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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Tuesday
Jan 21st
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Latest Intel Lebanon - Region - April 2, 2008
Latest Intel Lebanon - Region - April 2, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by CRNews, STRATFOR, DEBKA, Worldtribune, JPost, Agencies   
Wednesday, 02 April 2008

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Latest Intel from the Region / Lebanon

Israel: Hezbollah Strike Using Outside Help Suspected
April 2, 2008 | 0117 GMT STRATFOR

Hezbollah could use the assistance of a third party paramilitary organization to possibly attack the North with the aim of denying accountability, intelligence officers told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee April 1, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported April 2.

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Syria: Preparations Made For Israeli Attack
April 2, 2008 | 1046 GMT STRATFOR

Syria has called up reservists in preparation for Israeli attacks against Hezbollah, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported April 2. Damascus reportedly was responding to statements made by Israeli military officials.

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Lebanon: Hezbollah Makes Preparations For War
March 31, 2008 | 1834 GMT STRATFOR
Hezbollah is giving money and food to its partisans in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley for use in the event of war, a source in Lebanon told Stratfor March 31. Hezbollah has also prepared an operational plan for its officials and military commanders about the locations they need to go to in the event of an emergency. Most Hezbollah executives, field officers and commanders have been provided with communication gear that connects them with the command center to receive instructions and directions.

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Exclusive: Israel orders bio/chemical warfare masks redistributed, Damascus raises war alarm
April 2, 2008, 2:12 PM (GMT+02:00), DEBKA FILE
 
Israel’s security cabinet convened Wednesday, April 2, to examine the homeland’s preparedness for war. It decided to redistribute the bio/chemical warfare masks a few months after they were called in. DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose intelligence data indicating the possibility that Syria may transfer to Hizballah chemical or biological warheads known to have been developed for its war arsenal.

A few hours earlier, the London-based al Quds al-Arabi quoted Damascus officials as claiming that Israel is preparing a big attack on Syria and Hizballah. Syria was said to have ordered a partial call-up of its military reserves. The paper also reported that Hizballah had decided to postpone for the moment its plan to wreak its revenge on Israel for allegedly killing Imad Mughniyeh last month, so as not to provide Israel with a pretext for going to war against Syria and itself.

DEBKAfile reports too that last week, Damascus deployed two armored brigades on the Beirut-Damascus highway under the command of President Bashar Assad’s young brother Maher Assad, chief of the presidential guard. They were posted there to block the road in case Israeli armored columns attempted to reach Damascus through Lebanon.

IDF sources report Iran has sent Syria state of the art equipment for surveillance and eavesdropping on Israeli military command centers and bases.

Tuesday night, Israel’s home defense command scheduled April 6-10 a nationwide exercise to improve the home front’s readiness for emergencies. Warning sirens will be tested on April 8.

That day, too, defense minister Ehud Barak’s toured Israel’s northern border and reported “a great deal of activity on the other side.” He added:”…we are learning the lessons of the last war, Israel is the strongest country in the region and I would not advise anyone on the other side to test us.”

In their briefing to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Tuesday morning, intelligence officers confirmed intense Hizballah activity, much of it in South Lebanon by operatives in civilian disguise. The officers referred to the Lebanese Shiite terror group’s rearmament with more powerful and longer-range rockets.

On March 22, DEBKAfile first revealed that Hizballah had more trebled its pre-war rocket arsenal to 40,000.

“Some of the 40,000 rockets of Syrian and Iranian manufacture can hit Israeli targets as far south as Beersheba, 350 km. away. Not only has Tel Aviv come within range, but Hizballah and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza can between them now cover most of Israel up to its southernmost tip at Eilat. The possibility is now under consideration that these rockets may be armed with Syrian non-conventional warheads.

Damascus has also shipped to Hizballah quantities of anti-air weapons, including shoulder-borne rockets and scores of Russian-made anti-aircraft ZSU-100 automatic 14.4 mm caliber cannon, which are most effective against low-flying aircraft, helicopters and drones

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Israel readies largest exercise ever to prepare for Iran-Syria missile war

TEL AVIV — Israel plans to conduct its largest exercise ever to set contingencies for massive missile attacks by Iran and Syria.

The government has been preparing for a five-day exercise in April that would simulate conventional and nonconventional missile strikes from Iran, Lebanon and Syria. Officials said the exercise would test emergency response as well as evacuation of cities struck by enemy missiles.

The exercise, scheduled to begin on April 6, has been organized by National Emergency Authority. The authority was established in 2007 as part of recommendations in the aftermath of the Hizbullah war a year earlier, in which 4,500 rockets landed in Israel.

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i has been responsible for the exercise, meant to integrate efforts by the military, police and emergency services. The exercise also envisioned missile and rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities by the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.

The exercise would include a simulation conducted by the government. Officials said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would convene the Cabinet to order a response to the enemy strike.

Officials said the exercise could take place annually amid an assessment that Iran would assemble a nuclear bomb as early as 2009. In 2007, the military halted an effort to replace gas masks distributed in the late 1990s.

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MI officer: Hizbullah preparing for more violence - UNIFIL prohibited from acting in S. Lebanon villages without coordination with Lebanese Army 

MI officer: Hizbullah preparing for more violence
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST Apr. 1, 2008

www.jpost.com
/servlet/Satellite?cid=1206632384965&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

MI officer:

Hizbullah is rearming and getting ready for new violence along the border, and in many cases, UNIFIL is at a loss to act against the terror organization, a top military intelligence officer warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

The organization is once again becoming stronger and increasing its medium- and long-range rocket capacity, the officer told the committee, which was gathered to hear from IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.

The IDF has identified a general "change in preparedness" south of the Litani River, he said, and rockets are part of that changing dynamic.

In addition to surface-to-surface missile capacity, Hizbullah has increased operations in south Lebanese villages, with operatives dressed as civilians, the officer added.

Previously much of Hizbullah's preparations for IDF operations were carried out in open areas - so-called "nature reserves" - but those areas are now more heavily monitored by UNIFIL, the officer said.

In contrast, the villages and towns of southern Lebanon offer the organization more freedom of movement, as UNIFIL is prohibited from operating in them without coordination with the Lebanese Army.

Hizbullah, he said, was preparing for an increase in violence along the border. However, he warned that an attack could be carried out in the name of another terror group, masking Hizbullah's involvement.

