Friday, June 14, 2013

6/14 Links Part 1: US confirms Chemical Weapons, Hezbollah objects to Palestinian Refugees

From Ian:

US Confirms Assad Used Chemical Weapons
U.S. officials said that America will increase the “scope and scale” of its assistance to rebels in Syria in response.
“The President has been clear that the use of chemical weapons – or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups – is a red line for the United States, as there has long been an established norm within the international community against the use of chemical weapons,” deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said in a statement.
It’s About Time: United Nations Plans Refugee Camps for Syrians in Lebanon
But analysts here believe the biggest long-term fear for Hezbollah is that camps would shift Lebanese demographics. Judging by the estimated 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, some who fled Palestine at the establishment of Israel, camps would likely result in many Syrian Sunni refugees remaining in Lebanon even after the civil war is over—especially if Assad hangs on to power. Shiites would then become significantly out-numbered by Sunnis in a political system that is based on a delicate sectarian system introduced in 1990—at the end of a savage 15-year-long civil war—which allocates guaranteed government roles to the major sects.
Syria Death Count is at 93,000 – UN
Nevertheless, “the killings of at least 6,561 minors, including at least 1,729 children under ten years old – have been documented,” the High Commissioner said. “There are also well-documented cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families, including babies, being massacred – which, along with this devastatingly high death toll, is a terrible reminder of just how vicious this conflict has become.”
Assad plans to open ‘resistance’ front in Golan, says report
According to a Lebanese report on Friday, embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad plans to open a “resistance” front on the Golan Heights and thinks such a move could unify the various factions in Syria.
Assad possesses a detailed plan for the establishment of such a front, reported the Beirut-based Al Akhbar daily, which would in practice be similar to the terrorist group Hezbollah’s activities in southern Lebanon.
Barry Rubin: How to Understand Islamism: Read What its Leaders Really Say
It should be stressed that the key challenge is not to cite passages from original Muslim theology to “prove” that Islam is always unchanging and inflexible—though understanding the roots of the radicals’ ideological appeal is important—or to ignore Islam as a factor completely but to look at the movement’s modern strategy and tactics. Almost thirty years after al-Qaradawi explained the movement's ideas clearly the opponents of Islamism have barely begun their attempt to understand and educate others on this ideology.
Have We Learned Anything From the Boston Attack?
Indeed, as the IBD report concludes: “Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.” However, the mosque in Boston that the older Tzarnaev brother attended was not monitored by the government, so the FBI was unaware of his increasing radicalization before the attack.
That should be of deep concern to every American. If our security services continue to close their eyes to the threat of Muslim terrorists, more innocent Americans will fall as their victims.
UN Watch: UN's Richard Falk & Truth Jihad's Kevin Barrett on "False Flag" 9/11 & Boston Marathon Attacks (10:20 onwards is insane)

‘Comment is Free’ contributor Abdel al-Bari Atwan sympathizes with Osama Bin Laden
Abdel al-Bari Atwan is the editor-in chief of the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, and has been named among the 50 ‘most influential Arabs’ by Middle East Magazine. His pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist politics can be best summed up by his fanciful boast a few years ago that he would dance in the streets in London’s Trafalgar Square if Iranian nuclear missiles were to hit Tel Aviv.
IDF Foils Terror Attack in Samaria
The man was found to be a member of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.
During the search carried out as part of the arrest, the soldiers found explosives, bullets, pipe bombs and plant fertilizer, which is used as one of the ingredients for making bombs.
Mesika to IDF: Nip 'Third Intifada' in the Bud
The gunfire aimed at an Israeli bus in Samaria Wednesday night was a significant ramping-up of the security deterioration in Judea and Samaria in recent months, said Samaria Council head Gershon Mesika. “This shooting is a worrying development,” said Mesika. “We demand that the IDF develop and utilize the appropriate measures to restore security to residents.”
'Sweden considering reducing aid to Palestinians'
The Swedish government may cut back on financial assistance to the Palestinians following their failure to move forward with peace negotiations with Israel, Swedish news site The Local reported.
The report quoted Development aid minister Gunilla Carlsson as asking: "Is it worth continuing developing the prerequisites for a two-state solution if Israel and the Palestinians themselves do not want to sit down at the negotiating table?"
Poland, Czech Republic balk on blacklisting Hezbollah
Denmark, Sweden, Germany and France support blacklisting Hezbollah, the source said. It has long been believed that France was blocking such a move out of concern that it would diminish European influence in Lebanon, a former French colony.
Lebanese Hezbollah suspects to sue Nigerian gov't
A raid on one of the mens' residences in the main northern city of Kano uncovered a stash of anti-tank weapons, landmines, heavy artillery, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles, authorities said.
The military said last month that the weapons were to be used in attacks on American and Israeli targets.
Concerns Grow Over Egypt’s Blasphemy Cases Against Christians and the Media
“Slapping criminal charges with steep fines and, in most cases, prison sentences against people for simply speaking their mind or holding different religious beliefs is simply outrageous,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said in a statement.
Most of the blasphemy cases in Egypt have been directed against Coptic Christians.
Thousands of Lawyers March in Turkey Anti-Government Protests
Addressing the lawyers, Ümit Kocasakal, head of Istanbul’s Bar Association, slammed the police crackdown. “The use of gas canisters and plastic bullets is illegal and indiscriminately targeting anyone while disregarding citizens’ safety. Turkish protesters are not bugs to be killed by gassing but are human,” said Kocasakal.