September 25/07

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 8,16-18. No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away."

Lebanon: The Godfather Part Four. By: Tariq Alhomaye 24/09/2007
Analysis: Lebanese vote in balance.BBC News.September 24/07
Lebanon's president should be elected at the UN.By: Chibli Mallat. September 24/07
Hope for the best - but expect the worst of Lebanon's failed politicians.
The Daily Star. September 24/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for September 24/07
Geagea: No Consensus on pro-Syrian President-Naharnet
Lebanon's opposition to boycott presidential vote.Reuters
Lebanese factions still deadlocked ahead of vote.Middle East Times
Lebanon's Parliamentarians Demand Greater Security.AHN
Israel Concerned By Lebanon Killings.Naharnet

Security Umbrella over Downtown Beirut Ahead of Tuesday's Presidential Session-Naharnet
Syria Accuses March 14 of Seeking to 'Sabotage' Presidential Elections-Naharnet
Berri Still Hopeful of Breakthrough-Naharnet
Presidential Election Has Lebanese Parties In a Bitter Struggle.Washington Post
US invites Syria to peace talks.Guardian Unlimited
Hizbullah Wants Accord on New President Prior to Elections.Naharnet
'Chances of war with Syria still high'.Jerusalem Post
Syria: Report on commando unit operation fabricated.Ynetnews
Lebanon may deport Daniel Sharon.Ynetnews
Friends of Israeli Arrested in Lebanon Deny He is A Spy-Naharnet
To the international border, and no farther.Ha'aretz
Bush should engage with Syria.Financial Times
Israel Launches 'Warning' Website after Lessons Learned from Lebanon War-Naharnet
Ghanem slaying sparks new feeling of persecution among some Christians.AFP
Berri will let MPs try to work out differences at 'thaw' session
. Daily Star
Syria lashes out at accusations of role in Ghanem hit AFP
Presidential impasse adds to Lebanon's woes.By IRIN
What the US subprime crisis means for the Middle East
. Daily Star
Palestinian police arrest top Hamas cleric in West Bank.Daily Star
Amnesty accuses world of turning a blind eye to displaced Iraqis.Daily Star
Jumpy Israeli Air Force frets Syrian threat - again.

Security Umbrella over Downtown Beirut Ahead of Tuesday's Presidential Session

Lebanese troops and police have been tasked to provide a security umbrella over downtown Beirut ahead of Tuesday's presidential session.
The daily An Nahar said security would be boosted from Monday afternoon and will cover the whole vicinity of downtown Beirut which houses Parliament Headquarters in Nijmeh Square.
An Nahar said "special measures" would be taken around the tent city that has been erected since Dec.1 by the Hizbullah-led opposition in an effort to topple Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government. It said details of the actions were not announced.
Members of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority have demanded increased security ahead of Tuesday's presidential vote after the assassination of MP Antoine Ghanem.
Ghanem, a Damascus critic, and four other people were killed by a car bomb in Beirut's Sin el-Fil neighborhood on Wednesday, an attack pro-government parliamentarians blamed on Syria. Damascus denied involvement.
Ghanem was the eighth anti-Syrian politician to be assassinated since the February 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Leftist parliamentarian Elias Attallah demanded the introduction of security measures to protect the lives of lawmakers for the highly divisive vote, when parliament is to choose a successor to pro-Damascus President Emile Lahoud.
"Such measures must continue to be applied until a new president is elected," he told AFP, adding that "it is the duty of members of the majority to attend Tuesday's session in parliament."
"In order for the security to be total, the problem of the camp must be solved," he said, referring to the tent opposition city.
"The opposition must get rid of this encampment since it has renounced its claim of wanting a government of national unity and is now concentrating on efforts to find a consensus candidate for the presidency," Attallah said.
Druze chief Walid Jumblat, a leader of the parliamentary majority, was quoted in Sunday's Asharq al-Awsat Arabic-language daily as claiming that a plan existed to kill more majority MPs "so a pro-Syrian president is elected."
The anti-Damascus coalition now has 68 MPs in the 128-seat parliament following Wednesday's assassination of Ghanem.
A candidate, who by convention comes from the Maronite Christian community, needs a two-thirds quorum to be elected president in the first round, while a simple majority is enough in any subsequent round of voting.
Lebanese media speculated that the vote will not take place on Tuesday since three Parliamentary coalitions – Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement Bloc, Hizbullah's Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc and Nabih Berri's Development and Liberation Bloc – will boycott the session.
Sources said House Speaker Nabih Berri is likely to set Oct. 17 as a new date for the presidential session.
Around 40 majority MPs have installed themselves in the luxury Phoenicia Hotel about a kilometer way from the parliament building ahead of Tuesday's parliamentary session. The hotel, where security has always been strict, is now cordoned off by both the police and the army.
On Thursday the parliamentary majority called on the Arab League and UN Security Council to "adopt all the necessary measures to guarantee that the presidential election takes place on time in a bid to protect the Lebanese republic."(Naharnet-AFP) Beirut, 24 Sep 07, 10:00

Geagea: No Consensus on pro-Syrian President
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea announced Monday that March 14 MPs will not elect a new president tomorrow to "Keep the door open for further dialogue."
"Electing a new president doesn't necessarily mean achieving pre-election consensus on the head of state … We will not practice our constitutional right tomorrow (Tuesday) to keep the door open for further dialogue," Geagea told a news conference at his residence in Merab, north of Beirut. He accused the Hizbullah-led opposition of working for the election of a president "who remains at the service of Syrian (Intelligence) agencies. That is why they are trying to elect a president who would satisfy Syria.""Either they achieve that or prevent presidential elections. This is the Opposition's plan which puts us between Syria's hammer and the March 8 hard place," he added. Geagea described the March 14 alliance of being "the actual opposition. When they assassinate parliamentary deputies one after the other any discussion of quorum becomes useless."He said Lebanese opposition factions are to blame for the serial killings targeting anti-Syrian Lebanese figures.
"We do not blame the enemies of Lebanon, but we do blame internal factions who benefit from our (Shed) blood. We want a president who would continue the building of institutions to guarantee the Lebanese People's security and stability," Geagea added.
The assassination of March 14 MP Antoine Ghanem by a powerful car bomb blast in Beirut's eastern suburb of Sin el-Fil on Wednesday was "The 11th such attack in three years," Geagea recalled. Victims of the serial killings were "all against Syria's deployment in Lebanon and against the return of Syria's influence. So isn't it logical to blame Syria for the killings?" he asked.  Geagea blamed failure of efforts to expose the killers on security agencies.
"Security agencies are responsible, not Premier (Fouad) Saniora … We proposed changes in the security agencies and the judiciary, but obstacles always prevented that. Certain security agencies do not regard Syrian intelligence as an enemy and do not launch investigations in all issues they are asked to investigate," he stressed.
The Lebanese Forces leader said the March 8 opposition wants to "either prevent presidential elections or install a head of state similar to (pro-Syrian President Emile) Lahoud and they want to retain the present status of security agencies."
"Whoever delays the elections for even one moment puts Lebanon in the line of danger," Geagea stressed.
As for the traditional demand by the opposition for the formation of a government in which they enjoy veto powers, Geagea said: "Had such a government been formed, the army wouldn't have entered Nahr al-Bared" refugee camp in north Lebanon and finished off the Fatah al-Islam terrorist network. Settling the quorum controversy, according to Geagea, is the responsibility of Parliament "which the March 8 team doesn't resort to … We are not the side that has prevented parliament from convening."If Berri's Parliamentary bloc refrains from entering the assembly house to elect a president that would mean that the speaker's initiative "is not serious," Geagea concluded. Beirut, 24 Sep 07, 15:52