The officer said Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah had come to the conclusion, through the Israeli press, that Israel feared the Hizbullah response to the killing of the organization's terror chief Imad Mughniyeh.

Later Tuesday, on a tour of the northern border, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Hizbullah against taking revenge for Mughniyeh's assassination, which the Lebanese terror group claims was engineered by Israel.

"Israel is the strongest country in the region, and I wouldn't recommend that anyone provoke us," Barak told soldiers. "Hizbullah is becoming stronger, and so are we. The IDF is prepared for all eventualities. We watch the pastoral calm, and we know that other things are seething beneath the surface."

"Hizbullah is currently refraining from firing, but has not stopped hatching plans... in the entire area," Barak added. "Hizbullah's activity continues, and we continue to monitor the activity and deployment of the organization."

Barak called on soldiers to maintain vigilance, saying that they "must be alert at all times and ready to respond quickly - to make a quick transition from routine to engagement."

During the Knesset committee meeting, Ashkenazi also addressed the issue of drafting yeshiva students to mixed religious-secular units and extending their period of military service.

The IDF chief denied that OC Manpower Gen. Elazar Stern was carrying out a "personal campaign" against religious soldiers, and emphasized that decisions would be made on the basis of agreements with yeshiva heads.

Nevertheless, the IDF is suffering from a manpower shortage of thousands of soldiers, he said, adding that it was "professionally correct" to extend the service of yeshiva students, who currently serve approximately one-third of the standard military service period.

Ashkenazi also emphatically denied allegations that the IDF had ever deprived yeshiva students of the option to enlist in the much-sought-after Golani and Paratroopers' infantry brigades.

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1206632384965&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

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Syria conducting maneuvers require extensive and reserve units in case of any Israeli attack 

 Syria conducting maneuvers require extensive and reserve units in case of
any Israeli attack
April 1st, 2008
02/04/2008 Al-Quds Al-Arabi (UK)
Article as automaticallly translated to English by Google (a bit stilted but
possible to comprehend):
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ar&u=http://www.alquds.co.uk/&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dal%2Bquds%2Bal%2Barabi%26hl%3Den

Damascus special Quds Al-Arabi:

A senior Syrian sources told Quds Al-Arabi that the Syrian authorities are
preparing to meet senior Israeli attack had targeted along with Hezbollah.

The sources refused to disclose the identity of that Syria is following with
interest the moves and Israeli reinforcements on the border, and that it
sees information and the statements of Israeli military officials and
Israeli incitement significant attempt to create an atmosphere and the
Israeli public opinion and the global war against Syria large.

The sources said that Syrian forces conducted military exercises enormous as
it called part of the reserve forces in preparation for any emergency.

In addition to military preparedness Syria using its security, for fear of
incursions from neighbouring countries.

The Syrian forces had mobilized in the last few weeks, about three teams
tanks and special forces and mechanized infantry (nine brigades) off the
western Bekaa area Lebanese, a region that the Syrians believe that any
penetration or attack Israeli Prix will be challenging area, because it is
not a strategic region for Party By God, but also because they constitute
groin belly of the Syrian front, where Israeli forces enough success in
penetrating 25 kilometres from the Rashaya Valley slopes to the north-west
of Mount Hermon to the Syrian capital in the crossfire between Israeli and
Israeli pincer claws, as well as cutting through Beirut, Damascus.

The crowd comes at a time when the actors leaked information that Syria and
the Syrian Ministry of the Interior will announce the results of the
investigation on the assassination of the military commander of Hezbollah,
Imad Mughniyah, the end of this week, which means understanding where
Israeli give a green light to Hezbollah to avenge the assassination of the
leader of military especially since the investigation will to accuse
(Mossad) in the assassination and the involvement of Arab views with the
Israeli forces.

The assassination of a singer in the heart of Damascus to the Palestinian
leaders to take intensive security precautions, and said one Palestinian
officials told Quds Al-Arabi that if Israel reached a singer for the
officials of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas and the General Command easy
targets, pointing out that the singer was known to others unlike the
Palestinians known to all.

Arab sources told Quds Al-Arabi said that Hezbollah would abstain in the
meantime from any retaliation for the singer so as not to give Israel a
pretext to launch an attack.

The Israeli military commanders announced that the Israeli response to any
attack would be huge and inside Israeli territory.

It also comes the talk about Israeli military reinforcements at a time when
the Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, a strongly-worded warning to Syria
and Hezbollah implementation of the consequences of any attack on Israel, on
the grounds that they did not pass over customers.

Barak announced yesterday that his country is the strongest in the area, and
he did not advise anyone provoked.

Barak emerged as a threat to both Syria and Hezbollah, especially as it
came during a tour of his aides accompanied him along the northern border
that separates Israel from Syria and Lebanon.

Israeli radio quoted Barak as saying Hezbollah growing stronger, but Israel
is the strongest country in the region.

The Minister pointed out that the Israeli army Hezbollah continue the
process of building strength and growing, stressing that his country is
following closely.

He stressed that his forces are ready and willing and able to deal with all
possible contingencies, pointing out that Israel is well aware that a storm
was brewing below the surface, in a reference to preparations for Hezbollah.

But Barak returned and demanded the army to prepare for any developments
taking place on the borders of his country's north.

He must not be misled by witnessing calm along the northern border, but we
must be aware that there are other developments taking place in secret,
Barak did not talk about these developments, or who planned it.

Barak emerged during the last period, unusually and remarkably often speaks
to the media.

The news media in Israel on a top officer in the Division of Israeli
military intelligence said yesterday that Hezbollah continues its
preparations for a possible outbreak of a new war with the Jewish state and
it is continuing to supply weapons to Iran and Syria.

The news media Israeli Israeli officer as saying during a meeting of the
Commission for Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the Knesset
yesterday that Hezbollah continues its preparations in Lebanon and the
growing strength of the acquisition of weapons from Syria and Iran.

He added that Hezbollah improves the performance of its units, we do not
rule out absolutely that the response to the assassination (in the party
leadership Imad) singer along the Lebanese-Israeli border.

He did not rule out the officer said the process to implement other
organisation.

For his part, Israeli army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who participated
in the meeting itself, that the elements of Hezbollah are active in secret
and in civilian clothes, especially in populated areas (in south Lebanon)
because the mandate of UNIFIL forces prevents them from working in these
areas without a permit from the Lebanese army.

Turning to the situation in the Gaza Strip and said we are working in the
Gaza Strip and we will work in, including the last night, and we blows of
saboteurs and we will continue to do so.

