November 9/07

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 15,1-10. The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." So to them he addressed this parable. What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.' In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Releases. Reports & Opinions
Will the anticipated Lebanese president make a difference? By: Ghassan Michele Rubei. November 8/07

The Arab American Institute's Hezbollah Shish Kebabs.FrontPage November 8/07
Hijabs, Veils, Burkas, Masks, Balaclavas, Hoodies Kirpans, Turbans, and Quebec’s Ethnic Cleansing. By: Dick Field  Tuesday, November 8, 2007
The Islamic world shares Pakistan's perils - and its possibilities.By The Daily Star. November 8/07
Syria and Lebanon at the Mount Vernon Summit. By: Randa Takieddine. November 8/07
Resisting The Adaptation To Lebanon's Reality. By:Elias Harfoush. November 8/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for November 8/07
Bush, Sarkozy for President Who Enjoys Support from Majority of People-Naharnet

U.S. Asks Athens To Freeze Bank That Finances Hizbullah-Naharnet
Qassem: Opposition will Take 'Appropriate Measures' in Time-Naharnet
Interpol Puts Iranians On Wanted List.Guardian Unlimited
Interpol Won't Drop Argentina Bomb Warrants Against Iranians, Lebanese-Naharnet

UN chief concerned at political crisis in Lebanon.Xinhua - China
Bush 'comfortable' with French outreach to Syria.Africasia
US asks Greece to take measures against Iranian bank.AFP
Lebanon Cleric: US Encourages Terrorism.The Associated Press
AP interview: Top Lebanese Shiite cleric warns attack against Iran ...International Herald Tribune

A Look at 6 Put on Interpol Wanted List.The Associated Press
Watchdog Pleads for Syrian Jailed for Phoning Lebanese Politician-Naharnet

Geagea For meeting Aoun and Electing President.Naharnet
France for President By Simple Majority as of Next Tuesday.Naharnet
Maronite Christians Thrive in Lebanon.NPR
Forest fires rage in Lebanon
.The Times
Small bomb explodes in Fatah chief's car in Lebanon.Times of India
Presidency crisis threatens Lebanon.France24
Syria: Leftist Leader Faces Life in Prison for Phone Call.Human Rights Watch (press release) - USA

Cyprus Foreign Minister to visit Lebanon.Financial Mirror
Maronite Bishops slam rival camps, demand consensus-Daily Star
Lebanon's political crisis to rank high on agenda between Bush, Sarkozy-Daily Star
Wahhab pledges funds frozen by US to mend Rice's looks, Bush's mental health-Daily Star
Lebanese Option Group slams Hizbullah maneuvers-Daily Star
Civil society group urges politicians to find consensus-Daily Star
Nassib Lahoud to initiate legal action against Al-Akhbar-Daily Star
Despite maneuvers, analysts rule out imminent war between Hizbullah, Israel-Daily Star
Civil Defense, army finally put out second wave of forest fires-Daily Star
UNICEF donates 13 vans to Lebanese Red Cross-Daily Star
With wages unchanged, rising prices deal heavy blow to Lebanese consumers-Daily Star
AUB students stage sit-in to protest increase in tuition-Daily Star
Tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees face prospect of arrest and deportation.By IRIN

Interpol Puts Iranians on Wanted List
Wednesday November 7, 2007
Associated Press Writer
MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) - Interpol put five Iranians and a Lebanese man on its most-wanted list Wednesday in connection with a 1994 bombing that killed 85 people at a Jewish community center in Argentina. Iranian delegates said the annual Interpol general assembly in Morocco voted 78-14, with 26 abstentions, to issue wanted notices for the six suspects. ``We have achieved something that we have been hoping for for a long time,'' said Alberto Nisman, the chief Argentine prosecutor in the case. Argentine prosecutors alleged that Iranian officials orchestrated the bombing in Buenos Aires - Argentina's worst terror attack - and entrusted the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah with carrying it out. No one has been convicted in Argentina in connection with the blast, in which a van stuffed with explosives leveled the seven-story Jewish center and shook Argentina's 200,000-strong Jewish community.
The Interpol vote became embroiled in Iran's broader tensions with the West, which stem in part from suspicions that Tehran is seeking to build nuclear weapons.
Iranian envoys had strongly objected to the wanted notices, accusing Israel and the United States of turning the international police agency into a political tool.
The six wanted notices are for former Iranian intelligence chief Ali Fallahian; Mohsen Rabbani, former cultural attache at the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires; former diplomat Ahmad Reza Asghari; Mohsen Rezaei, former leader of the elite Revolutionary Guards; Ahmad Vahidi, a general in the Revolutionary Guards; and Hezbollah militant Imad Moughnieh, one of the world's most sought-after terror suspects.
Moughnieh, whose whereabouts are unknown, is wanted for his alleged role in the kidnapping of Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s, and suicide attacks on the U.S. Embassy and a Marine base in Lebanon that killed more than 260 Americans. The Interpol decision would not force countries to arrest or extradite the suspects.
Nisman said the wanted notices would be put in place immediately. He rejected Iranian claims that the vote was political, saying: ``this is a police matter.''
``We don't have anything against the government of Iran or the people of Iran,'' he said. In March, Interpol's executive committee backed Argentina's request to put out red notices for the six. Iran objected, which sent the issue to a general assembly vote. In Marrakech, Iranian delegates lobbied counterparts, mainly from African and Asian countries, by handing out dossiers written in several languages and explaining their case.
Among their arguments: Argentina's investigation was flawed, if not corrupt; some witnesses cited in that investigation were themselves wanted by Interpol; Iran quickly condemned the bombings; a bilateral resolution would be better. Mohammad Ali Pakshir, a legal adviser in Iran's delegation, claimed that the United States and Israel ``want Interpol to issue the red notices to be able to tell the world 'Look, they are terrorists.'''
Delegates from the United States, Argentina and Israel declined comment before the vote, with some saying they did not want to be drawn into Iran's accusations about politicizing the issue.

