is not very different from the Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein, who went into hiding for 8 months before he was caught like a rat from a spider hole. Neither is he different from Osama Bin Laden, who is still being pursued, or some Taleban leaders who are on the run, dodging the radars of the allies.
Even more surprising in the statement made by the Hezbollah MP was when he said that his group was protecting the Lebanese constitution. Which constitution does he or his ilk in Tehran and Damascus respect? Let’s not forget Hezbollah boycotted the presidential elections in Lebanon. Neutral observers of the situation in Lebanon would readily agree that Hezbollah together with Michael Oun and the so-called opposition, who are taking orders from the Syrian and Iranian regimes, are the main obstacles to the resolution of the internal problems in the country. This group’s game is up and their true aims and motives are exposed. Hezbollah is averse to parliamentary majorities, or cooperating with other Arab nations or France, the USA and the European Union.
However, Hezbollah does not see anything wrong in cooperating with Syria or Iran, even if it has only been detrimental to Lebanon. Yesterday the Lebanese parliamentarians showed much maturity and a keen sense of nationalistic spirit. Even though the parliament was capable of electing a president on its own, it welcomed international observers to deal a blow to any plans by opposition groups to sow discord in the nation. This is an era that saw the coming and going of Emile Lahoud, ending a Syrian chapter in Lebanon. In the near future, another door will be shut on Syria, to allow a new chapter in the history of Lebanon to begin with full of hope, stability and sovereignty.

Hezbollah recruits thousands in Lebanon crisis
By Hugh Macleod in Beirut
Last Updated: 1:48am GMT 25/11/2007
Hezbollah is exploiting the tense political deadlock in Beirut to recruit thousands of new fighters, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks to supporters during a Martyr's Day rally in Beirut
The Iranian-backed Shia militant group has begun drawing fighters from across the sectarian divide, including Sunnis, Christians and Druze, in an effort to create a united opposition to the government.
The group is taking advantage of the political vacuum that has endured for a year, as the Lebanese parliament no longer has enough MPs to function fully.
On Friday night, President Emile Lahoud's term of office formally ended and he declared a state of emergency before stepping down. With parliament unable to agree on a successor, Lebanese soldiers were patrolling the streets this weekend, amid fears that the crisis could erupt into widespread violence.
Hezbollah's MPs walked out of cabinet at the end of last year, and for many months there have not been sufficient MPs for most votes to be declared constitutionally valid.
An uneasy calm held over Beirut last night as troops were deployed across the capital to prevent armed conflict and the pro-Western prime minister, Fouad Siniora, pledged to operate under the constitution and work to install a compromise president as soon as possible.
"Our main goal in the coming stage, which we hope will not take longer than a few days, will be to exert all possible efforts . . . to end this situation," Mr Siniora said.
advertisementHe dismissed Mr Lahoud's declaration that the country was in a state of emergency and under the army's control, which was made shortly before he left the presidential palace at midnight on Friday.
"There is no state of emergency and no need for that. The army is doing its part in tandem with the other security forces," Mr Siniora said. "There is absolutely no need for any Lebanese to be concerned about the security situation, the army is doing its work and is in full control."
Last night, Lebanese Brigadier Gen Amin Hotait warned that Hezbollah had expanded its recruiting to bring Sunni, Christian and Druze fighters together under the banner of an opposition.
He said that the arming and recruiting campaign began after Hezbollah declared "divine victory" over Israel after the month-long war last year. It has been continued in defiance of calls by the United Nations Security Council and the Western-backed government in Beirut for Hezbollah to disarm.
Patrick Haenni, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group and author of a report on Hezbollah published last month, said the group was also courting Sunni sheikhs to shore up its military support. "Hezbollah is eager not to make the resistance against Israel a purely Shia cause," he said.
As Hezbollah has expanded, rival groups have also armed themselves. The gun dealer Abu Roub, from the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila, said weapons sales had tripled since former prime minister Rafik Hariri's assassination in 2005.
"Before Hariri's death, there was prosperity and I had no work," he said. "Now everyone is rushing to arm themselves. I expect the worst for Lebanon."
