October 12/07

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 11,5-13. And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.' I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

Free Opinions & Special Reports
Dressing the Christians up in brown shirts.Michael Young. October 11/07
Baptist publicly tortured In Gaza Strip for 'spreading Christianity.Muslims beat, murder bookstore manager, claim he engaged in missionary October 11/07
Happy Columbus Day: Muslims discovered America. By Judi McLeod. Canada Free Press. October 11/ 07
Leak Severed a Link to Al-Qaeda’s Secrets. By OnTheWeb . Canada Free Press.Otober 11/07
Islam and the Submission of Women.By: Jamie Glazov. FrontPage. October 11/07
Turkey's military options in northern Iraq reveal a grim 'New Middle East'.Daily Star. October 11/07
Barack Obama minus the audacity to be himself.
David Ignatius. October 11/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for October 11/07
Aoun After the Bkirki Meeting: No Faction Controls Majority to Elect President-Naharnet
Hariri Discusses International Tribunal with Sarkozy-Naharnet
Assad: Lebanon Will Not Know Stability-Naharnet

Report: Israel believes captive soldiers dead.Ynetnews
Political infighting hinders Lebanon stability.Asia Times Online

Congressional USA panel OKs Armenian measure. AP
Syria Tells Journalists Nothing Happened in Israeli Raid.New York Times
An Israeli Strike on Syria Kindles Debate in the US.New York Times
US urged to engage with Syria.Financial Times
Lieberman praises Syria air strike.Jerusalem Post
Aoun, Franjieh lead first delegation for talks at Bkirki-Daily Star
Picking a new president: just the tip of the iceberg-Daily Star
Graziano praises both Lebanese and Israelis for 'determination' to heed 170-Daily Star
U.S. House committee passes Armenian genocide resolution.AP
Is the Hezbollah-Aoun alliance finally dead?Ya Libnan
First 100 families return to Nahr al-Bared camp-Daily Star
Auction of Lebanese cellular networks set for February 2008-Daily Star
Hariri in UN plea. Gulf Times
Hout unveils 2006 profit statistics for MEA
Lebanon's economy minister rejects wage hikes for fear of inflationary pressures-Daily Star

Lebanon's national airline posts US$39 million net profit in 2006 ...International Herald Tribune
Syria is major party in Middle East peace, says military officer.Monsters and
France, Russia Move Closer on Iran.By: Associated Press
Bin Laden ‘may be in city, not cave. Gulf Times
Report: Former SLA officers aiding Hizbullah.Ynet

Aoun After the Bkirki Meeting: No Faction Controls Majority to Elect President
Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun stressed Thursday after a meeting with Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir that no political faction in Lebanon control's the majority in parliament to elect a president. "We are ready to meet the other side to discuss positive ideas … Our proposals focus around respecting the constitution and consensus" on a presidential candidate, Aoun told reports at Bkirki, seat of the Maronite church.
Aoun and ex-Mp Suleiman Franjieh "briefed the patriarch and the bishops on "all the developments that lead us to where we are," the FPM leader said.
"The meeting will be followed up tomorrow with the other side, we hope a bottom line for solving the crisis could be reached," Aoun added.
"We are sending a message of hope to the Lebanese and we are prepared to cooperate with all (sides)to find an exit out of the crisis," he added.
An attempt by Bkirki to reconcile feuding Christians ahead of a presidential election faced a rough start when a meeting with Christian opposition leaders started 10 hours later than scheduled. Aoun and Franjieh arrived in Bkirki after dusk and went into a meeting with Sfeir. The meeting, originally set for Thursday morning, was postponed and no official explanation for the delay was available. After a one-hour meeting with the bishops Sfeir hinted that Bkirki was not behind the move to reschedule the meeting with Aoun and Franjieh. "Ask others" about the change of schedule, an unhappy Sfeir told reporters. A meeting scheduled for Friday with pro-government Christian leaders was still on, Sfeir stressed. Earlier, secretary of Bkirki Father Michel Aweet announced that Thursday's meeting had been postponed to an unknown date, while MP Ibrahim Kenaan, secretary of the Change and Reform Parliamentary bloc, insisted the gathering was still on.
Kenaan's assurances and the arrival of Aoun's personal photographer at Bkirki around 10 am, shortly before the meeting was due to take place, led journalists to believe that the talks would nevertheless be held later in the day. But after Sfeir's announcement, journalists were asked to leave Bkirki.
Voice of Lebanon's Bkirki correspondent had earlier said she believed the delay was a camouflage for security reasons. VOL quoted sources with the Free Patriotic Movement as saying that Aoun would dispatch a delegate to Bkirki within the next few hours to set a new date for the meeting. The daily An Nahar said Sfeir was expected to stress in Thursday's meeting the need to take part in the upcoming presidential election to prevent a constitutional vacuum. It said Aoun, in turn, was likely to put forth ways to reach a "unified Christian view." An Nahar said that for this reason Aoun would call for a dialogue to discuss various political, financial and economic issues, in addition to topics dealing with U.N. Security Council resolutions and ways of implementing them, Palestinian refugee camps and Hizbullah arms. Beirut, 11 Oct 07, 08:10

Hariri Discusses International Tribunal with Sarkozy
MP Saad Hariri discussed with French President Nicola Sarkozy in Paris Thursday efforts to speed up formation of an international tribunal that would try suspects in the assassination of his father and related crimes. The state-run National News Agency in a special dispatch from the French capital said Sarkozy informed Hariri that France has decided to donate six million dollars to the U.N. fund that would finance the tribunal which would look into the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes. The talks also focused on the need to hold presidential elections in line with Lebanon's constitution and within the constitutional frame of the Lebanese republic, the report added. The talks were described as "positive and practical," the report added without further elaboration. Beirut, 11 Oct 07, 21:12

