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August 30, 2016 / 26 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘beirut’

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.”

JNi.Media

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.”

JNi.Media

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

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Beirut Suicide Bombing

Friday, November 13th, 2015

The ISIS (Da’esh) terrorist group has taken responsibility for the horrific suicide bombing attack that claimed the lives of at least 43 people late Thursday.

More than 200 others were wounded when two attackers blew themselves up on a crowded street in the middle of Burj al-Barajneh during evening rush hour, ripping apart cars and the bodies of those inside them.

“A soldier of the caliphate blew himself up in the stronghold of the heretics, and after the apostates crowded around the site of the explosion, a second martyr blew himself up using his explosive belt,” read a statement posted online by ISIS.

In the statement, ISIS used deragatory terms to refer to Shi’ite Muslims and the rival Hezbollah terror organization, and vowed to carry out more attacks against Shi’ites.

A third suicide bomber was killed when the second attacker detonated the explosive, according to Lebanon Health Minister Wael Abu Faour, who was quoted by The Daily Star.

In a statement to media, the Lebanese Army confirmed that two suicide bombers had carried out the attack. A third attacker’s body had been found with an intact explosive belt that was not triggered by the blast that had killed him, the statement noted.

The attack, which left 239 wounded, was one of the deadliest to strike the country since the start of the raging civil war in Syria. —

Riots and stonings were reported early Friday against Israeli military forces in Al-Bireh, according to The israel Link.

Hana Levi Julian

Hezbollah Strategy: Paralyze Politics in Lebanon

Monday, September 21st, 2015

(JNi.media) A Hezbollah official said on Sunday that his party is willing to wait a thousand years for the election of a strong president—this while efforts to resolve the country’s 4-month Cabinet crisis finally looked like they were bearing fruit, YA Libnan reported.

“Whoever wants to buy time to bring us a president who is not strong is wasting the country’s time. We will wait for a thousand years in order to get a president of this type,” said the head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, MP Mohammad Raad at a ceremony in south Lebanon.

“We want a president who is nationally chosen, we don’t want names that are circulated in the corridors of the embassies of foreign countries. Simply and honestly, we want a president who enjoys the support of his community and has a sovereign mind and a patriotic spirit,” Raad demanded.

According to YA Libnan, Hezbollah officially backs the candidacy of General Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the largest party in the Christian half of parliament. But Aoun is far from appealing to Hezbollah.

As Prime Minister, Aoun declared “The Liberation War” against the Syrian Occupation in March 1989. In October 1990, the Syrian Army invaded Beirut killing hundreds of unarmed soldiers and civilians. General Aoun fled to France. He returned to Lebanon in 2005, eleven days after the withdrawal of Syrian troops. In 2006, as head of the FPM, he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah.

Article 24 of the Constitution of Lebanon, in an attempt to maintain equality between Christians and Muslims, mandates that half the seats shall be given to Christians and half to Muslims.

Aoun wants his son-in-law, Brig. Gen. Shamel Roukoz, head of the Army’s Commando Unit, to become Army commander. But Defense Minister Samir Moqbel extended the term of the current Army chief, Gen. Jean Kahwagi. FPM now conditions its own joining the political process on securing the job for Roukoz.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam said on Saturday that “the Cabinet is not paralyzed,” it’s only on a hiatus until Salam returns from his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 26. He plans to remain in New York until Sept. 30.

Hezbollah and Amal are the two major Shiite political parties in Lebanon. Hezbollah It holds 14 of the 128 seats in Parliament and is a member of the Resistance and Development Bloc. According to Daniel L. Byman, it’s “the most powerful single political movement in Lebanon.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hezbollah-strategy-paralyze-politics-in-lebanon/2015/09/21/

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