Syria Accuses March 14 of Seeking to 'Sabotage' Presidential Elections

Damascus on Monday accused Lebanon's anti-Syrian March 14 coalition of trying to sabotage the presidential poll in a grab for power in the neighboring country.
The government mouthpiece Tishrin said Syria would "accept the decision of the Lebanese people," but accused the majority of seeking to escalate tensions prior to the election, and "violating the Lebanese constitution in order to monopolize power."
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has called a special session of the assembly for Tuesday to elect a successor to pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, although it is not certain the vote will take place on that day.
"Syria won't intervene in Lebanese internal affairs, particularly in a presidential election," Tishrin said.
But it said that "things in Lebanon are not going in the right direction" and accused the United States and Israel of pulling the government's strings in Beirut.
"The United States and Israel are intervening directly in Lebanese internal affairs in pushing for the violation of the constitution to elect a president according to a special formula," it said.
It added that the parliamentary majority "is being pushed by the United States and Israel to hit at the unity of Lebanon in sabotaging the presidential election".
March 14 Forces has 68 MPs in the 128-seat parliament following last Wednesday's assassination of Antoine Ghanem, the eighth anti-Syrian politician to be assassinated since the February 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syria was forced to pull out its troops and end its three-decade domination of Lebanon after being blamed for Hariri's killing. Berri has warned that Tuesday's session will be postponed if parliament fails to reach a quorum of two-thirds of its members, amid fears of further attacks on anti-Syrian MPs. Walid Jumblat, a leader of the parliamentary majority, was quoted in Sunday's Asharq al-Awsat Arabic-language daily as claiming that a plan existed to kill more majority MPs "so a pro-Syrian president is elected."(AFP) Beirut, 24 Sep 07, 13:08

Berri Still Hopeful of Breakthrough
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri did not rule out the possibility of a breakthrough in Lebanon's political crisis, but said he would set a new date for presidential polls if quorum was not met. In remarks published by the daily As Safir on Monday, Berri said he would postpone the session until after the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Sources said Berri was likely to set Oct. 17 as the new date for presidential polls. Berri was quoted by As Safir as vowing to press forward with his initiative to resolve the country's deep political crisis. The speaker confirmed that he would meet with Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir in this regard, adding that he would launch a "mechanism" to continue all-party dialogue. Berri expressed hope that the warring Lebanese factions could still reach an agreement.
A number of meetings between opposition lawmakers and rival MPs from the ruling March 14 coalition is expected to take place at Berri's office in Parliament building on Tuesday, particularly between MP Saad Hariri and the speaker. Lebanese media on Monday said there is a chance that Druze leader Walid Jumblat might join them.Beirut, 24 Sep 07, 11:42

Israel Launches 'Warning' Website after Lessons Learned from Lebanon War
The Israeli army uncovered a new "Early Warning" website that will be used to caution Israelis of future attacks after the "lessons learned" from the summer 2006 war in Lebanon. "The Home Front Command, which sees great importance in the relations with the Israeli population, is now in the frontline of technology," Major General Yitzhak Gershon said in a statement. "The new website reflects the lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War."The site, at, will offer postings in English and Arabic as well as Hebrew providing emergency information such as live alerts for missile attacks, audio-visual instruction manuals, and forums with security experts. In July, Israel's state comptroller blasted Prime Minister Olmert for "intolerable" failures in protecting civilians during the 2006 war against Hizbullah.
In Israel, both the government and army are responsible for providing services to civilians in time of war, from maintenance of public shelters, to rescue, medical and basic administrative services. During the 34-day war with Hizbullah, the Shiite group fired over 4,000 rockets into Israel, forcing a million residents to flee, paralyzing the northern part of the country and catching the public shelters system unawares. Beirut, 24 Sep 07, 12:47

US invites Syria to peace talks
Mark Tran and agencies
Monday September 24, 2007
Guardian Unlimited
The US has invited Syria to attend an American-sponsored Middle East peace conference as President George Bush today embarked on a round of talks to push the initiative. The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, yesterday said that key Arab states, including Syria, would be invited to Mr Bush's planned conference and she hoped they would accept. The attendance of Syria and Saudi Arabia, neither of which has diplomatic relations with Israel, has been a big question mark of the conference. Riyadh, which carries particular weight in the Arab world, has voiced scepticism about such a meeting unless it delivers concrete results - a view shared by the Palestinian leadership.
The Arab League has also told the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, that it would not attend the conference without a moratorium on settlements.
Following a dinner attended by Arab ministers and the Middle East peace quartet - the US, the EU, the UN and Russia - the Saudi foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, yesterday said his country had not yet decided whether to accept any invitation. "We've got some answers but we still have some questions which we hope to be answered," he told reporters. Asked specifically if Saudi Arabia would attend the conference, he said: "We still need some more answers".
Syria's participation poses its own problems after Israel's recent mystery raid on suspected nuclear materials in Syria. But apart from a letter of complaint to the UN, the Damascus reaction has been low-key, prompting speculation that Israel and Syria are both trying to play down the incident.
Ms Rice met the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, last week, where the difference in their approaches was already apparent. Mr Abbas wants the conference to tackle specific issues - Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem and borders. But Mr Olmert is under pressure to keep the conference vague. The Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, last week warned Mr Olmert against a "withdrawal from Israeli principles that have stood for 40 years, merely to gain favour in the eyes of an American president who is leaving office in a year".
Mr Bush is scheduled to hold a series of meetings this week at the annual UN general assembly to push his idea for a peace conference. He is to meet Mr Abbas and the Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, later today. The president is also scheduled to meet Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, who is now an envoy for the quartet. In his meetings and speeches at the UN this week, Mr Bush will frame the Middle East conflict as part of a broad struggle for freedom - from terror, disease, poverty and illiteracy. Realistically, the prospects of success for Mr Bush's belated attempt for a Middle East settlement are slim. It comes late in his presidency and without the careful preparation that preceded the initiative by Bill Clinton at the end of his second term.

'Chances of war with Syria still high'

