Tag Archives: Lebanon

Letter — Regarding the Continuation of the National Emergency with respect to Lebanon

By The White House

TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

July 29, 2013

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to Lebanon that was declared in Executive Order 13441 of August 1, 2007, is to continue in effect beyond August 1, 2013.

Certain ongoing activities, such as continuing arms transfers to Hizballah that include increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, undermine Lebanese sovereignty, contribute to political and economic instability in the region, and continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13441 with respect to Lebanon.

Sincerely,

BARACK OBAMA

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Source: White House Press Office

Notice — Regarding the Continuation of the National Emergency with respect to Lebanon

By The White House

NOTICE

– – – – – – –

CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY

WITH RESPECT TO LEBANON

On August 1, 2007, by Executive Order 13441, the President declared a national emergency with respect to Lebanon pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions of certain persons to undermine Lebanon's legitimate and democratically elected government or democratic institutions; to contribute to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Lebanon, including through politically motivated violence and intimidation; to reassert Syrian control or contribute to Syrian interference in Lebanon; or to infringe upon or undermine Lebanese sovereignty and contribute to political and economic instability in that country and the region.

Certain ongoing activities, such as continuing arms transfers to Hizballah that include increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, serve to undermine Lebanese sovereignty, contribute to political and economic instability in Lebanon, and continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared on August 1, 2007, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond August 1, 2013. In accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to Lebanon declared in Executive Order 13441.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
July 29, 2013.

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Source: White House Press Office

Pending Sales of U.S. Homes Slip From 6-Year High

By The Associated Press

Pending sales of U.S. homes fall from 6-year high

Filed under: , , ,

Gene J. Puskar/APIn this Tuesday, July 23, 2013, photo, a home is for sale in Mt. Lebanon, Pa.

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON – The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes dipped in June from a six-year high in May, a sign that completed sales could stabilize in the next month or two.

The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales ticked down 0.4 percent to 110.9 in June. The May reading was revised lower by a percentage point to 111.3, but it was still the highest since December 2006.

The slight decline suggests higher mortgage rates may be starting to slow sales. Still, signed contracts are 10.9 percent higher than they were a year ago. There is generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

IDF faces oncoming Al Qaeda tide on three Israeli borders: Golan, Lebanon, Sinai

By Dave Robbins

That the Netanyahu government took a wrong turn in its policy of non-intervention in the Syrian conflict was manifested by the warning coming from the IDF’s military intelligence (AMAN) chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi Tuesday night, July 23, when he said that Syria had become a global battleground for al Qaeda. Read More: IDF faces oncoming […]

The post IDF faces oncoming Al Qaeda tide on three Israeli borders: Golan, Lebanon, Sinai appeared first on Endtime Ministries | End Of The Age | Irvin Baxter.

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Source: Endtime Ministries

Erakat, a veteran voice of the Palestinians

Long-time Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat was announced on Friday as the man to open dialogue with his Israeli counterpart at meetings in Washington after three years of stalled peace negotiations.

Both Erakat and Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will meet US Secretary of State John Kerry for initial talks, the top US diplomat said at the end of four days of intense diplomacy as he consulted Palestinian and Israeli leaders from his base in Amman.

The 55-year-old Erakat, an academic whose perfect command of English is often spiced with humour, was part of every team to negotiate with Israel since 1991, with the notable exception of those who secretly hammered out the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Erakat rose to prominence as a media personality at the 1991 international peace conference in Madrid at which he wore the black-and-white chequered Palestinian headscarf.

Born in Jerusalem, he has been a key figure in the Palestinian political landscape, an indispensable briefer for foreign envoys and a suave tactician who can register indignation when necessary.

A member of the Palestinian parliament since 1996, Erakat was close to Yasser Arafat, historic leader of the Palestinian national movement, even though he did not follow Arafat into exile in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia before his return to Gaza in 1994.

In 2009, Erakat was elected to the central committee of the Fatah wing of Mahmud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and to the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

He was an architect of the negotiations on a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from the failed Camp David summit in July 2000 to the talks launched in Washington in September 2010 which were interrupted after less than a month in a row over Israel’s continued settlement building.

Appointed in 2003 to head the PLO negotiating team, Erakat briefly resigned from the post in 2011 because of “responsibility for the theft of documents from his office,” papers which he said had been “adulterated”.

He was referring to more than 1,600 documents on the talks with Israel between 1999 and 2010, released in January 2011 by Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera and dubbed “The Palestine Papers”.

Palestinian officials worked to limit the damage caused by their publication, which showed Palestinian negotiators prepared to offer significant concessions without securing Israeli guarantees on key issues such as east Jerusalem and the fate of refugees.

Although the documents did not cause major turmoil in Palestinian public opinion, Erakat’s position was weakened at the time by announcements the alleged perpetrators of the leaks worked for the PLO negotiation team he headed.

He had said an investigation into the leaks pointed towards three nationals of US, British and French extraction being responsible.

A former journalist with the independent daily Al-Quds in east Jerusalem, Erakat holds a BA and an MA in Political Science from the University of San Francisco.