Assad: Lebanon Will Not Know Stability
Syrian President Bashar Assad slammed Lebanese leaders accused of siding with Israel and succumbing to foreigners instead of adopting the so-called Arab path and the resistance option. In an interview published Thursday, Assad said of the neighboring nation which was dominated by his regime for nearly three decades: "It is impossible to build a relationship with some parties who in Lebanon ... are close to Israel, submit themselves to foreign countries and do not believe in Lebanon."
He told the Tunisian daily al-Shuruk, in an interview reprinted by official Syrian media: "Most of the forces who hold power in Lebanon have adopted this position which rebounds on Syrian-Lebanese relations." Lebanon has been in crisis for months since pro-Syrian ministers pulled out of the government of Western-backed Prime Minister Fouad Saniora, creating political paralysis. Assad said "there have always been in Lebanon forces attached to the Arab (identity). But there are also forces which, since Lebanon's creation and even before, have tied their fate to the West, thus putting (their country) in danger."
"These forces link Lebanon's fate to that of regional conflicts, which signifies that Lebanon will not know stability in the near future."
Referring to the agreement which ended Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, the Syrian leader said: "Lebanon knew stability after the Taef accord when it chose the Arab path and resistance against Israel. The day it went back on this choice it again experienced instability."
Under the Taif agreement, all factions disarmed their militias with the exception of the Shiite militant group Hizbullah which fought last year's war with Israel.
Hizbullah, seen as Lebanon's legitimate resistance, was also credited with forcing Israel to withdraw from south Lebanon in 2000 after years of occupation.
Lebanon's political establishment is split between pro- and anti-Syrian camps. The two sides have been deadlocked over the choice of a new president to replace pro-Syrian incumbent Emile Lahoud and a first parliamentary session convened last month to elect a successor failed to achieve a quorum.
Assad stressed: "Lebanon was stable when it followed the Arab line, supported the resistance and opposed itself to Israel."(AFP) Beirut, 11 Oct 07, 20:20

Aoun, Franjieh lead first delegation for talks at Bkirki
March 14 envoys will follow on Friday
By Hani M. Bathish
Daily Star staff
Thursday, October 11, 2007
BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir will play host to two Christian opposition leaders, Change and Reform Bloc leader MP Michel Aoun and Marada chief Suleiman Franjieh, Thursday in the first of two meetings planned by the prelate to reconcile Christian politicians ahead of the presidential electoral session on October 23. Sfeir conveyed his discontent over the prevailing political situation in the country to his visitors Wednesday, concern that prompted his call to both opposition and majority camps to find a consensus solution to the presidential issue, adding that the country remains paralyzed as a result and people cannot ensue any further crises. Presidential candidate and March 14 MP Boutros Harb received an invitation to visit Bkirki on Friday, when pro-government Christian leaders are due to meet with Sfeir. Harb said both he and MP Nayla Mouawad had accepted the invitation.
Speaking to Tele Liban Wednesday, Harb described Bkirki's role as constructive and beneficial, adding that the meeting in Bkirki would be held at the level of heads of Christian political parties and parliamentary blocs, but that he was not aware of any agenda for the meeting. "The patriarch could be intending to announce a position to both the opposition and majority, he could be more ambitious and may intend to unify the differing points of view," Harb said.
Harb said he did not see anything wrong with multiple political views among the Christian parties, but stressed there should be no divergence on the core national issues. He reiterated that he would not stand for election if an electoral session is held with only a simple majority of MPs, adding that he hopes the Lebanese agree on the next president as any another alternative could lead to a mood of confrontation.
The country awaits the return of both Speaker Nabih Berri and parliamentary majority leader MP Saad Hariri to launch the next phase of dialogue between the two officials as well as their anticipated meeting with Sfeir ahead of the October 23 deadline. Hariri will end his international consultations with a visit to Paris for talks with senior officials, and from there to Saudi Arabia where he will spend Eid al-Fitr with his family.
In the midst of this waiting period, Bkirki is focusing on helping to prevent the opening of a constitutional vacuum by calling Maronite political leaders to meet under its roof. A source told the Central News Agency that names of presidential candidates would not be discussed during the meetings Thursday and Friday, but Sfeir is expected to insist presidential elections go ahead and on the importance of MPs attending the electoral session.
Lebanese Forces MP Antoine Zahra said Bkirki hopes to create harmony among Christian ranks, but has never sought to impose its will in any matter. "It is certain that the patriarch does not deal with names," he said. "It would be misleading to say the patriarch is gathering Maronite leaders ... to agree among one another on a single candidate."
Zahra said Sfeir's only concern was that a vacuum not be created, and thus his emphasis is on the continuation of the state and its constitutional institutions. "He invited the Maronite leaders to say that there is a national responsibility they cannot escape from and that this nation cannot continue without its state institutions," he added.
Aoun stressed his refusal to accept the emergence of two governments or two presidents, considering the way still open for a "salvation" solution, to set up a transitional government, even if it emerges in the last moments, and to hold early parliamentary elections.
In an interview with several newspapers to be published Thursday, Aoun said the danger for Lebanon was from the monopolizing of government power by the majority, which he accused of rejecting all democratic and legitimate solutions. "Electing a president with half plus one of MPs' votes is a confrontational solution and topples the Taif Constitution and democratic conventions," the former army commander said. The MP asked why he should concede to another candidate for the presidency and lend his popular base and support to another candidate. He warned that Lebanon was a country built on a fine balance and not on compromises, and disturbing that balance meant an end of Lebanon. "We have no quarrel with America, we only hold opposed political views and methods for solving the crisis," Aoun said. While admitting he was paying the price for signing a memorandum of understanding with Hizbullah, Aoun said he did not regret making such an alliance.
Sources close to Democratic Gathering leader MP Walid Jumblatt told As-Safir daily that Jumblatt met army commander General Michel Suleiman for dinner in Clemenceau recently. The sources said Jumblatt reiterated to Suleiman his position opposing a constitutional amendment to elect the army commander to the presidency, but stressed that this position was not aimed personally at him.
The sources said Jumblatt's meeting with Suleiman was very positive, during which Jumblatt praised the military and its victory in Nahr al-Bared and the army's role in implementing Resolution 1701. Jumblatt is due to visit New York for talks with permanent members of the Security Council in mid-October
US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman held separate talks Wednesday with Premier Fouad Siniora, Defense Minister Elias Murr and March 14 MP and presidential candidate Nassib Lahoud. After the meeting Lahoud said talks had centered on the presidential poll and how MPs had a unique opportunity to elect a president free from foreign interference. "We also discussed Bkirki's initiative," he said, "which is exemplary of Bkirki, which always comes through in difficult times to ensure polls are held in the best of circumstances and that all MPs take part."

