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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘beirut’

UNIFIL Soldiers Wounded in Southern Lebanon by ’30-Year-Old’ Landmine

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

A group of UNIFIL soldiers were injured Wednesday when their vehicle inadvertently ran over a “30-year-old landmine” in southern Lebanon, according to the Al Masdar News website.

A military source in Beirut told Al Masdar the UNIFIL vehicle was patrolling along the Lebanese-Israeli border, driving off pavement near the village of Maqam, when it hit the landmine.

The explosive reportedly dated back to the Lebanese Civil War, according to the report. The UN soldiers were rushed to the nearest field hospital by the ambulance that arrived at the scene.

UNIFIL — the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon — was originally created by the UN Security Council in March 1978 to “confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese government in restoring its effective authority in the area,” according to the agency’s website.

After the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the Security Council “enhanced” that mandate. The force was ordered to monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and “extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.”

In addition, the force was tasked with ensuring that no weapons or armed militias other than the Lebanese government forces were to enter the region — a mandate that was blithely ignored within seconds after it was set forth.

Since the ceasefire (UN resolution 1701) the Hezbollah guerrilla terrorist group has taken control over the country and has exerted significant control over the government as well. The terrorist group possesses possibly the largest arsenal in the entire hemisphere, thanks to the generous support of Iran, and has completely restocked and exceeded the prior supply level of rockets and missiles it held at the start of the Second Lebanon War.

The group has been threatening for the past five years to eventually invade Israel and seize control of the Galilee. As a result, the Israeli military has begun to include military and civilian drills that feature evacuations of the civilian populations of major northern Israeli cities, in response to those threats.

Hana Levi Julian

Iran Seizes Chance to ‘Help’ Beirut, Shipping Arms to Lebanon

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Iran is making final preparations to send a large arms shipment intended for the Lebanese army, according to a report on the Hebrew-language NRG website.

The shipment is being sent by Iran to fill the vacuum created by Saudi Arabia, which pulled its economic aid to Beirut.

A senior official in Tehran said that Iran is waiting only for the approval of Beirut to finalize the shipment of the deadly supplies. Saudi Arabia announced its decision in February to reconsider a grant of $4 billion in military aid to the Lebanese Army and its security services.

The decision came after Beirut declined to condemn the assault by Shi’ite protesters against the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran. The demonstrators were protesting the execution of a Shi’ite cleric in Saudi Arabia. Lebanon is dominated by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization via cabinet ministers and parliamentarians who serve in a large percentage of the government.

Interestingly, the United States has also just announced the arrival of “an entire ship full of military equipment” at a port in Lebanon.

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth H. Richard told reporters on Tuesday that Lebanon was the recipient of $50 million in military aid from Washington DC.

Among the items shipped to Beirut were 50 armored Humvees, 40 Howitzers and more than a thousand tons of ammunition.

Lebanon is the fifth largest recipient of U.S. foreign military financing in the world, Richard said.

The Israel Defense Forces have been preparing for the possibility of a new war with Hezbollah along Israel’s northern border.

The supply of new military hardware to an active Israeli enemy sworn to annihilate the Jewish State — one who is serving as a proxy for Iran — has raised red flags for the Jewish State, which is closely watching the border.

The Lebanese Army is closely entwined with Hezbollah and for all intents and purposes, a nation that once was called “the Riviera of the Middle East” has now become a satellite of jihadist Iran.

Hana Levi Julian

Ahmadinejad Offers to Fix Bitter Past for Obama for Only $2 billion

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (ruled 2005 to 2013) has written outgoing US President Barack Obama that he still has time to “restore people’s rights” to the tune of $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets, Tasnim reported.

The Ahmadinejad letter was delivered to the White House through the Swiss embassy in Tehran, and posted by the website Dolatebahar.com, which is affiliated with Ahmadinejad.

After the traditional Islamic greeting of “As-salamun alaykum,” Ahmadinejad writes: “You took office as the president of the United States amidst a climax in global frustration… following several decades of hegemonic policies and behavior of consecutive US administrations. … Your campaign slogan was ‘change’ and you claimed to be determined to change those policies as well as behaviors.”

Ahmadinejad then describes the years of “oppression and cruelty by different American governments” against Iran, which merely held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, after taking over the US embassy in Tehran.

Ahmadinejad expresses his disappointment in Obama, who promised to restore ties with Iran, but has not, “and the same hostile policies along with the same trend of enmity were pursued, in alternative ways,” he complains, noting that Iran never received its much deserved “compensation for the past” during Obama’s term in office.