Bush, Sarkozy for President Who Enjoys Support from Majority of People
U.S. President George Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said they are for a President who enjoys support from the majority of the Lebanese people and pledged to work together to see that a new head of state is elected before Nov. 24. Bush said he was "comfortable" with French outreach to Syria over the political crisis in Lebanon but insisted Lebanon must control its own destiny. "I have a partner in peace," Bush said of visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a joint press conference in Washington. Sarkozy is "somebody who has clear vision, basic values, who is willing to take tough positions to achieve peace. So you ask am I comfortable with the Sarkozy government sending messages? You bet I am comfortable," said Bush. Presidential elections in Lebanon have been twice deferred due to a lack of consensus over who should replace the pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, whose term runs out on November 24.
"Our common objective here is for the Lebanese democracy to survive, thrive, and serve as an example for others. We will work with France and with others to see that this process be completed by November 24," Bush said. French President Nicholas Sarkozy pledged the help pf the Lebanese people to retain their sovereignty and independence and elect a president who represents them according to the constitution and within the scheduled limit.
"France stands engaged alongside all the Lebanese. It will not accept attempts to subjugate the Lebanese people." Sarkozy vowed in a historical speech he delivered before the U.S congress. Sarkozy stressed that "what Lebanon needs today is a broad-based president elected according to the established schedule and in strict respect of the constitution."
"Together we must help the Lebanese people affirm their independence, their sovereignty, their freedom, their democracy," he said. The French president hailed the friendship between France and the United States and paid tribute to U.S. sacrifices in World War II as he drew a veil on years of tense ties.
"Since the United States first appeared on the world scene, our two peoples, the French and the American people, have always been friends," Sarkozy told the U.S. Congress in a rare address by a foreign dignitary. As he arrived for a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives, U.S. lawmakers gave the French leader a three-minute standing ovation and his address was met bursts of warm applause.
"We may have differences, we may disagree on things, we may even have arguments, as in many families," he said, "but in times of difficulty, in times of hardship, one stands true to one's friends, one stands shoulder to shoulder with them, one supports them, and one helps them."
Sarkozy held out an extended olive branch to Washington and President George Bush, backing the tough U.S. line on Iran's nuclear program. But he also urged the Americans to do more to shore up the dollar and called upon them to take the lead in the fight against global warming.
He pledged before U.S. lawmakers that France would stay the course in Afghanistan. "Let me tell you solemnly today, France will remain engaged in Afghanistan for as long as it takes, because what is at stake in that country is the very future of our values, and that of the Atlantic alliance."
Sarkozy also urged the Palestinians and Israelis to reach a long-awaited peace agreement. He said "Together we must help the people of the Middle East find the path of peace and security. To the Israeli and Palestinian leaders I say this: Don't hesitate! Risk peace! And do it now!"
"The status quo hides even greater dangers: that of delivering Palestinian society as a whole to the extremists that contest Israel's existence; that of playing into the hands of radical regimes that are exploiting the deadlock in the conflict to destabilize the region", Sarkozy added. "France wants security for Israel and a State for the Palestinians," he reiterated. Sarkozy was speaking on the second day of his first official visit to Washington since his election in May.
French-U.S. ties soured under Sarkozy's predecessor Jacques Chirac who firmly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. After his speech on Wednesday Sarkozy was to join Bush for talks at Mount Vernon, George Washington's historic residence located just outside the U.S. capital. The French leader reiterated on Wednesday his strong support of the U.S. drive to deprive Iran of atomic weapons, saying to applause that "the prospect of a nuclear-armed is unacceptable to France." "The Iranian people are a great people," he said. "They deserve better than the sanctions and growing isolation their leaders are condemning them to."
"Iran must be persuaded to choose the option of cooperation, dialogue and openness ... we will be firm and we will keep up the dialogue," he said.
Sarkozy also renewed French concerns over currency imbalances, bemoaning the weakness of the U.S. dollar and the undervaluation of the Chinese yuan, saying the currency "disarray" could lead to "economic war."(Naharnet-AFP) Beirut, 08 Nov 07, 08:28