New UN resolution on Lebanon 'in the works'
Move could address alleged arms smuggling

By The Daily Star
Compiled by Daily Star staff
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The UN Security Council may soon issue a new resolution concerning Lebanon and appoint a prosecutor for the Special Tribunal covering the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, well-informed UN sources said late on Tuesday. "We have some very good nominees for the position and we expect the identity of the tribunal's prosecutor to be announced in the next few weeks. We are on the right track," a source said. UN Security Council Resolution 1757, which established the mixed Lebanese-international court, was passed on May 30, after Lebanon's feuding parties failed to do so themslves.
Meanwhile, US sources inside of the UN told London's Al-Hayat newspaper that a new resolution concerning Lebanon was a "quite feasible option."
"However," sources said, "we are still debating over the content of such a resolution. Also the timing for the release of the resolution is yet to be discussed."
According to the same sources, the resolution will be based on "evidence forwarded to the UN Security Council about Syria's violation of UN Resolution 1701, especially concerning the smuggling of arms to Hizbullah."Resolution 1701 put an end to the summer 2006 war with Israel and banned arms shipment to the resistance.
On Wednesday, An-Nahar newspaper reported that Prime Minister Fouad Siniora sent UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa the latest updates on Fatah al-Islam's alleged links with Syria as well as Hizbullah's armaments. Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said at the end of a Cabinet session on Tuesday evening that the memorandums contained "information obtained by Lebanese Army intelligence services and the intelligence unit of the Internal Security Forces about armaments in the country and the situation at the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in North Lebanon."
Tackling similar issues, the leader of the parliamentary majority, MP Saad Hariri, urged the UN to step up its condemnation of political violence in Lebanon as the country struggles to elect a president.
At a meeting with Ban on Tuesday, Hariri raised the issue of the string of assassinations which have targeted members of his March 14 bloc.
"We asked for a more hardened position from the UN in face of those assassinations and what's happening in Lebanon," Hariri said after meeting Ban. He also called on the international community to "move on those who commit these crimes in a very swift way." "We'll be very supportive, obviously," said the US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad . "We want the presidential election in Lebanon to take place in a timely manner. We want no interference in the process by outsiders in electing a president."The Bush administration, pressing a campaign of diplomatic isolation of Syria, has repeatedly accused it of trying to destabilize Lebanon.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin, who met Hariri Tuesday, said he hoped elections were held in a "timely and an amicable manner."
Failure to elect a president before current President Emile Lahoud's term ends could prompt the outgoing head of state to name an interim administration, setting the stage for the rise of two rival governments. The March 14 bloc had hoped to elect one of its own members to the post in the first presidential election since Syrian troops were forced to leave Lebanon in 2005 after Hariri's assassination. "When you have somebody trying to affect or interfere with trying to elect a president in Lebanon and trying to push his own agenda for a president that [he] is close to, let's say, Syria or other countries, we refuse that," Hariri said. - The Daily Star, with Reuters

