Hariri decides: No to Aoun in Baabda – Lebanon’s presidential election postponed to May 7

Lebanese member of parliament Michel Aoun holds a press conference following a parliament session to vote for the new Lebanese president in the parliament building in downtown Beirut on April 23, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Joseph Eid)

The Future Movement’s parliamentary bloc announced their support for Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea’s presidential bid on Tuesday, while former Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) ministers Gebran Bassil and Elias Abou Saab in Paris. The bloc’s position could be a matter of courtesy between the Future Movement and the Lebanese Forces. However, based on previous relations between the two allies and leaked information from the Paris meeting, it could now be said for certain that the rapprochement between Future Movement leader Saad Hariri and head of the FPM, MP Michel Aoun, has reached a dead end concerning the presidency.

This is not merely speculation. March 14 officials, particularly from the Future Movement, have been voicing that the their decision is final. Sources from March 14 indicated that Hariri told his allies and several of his assistants that he made up his mind about the presidency and he will not be choosing Michel Aoun for the position. According to the same sources, Hariri made sure he informed his allies prior to his meeting with Bassil, maintaining that he will proceed with dialogue with Aoun, but not on the basis of choosing him as president.

Certain Future Movement officials were intent on publishing this information, adding that Hariri reassured his allies that he will not be betraying the coalition. Parliamentary sources close to Hariri linked this position with two issues: the Saudi rejection of Aoun being chosen as president, and Bassil’s recent visit to Moscow and his talks about oil, gas, and weapons for the army with the Russians.

The sources indicated that negotiations between the FPM and the Future Movement concerning oil and gas “have reached a dead end.” They also revealed that Hariri was annoyed with the “conference held by Bassil in Russia with its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, especially when he asked Russia to buy oil and gas from Lebanon,” saying that “oil and gas are not cooking oil, you cannot just ask anyone to buy them.” According to the same sources, Hariri was bothered by “Bassil’s statements in Russia about the possibility of sending aid to the Lebanese army.”

  When the picture becomes clearer, contacts will be between the Future Movement and Hezbollah directly, without the need for a middleman.

The sources also maintained that the “US-Iran rapprochement is in its final stages, which should reflect positively on the entire region, including the relationship with Hezbollah.” They indicated that “when the picture becomes clearer, contacts will be between the Future Movement and Hezbollah directly, without the need for a middleman.”

On the other hand, FPM sources expressed surprise about the rumors of Hariri’s backtracking on his amiable stance concerning Aoun’s presidential bid. “The meeting between Hariri and Bassil in Paris yesterday, lasting for five hours, refutes all those unfounded leaks,” the FPM sources explained. “It is Fouad Siniora’s people inside the Future Movement who are spreading such harmful rumors. He is the only one who is not happy with the rapprochement.” This is verified by “recent statements by his close MPs.”

“The FPM has never said that the rapprochement will lead to the election of General Aoun as president,” the sources continued. “We said earlier that the contacts are related to several internal issues.” They indicated that ” some Future Movement partisans are sending a message to Saad Hariri.”

On the eve of the second parliamentary session to elect a new president, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri announced that his bloc will be present and will not participate in attempts to create a lack of quorum, like he promised before the April 23 session. “The Development and Liberation Bloc will be the first to attend and the last to leave the session,” Berri announced and said he will wait for 30 minutes for the quorum before adjourning the session to a later date.

Although he did not set the next date, awaiting what might be emerging in today’s session, Berri said that he had two prospective dates for two other sessions. However, if their quorum is not met, he will not sit idly and merely set new dates. He will act according to his responsibilities as the speaker of parliament to find an exit from the looming crisis. However, Berri did not hide his concerns about a continuous lack of quorum until the country gets close to May 25, the constitutional deadline to elect a president.

“Currently, available data indicates a lack of consensus regarding the new president. Thus the quorum of two-thirds will not be reached,” Berri explained. He maintained that he was not aware of the details of the Paris meetings between Hariri and Bassil. “If it is positive or they agreed on something, it will take some time for it to translate onto the political scene while both sides deal with the agreement with their respective allies. But nothing is tangible yet. If an agreement was reached, the president will be elected in two days at most.”

Does he see external action concerning the issue? “I had informed the ambassadors I met about the need to safeguard the Lebanese aspect, which I am sticking to, and some of the external positions I get directly or indirectly through ambassadors confirm this direction,” Berri explained. “For example, the Americans told me their position on the Lebanese presidential elections. They said they will not pick one candidate over the other, that they will not veto anyone, and they want the elections to be on time.”


This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.



River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!




Amid Security Challenges Iraq Parliamentary Elections Kicks off -Maliki Certain of Victory

Nouri al-Maliki

Iraqi PM Maliki Certain of Victory

Iraq Parliamentary Elections Kicks off Amid Security Challenges

Local Editor

Iraqis started on Wednesday voting in the first parliamentary elections since US troops withdrew, amid security challenges represented by Takfiris who have been for years carrying out suicide and bomb attacks against civilians.

Voters began streaming into election centers Parliamentary Electionsnationwide from 7:00 am (0400 GMT), with polling due to end at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT), as more than 9,000 candidates compete for 328 seats in parliament.

 The run-up to the election has seen Baghdad and other major cities swamped in posters and bunting.

Parties have staged rallies and would-be lawmakers have angrily debated on television.

Attacks on polling stations and campaign gatherings in recent days have cast a pall over the vote, and spurred fears that much of the electorate could stay home rather than risk being targeted.

Some political parties expect high turnout, based on the high rate of participation in the elections abroad and by security forces. Elections abroad and by security forces took place earlier on Sunday and Monday.

Source: AFP


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Syria: Army Eliminates Terrorist Groups, Obliterates Their Weaponry

جبهة كسب: معركة قمّتي النسر والحمرا في أوجها

Syria: Army Eliminates Terrorist Groups, Obliterates Their Weaponry

Local Editor

The Syrian army units continued operations against theSyrian Army armed terrorist groups in many provinces on Tuesday, killing large numbers of terrorists and destroying their hideouts, gatherings and weaponry.

SANA reporter said that the army units carried out a series of operations against terrorists’ dens and gatherings in the northern farms of al-Mleiha town, killing and injuring scores of them, in addition to destroying their weapons and ammunition.

Other army units destroyed terrorists’ dens and gatherings in Zamalka and Erbin towns in the countryside.

Meanwhile, an army unit inflict heavy losses upon terrorists in Aliyeh farms in Douma area.

In the same context, the army units clashed with terrorists in Jobar neighborhood, eliminating scores of them and injuring others, in addition to destroying their equipment.

A military source told SANA that the army continued pursuing the terrorist groups in the areas of al-Ramouseh, al-Amryeh and al-Rashedeen in Aleppo’s old city, killing 4 of them and destroying their weapons and ammunition.

The source added that the army clashed with terrorists and targeted their gatherings in the areas of Darat Izza, Hreitan, Handarat, al-Jbeila, Tal Jabeen, Indan, al-Atareb, al-Mansoura, Kweires, Rasm al-Abboud, al-Jadeda, Izzaz, the Industrial Zone, near Aleppo Central Prison, al-Sukkari, al-Amryeh, Bustan al-Qasr, Hanano and al-Sakan al-Shababi, killing and injuring huge numbers of terrorists and destroying their vehicles and weaponry.

A military source told SANA that the army units targeted terrorists’ gatherings in the neighborhoods of al-Qarabees, al-Hamedyeh, Bab hood and Jorat al-Shayyah in Homs city, killing and injuring scores of terrorists, among them were terrorists’ leaders.

The source added that the army killed and injured members of two terrorist groups in the areas of al-Dar al-Kabira, al-Amryeh and al-Saan in Homs countryside.

An army unit clashed with terrorists who tried to attack a military checkpoint on Homs-Palmyra highway and killed and injured many of the assailants.

The army units clashed with armed terrorist group in the area between Sasa’ and Tal al-Shahim villages in Quneitra countryside.

A military source told SANA that the army killed all of the group’s members and seized their weapons and ammunition.

Source: Agencies


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The extent of the USA’s drone genocide to be kept hidden from the public


At behest of intelligence chief, Senate removes “modest” provision that would reveal number of people killed by US attacks overseas

Jon Queally
RINF Alternative News

The Senate Intelligence Committee and the Obama administration agree on this: the American people should not know the number of people killed by U.S. drone attacks overseas, nor should they hope to understand the circumstances under which such lethal killings are authorized or executed.

This high-level agreement was confirmed on Monday after a “modest” provision designed to add transparency to the US drone assassination program was killed in the Senate committee following objections by the Obama administration’s intelligence chief.

As The Guardian reports:

At the behest of the director of national intelligence, US senators have removed a provision from a major intelligence bill that would require the president to publicly disclose information about drone strikes and their victims.

The bill authorizing intelligence operations in fiscal 2014 passed out of the Senate intelligence committee in November, and it originally required the president to issue an annual public report clarifying the total number of “combatants” and “noncombatant civilians” killed or injured by drone strikes in the previous year. It did not require the White House to disclose the total number of strikes worldwide.

But the Guardian has confirmed that Senate leaders have removed the language as they prepare to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, after the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, assured them in a recent letter that the Obama administration was looking for its own ways to disclose more about its highly controversial drone strikes.

Critics of the Obama administration’s use of drones and ongoing assassination program say that even though the language of the provision was mild, it was at least a step towards transparency and oversight.

“Congress is charged with oversight of the administration and this is a matter of life and death,” Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA, told the New York Times. “A basic report on the number of people killed shouldn’t be too much to ask.”

And Hawkins’ colleague Zeke Johnson, Zeke Johnson, who directs the group’s security and human rights program asked:
“How many people have to die for Congress to take even a small step toward transparency? It’s stunning that after all these years we still don’t know how many people the Obama administration has killed with drones.”

The ‘war on terror’ hasn’t stopped the US backing dictators that support terrorism

US foreign policy has always been about keeping Middle East governments weak and dependent – and undemocratic – ensuring access to and control over the vast oil and gas resources.


Obama with Saudi King Abdullah

Obama cosying up to the King of Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world, and a covert supporter of terrorist organisations.

Washington has an advanced relationship with Kuwait, the small Persian Gulf country out of which the US pushed invading Iraqi forces in the 1991 Gulf War. US troops are stationed in Kuwait on a more or less permanent basis, Kuwait receives considerable military assistance and training from the US, and in return, Kuwait is “the leading source of funding for al-Qaeda-linked terrorists fighting in Syria’s civil war,” according to the Washington Post

Like most of Washington’s military and economic relationships with the Arab Gulf states, overriding geopolitical goals like maintaining US hegemony and containing Iran outweigh concerns about Kuwait’s support for the kind of Islamic jihadists that have allegedly propelled the bulk of post-9/11 foreign policy. Al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups are the enemies of the US, Washington officials remind us constantly, and they are persistently plotting to kill Americans. Oh, and please ignore the fact that our Middle East allies send them money and weapons.

The US relationship with Kuwait consists of “mutual discussions in the event of a crisis; joint military exercises; US evaluation of, advice to, and training of Kuwaiti forces; US arms sales; prepositioning of US military equipment; and US access to a range of Kuwaiti facilities,” according to a recent Congressional Research Service report (CRS). In 2004, “the Bush Administration designated Kuwait as a ‘major non-NATO ally (MNNA),’” a designation that “opens Kuwait to buy the same US equipment that is sold to US allies in NATO.”

“During 2003-2011,” according to CRS, “there were an average of 25,000 US troops based in Kuwaiti facilities, not including those rotating into Iraq at a given time.” In 2012, then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta noted, “that there were about 13,500 US troops in Kuwait.”

One would think it would be implicit in the US-Kuwaiti relationship that Kuwait, as the recipient of all kinds of US aid, privileges, and benefits, would refrain from supporting terrorist groups characterized as America’s greatest enemies by the highest Washington officials. And one would be wrong.

The Washington Post:

The amount of money that has flowed from Kuwaiti individuals and through organized charities to Syrian rebel groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra totals in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to experts whose estimates are endorsed by the Treasury Department.

…Last month, the [Obama] administration decided to go public with its concerns. In a remarkably undiplomatic statement that officials said had been cleared at senior levels, Treasury Undersecretary David S. Cohen called Kuwait “the epicenter of fundraising for terrorist groups in Syria.”

Kuwait is not unique. Saudi Arabia, the cornerstone of US national security policy in the Middle East, has a long and duplicitous history of harboring Islamic extremists of the al-Qaeda, jihadist type. Most recently, the Saudis have led the charge in aiding terrorist groups fighting in Syria. It is a similar story for Qatar.

In Yemen, al-Qaeda groups have long been tolerated and even cultivated. There are “many Yemenis who have come to suspect that their government is not fighting, but helping cultivate, jihadi activity in their country,” Foreign Policy has reported. Abdulghani al-Iryani, a Yemeni political analyst, has said as much about the former Saleh regime and he told Foreign Policy that the collaboration between the new US-supported Yemeni regime and al-Qaeda militants continues. “At all levels of Yemen’s political elite you have collusion and cooperation with militants and terrorists,” he said.

The Pakistani government has intricate ties to jihadist groups and even provided Osama bin Laden with safe haven for years after 9/11. Over the past six years though, US taxpayers have sent them more than $10 billion dollars.

US foreign policy in the Middle East has always been about maintaining dominance over the region, keeping the governments relatively weak and dependent (and undemocratic), and ensuring access to and control over the vast oil and gas resources of the region. The terrorist backlash against this imperialistic and often violent foreign policy is mostly a distraction for US strategists, despite the fact that it became the primary ideological justification for increased US interventionism in the region.

At this point, US policy is perpetuating a dangerous contradiction. Strategists would like to think that this imperialism can be implemented without the blowback of violent extremists and without certain US “allies” directly supporting these terrorists. But it, apparently, cannot be done. Don’t hold your breath for a change in policy to relieve this cognitive dissonance.

Source: Antiwar.com


Who chose the “chosen people”? It was the self proclaimed “chosen ones”

Dedicated to the long-suffering Palestinians and Iranians who have been sidelined by the United Nations in favour of the Nuclear Apartheid State of Zionist Israel in the most blatant exercise in International Double Standards that our world has ever known.

This video demonstrates that the United States is not a democracy, it is a bribeocracy, largely controlled by Zionists. But citizens of other nations need not be complacent, for there is much evidence to suggest that the same pressures are being brought to bear on their politicians and officials to support Israel’s excesses, and an Internet search will reveal that the first ever European Jewish Parliament held its inaugural meeting early in February, 2012; something that the mainstream media seemed reluctant to publicise.

War Criminal Madeleine Albright is an “Example to Follow” Says US Assistant Secretary of State Malinowski for Human Rights


Tom Malinowski, ex of Human Rights Watch, on normalising the unthinkable

albright iraqi deaths

Malinowki was recently confirmed as the Obama administration’s Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

He had previously been Washington Director at Human Rights Watch, and before that ‘he served as Senior Director on the National Security Council at the White House, where he oversaw the drafting of President Clinton’s foreign policy speeches and strategic communications efforts around the world. From 1994 to 1998 he was a speechwriter for Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, and member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State’.

Given the guy is quite clearly a card carrying Democrat politician, it is perhaps unsurprising that he used – some might say abused –  his role in Human Rights Watch to drum up support for Obama regime policies, including, quite disgracefully, the bombing of Libya and certain forms of rendition.

Malinowski has recently joined Twitter, and is already giving us some examples of his tawdry U.S. exceptionalism, and demonstrating why he should be totally disqualified from ever being employed by an organisation like Human Rights Watch.

On April 25th, he said in regards to the Russian invasion of Crimea (read from the bottom up):

Fair enough, you might say. I’m sure the Russian state does indeed employ propaganda, designed to fool Russians into supporting amoral policies and politicians. And yet only hours earlier, he had been welcomed to Twitter by an old friend:

As U.S. Secretary of State in 1996, Albright went on T.V. news and openly said that she thought the killing of 500’000 Iraqi children was ‘worth it’ in the course of pursuing U.S. strategic goals. She was of course referring to deaths caused by a sanctions regime on Iraq which even some of the people who had been overseeing it described as ‘genocidal‘.  And this is a person whose ‘example’ human rights champion Tom Malinowski thinks should be ‘followed’.

‘Black is white, up is down, and . . . 2+2 may equal 5′ indeed, Mr Malinowski

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