U.S. Asks Athens To Freeze Bank That Finances Hizbullah

The United States has asked Greece to take measures against the local subsidiary of Iran's Bank Saderat which it suspects of allegedly funding Hizbullah and Hamas, the American embassy in Athens said Wednesday. U.S. embassy spokesperson Carol Kalin said Greek authorities were asked to "investigate" the bank as U.S. allies have been urged to take "similar or comparable measures" to those adopted by Washington. The U.S. last month blacklisted Bank Melli and Bank Mellat, accused of providing banking services for Iran's nuclear agencies, and Bank Saderat, which allegedly funnels funds to Islamist organizations such as Hizbullah and Hamas. "As we announced on October 25, we had a new round of U.S. sanctions on certain Iranian entities, including Bank Saderat. This is part of our effort to advance diplomacy on Iran," Kalin told Agence France Presse. "We have asked our allies to take similar or comparable measures to those we've taken," Kalin said. "We have a good working relationship with Greece on these matters, and we follow up regularly." "The instructions to U.S. diplomatic missions around the world were to take this up at a high level," she said. Greek daily To Vima reported that U.S. officials raised the issue with the head of the independent Greek authority on money laundering.
Kalin declined to go into further details about talks on the issue. The U.S. State Department maintains that Bank Saderat and its around 3,200 branches have been used by the Iranian government to channel funds to militants including Hizbullah, Hamas, PFLP-GC, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The bank from 2001 to 2006 transferred 50 million dollars from the Central Bank of Iran to its branch in Beirut via London for the benefit of Hizbollah fronts in Lebanon, and has also transferred several million dollars to Hamas, the State Department says.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 07 Nov 07, 18:19

Qassem: Opposition will Take 'Appropriate Measures' in Time

Hizbullah Deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem warned that the opposition will take the "appropriate measures" in time if the ruling March 14 alliance resorted to electing a President by a simple majority. Qassem, who described the current situation as very delicate and unclear, said he feared that the period from now until the end of President Emile Lahoud's term "will not be enough to change March 14's anti-consensus stance." In an interview with the daily An Nahar published on Thursday, Qassem said that in the event that March 14 violated the constitution and Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's "illegitimate" government remained in power, Hizbullah and the opposition will "take the appropriate measures in time." Asked about the possibility of holding talks between Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri, Qassem said Hizbullah hails bilateral meetings. Qassem, however, indicated that "circumstances" do not allow such a meeting to take place. He cited Lebanon's interest as the reason why Hizbullah did not "officially" name Free Patriotic Movement leader as the opposition's presidential candidate. Beirut, 08 Nov 07, 08:55

Watchdog Pleads for Syrian Jailed for Phoning Lebanese Politician
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called for the immediate release of Syrian dissident Faeq al-Mir who was arrested last year after he telephoned Lebanese leftist Elias Atallah to express his condolences over the murder of fellow anti-Syrian Lebanese politician Pierre Gemayel. The plea came as a Damascus court prepared to deliver its verdict in a case that could see him jailed for life. The New York-based human rights watchdog appealed to the court to dismiss what it called "politically motivated charges" against Miir for contacting a Lebanese politician who is part of the country's anti-Syrian governing coalition. "Syria's arrest and prosecution of Faeq al-Mir reveals the government's intolerance for even the slightest hint of opposition," said the watchdog's Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson. "Mir faces the possibility of life in prison or even execution for phoning a Lebanese opponent of Syria's policies there." Mir, who is a leader of the leftist People's Democratic Party, was arrested in his hometown of Latakia in December last year after he telephoned Atallah to express his condolences over the assassination of Gemayel.
He is charged with "undertaking acts that weaken national sentiment" and "communicating with a foreign country to incite it to initiate aggression against Syria or to provide it with the means to do so." The latter charge carries a potential life sentence. In recent years, the Syrian government, which has imposed a state of emergency ever since it first came to poser in 1963, has taken a tough line with dissidents who question its policy towards Lebanon.
In May 2006, the authorities detained 10 dissidents who had signed a petition calling for radical reform in Damascus's relations with its smaller neighbour. Several have since been sentenced to lengthy jail terms.
Mir was one of six Syrian dissidents in jail or custody who were signatory to a letter published in the Beirut daily An-Nahar on May 1 in which they complained of the "repressive climate" in their country. "Our situation as prisoners of conscience is part ... of the crisis of public freedoms and human rights in Syria, which started with the state of emergency imposed 44 years ago," they said in the joint letter smuggled out of Adra prison near Damascus.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 07 Nov 07, 21:59