The IDF continued to maintain a high level of alert along the northern border on Sunday as senior defense officials told The Jerusalem Post that while close to three weeks have passed since Israel's alleged air strike in Syria, there is still a chance war could break out. Israeli F-15's lined up on an IAF runway.
Reflecting the escalation in tension, IDF troops were alerted to the northern border fence Sunday morning after the electronic alarm was activated, sparking fears of a possible infiltration from Syria. The army said the alarm went off after the fence was touched, and that tracks were spotted on the Syrian side of the border. Soldiers who arrived on the scene ruled out an infiltration, and the IDF said it was possible that a roving animal had triggered the alarm.
Sunday's incident followed the scrambling of two fighter jets on Saturday to the northern border after a Syrian military jet that was being tracked by Israel disappeared from military radar systems. A short time later, the IAF discovered that the Syrian jet had crashed in Syrian territory.
"The tension is still high and so is the level of alert," a defense official said Sunday. "What is reassuring is that the Syrians have not yet responded to the alleged strike, which hopefully means that they will continue to demonstrate restraint."
IAF chief Maj.-Gen. Elazar Shkedy said Sunday that Israel was currently in a "complex" situation and that the air force was prepared for all developments.
"The IAF has relevance in all types of conflicts - some that are nearby with countries that we share a border with and some that are farther away," he said during a tour of a Jerusalem high school. "We need to be well prepared and sharp as a razor ahead of anything that might happen."
Speaking at a Yom Kippur War memorial ceremony at Mt. Herzl on Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak also warned that the relative calm and quiet could not be understood at face value.
"If there is one lesson that can be learned from the Yom Kippur War, it's that we should not be mislead by deceptive periods of calm," he said in reference to the tension with Syria as well as diplomatic developments vis-à-vis the Palestinians. "The spirit of Israel must be prepared at every moment as if the next war is around the corner." Barak's remarks came hours after Britain's Sunday Times reported that soldiers from the IDF's elite General Staff Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal) had seized North Korean nuclear material from a secret Syrian military installation before it was bombed by IAF jets.
Quoting "informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem," the paper claimed that the alleged IAF attack on September 6 was sanctioned by the US after the Americans were given proof that the material was indeed nuclear-related.
The sources confirmed to the paper that the materials were tested after they were taken from Syria and were found to be of North Korean origin, which raised concerns that Syria may have been trying to come into the possession of nuclear arms. The commandos, according to the report, may have been disguised in Syrian army uniforms. It was also stated that Barak, who used to head the unit, personally oversaw the operation.
Israeli sources admitted that special forces had been accruing intelligence in Syria for several months, the report said, adding that evidence of North Korean activity at the installation was presented to President George Bush during the summer. According to the Times, North Korea and China believed that North Koreans were among the dead in the subsequent alleged IAF air strike. On Friday, the Washington Post reported that Israel and the United States had collaborated on intelligence ahead of the alleged IAF raid. According to the Post report, Israel informed the US over the summer that North Korean personnel were in Syria in order to assist the country's nuclear weapons program. The intelligence in question reportedly included satellite imagery.

Syria: Report on commando unit operation fabricated
Roee Nahmias Published: 09.24.07, 07:44 / Israel News
Syrian Information Minister Muhsin Bilal has denied the reports that an elite IDF commando unit seized nuclear material of North Korean origin during a daring raid on a secret military site in Syria before the reported IAF overflight this month.
"These reports are not true. This is a baseless fabrication like the ones that have been spread against Iraq," Bilal said in an interview with the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat published Monday.
Invitation Rice hopes Syria will attend peace conference / Associated Press
US Secretary of State says participation of key Arab nations 'important' for success of upcoming summit. 'Regional players of international community must mobilize to support Israel and Palestinians,' says Rice. Syria yet to respond
Full story
Bilal added that "the Syrian response will come when the time is right. We are following the situation closely. We have no trust in the enemy, and we are aware of the fact that it has expansion plans.
During the interview, Bilal was asked if Syria expected further Israeli activities in its area and replied that as far as the government in Damascus was concerned, "Everything is possible. Israel has America's support. They are provoking the international community and have not implemented even one Security Council resolution. They say one thing and do something else."
According to the Syrian minister, the Israeli government was carrying out offensives in order to conceal its weakness.
"The Olmert government is a very weak government and can do anything in order to improve its situation. We seek peace and demand the return of our rights and land. We know for certain that the Golan Heights will be fully returned to Syria. The other side, however, talks about peace only for internal purposes and carries out offensives and violates the international resolutions day after day."
Asked whether Damascus has made any decision ahead of another potential Israeli operation, the Syrian minister replied, "As long as we are aware of their aggressive intentions, that they are suppressing evil and continuing to provoke the international community, they must stop and obey the international law."
'Israel interfering in Lebanese politics'
Meanwhile, Syria accused Israel and United States of interfering in Lebanon's internal issues. In an editorial published in the Tishrin daily, one of the Syrian government's mouthpieces, Syria claimed that it was not involved in the crisis regarding the presidential elections in Lebanon, as opposed to Israel and the US.
"Syria does not interfere in the Lebanese issue, and will support anything the Lebanese agree upon. This is an unequivocal issue."
According to the article, Israel and the US are trying to bolster the anti-Syrian camp in Lebanon while sabotaging the unity among the Lebanese people.
"What attracts the attention is that what Syria is not allowed to do, others like the US and Israel are allowed to. They publicly interfere in the internal Lebanese issue, supporting the February 14 group (a derogatory name for the anti-Syrian camp) and urging it to violate the constitution and elect a president, regardless of the results.
"This strengthens the estimation that things in Lebanon are not moving in the right direction, and that this group is supported by the US and Israel in order to harm the national Lebanese unity."

Mubarak voices deep regret over assassination in Lebanon

September 24, 2007
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday voiced deep regret over the recent assassination in Lebanon and called for peace and stability in the sisterly Arab country, the Egyptian official news agency MENA reported. Mubarak, who made the remarks while touring youth housing projects in 6th October City in southwest of Cairo, expressed his hope that such kind of assassinations would stop and the stability would return to Lebanese life.
"Stop it please, for we have enough problems in Palestine, Iraq, Darfur and Somalia," Mubarak was quoted as saying.
Earlier on Wednesday, Lebanese Christian lawmaker Antoine Ghanem was killed along with some others during an explosion in the Sin el-Fil district, a Christian suburb east of Beirut. The explosion took place just a week before a parliament meeting due on Sept. 25, during which a new head of state will be elected to replace the incumbent President Emile Lahoud. As for the imminent presidential voting, the Egyptian president said that he hopes the Lebanese would be able to pick their own president. Lebanon has been rocked by a series of assassinations in recent years. In June, a similar blast in Beirut killed lawmaker Walid Eido and nine others.
Source: Xinhua

Rice: Syria, Lebanon 'natural invitees' to peace conference

By Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent and Reuters
Last update - 09:48 24/09/2007
At a meeting of the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators Sunday, the United States signaled it would invite Syria and other Arab states to the U.S.-hosted Middle East peace conference planned for November, but suggested they must renounce violence and genuinely seek an end to the conflict.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said members of an Arab League panel comprised of the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt were "natural invitees" to the U.S.-hosted conference.
Only Jordan and Egypt have full relations with Israel, while Syria is deeply estranged from the state and is accused of providing arms and money to Hezbollah and Palestinian terror organizations including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The Quartet urged Israel to keep power and fuel flowing to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, however Rice suggested that attendance at the fall summit came with some conditions. "Coming to this meeting also brings with it certain responsibilities," Rice told reporters at a news conference after the meeting of the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union. "We hope that those who come are really committed to helping the Israelis and the Palestinians find a way through. And that means renouncing violence, it means working for a peaceful solution," she added.
The United States wants other Arab states to take part in the conference as a way to build support for a broader peace between Israel and its neighbors.
Rice would not say unequivocally that invitations would be extended to Syria, Saudi Arabia and the other members of the Arab League panel created to follow up on the group's 2002 peace plan. A senior U.S. official said, however, that the U.S. would do so.
That plan, initially floated by Saudi Arabia, called on Israel to withdraw from all Arab land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, reach an "agreed, just" solution for Palestinian refugees, and accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Following a dinner between the Quartet and Arab ministers, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Riyadh had not yet decided whether it would accept any invitation. "We've got some answers but we still have some questions which we hope to be answered," he told reporters, adding that Saudi Arabia had not yet decided whether it would attend the summit. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said he expected "the majority" of Arab invitees to attend.
Rice told the news conference the meeting would be "substantive and serious" and would deal with the core issues of Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem and borders.
There has been deep skepticism among Arab diplomats about the U.S. effort this year to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace after six years of what critics regard as relative neglect. There is also little detail about the conference that the United States is expected to host, including exactly when and where it would be held and who would be invited. In a statement after its meeting, the Quartet said it hoped by the end of the year to find a way to resume direct funding to the government of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. It called on Israel to maintain "essential services" to Gaza, the coastal strip ruled by Hamas, after Israel declared the area an "enemy entity" and said it would reduce fuel and power supplies in response to rocket attacks by Palestinians.