Now, here is what Ahmadinejad believes Obama should do to wipe the slate clean with the suffering Iranian people: last April, the US Supreme Court ruled that Iranian assets worth $2 billion be paid to the American families of victims killed in Iran’s military attacks in Beirut (1983) and Saudi Arabia (1996). But Ahmadinejad insists the ruling had been “based on unfounded claims without presenting any reliable documents, issued a sentence based on which about two billion Dollars of the Iranian nation’s assets would be seized unlawfully.”

“It is the clear expectation of the Iranian nation that the particular case of property seizure . . . be quickly fixed by your excellency and that not only the Iranian nation’s rights be restored and the seized property released and returned, but also the damage caused be fully compensated for,” says Ahmadinejad, concluding, “I passionately advise you not to let the historical defamation and bitter incident be recorded under your name.”


Lebanese LGBT Activists Protest Anti-Homosexual Law

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Perhaps it’s a sign that Lebanon has become safer and more Western-oriented: a group of about 50 LGBT activists from the Lebanon-based Helem association, for the first time in four years staged a sit-in outside the Hbeish police station in Beirut, where the “morality police” hold transgressors of article 534 in the penal code which criminalizes relations that are “against nature,” Naharnet reported. The protesters demanded that the law be revoked, and that four transgender women be released. They carried signs saying, “Homosexuality is not a disease,” “Sex is not illegal — your law is archaic,” and “Repeal 534.”

The punishment in Lebanon for “crimes against nature” is up to one year in prison.

An event that was scheduled to follow the demonstration, organized by Proud Lebanon, was canceled due to pressure from Christian religious authorities.

Helem leader Genwa Samhat told AFP that the sit-in, which took place two days before the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, “calls for the abolition of this section of law dating from the (1920-1943) French mandate in Lebanon.” She added: “Most people arrested under this law aren’t detained in the act but in the street because of their appearance.” Also, she said, people “continue to be fired if their boss finds out they’re gay. They’re made to say they quit voluntarily for fear of being outed.”

According to Naharnet, Lebanese police are known to raid nightclubs serving homosexual patrons, and homosexuality is a frequent subject of ridicule on television.

In 2012 dozens demonstrated outside a Beirut court to protest the use of an anal “test” for suspected gay men. According to Samhat, “these tests continue, despite the justice ministry asking police to stop the practice. This is humiliating.” Also, she noted that “arrested people are still screened for AIDS, while this should be voluntary. There is a preconceived idea that all homosexuals have AIDS.”

Just to compare, the Boston Globe recently wrote that Tel Aviv, only 130 miles south of Beirut, is the gayest city on earth. “Tel Aviv is, for lack of a better description, super gay,” the paper’s Christopher Muther told his readers, adding, “The long-standing rule of thumb is that 10 percent of the population is gay, give or take. The estimate by officials in Tel Aviv is 25 percent of its population is gay.”


US Supreme Court Upholds $1.75 b Claim Against Iranian Terror Attacks

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a $1.75 billion dollar claim Wednesday against Iran by more than 1,300 relatives of U.S. military personnel who died in the 1983 bombing attack on their barracks in Beirut, and victims of other terror attacks linked to Iran by the courts.

The case, Bank Markazi v. Peterson, 14-770, involved relatives of victims of the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, the 19 victims of the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and victims of other Iranian state-sponsored terror attacks. The lead plaintiff is Deborah Peterson, whose brother U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. James C. Knipple was killed in Beirut.

Iran’s Bank Markazi had appealed against the prior ruling, arguing the Congress, as the legislative branch could not intervene in the judicial branch when it passed a 2012 law ordering the banks’ assets in the U.S. be turned over to the families.

President Barack Obama had signed an executive order earlier in that year freezing the assets of the Iranian central bank in the United States, held by Citibank in New York.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion for the Court, rejecting the appeal by the Iranian central bank.

Ginsburg wrote that the law “does not transgress restraints placed on Congress and the president by the Constitution.”

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, with Roberts writing the dissenting opinion. “The authority of the political branches is sufficient; they have no need to seize ours,” he wrote.

Although American law allows victims of state-sponsored terror to seek redress in U.S. courts for having been attacked, Iran does not comply with judgments. As a result, attorneys hunt for Iranian assets within the United States.

Hana Levi Julian

Hezbollah Sabotages French Effort to Advance Lebanese Presidential Elections, Unrest to Continue

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

French President Francois Hollande is wrapping up a two-day visit to Lebanon where he did his best to convince leaderless lawmakers to move ahead towards presidential elections, with little visible success. Hollande’s next stop on his Middle East tour is Egypt and Jordan.