Picking a new president: just the tip of the iceberg

By Michael Bluhm
Daily Star staff
Thursday, October 11, 2007
BEIRUT: While politicians from both the March 14 governing coalition and the March 8 opposition say they want a consensus president, they have yet to scratch the surface of the mammoth list of issues any future head of state must confront, politicians and analysts told The Daily Star on Wednesday.
Telecommunications Minister and March 14 stalwart Marwan Hamadeh said the opposition did not even want to bring up parts of resolutions 1559 and 1701, while MP Ibrahim Kanaan of the opposition Free Patriotic Movement countered that the program of any consensus president would have to include clear direction on the contentious resolutions. The two sides, at loggerheads for almost a year, have about six weeks to agree on a consensus candidate before President Emile Lahoud's term expires on November 24. "We believe that any president ... must be committed to the rule of law - one state, one law, one army," Hamadeh said.
"I agree," Kanaan said, "but we need to have a definition, a sort of implementation plan. Everybody would say in Lebanon that we want a president that would commit to the rule of law. "What we want today is to try to have some meat on the plate of the president. We can't do this by ignoring the issues. We have to have an agenda for the presidency. We can't afford anymore to trade power and just ignore the political issues that are of paramount importance.
"We need to have a plan. The plan should take into consideration the implementation of UN resolutions."
UN Resolution 1559, adopted in late 2004 after Syria forced the extension of Lahoud's term, divides the two political camps over the resolution's call for the disarmament of all nonstate militias in Lebanon. The March 14 Forces stand firmly by the provision, while opposition leader Hizbullah has refused to surrender its weapons. UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 summer war with Israel, repeats the disarmament mantra and also raises contentious issues such as the possession of the Shebaa Farms and the Lebanese Army's deployment in South Lebanon.
Toeing the opposition line, Kanaan said the resolutions "were not really brought by all the parties" in Lebanon, alluding to Hizbullah's rejection of the order to disarm.
"We're not saying we want to disarm Hizbullah tomorrow morning," Hamadeh said, but he added that the ruling majority would not allow Syria and Iran to use militias in Lebanon as part of their regional showdown with the West.
Political analysts agreed the rival Lebanese factions would not be able to agree on a consensus candidate without sorting out the details of the central issues that divide the two groups. "Consensus is not on the president himself or herself, but on what the president would do," said legal expert Ziad Baroud. "You are not only electing a president, you are making choices about [Resolution] 1701," as well as the international tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri and the reform package presented for the Paris III donor conference. "The consensus is on these issues, not the president."
In essence, the question at the heart of the schism between March 14 and March is whether "to be more Syrian or less Syrian," said retired General Elias Hanna, who teaches political science at Notre Dame University. Syria and Iran are Hizbullah's leading backers, while the Western-backed March 14 coalition blames Syria for the string of political murders that has plagued Lebanon since the October 2004 attempt on Hamadeh's life.
"A consensus president, if he wants to apply 1701, would he be able to find a solution for the arms of Hizbullah, the role of Hizbullah, and Shebaa Farms, and, and, and?" asked Hanna. The obstacles to consensus are daunting, but at least it appears though the two sides are willing to dig into the details, said Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center. "The devil is in defining what the consensus will be built on and the common ground," he said. "Both in terms of the issues [domestic] involved and the international context, it is difficult to find a stable common ground to find consensus.
"Both camps certainly want to make public that they wish for consensus. That's part of the game. When each one is saying consensus, what each one is saying is that, 'I'm ready to talk.'"

Dressing the Christians up in brown shirts

By Michael Young
Daily Star staff
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Maybe someone might convincingly explain why, whenever Western journalists and publicists talk about Lebanon's Christians, particularly the Maronites, they invariably resort to the word "fascism" in describing some aspect of their behavior. The latest example is an article by one Thanassis Cambanis in The New York Times of October 5. Cambanis' article is an overwrought effort to show that Christians are arming, recruiting, and preparing to wage war, even among themselves. "[T]he country's once-dominant Christian community feels under siege and has begun re-establishing militias, training in the hills and stockpiling weapons." In fact, the evidence for these allegations is negligible, despite the fact that a squad of Aounist weekend warriors was recently arrested by the security forces. However, Cambanis' point was somewhat different. His tone suggested that a forbidding temper had descended on Christian Lebanon, something menacing, all tattoos, guns, and spray-painted symbols - the stuff of far-right skinheads and Serbian death squads; well why not come out and just say it: the stuff of fascism.
In a passage on the Marada movement and one of its leaders, Cambanis wrote: "Like many Christian movements, his party builds support around a bizarre iconography, reminiscent of early-20th-century European fascism; his party has adopted the symbol for 'pi' to express constancy, and another group has chosen the Greek letter 'omega,' for resistance."
The "omega" symbol is, of course, used by the Aounists. If my grasp of names is on target, and it's a pretty large target, Cambanis' ancestors were Greek. Quite why the intrepid Thanassis should determine, therefore, that the letters of his ancestors should provoke the same reaction as, let's say, a swastika, is never made clear. If you are prepared to use the term "fascism" against a group of people, you had better make sure not to make your case solely on the basis of their taste for "bizarre iconography."
I had the pleasure of dining with Cambanis last year, and he struck me then, much like he does now, as being a dilettante on an expense account. But his inaccurate, lazy, shallow article in the Times, which has raised hackles in Lebanon and abroad, is reflective of a greater problem when it comes to portraying the country's Christians. Perhaps Cambanis picked it up in the hotel lobby, or just from his fixer, but he is really little different from the herds of other Western journalists, even academics, in reaching for the decades-old cliche that whatever the Christians do is somehow colored by extreme, even violent, communal nationalism and bigotry.
So why can't Lebanese Christians ever seem to get a break from this tedious characterization? The common answer is that their main political organization after the 1930s, the Phalange, was influenced by European fascist movements, and that one of its later emanations, the paramilitary Lebanese Forces, reinforced the same tendencies. What are these? Loyalty to a dominant leader, an often parochial sense of nationalism, a centralized command structure, a willingness to employ force, a tendency to absorb the individual into a corporate identity, and so on. No doubt a few of these characteristics were or are present in a number of Christian parties, albeit in very haphazard and very undisciplined ways. However, they also happen to typify most other Lebanese political groups as well.
There is one party, however, that fulfills all of these conditions to a tee: Hizbullah. And yet never will foreign journalists or observers refer to Hizbullah as "fascist" - nor would that be an accurate depiction of a far more multifaceted organization. To the anti-globalization left Hizbullah is a heroic vanguard against the United States and Israel; to many Western liberals it is a social service serving a deprived community. The thing is, the Muslim Hizbullah is regarded in Western consciousness as a "truer" product of Arab society than Christian parties, who have had to fight against a sense (sometimes self-inflicted, but mostly not) that they are interlopers. This has earned the party a reprieve from the "fascism" label.
Indeed, much the same dispensation applies to the Baath in Syria (and previously in Iraq), the Sudanese junta, and the madcap order installed in Libya by Moammar Gadhafi. In remarkable ways these absolutist, suffocating, centralized, exclusionary systems are viewed as bona fide emanations of "Arabness," even though the Baath's founders, for example, openly regarded German Nazism as a main source of inspiration.
Lebanon's Christians have also had to fight the remnants of an older foreign antipathy: that of Western Protestants who came to Lebanon in the 19th century to establish educational institutions in the country. For many Protestants, who became a foremost funnel for early Western awareness of Lebanon, there was something fundamentally odious in the Eastern Christians' approach to their religion. What wasn't oriental superstition in it was retrograde Catholicism, with its proclivity for gold, high ceremony, louche clergymen, and sparse spirituality. There seemed little room for reason among all that byzantine ornamentation; and when the Protestant missionaries proved unable to convert Muslims to the true faith, their favored prey became the eastern Christians, particularly the Maronites - provoking mutual antagonism that survives to this day.
That Protestant antipathy metastasized throughout the 20th century, taking different forms having little or no relation with religion. American publicists and academics of the Middle East in particular, like the missionaries deployed throughout the region, tended to take a positive attitude toward Arab nationalism after the 1950s. This was, after all, progress, a legitimate impulse toward self-emancipation; it was also a rejection of European colonialism and therefore something meriting sympathy. The Palestinians too, defeated by Israel after 1948, had staked out the moral high ground, and Westerners interacting with the Arab world, lacking a great deal else, never lacked in moral righteousness.
Yet most Lebanese Christians seemed to have no place amid this virtuous advocacy. The Christians seemed to be stubbornly resisting the Middle East's future. By proclaiming their communal rights, they were undermining an Arab nationalist ideology that promised to banish ancient communal identities; by arming against the Palestinians during the early 1970s, they were only further harming the Arab world's acknowledged victims; by being so different than those around them, they were bucking the trend, ruining the good vibes that Westerners dedicated to the Arab world's glorious destiny were so keen to impose. Lebanese Christians were a foreign body disrupting regional harmony, a fifth column, a reminder of how the colonial West had wanted Arabs to be. Therefore, it was perfectly reasonable to describe them alone as having fascist tendencies.
It is hard to credit Michel Aoun with anything constructive during the past two years. But do credit him with one thing: He has thrown a giant rock into the puddle of Western received wisdom on Lebanon's Christians. Things were simpler when Christians were just right-wing chauvinists who hated Muslims. Now, however, those who get animated when Hizbullah is mentioned have developed an interest in its bizarre Christian ally. Rewrite the manuals! Burn the guidebooks! Fire the fixers! The Christians are fascists, but by God some are more fascist than others.
***Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR.