Presidential Election Has Lebanese Parties In a Bitter Struggle

By Alia Ibrahim
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, September 24, 2007; Page A12
BEIRUT, Sept. 23 -- Some members of Lebanon's parliament are living in a luxury hotel with tight security. Others rarely leave their homes and frequently change their cars and cellphones to foil potential assassins. Still others are abroad, planning to return just hours ahead of a parliamentary session Tuesday in which legislators will begin the process of electing the country's next president.
For members of the ruling March 14 coalition, named for a massive demonstration in 2005 that helped end Syria's 29-year military presence in Lebanon, the election of a head of state represents another battle in their struggle to rid themselves of Syrian domination.
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For the opposition, led by the Shiite Hezbollah movement backed by Syria and Iran, the contest is a chance to claim a role in government commensurate with its popular support.
"The revolution of independence is going to be completed, and the election of a new president is going to mark the beginning of a new stage, that of Lebanon's real independence," said former president Amin Gemayel, a leading March 14 supporter.
Following the assassination of anti-Syrian lawmaker Antoine Ghanem last week, the fourth member of the current parliament to be killed since 2005, members of the pro-Western ruling coalition have asked the United Nations and the Arab League to protect the election from what they say could be Syrian attempts to block it.
The opposition has pressed for a consensus on a candidate. But its members have vowed to boycott the session and prevent a quorum from being reached.
"There isn't going to be a session outside the frame of an agreement over the name of a president," Hezbollah lawmaker Nawar Sahli said Sunday.
The March 14 forces and the opposition have been speaking for weeks about the importance of reaching such a consensus, but each side accuses the other of sabotaging any prospects for an agreement. Neither side seems ready for a compromise that would forestall at least two possible alternatives: the establishment of two rival governments or the naming of an interim military head of state.
Following the Syrian withdrawal in 2005, the March 14 movement tried to force incumbent President Emile Lahoud to resign. But because of the opposition's support of the president and other mostly sectarian considerations, the effort was aborted.
According to a power-sharing custom, the country's president is chosen from the Maronite Christian community. The prime minister is traditionally Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of parliament is Shiite. Despite the abolition of some of the president's jurisdiction by the 1989 Taif Accord, which put an end to Lebanon's civil war, the president remains the top authority in Lebanon.
Lahoud is expected to step down Nov. 24. Unless a new president is elected by that date, his powers would automatically be transferred to the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, which would be in control until a president is elected.
But Lahoud has said that he would not release the authority to "an illegitimate and unconstitutional government."
Lebanon has been politically paralyzed since November 2006 by the opposition's demands for more power, a string of assassinations and bombings, and a nearly four-month battle between security forces and an al-Qaeda-inspired group with alleged links to Syria. More than 300 soldiers, extremists and civilians died in the fighting.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, head of the Shiite Amal movement and a Hezbollah ally, has said he would wait to see if a quorum is reached Tuesday before beginning the election process. Otherwise, he said, he would call for another session in two or three weeks.
Christian leader Samir Geagea and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt have repeatedly said that a president must be elected by the end of Lahoud's term, by a simple majority if necessary. Their remarks have stirred deep divisions over constitutional interpretations.
Some members of the March 14 coalition, which in principle controls 68 of the 128 votes in parliament, insist that a two-thirds quorum is necessary only in the first round of voting, after which an absolute majority is sufficient to elect a president.
But even some March 14 members say the two-thirds quorum is necessary; all 11 Lebanese presidents since 1943 have been elected by such a quorum.
Opposition figures have repeatedly said they would not recognize a president elected by an absolute majority. Former general Michel Aoun, a Christian leader allied with Hezbollah, has called a majority quorum heresy. Berri, the speaker, said he would consider a president elected by such a majority a "pirate."

To the international border, and no farther
By Alexander Yakobson
Last update - 10:12 24/09/2007
The Syrian regime is not currently popular internationally. This lack of popularity, which was caused by the Syrians themselves, works in Israel's favor from various points of view - as was proven by the international ?(non?) response to what reportedly happened recently in Syria's skies.
But let us not delude ourselves: Syria's demand that its sovereignty over the Golan Heights be restored enjoys strong international support - not out of love for Bashar Assad, and not even for love of international law as such, but rather because the stability of recognized international borders is a vital interest of the international community. The result is that, on one hand, Israel is not being pressured to leave the Golan Heights, but on the other, there is no chance that Israel will ever be able to sign a peace treaty with Syria that includes annexing the Golan or any part of it.
Therefore, Israel will not lose a thing if it declares its readiness to restore Syrian sovereignty over the Golan when peace comes. Those who believe that there never will be peace with Syria will not have to worry about a declaration of this kind. But those who assume that sooner or later, the two countries will reach an agreement must know that as part of that agreement, Israel will have to leave the heights.
Meanwhile, regardless of the chances of making peace in the near future, it is in Israel's interest to convince the international community that the conflict between the countries does not stem from Israel's desire to control Syrian sovereign territory forever.
This does not mean that the territorial price of an agreement with Syria is known and predetermined. The Syrians do not recognize the international border; they demand that Israel withdraw to the lines of June 4, 1967. The difference between the two lines is minute, but it relates to a vital Israeli interest: control of the shores of Lake Kinneret, to which the Syrians would like to extend their border - even though the entire lakeshore is on the Israeli side of the international border.
This demand cannot be accepted. "Full withdrawal in return for full peace" means putting an end to the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights - not restoring the Syrian occupation of the Galilee, which resulted from the war that Syria launched in 1948 out of opposition to the UN plan to partition Palestine.
Today, because Israel fails to recognize the international border, the impression has been created internationally that Syria is demanding something that belongs to it legally, while Israel is refusing. The truth is that Syria is demanding more than what it is entitled to, while Israel, during the negotiations held by Ehud Barak's government, made a fair and reasonable proposal, which the Syrians rejected. Under the terms of this proposal, which was made during a meeting between then presidents Bill Clinton and Hafez Assad in Geneva in 2000, Barak suggested the return of the Golan Heights together with an exchange of territory on both sides of the international border. The plan stated that Syria would receive a larger area than Israel, but Israel would continue to control, and even strengthen its control over, the shores of Lake Kinneret. The claim that Barak took fright at the last minute and missed the opportunity for peace with Syria refers to what happened during an intermediate stage of the negotiations, which took place in Shepherdstown. But the talks did not end there; they ended in Geneva, where Assad vociferously rejected any agreement that would not bring the Syrians to the shores of Lake Kinneret. In this way, Israel first renounced the Golan in negotiations, and then renounced the political advantages of this concession. The first concession was essential, and from the diplomatic point of view, it cannot be retrieved. The second concession was totally unnecessary.