With regard to the West Bank, said that wearing one of the goals established
by the Israeli army in the West Bank is to prevent the growing strength of
Hamas in various ways.

And on the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority pointed
out that the wearing Israeli army prepared a map of Israel's security
interests.
 
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Iranian mortars with 8 kilometer range fired from Gaza - more dangerous than Qassams 

Iranian mortars with 8 kilometer range fired from Gaza
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 2 April, 2008

Israel Television Channel Two Correspondent Ronnie Daniel reported last
night that the mortars fired from Gaza on Tuesday were 120mm Iranian
mortars.

They have a range of 8 kilometers and can do considerably more damage than
Qassam rockets.

Daniel said that many of the protective reinforcements that have been placed
in order to shield Israelis from Qassams do not provide protection from
these mortars. In addition, the Iranian made mortars travel at a speed that
makes the warning system that gives Israelis a few seconds to duck for cover
from the slower Qassams meaningless.

To see the report in Hebrew video:
www.keshet-tv.com/VideoPage.aspx?MediaID=35555&CatID=250&CurrentCatID=333

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Damascus Declaration: differentiate between terror and attacks against Israel (aka "resistance") - evaluate next move in light of evaluation of present strategy 

 " -Condemning and combating it to eliminate terrorism and remove its
sources, in addition to denouncing attempts to link terrorism to Arabs and
Muslims, and renewing calls for holding an international conference
supervised by the UN to define terrorism, identify its causes, and
differentiate between it and peoples' right to resist occupation. "

"-Making a thorough evaluation and revision of present Arab strategy
regarding efforts to revive the peace in order to decide on the next move in
light of such evaluation."

Damascus Declaration
Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - 01:50 PM
www.sana.sy/eng/160/2008/04/01/168483.htm

DAMASCUS (SANA - Syrian news agency)- The20th Arab Summit concluded its
deliberations on Sunday by issuing the Damascus Declaration. Arab
solidarity, national security and revitalizing the mechanisms of Arab joint
action featured prominently.

The Declaration read by Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa in a press
conference , highlighted the following topics:

- Commitment to bolstering Arab solidarity to protect Arab national security
and to guarantee for each Arab country's safety , sovereignty, the right to
defend itself and non-interference in its internal affairs, in addition to
implementing the resolutions of previous Arab Summits and Arab joint action
organizations, improving the role of the Arab League and supporting its
efforts to develop a working Arab system.

-Working to surpass inter-Arab disputes through deep, effective dialogue
and to overcome weaknesses in some aspects of joint Arab action. -Giving
priority to the higher interests of the Arab nation over any arguments or
disputes , and for dealing firmly with any foreign interference that
attempts to stoke inter-Arab disputes.

-Standing together in the face of economic and political pressure campaigns
imposed by certain countries on any Arab and for taking necessary steps to
confront such action. -Unifying Arab stance towards any issues presented at
international conferences.

-Allotting Arabic language special attention , so that it may keep up with
scientific developments in an age when globalization and information and
become a means to face attempts of the defamation and westernization of Arab
culture.

- Achieving stronger cooperation in the light of the joint responsibility
to support Arab economic integration projects, leading to a Common Arab
Market, in addition to working to guarantee the success of the Arab
Economic, Social and Development Summit which will be held in Kuwait in
2009.

- Regarding the challenges facing the Arab nation, the Declaration announced
the following :

-Continuing to provide all forms of political, material and moral support to
the Palestinian people in their struggle against Israeli occupation and its
hostile policies and practices, affirming the unity of rank among all
Palestinians.

-Warning against excessive Israeli policies of siege and attack,
particularly in the Gaza Strip, and treating them as war crimes that require
immediate action, demanding Israel to immediately cease such hostile
practices against civilians, in addition to calling on the Security Council
to assume greater responsibility regarding this issue and urging all parties
concerned to end the siege and to provide basic human needs for
Palestinians.

- Working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace for the Middle East
according to relevant resolution of international law, the "land -for-
peace" formula , and the Madrid term of reference in order to guarantee the
restoration of legitimate Arab rights , the return of Palestinian refugee to
their homeland, establishing an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem
as its capital, the complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian
Golan to the June 4th 1967 line, and the Israeli withdrawal from all
remaining occupied Lebanese territories.

-Affirming that the joint Arab will to propose the Arab peace initiative is
linked to Israel carrying out its commitments within the framework of
international term of reference for peace.

-Making a thorough evaluation and revision of present Arab strategy
regarding efforts to revive the peace in order to decide on the next move in
light of such evaluation.

-Expressing support and appreciation for the efforts under the leadership
of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the initiative for achieving
Palestinian national reconciliation, affirming Palestinian unity and the
integrity of Palestine's land and people, in addition to continuing efforts
and coordination with the Arab League Secretary General to achieve a united
position.

-Keeping Iraq's territorial integrity and unity of its Arab and Islamic
identity outlining the necessity of complete national reconciliation, quick
withdrawal of foreign forces, guaranteeing its stability, security and full
sovereignty.

Calling on our brothers in Iraq to immediately stop the shedding of blood to
preserve the lives of innocent citizens and their property as well as the
adoption of dialogue to end differences and to reach national consensus and
unity. -Commitment to the Arab initiative to help Lebanon end of its crisis,
supporting current efforts by the Arab League Secretary General to encourage
Lebanese parties reach a consensus among themselves to cope with this
predicament to preserve the country's unity, stability and general
prosperity.

-Stressing Arab solidarity with Syria regarding the so-called Syria
Accountability Act as a violation of the international law and UN
resolutions.

-Encouraging the current contacts between the United Arab Emirates and Iran
in order to solve the issue regarding the UAE's three islands of Greater and
Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa through legal procedures and peaceful means so
that the UAE can restore its islands and preserve fraternal Arab-Iranian
relations means of developing them.

-Stressing Sudan's territorial integrity and stability, its rejection of
foreign intervention in its internal affairs, supporting efforts to
implement the ongoing peace agreement, dealing with Darfur, and calling on
all regional and international parties to help the Sudanese government
establish peace and to restore security and stability in the province.

-Stressing Somali's unity, sovereignty and stability, renewing support of
national reconciliation and helping the country overcome the current crisis.

-Stressing a desire for national unity of the Republic of the United Comoros
Islands, its territorial integrity and support all efforts To develop the
country.