Happy Columbus Day: Muslims discovered America
By Judi McLeod Wednesday, October 10, 2007
North America may be reviled as ‘the Land of the Infidels’, but according to Muslim Imam, al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, it is the Muslims and not the seafaring Columbus who discovered it.
This tops the whopper category edging out Islam claims that Moses was not a Jew but the first Muslim.
“(A) ncient Arabic (Muslim) language maps, Native American tribes with African names and words clearly embedded in their languages, statues, diaries, artifacts, etc. destroy European imperialistic notions of history rooted in White Supremacy...those very same Muslim African explorers...who were already present in the Caribbean and North America, before the bearers of the Cross arrived,” elaborates this enlightened Imam.” (Political, Sept. 21, 2007).
"Once at a pre-Sept. 11, 2001 national meeting of leaders, this writer was asked something like, “Why is it that Muslim African American men so often seem angry when dealing with other Muslims? I answered the question on various levels, but was recently reminded of the exchange while reading a Muslim newspaper,” the leader of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem, New York City recounts in a column.
“Some of the offensive attitudes and behaviour that we encounter from Muslims would not be displayed towards us by at least some people of other faiths, out of either sensitivity and awareness, or apprehensiveness. But some of our Muslim brethren of different ethnicities feel that they can say anything to or about any Muslim, and that it is fine for them to do so, whether they know what they are talking about or not.”
That was the preface of a diatribe that went on to describe the history of African people, Muslim ones in particular, and America’s relationship with the Original (Native) Americans.
“Afrocentric Muslims might be surprised that many Native Americans consider the diffusionist views of pre-Columbian Muslims to be essentially racist”. First of all, to state that a relative handful of Muslim explorers came to the land of the Original Americans, met them, peacefully interacted with them, traded with them...inter-married with them, and perhaps even gave another relative handful of them da’wa is hardly diffusionist.”
“America is the land of those indigenous inhabitants called “Indians”. It was their God-given custodial land—the land of the “Red Man”, before the “White Man” stole it, committed genocide against its true people, stole the “Black Man” from Africa and brought him to the stolen land against his will, and it was he, “The White Man”, who populated the land from Europe. To this day “he” grants reluctant access to “his” country, to the “Brown and Yellow Man” of Asia, and all other peoples, Muslim and Non-Muslim. That is historical fact. To cite the history of Muslim Africans’ pre-imperial, pre-colonial, pre-genocidal presence amongst the Native Americans, is not to diffuse the history of the original “People of the Land”. It is to add to it!”
Missing from the Imam’s history lesson is the historical fact in the long chapter of the Barbary pirate.
While movie audiences may look at the pirates of old as swashbuckling Errol Flynns and Johnny Depps, they were in reality the Barbary pirates, also sometimes called Ottoman corsairs, throat-slitting pirates and privateers that operated from north Africa) the “Barbary cost"). They enriched themselves with stolen booty out of Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers, Sale and ports in Morocco, preying on Christian and non-Islamic shipping in the western Mediterranean Sea from the time of the Crusades until the early 19th century, when the Americans put an end to them, closing that chapter before going on to fight Muslims as terrorists. The victory of the Americans over the Muslim pirates was the first U.S. foreign war, considered to be the birth of the Marines!
Nor is ‘Abdur-Rashid even original in his revisionist claims. The United Nations was first in trying to convince the world that Christopher Columbus did not discover North America, but a Chinese-Muslim explorer discovered us a half century before C.C.
The world’s largest bureaucracy backed the claims of Gavin Menzies, a former British Navy submarine commander and author of the controversial best-selling book, 1421: The Year China Discovered the World, and even chose May 16, 2005 as the day the history of the world would be rewritten.
The UN, under King of Snooze secretary general Kofi Annan bought into Menzie’s theory that the Chinese Muslim explorer, Admiral Zheng He or Cheng Ho discovered the new world.
The author, through a Canadian architect, had discovered what is believed to be the centuries lost naval base of China’s most famous explorer.
“The discoverer of this Atlantic coast site is a secret, described only by Menzies as a “distinguished Canadian architect”. The mysterious architect will brief the Canadian Government and then go to UNESCO to make the discovery an official UN World Heritage Site.” ( CanadaFreePress, March 11, 2005). “May 16 is the Red Letter Day when public disclosure will be made at the Library of Congress. It’s adios, Columbus, hello Zheng.”
The last word here belongs to “I don’t know if there’s anything to this claim, (’Abdur-Rashid’s), but I like it. For years I’ve been imploring Native Americans to direct any lingering resentment over the loss of their land towards Muslims, since the whole reason Columbus had to find a New World is that Muslims controlling the land trade routes to the east would attack traders or extort a high tax. But thanks to this cleric, now we now that not only did Muslims make discovery of the New World a necessity, they encroached the Indians first! “There’s a new “White Man” in town! Please direct grievances accordingly.
(Black people should be aware that this new white man owns and trades slaves, and the people who should be most upset when he blows up our buildings are the Mexicans who build them.)” Posted 10/10 at 08:32
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Bin Laden ‘may be in city, not cave’
Published: Wednesday, 10 October, 2007, 02:33 AM Doha Time
LONDON: Osama bin Laden could hide more easily in a city than a remote tribal region, a former Pakistani intelligence chief said yesterday, challenging the notion that the Al Qaeda leader is probably holed up in a mountain cave. Lieut-Gen Asad Durrani, former head of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), said news of outsiders’ presence travels fast in the tribal areas and it would be hard to keep it secret for years.
“In the countryside or in tribal areas ... it’s difficult to hide yourself because there people live ... and operate in a manner in which finding out about unusual presence is very important,” Durrani said in an interview in London. He said it was true that tribal customs placed great value on showing hospitality and not betraying a guest. “In the tribal code, anyone who seeks your protection has to be defended, if necessary with your life.”
However, he added: “I am not sure over a period of four, five or six years that it would be possible even for the tribesmen to keep his presence under wraps.”
Such information would have travelled or been divulged, given the incentives, Durrani said in a reference to the $25mn US bounty on bin Laden’s head.
“My conclusion therefore is it’s extremely unlikely that he is around that place.” – Reuters
Al Qaeda ‘pursuing weapons of mass destruction’ – Page 15