Bush should engage with Syria
By Mitchell Reiss/FT.COM
Published: September 23 2007
These days the Middle East is where diplomacy goes to die, with the conflict in Iraq, Iran’s unchecked nuclear weapons ambitions, civil war among the Palestinians and growing threats from terrorist groups. Yet the time may be ripe for the Bush administration to reprise its greatest diplomatic success and test whether Syria, like Libya before it, can be persuaded to change its behaviour and play a more constructive role.
At first glance, Syria appears an unlikely candidate for a diplomatic breakthrough. President Bashar Assad brutally stifles all domestic dissent. Damascus continues to undermine democracy in Lebanon and has been implicated in the 2005 car-bombing of Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri. Syria opposes the Middle East peace process. It harbours Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who refuses to recognise Israel’s right to exist. It provides weapons to Hizbollah and has weapons of mass destruction programmes (which may have been the target of the recent Israeli air strike inside Syria) and supports other radical groups. Damascus has become close to Iran, working together to destabilise the region.
The Bush administration has opposed direct talks with Syria, viewing them as “legitimising” the Assad regime. Instead, it has ostracised Syria, recalled the US ambassador and used financial sanctions to squeeze Damascus. The idea of forcible regime change has even been aired by US officials.
It would be better if the administration relearnt the lessons of its successful engagement with Libya. In 2003, Britain entered extended negotiations with the son of Libyan leader Muammer Gadaffi. The US was brought in to close the deal. In return for normal relations with the US and Europe, Mr Gadaffi agreed to halt his sponsorship of terror and the verified dismantling of his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes.
Is a similar deal possible with Syria, with Israel serving as America’s proxy? This summer, Israel’s media reported that the two sides had been holding secret talks, although it is unclear how much substantive progress was made. Ehud Olmert, Israeli prime minister, has so far been reluctant officially to push this opening further. There are also credible reports that the Bush administration has strongly discouraged him from engaging Damascus.
This reluctance is short-sighted. A change in Syria’s behaviour would have numerous benefits for both Tel Aviv and Washington. A normalised Syrian-Israeli relationship would remove a frontline state that has previously worked to disrupt the Middle East peace process. It would weaken Hamas, while strengthening Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, and other moderates willing to negotiate a two-state solution. In addition, turning Damascus would hurt Hizbollah and better secure Israel’s northern flank. Syria has been a big arms supplier for Hizbollah in southern Lebanon. Part of any deal with Syria would also include far greater enforcement of its border with Iraq to prevent infiltrations by suicide bombers. Removing this source of terror will be increasingly important as the US transfers more authority to Iraqi forces.
Successful engagement with Syria would be a blow to Iran, reducing both its regional swagger and malevolent influence over Lebanese domestic affairs and the Middle East peace process. Peeling away Tehran’s strategic partner would also subtly reinforce the regional division between the Arabs and the Persians, thereby helping Washington bring greater pressure on Iran to curtail its nuclear ambitions.
In the Middle East, things never get better with time, they get worse. Left to its own devices, Syria will continue its support for Hizbollah, erode Lebanese democracy and play a spoiler’s role in advance of the Bush administration’s planned November regional peace conference. More worrying, in a few years’ time, Iran may be able to extend its nuclear umbrella over Syria, which could embolden Damascus, Hizbollah and extremist groups in Gaza and the West Bank to engage in provocative behaviour while limiting Israel’s freedom of action.
Libya stands as the Bush administration’s greatest diplomatic achievement, unless it can be duplicated. At a time when American credibility in the Middle East is increasingly questioned because of the Iraq war, a successful engagement with Syria would demonstrate US commitment to Israel’s security, a just peace for the Palestinians and regional stability. The writer, vice-provost for international affairs at the College of William & Mary, was director of policy planning at the US State department, 2003-05 Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

Friends of Israeli Arrested in Lebanon Deny He is A Spy
An Israeli man arrested in Lebanon on suspicion of involvement in murder and espionage owes his plight to his fascination with the Arab world and his trusting nature, relatives and acquaintances said. Daniel Sharon, 32, is being interrogated by Lebanese military police, a Lebanese military official told The Associated Press.
Sharon, who holds German and Israeli citizenship, converted to Islam years ago and had a special passion for Lebanon -- an enemy country where Israelis have been kidnapped and held in the past, they said. An Israeli government official insisted that Sharon was not working with Israeli authorities in any role.
Shaul Mofaz, Israel's transportation minister, told Israel Radio that Sharon entered Lebanon "on his own accord" and in doing so had "crossed the line" -- a reference to the ban on Israelis visiting enemy countries. The events leading to Sharon's arrest last Thursday began when authorities in Beirut questioned a Lebanese security agent in connection with the shooting death of the man's roommate, according to the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar.
The agent claimed to have been with a German friend at a Beirut hotel at the time of the killing. When authorities questioned the German friend, they discovered he was an Israeli who spoke Arabic and who had repeatedly visited Lebanon, the report said. Al-Akhbar reported on Monday that the dead man might have killed himself.
Sharon, who entered Lebanon on his German passport, told police his visits to Lebanon were for tourism and that he was a homosexual who had relationships with Lebanese men, according to the report.
Because Israelis are not allowed to visit Lebanon, Sharon was immediately suspect and was transferred to military police.
Al-Akhbar on Monday quoted an unidentified security official as saying that so far, the investigation has not linked Sharon to any security activity in Lebanon. The report quoted observers as saying that Lebanese authorities were inclined to let him go if he is not linked to an espionage or murder case.
A friend of Sharon's, Maram Hamud, an Israeli Arab lawyer, dismissed the possibility that Sharon was spying for Israel.
Hamud described Sharon as someone who "loves Arabic and Islamic culture very much" and spends most of his time outside of Israel, mainly in the Gulf nation of Dubai. Hamud said Sharon was the son of divorced parents, a homosexual who "feels comfortable" in Lebanon and who recently started going by the last name "Trabilsi" -- meaning someone who hails from the Lebanese city of Tripoli.
"There is something childlike about him," Hamud said, explaining that children "do what they like to do, without giving it much thought. They're not calculated."
In October 2000, an Israeli reserve colonel, Elhanan Tannenbaum, was captured by the Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbullah after being lured to the Persian Gulf on a false passport. Tannenbaum, who later admitted he was involved in a drug deal through which he hoped to pay off his debts, was held for more than three years in Lebanon before being released in a prisoner swap.
Hizbullah is currently holding two Israeli soldiers it captured in July, 2006, in a raid that sparked a fierce month long conflict with Israel. The men's condition is unknown. Sharon's father, Moshe Sharon, told Israel's Army Radio that his son had only good intentions.
Asked if Daniel was an Israeli spy, he said, "No, no, there is no chance. This boy doesn't even smoke, he doesn't drink, he's not a criminal."
Daniel was "childish" and it's possible that he could get mixed up "with the wrong people and didn't know what he was getting into," Sharon said.
Sharon, who said he had thought Daniel was in Cyprus, said he heard about his arrest in the media on Saturday and contacted Israel's Foreign Ministry and German authorities, because his son is German through his mother. "We feel totally helpless because we're an enemy country, and there's nothing I can do besides receive information about him and let the authorities deal with it," Sharon said, adding he feared Daniel could be held in Lebanon for years.
Exceptional among Israeli Jews for his identification with Arab culture, a young Sharon was interviewed by the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot in 1996, after his first visit to Lebanon. In the article, Sharon said he had been in Beirut during an Israeli offensive against Hezbollah, and said he felt "disappointed" when he saw an Israeli assault helicopter flying overhead evade a Lebanese missile.
Photographed wearing an Arab headdress around his neck, Sharon recounted how he bought a copy of the Quran, the Islamic holy book, at age 16 and later converted to Islam. Disillusioned with Israeli policy, he said, he went AWOL from his Israeli combat engineering unit while doing compulsory military service and was discharged early after serving five months in an army jail.
"To a certain extent I feel I don't have any connection to Judaism, I'm Muslim," Sharon said.
He went to Jordan after the two countries signed a peace deal in 1994, and later traveled to Lebanon.
"I love the Lebanese. They're the most wonderful people in the Middle East," Sharon told the paper, praising Beirut's beaches and nightlife.
On Sunday, Israel's Foreign Ministry said only that it was looking into the matter. Germany's ambassador to Lebanon was in contact with Lebanese authorities about the case, a German Foreign Ministry official said on customary condition of anonymity. During Israel's 18-year occupation of a border strip in southern Lebanon, Lebanese authorities arrested and jailed many people on charges of spying or working for Israel. Israel pulled out of Lebanon in 2000.(AP) Beirut, 24 Sep 07, 11:11