-The mounting attack on Islam and the phenomenon of anti- Islamism have been
a source of great concern, particularly as we see anti- Islam abuse on the
rise in countries marked by diversity.

This sharp polarization necessitates greater work to narrow the gap which
has been widening among cultures and civilizations. Out of this, cooperation
between the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and
other relevant organizations is a matter of importance in order to confront
these phenomena.

-Condemning and combating it to eliminate terrorism and remove its sources,
in addition to denouncing attempts to link terrorism to Arabs and Muslims,
and renewing calls for holding an international conference supervised by the
UN to define terrorism, identify its causes, and differentiate between it
and peoples' right to resist occupation.

-Working to make the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, mainly
nuclear weapons, and calling on the international community to force Israel
to join the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty and place its nuclear
facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), in addition to affirming nations' right to use nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes according to the standards and regulations of IAEA.

English Bulletin
 
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Excerpts: Hariri tribunal. Asian demand to overtake US, EU 1 April 2008 

+++THE DAILY STAR(Lebanon) 1 April '08:"UN 'completes' formation of Hariri
tribunal"

QUOTE:" the court will have "teeth" ... power to
issue warrants for arrest"

EXCERPTS:

BEIRUT: UN Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel announced on
Monday(31 March) the complete formation of the International Tribunal tasked
with prosecuting the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
... Michel said the tribunal was composed of 11 judges, four of whom are
Lebanese. The remaining seven members are international judges. "The
selection committee decided to choose the best existing judges on the basis
of their solid judicial experience," Michel said.

Michel refused to disclose the nationalities of the international judges. He
noted that significant non-judicial steps had been completed, such as the
drafting of the procedural rules and evidence on which the tribunal will be
based, in addition to the election of a head for the tribunal, and a judge
responsible for appeals.

The undersecretary confirmed that the court would "have teeth," meaning that
the prosecutor would have the power to issue warrants for arrest. . . .
"criminal network" had carried out the 2005 assassination Hariri and was
connected to other acts of political violence in Lebanon, but the
commission's report did not identify anyone involved with the network.

"The commission can now confirm, on the basis of available evidence, that a
network of individuals acted in concert to carry out the assassination of
Rafik Hariri and that this criminal network - the 'Hariri Network' - or
parts thereof are linked to some of the other cases within the commission's
mandate," said the 10th report issued by the International Independent
Investigation Commission. ...Hariri's February 14, 2005, killing led to the
exit of Syrian troops from Lebanon after 29 years. Leading members of the
governing coalition in Lebanon have long blamed Damascus for Hariri's
killing and for the string of assassinations and attempts since, while the
Syrian regime has denied any role and has said it will not allow its
citizens to appear before the tribunal.

Friday's report said Syria "has provided generally satisfactory cooperation"
with the commission, headed since January 1 by Canada's Daniel Bellemare,
who will also become the prosecutor of the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
The commission's first chief, German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, had
implicated the Syrian regime in the Hariri crime, but Bellemare's first
report adopted the more careful style adopted by Mehlis' successor, Belgian
prosecutor Serge Brammertz. - The Daily Star

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Monday, March 31, 2008
[Minimum level of terror against Israel?] The full text of President Bashar al-Assad opening speech at the 20th Arab Summit 

 Rather, they are a call to review the substance of our strategic choices and
to search for a balanced stand that accommodates the requirements of a just
and comprehensive peace, and what the return of occupied territories and the
guaranteeing of legitimate rights means, on the one hand, with the provision
of the minimal level of steadfastness and resistance, as long as Israel
continues to reject peace and launch aggression against us, on the other
hand.

The full text of President Bashar al-Assad opening speech at the 20th Arab
Summit
Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 12:05 PM

SANA - Syrian News Agency
www.sana.sy/eng/21/2008/03/29/168035.htm

Your Excellencies and Highnesses Dear brothers and sisters,

On my behalf and on behalf of the Syrian Arab people, I extend to you a very
warm welcome in your country, Syria, which receives you today with love,
respect and sincere hope that this meeting among brothers is going to be a
beneficial meeting for the Arab nation whose sons and daughters are looking
forward to the achievement of solidarity, dignity and prosperity for this
nation at a critical juncture of its modern history.

The convening of this Arab summit in Syria at this critical stage is a great
honor and responsibility which we appreciate due to our strong belief in the
importance of joint Arab work and its significance to our Arab nation that
aspires to take its esteemed place in today's world.

We tried our utmost to prepare the right conditions to make this summit a
success, and we tried to overcome many of the obstacles which stood in its
way. Especially as we all recognize the difficult stage and the sensitive
developments evinced by our nation, to the extent that it is not an
exaggeration to say that we are no longer on the brink of danger but in its
midst and we could feel its direct effects on our countries and people.

Every day passing without making a decisive decision that serves our Arab
national interests makes the possibility of evading catastrophic results
more remote and far reaching. However different our opinions may be about
the nature of these dangers, their causes and the best ways to face them
(and it is only normal that members of the same family may entertain
different opinions about the same issue), what is beyond doubt is that we
are all in the same boat, facing turbulent currents, and there is no doubt
that we have no alternative to consulting, coordinating and working with
each other to unify our stands, regain our rights and achieve growth and
development for our countries.

We live in a world that is passing through extremely important changes which
are basically initiated and mapped by great international powers. This has
incited many countries in the world to formulate their own regional blocs
which consolidate their powers and enhance their interests, sometimes
without initially having any thing in common among them. How natural and
logical it is, then, for us, the Arabs, who constitute a natural national
gathering that possesses all factors of success, that by far exceeds the
factors enjoyed by any other regional bloc, to group and coordinate our
efforts together? This becomes even more pressing in view of the challenges
which are threatening our inner strength, making some of our Arab countries
open fields for conflicts among others, though assuming the shape of a
conflict among our people, or making us a target for aggression, killing and
violence exercised by our enemies.
There is no doubt that there are many obstacles which stand in the face of
our desires and aspirations to achieve what we want. Although we often agree
on the objectives, there are differing views of the vision and the process.
This needs not be a problem once we conduct an honest dialogue.

Our dialogue and our deep conviction in the necessity of making an
initiative to make active and serious stands will enhance our ability to
overcome the difficulties through addressing them realistically, frankly,
and with sincere regard for the highest interest of the Arab nation. My dear
brothers, Many summits were convened during the past decades, some of which
were convened at critical junctures.