Most of his weapons, which range from rocket-propelled grenades to assault rifles, were sold to Sunnis, he said.
The country's 12 official Palestinian refugee camps are also awash with arms, creating a security tinderbox.
The immediate crisis has prompted fears that two rival governments could be formed, as was the case at the end of the 1975-90 civil war.
Lawmakers from the majority and the opposition had been scheduled to convene on Friday in a final attempt to elect Mr Lahoud's successor. But the session was postponed, for the fifth time in two months. A new vote has been scheduled in five days' time.
Last night, Washington offered its support to Mr Siniora's government and urged "all Lebanese political groups to do their part to maintain calm and promote security".
Mikhail Kamynin, the Russian foreign ministry spokesman, whose country has close relations with Syria, said: "The priority remains the avoidance of open or armed confrontation."The crisis is widely seen as an extension of the regional confrontation pitting the United States against Iran and fthe ormer powerbroker Syria. Some Lebanese officials believe the standoff over the presidency will be resolved only after Tuesday's US-hosted Middle East peace conference.

A history of turmoil

From Saturday's Globe and Mail
November 23, 2007
1920 The League of Nations grants the mandate for Lebanon and Syria to France.
1943 The French government in exile during the Second World War recognizes Lebanon's independence.1948 The creation of Israel and the resulting war drive Palestinian refugees into Lebanon.
1967 Lebanon plays no active role in the Arab-Israeli war but is to be affected by its aftermath when Palestinians use Lebanon as a base for activities against Israel.
1975 Falangist gunmen ambush a bus in Beirut, killing 27 of its mainly Palestinian passengers. The Falangists allege that guerrillas had previously attacked a church in the same district. These clashes are seen as the start of the civil war.
1978 Israel launches an invasion of Lebanon. The UN Security Council passes Resolution 425, calling on Israel to withdraw from all Lebanese territory and establishes the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
1983 Israel and Lebanon sign an agreement on Israeli withdrawal, establishing a security region in southern Lebanon.
1990 The Syrian air force attacks the presidential palace and General Michel Aoun takes refuge in the French embassy. The date, Oct. 13, is regarded as the end of the civil war.
1991 The National Assembly orders the dissolution of all militias, but Hezbollah is allowed to remain active and the South Lebanon Army refuses to disband.
1998 Émile Lahoud is appointed President by Syria, which maintains soldiers in Lebanon after the civil war ends.
2000 Israel withdraws from southern Lebanon, but retains the Shebaa Farms, a disputed area on the edge of the Golan Heights.
2004 Under pressure from Syria, parliament amends the constitution to allow Mr. Lahoud to spend an additional three years in office after his term is over.2005 The last Syrian soldiers leave Lebanon. Former prime minister Rafik Hariri is killed by a car bomb in Beirut. An anti-Syrian alliance led by Mr. Hariri's son, Saad Hariri, wins control of parliament, and chooses Hariri ally Fouad Siniora as Prime Minister. Four pro-Syrian generals are charged in connection with the assassination of Mr. Hariri.
2006 Israel launches attacks on targets in Lebanon after Hezbollah captures two Israeli soldiers. A truce between Israel and Hezbollah comes into effect after 34 days of fighting and the deaths of about 1,000 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 159 Israelis, mainly soldiers. Thousands of opposition demonstrators in Beirut demand the resignation of the government.
2007 The Hezbollah-led opposition steps up pressure on the government to resign by calling a general strike. The UN Security Council votes to set up a tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of Mr. Hariri. Parliament adjourns a session called to elect a new president, after the opposition pro-Syrian bloc stays away.
Source: BBC, Staff

Back on the block
By Aluf Benn
The main message of this week's summit at Annapolis will be that the United States is back as a leader in the Middle East. When President George W. Bush stands before an audience of representatives of Middle Eastern countries at a summit he is hosting to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace, the message will be that when the U.S. calls, the world sides with it. Only a year ago, a pessimistic theory of America's decline as a leading power in the Middle East dominated Washington. Richard Haass, president of the Council for Foreign Relations, published an article in Foreign Affairs declaring an end to American dominance in the Middle East, ushering in a new page in the modern history of the region.