U.S. House committee passes Armenian genocide resolution

By The Associated Press
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee House approved Wednseday a resolution recognizing the 1915 massacres of Armenians as a genocide, brushing aside opposition from President George W. Bush and Turkey. The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved the resolution 27-21. It now goes to the House floor, where Democratic leaders say there will be a vote by mid-November. There is a companion bill in the Senate, but both measures are strictly symbolic, and do not require Bush's signature. Turkey calls the resolution an insult and rejects the Armenian position, backed by many Western historians, that up to 1.5 million Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War One. Turkey has warned of damage to bilateral ties if Congress passes the measure.
Speaking as the House committee was preparing to vote on the measure that Turkey insists could severely damage its relations with the U.S., Bush said that "Its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror."
Shortly before the president spoke, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates stood before microphones on the White House driveway to express the administration's concerns. "The passage of this resolution at this time would be very problematic for everything we are trying to do in the Middle East," Rice said. Gates said that 70 percent of U.S. air cargo headed for Iraq goes through Turkey, as does about a third of the fuel used by the U.S. military in Iraq. "Access to air fields and to the roads and so on in Turkey would very much be put at risk if this resolution passes and Turkey reacts as strongly as we believe they will," Gates said. He also said that 95 percent of the newly purchased Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles are flying through Turkey to get to Iraq.
Turkey made a final direct appeal to U.S. lawmakers to reject the resolution.
The U.S. vote coame as Turkey's government was seeking parliamentary approval for a cross-border military operation to chase separatist Kurdish rebels who operate from bases in northern Iraq. The move, opposed by the United States, could open a new war front in the most stable part of Iraq.
"I have been trying to warn the (U.S.) lawmakers not to make a historic mistake," said Egemen Bagis, a close foreign policy adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A measure of the potential problem came in a warning the U.S. Embassy in Ankara issued Tuesday to U.S. citizens in Turkey of demonstrations and other manifestations of anti-Americanism throughout Turkey if the bill passes the committee and gets to the House floor for a vote, the embassy statement said.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Turks marched to U.S. missions in Turkey to protest the bill. In Ankara, members of the left-wing Workers' Party chanted anti-American slogans in front of the embassy, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported. A group of about 200 people staged a similar protest in front of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, private NTV television said.
Anatolia quoted a party official as saying that the genocide claim was an international, imperialist and a historical lie. The basic dispute involves the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by genocide scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, says the toll has been inflated, and insists that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
Armenian-American interest groups also have been rallying supporters in the large diaspora community to pressure lawmakers to make sure that a successful committee vote leads to consideration by the full House.
On Tuesday, Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, sought to shore up support in letters to the committee's chairman, Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and its ranking Republican member, Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
"We have a unique opportunity in this Congress, while there are still survivors of the Armenian genocide living among us, to irrevocably and unequivocally reaffirm this fact of history," he said.