We succeeded at certain places and stages, and did not quite succeed at
others. If the Arab situation is not quite satisfactory to us, this is not
due to the summits, themselves, as much as it is due to the nature of the
Arab-Arab relations and the circumstances surrounding them, both in the past
and the present, and the way the results of these circumstances reflected on
Arab summits.

Yet, at many stages, and when the will was there, we were able to adopt
stands expressing the real interests of the Arab nation. If wars and
occupations were the most dangerous issues with which we were confronted
during the past decades, the peace battle was no less significant. For many
years past, we all recognized the importance of peace, and we expressed that
at all times, and in different ways, beginning with our announcement over
three decades ago that we believe in a just and comprehensive peace, and
that we are prepared to realize it, through the Madrid Peace Conference in
1991, until we reached the Arab initiative for peace in 2002.

That initiative expressed, without a shadow of doubt, our common intent, as
Arab states, that we collectively want to make peace, provided that Israel
showed its real readiness for peace. Despite all what we did, what was the
Israeli response to this Arab initiative? Immediately after the Arab
initiative, Israel led a huge aggression on the West bank and imposed a
siege on the Palestinian people, killing their women and children. We all
remember the Massacre of Jenin and the hundreds of martyrs who were killed
by Israelis. Israel continued to build more settlements and it built a
racist wall, and followed it with an aggression against Lebanon and Syria,
and carried out political assassinations.

Through doing all this, Israel was pushing the Israeli public opinion
towards more extremism and more racism against the Arabs, rejecting, in the
meantime, as it always did, to respond positively to the requirements of a
just peace in accordance with its policies which are against peace.

All this has taken place under the sight of the entire world and its
absolute failure to take any firm and active measure to deter Israel from
such acts, and under the pretext of ensuring Israel's security, a pretext
that has always been marketed by Israel, and those who support it. Apart
from discussing the security concept only from the Israeli perspective, as
if the security of the Arabs should not be taken into account, we like to
stress that security can only be achieved through peace and not through
aggressions and wars which will only bring more pain and suffering. As for
peace, it can only be achieved through the full withdrawal from Arab
occupied territories and the full return of Arab rights.

This means that security cannot be achieved before peace because occupation
is the antithesis of both security and peace and because if security is not
mutual and embracing the Arab side it will be only a mirage. Unless those
who promote "security first" happen to assume, or to wait from the
indigenous owners of the land to surrender to occupation, and from free
people to accept to become slaves. Anyone who knows history surely knows
that this logic has been defeated.

Even if this logic were to be found at some moments, it is temporary,
misleading, and it is always followed with more wars, destruction and
regret. If we, at the Arab level, have not missed any opportunity to express
our desire for peace, the latest of which was our participation in Annapolis
Conference, we find out that Israel has, also, used every opportunity but to
prove the exact opposite, to prove its haughtiness and its outright
rejection to implement international resolutions, and to prove its disregard
for our rights and for all our peace initiatives.

The question that pauses itself here is do we have the peace process and our
initiatives as a pawn to the moods of successive Israeli governments, or do
we search for choices and alternatives which may well achieve a just and
comprehensive peace and guarantee the return of our full and complete rights
? In other words, do we continue to submit unconditional offers to them, to
pick up whatever they choose whenever they choose to respond to; and should
these initiatives be influenced by the aggressive policies and the Israeli
massacres, or are they abstract initiatives unrelated to either time or
circumstance? If the above mentioned initiatives include no call to escape
to the front through wars on the Israeli style, they certainly include no
acceptance of escaping backwards through submission and subservience to
Israeli dictations. Rather, they are a call to review the substance of our
strategic choices and to search for a balanced stand that accommodates the
requirements of a just and comprehensive peace, and what the return of
occupied territories and the guaranteeing of legitimate rights means, on the
one hand, with the provision of the minimal level of steadfastness and
resistance, as long as Israel continues to reject peace and launch
aggression against us, on the other hand.

Here we are meeting today while the blood of the martyrs of Israeli
massacres, has not dried up yet, enveloped with an utter silence of the
world and the anger of the Arab people and the condemnation of every one who
has a free conscience in the world.

As we express our pain and condemnation of the suffering inflicted on our
Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank of killing, blockade and
destruction at the hands of the Israeli death machine and death squads, and
our regret for what the Palestinian affairs have reached in terms of
differences and division, we believe that priority should be given to the
Palestinian dialogue.

We would like to say to our Palestinian brothers your enemy will certainly
use any division among you in order to perpetrate more massacres against you
and your children without differentiating between one Arab and another, be
this Arab Palestinian or from any other Arab country. Do not be under the
illusion that your enemy differentiates between one Palestinian and another,
or between the West Bank and Gaza, or between one Palestinian organization
and another. All this should prompt you to rise above all differences,
however big they may seem to you.

The unity and support of the Arab stand to the Palestinian issue is
necessarily influenced by the unity of your own stand. The unity of stand is
your guarantee, and the guarantee of your people, and of your cause, and it
is the only way for you to regain your rights, in the forefront of which is
regaining your land and the return of refugees.

Here, we would like to express our appreciation of the efforts exerted by
our brothers in the republic of Yemen and our support to the Yemeni
initiative to resume dialogue, and we see in this initiative an appropriate
framework for an agreement between Palestinian sides.

We call upon all Arab countries to put an immediate end to the blockade
imposed on Gaza, as an introduction to ask countries of the world to do the
same. In the context of speaking about rights, we, in Syria, emphasize that
peace can only be achieved after the return of the entire Golan to the line
of June 04, 1967. The Israeli continuous evasion will never bring them
better conditions and will never make us accept to give up an inch of our
land or any of our rights. The concessions they were not able to get from
Syria in the past, will never be obtained by them in the present. As for
betting on time so that rights may be dropped or forgotten, it is certainly
to no avail, because time has produced generations who cling more
tenaciously to their land, and who are more committed to resistance. As for
Lebanon, we feel very much concerned about the state and the inner division
in Lebanon which is blocking an agreement on national common denominators.

Despite all the propaganda about conditions in Lebanon we affirm, once
again, our concern for the independence of Lebanon, its sovereignty and
stability. I owe it to the transparency between me and my brothers, the Arab
leaders, to clarify what has been circulating about the so-called Syrian
interference in Lebanon and the calls, statements and pressures to put an
end to this influence. I would like to say to you, honestly, that what is
happening on the ground is the exact opposite.

