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Lebanon's Choice: Pro Colonial West or Shia Terror

by Oui Mon May 7th, 2018 at 07:43:37 PM EST

Nicely stated by the Israeli press ahead of today's yesterday's parliamentary election result ...

Polls open in Lebanon as Hezbollah challenges Western-backed Hariri | Times of Israel |

Polling got under way Sunday across Lebanon, where voters electing their parliament for the first time in nine years are expected to return the same ruling parties to office.

The vote is expected to be a test for the country's Western-backed Sunni prime minister, Saad Hariri, and his Iran-backed Shiite opponent, the Hezbollah terror group, which is looking to tighten its grip and expand its presence in the 128-seat parliament -- likely at Hariri's expense.  

U.S. State Dept - Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO)

10/8/1997    Hizbollah

10/8/1997    Kahane Chai (Kach)

Continued below the fold ...

Hezbollah's growing threat against U.S. national security interests in the Middle East | Testimony U.S. Congress |
Lebanon, the Saudi-Iranian clash and Europe's role
The Root of Israel's Military Response in 'Search for Peace' - JDL

Hezbollah set to tighten grip in Lebanon vote | An Nahar - AP |

Few countries are as vulnerable to the Middle East's mayhem as Lebanon, which has taken in a million refugees from the catastrophic war in neighboring Syria, seen the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militia embroiled in that war and watched Saudi Arabia try to oust its prime minister.

The vote is expected to be a test for the country's Western-backed Sunni prime minister, Saad Hariri, and his Iran-backed Shiite militant opponent, Hezbollah, which is looking to tighten its grip and expand its presence in the 128-seat parliament -- likely at Hariri's expense.

Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouk, a member of Hariri's inner circle, said the election is not "a Sunni-Shiite conflict but rather a conflict between a group that believes in a state and a nation, and another that has regional and Iranian leanings."

Most of the campaigning by more than 500 candidates has revolved around platforms of stability and economic growth, with many of Lebanon's civil war-era political titans set to return, including Lebanon's aging Shiite parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, a Hezbollah ally who has held the post for more than 25 years and who is virtually uncontested. Some warlords are passing on their seats to their sons, including Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.

"Divisive issues such as Hezbollah's weapons and the controversy over its participation in regional conflicts are almost entirely absent from the electoral campaigns, indicating implicit acceptance of the party's domestic hegemony," wrote analyst Joseph Bahout in an article for the Carnegie Middle East Center.

A record number of first-time hopefuls are campaigning for change, urging voters to shun politicians who have drowned the country in corruption and debt. Many rose to prominence as organizers of protests over a 2015 trash collection crisis that left garbage in the streets for months and laid bare the extent of the public sector mismanagement plaguing Lebanon.

Hariri now has the largest block in parliament, but is likely to lose seats to rival politicians. Some of Hariri's supporters shifted their allegiance after the billionaire businessman, who also holds Saudi citizenship, laid off scores of employees in his development company, Saudi Oger, as well as in Hariri-owned charities and media outlets in Lebanon, largely because of Saudi spending cuts.

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Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah hold a banner with his portrait and Arabic words that reads: "All the loyalty to the man of nobility." (AP Photo: Hussein Malla)

Hezbollah now seeks, along with its allies, to win at least 43 seats in the 128-member legislature, which would enable the militant group to veto any laws it opposes.

Its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, called for heavy voter turnout, particularly in the Baalbek-Hermel region in eastern Lebanon, traditionally a Hezbollah stronghold which now faces a challenge from rivals.

2018 Elections: Hariri cedes ground to Hezbollah alliance, LF emerges victorious
The Lebanese presidential elections - stalemate but never checkmate (2016)

Can bitter rivals, both sons of murdered fathers, move Lebanon forward? | CS Monitor - Dec. 2015 |

Shakespearean: Audience with the king

It is in this context that the new proposal arose from discussions in October in Riyadh between the Saudi leadership, Hariri, and Walid Jumblatt, veteran leader of Lebanon's Druze community.

"I met the king [Salman] and then Hariri and he asked what I thought of Frangieh" as president, Mr. Jumblatt says, adding that he responded favorably. "It [a Frangieh presidency] was in the Saudi mind and Hariri's and it led to the meeting [between Hariri and Frangieh] in Paris."

The sudden proposal caused a stir in Lebanon. It was all the more startling given that Frangieh is a close friend since childhood of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Hariri believes ordered the assassination a decade ago of his father, longtime Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Frangieh was interior minister of Lebanon's pro-Syrian government at the time of Rafik Hariri's death in February 2005.

For Saad Hariri, however, a deal with Frangieh would allow him to return to Lebanon as prime minister and help him to rebuild his political fortunes, which have waned during his exile.