Report: Former SLA officers aiding Hizbullah
Hizbullah recruiting former members of the South Lebanese Army to exploit the skills they acquired working side by side with IDF – to train forces and track Israeli media, Arab Israeli newspaper a-Sinara reports
Roee Nahmias Published: 10.10.07, 21:50 / Israel News
Former senior officers from the South Lebanese Army are training Hizbullah forces in the west Lebanon valley, reported the Nazareth-based Arab-Israeli newspaper a-Sinara Wednesday. The SLA was a Lebanese militia during that country's civil war, which was supported by Israel during the south Lebanon conflict in 1982-2000. Many former SLA officers took refuge in Israel and were aided by the Israeli government. According to the report, Hizbullah decided to seek help from the former SLA officers who remained in south Lebanon when the Israeli army left the country in 2000. The officers were reportedly forced to pay Hizbullah compensation in return for clemency, and now thanks to the experience they accumulated fighting side-by-side with the IDF, Hizbullah has apparently decided to take advantage of their acquired skills. A-Sinara's website reported that Hizbullah posted the former SLA officers at a number of civilian facilities in southern Lebanese villages. The terror group has also employed officers to track and translate Israeli media, the report said.
Additionally, Hizbullah was exploiting their skills to examine the documents and equipment the IDF left behind in Lebanon at the end of last summer's Second Lebanon War 'Wouldn't be surprised'A former SLA official told Ynet, "Up until now, we haven't seen any such reports, but we wouldn't be surprised if they were true. However, it's hard to believe that even if there are elements working for Hizbullah, that they are enthusiastic supporters of the organization."
"You have to remember that their lives aren't easy at all. Almost no one wants to employ them, and in most cases they are refused passports to prevent them from leaving Lebanon. Therefore, it seems that if there really are those (helping Hizbullah) – they're doing it to make a living and no more," he said.
Sources in Lebanon told Ynet that they had also heard of the new "arrangement", but said that if it was true, it was likely only a small number of people.
The sources also noted that they had never heard of such an arrangement by which SLA members were forced to pay a fine in return for their freedom.

Baptist publicly tortured for 'spreading Christianity'
Muslims beat, murder bookstore manager, claim he engaged in missionary activity

Posted: October 10, 2007
By Aaron Klein
© 2007
The manager of a Christian bookstore in the Gaza Strip who was found dead last weekend was first publicly beaten and tortured by Islamic gunmen accusing him of spreading Christianity, according to witnesses and Palestinian security officials speaking to WND.
The body of Rami Ayyad, who managed the only Christian bookstore in Gaza, reportedly was found Sunday riddled with gunshot and stab wounds. Ayyad had been abducted the previous night as he closed his shop, according to a local Christian group. Ayyad, a Baptist, was accused by Gaza-based Islamic groups of engaging in missionary activity. His bookstore, owned by the Palestinian Bible Society, was firebombed in April after which he told relatives he received numerous death threats from Islamists. The day of his abduction, Ayyad reportedly said he was being followed by a car that had no license plates.
According to witnesses and security officials associated with Hamas' so-called Executive Force speaking to WND, Ayyad was publicly tortured a few blocks from his store before he was shot to death. The witnesses said they saw three armed men, two of whom were wearing masks, beat Ayyad repeatedly with clubs and the butts of their guns while they accused him of attempting to spread Christianity in Gaza. The witnesses said that after sustaining the beating, Ayyad was shot by all three men.
Gaza Bible Society Hamas security sources told WND Ayyad's body showed signs of torture.
Ayyad was buried Sunday, leaving behind a pregnant wife and two young children. No group has taken responsibility for the attack.
Christians warned: Accept Islamic law Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a "military wing" to enforce Muslim law in Gaza, told WND although his group "didn't carry out the Ayyad attack," all Christians in Gaza engaged in missionary activity will be "dealt with harshly."
It was Abu Saqer's group that had been accused of firebombing Ayyad's bookstore in April. Jihadia Salafiya is also suspected of a slew of Islamist attacks, including firebombing Internet cafes and one in May against a United Nations school in Gaza after it allowed boys and girls to participate in the same sporting event. One person was killed in that attack.
Hamas in June seized complete control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah amid widespread fears it would impose hard-line Islamic rule in the territory, and that life for Christians might deteriorate.
About 3,000 Christians live in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of over 1 million.
Immediately after Hamas' Gaza coup, Abu Saqer told WND in an exclusive interview Christians could continue living safely in the Gaza Strip only if they accepted Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings.
"[Now that Hamas is in power,] the situation has changed 180 degrees in Gaza," said Abu Saqer, speaking from Gaza.
"Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity. No more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public," he said.
"Also the activities of Internet cafes, pool halls and bars must be stopped," said Abu Saqer. "If it goes on, we'll attack these things very harshly."
Abu Saqer accused the leadership of the Gaza Christian community of "proselytizing and trying to convert Muslims with funding from American evangelicals."
"This missionary activity is endangering the entire Christian community in Gaza," he said.
Abu Saqer claimed there was "no need" for the thousands of Christians in Gaza to maintain a large number of institutions in the territory.
He said Hamas "must work to impose an Islamic rule or it will lose the authority it has and the will of the people."
'West can learn from Islamic values'
In response to the accusations Hamas may impose hard-line Islamic rules, Hamas chief in Gaza and former foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar told WND in a recent interview: "I hardly understand the point of view of the West concerning these issues. The West brought all this freedom to its people, but it is that freedom that has brought about the death of morality in the West. It's what led to phenomena like homosexuality, homelessness and AIDS."
Asked if Hamas is seeking to impose Islamic law on the Palestinians, al-Zahar responded, "The Palestinian people are Muslim people, and we do not need to impose anything on our people, because they are already committed to their faith and religion. People are free to choose their way of life, their way of dress and behavior."
Al-Zahar said his terror group, which demands strict dress codes for females, respects women's rights.
"It is wrong to think that in our Islamic society there is a lack of rights for women. Women enjoy their rights. What we have, unlike the West, is that young women cannot be with men and have relations outside marriage. Sometimes with tens of men. This causes the destruction of the family institution and the fact that many kids come to the world without knowing who are their fathers or who are their mothers. This is not a modern and progressed society," al-Zahar explained.
The terror chieftain told WND the West can learn from his group's Islamic values.
"Here I refer to what was said in the early '90s by Britain's Prince Charles at Oxford University," al-Zahar said. "He spoke about Islam and its important role in morality and culture. He said the West must learn from Islam how to bring up children properly and to teach them the right values."