The pressures which had been exerted on Syria for over a year now, and more
frequently and extensively during the last few months, all aim to force
Syria to interfere in the internal affairs of Lebanon. Our answer was clear
to everyone who asked us to do something to that effect, and I shall
reiterate our answer in front of this esteemed summit, which is as follows:

The key to a solution in Lebanon is in the hands of the Lebanese themselves.
They have their own country, their own institutions and their own
constitution and they are capable of doing that by themselves. Any other
role should be supportive to them, and not an alternative to their role.

We, in Syria, are absolutely ready to cooperate with any Arab, or non-Arab
efforts, in this domain, provided that the initiative, or any initiative, is
based on the ground of national reconciliation, because it is the only
foundation for stability in Lebanon which is our ultimate goal and
objective. As for our brotherly Iraq, which is suffering from very cruel
circumstances, it needs the collaboration of all our efforts to support and
help Iraq to achieve its sovereignty, stability and security, on the basis
of national unity that embraces all the composites of the Iraqi people.

The starting point for national unity is the achievement of national
reconciliation among its citizens till they achieve complete independence
and the exit of the last occupying soldier. There is no doubt that the
stability of Iraq is important to all of us, because it is not possible for
our Arab region, in particular, and for the Middle East, and perhaps
further, in general, to witness stability while Iraq is as turbulent as it
is today. The stability of Iraq is intricately connected to its unity, which
in its turn, is linked to Iraq's Arab identity and dimension. In this
regard, we all have the responsibility to consolidate the Arab presence in
Iraq in cooperation and coordination with its government. Despite the
importance of regional and international support, none of them is an
alternative to our role in preserving the stability and Arab identity of
Iraq.

We stress the unity of Sudan, its sovereignty and stability and call for the
support of the efforts exerted by the government of Sudan to address the
humanitarian situation in Darfour and achieve peace, security and stability
for that part of our brotherly country, Sudan, away from foreign
interference in Sudanese internal affairs. We reject any attempt to impose
solutions or formulas under the pretext of the humanitarian situation.

All what has preceded calls upon us to establish the best relations with
neighboring countries with which we share historic ties and common interests
that serve our countries and people with the aim of achieving stability to
our region and finding solutions to existing problems. We stress the
necessity to solve any problem that may arise with these neighboring
countries through direct dialogue and continuous contacts, which are able to
erase causes of difference and dispel concerns about intentions.

Amidst the many issues which occupy us, the phenomenon of terrorism
constitutes one of the current challenges with which we are faced. At the
same time that we condemn all terrorist practices which target innocent
civilians, and stipulate our stand against terrorism, we, in the mean time,
emphasize that we consider fighting occupation a legitimate right for people
guaranteed by all international legislation and human codes.

We also stress that we consider the Israeli state terrorism against our Arab
people the most dreadful form of terrorism in current times. Brothers,
Excellencies and Highnesses Arab-Arab relations have witnessed a progressive
growth during the last few years, particularly at the economic level with
the introduction of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area agreement. The trend of
Arab investments going to Arab countries is promising more growth. As for
the cultural and educational side we have a lot of work to do in the face of
a dangerous foreign cultural campaign that negatively influences young
generations and their relations to their national mother culture.

The starting point for any endeavor in this domain is to work for the
consolidation of Arabic language at the national level, because our Arabic
language is the vehicle that carries our culture, our roots and our historic
memory. Its loss, therefore, means the loss of our history and of our
future. On the agenda of the summit is a project to link the Arabic language
to knowledge society so that our language remains the language of culture
and life that preserves our cultural existence and protects our civilized
identity. We have to press on with our domestic reform that responds to our
national and developmental requirements and is in accordance with our
cultural constituents.

We should not hesitate to reject any form of interference in our internal
affairs, regardless of the headings it may assume, and of the styles or
means it begs. The experiences of yesterday and today have all proven how
expensive it is to impose changes from the outside, and how costly it has
been to impose predestinated political and economic prototypes on developing
countries.

Your Excellencies and Highnesses It is true that the time of the summit is
calculated in days and hours, but it is an important juncture during which
we add few blocs to the building we aspire to construct. It is true that
what is important is not what we say at the summits, but rather, what we do
in between the summits, but the summit remains essential to decide the right
direction and the necessary speed of what we intend to do later. It is true
that, in both words and deeds, we are open to cooperation with the others in
the world, but what is truer is that this cooperation will bear fruit, only,
when we rely on ourselves.
The common denominators that combine us as Arabs are many and fundamental;
as for points of difference, if they fall under the framework of concern for
our nation, there is no doubt, then, that the solid building, that we aspire
to achieve for our Arab project, will be completed. I welcome you once
again, my gracious brothers wishing you the best of times in your country
and among your people. Wassalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatu Allahi Wa Barakatuhu.
English Bulletin
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

PM Olmert: Syria got N. Korea help for N-facility hit by Israel 

 Syria got N. Korea help for N-facility
03/31/2008
BY NANAE KURASHIGE THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200803310077.html

An Israeli airstrike against Syria last September targeted a nuclear-related
facility that was under construction with technical assistance from North
Korea, according to Israel's prime minister.

Japanese government sources said over the weekend that the Israeli leader,
Ehud Olmert, briefed Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda about the attack during
summit talks in Tokyo on Feb. 27.

It is apparently the first time that the intended target had been disclosed
to the head of a foreign government.

Previously, Jerusalem had only acknowledged it carried out the Sept. 6,
2007, attack, but stopped short of identifying the type of facility.

Tokyo has shown keen interest in the disclosure as it suggests Pyongyang was
providing nuclear technology to Damascus in violation of an agreement made
at six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue not to transfer nuclear
materials, technology or know-how.

According to the sources, Olmert told Fukuda that the site was a
nuclear-related facility that was under construction with know-how and
assistance from North Korean technicians dispatched by Pyongyang.

Olmert also said Israel remains concerned about the issue of nuclear
proliferation by North Korea and sought greater information sharing with
Tokyo through expanded dialogue on the issue.

Japanese government officials expressed differing views on how to interpret
Olmert's statement.

"While we cannot confirm the facts, the fact that such an assertion was made
at an official occasion such as a summit meeting is significant, making it
highly credible," said one high-ranking Foreign Ministry official.

Another Foreign Ministry official pointed out, however, that the Israeli
leader "may have only presented facts that were favorable for the Israeli
side."