The signs were everywhere: Iraq had become a bloody quagmire and turned into a civil war, Israel failed to defeat Hezbollah and sank into depression, Hamas won the elections in the Palestinian Authority and took over the Gaza Strip, the government of Lebanon appeared to be on the verge of collapse due to Syrian pressure, and Mubarak's regime in Egypt was showing signs of exhaustion. Iran and its allies seemed to be the rising power in the region, at the expense of America's friends there.
Now Bush is launching a counterstrike. Encouraged by the improved security situation in Baghdad and the drop in the number of casualties, and the successful Israeli strike against a Syrian nuclear installation, Bush is embarking on a diplomatic adventure in the Middle East. The photo-op at Annapolis will reflect the power of the "axis of moderates." The U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates will stand holding hands against the "axis of evil" who were not invited: Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.
Syria, the champion of sitting on the fence, was asked to choose between the two camps, and as it usually does, it will wait until the last minute to make up its mind. If it shows up, this will be a major victory for U.S. diplomacy, which will have restored Syria to legitimacy after several years of pressure and isolation.
From Israel's point of view, the impressive representation of the Arab states and international community at Annapolis is encouraging. Israel is supremely interested in America appearing as the strongest power in the region, not Iran. The American losses in the Middle East reflected badly on Israel, which suddenly appeared weak and exposed to Iranian threats. Now Israel is once more on the side of the powerful.


Terrorists are ready to strike back
Sunday November 25,2007
By Jason Groves Have your say(6)
TERRORIST group Hezbollah is poised to launch bloody reprisals in Britain for any Western attack on Iran, a former intelligence chief has warned.
Richard Kemp, who was senior adviser on terrorism to Tony Blair, said the Iranian-backed group had established sleeper cells in this country to carry out revenge attacks.He said: “Hezbollah cells are operating in this country, in London. The big question is how capable Hezbollah groups are in Europe.
“What I can say is that Hezbollah is probably the world’s most effective terrorist organisation, and that includes Al Qaeda.”
Hezbollah’s record of terrorism in the Middle East stretches back 25 years. Last year its rocket attacks on Israel sparked a full-scale war between Israel and Lebanon, where its political arm holds seats in government. But the organisation, which is thought to receive funding and weapons from Iran, has now established a network of terror around the world. Four years ago the CIA warned that Hezbollah had a dozen terrorist cells in the US.
The chances of a Western attack on Iran have increased sharply recently because of fears about Iran’s nuclear programme.
Mehrdad Konsari, a former Iranian diplomat now exiled in Britain, said the probability of a Western attack on Iran had increased to “more than 50 per cent” during the last year. Mr Kemp’s comments, at a security conference last week, are the first indication that British intelligence believes the group is operating in this country.
Mr Kemp, a former Army colonel who was commander of British forces in Afghanistan in 2003, is a respected figure in the intelligence field. He was a member of the Cabinet Office’s Joint Intelligence Committee which advises the Prime Minister on security matters.
Last night he warned that any Western attack on Iran could bring reprisals here, as well as against British interests in the Middle East.
He said bomb attacks were possible but extremists would struggle to get the radioactive material to build a “dirty bomb” capable of inflicting mass casualties.
Hezbollah was founded in 1982 during the Lebanese civil war. It carried out the 1983 suicide bombing of a US Marine barracks in Beirut which killed 241 servicemen.

Hamas, Hezbollah lambast Mideast peace conference
TEHRAN (AFP) — Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah on Saturday blasted a forthcoming US-hosted summit, which aims to revive long-stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations.
At a conference in Tehran, representatives of the two groups lashed out at the US move and predicted it would fail.
"This conference wants to destroy the Palestinian issue. This conference will fail," said Mussa Abu Marzuq, top aide to Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal.
"This conference is a fantasy and propaganda and it aims to attract the so-called moderate Arab nations to their side and part them from the Palestinian issue," he added.
The conference will be held on Tuesday in Annapolis, Maryland.