He also has a doctorate in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford in England, and he taught at An-Najah University in the West Bank town of Nablus from 1979 to 1991.

Erakat has written a dozen books and lives in the …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

EU moves closer to action on Hezbollah

The European Union is moving closer to declaring the military wing of the Lebanese party Hezbollah a terrorist organization and could make a decision as soon as Monday if the last few countries with reservations are swayed, a senior EU official said Friday.

Such a possibility highlights a steady change of heart within the EU, which has long held back against U.S. pressure over fears such a move would destabilize Lebanon and its neighbors.

EU foreign ministers looked into the issue earlier this year, but could now reach a decision at their monthly meeting Monday, the official said. Putting an organization on the terrorist blacklist needs unanimity among the 28 member nations.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly, would not name the countries still opposed to the move.

The Iranian-backed group Hezbollah plays a pivotal role in Lebanese politics, dominating the government since 2011. The official said diplomatic efforts by Lebanon could affect the decisions of some member states.

Even if the EU blacklists the military wing, the bloc wants to maintain contact with Lebanese political parties. Assurances of political outreach are essential to any terror blacklisting and have been instrumental in tipping the balance, according to three officials who said they were forbidden from speaking publicly on the issue ahead of Monday’s ministerial meeting.

The senior EU official said the ministers will consider the listing based only on evidence that Hezbollah was involved in a 2012 attack in the Black Sea resort of Burgas in Bulgaria, which killed five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian last year. Hezbollah denies it is responsible.

The discussion is also fueled by a Cyprus criminal court decision in March finding a Hezbollah member guilty of helping to plan attacks on Israelis on the Mediterranean Island.

Implementation of the listing would be complicated because diplomats would have to unravel the links between the different wings within Hezbollah’s organizational network and see who could be targeted with visa bans or asset freezes.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Lebanon: Killing of Assad supporter not political

The Lebanese army says the killing of a Syrian journalist who often spoke out stridently in favor of President Bashar Assad was not politically motivated.

Lebanon’s leading LBC TV said Mohammed Darrar Jammo was killed by relatives of his wife.

Syria’s civil war has set off political and sectarian tensions in neighboring Lebanon. It was thought the killing was part of that.

The army said in a statement Thursday that military intelligence identified the killers and captured the weapons used in the killing in the southern town of Sarafand.

“Early investigations show there were no political motives behind the attack,” the statement said.

Jammo was married to a Lebanese woman. He was killed Wednesday in his home in Sarafand.

Jammo is expected to be buried off Syria’s coast on Friday.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Lebanon to ask EU not to name Hezbollah terrorist

Lebanon will ask the European Union not to name the militant Hezbollah group a terrorist organization.

A statement released by President Michel Suleiman’s office Thursday says Hezbollah is a “main component of Lebanese society.”

The EU is reassessing whether to declare Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organization, a move it has long avoided despite U.S pressure.

The move was bolstered by Germany’s policy change after long resisting calls to list Hezbollah for fear it could destabilize Lebanon.

Germany said it was pushed toward declaring Hezbollah a terror group by the 2012 attack in the Black Sea resort of Burgas in Bulgaria.

On Wednesday, Bulgaria’s interior minister said new evidence has bolstered its case implicating Hezbollah in the bus bombing that killed five Israeli tourists, the bus driver and alleged attacker.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Syria air raid hits pro-rebel Lebanese region

A Syrian military helicopter fired rockets at a pro-rebel region of eastern Lebanon in the early hours of Thursday, a security source told AFP.

“A military helicopter violated Lebanese airspace and fired four rockets at 01:30 am (2230GMT) in the Arsal area, two of which exploded, causing damage,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

The attack did not cause any injuries.

Arsal is a Sunni neighbourhood in eastern Lebanon that is broadly sympathetic to the Syrian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, and has become a transit point for Syrian refugees, as well as rebels and their weapons.

The area has been targeted on multiple occasions by Syrian regime forces, including in a June 12 attack that hit the centre of Arsal.

That raid prompted a rare warning from the Lebanese army, which threatened to respond if the attacks continued.

The Syrian conflict has increasingly spilled over into Lebanon, and has raised sectarian tensions in the fragile country, which experienced a devastating 1975-1990 civil war.

Lebanon’s powerful Shiite Hezbollah movement has sent fighters to battle alongside the regime, and many Lebanese Sunnis sympathise with the Sunni-dominated Syrian opposition.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Syria: Pro-government figure killed in Lebanon

State-run media in Damascus say gunmen have assassinated a prominent Syrian pro-government figure at his home in southern Lebanon.

The SANA news agency says Mohammed Darrar Jammo was gunned down early on Wednesday outside his home in the southern Lebanese coastal town of Sarafand.

Jammo, a political analyst who often appeared on Arab TV stations, was one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s strongest defenders.

Assassinations of politicians, army officers and journalists are not uncommon in Syria but the killing in Lebanon of a Syrian figure is a rare incident.

Sarafand is in predominantly Shiite southern Lebanon where Assad enjoys wide support.