Under a joint statement issued at six-party talks in September 2005,
Pyongyang agreed to "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear
programs."
North Korea agreed to "provide a complete and correct declaration of all its
nuclear programs" and reaffirmed its "commitment not to transfer nuclear
materials, technology or know-how" to other countries, under a list of
actions for implementation of the joint statement, agreed on during the
talks in October.

Washington has since sought clarification from Pyongyang on suspected
nuclear proliferation by North Korea to other countries such as Syria.
Pyongyang has denied the allegations, leaving the talks stalled.(IHT/Asahi:
March 31,2008)
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Israel: Assad's response to 20 messages discouraging - won't break ties to Iran and terrorists 

 Some of the foreign envoys who met with Assad said that they were surprised
to see in his office, alongside photos of his dead father, photographs of
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan
Nasrallah, which led them to believe that Syria is strongly committed to an
alliance with Iran and Hezbollah.

Top official: PM has communicated with Assad to test his desire for peace
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent Last update - 07:25 30/03/2008
www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/969624.html

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has dispatched some 20 messages to Syrian
President Bashar Assad during the past year to better assess Syria's
intentions before the possible resumption of talks between the two
countries, according to a senior minister also in the security-political
cabinet.

But the same source said Assad's responses did not meet Israeli expectations
and Olmert believes that at this time it is not possible to initiate
negotiations with Syria.

For his part, the Syrian president blamed Israel on Saturday for the lack of
progress. "Israel has rejected all peace initiatives that have been brought
before it during the past three years and has responded with massacres and
construction of settlements," he told the Arab League summit which began in
Damascus on Saturday.

According to the senior Israeli minister, most efforts for contact with
Syria were made through via Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but
also through others, including U.S. congressmen and various European
officials.

The messages to Assad included attempts to understand what the agenda of the
talks between the two countries would include, and whether Assad was willing
to include in the talks his country's ties with Iran, Hezbollah and
Palestinian militant organizations.

But the answers Israel received - and whose content was not made available
to Haaretz - were not satisfactory for Israel, according to the senior
minister.

"Each one of the envoys returned from Damascus with empty hands," the
minister said. "The sense was that Assad is captive in the hands of senior
figures of the Syrian regime who are opposed to talks with Israel and are
not interested in breaking off the alliance with Iran."

Some of the foreign envoys who met with Assad said that they were surprised
to see in his office, alongside photos of his dead father, photographs of
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan
Nasrallah, which led them to believe that Syria is strongly committed to an
alliance with Iran and Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at a briefing of diplomats at
the Labor Party's headquarters in Tel Aviv Friday that "in the end, Israel
will meet Syria either in the field of battle or in the negotiating table."

"Syria is a weak country with many problems, but under certain conditions
Israel will be willing to open the door to it," Barak added. "Israel
considers negotiations with Syria and removing Syria from the circle of
extremists as central to its policy."

Barak also referred to the situation along the northern border in his
meeting with the foreign diplomats and said that the IDF is readying itself
for any eventuality. "It would not be a good idea for someone to try
something against us at this time," Barak said.

"We are following what is going on in the North, the growing strength of
Hezbollah with Syrian backing and the developments over the border in Syria.
Israel is the most powerful country in the region and this is what enables
it to stand on guard but also try to seek [peace] agreements," Barak said.

On Friday, Minister of National Infrastructures Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said in
an interview on Israel Radio that "Israel is making every effort to restore
Syria to the negotiating table. The efforts are constant and are being done
through common friends."

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which is boycotting the Arab League summit along
with Egypt and Jordan, to protest Syrian meddling in Lebanese politics, said
on Saturday that Syria should be punished for blocking a resolution to
Lebanon's political crisis.

For more than a year, Lebanon has been the scene of a proxy struggle between
the United States and its Arab allies, who back Prime Minister Fouad
Seniora's government, and Syria, an ally of Iran and the Shi'ite Lebanese
militant group Hezbollah.

The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan embarrassed Assad by
boycotting the Damascus summit. In a diplomatic snub, they sent low-level
officials instead to the gathering.

Lebanon boycotted the summit completely, accusing Damascus of preventing the
election of a new Lebanese president in order to destabilize the country and
reassert its control over its neighbor.

On Saturday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal sharply criticized
Syria at a press conference in Riyadh, timed to coincide with the opening
speeches of the summit in Damascus. He blamed Syria for blocking an Arab
League compromise aimed at resolving the Lebanon presidential crisis.
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

IDF: Hizbullah recruiting (Druse and Beduin) Israeli spies 

IDF: Hizbullah recruiting Israeli spies
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST Mar. 30, 2008
www.jpost.com
/servlet/Satellite?cid=1206632362577&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Less than a week after the IDF revealed it had arrested a non-commissioned
officer for allegedly spying for Hizbullah, security officials warned over
the weekend that the Lebanese group was targeting Druse and Beduin soldiers
for anti-Israel espionage.

On Thursday, the Northern Command Military Court said that Sgt.-Maj. Louai
Balut, 34, from Fassuta in the northern Galilee, was arrested last month on
suspicion of selling information to Hizbullah and coordinating drug deals.
Balut, a father of three, was remanded in custody until Monday, when the
state attorney is expected to file an indictment.

While Balut is suspected of passing sensitive security information to
Hizbullah and helping the group smuggle drugs into Israel from Lebanon, IDF
sources said the Northern Command would not make any major changes to
operations or deployment of troops along the Lebanese border as a result of
the case.

It is believed that Balut may be one of a number of agents recruited by
Hizbullah. While not revealing whether additional investigations were
ongoing, security officials warned of Hizbullah's growing use of Israeli
Arabs and Druse soldiers as spies.

"This is an extreme point of concern," a security official said. "This is
something we are aware of and are constantly keeping our eyes open to ensure
that if
someone becomes a spy we will be able to stop it."

In June 2006, Lt.-Col. Omar el-Hayeb, a Beduin, was sentenced to 15 years in
prison after he was convicted of belonging to a spy cell that provided maps,
electronic equipment and sensitive military information to Hizbullah in
exchange for drugs.

Defense officials stressed that Druse and Beduin soldiers were a major asset
to the IDF and that the country would not allow the Balut case to tarnish
their service and contribution to the State of Israel.

Sources in the Catholic village of Fassouta, which has around 3,000
residents, expressed shock, saying they hoped it was an isolated incident of
a traitor recruited by Hizbullah.