Hezbollah's foreign relations chief, Sheikh Ali Daghmush said: "Israel (in this conference) aims to normalise ties with the Arab nations, so prevention of this Zionist plot should be carried out." Hamas insists that Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has no mandate to negotiate on behalf of all the Palestinians.
Iran, which does not recognise Israel, is one of the most vocal backers of Hamas and Hezbollah, and pledged millions of dollars in 2006 to the then Hamas government crippled by a Western aid cut.
US officials have pointed a finger at Iran, which they say helped Hamas fighters to seize control of the Gaza Strip in June, and of sponsoring Hezbollah.
Tehran denies supplying arms to either group, saying its support is a "moral" one.
Hamas, which has slated a "counter-conference" in Gaza on Monday, said earlier in the day it will step up attacks against Israeli troops there and in the West Bank after the Annapolis meeting.
"The period that will follow the Annapolis conference will witness an increase of the resistance against the Zionist occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," Mussa Abu Marzuq, top aide to Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal, said on the group's website.
"The Annapolis conference has two objectives: to help shore up (Israeli Prime Minister) Ehud Olmert after his defeat in the south of Lebanon and secondly to cover up for American plans of a war against Iran," he said.
Israel was locked in a devastating war with Lebanon's pro-Syrian Shiite Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon last year.
Abu Marzuq, who is based in Syria along with Meshaal, urged Palestinians to voice their rejection of the conference by organising demonstrations.

Multiculturalism Exposes the US to Terrorism

Culture War Frank Salvato, Managing Editor
November 23, 2007
The people of the United States, for all practical purposes, like to believe we are fair-minded. We believe that everyone should get a fair shot. Most of us believe that if you work hard you should get ahead. Many of us have even embraced the ever advancing multiculturalism counter-culture, which is completely antithetical to the concept of E Pluribus Unum; “Out of many, one.” With regard to the latter, vindication has come to those of us who believe we are fair-minded while being opposed to the “Balkanization” the United States.
It would seem that in our nation’s quest to prove to the world that we are inclusive and tolerant we have, literally, allowed those who want to kill us into some of the most sensitive areas of our government, areas where they put our national security at risk.
In two recent and separate instances, individuals linked to terrorism organizations have been allowed to rise to important positions within the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition the Inspector General for the United States Agency for International Development has issued a report that states:
"...policies, procedures, and controls are not adequate to reasonably ensure against providing assistance to terrorists...[ USAID's] policies or procedures do not require the vetting of potential or current USAID partners."
The USAID internal audit came in the aftermath of a fierce gunbattle between Hamas and al Fatah terrorists at the Hamas administrated Islamic University in Gaza. After the battle, large caches of weapons and ammunition were displayed, recovered from inside the university. The Islamic University in Gaza received more than $140,000 in funding from USAID. Hamas is a State Department designated terrorist organization.
At the FBI, Nada Nadim Prouty, a 37-year old Lebanese national who entered into a sham marriage to gain citizenship, is suspected of being a double-agent for Hezbollah, the Shi’ite terrorist group created by the insurgents who toppled the legitimate Iranian government in 1979. Prouty transitioned from performing as an FBI agent tasked with probing crimes against Americans overseas to a clandestine CIA operative in the Middle East with access to sensitive data.
At the EPA, Waheeda Tehseen, a 49-year old Pakistani national, who falsified information on her government job application, attained a sensitive position as a toxicologist at the agency. She attained this position regardless of the fact that she was not a US citizen.
Tehseen occupied this position, one that afforded her access to classified information, even though her husband had deep ties to Pakistani intelligence (an organization with a history of tacit and sometimes material support for the Taliban and al Qaeda). She and her husband, while she was employed at the EPA, also ran an Islamic “charity” organization – Help Orphans and Widows – which functioned as a front for Osama bin Laden’s inner circle in Peshwar, Pakistan. HOW was found to have funneled money through the Missouri-based Islamic American Relief Agency to al Qaeda.
An FBI agent familiar with the case said, “She had big-time contacts with al-Qaeda, including with people just once removed from bin Laden himself.”