The Ehden massacre of 1978 in Lebanon:

Shin Bet Secretly Arrests IDF Druze Soldier Suspected of Exposing Secret Meeting Between Syrian Rebels, IDF Intelligence | Tikun Olam - March 2015 |

Democrats join Republicans in warmongering .... AGAIN!

Congress introduces new bill targeting Hezbollah

Two US congressmen presented last week a bill targeting the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah after introducing to Congress the 'Disarm Hezbollah Act' (HR 5540) which instructs the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to further investigate the group in terms of its "capabilities, arsenal, and the illicit supply routes it uses to procure weapons."

The bipartisan bill calls for an investigation by the DNI to produce an official National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and help assess the work of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and "also detail the ways Hezbollah raises and distributes funds in the region under UNIFIL's mandate."

The bill was presented by Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), with both members labeling Hezbollah a "threat to our allies."

    "The UN Security Council demanded that Hezbollah disarm after the devastating 2006 Lebanon War that killed so many Israeli and Lebanese civilians. They have not.  Hezbollah continues to build up its military capabilities, with tens of thousands of advanced missiles that threaten our Middle East interests and allies, particularly Israel.

    "I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Mr. Kinzinger to improve our intelligence community's understanding of a serious ongoing threat on the doorstep of one of allies."

Israel/Lebanon: Israeli Indiscriminate Attacks Killed Most Civilians

IDF Suffers Highest Lebanon Losses to Date, 9 Dead, at Bint Jbail | Tikun Olam |
Israeli Missiles Targeting Bridges in Christian Heartland of North Lebanon
Qana: Déjà Vu All Over Again by Jeff Huber @dKos on Aug. 3rd, 2006

Israel and war crimes in Gaza ...

Gaza War: Bringing Out the Worst in Israeli Misogyny, Racism

Recall the Dutch people are under threat from U.S. Congress with the passing of the "Invasion of The Hague Act" of 2002.

Dutch still wincing at Bush-era 'Invasion of The Hague Act'

Erdoğan slams Israeli `tyranny' over Palestinians | Hurriyet Daily News |  

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 7 that the Palestinians were the "symbol of all oppressed people" in the world and Israeli attacks on them showed that "tyranny's boldness is increasing every day."

"What is happening in Palestine, especially in Jerusalem, is nothing other than the efforts of tyranny to justify its oppressions, even to institutionalize them. The violence that the Israeli administration has recently inflicted on the Palestinians ... shows that tyranny's boldness is increasing every day," Erdoğan said in a speech at the International Mount of Olives Peace Awards in Istanbul.

"The Palestinians are the symbol of all oppressed people in the world because of the persecution, massacres and injustices they have been subjected to," he added.

The Turkish president said Palestinian women and children were most "exposed to the oppression of the Israeli administration," paying the price "for wars and crises whose decisions are mostly not taken by them."

"A significant number of Palestinian children are continuing their lives outside their homeland, in refugee camps or in other countries. Those who are able to stay in their homeland, meanwhile, are exposed to psychological and physical discrimination everywhere, from the moment they leave their house on the way to their schools, at checkpoints, in public transport, in educational institutions," Erdoğan said.

He also slammed the international community's "indifference over the sufferings of Palestinians."

"The indifference of the international community towards the Palestinians, who have had tens of martyrs and thousands of injured people in these [Israeli] attacks, is the sign of a future in which no society or individual will be safe," Erdoğan said, accusing international institutions responsible for ensuring peace and security in Palestine of "hypocrisy."

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A man walks next to a road sign directing to the U.S. embassy, in the area of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem. (Credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

Arab Information Ministers to discuss plan of action to confront US move on Jerusalem | Gulf News |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon May 7th, 2018 at 09:45:00 PM EST
Afghan civilians count cost of renewed US air campaign | The Guardian |

When thousands of additional US soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan as part of Donald Trump's expansion of America's longest war, many of them will experience the conflict at a distance from fighters jets and helicopters.

The US has stepped up its use of airstrikes in Afghanistan and is pouring vast resources into strengthening Afghan airpower. But while airstrikes may be effective in killing insurgents, increasing their use also leads to more civilian deaths.

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A U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter flies over the Nangarhar Province (Photo: Wikipedia)

Last week at least 26 civilians were killed in two separate airstrikes. Near Herat, Afghan warplanes killed at least 13 civilians. A day later, what appears to have been a US airstrike killed at least 11 civilians in Logar, east of the capital, Kabul.

Even before then, 2017 had been shaping up to be the deadliest year on record for Afghan civilians since the 2001 US-led invasion. The rate of casualties from airstrikes is on par with 2011, during the Obama troop surge. In the first six months of 2017, airstrikes killed 95 civilians and injured 137.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon May 7th, 2018 at 10:02:57 PM EST

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