Interpol Won't Drop Argentina Bomb Warrants Against Iranians, Lebanese

Interpol rejected Wednesday a request by Iran to drop arrest warrants against five leading Iranians who allegedly masterminded a bombing in Buenos Aires and entrusted Lebanese group Hizbullah to execute it. The five Iranians are wanted by Argentina for their alleged role in a 1994 bombing that killed 85 people, in addition to the Lebanese Imad Mughnieh who is one of the most sought-after terrorist suspects in the world. Delegates at the world police body's annual general assembly in Marrakech voted by a two-thirds majority to uphold a unanimous decision taken in March by Interpol's executive committee to issue the warrants.
"The procedure was very clear and the outcome was that a large majority confirmed the decision of the executive committee," the chairman of Interpol's commission for the control of files, Peter Hustinx, told reporters. "It is a wise decision after a longtime," he added.
Of the 146 member states attending the gathering, 78 voted to uphold Interpol's earlier decision, 14 voted against and 26 formally abstained.
Among those subject to an arrest warrant is Iran's former intelligence chief Ali Fallahian and the former head of the country's Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezaei.
The July 1994 bombing leveled the seven-floor Argentine Israeli Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires, a symbol of Argentina's Jewish community which is the largest in Latin America. Argentinean prosecutors allege Iran masterminded the bombing in Buenos Aires and entrusted Hizbullah to execute it.
In November 2006 they issued arrest warrants against eight Iranians, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati. But in March Interpol's executive committee withdrew its warrants against three of them, including Rafsanjani and Velayati, but kept them in place for five others.(AFP-AP) Beirut, 07 Nov 07, 19:13

Geagea For meeting Aoun and Electing President
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said Wednesday efforts are underway to arrange a meeting with Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, stressing that he will do "my best to reach an understanding with him" on the forthcoming presidential elections. Geagea, in an interview with the Central News Agency, stressed that any understanding with Aoun would be "within the framework of our principles."He also stressed that the Lebanese Forces would not go for a constitutional amendment to allow the election of a public sector employee for president. Syria, Geagea said, "would proceed with its attempts to block the election of a new president to the last minute.""But, for the first time in 15 years we will have a Lebanese (made) president," Geagea stressed. He recalled that Syria "challenged the world to maintain its grip on the Lebanese presidency by extending President Emile Lahoud's term. It will be very difficult for Syria to lose this post."He was referring to the constitutional amendment by the Syrian-controlled parliament that extended Lahoud's term by three years in Defiance of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559. Geagea stressed that irrespective of whether consensus was achieved "we will elect a president". He said Speaker Nabih Berri has not issued a "serious invitation to parliament" to convene and elect a president. Beirut, 07 Nov 07, 17:18

Russia for Presidential Elections Without Foreign "Meddling"

Russia called for political accord ahead of the "fateful" presidential poll in Lebanon due this month and warned against any "foreign meddling."
"Based on our firm support for Lebanon's sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity, we call on all of the country's political leaders to realize the historic responsibility that lies upon them and do all they can to reach an accord," foreign ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said.
"This is a fateful moment for Lebanon, without exaggeration. The most important thing is that the presidential elections be in full accord with Lebanon's law without any foreign meddling from whatever side," he added. Lebanese lawmakers have failed to agree on a consensus presidential candidate to replace Emile Lahoud, the pro-Syrian incumbent head of state whose term expires on November 24. Last month, Lebanon's parliament speaker again postponed until November 12 a special session to elect a president, to give the divided country's feuding political factions time to agree on a consensus candidate.
There are mounting fears that the row could lead to two rival governments and a return to the final years of the 1975-1990 civil war when two competing administrations battled for control.(AFP-Naharnet)

Maronite Bishops slam rival camps, demand consensus
By Mira Borji and Maroun Khoury
Daily Star staff
Thursday, November 08, 2007
BKIRKI: Following its monthly meeting in Bkirki, the Maronite Bishops' Council reiterated "with insistence," on Wednesday its call for government officials to find a consensus president "on time and in line with the Constitution." Chaired by Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, the Bishops' Council said: "The insistence of both the opposition and the ruling majority on their positions puts the whole country in a critical situation and total paralysis."
"This [situation] will not only paralyze the democratic regime which characterizes Lebanon but also will split the country in an unprecedented way," it added.
The council placed blame on both the March 14 majority and the March 8 opposition. "The party that will conduct the electoral process and the one that will boycott it assume the responsibility of such a split. Moreover the biggest responsibility falls upon Parliament ... a historical responsibility before God, conscience and the country."
The bishops' comments come as time winds down for Lebanon to elect a successor to President Emile Lahoud, who must step down on November 24. Lahoud served one six-year term as stipulated by the Constitution, but his term was extended three years by mandate under Syrian pressure in late 2004.
The Bishops' Council was also concerned with the security measures parliamentarians have been forced to take during the present political crisis.
"The prison where some MPs have been forced to stay, even if it is the five-star Phoenicia InterContinental Hotel, and the residence of other legislators outside the country, show the extent of political deterioration in the country," the council said.
More than 40 lawmakers from the ruling majority have taken refuge in the Phoenicia InterContinental Hotel for security reasons.
"We need to get out of this deteriorating situation as soon as possible if we want to maintain our country and recover its prosperous past," the council added.
Tackling the living conditions of the Lebanese people, the bishops said the Lebanese "are fed up with politicians."
"All they care about is their daily bread and their children's tuition fees within a country suffering from high cost of living, absence of job opportunities and economic paralysis," the council said. According to the bishops, the atmosphere of concern predominating the country has forced many Lebanese, particularly the youth, to leave their country for the Gulf states, Europe, and many other places, including the United States, Canada and Australia. "This situation will cause the country to lose its citizens year after year," the council warned.