In each of these instances the faulty element that allowed the infiltration of sensitive positions in the US government and the aiding and abetting of avowed enemies of the United States was the vetting process. In the case of the two enemy operatives in the CIA and the FBI it was not looking thoroughly enough into their pasts, their affiliations and the facts about who they were. In the case of USAID it was simply a lack of vetting at all.
It is, of course, easy to understand how such a thing might happen, especially in the cases of Prouty and Tehseen. The unconstitutionally mandated shadow laws of political correctness, which function in parallel to our legitimate constitutionally sanctioned legal system, puts in place Gorelick-like barriers that make it impossible to employ common sense and logic when it comes to identifying potential enemy operatives.
People vetting potential candidates for sensitive positions cannot “dig deeper” into someone’s past because of their nationalities or their religious affiliations. To do so would be considered “profiling.” And while profiling has, time and again, been proven to be one of the most effective tools in law enforcement and maintaining national security, those who adhere to the destructive and one-dimensional tenets of political correctness and multiculturalism have made it socially unacceptable to employ the tool. Even more pathetic is that those in our government have acquiesced to the will of the American Fifth Column, placing our national security and the future of our country at risk in order to be seen as “tolerant” and “inclusive.”
Our country is facing what I consider to be the “perfect storm.”
We have a powerful foe in radical Islamofascists who want to destroy our country. They want to eliminate our constitutional Republic, replacing it with a government run under the totalitarian tenets of Sharia Law. And as they prey on the good will of the American people, extracting money under the guise of charity for the oppressed, they have mastered the American legal system and are effectively using it against us, even as they establish enclaves of radical ideology within the borders of the United States.
We have another foe in the American Fifth Column, a group of visionless lemmings adherent to the Marxist/Leninist dictums of Socialism, who promote political correctness and multiculturalism. This group champions a mythical one-world utopia over the principles of self-sufficiency, liberty and personal freedom. They promote a caretaker government that provides as many entitlements and services as can be established through the extraction of private income while empowering that same government as the arbiter of all societal parameters regardless of the liberties granted to us under the United States Constitution.
Lastly, we have an American citizenry, who, because institutionalized education has moved away from instilling critical thinking skills in deference to special interest indoctrination, doesn’t understand the ideology behind the principles that founded our nation. Couple this with the fact that our society has grown to be incredibly narcissistic, and you achieve a populace so apathetic and unaware of the critical events taking place directly in front of their faces – in real time – that their freedoms will have already been abolished before they are motivated to defend them.
In order to quell this perfect storm, in order to survive as the constitutional Republic, the democratic Republic that we are, we must understand the threats we face. We must discard the ideological shackles of the American Fifth Column and we must defend our freedoms, our liberties, and demand that our government live up to their constitutional obligation of guaranteeing the security of the inalienable rights set out in The Charters of Freedom.
This time, the enemies who slipped past the gate were caught. We were lucky. The next time we may not be. Who knows, maybe the operative who will cause the most damage is already in place. I guess we’ll know when the time comes. Then it will be too late.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for Basics Project a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, Basics Project, partnered in producing the first ever national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel and is the host of the NMJ Radio show broadcast global on NetTalkWorld global talk radio and broadcast live on BlogTalk Radio. He is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, syndicated on over 25 stations nationally and on The Captain's America Radio Show catering to the US Armed Forces around the world, as well as an occasional guests on radio programs across the country. His opinion-editorials are syndicated nationally and he is occasionally quoted in The Federalist.

Annapolis' House of Cards

By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
The Washington Times | Friday, November 23, 2007
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice behaves like a zealot. In her ever-rasher pursuit of a Palestinian state, she exhibits the syndrome defined by the philosopher George Santana as one who redoubles her efforts upon losing sight of the objective.
Let's recall: The objective laid out by President Bush, when he decided in June 2002 to support the creation of a homeland for the Palestinian people, was to provide a stable, secure neighbor for Israel, committed to leaving peaceably with the Jewish State.
Mr. Bush explicitly preconditioned such support on: an end to Palestinian terror; a Palestinian leadership untainted by ties to terrorism; and eliminating the infrastructure in Palestinian areas that enables such behavior. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, the United States was in the business of eliminating terrorist-sponsoring regimes, not creating them.