The shooting is the latest spillover from Syria’s civil war, now in its third year, into Lebanon, where people are divided between Assad supporters and opponents.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Pakistan Taliban say no shift to Syria

Pakistani Taliban commanders Tuesday rejected suggestions they were sending fighters to Syria, saying some have gone there independently but the movement’s focus remained in Pakistan.

They said some militants, mainly Arabs and Central Asians, had gone to fight the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, but a senior Taliban leader dismissed reports of them setting up camps in Syria.

The lawless tribal areas of northwest Pakistan along the Afghan border have long been a magnet for militants from across the Muslim world eager to fight US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.

But since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011, foreign jihadists have flocked to Syria, where disparate rebel groups are seeking his downfall.

Some media reports in recent days have claimed scores or even hundreds of Pakistani Taliban are among them and that they have set up camps in Syria.

A senior commander who sits on the shura or ruling council of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told AFP there was no tactical shift and no decision had been made to send forces to Syria.

“There is no reality in these reports, we have far better targets in the region, NATO troops headed by the Americans are present in Afghanistan,” he said on condition of anonymity.

“We are already in a war with Pakistani troops. We support the mujahideen’s struggle in Syria but in our opinion, we have a lot more to do here in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

The TTP is an umbrella group for numerous factions trying to bring down the Pakistani state and impose sharia law. It has ties to the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

“The great evil (America) is here in Afghanistan, troops from 30 kafir (non-believer) countries are attacking innocent people in Afghanistan, so Bashar al-Assad is not that important for us,” the TTP commander said.

“Obama is the big evil, Americans are a much bigger evil for us. The Taliban shura has never discussed sending mujahideen to Syria.”

Another mid-ranking TTP commander in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal district which is a hotbed of Taliban and Al-Qaeda activity, said some fighters had gone to Syria “in a personal capacity”.

A third senior TTP cadre said those who had gone were mostly Arabs, Uzbeks and Chechens.

More than 100,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad erupted, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai dismissed claims of the TTP setting up camps in Syria as “a publicity campaign” by some of the militants.

“But we cannot deny the fact that they are quite ambitious and want to send a clear message to the world that they are still very strong and have strong linkages with other local and international groups,” he said.

Ismail, an Arab fighter from Al-Qaeda, told AFP in northwest Pakistan that he planned to join the fight against Assad.

“I am going to Syria in the next few days, my family will stay here,” he said.

“Our mujahideen are going not only to Syria but also to Lebanon, Egypt and other Arab countries.”

Saifullah Khan Mahsud, the executive director of the FATA Research Centre …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

New Iran president backs Syria's Assad, Hezbollah

Iran’s president-elect has sent messages to Syria’s Bashar Assad and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, reaffirming support for the two allies.

The official IRNA news agency on Tuesday cited Hasan Rouhani as saying close Iranian-Syrian ties will be able to confront “enemies in the region, especially the Zionist regime,” or Israel.

Rouhani says Syria will “overcome its current crisis.”

The note was in response to Assad’s congratulatory message on Rouhani’s June election. Tehran has sided with Assad’s regime in Syria’s civil war.

Rouhani also wrote to Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, saying Iran backs the “steadfast nation” of Lebanon and the Palestinians, a reference to the militant Hamas group.

The notes reflect Rouhani’s intentions to emphasize links to Iran’s key regional allies even as he urges for greater outreach to the West.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Islamic militants leave Pakistan to fight in Syria

Suleman spent years targeting minority Shiite Muslims in his home country of Pakistan as a member of one of the country’s most feared militant groups. Now he is on his way to a new sectarian battleground, Syria, where he plans to join Sunni rebels battling President Bashar Assad’s regime.

It is a fight he believes will boost his reward in heaven.

The short and stocky Pakistani, who identified himself using only his first name for fear of being targeted by authorities, is one of an increasing number of militants who have left Pakistan for Syria in recent months. The fighters have contributed to a growing presence of Islamic extremists and complicated U.S. efforts to help the rebels.

Many fighters like Suleman believe they must help Syria’s Sunni majority defeat Assad’s Alawite regime — an offshoot of the Shiite sect. Radical Sunnis view Shiites as heretics.

The presence of Islamic extremists in Syria looms large over U.S. efforts to help the rebels, especially when it comes to providing weapons that could end up in the hands of America’s enemies. The extremists have also sparked infighting with more secular rebels concerned about the increasing power of the Islamists.

Most of the foreign fighters in Syria are from Arab countries, including al-Qaida militants from Iraq on the rebel side and Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon on the regime’s side. The flow of militants from Pakistan adds a new element to that mix.

Pakistani Interior Ministry spokesman Omar Hamid Khan said provincial authorities throughout Pakistan deny that militants have left the country for Syria.

But three Pakistani intelligence officials based in the tribal region that borders Afghanistan, as well as militants themselves, say the fighters leaving Pakistan for Syria include members of al-Qaida, the Pakistani Taliban and Suleman’s group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

The fighters fall mainly into two categories. One includes foreign combatants from places like Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and likely the Middle East who came to Pakistan’s tribal region to fight U.S.-led forces in neighboring Afghanistan and are now heading to Syria because they view it as the most pressing battle, said the Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

This group includes members of al-Qaida who trained the Pakistani Taliban in areas such as bomb-making and are …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News