Will the anticipated Lebanese president make a difference?
By: Ghassan Michele Rubeiz
November 7, 2007
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Today the Christian community of Lebanon retains a political privilege from the past; privilege that comes at a heavy cost. Lebanon is on the verge of collapse if a strong and respected presidential leader does not emerge by November 24. Elections are scheduled for November 12, but they may be postponed again, this time only for a few days.
The debate about the next president is more about attitudes than about character. The burning issue
is whether the new president will allow Hezbollah- the strongest political party- to maintain its paramilitary force outside the framework of the national army.
The deadlock over the presidential election is linked to a series of state-threatening events that started sixteen months ago. Hezbollah’s paramilitary force provoked a war in the summer of 2006; as a condition of ending this war Hezbollah was to disarm and Israel was to withdraw from Lebanese land and air space. Both parties have been violating the international agreement.
Let us go back to the series of events that led to the election deadlock. Israel in this short war tried hard, but failed, to wipe out Lebanon’s “resistance movement”, Hezbollah. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 authorized ending this summer war by deploying an international peacekeeping force (UNIFIL) and banning all militia formations.
The disregard of Resolution 1701 reflects a characteristic lack of appreciation in the region for international agreements of social justice. Today, the firmness on UN Resolution 1701 that is expressed in the West on Hezbollah contrasts with the looseness of Resolution 242 on Israeli occupation of Arab territories, which has been shelved since 1967.
Israel views the results of the summer 2006 as a humiliation, and it believes that Hezbollah’s military structure must be demolished. While Israel was bombarding the nation, the Lebanese united against this external threat. But at the end of the war when the extended devastation was assessed, the fervor of nationalism subsided. Most Lebanese wish that Hezbollah would sooner than later find a way to comply with Resolution 1701.
In the immediate aftermath of the summer war, Hezbollah kept a low profile by vacating the Lebanese southern border area, a stronghold they had held for over twenty years, to allow the Lebanese army and the UNIFIL to patrol the border.
However, sentiments soon changed. Rumors spread that the Lebanese government had conspired with the Israeli forces to defeat Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s leaders accused the pro government politicians of cooperating with Israel during the war.
A few weeks later, Hezbollah started looking for a new political strategy to secure its future. Hezbollah needed partners to launch a collective civil revolt against the government. General Michel Aoun was the natural ally. Aoun, a secular Christian leader, had already signed a “Memo of Understanding” with Hezbollah well in advance of the summer war- in February 2006. He established this agreement to program its gradual demilitarization through dialogue and national reform.
In bonding with Aoun’s Christian movement, Hezbollah strengthened its national credentials, magnified its political weight (as an opponent to the government), and opened a dialogue between liberal Christians and the largest community, the Shiites.
Three month after the summer war, the nation was somewhat surprised by the new strategy of the Hezbollah-Aoun coalition, known as the opposition. On December 1, 2006, the opposition, joined by smaller groups, started a sit-in strike. The strike has had the impact of a civil coup d’etat. Hundreds of young men and women have occupied the plaza surrounding the parliament in downtown Beirut. While civil strife has died down, incidents of political assassination have picked up. Pro government parliamentarians are afraid to appear in public to avoid being targeted.
The opposition demanded “reform and a change” in the cabinet that would widen their representation and offer Hezbollah’s militia informal recognition. To emphasize their demands, opposition politicians boycotted the cabinet and the parliament. This political rebellion made governance dysfunctional and threatened the stability of the economic system.
For about a year, the opposition has been trying to pressure the government to ignore Resolution 1701. But the government argues that it is obligated to honor this resolution. The country has a massive national debt. The debt requires economic assistance from the international community if Lebanon is to avoid an economic meltdown. Lebanon’s surface politics is covertly international. There is an ongoing confrontation between Iran and the US over the issue of Hezbollah’s arms, making the Lebanese situation even more precarious. Americans have zero tolerance for militias, which it considers agencies of terrorism; while Iran supports Hezbollah which it considers a legitimate movement for political struggle.
Both Iran and the US have exerted pressure against compromise. For the US, a Lebanese future president who would authorize Hezbollah’s militia is equated with a leader who carries the sword against Israel and Uncle Sam, and who opens the borders of his country for Syria and Iran’s alleged program of terrorism. Reciprocally, for Iran, a president that is unfriendly to Hezbollah is equated with a leader who would facilitate for Uncle Sam and Israel their alleged imperialist plans for the region.
Washington has recently imposed a heavier dose of economic sanctions on Iran to coerce President Ahmedinejad to abandon his nuclear program. The US treats Iran as a rogue regime that is preparing to “wipe Israel off the map” with the use of an atomic bomb which its development is believed to be underway. In contrast, the US closely cooperates with Israel and has ignored Tel-Aviv’s occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights and the Palestinian Territories since the 1967 war. Iran and Syria retaliate in response to Washington’s foreign policy by empowering Hezbollah as a proxy army against US and Israeli interests in the region.
Regrettably, the current administration in Washington appears often to work on the principle “if you can’t fix it, break it.” Reciprocally, Syria and Iran are willing to create chaos in Lebanon to spoil Washington’s dream of creating regimes of compliance.
The new Lebanese president will have to perform miracles to restore viability of this country. When the new president is finally found, the world may wonder what this man can do when the systems around him and beyond him are so discouraging. When a minority community insists on retaining an important political privilege for the sake of tradition and security it pays for it in subtle but painful ways.