Now, however, it is crystal-clear that the only outcome from Condi Rice's idee fixe — namely that she will convene a Middle East peace conference at the U.S. Naval Academy for the purpose of extracting from Israel the territorial concessions needed rapidly to establish a Palestinian state — has nothing to do with the original Bush vision. Under present and foreseeable circumstances, the best that can be hoped from such a meeting for is failure. For success will result in a new safe haven for terror that is a mortal threat not only for Israel, but for the United States, as well.
Unfortunately, even the failure of Condi's Folly at Annapolis is likely to be a very bad outcome. To the extent her actions are raising unwarranted expectations on the part of Palestinians and their Arab friends, past practice suggests it will translate into a pretext for new violence against Israel.
That will be especially true if, as is also predictable, the Israelis are blamed for the outcome for not being willing enough — in the face of Palestinian intractability — to make what are euphemistically called "painful" moves for peace. Another way to describe such moves are as reckless concessions certain to jeopardize Israel's security, and quite possibly ours.
After all, it is only reasonable to expect the West Bank to follow the trajectory of the Gaza Strip and, before it, southern Lebanon — both of which Israel abandoned to her foes, only to have those territories become staging grounds for attacks on Israel and secure incubators for terror against us. Among those operating from such areas are Islamofascist terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the newest addition to the State Department's list of such entities.
Condi Rice nonetheless demands that Israel now relinquish the West Bank and East Jerusalem to yet another terrorist organization: Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah. To be sure, the secretary of state would have us believe Fatah is no such thing. In fact, the entire Annapolis house of cards is built on the fraudulent foundation that the Palestinian faction established by Mr. Abbas' mentor, Yasser Arafat, is a reliable partner for peace and effective counterweight to Hamas, which now controls the Gaza Strip.
Only a zealot who has altogether lost any sense of reality could make such an assertion. Treating Fatah as the cornerstone of American diplomacy and demands on Israel is nothing less than perilous and irresponsible. Consider the following sampler of recent counter-indicators:
-- Last August, five Fatah operatives assigned to Mr. Abbas' security detail conspired to assassinate Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during a visit by the latter to meet the Palestinian "president" in the West Bank city of Jericho. After their arrest on information from Israel's internal intelligence agency, Shin Bet, several of these individuals were released by the Palestinian Authority.
-- This is in keeping with past practice. By some estimates, Fatah and its Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade have claimed responsibility for murdering roughly as many Israelis as has Hamas. In those rare cases when the perpetrators are actually arrested by Palestinian police, they are generally set free in short order. How could Israel possibly entrust physical control of the West Bank — from which virtually the entire Jewish State's population can be subjected to rocket or even mortar fire — to people with such a record?
-- Speaking of the Jewish State, in the run-up to the Annapolis meeting, Mr. Abbas and his subordinates have lately become quite brazen in denouncing Israel's right to exist as such. Their statements not only speak volumes about the degree to which Condi Rice's desperate bid for a "legacy" is now being clearly read as bullies always do: as evidence of contemptible and exploitable weakness. They also make a mockery of the premise that Abbas and Company are preferable to Hamas because, unlike the latter, they are truly willing to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors.
-- In fact, only the most willfully blind could maintain such a pretense in light of the incessant propagandizing and indoctrination about killing Jews and destroying Israel that passes for official or at least officially sanctioned broadcasts, sermons and speeches emanating from Mr. Abbas' rump Palestinian Authority.
The only Palestinian state that can possibly come from Condoleezza Rice's zealotry will be a dagger pointed at the heart of Israel and a new safe-haven for terror aimed at the United States and other Western nations. Even if a corrupt and politically unrepresentative Olmert government in Israel is prepared to play along, Americans who understand the stakes for the Jewish State as well as our own, must reject her desperate and unacceptable bid to launch a Palestinian one at Annapolis.
**Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of The Center for Security Policy. During the Reagan administration, Gaffney was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, and a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Washington Times, Jewish World Review, and and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.

You Have No Right!