Lebanon's president should be elected at the UN
By Chibli Mallat
Monday, September 24, 2007
As the center of gravity shifts to the UN, we need to reflect on the allures and dangers of what I have called over-determination, that is, the overbearing nature of international interests on the domestic Lebanese battleground. This conjures up a strong feeling of deja vu. Back in late August 2004, from Sydney, Australia, for the Truth and Responsibility campaign launched with Sadreddin Sadr, the endearing son of Imam Musa Sadr who was "disappeared" in Libya in 1978, I got in touch with a number of leading Lebanese figures, including Walid Jumblatt and Ghassan Tueni. I wasn't on good terms with Jumblatt at the time, who had accused me of being "a hired pen for Paul Wolfowitz," but I thought the matter was too grave not to try doing something with the better side of the Mukhtara prince. Then the (in)famous UN Resolution 1559 was being discussed in New York with little or no input from Lebanon. So I suggested we meet in New York to help shape the Security Council decision. We know now what the frustrated presidential change in September 2004 meant for the country.
As the situation takes a sharp turn for the worse, I am afraid we need to consider meeting in New York for the presidential elections. By we, I mean all the Lebanese who are ready to do so, and more specifically the MPs who want to cast their vote for a new president without fear for their lives. I had hoped before Antoine Ghanem was assassinated that this would not be needed, but the polarization, which will get worse in the coming few days, compels a safety route that has New York as its natural safe haven.
The need for enhanced security also holds for the declared, serious candidates: Since the Lebanese Parliament will be closed for the occasion, or opened only if the speaker sees fit (and, alas, he is partisan), I prefer for the meeting to be held in the shadow of the UN Security Council (UNSC). So it is time for the council and the UN to realize that they cannot produce resolutions and wash their hands of the consequences. In that case at least, global democracy will have come of age.
Here is a more structured proposal: On the basis of the still unimplemented Resolution 1559 ("the UNSC requests ... free and fair presidential elections in Lebanon without outside influence or interference"), the UNSC president should call upon all the Lebanese MPs, including the oppositional members, to hold their meeting in a safe place and invite them to the UN premises in New York as one possibility.
Why New York? Preferably, it would be Beirut, but can the UN really secure the meeting of MPs in Lebanon short of sending troops? In the same way that we have been forced to have the seat of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon sitting in the Hague, we need that vital democratic occasion for the country's future to happen in the coming few weeks. If one has a better choice than New York, as the seat of the UN, so be it. I cannot think of one, really, that will attract enough attention for the president-elect to rally the immense international legitimacy needed for the country not to split apart.
One side advantage of this proposal is to give every Lebanese faction a democratic voice with international exposure: I can imagine the allure for Hizbullah MPs to be able to visit the US without risk of being arrested and to be seen and heard in a more humane habitat. But this is by the way, and if this proposal develops, I will offer the arguments to the US administration and to the Hizbullah leaders that will make them frown less on the proposal. The more important things are our MPs' security and the security and transparency of the electoral process for what is clearly going to be a unique Middle Eastern weathervane for war and peace. No presidential election in Lebanon means a countdown to certain war, domestic and regional, within weeks. The brinksmanship we have been hearing from the protagonists, domestic and regional, over the past days is a sure indicator of the violence to come if the presidential process is not carried out successfully.
In late August 2004, my suggestion to Jumblatt and Tueni went nowhere. I regret not to have told it to Mr. Hariri. Maybe Rafik Hariri would still be with us, had I behaved more proactively then. At least, this time, I am putting this proposal on the public record.
**Chibli Mallat is a lawyer and a candidate for the Lebanese presidency.

Washington DC, September 23, 2007/MEAC Press Release/ --
The Middle-Eastern American Coalition (MEAC) condemn the visit to New York by president Mahmoud Ahmadinajead of Iran and president Emile Lahoud of Lebanon. The visit of both men to speak at the UN and president Ahmadinajead to speak at Columbia University undermine the very essence of the freedom we yearn to protect from those intent on using terrorism as a tool of subversion and destruction.
Although the United States has an agreement in place with the United Nations to grant an entry visa to their guests, MEAC believe it is time to change these antiquated rules as the world faces the rise of another like-Hitler figures in the Middle East represented by the triumvirate axis of terror Ahmadinajead-Assad-Lahoud.
The very essence of freedom of speech is at the heart of our concern when men like Ahmadinajead and Lahoud use their freedom to speak as a propaganda tool to further divide the interests of the free world and its ability to speak freely about the atrocities committed by these men against their own people. Their freedom to speak is hindering ours.
Further, we believe that the leadership of Columbia University is sorely mistaken in its logic of providing a forum to speak to president Ahmadinajead. This sensitive issue should have been put to some sort of a democratic process with the students and alumni of Columbia University voting whether an invitation is in the best interests of the university. Inviting such a divisive figure will needlessly create discord among the Columbia University community.
Ahmadinajead and Lahoud deserve to be snubbed by the international community
as the triumvirate snub the majority will of their own people. It is time for the free world to understand that as long as Iranians and Syrians are prevented from expressing the will of the majority of their people, and the Lebanese the will of their elected majority, continued support for terrorism will go unabated by these men representing the axis of terror. Only a free Syria, a free Iran, and a free Lebanon will ease tensions in the region and bring about the real peace so desired by all.
A Rally is planned for Monday September 24, 2007 at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza - Across from the UN, 12 Noon; (2nd Avenue at 47th Street)

The Wrath of Iran and Syria on Lebanon's Democracy
International Community stands to lose much more then meets the eye
International Community help is needed now – more then ever