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group cancelled a meeting between Shi’ite representatives and visiting French President Francois Hollande in Beirut on Sunday. Kuwaiti newspaper Al Seyassah quoted Lebanese ministerial sources as saying a minister from the terror group’s political wing, Lebanese MP Mohammed Ra’ad, was slated to meet Sunday with Hollande.

The French president was in Beirut Saturday and Sunday. Lebanon has been without a president since 2014. Internecine conflicts are rising in the country due to the raging civil war in Syria and the expanding threat of the Da’esh (ISIS) terror group flowing over their common border.

The unrest in both Syria and Lebanon has prompted Israeli defense officials to beef up its military troops along the border with both countries.

“I want to visit Beirut again when there is a president in Lebanon but the issue lies in the hand of Lebanese lawmakers … who should resolve the deadlock and elect a head of state,” Hollande said Saturday following talks with Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

The country has been without a leader nearly two years, in part because Hezbollah keeps boycotting the parliamentary process that leads to the presidential elections.

Hollande is expected to reiterate France’s support for the Lebanese army, according to Yalibnan. Saudi Arabia suspended a $3 billion military grant to Lebanon earlier this year. Lebanon is home to more than a million Syrian refugees, the equivalent of a quarter the country’s population of 4.5 million. There are also nearly 400,000 Arabs who migrated to the country when they fled their homes during wars with Israel. They are still held at arms’ length as refugees in 12 camps after moving to the country after more than half a century.

The French leader was also scheduled to travel Sunday to an informal Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon’s eastern Beka’a Valley to speak to families who will be resettled in France.

Hana Levi Julian

Report: IAF Airman Ron Arad Tortured to Death in Lebanon in 1988

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

The mystery over the fate of missing Israeli Air Force navigator Ron Arad may almost be solved – but the people who know the truth remain in a Beirut court house.

The Lebanon Daily Star reported Saturday that one of five people charged in a military tribunal as a collaborator with Israel told the court he knows what happened to Ron Arad.

The navigator had bailed out of his smoking aircraft as it fell from the sky over Lebanon in October 1986, as did pilot Yishai Aviram. The IDF managed to rescue Aviram shortly after but Arad was never found, and it was believed that he was taken captive by the Shi’ite Amal terrorist organization, handed to Hezbollah, sent to Iran and then back to Lebanon.

German negotiator Gerhard Konrad told Israel in 2008 that Hezbollah said Arad died during a 1988 escape attempt, but had no idea where he was buried.

Now, according to the report published in the Daily Star, it would appear the claim by Hezbollah may be at least partially true, albeit not entirely.

The defendant identified only as Moufeed K. testified that he was a commander in the military wing of the (Shi’ite) Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) in 1988 when he was informed a captive had been taken.

He and the other members of the group took the captive to the town of Dhour Choueir, near Beirut, he told the court. He did not remember whether the captive was wearing an aviator’s uniform; this is relevant because recently information came to light that former Hezbollah second-in-command Imad Mughniyeh found Arad’s parachute and uniform, and had kept them in order to use them as bargaining chips in a future prisoner exchange deal with Israel.

Moufeed told the court he told his men to ‘clean up their captive’ and then left. He was informed a short time later that the prisoner was dead.

“They told me he had entered the bathroom and stayed there for a long time,” he testified, according to the Daily Star. “When they went to check on him they found him dead… Of course he passed away due to exhaustion and of course he was subject to beatings and torture as that is how interrogations are carried out.”

Only later did Moufeed realize who the captive was, he said. Ten years later, in 1998, Arad’s name began to appear in the media once more and Moufeed “went to our base to ask the young men who were involved where they had buried our prisoner.” He said that he and the men went to verify the body was that of missing airman Ron Arad. Two of the other defendants at the current tribunal, Elias D. And Mahdi D. decided together with Moufeed to request a meeting with then-President of Lebanon, Emile Lahoud.

At this point, reported the Daily Star, the judge shut down the proceedings and closed the court to the public. The case was adjourned until April 20.

There have been countless theories over the years about what happened to Ron Arad. In 2004, an IDF commission determined he had died in the 1990s. In 2008, the State of Israel officially declared him dead, after receiving the information gleaned from Hezbollah via the German negotiator.

Regardless of when or how he died, the pain to his wife and children who were bereft and left wondering and hoping desperately for so long is unimaginable. May his memory be for a blessing, may he rest in peace, and may his blood be avenged.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-iaf-airman-ron-arad-tortured-to-death-in-lebanon-in-1988/2016/02/20/

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