The Arab American Institute's Hezbollah Shish Kebabs
By Robert Spencer | Wednesday, November 07, 2007
When the Arab American Institute held its national conference in late October, presidential candidates hurried to Dearborn to go a-courting. Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel and Ron Paul were there. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards addressed the conference via video hookup. Obama also sent an adviser, Tony Lake, and Edwards sent his campaign manager, David Bonior. Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean was there as well, as well as Senators John Sununu (R-NH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); Congressmen Charles Boustany (R-LA), John Dingell (D-MI) and John Conyers (D-MI); Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer; and Michigan Republican Party Chairman Gerry Mason.
The AAI was flexing its political muscle. The Detroit Free Press article noted how much times had changed: “In 1988, Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis rejected the endorsement of a major Arab-American group.” But now? “This year, Democratic party leaders gave the candidates permission to address the conference despite a campaign boycott of Michigan because legislators moved up the date of the state’s primary.”
The assembled politicians probably didn’t even notice that among the sponsors of the AAI conference was the La Shish restaurant chain. They should have: as Debbie Schlussel has noted, in May 2006 the owner of the fifteen-restaurant chain, Talal Chahine, was indicted for tax evasion and accused of funneling $20 million to Hezbollah. Chahine fled to Lebanon to escape prosecution, and maintains his innocence. Schlussel asks:
So, you ask, why would a restaurant owned by a fugitive who owes millions to the federal government continue to be open? Wouldn’t the government seize or freeze its assets . . . like they do with every other income tax cheat?
Well, those are great questions. I’ve asked them, too. But the Justice Department and U.S. Attorney Murphy won’t answer them. They’ve allowed fugitive tax cheat/Hezbollah financier Chahine to continue to operate and collect income and revenue from La Shish for 1.5 years and counting after they indicted him.
And why would the Arab American Institute accept sponsorship from a group that has not disproven government allegations of ties to Hezbollah? If the AAI doesn’t support Hezbollah, wouldn’t it want to avoid even the appearance of impropriety? But the AAI has been focusing the bulk of its attention not on acts of violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam, but on attempts by law enforcement and government officials to head off that violence. Jean Abi Nader, the AAI’s managing director and chief operating officer, summed up the organization’s concerns in a 2003 address at the University of Buffalo.
“Since 9/11,” Abi Nader claimed, “Arab-Americans have watched their dream of being fully a part of American society subject to the stresses of federal initiatives—new laws, policies and procedures—that produce fear and intimidation in their community.”
Abi Nader might at that point have recommended that Arab Americans face squarely the reason why these new laws, policies and procedures were instituted: the reality of Islamic terrorism. He might have called upon Arab and non-Arab Muslims to confront the elements of Islamic teaching and tradition that jihadists use to justify their actions and make recruits among peaceful Muslims, and work to formulate ways to end their ability to incite to violence.
Instead, he made the fantastic claim that “within a month of Sept. 11, more than 2,000 hate crimes were committed against Arab-Americans and Muslims in this country, and who knows how many more went unreported.” His claims about how anti-terror efforts victimized Arab-Americans were no less hysterical: “So the civil liberties of Arab-Americans and American Muslims came under attack, and we have been treated increasingly as second-class citizens in this country. Not only do we see it at airports in terms of profiling, but also in a whole series of federal initiatives that in any other circumstance would not have been acceptable but are now acceptable because this country is at war.” And he decried the “systematic degrading of Islam by conservative Christians, neoconservatives and the right wing.”
Abi Nader made no mention of the systematic degrading of Islam perpetrated by Osama bin Laden and other jihadists — who routinely justify acts of mass murder by invoking Islam. Like so many other commentators, Abi Nader pretends that “conservative Christians, neoconservatives and the right wing” have invented a link between Islam and terrorism, when in fact no one would have thought to link them if Islamic terrorists themselves hadn’t been connecting the two so energetically.
The same story played out at the AAI conference in October. Richardson vowed to “protect these values we have compromised through unwarranted surveillance and ethnic profiling.” Obama, according to the Detroit News, “reminded the potential voters that he has introduced legislation to make police profiling illegal,” and Kucinich emphasized his consistent opposition to the Patriot Act. Howard Dean told the crowd that they had been “singled out unfairly and politicians who hope to have a cheap electoral trick” and said that the Arab American community “is under siege by those who would divide America in order to win elections.”
Such words were particularly ironic coming at a conference partially sponsored by a business owned by a man who has been indicted for funding a terrorist group. Just who is under siege by those who would divide America in order to win elections, and who is doing the besieging, may not be the groups Howard Dean had in mind at all – but the siege itself is real, and ongoing.
***Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of seven books, eight monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Religion of Peace?.