Eblan Farris, editor Cedars Revolution News, Washington D.C.
24 September 2007
Most Recent Assassination against the Pro Democracy Cedars Revolution Leader in Lebanon
This past week Lebanon witnessed a horrific terrorist act that saw another Anti-Syrian Cedars Revolution, pro Democracy minister of the Lebanese Parliament (MP) being assassinated. Antoine Ghanem succumbed to his death in a powerful car bomb that was placed in a vehicle behind his. Along with MP Ghanem, were 5 people killed and another 92 wounded. All the wounded were civilians not related to the targeted MP. One horrendous sight at the scene was a woman bystander who stood by to watch her mother decapitated by falling glass.
Antoine Ghanem is the eighth anti-Syrian Lebanese to be assassinated since 2005. The motives behind the killings is clear, to reduce the Majority of Lebanese fighting for Democracy in the region, the Cedars Revolution representation in Parliament and tilt the votes to help Iran, Syria and their Proxy Opposition Parties in Lebanon in the upcoming Presidential Elections which start on September 25th.
How much can the Cedars Revolution and Majority Backing Populous endure?
Terror War against the Cedars Revolution – 2005 - present
There has been a directed terror war against Lebanon's Cedars Revolution and its quest for freedom, sovereignty, independence and democracy by the Iranian & Syrian Regimes. The plan to intimidate the population into submission has been ghastly. Iranian & Syrian directed assassinations, attempted assassinations, attacks on the Lebanese Armed Forces, and intimidation bombings have all taken place since 2005.
The list of assassinations includes: Rafic Hariri, Basil Fliehan, Samir Kassir, George Hawi, Gebran Tueni, Pierre Gemayel, Walid Eido, Antoine Ghanem. Total of 8 targeted Assassinations, (55 + deaths total). All of them anti-Syrian, Cedars Revolution Leaders.
Attempted Assassinations
The list of attempted assassinations includes MP Marwan Hamadi, Defense Minister Elias Murr, Lebanon Broadcast Corp TV's May Chidiac, and Lead investigator in Hariri Case, Lt. Col. Samir Shehade (4 others died). All of them anti-Syrian, aligned with the Cedars Revolution.
Attacks against the Lebanese Armed Forces
28 Lebanese Solders were assassinated while sleeping in their barracks on May 23rd – thus starting a war against the Lebanese Armed Forces in Northern Lebanon's Nahr al Bared in which 164 Soldiers Died (most of them from Gunshot wounds to the head) and 222 terrorist killed.
Intimidation Bombings in Lebanon
Over 37 bombings to intimidate the populous have taken place.
Lebanon has endured a lot on their day to day life as a result of these attacks. The sitting Prime Minister has not resided in his home for the past year, due to threats against his life. He and other parliamentary leaders are holed up in a Government building called the Grand Serail. It is unheard of today in Western Democracies that leaders bring their mattresses with them to their office for fear of assassination.
The parliament members that represent the Cedars Revolution and who are the majority, have all had their lives threatened in recent past and are all either outside of the country or are in hiding under cover in Lebanon. Most if not all of them express their outrage at this attack on Lebanon by the Foreign forces of Syria and Iran, with little or no solution from the West, the UN or the United States . Most Lebanese will express in private their wishes that the United States or UN forces expand throughout Lebanon, cutoff Syrian illegal arms transfers, and secure the state. Every corner of Lebanon cries out in private that the only way to achieve a change in Iranian and Syrian behavior is through a Direct Military Confrontation, and they all know that this is possibly on the horizon, but they express that their will is being worn down with the wait of such a day.
Solving the Lebanon Problem
Root Cause Problem
The root cause to Lebanon's problems today is a Directed War by Iran and Syria against the Cedars Revolution and the Country of Lebanon.
Iran is acting against all international norms and the United Nations Charter, by manipulating the internal affairs of another nation and illegally circumventing the Lebanese Government in providing billions of dollars to Hizbullah, to other militia that they sponsor, to Muslim Mufti's and Sheikhs to silence them and others. Syria is bluntly providing (against UN Resolution 1701) money, supplies, arms and training to Lebanese Militias.
Syria, also acting against all international norms and the United Nations Charter, is manipulating the internal affairs of another nation and illegally circumventing the Lebanese Government, with its Intelligence Agents who are widely operating out of Lebanon; these are the ones that clearly did not leave in May 2005 when the Majority of the Syrian Army was forced out by UN Resolution 1559.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Members (estimates of up to 2,500) are operating in the Bekaa Valley to train, supply and direct Hezbollah and other militias in Lebanon.
Long Term Gain – what does Syria and Iran want in Lebanon?
Syria wants to reassert her control over Lebanon; Iran wants to continue spreading its extremism to neighboring countries with the ultimate goal of returning back the Persian Empire – controlling 80% of the Worlds produced oil supplies and arming itself with Nuclear Weapons.
Near Term Gain
Both Syria and Iran wish to use Lebanon as a staging ground to Wipe Israel off the map.
Modus of Operandi – how to achieve these goals
There are two war rooms setup in Damascus and Tehran to deal with Iraq and Lebanon – one plans, operates and executes the destabilization efforts in Iraq and another does the same for the destabilization efforts in Lebanon.
The infiltration of Iranian and Syrian Money, Arms, Training and Orders to Proxy groups in Lebanon is similar to those given to insurgents in Iraq today.
The plan is similar to 4th Generation warfare with the goal of gaining American forces retreat from the region. The plan - execute a supply chain of weapons and orders to insurgents, as the plan is executed the outcome will terrorize the populous into submission and enrage the American Public and some officials to a point where they start a retreat.
Just as the Iraqi civilians are experiencing today, the Lebanese spirit will be worn down by the continued horror. The American public's patience with the war will be worn down as well. Once the West pulls back – Iran and its partner Syria fill the vacuum.
The stakes are very high, if the West does retreat – the implications of an extremist regime, such as Iran controlling the Worlds oil supply is unimaginable to the free world's economies, an even worse scenario will be the entire annihilation of the State of Israel with its 6 million civilians will be. The Global War on Terror will lose more then we have since 911.
Solution - For Iraq, the Surge
For Iraq the Surge is implemented and is succeeding. The surge is not just a troop increase, but a real plan directed at Iranian and Syrian intervention through its Iraqi insurgents. The West is effectively conveying the following points successfully:
A clear message delivered to the terrorist insurgents and Syrian / Iranian operatives that coalition forces are coming after you and will not accept anything but clear and total victory.
A Killer is a Killer, and the only way to stop the killings it to bring justice to the killers. The US and coalition forces will make no favorite lists when dealing with terrorist killers – they will all be pursued equally and justice will be delivered.
At the same time – when the Iraqis realize that the big fight is over, they are invited to contribute to the security of their own nation – where they form an alliance that works with the coalition forces now instead of against them.
The US and the West are in the Middle East (specifically Iraq) to stay – no wavering, actually both sides of congress agree on this – even if we pair down the American forces – American and Coalition forces will be in Iraq for years to come and will not leave a vacuum that Iran and Syria can fill. The message has been delivered and needs continuing reminders.
Political reform along with economic advancements continues.
This recipe for success in the Global War on Terror, with reference to the Iraqi file is in work and all signs are that we are gaining.
Solution for Lebanon – Solve the Root Cause Problem
Lebanon immediately needs the international community to come together and support a United Nations Chapter 7 Resolution to reverse the downward spiral that continues to gain momentum that Lebanon is going through since the attacks on the Cedars Revolution began in 2005.
This Chapter 7 Resolution should:
Implement a UN expansion of UNIFIL to provide security to the civil society in Lebanon, as well as to March 14 members that are being targeted for Assassination (till an election for the Presidency concludes).
Monitor Lebanon's Borders to Assure UNSCR 1701 is not violated (to prevent illegal arms transfers to militias, illegal terrorists infiltrating Lebanon)
UNIFIL (with Lebanese troops/ISF) to provide for a secure venue for the Presidential Elections.
Bring Justice to the Killers – Tribunal (advance the timetable)
Fully implement all UN Resolutions with respect to Lebanon (1559/1701...) start a program of disarming the Militias in the Lebanese State. In Accordance with the Taef agreement that all sides in the Lebanon are signatory to, UNSCR 1559, UNSCR 1680 and UNSCR 1701
Provide security to the Palestinian camps (disarm militias in camps)
Lebanon is being high jacked by Syria and Iran. As Syria and Iran violate the Basic UN Charter on respect for human rights, and UNSCR's including 1701, the Arab world and the international community react with no real action towards solving the root cause problem and pass a Chapter 7 resolution. As Syria and Iran continue to exert maximum interference in Lebanon, some foreign powers have the tenacity to ask the Lebanese to come to a political compromise. Since 911, this is the first time a country is asked to compromise with the terror agenda and compromise on its sovereignty and independence, but not the first time Lebanon has been asked to take the brunt in the region.
The young Lebanese democracy (coming out of 30 years of Syrian Occupation) is not strong enough – either politically or militarily to stop this interference. A Chapter 7 Resolution will assure that no foreign country can come into Lebanon and buy off the populous or supply arms and money to militias and terror gangs, and mostly assure the security of its citizens from assassinations. This freeing of Lebanon from Foreign Intervention and meddling will allow the Lebanese to determine their own future path freely.
It is Very Crucial to Lebanon's future and to the future of the War on Terror that the International community demonstrate proper support to the Free People of Lebanon so they will not be forced into submission by acts of terrorism. Terrorism must not be rewarded and allowed to win.
The United Nations, the West, all the partners in the Global War against terror are developing policies, plans and tactics to address young democracies being attacked by extremist exporting terror regimes. This is new ground, and this trail that has not been blazed too often before. The Terrorists stay 10 steps ahead, we need to fix our sights on leading and not following, or else the extremists' list of targets will grow with no end in sight.
Eblan Farris, Editor CRNews.