Congressional panel OKs Armenian measure
By DESMOND BUTLER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - A House panel defied President Bush on Wednesday and approved a measure that he said would damage U.S. goals in the Middle East.
The measure that would recognize the World War I-era killings of Armenians as a genocide had been strongly opposed by Turkey, a key NATO ally that has supported U.S. efforts in Iraq.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee's 27-21 vote now sends the measure to the House floor — unless the Democratic leadership reverses course and heeds Bush's warnings. At issue is the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, says the toll has been inflated and insists that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
Bush and other senior officials made a last-minute push to persuade lawmakers on the Foreign Affairs Committee to reject the measure.
"Its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror," Bush said hours before the vote.
The committee's chairman, Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos, expressed concerns about security implications of the resolution but ultimately voted in favor.
Turkey raised the possibility of impeding logistical and other U.S. military traffic now using Turkish airspace.
"Unfortunately, some politicians in the United States have once again sacrificed important matters to petty domestic politics despite all calls to commonsense," President Abdullah Gul was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency Anatolia.
"Naturally, this is a sad decision," said Nabi Sensoy, Turkey's ambassador to the U.S., minutes after the vote. "No one can allow others to put an undeserved stain on them."On Wednesday, hundreds of Turks marched to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul to protest the bill.
Armenian-American groups, who have worked for decades to pass a resolution, rejoiced at the committee's approval of the message.
"The Foreign Affairs Committee's adoption today of the Armenian Genocide Resolution represents a meaningful step toward reclaiming our right_ as Americans — to speak openly and honestly about the first genocide of the 20th Century," said Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America.
Earlier, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates conveyed their concerns.
Passing the measure "at this time would be very problematic for everything we are trying to do in the Middle East," Rice told reporters at the White House.
The vote comes at a tense time in the region. Turkey's government is seeking parliamentary approval for a military operation to chase separatist Kurdish rebels who operate from bases in northern Iraq. The move, opposed by the U.S., could open a new front in the most stable part of Iraq.
The White House and Turkey are now expected to pressure Democratic leaders to keep the measure from going to a vote. But Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has signaled that they will have a hard sell.
The administration made clear the stakes are high.
Gates said 70 percent of U.S. air cargo headed for Iraq goes through Turkey, as does about one-third of the fuel used by the U.S. military in Iraq.
"Access to airfields and to the roads and so on in Turkey would very much be put at risk if this resolution passes and Turkey reacts as strongly as we believe they will," Gates said. He also said that 95 percent of new vehicles designed to better protect against mine attacks are being flown through Turkey to get to Iraq.
Lawmakers from both parties who supported the proposal said the moral implications outweighed security concerns and friendship with Turkey.
"The sad truth is that the modern government of Turkey refuses to come to terms with this genocide," said Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J. "For Armenians everywhere, the Turkish government's denial is a slap in the face."
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the resolution's sponsor, who is not on the committee, said that he hoped that it would now move quickly to a vote on the House floor.
"America must speak candidly about the past not only to help heal the wounds of the survivors and the families of the victims, but to give the United States the moral authority it needs to take action against other genocides like that taking place today in Darfur," he said following the vote.
Pelosi and the second-ranking Democrat in the House, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, met Wednesday with Turkish Ambassador Sensoy but emerged from the meeting unswayed. Hoyer told reporters he expects a floor vote on the measure before the House adjourns for the year.
Hoyer said he hoped that Turkey would realize it is not a condemnation of its current government but rather of "another government, at another time."
Associated Press writer Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.
**House Foreign Affairs Committee: