كلام مباشر لدولة الرئيس المكلف

ديسمبر 8, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– يدرك دولة الرئيس المكلف بتشكيل الحكومة سعد الحريري أن ما أنتج الصيغة الفضفاضة المقترحة في تأليف الحكومة، الذي يتحمل وحده مسؤوليته، كصاحب صلاحيات دستورية «حصرية» لا ينازعه عليها أحد ولا يتحمل عنه تبعاتها أحد. نتجت عن الصيغ الفضفاضة التي اعتمدها عندما منحه الإضافات الوزارية بغير وجه حق لتياره وحلفائه بينما مارس الإجحاف بحق خصمه السياسي الرئيسي المتمثل بقوى الثامن من آذار، في لعبة تذاكٍ لا تُخفى على أحد، فمنح مقاعد وزراية غير مستحقة لمن يهمه أمرهم وحرم مقاعد وزارية مستحقة لمن يخالفهم الرأي، فنالت الكتل حقها ونالت أشلاء بعضها حصصاً إضافية للمستوزرين. وهذا يكفي لتبيانه الخروج من تذاكي توزيع الكتل وإعادة تدويرها للإيحاء بتمثيل مزدوج مخادع تتم المطالبة به، ففي البلد ثلاث كتل كبرى، واحدة يمثلها رئيس الجمهورية والتيار الوطني الحر نالت حقها بـ11 وزيراً في صيغة صاحب الصلاحية «الحصرية» بتأليف الحكومة، هي 7 وزراء للتيار وفق معادلة وزير لكل 4 نواب و4 وزراء للرئيس، وتكتل قوى الرابع عشر من آذار وقد نال 12 وزيراً لقاء حجمه المتمثل بـ 44 نائباً وفق معادلة وزير لكل 4 نواب أما تكتل الثامن من آذار الممثل نيابياً بـ 45 نائباً أي المساوي لتكتل الرابع عشر من آذار، فقد منح ظلماً وعدواناً فقط 7 مقاعد وزارية، اي أقل بخمسة وزراء عن نظيره وخصمه السياسي وهما متساويان في الحجم النيابي، والخمسة الزائدة و»الفضفاضة» التي حازتها قوى الرابع عشر من آذار هي المقاعد الإضافية للمستوزرين من أشلاء الكتل، وليس المقعد الذي تطلبه قوى الثامن من آذار لأحد مكوناتها، بدلاً من خمسة تستحقها زيادة أسوة بنظيرتها قوى الرابع عشر من آذار.

– يعلم الرئيس المكلف أن كل البحث عن مساعي تسويات بالصيغ التي يسمّيها بـ «الفضفاضة» أو بسواها ليس نابعاً من البحث عن مقاعد لمستوزرين، لأن من حق قوى الثامن من آذار وليس طلباً لصدقة أو منة من دولته، أن تتمثل وفقاً لمعادلته بتمثيل كل القوى ما عداها، أي وزير لكل 4 نواب، أن تكون حصتها 11 وزيراً إذا اعتبرنا الوزير الثاني عشر في تمثيل قوى الرابع عشر من آذار حصة لرئيس الحكومة أو منصبه الواقع خارج توزيع المقاعد، كما يعلم أن تطبيق قاعدة وزير لكل 5 نواب سيتيح نيل كل من قوى 14 و8 آذار 9 وزراء وعليه بذلك شطب وزيرين من حصته وحصص حلفائه، ويمكن له تعويضهما بالتفاهم مع رئيس الجمهورية كحصة له كرئيس للحكومة، لكن تبقى حصة 8 آذار 9 وزراء تغنيها عن الحديث بتمثيل اللقاء التشاوري منفرداً، فالـ 9 وزراء هم 6 شيعة و2 مسيحيين و1 سني كتحصيل حاصل لتكوينها، ويعلم دولته أن قوى الثامن من آذار لم تفعل ذلك مراعاة لدولته، فاكتفت بطب مقعد واحد إضافي لحصتها المجحفة بـ 7 وزراء.

– يعلم دولة الرئيس أن الصيغ التي أحب تسميتها بـ «الفضفاضة» تم التداول فيها بحثاً عن مخارج تراعي مزاجه الانفعالي وعناده غير المبرر والذي لا يستقيم مع كون الأزمة ناتجة عن سوء تدبيره في إدارة صلاحياته «الحصرية» في مساعي تأليف الحكومة، ومنعاً للوقوع في «جاهلية» دستورية أخرى في تشكيل الحكومة، وبمراجعة بسيطة لما جرى في الجاهلية يعلم دولته أن أحداً لم يكن متضامناً مع كلام الوزير السابق وئام وهاب، بمن في ذلك الوزير وهاب نفسه، لكن أحداً لم يكن يتوقع أن يكون في مقام رئاسة الحكومة من يجرّد حملة عسكرية لسوق شخصية سياسية مخفورة وذليلة، لمجرد أن دولته قد غضب، من دون مراعاة الأصول القانونية والمعايير القضائية، ولا الحسابات السياسية والأعراف التي راكمتها تجارب مماثلة لدولته مع حالات أشدّ إلحاقاً للأذى بشخصيات ومرجعيات لا تقلّ عنه مكانة، ومن مواقع واضحة الخلفية المعادية للسلم الأهلي والوفاق الوطني، وطلب دولته التريث سنوات في التعامل معها خارج المعادلات القانونية والقضائية ومذكرات الإحضار، وقاد السعي للحوار معها والبحث عن تسويات ترضى بها، كحالة أحمد الأسير أو حالة مسلحي عرسال، حتى اقتنع دولته بخلاف ذلك، ولم يعارضه أحد ولم يضغط عليه أحد ولم ينازعه في صلاحياته «الحصرية « أحد بينما الحالة هنا واضحة ومحددة قانوناً، وما تم ليس إلا إستعمالا غير موفق وغير محق للصلاحية «الحصرية» لدولته، والنتائج كارثية، وكانت ستصير كارثية أكثر لولا اللجوء لصيغ يمكن تسميتها هي الأخرى بالفضفاضة، لكن ليس لحجز مقاعد للمستوزرين من أشلاء الكتل، بل لمنحه طريقاً للتراجع يناسب شخصيته الانفعالية وغضبه وعناده، ولعل هذا هو الحال أيضاً في ما يسمّيه بالصيغ «الفضفاضة» حكومياً ولأهداف طرحها، فليجنّبنا دولته جاهلية حكومية مستمرة تجلب الكارثة المتمادية على البلاد بغياب الحكومة، وليستعمل صلاحياته «الحصرية» ويُنهي العقدة بأحد الحلول غير «الفضفاضة».

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هذا هو اللعب بالنار

ديسمبر 3, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– عندما تحدّث الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله عن التحذير من اللعب بالنار، كان واضحاً بقصده تحذير فريق المحكمة الدولية من أن يكون في حساباتهم الرهان على اللعب بالأمن من بوابة الاستفزاز السياسي والقانوني. وها نحن اليوم الذين انتظرنا لنكتشف اللعب بالنار الذي كان على جدول أعمال هذا الفريق نراه ماثلاً أمامنا. فالقضية باتت واضحة منذ الانتخابات النيابية، وما حملته من حقائق سواء ما كرّسه توزع المقاعد النيابية أو ما حملته النتائج التي لم تنتج مقاعد نيابية، حيث ظهر التعدد داخل الطائفتين الدرزية والسنية قدراً لا مفر منه، واتجاهاً متنامياً يصعب وقفه. ففي الطائفة السنية لم تكن النتائج التي حملتها هذه الدورة الانتخابية سوى البداية لما سيحمله ما سيليها لجهة تأكيد تراجع احتكار تيار المستقبل الطائفة، واستحالة الاحتماء وراء فزاعة تيار المستقبل وإلا داعش أو النصرة. وبالتوازي مع هذا بدت النتائج في الطائفة الدرزية مجرد رأس جبل الجليد الذي سيكبر تلقائياً في دورات مقبلة لكسر احتكار الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي للطائفة، فوحدة المعارضة السنية لتيار المستقبل وتوحّد حلفائها من ورائها، كما توحد المعارضة الدرزية للحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي وتوحّد حلفائها من ورائها، باتت كافية لتزخيم النتائج التي تقول إن الاحتكار صار شيئاً من الماضي. وقد تم تحجيم هذه النتائج بفعل التسرّب من شقوق عدم وحدة المعارضتين من جهة، وعدم توحّد الحلفاء من ورائها من جهة أخرى.

– لقد تلاقت إرادة داخلية لقوى فاعلة عنوانها إنكار الحقائق اللبنانية الجديدة التي حفرت عميقاً في الواقع وتكرّست بفضل اعتماد قانون قائم على النظام النسبي، مع إرادة خارجية عنوانها إنكار المتغيرات الإقليمية والدولية الكبرى التي قالت إن زمن احتكار واشنطن للقرار الدولي صار شيئاً من الماضي، وإن الهيمنة الجوية الإسرائيلية على سماء المنطقة صارت هي الأخرى شيئاً من الماضي، وإن الرهان التاريخي الذي قاله مارتن أنديك بلسان واشنطن وتل أبيب معاً منذ خمس وعشرين سنة، وعنوانه السعي لاستعمال ما أسماه بالجهادية السنية ونسميها بالإرهاب، لضرب الجهادية الشيعية الصاعدة ونسمّيها بالمقاومة، هو رهان قد تم اختباره ولم يفلح في تعويض العجز عن خوض الحروب بالجيوش الغربية والإسرائيلية، وبفعل هذا التلاقي بين حالتي الإنكار وما يسببه الإنكار من هذيان سياسي وعدم توازن في الحركة والقرار، تدخل المنطقة ويدخل لبنان مرحلة الفوضى السياسية والأمنية.

– يتلاقى الذين يجمعهم الإنكار للحقائق الجديدة، فلا يُحرج التطبيع مع إسرائيل دول الخليج وحكامه، كما لا يُحرج واشنطن وتل أبيب التطبيع مع تنظيم القاعدة، واللعب بالنار تحكي عنه حرب اليمن الكثير وتجسّده البنسلمانية أفضل تمثيل، واحتجاز رئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري نموذج لهذا اللامألوف، وقتل جمال الخاشقجي نموذج آخر. فالقضية كما قال ثامر السبهان في التمهيد لاحتجاز الحريري، إن قانون الانتخابات سيغير المشهد السياسي والدستوري، ومن يقرأ الصحافة الإسرائيلية سيكتشف الكثير من المقالات التي تتحدّث عن خطورة الشرعية الدستورية التي ستنالها المقاومة عبر الانتخابات واعتبارها خطراً يوازي خطر الصواريخ الاستراتيجية، وتعطيل الحكومة عبر تجاهل مطالب التمثيل المتواضع لحلفاء المقاومة حتى لحظة ما قبل ولادة الحكومة كان خطة، لتحميل المقاومة مسؤولية التعطيل من جهة، واتخاذ الأمر مبرراً للتصعيد من جهة أخرى، وهو اللعب بالنار دون مواربة. فالحلف الدولي العربي اللبناني رغم الضياع والارتباك يحتاج ساحة مشتركة للعب بالنار، وهو لعب لا يخلو من الضياع والارتباك.

– مَن يقرأ في الاستراتيجيات، ويعلم معنى حروب الطاقة، يجب أن يتساءل، عن سرّ التسارع في التعاون الخليجي الإسرائيلي لإنشاء أنبوب غاز إسرائيلي نحو أوروبا، وينتبه أن أهم المطلوب اليوم هو حماية هذا المشروع، عبر خطوتين، تأخير حضور لبنان في سوق الغاز ولو بتأخير ولادة الحكومة، وإرباك المقاومة أمنياً لمنعها من التصدّي للمشروع الإسرائيلي الخليجي والأنبوب الاستراتيجي نحو أوروبا. ومَن أجدر للقيام بذلك سوى الذين يضيقون ذرعاً بحكومة تعترف بالتوازنات الجديدة ويخشون ما سيليها من توازنات أشد خطراً، والذين يرون في هذا الكلام تكبيراً ومبالغة في القراءة والتفسير، أن يفسّروا ما جرى في الجاهلية بغير الكلام الذي لا يقبله عقل عن هيبة الدولة، التي وقفت تتفرّج على مجرزة حلبا ومرتكبيها، ووقفت تتفرج على الدفرسوار الأمني المفتوح لشهور لحساب أحمد الأسير بعنوان شرعي، وأن يفسّروا ما جرى في الجاهلية بغير الاحتماء وراء كلام قاله الوزير السابق وئام وهاب وأتبعه باعتذار، ولم يلقَ التأييد بالتالي من وهاب نفسه ومن حلفائه وخصوصاً حزب الله، فيما الكلام البذيء يملأ الشاشات بحق الرموز والقادة في المقاومة ومحورها وحلفائها ولا مَن يحرّك ساكناً أو يتحرّك.

– اقتحام الجاهلية لعب بالنار، وسقوط الشهيد محمد أبو دياب كاد أن يكون مدخلاً لفتنة كبرى، لولا تدخّل المقاومة. فهل يقتنع اللاعبون بالنار داخلياً وخارجياً بالتراجع، أم يستعدون لتكرار الخامس من أيار عام 2008، باعتبار ما جرى يشبه كثيراً الاستفزاز الأمني الذي جسّده قرار حكومة فؤاد السنيورة بدعم سعودي أميركي لتفكيك شبكة اتصالات المقاومة، وحلفاء المقاومة هم بمكانة ومهابة شبكة اتصالاتها، فلينتبه مَن لا ينتبه ولينبّه مَن ينتبه مَن لم ينتبه: «لا تلعبوا بالنار!».. باقية وقائمة فانصتوا لها جيداً.

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Justice in Lebanon!!!!

 

القضاء بأمر السياسة: أي القاضيين يكذب… أيُّهما مُرتهن؟

حُكم سماحة ظالم إذا ما قورن بأحكام كُثر شاركوا في سفك الدم (هيثم الموسوي)

رضوان مرتضى

شُدِّد الحكم على المتّهم ميشال سماحة أمس. ضوعفت محكوميته ثلاث مرات. بدا القرار صادراً عمّن تهيّب ضغط الساسة والشارع. صدر حُكم مبرم فقُضي الأمر: القضاء في أمر السياسة. والقضاة موظّفون يتهيّبون الصوت المرفوع

رضوان مرتضى

حُكِم على الوزير السابق ميشال سماحة بالسجن ١٣ سنة. فسخت محكمة التمييز العسكرية الحُكم الأول بالسجن أربع سنوات ونصف سنة، وضاعفت مدته ثلاث مرّات، في حُكمٍ نهائي مُبرم لا يقبل النقض أو المراجعة، إلا عبر نافذة وحيدة وغير مضمونة.

ارتأت المحكمة إعادة سماحة إلى السجن، مع «ضمانة مطلقة» بعدم خروجه قبل ٧٨ شهراً (تُضاف إلى ٣٩ شهراً قضاها وفق الحُكم الأول. وبالتالي، يُصبح المجموع ١١٧ شهراً خلف القضبان). على جري العادة، رضخ «حُماة العدالة» لضغوط السياسة. وبات كلُّ من يُنظّر باستقلالية القضاء في لبنان، إمّا متعامياً أو كاذباً أو مجنوناً.

في القضية الراهنة، لا يختلف اثنان على أنّ سماحة ارتكب جرماً موصوفاً. ومن توافرت النية الجرمية لديه للقيام بعمل إرهابي لقتل أبرياء، ثم حال حائل، خارج عن إرادته، دون تنفيذه، هو قاتل مع وقف التنفيذ.

لكن يحق لنا أن نسأل: من نُصدّق؟ وأي القاضيين يكذب؟ أيُّهما مُرتهن؟ العميد خليل إبراهيم الذي حكم بسجن سماحة أربع سنوات ونصف سنة، أم القاضي طاني لطّوف الذي رفع الحكم إلى ١٣ سنة (بعد تغيير معظم أعضاء الهيئة)؟

هامش الخطأ مقبول بنسبة ١٠ أو ٢٠ في المئة، لكن هل يُعقل أن يكون الفارق ثلاثة أضعاف؟ هل ضُغِط على إبراهيم لتخفيف الحُكم أم أُلزِم لطوف بتشديده؟ هل شُفي غليل وزير العدل أشرف ريفي الحائر بين الاستقالة والعودة أم تلك قصةٌ أُخرى؟ وهل من صفقة؟ إذا خضع إبراهيم للضغوط، فذلك يعني أنّ كثيرين ممكن حكمهم مظلومون. وإذا خاض لطوف مع الخائضين، فذلك يعني أن مصير الأحكام السابقة مشكوكٌ فيه أيضاً. مهما قيل، لن يُصدّق أحد أنّ حكم سماحة قضائي بحت. ومقولة صيف وشتاء تحت سقفٍ واحد تنطبق هنا. فالمجرم سماحة الذي نقل متفجرات مع وجود نية جرمية لديه لاستخدامها ضد أبرياء، لا يختلف عن «الأمير الشرعي» في «كتائب عبد الله عزّام» جمال دفتردار الذي حُكم بالسجن سبع سنوات. ودفتردار هذا يشغل منصب المفتي في تنظيم نفّذ تفجيرات أوقعت عشرات الضحايا من اللبنانيين (تفجيرات الرويس والسفارة الإيرانية والمستشارية الإيرانية).

والمجرم سماحة لا يختلف عن «قادة المحاور» في باب التبّانة الذين سبّبوا إزهاق حياة المئات وتشريد المئات من أبناء طرابلس. لكن هؤلاء لم تتجاوز محكوميتهم أربع سنوات، لأنّ ولاتهم من أمراء السياسة هكذا أرادوا.

حُكم سماحة ظالم إذا ما قورن بأحكام كُثر شاركوا في سفك الدم البريء، وبأحوال المتورطين الذي تحميهم مظلّة السياسة. بدءاً من مدير المشتريات لدى «الست» بهية الحريري، الذي آوى أحمد الأسير مع مسلحين قتلوا جنود الجيش، وصولاً إلى المستشار الأمني للرئيس سعد الحريري، العقيد المتقاعد عميد حمود، الذي يعلم القاصي والداني دوره الرئيسي في معارك طرابلس وعلاقته بالأحداث الأمنية ومهنته كتاجر سلاح ومهرّب، لكن المحظي دوماً محمي. ماذا عن جمانة حميد التي ضُبطت بالجرم المشهود تنقل سيارة مفخخة، هل من العدل أن تخرج في صفقة تبادل؟

حُكم سماحة ظالم إذا ما قورن بتسهيل فرار رفعت عيد في جبل محسن. وبتسوية تُقرّ هنا لمصلحة قوى ١٤ آذار وأُخرى تُعقد لمصلحة قوى ٨ آذار. في بلد التسويات، إما أن يتساوى الجميع فُتشدد العقوبة إلى حدودها القصوى، أو يُعفى الجميع من العقوبة.

أن يُحكم سماحة بالسجن ١٣ سنة لنقله متفجرات وتخطيطه للقيام بتفجيرات، رغم علامات الاستفهام التي تُثار بشأن دور «المخبر» الذي يُشتبه بدوره في استدراج سماحة بتوجيه جهاز أمني معروف الهدف والغايات، فيما يُسجن فيصل أكبر، أحد عناصر مجموعة الـ13 المتهمة بالانتماء إلى تنظيم «القاعدة»، الذي أقر باغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري ثم تراجع، 10 سنوات. وماذا عن أبرز المطلوبين، هاني السنكري، الذي حُكِم بالسجن خمس سنوات، وهو خبير متفجرات وعنصرٌ بارز في «القاعدة»، والذي لم يكد يخرُج أخيراً، حتى طُلِب مجدداً. فضلاً عن الأحكام التي صدرت على أحد أبرز قيادات تنظيم «القاعدة» الذين مرّوا على لبنان، بحسب توصيف ضباط فرع المعلومات، السعودي محمد السويّد الذي حُكم عليه بالسجن سبع سنوات. والسعودي فهد المغامس الذي حُكم عليه بالسجن سبع سنوات، وكانت قضيته (بعد توقيفه عام 2007) حيازة متفجرات مع توافر النية بالتفجير والإعداد لعملية تفجير كبرى ضد المدنيين في زحلة يوم عيد السيدة والإعداد لقصف المدينة بالصواريخ، إضافة إلى اشتباكه مع عناصر القوى الأمنية وإطلاقه النار على أحدهم بقصد قتله، ومشاركته في عمليات إرهابية قبل توقيفه بأكثر من 3 سنوات.

هل سماحة أشدّ خطورة من أكبر والسنكري والمغامس والسويّد ودفتردار؟ وأين الطالب بدم المقتولين في التفجيرات الإرهابية؟
هل يختلف سماحة عن المنتمين إلى تنظيم «داعش»، الذي يستهدف لبنان بمدنييه وأمنييه وعسكرييه، ويحتل جزءاً من الأراضي اللبنانية، فتصدر بحقهم أحكام بالسجن لمدة لا تتجاوز ثلاث سنوات أحياناً؟

يُرمز إلى العدالة بامرأة معصوبة العينين تحمل ميزاناً للدلالة على النزاهة. والحكم العادل هو الذي يوافق حجم الجرم المرتكب، لا أكثر ولا أقل. متساوٍ مع الباقين. هكذا تقول الأسطورة. لكن في لبنان قصة أُخرى. يوماً بعد آخر يثبت أن القضاء لا يختلف عن باقي مؤسسات الدولة. في صروح العدالة، يُعشِّش فساد وتقع ارتكابات، ثم يعتصم الفاعل بحبل المحسوبية الذي يُخفّف العقوبة أو يُجنّبه إياها.

Assir Cell Dissolved: Lebanon Security Chief

Ahmad al-Assir’s “terror cell” has fallen apart after the radical preacher who fought deadly battles with the Lebanese Army in 2013 was arrested last month, General Security head Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim said in remarks published Tuesday.

“The hour of truth struck when terrorist Ahmad al-Assir took the decision to travel, an issue which was exploited [by General Security],” Ibrahim told local newspaper An-Nahar.

“Assir’s case has disintegrated. [The case] is over.” he said.

Ibrahim also said local Lebanese businessmen who had funded Assir “will go to court.”

Assir was arrested Aug. 15 at Beirut airport while attempting to leave Lebanon for Nigeria via Cairo. The fanatic sheikh used a fake Palestinian passport and a valid Nigerian visa.

The driver who transported Assir to the airport was apprehended later in the day, the National News Agency added.

Source: Websites

01-09-2015 – 19:34 Last updated 01-09-2015 – 19:34

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Nigeria Suspends Immigration Boss after Terrorist Assir gets Visa

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari suspended his head of immigration Friday, the government announced, with the department under investigation over the approval of a visa to the fugitive terrorist, Ahmad al-Assir, who launched the 2013 battle against the Lebanese army in Sidon’s Abra.

Ahmad al-Assir, wanted in Lebanon over deadly clashes with the army there, was arrested on Saturday as he tried to board a plane from the Middle Eastern nation to Nigeria via Cairo, and using a fake Palestinian passport with a valid visa.

Terrorist Ahmad al-Assir“The Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration service, Mr David Shikfu Parradang, has been suspended from office with immediate effect,” Nigeria’s interior ministry said in a statement.

News that Assir had received the green light to travel to Nigeria caused outrage in the west African nation, and made front page headlines.

The Nigerian government launched an investigation into the affair earlier this week, although it was unclear if Parradang was being held personally accountable.

Assir had been on the run since June 2013, when he and some supporters fought a deadly battle with the army outside the southern Lebanese city of Sidon.

The army seized his headquarters after 48 hours of clashes that killed 18 soldiers, but Assir was able to escape with several of his followers.

He has continued to issue audio statements while on the run. In 2014, prosecutors sought the death sentences for Assir and 53 others, including singer-turned-fundamentalist Fadel Shaker.

They were accused of having formed armed groups that killed soldiers, and of having explosive materials, light and heavy weapons that they used against the army.

Source: AFP

22-08-2015 – 00:34 Last updated 22-08-2015 – 00:34

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Loyalty to Resistance Hails Assir Arrest, Urges Mustaqbal to Stop Evading Talks

Local Editor

Loyalty to the Resistance bloc called upon political forces in Lebanon at this critical stage to act responsibly vis-à-vis the terrorist threat, especially after the developments in Lebanon and the region confirmed that this terrorism is identical to the Zionist terrorism in his crimes, methods and targets.

loyalty blocThe bloc hailed the arrest of terrorist Ahmad Al-Assir who was responsible of Abra and Sidon tragic events that lead to the killing and injuring of dozens of Lebanese army soldiers and officers along with other Lebanese civilians, not to mention his responsibility in operating terrorist cells to sow discord and provoke incitement and division. “This is an important security achievement that deserves our deep appreciation which we extend to the army institution,” the bloc said after its weekly meeting.

The bloc hoped that justice would take its course in the case and that his accomplices from funders to inciters and even those who provided cover-up will be detained.

Concerning the Mustaqbal-FPM dialogue, the bloc said in a statement read by MP Hassan Fadlallah: “We renew our call for the Mustaqbal Party to stop evading holding communication and dialogue with the Free Patriotic Movement, which can neither be ousted or isolated nor ignored especially in terms of achieving national partnership which is the basis of the state and its institutions.”

It declared that the Mustaqbal Movement’s stance is delaying resolving pending political disputes and creating new problems in Lebanon, such as the waste disposal crisis and the dispute over the wages of public sector employees.

“The deliberate isolation directed against the FPM by rival parties will backfire against them,” the bloc added.

Source: Al-Manar Website

20-08-2015 – 20:32 Last updated 20-08-2015 – 20:32 |

 

Nigeria Investigates How Terrorist Ahmad Al-Assir Got Visa to Lagos

Local Editor

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into how a fugitive terrorist linked to takfiri groups secured a valid Nigerian visa in Lebanon, Daily Trust reported Wednesday.

Terrorist Ahmad Al-Assir, who was sentenced to death in absentia and had been on the run since 2013, was arrested on Saturday at Beirut International Airport on his way to Nigeria through Egypt.

He was carrying a fake Palestinian passport with Nigerian visa.

Daily Trust said — citing credible sources — that the Nigerian presidency felt embarrassed and scandalized that a man on the international terror list had obtained a Nigerian visa and was on his way to the country.

“It was even worrisome for the government that Al-Assir was trying to enter Nigeria at a time when the country is trying to put down the Boko Haram insurgency that has caused so much death and destruction,” the sources said.

The Nigerian government had therefore directed the three agencies involved – the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Nigerian Immigration Service to immediately investigate the matter and report back soonest.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Bulus Lolo, said the Federal Government had begun investigations on a wanted terrorist granted a Nigerian visa in Lebanon to visit Nigeria.

Lolo explained that the Nigerian Charge d’Affairs in Lebanon had met with Lebanese authorities to look into the matter.

Assir fled justice in June 2013, after deadly clashes against the Lebanese army in Abra region in the southern city of Sidon.

He was an extremist preacher used to take Abra mosque a coverage for his terrorist actions.

Army stormed the mosque and found a warehouse of heavy and medium ammunitions inside it.

Lebanese forces still chase fugitive terrorist Fadel Shaker who was a key player in Abra clashes.

In a video posted on YouTube, Shaker boldly confessed of killing two army soldiers.

The military court on Monday in Lebanon adjourned the trial of suspects from the 2013 Abra battle in a bid to allow terrorist Assir to provide testimony.

Source: Websites

20-08-2015 – 13:43 Last updated 20-08-2015 – 13:43

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Maj. Gen. Ibrahim: Assir Operation was Purely Lebanese

Maj. Gen. Ibrahim:

The successful operation that resulted in the arrest of terrorist Ahmad al-Assir was “purely Lebanese,” with no international or Palestinian intelligence agencies playing a role, General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said.

“We are never embarrassed to say we cooperate with regional agencies in our operations, and this is what occurred when we arrested [extremist militant Shadi] Mawlawi,” Ibrahim was quoted as saying. “But this time, [the operation] was purely Lebanese and fully carried out by the General Security… from A to Z.”

He dismissed as “false” media reports that claimed Palestinian factions or foreign intelligence agencies helped Lebanese authorities identify Assir, who was arrested at Beirut’s airport Saturday morning.

According to Ibrahim, the operation was the result of close monitoring of the fugitive by the General Security.

Ibrahim also denied that General Security was able to identify Assir, who was wearing a disguise, through a retina scanning machine. “We have no such technology,” he said.

Source: Websites

16-08-2015 – 16:51 Last updated 16-08-2015 – 16:51 |

Fugitive Terrorist Ahmad al-Assir Arrested in Beirut

Local Editor

The Lebanese security forces managed on Saturday to arrest the fugitive terrorist Ahmad al-Assir at Beirut International Airport.

General Security sources confirmed his arrest to Al-Manar TV.

Assir fled justice in June 2013, after deadly clashes against the Lebanese army in Abra region in the southern city of Sidon.

He was an extremist preacher used to take Abra mosque a coverage for his terrorist actions.

Army stormed the mosque and found a warehouse of heavy and medium ammunitions inside it.

Lebanese forces still chase fugitive terrorist Fadel Shaker who was a key player in Abra clashes.

In a video posted on YouTube, Shaker boldly confessed of killing two army soldiers.

Source: Al-Manar Website

15-08-2015 – 13:16 Last updated 15-08-2015 – 13:16

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Bushra Al Khalil: On Daesh and its Wahabi Roots

حوار اليوم المحامية بشرى الخليل

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Ahmed al-Assir to be the New Islamic State Emir for Lebanon?

Fugitive Salafi cleric, Ahmed al-Assir, preparing to give a speech in downtown Beirut on September 21, 2012.
Published Friday, January 30, 2015
Is Ahmed al-Assir an emir in the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS)? The news might come as a shock at first, but anyone who traces the intellectual progression of the imam of the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque will realize that the man after the Abra clashes is not the same man he was before the clashes.
Reports that Assir is set to be appointed the emir of the Lebanese branch of the world’s most notorious extremist group have yet to be confirmed. What is certain, however, is that the man has been further radicalized since his disappearance, especially after he isolated himself from people as his diabetes continues to weigh down on him.
Months ago, there were reports from small Islamist circles claiming that Assir had become close to al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front. The reports asserted that the fugitive cleric conducted a self-assessment to correct his course, “which had many flaws” compared to the work of jihadi groups.

Assir’s popular base of support and his symbolic leadership among people from the city of Saida, as well as his notoriety in Lebanon, mean his allegiance to ISIS would give the group the chance to rally hundreds to its cause.

These reports were reinforced by Assir’s supporters pledging allegiance to al-Nusra, and by the warm welcome Assir received in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp. At the time, ISIS was not as notorious as it is today, or as notorious as al-Nusra. Further, a number of Assir’s followers had gone to fight in the ranks of al-Nusra in Qalamoun.
So what prompted Assir to switch his allegiance from Abu Mohammad al-Joulani to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?
According to information obtained by Al-Akhbar, Assir began to “turn” several months ago, in parallel with a shift in his ideology and beliefs.
Although there are no confirmed reports regarding his whereabouts, security reports indicate he has fled to a town in the Bekaa, and — contrary to some rumors — is still in Lebanon. Other security sources are almost certain Assir is still in Ain al-Hilweh.
According to the same sources, the people betting on Assir being in the camp are affiliated with ISIS, most notably Naim al-Naim, Youssef Shabayta, and a man known as Abu Aisha. The sources say these individuals had a great influence on Assir, and perhaps managed to persuade him of the virtues of their ideological line.
Bear in mind that these three men are part of a group linked to ISIS in Ain al-Hilweh. The group also includes: Jamal Ramid know as al-Shishani, Shadi Sabha, Abu Hamza Mubarak, Abu Tareq Mubarak, and Mohammed Jomaa.
The sources went on to say that Assir’s ideas are not compatible with those of al-Nusra, even if the majority of his followers do not agree with ISIS. However, the sources reckoned that Assir’s popular base of support and his symbolic leadership among people from the city of Saida, as well as his notoriety in Lebanon, mean his allegiance to ISIS would give the group the chance to rally hundreds to its cause.
Accordingly, the sources believe it likely that he would be appointed emir of ISIS in Lebanon, which corroborates other security reports.
On the other hand, the leadership of ISIS has appointed Sheikh Abu Osama al-Baniasi as emir of the Qalamoun region, succeeding Abu Abdul-Salam al-Urdoni. Baniasi was close to Al-Nusra Front, similar to other ISIS emirs in this region like Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi, who was an associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and and the emir of Al-Nusra in Qalamoun Abu Malik al-Talli.
Al-Akhbar learned that Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi, who was a delegate for Sharia matters sent by the leadership of IS in Raqqa, was excluded as a candidate for the post after he failed to unify the militants under one leadership. It is worth nothing that Maqdisi, who is Jordanian, is hostile to al-Nusra Front.
Follow Radwan Mortada on Twitter: @radwanmortada
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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Salim Zahran: Lebanese negotiations with the Nusra Front and Ali Baraka of Hamas.

الحدث _ سالم زهران | الجديد 29 11 2014

شادي المولوي

قال مسؤول حركة «حماس« في لبنان علي بركة، من جهته:

ليس لدينا تأكيدات عن وجود المولوي في المخيم. لكن السؤال المهم: اذا كان شادي المولوي في صيدا او في مخيم عين الحلوة، كيف وصل الى هذه المنطقة. كيف اجتاز 120 كلم من طرابلس الى صيدا ووصل الى هذه المنطقة. هذا الامر برسم كل الجهات المعنية الحريصة على الامن والاستقرار في لبنان. وان الموقف الفلسطيني الموحد هو بعدم استخدام المخيمات من اي جهة لضرب استقرار لبنان ولن نسمح بأن يستهدف لبنان من المخيمات .

قال بركة

ان «الأمن واحد في لبنان سواء كان في المخيمات ام خارج المخيمات ولن نقبل ان تقوم اي جهة باللعب بمصير المخيمات التي هي محطات نضالية على طريق العودة الى فلسطين ولن تكون مأوى للفارين والهاربين من القضاء والعدالة او من المطلوبين للدولة اللبنانية. لن نحرّف بوصلة نضالنا وجهادنا ولن ننجرّ الى اي خلافات او اي صراعات داخلية ولن تكون المخيمات الا عامل استقرار في هذا البلد».

طالبت المخابرات اللبنانية ممثلي الفصائل الفلسطينية في عين الحلوة بتسليمها المطلوبين شادي المولوي وأحمد الأسير وفضل شاكر، بعد التأكد من تواريهم في المخيم.

وطلب مدير الاستخبارات اللبنانية في الجنوب، العميد علي شحرور من وفد “اللجنة الأمنية الفلسطينية العليا”، خلال اجتماع في ثكنة محمد زغيب في صيدا الأربعاء 26 نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني “تحمّل مسؤولياتها وضبط الوضع الأمني في المخيم، بوجود هؤلاء الذين يحتمون بين أهله ويخططون لأعمال إرهابية جديدة بعد أن اعتدوا على الجيش والسيادة الوطنية”، مشددا على أن الأجهزة الأمنية لا تقبل “أقل من التعاون وتسليم المطلوبين”.

AFPشاكر والأسير

من جهتها لم تؤكد القيادات الفلسطينية في المخيم ولم تنف وجود المطلوبين فيه. إذ أكد أمين سر قيادة الساحة اللبنانية فتحي أبو العردات أن الموضوع “قيد المتابعة، وأن المخيم لن يكون لا ممرا ولا مقرا لأي فرد يسعى الى الفتنة وسيبقى في إطار السيادة والقانون وهو جزء من الأمن اللبناني”، بينما قال ممثل حركة حماس في لبنان علي بركة إنه “حتى الآن لم يثبت وجود المولوي في عين الحلوة. والمخيم الفلسطيني لن يكون إلا الى جانب وحدة لبنان وأمنه واستقراره ولن نقبل أن تستخدم مخيماتنا من أي جهة كانت للإساءة لأمن أهلنا في لبنان”.

AFPداخل مخيم عين الحلوة (صورة من الأرشيف)

في غضون ذلك يعج المخيم بمطلوبين أكثر خطورة من الأسير والمولوي، خصوصا في حي الطوارىء المعروف باحتضانه جماعات متشددة، منها بقايا “فتح الإسلام” أو “جند الشام” ومجموعات قد تكون بايعت “جبهة النصرة” أو “الدولة الإسلامية” أو حتى من قيادة التنظيمين.

ويُطرح هنا سؤال هو كيف تمكّن مطلوب خطير كالمولوي من الانتقال مع عائلته من باب التبانة في طرابلس الى مخيم عين الحلوة مرورا بكل الحواجز الأمنية والعسكرية من الشمال الى الجنوب والدخول الى المخيم بسهولة؟

هذا وما زالت تجربة مخيم البارد ماثلة في أذهان الفلسطينيين الذين يحاولون منع انتقال تجربة البارد الى مخيمات أخرى.

AFPالجيش اللبناني داخل مخيم نهر البارد المدمر (صورة من الأرشيف)

المصدر: RT + وكالات

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Mount Hermon battles highlight divide among Druze communities

An undated photo shows a gathering of Druze sheikhs in Lebanon’s al-Chouf region. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi). Al-Akhbar / Haitham Moussawi
Published Tuesday, November 11, 2014
There is a lot of anger in Lebanese and Palestinian villages near Mount Hermon following the death of a large number of Druze fighters in battles with al-Nusra Front. These dramatic developments have brought back to the surface the debate over the neutrality of the Druze community versus calls for them to fight alongside the Syrian army against the tafkiris.
The battles that took place on the Syrian side of Mount Hermon continue to resonate in Hasbaya, Rashaya, the Galilee, and Mount Carmel, days after dozens of fighters from the National Defense Forces (NDF) – which fights alongside the Syrian army – were killed in battles with al-Nusra Front and other Islamist militias. The fallen fighters came from the Druze-majority villages of Arna, Bqaasam, Qalaat Jandal, and Ashrafiet Sahnaya.
So far, the concerned authorities on the Syrian side of Mount Hermon have not been able to provide a precise tally of the casualties, as al-Nusra Front and the other factions have refrained from sharing information with the liaison committee, formed by a number of dignitaries from the village of Hina, on the number of bodies and prisoners that they have taken. Al-Akhbar has learned from local sources in Arna involved in the preliminary negotiations that the committee has not yet obtained any accurate information, saying they could not speculate on the progression or the outcome of the negotiations yet.
The same sources told Al-Akhbar that the militant groups have neither confirmed nor denied the number of casualties or prisoners. The sources said,
“We were able to confirm they have two prisoners, Yahya Massoud and Suleiman Ahmad Bad al-Din (from Arna) thanks to leaked video footage.”
“The final tally could be 39 martyrs, but the militants do not want to lose one of their bargaining chips,” the sources added.
For their part, sources in the NDF said,
“The battles are not over yet. The men of the NDF are determined to protect the villages of Mount Hermon and to punish the terrorists who cowardly attacked our comrades. What happened was a tactical blunder that could happen in any battle, but the cost in blood was high.”
Meanwhile, Syrian military sources said the Syrian army will soon cut off the Khan al-Sheikh road from Mount Hermon to prevent “Israeli-backed terrorists from moving toward the Damascus countryside and to protect villages and civilians.”
Other sources in the NDF stressed that all claims that al-Nusra Front did not want to raid Druze villages were “nonsense,” pointing out that the jihadist group had previously stormed Tal Magher al-Mir and kidnapped a number of its residents. The NDF sources said the fact that casualties had fallen would not “push us to become neutral if the militants attack nearby army positions.”
According to Syrian military forces, al-Nusra Front is attempting to link the borders with the occupied Golan Heights to Damascus’ western countryside and Khan al-Sheikh, in order to circumvent the Damascus-Quneitra road after failing to take Qatna and Saasaa. According to security sources, “the militants have brought reinforcement for this purpose from Jubata al-Khashab through Beit Jinn, but the army foiled them in collaboration with the Popular Committees and the NDF.”
While anger and sorrow have been the predominant reaction of the Druze community in Syria, the repercussions of what happened will no doubt leave a deep mark on nearby Lebanese and Palestinian villages. The events in Mount Hermon served to cement the positions of the rival Druze parties in Lebanon who are at odds over the Syrian crisis, and highlighted the sharp disparity in the Druze street on this issue.
At a time when MP Walid Jumblatt took advantage of the battles to reiterate his position calling for “neutrality and disengagement with the Syrian regime” – and implicitly for the Druze to support al-Nusra Front – MP Talal Arslan, the Syrian Social National Party and former Minister Wiam Wahhab called on the Druze to take up arms and fight alongside the Syrian army and Hezbollah against al-Nusra Front. They also said al-Nusra Front was receiving open support from the Israeli army in the provinces of Quneitra and Daraa, representing a real threat to all the components of the Syrian people just like the threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
On the ground, Jumblatt’s calls have had little effect outside of his Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) base, at least in Rashaya and Hasbaya. While PSP supporters, under direction from Jumblatt, have steered clear from staging vigilante patrols and armed appearances in the villages of Rashaya along the border, the Yazbeki movement and local sheikhs have insisted on arming themselves to protect the villages.
This has found a favorable echo with the Druze sitting on the fence, as fears grow from possible takfiri attacks on the villages, in light of the battles between their coreligionists and the takfiris on the other side of the Mount. Some residents of Rashaya and Hasbaya are not only carrying arms at night and establishing perimeters around the border villages, but have also started preparations to form military groups and cross into villages in Syria to help protect them.
Jumblatt’s statements coincided with a campaign launched by PSP officials on the ground and on social media, promoting the idea that al-Nusra Front does not want to fight the Druze, and claiming that the Syrian army had abandoned Druze fighters in the battle. This is while bearing in mind that the information from the field that has reached even PSP officials indicates the Syrian army was not involved in any way in the battles. In effect, it seems that the subsequent intervention by the Syrian army and Hezbollah prevented a larger number of casualties.
Speaking to Al-Akhbar, PSP officials said,
“Our vision is that Druze villages can be protected through neutrality. This is a major war and it is going to last for a long time, and the Druze have no interest in siding with the Assad regime, which will fall.”
For their part, sources from Talal Arslan’s Democratic Party said,

”This is a major war and it is going to last for a long time, and the Druze have no interest in siding with the Assad regime, which will fall.” – PSP officials

 “Jumblatt had already sanctioned the slaughter of Syrian Druze, so why is he now suddenly concerned about defending them? Moreover, what guarantees can he obtain from the terrorists of al-Nusra Front and others when these groups declare even Sunnis who do not agree with its ideology are apostate, let alone Shias and Druze? There is no other option for the villages but to bear arms and defend themselves alongside the Syrian army.”
Sources close to the March 8 coalition said that the Druze in Lebanon support the Lebanese army against the likes of Salafi cleric Ahmad al-Assir and jihadist figure Shadi al-Mawlawi, and found it odd that the Druze in Syria were being asked to side with al-Nusra, which declares them as heretics according to their Wahhabi ideology. The sources said,
“If Jumblatt can get guarantees, then let him give us a plan for how to deal with the takfiris, and let them release the kidnapped Lebanese soldiers before we even talk about Syria.”
******
Protests in Safed against treatment of al-Nusra Front fighters
More than 500 Palestinian Druze held a protest outside the Safed Hospital in northern Occupied Palestine, which is treating a number of al-Nusra Front fighters who were wounded in the recent battles in Mount Hermon. Israeli occupation forces established a tight cordon around the hospital after receiving reports that the protesters were planning to storm the hospital and attack the militants.
There were also calls to hold protests outside the Nahariya Hospital, which is treating a number of wounded terrorists as well. The demonstrators moved to the barbed wire in the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, on the border with the liberated Golan Heights. In a statement, the Communications Committee for Druze Arabs of 1948 held Israel responsible for what was happening to the Druze villages, saying Israel was “arming and treating the wounded members of mercenary gangs in Syria.”
Al-Akhbar learned that the Sheikh Akel of the Druze in Palestine, Muwafaq Tarif, left two days ago to Europe to meet with a Druze Syrian opposition leader, amid talk about an Israeli intervention “to protect the Druze.” A number of Israeli intelligence officers with Druze roots have supported calls for Israel to intervene and expand its occupation in Mount Hermon to push back resistance groups linked to Hezbollah and the Syrian army from the occupied Golan.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
(Al-Akhbar)

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With a Saudi push of a button, Lebanon was ignited.

Lebanon: A ‘great battle’ with jihadis looms following battles in Tripoli

Update

Lebanese soldiers detain a man suspected of secretly taking photos of Lebanese Armed Forces bases, after raiding an apartment in Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli on October 26, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Ibrahim Chalhoub)
Published Monday, October 27, 2014
It is the usual suspects. At first glance, the militants seem to be fighting a losing battle. But the distribution of roles among the anti-army militant groups suggests there is something else being prepared in secret.
“These are the early signs of a great battle in Lebanon,” says an Islamist leader in response to a question about the events in Tripoli.
True, this sounds like an exaggeration, especially since security indications suggest the number of committed militants prepared to fight such a battle in the north does not exceed a few dozens, if Syrian refugees willing to take up arms are discounted. Moreover, public opinion in Tripoli and north Lebanon has overwhelmingly sided with the army and distanced itself from the militants, at least during the clashes that erupted over the past two days.
However, an Islamist source, who is close to al-Nusra Front, has a different opinion. He says that what happened before is different from what is going to happen next, revealing that Sheikh Abu Malek al-Talli is personally behind the events in the north, and that notorious Islamists Shadi Mawlawi and Osama Mansour have now pledged allegiance to al-Nusra Front, of which Talli is the emir in the Syrian Qalamoun region straddling the border with Lebanon.
As proof, the Islamist source cites the audio recording made by Mawlawi, in which he said that he had agreed with his associates to hand over kidnapped soldier Fayez al-Ammouri, but that Abu Malek refused, a decision Mawlawi has chosen to obey. Regarding what the Muslim Scholars Association has been saying about the possibility of a truce, the source said this would not last for long before confrontations erupt again – an assessment corroborated by the recent escalation led by al-Nusra Front and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades in the Qalamoun region.
Al-Nusra Front and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades are working together in Lebanon. Al-Nusra Front has been using the kidnapped soldiers it is holding hostage as leverage, while Abdullah Azzam Brigades has declared, through Sheikh Sirajuddin Zureiqat, the beginnings of a “Sunni uprising to uproot injustice.”

[W]hat is happening in North Lebanon is an attempt to distract the army in urban warfare while portraying it as hostile to the Sunnis.

 

According to sources, the rebels in Qalamoun intend to join forces to attack the villages of the northern Bekaa. The same sources said that what is happening in North Lebanon is an attempt to distract the army in urban warfare while portraying it as hostile to the Sunnis.
The scenario where an Islamic emirate is declared in the north remains a major concern for the security services. Regarding the spark that ignited the battles in Tripoli, security sources point out a tip off from an informant revealed 20 days ago that the so-called alleyway commanders in Tripoli had met to discuss rehearsing their deployment near Lebanese army positions, based on the orders of Abu Malek al-Talli.
Reports indicate the army moved in accordance with this tip. Reports also suggest Ahmed Salim Mikati was arrested by coincidence, when the phone of fugitive soldier Abdul-Qader al-Akoumi, which was under surveillance, was activated briefly, helping the authorities track him down. According to the sources, Mikati’s capture brought the jihadis’ deployment plan forward.
Accordingly, Islamist cleric Sheikh Khaled Hoblos called for a Sunni revolution at al-Taqwa Mosque in Tripoli. Around 30 militants in Bab al-Tabbaneh and Zahrieh districts affiliated to Shadi Mawlawi, Oussama Mansour, Ahmad Kasha, and Abdullah al-Jaghbir aka Abu Hajar responded to Sheikh Hoblos’ appeal. In the meantime, an army patrol happened to pass by, and was targeted by the angry militants, and clashes ensued. The militants then withdrew in the direction of the old souks.
According to Islamist sources, the family of the detained Mikati received a phone call from an unknown number, telling them that Abu Huda, as he is known, had died under torture at the Defense Ministry, asking them to come on the following day to take his body.
It should be noted that Abu Huda Mikati is affiliated to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Reports indicate that ISIS had recently appointed an emir in Lebanon whom Mikati pledged allegiance to, though his identity remains secret for security reasons. The emir in question is reportedly previously unknown in Lebanon. It should also be noted that al-Nusra Front and ISIS fighters seem to be working together in Lebanon, making it difficult in many instances to determine which group a given militant belongs to.
The groups fighting in the north can be broken down as follows:
In Zahrieh, Souk al-Hadid and Souk al-Nahhassin remain under army control, while the militants have spread in al-Arid Street, Souk al-Kindarjieh, Souk al-Dahab, and al-Baleh, behind the Grand Mosque.
In Zahrieh as well, the group operating under the command of Sheikh Hoblos, who is reportedly very close to al-Nusra Front, staged attacks against Lebanese army soldiers.
And in Bab al-Tabbaneh, groups operating under the command of Mansour, Mawlawi, and Abu Hureira al-Mikati – son of detained Islamist Abu Bakr al-Mikati – attacked the army along with dozens of Syrians who had pledged allegiance to Talli.
In light of the type and quantity of weapons seized in Haroun Mosque and Bab al-Tabbaneh, the army decided to cut off the road between Deir Ammar and al-Abdeh completely.
This unprecedented measure, according to sources in Tripoli, prevented any Syrians from coming into the city, whether their papers were legal or not. Checkpoints were also established in the city, all to prevent Syrian refugees, who would be initially unarmed, from joining the clashes where they would be supplied with weapons. The army’s suspicions were confirmed when it discovered a weapons cache behind the Anwar prayer hall containing 29 RPGs, 20 PK machine guns, 50 AK-47s, and various types of grenades, explosive devices, and ammunition.
In light of these rapid developments in the north, radical Islamist leaders are recalling the conflict in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp six years ago. They speak of the “betrayal” of the Tripolitan street and clerics against Fatah al-Islam, and argue that both the Lebanese army and the militant groups are keen to win over the support of the northern population and gain a “nurturing environment” in its ranks.
Follow Radwan Mortada on Twitter: @radwanmortada
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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Lebanon: Assir’s ghost hangs over the scene of the Tayouneh bombing

Lebanese security forces cordon off the site of a car bomb at the army checkpoint in the Tayouneh area of Beirut. (Photo: Marwan Bou Haidar)
Published Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Salafi cleric Ahmed al-Assir’s fingerprints have reappeared and the link between the Abdullah Azzam Brigades and the fugitive sheikh’s group grows stronger day after day. Awaiting to determine the identity of the suicide bomber, investigators were able to identify the route used by the car in the bombing, its owner’s identity, and its possible targets.
Only a few hours after Monday’s suicide attack, Abdullah Azzam Brigades spokesman Sheikh Sirajuddin Zureiqat spoke to the media through an audio recording shared on Twitter. It is noteworthy that the car bombing in Chiyah coincided with the Abra events, which broke out on June 23 of last year.
This reinforces speculations that Assir was behind the operation or at least linked to its perpetrators. It is a reminder of the links uncovered by the investigation of previous bombings adopted by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades between them and Assir, in addition to the sheikh’s links to some suicide bombers. Zureiqat also used phrases preferred by Assir, such as referring to Hezbollah as “Iran’s party.” This steers the accusations in the direction of the al-Qaeda subsidiary and Assir’s groups equally and jointly.
Zureiqat, who, according to jihadi sources, is “in al-Zabadani mountainside,” reiterated the substance of his previous speeches in his latest statement, titled, “And in retribution you have life.” He called on “Sunnis to kill the soldiers and leaders of the Iranian party” and maintained that “[Hezbollah] is implicated in killing Sunni Muslims in most Syrian districts.” He added that “the party installs checkpoints in Lebanon and arrests people based on suspicion.”

 

“You, the Iranian party occupying Lebanon, the forces of Iran, will suffer our continuous blows as long as you remain in Syria,” he warned Hezbollah. “We will continue to fight you as long as our detainees remain in prison.” Zureiqat addressed Lebanese soldiers who are “people of the Sunnah,” and asked them to leave the army. “If you continue your work, you will lose your religion, community, and sect,” he said. Moving to Iraq, he hinted that its winds will reach Lebanon, saying that “the revolution of the clans in Iraq is not very far off.”
As for the investigation, military investigators have still been unable to identify the suicide bomber that struck Chiyah on Monday. However, surveillance cameras in some of the roads leading to the location helped plot the route taken by the car bomb.
Security sources informed Al-Akhbar that the car began its journey from a parking lot close to al-Rabie project in Ard Jalloul. There, to avoid Lebanese army checkpoints, it headed to the Qasqas-Barbir junction before taking a right towards the Tayouneh roundabout. Then it went north, with Horsh Beirut to its right, heading towards Chiyah.
The information indicated that the suicide bomber took the same route several times. He drove several meters against the direction of traffic outside Abu Assaf Cafe, stopping and turning off the engine for an unknown reason. The information, camera footage and witness testimonies confirm that he waited around seven minutes before setting off the explosion. He spoke to several people, claiming his car could not move because he broke the ignition key.
Investigators are considering two assumptions related to the bomber’s abrupt stop. The first is that he waited for more people to gather around the car from the crowd watching the World Cup match in the cafe. Due to the large number of cars parked outside the cafe, investigators believe it was likely that he was looking for a spot to park or for people to gather around his car since he had stopped in the middle of the road, blocking traffic. It is most likely that he triggered the explosion prematurely after an officer drew his weapon on the bomber. The second assumption relates to the likelihood that he was confused, due to being unfamiliar with the area or having carried out weak reconnaissance missions prior to the operation.
The bomb’s weight has been estimated at between 30 and 40 kilograms of explosives. However, the information indicated that around half of it did not go off, due to the rudimentary preparation of the car bomb.
The car had been sold by Nimr Chamoun to Zuheir Abdullah Soueid and Ali Hassan Dirani (a Syrian citizen) on May 9, 2014. The seller maintained that he received $3,800 and was expecting an additional $500, pending registration. However, the car and the buyer disappeared, although there is no record of complaint against the theft of a car with similar specifications.
In this context, the information maintains that investigations are underway to determine the identity of the buyer, whether he used fake papers, and if he was directly linked to the perpetrators or just a middleman.
In the same context, the Directorate of Guidance at the Army Command issued a statement declaring that “a suicide bomber, driving a white Mercedes 300, with license plates 324784J blew himself up at 10:40 pm the night before yesterday’s near an army checkpoint at the Tayouneh roundabout.”
In addition to the abounding rumors, whether concerning a warrant issued against al-Taqwa mosque imam Sheikh Salem al-Rafei or news about diffusing several car bombs, available information points to a raid by the army on an apartment in Zahrieh. Several individuals were arrested from a group that was under surveillance. According the same information, six people – three employees and three university students – were detained under suspicion of links to al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
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Terrorist Sami al-Atrash’s death passes without major backlash

Two boys walk down an unpaved road in the village of Ersal. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)
Published Friday, March 28, 2014
Sami al-Atrash, one of the most dangerous wanted fugitives, has died during a Lebanese army raid in Ersal. His death has caused little uproar compared to the major unrest sparked by the death of Sheikh Khaled al-Hammid at the hands of the army in February 2013. Something must have drastically changed in Ersal.
Sami al-Atrash has been killed. The young Ersali man, who is also known as al-Karrouj, was fatally shot as the army raided a home in Ersal where he was hiding on Thursday.
The news of the raid passed quietly. No angry, political, or even religious reactions were generated. The news of Atrash’s death passed as though nothing happened, with the exception of some tension in the town following the shootout that accompanied the raid.
Although a statement by the Lebanese army said that Atrash had been killed during an exchange of gunfire with the suspect, close associates of the deceased man claimed that he was executed although he displayed no resistance – a claim often made following each raid by the Lebanese army.
People in the town told Al-Akhbar that Atrash was a resident of Masharee al-Qaa and was not known in Ersal, and that he had moved to the town after the start of the crisis in Syria where he worked in smuggling and dealing in arms.
According to information obtained exclusively by Al-Akhbar from sources close to Atrash’s cell, the man was recently taking precautions in his movements, avoiding appearing in the town except when absolutely necessary. Atrash, according to sources, was recently based between Flita and the wilderness surrounding Ersal.

The sources said that the raid took place following a tip from an informant in Ersal. The army reportedly also arrested three members of the same family, named as Ali, Nasser, and Mohammed Izz al-Din, nearly half an hour before the raid on Sami al-Atrash’s hideout.

In this regard, a security source revealed that the security services detected suspicious movements by Atrash and his cell in the town ten days ago. The security services proceeded to prepare an ambush for the suspects, but Atrash discovered it on Thursday afternoon, and went into hiding in a house in the area.
As the army raided the house in question, Atrash and his men opened fire at the soldiers. A firefight ensued, and Atrash was shot in the chest. He later died of his wounds at the Dar al-Amal Hospital. The security source said that the raid also led to the arrest of four Lebanese and eight Syrian suspects, pointing out that Atrash was one of the most dangerous fugitives wanted by the security services.
Sami al-Atrash’s name entered the world of terrorism less than a year ago, alongside several individuals from his village in the Bekaa Valley. This happened when then-Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn issued his famous statement, disclosing information about the group led by Ibrahim Qasim al-Atrash, which was involved in preparing and carrying out car-bomb attacks.
Sami was a member of the group led by Omar, who was killed on October 11, 2013, along with Samer Houjeiri, when an explosive-rigged car they were driving near Ersal was attacked. Sami, Omar, and five other individuals were named as suspects involved in preparing car bombs to detonate them in Beirut’s southern suburb. But some in Ersal deny these accusations and say they are fabricated by the security services.
According to the information available to the security services, the suspects are commanded by Ibrahim al-Atrash, a man in his fifties with close to ties with al-Nusra Front and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades in Greater Syria. The same information indicates that Sami al-Atrash was a major field operative, and that the most dangerous members of the cell were Ibrahim al-Atrash and Sameh al-Baridi.
In addition to these names, another prominent suspect is Ubada al-Houjeiri, son of Sheikh Mustafa Houjeiri. The young man, according to security reports, is involved in the murder of two army officers in February 2013, and the four men killed in the Wadi Rafeq ambush.
Ubada was named as a suspect in the kidnapping of journalists, most recently a Danish and a Palestinian reporter who were released for a ransom of $400 thousand. Bear in mind that the officers of the Information Branch delivered the ransom to Mustafa, the kidnapper’s father, who acted as a mediator.
It may be worth noting that Mustafa Houjeiri, despite rumors that he had left Ersal to the wilderness areas surrounding it with the army’s entry to the town, has been spotted in Ersal, and was seen praying in the mosque where he used to deliver sermons.
After Omar Ahmed al-Atrash and Hussein Ammoun, Sami al-Atrash has now been killed. Before him, his cousin Omar Ibrahim al-Atrash was arrested on charges of transporting suicide bombers, followed by the arrest of Naim Abbas, one of the major terrorist operatives involved in the preparation of car bombs.
The members of the group that the Defense Ministry said were involved in the bombings in Dahiyeh and the northern Bekaa are falling one by one. The security services confirm that these suspects are the most dangerous in the terrorist underworld, but the suspects, or at least a majority of them, deny the charges made against them, including the leader of the group Ibrahim al-Atrash, who only admitted to one charge before the courts, namely, fighting the Syrian regime inside Syria.
Officially, the members of the group named earlier stand accused of “preparing explosive-rigged cars; firing rockets and mortars at Lebanese towns and villages; holding citizens hostage; taking part in the murder of four civilians in Wadi Rafeq in June 2013; murdering soldiers in the Hammid Valley; and planning to kill an officer using an explosive device.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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A genuine uprising to remedy the Future Movement’s woes

Supporters of the Future Movement wave the party’s blue flags at a rally in downtown Beirut. (Photo: Marwan Bou Haidar)
Published Wednesday, March 19, 2014
It is now our duty to reveal the discussions happening behind closed doors. To put matters simply, a few weeks ago, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri realized that he was obliged to engage in a course of action planned by the Saudis under US pressure, a plan Europe was compelled to implement gradually. Hariri’s new course of action is related to the position of takfiri Islamist organizations active in Syria, Lebanon, and the Arab region. Hariri informed most of his aides that there is no more room to maneuver and that they have to abide by the directions of the Saudis and the West.

Part of Hariri’s program is to go along with the Saudi decision to classify the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front as terrorist organizations. He was compelled to raise his voice, where he could not take up arms. Yet Hariri finds himself in quite the predicament as Saudi Arabia did not include Hezbollah on their list, which infuriated his supporters. They are now faced with protesters in Tripoli, the Beqa’a Valley, and Sidon. Hariri, for his part, was unable to bargain. Not only was it demanded that he accept this decision, but he had to reach an understanding with Hezbollah regarding the new Lebanese cabinet.

There is another issue that Hariri loathes to discuss with any of his affiliates, yet it is well-known by most of the Future Movement’s cadre, especially those active in the region. Hariri had mentioned explicitly that instead of using extremist groups to push Hezbollah to cooperate, he now needs help to counter their influence among his supporters. The experience of Ahmed al-Assir in Sidon was the first warning. It was followed by the events of the north and the Bekaa, which confirmed that the threat was bigger than he thought. Even the Information Branch, which is under the political influence of the Hariri camp, announced it was difficult to control the situation without confronting those groups.
Hariri’s countermeasure seems to be the development of a program with two linked actions.
The first is to speak out against takfiri ideology, while promoting the idea that Hezbollah is the other side of the coin of such movements. 
The second entails raising the level of political and sectarian discourse to show the Sunni population that it is not removed from its leadership in the Future Movement. However, the latter’s officials have interpreted this plan as they see fit. While Interior Minister Nouhad al-Machnouk pitted Brital against Ersal, the leadership in Tripoli linked the fate of the fighters and the Islamist groups with that of Jabal Mohsen as a whole.
There is another sticking point, which the Future Movement avoids discussing in public: re-establishing links with the Mufti of the Republic, Mohammed Rashid Qabbani. This is the Future Movement’s effort to restore the influence of the official Sunni establishment against extremist movements and bring it under their control. Practically, this would mean utilizing Dar al-Fatwa to serve the interests of the Hariri camp; however, it is difficult to expect this to happen anytime soon.
What about the “tools?”

The problem with the Future Movement’s plan is two-fold. Its supporters have been instilled with constant sectarian and confessional discourse. Moreover, the Future Movement has an older generation of opportunistic leaders, who sustain themselves on tensions and incitement. There is also the younger generation, which is involved in militia activities in various regions. The Future Movement is now a prisoner of the Lebanese political game and under the command of leaders who only care about having their names in the forefront, even as dead bodies.

The other half of the problem is that Hariri hopes to implement his plan without giving the impression that he is revising his calculations or criticizing certain legacies, methods, or patterns of thinking. This means he will need a lot of distractions to cover up his turnaround. In the minds of the Future Movement’s leadership, there is no better distraction than the current chaos in various places like Tripoli and Ersal.
The Future Bloc’s statement on Tuesday confirms the aforementioned, concerning this group, its intransigence, and madness. What change could be expected when Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi puts the blame on Hezbollah for the situation in Ersal, or when he considers the insanity of his thugs in Tripoli as a conspiracy organized by the Syrian intelligence?
If the Future Movement remains in a state of denial concerning the takfiri criminals in its midst, it will always produce terrorists and God alone knows where they will vent their anger and madness. When the Future Movement keeps its eyes closed, they will not notice the fire devouring its own house. And as they keep thinking that screaming and verbal intimidation will cure their constant and accelerating failure in their policies, they will be digging their own grave deeper into the earth.
This reasoning means one thing. The Future Movement needs a real uprising, an uprising that goes beyond loud words followed by a settlement in the shadows. It needs an uprising to change faces and names, which have only caused defeat and death in this country.

What awaits our Palestinian camps in Lebanon؟ Save our Palestinian camps in Lebanon,


قالت وسائل الاعلام ان احد الانتحاريين اللذين نفذا تفجير الامس في بيروت فلسطيني ويدعى نضال المغير وهو المشتبه به الرئيسي. وانه من انصار الشيخ احمد الاسير، يسكن في بلدة البيسارية قضاء الزهراني في الجنوب اللبناني.وانه منذ عدة شهور يقاتل الى جانب التكفيريين في القلمون بسورية. وان اشخاصا في البلدة قاموا بحرق منزله في البلدة بعد الاعلان عن اسمه. بطبيعة الحال ليس مهما إن كان
الانتحاري المذكور من انصار الاسير او غيره من الشيوخ التكفيريين.

فالأهم هو تغلغل النهج التكفيري في الشباب الفلسطيني في لبنان. حيث ان هذا الأمر يشكل خطورة كبيرة على مستقبل الفلسطينيين في لبنان وعلى الوعي الوطني والنضال لاجل تحرير فلسطين. لان هؤلاء الشباب لم تعد بوصلتهم فلسطين ولا مقاومة الصهاينة والعمل لاجل تحرير وطنهم المحتل بل العمل لاجل مشروع جهادي عالمي مشبوه في نهاية الأمر.فمن يضع يده بيد اعداء الأمة ومقاومتها ويمارس الارهاب ضد الشعوب العربية لا يمكن ان يكون فلسطينيا وطنيا همه تحرير فلسطين من الاحتلال الصهيوني.
صحيح ان السيد حسن نصرالله في خطابه الاخير وجه كلامه بالدرجة الأولى لجمهور المقاومة حين دعاهم لعدم تحميل الفلسطينيين والمخيمات وزر هذه الاعمال الارهابية لانها اعمال فردية ترتبط بنهج عام للجماعات التكفيرية في المنطقة والعالم. لكن وبالرغم من هذا الكلام للسيد حسن نصرالله إلا ان بعض الاشخاص قاموا بحرق منزل الانتحاري الفلسطيني المذكور في البيسارية. وهذا يدل على انه من الصعب التحكم بمشاعر الناس وردة فعلها بعد كل عملية انتحارية قد تحصل.
وهذا ايضا يدل على ان الناس لم تعد تحتمل مثل هذه الأعمال الهمجية، مما يقودنا الى تخوف مشروع من وصول مشروع الفتنة الى بعض جمهور المقاومة. بالرغم من موقف المقاومة وسيدها وقائدها الرافض لمثل هذه الاعمال وردود الافعال المرفوضة. فحزب الله يعي ويعرف الى اين ستؤدي مثل هذه الفتنة خاصة ان مأساة نهر البارد مازالت ماثلة وحاضرة في الذاكرة الجماعية.
وهنا يجب قرع جدران الخزان في المخيمات الفلسطينية في لبنان، وقرع جدران الفصائل الفلسطينية هناك، التي يجب عليها تحمل مسؤولياتها الوطنية في الدفاع عن الشعب الفلسطيني في لبنان وذلك من خلال الوقوف بوجه التطرف والجماعات التكفيرية والمتطرفة التي عاثت وتعيث خرابا في العقل الوطني الفلسطيني وتحرف الشباب عن البوصلة الحقيقية للجهاد الحقيقي.
نعي ونعلم ان وضع الفصائل لا يؤهلها بالشكل المطلوب لمواجهة هؤلاء لكن على هذه الفصائل ان تحث الناس في المخيمات على الوقوف ضد هذه الظاهرة التي قد تؤدي الى حرب بين المخيمات وجوارها ومع الجيش اللبناني المسؤول عن حفظ أمن لبنان.
فماذا لو ان الجيش اللبناني تأكد من وجود قائد او عنصر من التكفيريين في احد المخيمات الفلسطينية في لبنان مثلا عين الحلوة الذي تتهمه وسائل الاعلام اللبنانية وحتى السلطات بايواء بعض عناصر وقادة هذه المجموعات. والمصيبة ستكون اكبر لو ان هذا العنصر مطلوب بتهمة المشاركة في اعمال ارهابية ضد الدولة اللبنانية وعلى الارض اللبنانية.
وماذا لو أصرت السلطات على تسليم هذا العنصر وعجزت الفصائل الفلسطينية عن تسليمه للسلطات؟ ..
العجز طبعا سيكون نتيجة لصراع الفصائل ولقيام بعضها بحماية هذا العنصر ومنحه غطاءا ما. عندها سيضطر الجيش اللبناني الى استخدام القوة وفرض هيبته من خلال التدخل العسكري لاعتقال هذا العنصر، مما سيستدعي مواجهة مع المخيم. هنا سيكون حزب الله ومعه حلفاء الشعب الفلسطيني في وضع لا يحسدون عليه ابدا وسوف يضطرون للوقوف الى جانب الدولة في هذه المواجهة، التي لن يستفيد منها سوى الكيان الصهيوني واعداء الامة العربية.
فهل علينا الانتظار حتى تحصل مثل هذه المواجهة؟
بالطبع لا، لانه علينا كفلسطينيين واجب لجم كل عنصر او مجموعة تخرج عن الاجماع الوطني في المخيمات الذي ينص على عدم التدخل فيما يدور من صراع في لبنان. وعلينا واجب تسليم اي عنصر تثبت عليه تهمة المشاركة في اعمال ارهابية ضد لبنان او التخطيط لعمليات انتحارية هناك او المشاركة فيها باي شكل من الأشكال.

يجب رفع الغطاء والحماية عن اي مشتبه به او متهم بالمشاركة في التفجيرات الانتحارية التي تستهدف المقاومة ولبنان. لان في هذا صيانة للمخيمات وحماية لأهلها وسكانها وديمومتها حتى التحرير والعودة الى فلسطين المحررة. وهذه بطبيعة الحال مسألة وطنية صميمية ولا تقبل القسمة والحسابات الخاطئة والقراءات المغلوطة. وهي مسؤولية جماعية فلسطينية.
صرخة نطلقها في زمن معقد وصعب نبتغي منها تصحيح المسار و اعادة الامور الى نصابها وحماية شعبنا وصيانة مخيماتنا وديمومة نضالنا حتى عودتنا الى فلسطين الحرة.
( نضال حمد – موقع الصفصاف)
20-02-2014

Beirut orphanage latest victim to suicide bombings

Lebanese children from an orphanage located next to the site of a bomb explosion react following the attack on February 19, 2014 in a southern suburb of the capital Beirut. (Photo: AFP- STR)
Published Thursday, February 20, 2014
The twin suicide bombings yesterday in Bir Hassan, south of Beirut, were rightfully described as “an attack on the Islamic orphanage.” In fact, the two blasts shook the neighborhood surrounding al-Majad Center, part of the Social Welfare Institutions, where about 100 children were playing outside and 150 others were attending classes. All 250 children were at the building when two suicide bombers blew themselves up.
What were the bombers’ targets? Did they think they would be able to hit those targets without hurting little children, orphans and students with learning disabilities? It is hard to convince these kids that they were not on the hit list. “The explosion was just outside the wall,” they said, the same wall separating them from the main road.
Yesterday their laughter didn’t escape the concrete as they celebrated a small recreational event, instead bombs and the oncoming shrapnel hit them from the outside. They described what happened in their own childish language, “a very loud noise, the building shook, the teacher fell, my friends disappeared before we took a picture, I fell on my leg.”
As shocked children started to come back to their senses, they ran inside to hide but there was nothing left to protect them. Classroom windows shattered with shards of glass everywhere. It was as if an earthquake had just hit the area. Superintendents asked the students to gather in a room they usually use to watch TV. They swept away the glass with their small little hands and sat on chairs, waiting in silence. Some of them haven’t spoken since.

On the bus, as they returned to the orphanage’s main headquarters in Barbir, they spoke a bit about what happened to them, and when they reached their dormitory they started to relate the events to their friends who weren’t with them at the time.

These children go to al-Majad Center every day to attend classes. It’s not just a school and orphanage, but a vocational institution for girls and boys with learning disabilities. “We were at the playground because the school was having a festival,” said Camellia, a young school girl. It was a reward “because we have been studious and polite,” she added.
It was supposed to be a beautiful day that the children have been dreaming about and preparing for, a reward for their discipline and hard work. They finished their first class and went to the playground; some started playing at once while others went to put on costumes they brought for the occasion and to put some face paint on so they fit with their characters. Camellia was dressed as a bunny and was taking a picture with her friend “when we heard the noise,” she looked around her but found no one.
Mohammed, a student in the advanced class, was holding his right leg when we met with him at the main headquarters. He was mad before the blast; he didn’t like the football team that his teacher assigned him to. He was angry saying “I don’t want to play anymore,” when the blast occurred, “the land shook and I fell on my leg.” Meanwhile, Ahmed from the preparatory class, was happy with his team and waiting for his teacher to give him the ball.
Children were almost whispering their stories which lacked the usual emotions and excitement of children talking about their games. Camellia’s picture with her friend no longer mattered, neither did Ahmed’s ball. Even Mohammed was no longer angry that he was playing with the weak team. Something happened and erased it all; it changed the color of their faces and brought tears to their eyes.
Camellia doesn’t laugh when you ask her who’s faster, her or the bunny? The children don’t want to plead for another festivital instead of the one they lost. They only want to stay where it is safe, though they are still worried about their friends who were moved to other centers after a decision by the chairman of the Social Welfare Institutions, former Minister of Education Khaled Qabbani, who rushed to the scene.
Qabbani was informed about the blast while he was at the main headquarters, he couldn’t reach the administration in Bir Hassan by phone so he went there himself. He described the scene as total chaos “no class was spared, no roofs were left, glass was all over the place, all equipment was damaged, sewing machines, computers, and teaching tools.” But most importantly, the children were safe, “100 children were out on the playground, they all survived, only 11 were hurt but they are okay.”
Qabbani reiterated what he said on TV, “this is a criminal terrorist attack, no matter what side stands behind it. The perpetrators are true criminals because they are attacking innocents and not distinguishing between mothers, elderly and people just heading to their jobs. It is a random attack that leads nowhere and doesn’t serve any cause other than criminal intent and it is denounced by everyone with a conscience.” Qabbani stressed that the center will be rehabilitated soon and promised alternative programs for the children in the meantime.
In a statement, the orphanage said that 11 children and one staff member were wounded in the twin blasts, while 250 people were inside the building at the time.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Rafik Nasrallah: On The coming ‘battle’ from its southern border, Bir Hassan Suicide Blasts and Salam Government,

حديث اليوم | رفيق نصر الله 19-2-2014
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Orient Tendencies | Geneva Conference: Russia Put an End to American Illusions

Posted on February 17, 2014 by 
https://i1.wp.com/www.neworientnews.com/news/files/news/%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A9-%D9%8A%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AF-20140217-084209.jpg Orient Tendencies Monday February 17, 2014, no171 Weekly information and analysis bulletin specialized in Arab Middle Eastern affairs prepared by neworientnews.com Editor in chief Wassim Raad wassimraad73@gmail.com New Orient Center for Strategic policies

Geneva Conference: Russia Put an End to American Illusions

By Ghaleb Kandil
U.S. bets to initiate Russian pressure on the Syrian delegation at the Geneva Conference, to bring it to change its principled positions have failed. The disappointment of Washington appeared in the results of the tripartite meeting in Geneva on Friday between Russia, the United States and Lakhdar Brahimi. At this meeting, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov, showed great firmness in opposing the Americans and the bias international envoy.
The negotiations in Geneva proves the absence of any compromise already agreed, as some political and diplomatic circles believed at the beginning of the conference. It should be clear to all analysts that the relationship between Russia and the Syrian state is built on a strong partnership and alliance, and not on orders, as is the case in the relationship between the Syrian opposition and their American, Arab and Western masters.
The Syrian crisis is the space in which the partnership between Russians and Americans is being formed. In its efforts to regain its place in the international scene, Russia is based on a solid rock: the resistance provided by the Syrian state, the advance of his troops on the ground and broad popular support that even the worst enemies of Syria can no longer deny.
In its efforts to build this new international partnership, Russia is equal with the West, even if at the beginning of the conference, she closed her eyes to the withdrawal of the invitation to Iran and limiting the representation of the Syrian opposition to the only delegation of the National Coalition. The Russians put an end, Friday, to the U.S. illusions, by fully supporting the position of the Syrian government delegation is uncompromising in priorities: the fight against terrorism must come before any other political issue, because it is the pillar of any future inter-Syrian agreement.
Washington is trying to impose the concept developed by Richard Haass of an international partnership… led by the United States! This is what the Americans are trying in Syria. But this attempt goes against the current balance of power on the ground, which allow the Syrian government, which draws its strength from its army and the support of a large part of the population, to put the world before two alternatives: a compromise built on a partnership in the fight against terrorism, supported by strong international resolutions against all states involved in supporting terrorist movements; or a military solution with the own resources of the Syrian state, which would impose a fait accompli on the field.
Through its information and opinion polls, the West knows that the popularity of President Bashar al- Assad is unwavering. The fact that the Syrian president is the target of the United States has only reinforced his popularity and his image of a Syrian popular leader who resists terrorism and defends the independence and sovereignty of his nation.
Russia wanted to send a strong message of solidarity with Syria, its people and its leader, which has attracted the admiration of the free men of the world with his will to resist.
Moscow’s position was helped by an intelligent and courageous management of the negotiations in Geneva by the government delegation. It is no coincidence that demonstrations in support of President Assad, the government delegation in Geneva and the Syrian Arab army, took place in troubled regions of Syria. Images of crowds in Daraa, Deir Ezzor and other cities are eloquent.
Russia is convinced that she is the target of terrorism and takfirists, sponsored by countries moving into the U.S. orbit. It is also subjected to pressure in Ukraine and other regions, which constitute its area of ​​historical influence. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stood up before the American arrogance and against the anti-missile shield, which is a direct threat to the global equilibrium. This project is explicitly directed against Russia and its Iranian ally.
This means that the priority of the Syrian government to combat terrorism means also to defend Syria, the security of its allies and world stability. It is quite natural that the position of Russia in the Geneva conference to support this priority, especially that the Syrian government has taken into account the last three years, and more than one times, the interests of his Russian ally.
The relationship between Russia and Syria is built on an organic and strategic alliance based on credibility, understanding and mutual respect. Syria is a key partner for Russia and not a vassal, as the relationship between the United States and its “allies.”
For all these reasons, the illusion of a Russian-American compromise agreed in advance fell Friday in Geneva … evaporated with the U.S. plans to give priority to the “transfer of power” on the fight against terrorism.
عمليات عسكرية خاطفة للجيش السوري في حلب
The Syrian Arab army will make sure on the battlefield, to convince those who are still lulled by these illusions.
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Statements
Hassan Nasrallah, LHezbollah Secretary general
«Hezbollah and the Amal Movement opened the door for this national achievement. Hezbollah made the most sacrifices in this cabinet. I do not consider this cabinet an all-encompassing cabinet because there are significant parties that were not represented in it… It is a ‘settlement’ or a ‘national interest’ government. Hezbollah will win the battle against the takfirists in Syria, and that the Resistance’s weapons and techniques are being developed to be ready for bigger confrontations.  We will be victorious in this battle. It is a matter of time. Takfiri terrorism is a threat to the entire region, It is present in all the countries of the region and all religions and sects are under their threat. Why don’t we have the right to be worried of those rebel groups if other countries are worried about their residents fighting with them? If these armed groups took control of Syria and the Lebanese border towns, we would have a war on all fronts. If these groups triumph, will the Future Movement have a future in Lebanon? This threat faces the entirety of the country. Some parties in Lebanon said that the suicide bombings wouldn’t have taken place if it weren’t for Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria, but before our participation in the war, such operations were also taking place. Our intervention was not the reason for these operations. These Takfiri groups had Lebanon as a target. They were coming sooner or later. It was a matter of time. We protected the Lebanese in Qusayr from being killed and raped. Is that not worth us bearing the repercussions? Israel and the United States are using extremists to have them carry out suicide bombings in Lebanon. Israel has been taking advantage of the situation in Lebanon to wage a psychological war against the Resistance.»
Tammam Salam, Lebanese Prime minister
«I stretch my hand to all political leaders and I count on their wisdom to reach this end. I call on all of them to concede to serve the project of the state and to support the army and the security forces and keep them away from political bickering. The cabinet will work on holding presidential elections and agreeing on a new law for parliamentary elections.»
Michel Aoun, Free Patriotic Movement Leader
«We hope that the new government will help normalize relations between the different sections of Lebanese society. We hope that everything will return to its place and that the institutions will return to their work. We hope that institutions will] flourish and bear good fruits, from security to economics and finance, and that the government will rise again being in a state of collapse.»
Saad Hariri, Future Movement leader
«The time of justice is the time of moderation and the people of justice are the people of moderation. We are the people of moderation and we reject extremism. We will be victorious through work, education, the state, justice and moderation. The five suspects in the killing of Rafiq Hariri are overtly under the protection of an armed party and the state is unable to even inquire about them. To those who wage accusations concerning the existence of a welcoming environment for terrorism in Lebanon and attempt to put the blame on the Future Movement and the Sunni-dominated towns we say: ‘Your illusions are rejected’. Our only plan is the state and we reject vacuum in the presidency because we come from a school that considers the Maronite Christian president a symbol of coexistence between Muslims and Christians, which, for us, is a fundamental basis of Lebanon. Future rejects vacuum in the only Christian presidency among countries that lay between India and the shores of Morocco.»
Fares Boueiz, Former Lebanese Foreign Ministry
«Israel is closely following the issue of the supply of arms by France to the Lebanese Army. Israelis are certainly occurred through the United States and directly from French, to ensure that the military does not get sophisticated weapons.»
Fadi Karam, Lebanese Forces MP
«With our respect for the new ministers, some of whom we have friendships with, we will be defining our position on the political identity of the cabinet based on the ministerial statement not the names of the ministers or the portfolios. Today we are waiting for the ministerial statement and the policy that will be adopted in order to decide in light of that policy how to deal with the new government.»
Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister
«Russia has the impression that, in persuading Syria’s external opposition to join the Geneva II conference, its sponsors had only the replacement of the regime in mind. They are prepared to discuss other issues, in the first place, the fight against terrorism, only after the creation of a transitional body, because ‘in the field’ government troops are confronted with the armed opposition. When the Russian-American initiative was announced, it was said clearly that these negotiations should not have any artificially set time parameters, or any artificial deadlines.»
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Events
  • The Lebanese Army defused an explosives-rigged car in east Lebanon Sunday, according to a statement from the military. The Army began chasing the suspected vehicle, a Toyota RAV 4 around 11:15 a.m. on the outskirts of the Baalbeck town of Ham. Soldiers managed to capture the car after opening fire at it, but the driver escaped. A military expert was then called to scene to investigate. After ascertaining that the car was rigged to explode, the expert disarmed the bomb, the statement said. Military Prosecutor Judge Saqr Saqr ordered Army Intelligence to transfer the car to its headquarters and launch preliminary investigations. The National News Agency reported that the car entered Lebanon from the Syrian province of Qalamoun, near the Lebanese border, and that it was heading towards Beirut when it was stopped. Media reports said that over 250 kilograms of explosives were found in the car, in addition to fuses. This past week, military experts defused another car bomb vehicle in Beirut’s Corniche al-Mazraa neighborhood following the confessions of a leading figure in the Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades. The Army also seized another explosive-laden vehicle in the Bekaa region on the same day.
  • Speaker Nabih Berry called on Gulf states to remove travel warnings for Lebanon as he held talks with Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Sunday. “I hope efforts are made to lift the travel ban to Lebanon for our brothers in the Gulf,” Berri said during his talks with the Kuwaiti Emir. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have repeatedly renewed their advisories warning Gulf citizens against traveling to Lebanon due to the frail security situation. Berri, who is currently in Koweit for a two-day visit as part of his tour of the Gulf, hailed the “ongoing initiatives” by Kuwait to support Lebanon. He also called for strengthened unity among Muslims. Berri expressed hope the Emir would work for a rapprochement between Iran and the Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, adding that such a breakthrough would have a positive impact on the entire region. Berri also discussed the conditions of the Syrian and Palestinian refugees on Lebanese territories with the Kuwaiti Emir and Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed al-Sabah For his part, the Kuwaiti Emir said his country would do everything in its power to “assist and support Lebanon in various fields.”
  • Jordanian Islamist cleric Abu Qatada, on trial for terrorism, said he supports a string of Al-Qaeda-linked bombings against the powerful Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah because it backs the Syrian government. “I support the bombings in Beirut. The leader of Hezbollah sent fighters to Syria to back the regime. He is responsible for those killed in Lebanon,” Abu Qatada told reporters at the state security court in Amman. “If Lebanon wants to protect itself, it should tell the party of the devil to get its fighters out of Syria,” he added in a swipe at Hezbollah. They have been claimed by various jihadist groups, some of them linked to organizations fighting in neighboring Syria, including Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
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Press review
As Safir (Lebanese daily, Arab nationalist)
(February 13, 2014)
Fourteen vehicles 4×4 entered Ersal from Syria, the 8th of this month, with on board Lebanese and Gulf nationals, with weapons, ammunition and money. Tuesday at dawn, the passengers of these vehicles went aboard minibus, after receiving falsified identity documents to facilitate their movements. The minibus took the following directions: toward northern Lebanon, two to Beirut and to the central Bekaa. Among Gulf nationals members of these groups were identified the following persons: Abdel Rahman A., Ibrahim Ghodbane, Majed Fadel, Abdel Malek A., and Assem Fahd.
Security sources said that the aim of these groups is to commit bombings and assassinations, under the direction of an individual nicknamed al-Sarih (fast) before they leave for Turkey.
An Nahar (Lebanese daily, close to March-14 Coalition)
Rosanna Bou Mouncef (February 14, 2014)

There are no similarities between the summit of Presidents Barack Obama and François Hollande and the Normandy meeting between presidents Jacques Chirac and George W. Bush in June 2004. At the time, Lebanon was on the brink of a presidential election but Syrian President Bashar al- Assad had taken the decision to extend the term of President Emile Lahoud, which earned him the adoption of Resolution 1559 by the Council of UN Security. Today, however, the Presidential election this year is tied to the fate of Assad. The circumstances are different, as the method of two heads of state, their interest in Lebanon, and their ability to release the Lebanese presidential elections of the various pressures. Indeed, every day, there is an inability to dissociate the situation in Lebanon from the crisis in Syria. Consequently, Lebanon is doomed to wait. He is asked now to preserve its stability. Efforts focus on everything that is likely to achieve this goal, such as support for the Lebanese army and assistance to Syrian refugees. This is why President Hollande has raised Lebanon issue by two or three sentences on these objectives during the joint press conference with Obama. Franco-American concerns go beyond the two countries fear indeed that Lebanon lacks the electoral event.

Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance)
(February 13, 2014)
A few days ago, sources with links to takfiri groups operating in the Qalamoun region in Syria leaked information that major operations are being planned against Hezbollah in the coming few days. Security agencies circulated information about a plot involving suicide bombers and members of al-Qaeda that was meant to target Dahiyeh – Beirut’s southern suburb – in the coming three days. The plot’s climactic event was meant to take place during the speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah Sunday afternoon to commemorate the anniversary of the martyred leaders of the Islamic resistance.
Although the security agencies pursuing these groups were already on high alert last week, sensitive information about the imminence of the plot’s execution prompted strict monitoring operations which allowed them to determine that the whereabouts of Naim Abbas, a leading figure in the operation, was in Tariq al-Jdideh on a street that connects the neighborhood to the Corniche al-Mazraa area. In a morning raid that took place at 6:30 am, Abbas was found with another person, a Lebanese national, who confessed during investigations that he is a suicide bomber receiving instructions from Abbas to set off a car bomb in Dahiyeh yesterday.
This security operation was part of a plan that covered many Lebanese regions from the northern Bekaa to Beirut, the coastal region of the Chouf, and the outskirts of the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Saida. It included additional measures taken at the junction between Tariq al-Jdideh and the Chatila roundabout that leads to Dahiyeh. It became evident that the whole area was on high alert in the past 24 hours and there is talk of a car bomb delivered to a suicide bomber that has not been found.
The expression “big catch” is often used to underscore the importance of a person arrested by a security agency but it is hard to find someone to whom this description would apply more aptly than Naim Abbas.
The leading figure in al-Qaeda in Lebanon was arrested by the army’s intelligence directorate yesterday. He has a treasure trove of information that would require a lot of time to extract. More importantly, arresting him gave immediate results. His arrest, and subsequent confession, prevented a series of bombings and rockets planned to target civilians in Dahiyeh.
It is a huge achievement for the army and its intelligence directorate which carried out the operation covertly yesterday after taking every possible measure to protect the life of this “big catch.” Abbas is so dangerous that security officials who have monitored fundamentalist movements in Lebanon for more than 15 years could not believe at first that he would risk his life moving around Beirut and Dahiyeh.
But Abbas is truly in custody and before long he began to confess to what he knows. From the first moment of his arrest, he was in a state of shock that led to his collapse according to security sources. He was faced with voice recordings and evidence that accelerated his confession under investigation. He confessed to investigators about the bombings in Dahiyeh in the past weeks, that he was in charge of choosing the target, receiving the booby-trapped car, the suicide bomber, determining the road he would take, and driving him to the outskirts of Dahiyeh. For example, Abbas gave the suicide bomber, Qutaiba al-Sattam, the car near Spinneys supermarket in the Wata al-Mousaitbeh neighborhood. He pointed out that the Choueifat bomber is the only one he chose, recruited, and prepared his operation from A to Z.
He did not only tell investigators about previous operations but about future ones as well. The car that the army found yesterday in Corniche al-Mazraa was prepared to go off yesterday in Dahiyeh. The army also arrested, according to security sources, the suicide bomber (known by the initials M.M,. from North Lebanon carrying a fake ID under the name of a young man from the town of Taalabaya in the Bekaa) who was supposed to drive it.
Just as important as thwarting the car bombs, is foiling a plan to strike Dahiyeh with rockets from the hills overlooking the area. Abbas intended to carry out the operation on Sunday to coincide with Nasrallah’s speech and a number rockets that were supposed to be used were found in the nearby Chouf towns of al-Saadiyat and al-Dibbiyeh.
Al Akhbar (February 12, 2014)
Racha Abi Haidar
The sheer devastation is enough for one to imagine what kind of battles have been taking place in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. There are no signs of life at the camp, except for the fighters of the Palestinian factions, who have filled the void left behind by the camp’s fleeing residents. In the opinion of the Palestinian fighters, the optimistic view that the crisis in the camp is over is rather exaggerated. To them, all talk about the neutrality of the camp in the armed conflict is just “empty words.”
The traffic was thick on that sunny Damascus day, made worse by the checkpoints on both sides of the southern ring road leading to the Tadamun intersection and Batikha Square beyond it. Life appears normal, until one reaches the Yarmouk refugee camp.
We passed through two checkpoints manned by Fatah al-Intifada, a pro-regime Palestinian faction. A few meters later, we reached the neighborhood where Rawdat Zahrat al-Joulan, a school, is located. There are no students there, just fighters with their gear.
There are clear traces of shelling on the main gate of the school. A mortar has been deployed in the playground, but it has been “out of service” for a while, to make room for negotiations for a deal in the camp. Colonel Abu Iyyad from Fatah al-Intifada came out to greet us, along with a group of soldiers in fatigues, including several who were donning black uniforms with badges that had the word “counterterrorism” written on them.
The walls are covered with Palestinian and Syrian flags, and portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Abu Iyyad explained the details of the agreement reached by the 14 Palestinian factions in the camp.
One of the demands, he said, was for al-Nusra Front and the Ibn Taymiyya Brigade to withdraw, which is indeed what happened on Tuesday, with the two groups withdrawing in the direction of Yalda. Abu Iyyad said, “Our decision is to retake the camp from the militants. We have made progress on the ground, causing confusion and divisions in their ranks.”
No doubt, the fighting here was very fierce over the last few months. The destruction all around, which becomes more pronounced as one goes deeper into the camp, bears witness to this.
At long last, an agreement was reached. Within four days the roads will be opened and all Palestinian factions will meet at Regie Square, the most important point in the center of the camp. The next step, according to Abu Iyyad, “if the initiative succeeds and we establish that outside militants have left the camp,” would be “for the rest of the militants, and us after them, to withdraw to al-Hajar al-Aswad.”
The Fatah al-Intifada colonel is optimistic. He said, “Within a month, life will be once again normal here, and the displaced persons would be able to return to their homes.” What about the devastation to the buildings and infrastructure caused by the fighting? Abu Iyyad said, “The destruction is at about 20 percent but the rest of the camp is intact. The municipality of Yarmouk will cooperate with the government to rebuild the camp.”
But it’s not just about damaged buildings or infrastructure. The humanitarian situation here is very dire, and the civilians have had to cope with incredibly difficult conditions. But Abu Iyyad stressed that the reports about the number of people who died of hunger were “grossly exaggerated.” He said, “We are of this people; others are just exploiting our blood,” adding, “They betrayed the Palestinian cause before they betrayed Syria.”
What about Hamas’s role in all what is happening, and its alleged ties to armed groups that took part in the fighting? Abu Iyyad says that “Hamas played a positive role with the factions that were working on finding a solution,” and denied that “Hamas members were fighting with the Ibn Taymiyya Brigade.”
He said that Hamas had links to the group called Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis, but stopped short of confirming whether or not it had anything to do with events in the camp. However, one pro-regime fighter was not as reserved as Abu Iyyad, and declared without equivocation, “Even if Hamas did not participate officially, everyone knows they are fighting here.”
To get to the police station in the nearby Palestine Camp on foot, one has to cross “improvised” paths that the fighters had cleared between homes and buildings. There was no choice but to remain clear of the main road, because the risk of sniper fire still exists. Even ambulances have to take a different route to reach their patients.
Here too, there are no signs of life or civilians, only fighters and some reporters. Everyone has stuck to the buffer zone between Yarmouk Camp/al-Thalatheen Street, and the Palestine Camp.
Commander “Jeddo,” a 73-year-old man originally from Haifa, Palestine, and the “godfather” of the fighters here, is not optimistic at all. The same goes for his bodyguard and comrade Abu Salah.
“What happened is a truce, not a settlement,” he said. He added, “The Palestine camp and the Yarmouk camp are one and the same. Therefore, withdrawing from one but not the other is a ploy!” Jeddo says sharply, to the approval of those around him.
Al Raï (Kuwaiti daily, February 12, 2014)
Hezbollah discovered, last month, a takfirist cell that was planning for murder of senior party leaders. Informed sources said that the security service of Hezbollah asked party officials to take precautions and to increase the alert level. These sources indicate that this cell is linked to a regional state and has no link with other groups who commit suicide bombings.
Observers note a harmony between the mission of the cell responsible for assassinations and Israeli objectives, without necessarily  a link between the two parties, at least in Lebanon itself. The above sources indicate that this network hasn’t managed to commit any operation so far, and was discovered by an electronic monitoring and work on the ground.
Al Joumhouria (Lebanese Daily close to March-14 coalition)
(February 12, 2014)
The Lebanese Armed Forces are pursuing several suspected terrorists in South Lebanon, the Beqaa, and Beirut’s Dahiyeh. Dozens of young men who belonged to Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir’s inner circle in Sidon and the Ain al-Helwe Palestinian Refugee Camp have been at large since the latest clashes in Abra,” security sources said. The army intelligence is pursuing men of Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian nationality.
The sources also stated that the Syrian warplanes had attacked Al-Nusra Front members in the Beqaa Valley and targeted one their vehicles in Wadi al-Kheil, near Younine, and in Wadi Ajram, near Arsal.
Syria’s air force launched four strikes on the outskirts of Lebanon’s frontier town of Arsal on Monday, causing no casualties, according to a Lebanese security source.
The Wall Street Journal (American Daily, February 14, 2014)
Maria Abi Habib and Stacy Meichtry
Washington’s Arab allies, disappointed with Syria peace talks, have agreed to provide rebels there with more sophisticated weaponry, including shoulder-fired missiles that can take down jets, according to Western and Arab diplomats and opposition figures.
Saudi Arabia has offered to give the opposition for the first time Chinese man-portable air defense systems, or Manpads, and antitank guided missiles from Russia, according to an Arab diplomat and several opposition figures with knowledge of the efforts. Saudi officials couldn’t be reached to comment.
The U.S. has long opposed arming rebels with antiaircraft missiles for fear they could fall into the hands of extremists who might use them against the West or commercial airlines. The Saudis have held off supplying them in the past because of U.S. opposition. A senior Obama administration official said Friday that the U.S. objection remains the same. “There hasn’t been a change internally on our view,” the official said.
The U.S. for its part has stepped up financial support, handing over millions of dollars in new aid to pay fighters’ salaries, said rebel commanders who received some of the money. The U.S. wouldn’t comment on any payments.
he focus of the new rebel military push is to retake the southern suburbs of Damascus in hopes of forcing the regime to accept a political resolution to the war by agreeing to a transitional government without President Bashar al-Assad.
But if the Manpads are supplied in the quantities needed, rebels said it could tip the balance in the stalemated war in favor of the opposition. The antiaircraft and Russian Konkurs antitank weapons would help them chip away at the regime’s two big advantages on the battlefield—air power and heavy armor.
“New stuff is arriving imminently,” said a Western diplomat with knowledge of the weapons deliveries.
Rebel commanders and leaders of the Syrian political opposition said they don’t know yet how many of the Manpads and antiaircraft missiles they will get. But they have been told it is a significant amount. The weapons are already waiting in warehouses in Jordan and Turkey.
Earlier in the conflict, rebels managed to seize a limited number of Manpads from regime forces. But they quickly ran out of the missiles to arm them, the Western diplomat said.
Rebel leaders say they met with U.S. and Saudi intelligence agents, among others, in Jordan on Jan. 30 as the first round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva came to a close. That is when wealthy Gulf States offered the more sophisticated weapons.
At the meeting, U.S. and Gulf officials said they were disappointed with the Syrian government’s refusal to discuss Mr. Assad’s ouster at the talks and suggested a military push was needed to force a political solution to the three-year war.
President Barak Obama this week acknowledged that diplomatic efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict are far from achieving their goals. “But the situation is fluid and we are continuing to explore every possible avenue,” Mr. Obama said.
The weapons will flow across the border into southern Syria from the warehouses in Jordan and across the northern border from Turkey, the Western diplomat said. Rebel leaders said the shipments to southern Syria are expected to be more substantial because opposition fighters are more unified in that area and there is a lower risk the weapons will fall into the hands of al Qaeda-inspired groups—a big concern for the U.S.
With the rebels still deeply divided and infighting growing, the new aid is aimed squarely at the more moderate and secular rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that the U.S. has always favored.
The plan coincides with the reorganization of rebel forces in the south, where 10,000 fighters have formed the Southern Front. The new front aims to break the government’s siege of the southern suburbs of Damascus.
Last month, rebels in the north unified into the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, turning their weapons on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the most deadly al Qaeda-inspired rebel faction. The SRF, along with other groups, forced ISIS to retreat from key territories across the north. Both the northern and southern forces are technically under the FSA’s umbrella.
Western and Arab support for the new groups won’t go to the Islamic Front, an alliance of conservative, religious rebel factions that is helping the northern front rebels fight the more radical ISIS.
The Southern Front is under the leadership of Bashar al-Zoubi, who has a direct line to Western and Arab intelligence agencies in a military operations room in Amman, rebels say.
The operations room hosts officials from the 11 countries that form the Friends of Syria group, including the U.S., Saudi Arabia, France and the U.K. Mr. al-Zoubi was also among a select group of rebel commanders who joined the political opposition in Geneva for the latest round of peace talks.
The Southern Front has captured a string of government-held areas and military bases since it launched its first offensive in late January.
But any push toward the capital from the south faces formidable challenges. An arc south of the capital is the domain of the army’s Fourth Division, elite troops led by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother. Closer to the capital, Syrian forces are fortified by elements of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia from Lebanon.
The regime has been ruthless in snuffing out any hint of escalation by rebels in the south.
“The Saudis and Emirates at the same meeting said that their priority is to lift the siege on the entire southern area of Damascus,” said an aide to a rebel leader who attended the meeting in Amman on Jan 30. Once we reach this stage, it will become political pressure and Assad will have to listen to the international demands,” the aide said.
At the meeting between leaders of the Southern Front and Western and Arab intelligence agencies last month, rebel leaders said they were given salaries for their fighters and equipment such as military rations and tents.
Rebels said the U.S. spent $3 million on salaries of fighters in the Southern Front, delivering the payments in cash over two meetings in Jordan—one on Jan. 30 and the other late last year.
The opposition will also ask Congress next week for weapons to help rebels fight al Qaeda. That mandate would give the opposition a better shot at securing arms than previous requests for support to topple the regime.
Congressional aides confirmed there are scheduled meetings with opposition leaders next week to discuss their request for more advanced weapons. But Congress remains sharply divided about the conflict in Syria. Some lawmakers favor stepped-up support to moderate opposition groups, but others question the wisdom of providing heavy weapons.
“We’re trying to assure the international community that they can support moderates without the threat of arms falling into the hands of al Qaeda,” said Oubai Shahbandar, a senior adviser to the Syrian opposition.

“Terrorism is not Wahabism” – Omar Atrash Charged in Haret Hreik 2 Blasts – Military Court Judge Charges 12 People for Forming (SO-CALLED) Terrorist Group

Terrorism is not Wahabism” Thus said Pro-Resistance anal-ysist Daniel Mabsout.

daniel mabsoutThis war on terrorism is nothing more than shifting of the original struggle with Israel ; it serves more than a purpose. It replaces the fight with Israel with another fight that benefits Israel and the world order . It keeps the Arab armies busy fighting a fictitious enemy called Terrorism created by the establishment. It destroys Arab countries and dismantles Arab societies that will be torn by internal conflicts . It exposes and threatens directly the armed Resistance to Israel . Should Syria really settle for this and carry on this task ?

Weren’t there any other alternatives ?

The stupid wants Syria and consequently Hezbollah to leave those freedom fighters (so-called terrorists). The war on them threatens directly the armed Resistance to Israel .

Omar Atrash Charged in Haret Hreik 2 Blasts

Local Editor

Government commissioner to the military court in Omar Atrash Charged in Haret Hreik 2 BlastsLebanon Judge Saq Saqr on Wednesday pressed charges against Omar al-Atrash and other five people on the blast that rocked Haret Hreik last Monday.

The judge referred the case to the Military Investigative Magistrate. Omar al-Atrash had been arrested over planning the two terrorist attacks that stormed Haret Hreik last month and over belonging to terrorist groups.

Judge Saqr Saqr also ordered on Wednesday the arrest of three suspects in Choueifat blast, among them the taxi driver who transported the suicide bomber to the blast scene.

Source: Agencies
05-02-2014 – 18:56 Last updated 05-02-2014 – 18:5
Lebanon Military Court Judge Charges 12 People for Forming Terrorist Group
Local Editor
Lebanon Military Court Judge Charges 12 People for Forming Terrorist GroupGovernment commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr pressed charges on Wednesday against a terrorist gang.The 12-member gang includes three detained (1 Lebanese and 2 Syrians) in the crime of forming an armed gang to carry out terrorist acts, buy weapons, detonators, rockets and explosives in order to plant them across Lebanon and plan to assassinate officials in the North. Saqr referred the accused to the military magistrate.
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