Hijabs, Veils, Burkas, Masks, Balaclavas, Hoodies Kirpans, Turbans, and Quebec’s Ethnic Cleansing
By Dick Field Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Canada Free Press
How’s that for a headline! That’s Caan-aaa-daah today. We are supposed to be a Nation, but actually we are now just one of about 600 plus nations within our borders (can’t keep count) of kind, caring and sorry-assed wimps that have allowed their intellectually unfit politicians and power hungry legal beagles to con them into believing that Canada’s brand of Multiculturalism is a model for the World. They actually brag about it.
We can be sure that they won’t tell the World how Canada has suppressed the freedoms of English-speaking Canadians in order to shut down any voice that might object to their outlandish immigration and multicultural policies. They would be ashamed to reveal that they have passed laws, created policies, established behavioral tribunals and a myriad of other draconian measures to force Canada’s brand of Apartheid (separate development) down our throats.
You can bet your life they won’t reveal to the world that we are not allowed to speak against the policy unless we are one of their vested interest “stakeholders” (immigration lobbyists or minority group spokespersons). Their attitude was and is as expressed by the Honourable Sergio Marchi MP, a past Minister of Immigration who said, “We don’t give a damn what Canadians think, we are going to do what we think is right?”
He, and every following Minister, always a designated minority or a Francophone Quebecoise--never a member of the majority--proceeded to pour in millions of immigrants, most of whom, to say the least, had no idea of what Canadian culture was all about or how our vaunted immigration and Multicultural law was forced upon us, like it or not!
The spin is that Canadians are purported to get along with everybody, agree to any corruption of their culture, and love the distortion and reinterpretation of their laws, the shattering of their history, their pride, their freedoms, and all without single murmur of dissent. Unfortunately, “they” are pretty much right! We do endure all these insults to our fundamental beliefs with little objection. Why?
We don’t dare object!--That’s why!
The intelligent idiots who spout this load of Multicultural propaganda have made sure that the average Canadian of the “old line majority,” (to reinterpret a Quebecoise phrase), is so hemmed in on all sides that we no longer dare speak for fear of being shouted down as racist, anti-French, anti-immigrant, intolerant, racist or stupid. Worse, we are threatened with retribution in dozens of ways and severely punished if we refuse to play their separate development racist game.
Open your mouth and their “human rights” police arrive at your door at the behest of some minority complainer, often put up to it by this or that activist group, funded by one or other of our complicit governments.
Under our misnamed Charter of Rights and Freedoms, minorities of all types are given special laws and courts that break all the most fundamental principles of our society. Every minority person, especially visible minorities, now lives under entirely different laws than we, the majority.
These minorities, as soon as they step off the airplane, are deemed by our Charter as people experiencing disadvantaged lives in Canada and in need of special laws, programs and activities designed to, “ameliorate conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups.” Disadvantages such as having their feelings hurt! Goodness gracious!
Is our Multicultural policy a model for the World? They’ve got to be kidding! It is a forced mess of potage, demeaning of all Canadians, including our newer citizens.
In view of all this multicultural distortion of Canadian society by our constant accommodation of minority demands; should we accept the wearing of Burkas, Hijabs, Veils, Masks, and Balaclavas etc?
The answer has to be NO! Any covering of the face must be outlawed to preserve the peace and good order of Canada. We must not accept any further destruction of our Canadian rights and freedoms. The answer must be clear. No and No again!
Religion has always been a private matter in Canada. It belongs in the churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and in our homes, not in the street. Honesty, neighbourliness and non-criminal intent goes with openness and personal identity. Covered faces are exclusionary and arouse resentment, fear and distain. Exclusionary behaviour is not welcomed by Canadians.
Canadians have an unwritten rule that immigrants (and some of our politicians) must learn that simply says, “We don’t care where you come from, so long as you join in, work hard, and help us build a better country.” Given the chance, that is what most immigrants would do if left alone, in spite of our vaunted “official” multicultural programs, laws and immigration practices. That is what most new immigrants try to do.
A further serious consideration as to why we must say NO is the deleterious affect on the wearers and their culture in general. Muslims advocates of Burkas, veils etc., must ask themselves this question; “do we want to be forever apart and separate from other Canadians or do we wish to follow their unwritten rule of immigrant social acceptance?”
Unfortunately, these forms of separate identity (Burkas and Hijabs etc) are partly seen by the wearers and their families as a protection for their husband or father’s control of the female members of the family. They are also seen as protection of their women from the lustful glances of foreigners and other men. This backward fierce control of wives and women and any other such medieval non-Canadian behaviour is not welcome and will never be accepted by Canadians, regardless of ethnic or religious group.
Another unfortunate byproduct of this indoctrination of people who see the Burka, veil etc. as necessary, is the attitude known to have been exhibited by some Muslim men towards Canadian women. They believe that our women are less than decent and have felt free to make offensive remarks to some because they were wearing a skimpier form of dress than was believed proper, especially in summer. Even worse, some of our young women have reported being pushed and bumped into in by such men in stores and supermarkets along with inappropriate crude remarks.