A former mayor of the village, Gerias Gerias, was sentenced to four years in
jail in 2006 for spying on Iran's behalf.`
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Excerpts: Hizbullah's Nasrallah Truce rejection 28 March 2008

+++THE DAILY STAR (Lebanon) 27,March '08:"The Islamists really are true
believers"By Michael Young,Opinion Editor

QUOTE:"Over the years academics, journalists,and others, particularly the Westerners, among them who write
about militant Islamist groups, have tended to project their own liberal
attitudes and desires onto such groups, misrepresenting their intentions
and largely ignoring what these groups say about themselves"


EXCERPTS:
Recently, we've heard Hizbullah's secretary general, Sayyed Hassan
Nasrallah, pick up on a theme dear to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

It goes something like this, to borrow from Nasrallah's speech last Monday
(24 March) commemorating Imad Mughniyeh, Hizbullah's operations chief: "Now
we are left with one question: Will Israel cease to exist one day? ... Yes
... Israel will cease to exist."

Nasrallah has often mentioned Israel's eventual evaporation. In 1992,
following his appointment as head of Hizbullah, he described the party's
long-term strategy as "fighting against Israel and liberating Jerusalem, as
well as Imam Khomeini's proposal - namely ending Israel as a state."

But the more interesting question, ... is whether Nasrallah himself
believes what he says. And then to ask what this tells us about armed
Islamist movements located in Israel's neighborhood.

... Nasrallah actually does mean what he says, and has been saying it with
considerable consistency for quite a long time.

. . .Why is the topic important? Because over the years academics,
analysts, journalists, and others, particularly the Westerners among them,
who write about militant Islamist groups, have tended to project their own
liberal attitudes and desires onto such groups, misinterpreting their
intentions and largely ignoring what these groups say about themselves.

Inasmuch as most such observers cannot really fathom the totalitarian strain
in the aims and language of armed Islamists, totalitarian in the sense of
pursuing a total idea, total in its purity, they cannot accept that the
total idea can also be apocalyptic. Where Nasrallah and the leaders of Hamas
will repeat that Israel's elimination is a quasi-religious duty, the
sympathetic Westernized observer, for whom the concept of elimination is
intolerable, will think much more benignly in terms of well-intentioned
"bargaining." Hamas and Hizbullah are pragmatic, they will argue, so that
their statements and deeds are only leverage to achieve specific political
ends that, once attained, will allow a return to harmonious equilibrium.

This argument, so tirelessly made, is tiresomely irrelevant. No one has
seriously suggested that Hizbullah or Hamas are not pragmatic. But one can
be pragmatic in the means and not in the ends. If anything, pragmatism is
obligatory in the pursuit of an absolute idea. And what characterizes those
pursuing the absolute idea? In his essay "Terror and Liberalism", Paul
Berman provides a partial answer, writing how French author Albert Camus
noticed that out of the French Revolution and the 19th century had grown a
modern impulse to rebel. That impulse, Berman wrote, "mutated into a cult of
death. And the ideal was always the same. It was not skepticism and doubt.
It was the ideal of submission ... it was the ideal of the one, instead of
the many. The ideal of something godlike. The total state, the total
doctrine, the total movement."

Hizbullah and Hamas are themselves products of rebellion - rebellion against
what they took and still take to be a foul, unjust political order in
Lebanon or Palestine or the Middle East in general. That drive has,
naturally, even necessarily, pushed them to advocate the absolute negation
of everything embodying that allegedly unjust order. Their motivating force
is submission to the pursuit of the just idea, and this goes to the very
heart of Islam itself, indeed denotes its very meaning, which is based on
the embrace of total submission to God. Nasrallah may rarely employ
religious terminology, but everything about the way he structures his
thoughts, contentions, or vows reflects a deeply religious mindset.

One thing eternally confusing outside observers is that Hamas and Hizbullah
are what have come to be described as "nationalist Islamists." Because
nationalism started essentially as a Western notion, because its reference
point is something reassuringly tangible like territory, not Armageddon, the
Westernized writer will see something of himself or herself in such
Islamists groups, and will resort to the terminology of modern nationalism
to describe their actions. Hizbullah liberated South Lebanon, Hamas is
trying to do the same in Palestine; their goals are no different than those
of courageous patriots everywhere who have fought against foreign
occupation. ...

But what the observers won't grasp is that nationalism does not necessarily
disqualify religion; time and again the two have advanced hand in hand, even
in unlikely settings. ... when Hamas describes the land of Palestine as an
endowment handed down from God ... is it not terribly naive to suppose that
the group's refusal to recognize Israel is just a ploy to strengthen its
hand for a Camp David II or III?

One has to be careful in reading the statements of Islamist groups - or any
political group for that matter. The flexibility of tactics counts for much.

When Nasrallah argues that he will continue negotiating with Israel for the
release of Arab prisoners, he's temporarily replacing his long-term
undertaking to hasten Israel's demise with short-term gain. Ultimately,
Hizbullah may fail in making Israel vanish, but it's what Hizbullah and
Hamas say about themselves, the way they define their aspirations, that
determines their behavior. For outside observers to ignore or reinterpret
their words in order to justify a personal weakness for these groups'
revolutionary seductions is both self-centered and analytically useless.
Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR.

+++JORDAN TIMES28 March '08:" Hamas, Islamic Jihad reject Egypt
truce"

Agencies

QUOTE:"Hsmsd and Islamic Jihad rejected an
Egyptian-brokered truce with Israel"

----------------

EXCERPTS:
HAMAS AND ISLAMIC Jihad on Thursday(27 March) rejected an Egyptian-brokered
truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip after fresh talks in Egypt, saying it
must include all Palestinian territories.

Hamas political bureau member Jamal Abu Hashem and senior Islamic Jihad
member Khaled Al Batsh met two aides to Egyptian security chief Omar
Suleiman to discuss the proposed ceasefire, an Egyptian security official
told AFP.

But following the talks on the Gaza-Egypt border, the two movements said
that any truce with Israel must include both the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and
the occupied West Bank.

. . .Egypt, one of only two Arab states to have signed a peace deal with
Israel, has been seeking to broker a truce or lull in fighting between Hamas
and the Jewish state after an upsurge in violence last month.



 
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In Memory

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Rafik HaririIn Memory of Rafik Hariri, he rebuilt Beirut, at the time of his brutal Assassination Lebanon witnessed the birth of the Cedars Revolution
Gebran Tueni
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Sheikh Pierre Gemayel
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George Hawi
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