Middle Eastern Americans Virulently Oppose Ahmadinejad's Visit

Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: September 24, 2007
Recently, we sat down with a distinguished group of Middle Eastern experts to ask specific questions related to Ahmadinejad's visit to the UN and Columbia University. Here, they give a voice to most Americans from both parties, and all backgrounds, regarding the dreaded Iranian threat.
Middle Eastern Americans Virulently Oppose Ahmadinejad's Visit
# #
Dr. Walid Phares, FSM’s Contributing Editor and Terrorism Expert, had a chance to read the forum discussion and to comment on it below.
Carol Taber: Tell us, if you will, Dr. Phares, what are your thoughts after reading our discussion of Ahmadinejad’s visit to the UN and Columbia University?
Dr. Walid Phares: The visit by Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to the United Nations opened the opportunity for Middle Eastern American leaders and activists to express their opinion to you regarding not only his UN appearance, but also the bizarre invitation extended by an Ivy League institution, Columbia University, to a leader of a regime responsible for massacres, terrorism and nuclear threat. If I could title the discussion, it would be "Betraying Democracy at Columbia".
When I read the forum conversation before it was published, I realized that, when put together, one gets a different picture from the one usually projected by some parts of the mainstream media and most parts of Middle Eastern studies scholarship in the US. Unanimously, the American Middle Eastern leaders consulted rejected Ahmadinejad's visit to the UN on the grounds of his regime's involvement in oppression inside Iran, and of backing and sponsoring terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. The statements made by these Americans from Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian background, as well as the statements by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and the answers of the President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, Cliff May, show clearly that ethnic, religious and democracy groups based in the US and dealing with human rights in the Middle East oppose dictatorships, totalitarian regimes and Jihadi terrorism. Unlike what "mainstream" academia says and Wahhabi-supported lobbying groups pretend, a majority of the 5 to 6 million Middle Eastern Americans, including particularly Iranian-Americans, oppose Ahmadinejad's policies and endorse US containment of his regime.
From the discussion, one can see clearly that the Columbia University decision to invite Ahmadinejad to a prestigious podium in America is the product of an intense lobbying effort by Iranian oil interests that has penetrated the intellectual sanctity of American campuses. This invitation won't change much the regime's standing, which will continue to behave as fascist and terrorist per the testimonies of dissidents and opposition groups, but it will change the perception by more Americans of the role of some elite schools in this country. Such a moral disaster will increase the ability of US citizens to see clearly how oil regimes, Wahhabists and Khomeinsts have been successful in penetrating the educational fortresses of America. For the arguments presented by the University about "freedom of thought and expression" do not fool an increasingly aware public.
Columbia University wouldn't have accepted inviting Chilean dictator Pinochet to express his "views," on the vanishing of 30,000 persons; nor would the Ivy League institution invited Milosevich, or Haiti's Papa Doc to share their "analysis" of world events. Why? They don't have Petrodollars. Maybe Columbia is jealous of Harvard and Georgetown who received a few months ago a combined $40 million from Wahhabi emirs.
Will a good $40 million from Iran’s oil dividend soon be used to buy Columbia’s chair to teach the social work of the Pasdaran and security studies by Hezbollah? Who knows? For by inviting a leader who sends money to terrorists in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza and who endorses killings in Buenos Aires, and who wants to eliminate entire nations with nuclear weapons, and who wants to "educate" the American public, is a chilling reminder of July 2006, when Harvard invited "Taliban scholars" to "educate the American public as to their achievements."
One of their achievements was the massacre of 3,000 Americans, some of whom were Harvard graduates. In fact, Ahmadinejad's security services are now - as we speak - training cells to kill Americans and others, and among them may be some who were educated at Columbia.
The University's leadership is dipping its hands in promoting past, current and future commanders of killers of American citizens. This is what historians will write years from now, and this is what the next generations of Columbia's classrooms will study.
The below statements to Family Security Matters are clear answers to questions raised by many Americans and citizens of the world: how can a political culture pretending a defense of democracy "betray" its principles in such a fashion? As I heard it from a student yesterday, indeed, had she had the money she would have published a full ad page in the same New York Times with this title: "Columbia Betrays Us".

Lebanon: The Godfather Part Four
By: Tariq Alhomayed
Asharq Al-Awsat,
Anybody who hasn't seen the ‘The Godfather’ trilogy has not missed anything if they have been following up on the recent events taking place in Lebanon today. ‘The Godfather’ defined for the seventies movie-going public the Mafia’s methodology of physical intimidation and the assassination of opponents.
What is happening in present-day Lebanon qualifies as the fourth part in the series.
While the doors of parliament remain closed, constitutional amendments take place on the street. Instead of employing electoral methods to secure the victory of the presidential seat in Lebanon, opponents are eliminated one after the other on the streets. When journalists write a critical article they are immediately "taken out".
Complications in number and quorum in the constitution are closely followed by the assassination of an MP here and another there; I do not think that the assassination of parliamentarian Antoine Ghanem will be the last.
This is the current state of affairs in Lebanon… and those are the means employed by the Mafia to eliminate enemies. This has nothing to do with democracy or elections  let alone the interests of the state. This is equally far removed from the characteristics of statesmen or those who are loyal to the state and reconciliation efforts.
It is fitting to recall the famous saying that summarizes much of what is happening in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Arab world: “the politician is someone who thinks of the upcoming elections, while the statesman thinks of the state’s future.”
Notwithstanding the death of innocent people in the assassination operations in Lebanon, it is invariably portrayed as a tax on democracy and under the notion that free states are sustained on blood. However, it is absolutely certain that the Mafia tampering with Lebanon would eliminate any man that attains the presidential seat if it does not approve of him. It would be just another assassination in a long line of leaders who were murdered in Lebanon.
Perhaps the solution to the situation in Lebanon can best be epitomized through an old fable that also imparts its own wisdom: A man living on the outskirts of the countryside discovers that his hoe has been stolen, so he gathers his children around him and urges them to go after the culprit to bring back his hoe and teach him a lesson. His children laughed and replied, “Do you want us to wage a battle for the sake of a hoe?”
A few days later, several chickens are stolen from the father so he calls his children again and tries to persuade them to find the thief. Again, he is met with a similar response and his children take no action. Shortly after, the man’s daughter is raped. Her brothers go to their father fuelled by vengeance and evil and vow to kill the man responsible for the act. The old man laughs and says, “There is no need. If you had returned my stolen hoe, the chickens would not have been taken and the criminal would not have violated your sister.
Based on that story, it may be said that if the martyred Rafik Hariri’s blood had not been spilled years before, the situation in Lebanon would not have reached the stage it is engulfed in today. The criminal offender’s persistence is the reason Lebanon’s Mafia has come to resemble ‘The Godfather’ movies. Killing has replaced constitutional amendments and the whole country has fallen hostage to gangs that hide behind a variety of names. The problem in Lebanon and the Arab world is that no one pays the price of blood and destruction.