Ghassan Charbel
Al-Hayat - 24/11/07//
The presidential laundry is all over the lines of cable TV. Viewers realized yesterday the pleasure of not being Lebanese. Maybe they felt some compassion. No nation has ever been subjected to such humiliation as the islands that are literally known as the Lebanese people. To be Lebanese means to swim in the blood of the constitution, in oceans of humiliation, in the dark swamps of the Lebanese miracle, and sometimes, in the blood of your neighbors and children. It is the pleasure of not being.
All we can do is to congratulate Mr. Void for being elected as president of the republic. Who knows? He could turn out to be a successful president. Constitutionally and legally…clean hands; soft-spoken; considerate of the constitution; caring for public funds; loves national unity; hates the Zionist enemy; receives the American ambassador. And he might be loved by citizens; he may not lecture them daily on coexistence; he may not care for hunting down the corrupt in the alleys of the Republic; he may spare them the presidential oath speech and the expenses of his travels to explain the Lebanese cause, which by the way, demands no explanation.
The charms of the Republic are exposed all over cable TV stations. General Michel Aoun's initiative deepened my preference for Mr. Void. I was expecting the presidency to fall like a ripened fruit into his hands. The general returned from his exile. Voters intended to forget the circumstances of his passage through the place after the first void. They granted him their confidence. He deserved it; his pure patriotism; his integrity unquestioned. They granted him a respectable parliamentary delegation, positioning him as the most representative leader within his confession. They erased the page of injustice that was once inflicted upon him. And they selectively chose to forget some of the injustice that he may have inflicted upon the Republic with his deafening statements and guns.
When he concluded his famous agreement with Hezbollah, I saw in it a bold step upon which more could be built. When he called to an end to hostile attitudes toward Syria upon the withdrawal of its forces, I expected things to get better. I expected him to continue launching his dialogue-based assault at the Future Movement, the Socialist Party, and the Lebanese Forces. I also expected him to finally say his key golden phrase, namely that he wanted to save the republic but not the presidency. If he had done so, the presidency would have landed right into his hands. But what he could not say back in 1988, he could not say it this year either. He chose just the opposite; fiery statements, opening wounds and books and graveyards. He lost his opportunity and the republic lost a man who could have been its chance.
He could have been the savior of the republic; the godfather of its safety; and maybe its President; and I was expecting him to be so. Who will desire the presidency and the palace in their current state? It is permissible for one who has been summoned by his nation to be its savior to desire the presidency? Let us leave the 1980s aside. It is still the right of General Aoun to run as a presidential candidate; to try to convince the others to support him; I personally wished if deputy Saad Hariri informed him of such support in their last meeting, but that never happened.
General Aoun is entitled to be a candidate. But it is his duty to show commitment to democratic values and considerations. As a matter of fact, his initiative anguished quite a few of his admirers. A queer and eccentric initiative; what makes it even more disturbing is the fact that it is coming from a man who accuses the others of violating the constitution and the concept of the state and institutions. By what right does General Michel Aoun call deputy Hariri to select the Prime Minister? Who said that the Lebanese would accept that? Who gave him the right to make a proposal of that kind? And by what right does he usurp the right to choose the President of the Republic? If he has been criticizing the majority because of what he considers to be its lack of delegation, where did he himself get the delegation to allocate posts, programs, and deadlines? Where is the delegation General? Where is the Constitution? Where is the Taef Accord?
I do not wish to believe that you would have accepted such an initiative if it had been launched by someone else other than yourself. I do not wish to believe that you washing your hands off the upcoming painful events under the guise that your initiative has been rejected. A leader of your caliber has no right to do that; that is not your right, especially that you have received the sword and taken the oath. Go today General, all the way toward Mukhtara, Qoraitem, and Me'rab. You have no right to resign from your role as savior. History will never spare you if you did.
And if you insist on holding to your rescue initiative, I suggest adding a new item to it: the President to be selected by General Aoun and the Prime Minister to be selected by Saad Hariri will vow to wide open the gates for the Lebanese to leave their country, and to invest any aid from Paris III in relocating them in Canada and Australia. And who knows? Maybe all the Lebanese will choose to leave and the palace will be left empty. Go General! One like you should save the Republic, not trade in its blood