No immigrant has been forced to come to Canada and if these particular few can’t accept our cultural norms, then they must be told to leave and go back to where they will be more comfortable. We must not let those sentimental multicultural addicts (and vested interest “stakeholders") in our society sway our limits of tolerance in this matter. Canadians welcome Muslims but not their separatist and insular practices.
This is the same view we must hold in regard to the recent establishment of Muslim specific communities as well. Normal new immigrant patterns of ethnic or religious togetherness are acceptable for a time, but in the end, all Canadians will have to intermingle in order to maintain feelings of goodwill and neighbourliness. Such separate communities as are now being developed may seem like a comfortable way of life to those involved, but in time they will create unwelcome permanent divisions and they will become a separate targeted people. This must be discouraged. We do not want to go the way of so many other ethnically and religiously divided countries.
There are occasions when veils and burkas are acceptable, such as during formal parades of various cultures, nationalities or religions or on certain festival days. However, any masking of the face, except on special occasions is an absolute NO!
Canadians should also demand that a law be passed to halt the practice of masked people in public anywhere. This is particularly warranted during demonstrations. All too often these are anarchistic barbarians who intend to act violently and turn peaceful legal demonstrations into harmful criminal rampages. They injure people, horses and property while concealing their identity from our police forces and other citizens. An open society such as ours demands openness and that means visible facial identity at all times.
Further, we should never have permitted the wearing of turbans in the uniformed police forces or Kirpans (daggers) in the schools or anywhere in public assembly areas such as airports. The fundamental concept of a police uniform is that of the impartiality when enforcing the law. Special identity removes the appearance of impartiality.
Kirpans are concealed weapons and do not belong in civilized societies. Canadians of the majority are not allowed to carry secreted knives. India itself does not allow Kirpans in government offices, public schools or in airports or on aircraft. As usual, it was a minority judge that made the decision to allow Kirpans in the schools, not a Canadian knowledgeable of our well established cultural norms. Many of Canadians were insulted and still remain very much offended. Separate laws for special people are a not acceptable to Canadians.
Canada today is a mixed up, mentally confused country. In our country there is a ninety percent Francophone “Nation” known as Quebec. Our leaders tell us they are part of Canada and that all Canada must be bilingual, officially that is. In the meantime Quebec says hell no, we are French-speaking and unilingual! We are going to make sure our language dominates and we don’t care whether anyone likes it or not. Those English speakers that want to live here must comply with our language laws, work in French and submit to inspections by our language police etc.
Over half a million people have left Quebec because of these attitudes and laws. New anti-English laws are being passed and more are already leaving. It is nothing more than a Quebec-legal form of ethnic cleansing. Pour quoi? Why do we suffer our majority culture to tolerate double standards for different groups in Canada?
Francophones from Quebec represent a growing out-of-proportion group in our civil service and our political masters have recently passed surreptitious laws mandating that all Canadians must be fully bilingual to obtain a job or promotion in the civil service, from coast to coast. Our military’s morale suffers from a similar language mandate. This is totally opposite to the language laws as originally written and our so-called Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Canadians of the English-speaking majority are the people truly being marginalized in this country. Imagine the brass of proclaiming our multicultural policies a model for the world to follow. It is enough to make one ill.
What can we do? What should we do?
Canadians who care about Canada must take back control and stop any further denigration of our society. We do our minorities no favour by allowing the insertion of destructive practices into our culture, be it the acceptance of Sharia laws, burkas, veils, kirpans or turbans in our uniformed police. In fact designating specific minorities in the Charter as people in need of special protections (from the majority) is a total disgrace and must be “written out” of the Charter.
If the Supreme Court of Canada can justify the “writing in” of “sexual orientation as a requirement of fairness or whatever their illegal justification was, they can sure “write out” the whole Section 15, paragraph (2) that allows special protections for ethnic and other designated groups.
We must repeal the Multicultural Act of Canada and regain control of our immigration, integration and assimilation policies. No progress can be made by accepting all that is “new” without the courage to reject that which is of no benefit to our society.
Our politicians must be told to put “stakeholder” special interest types in their proper place (back of the line) and begin listening to the majority for Canadians for a change or they will lose our votes. When minorities understand what we are saying, they will vote with us. They too want the same laws to be applicable to all. They too want a harmonious society. Bet on it!
All Canadians, as individuals, must require that their politicians return to us our hard won English-speaking ancient principle that we are all subject to the same laws and equal before those laws. Neither prince nor pauper can be above the law. That is one of the most vital principles of our culture. There can be no exceptions!
Posted 11/6 at 08:39 AM Email (Permalink)