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Kentucky freshmen Doron Lamb talks to the media before Monday’s practice.


John Clay’s Sidelines

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In Re Barak, “Bullahs,” Blackwater, Bounties & the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)


When the US marines were in and out of Lebanon in 1983-1984 some of those I met, when visiting their barracks with American journalist Janet Stevens, to discuss Israel’s use of American cluster bombs against civilians had the habit, as did sailors from the USS New Jersey, of referring  to the Lebanese Capital simply as “Root.” Or sometimes they would call it: “The Root” as in, “We came to “The Root” to kick some butt!”

The Marines were responsible for unexploded ordnance clearance in the area around Beirut airport while Italian, French and a small British force worked in adjoining areas of West Beirut, following the Israeli siege, which sometimes included intensive carpet shelling. The Marines did a good job in their area trying to make it safe for civilians and took 12 casualties, two fatal, from Israeli dropped American cluster bombs. Unfortunately President Reagan ordered the American forces to support the Israeli backed Phalange government of Amin Gemayel against the popular Lebanese resistance and the marines were soon viewed as being partisan participants in a domestic conflict. This led to the Marines departure following events of October 1983 and despite recent Israeli proposals, it is fairly unlikely that either American or NATO forces will arrive in Lebanon anytime soon.

But Blackwater USA just might.

Despite a series of publicly announced “disassociations” periodically issued from the media offices at the Pentagon and State Department, plus a couple of image polishing name changes including currently,  Xe Services LLC ( Xe being short for Xena, the mythical goddess of war) the hydra headed Blackwater (BW), founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark is still quite active.

BW continues to sign US tax payer funded contracts whilst spreading its tentacles around the region, ever scanning the horizon and sniffing out softer underbelly money makers to meet the payroll of its $ 500 per day operatives. Prince told the US Congress last year that his organization is “A professional organization serving as a solutions provider to the U.S. government. We operate in the defense, training, logistics, and intelligence spaces, priding ourselves on getting the job done right”.

Two weeks ago in Leidschendam-Voorburg, which abuts The Hague and is the site of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Black water USA representatives looking to land a lucrative bounty hunter contract with the STL’s registrar’s office, preferred to label Hezbollah simply as ‘Bullahs’. Apparently it’s some sort of BW macho lingo term from the organizations combat training bases in North Carolina and California.  Some Blackwater mercenaries also used the “Bullahs” label in Iraq in addition to racist terms like “Ragheads”, “Hajiis”, and “Sand Niggers.”

In addition, Black water representatives, presumably offering “to get the job done right,” have reportedly met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and will again during Barak’s current visit to Washington.  According to an email message from a Congressional Staffer who works for a Committee that receives intelligence briefings, BW has been getting cozy with Israel and may be in the process of setting up a BW “training center” in occupied Palestine north of Kabri which is about 20 miles south of UNIFIL’s HQ in Naqoura along the Lebanon-Palestine ‘blue line’.

Barak, according to the same source, will meet on February 26 with National Security chief Tom Donilon and Dennis Ross to discuss Iran, Hezbollah the STL and the impact of recent regional events on the Israeli-Iranian strategic balance in the region. During his meetings with BW representatives his message to BW may be along the lines of “Hey, don’t worry. We’ll hold your coats” as Israel increasingly considers following the American lead and hires mercenaries to confront its enemies.

Barak may in point of fact have a job for BW.

Based on sources who attended the recent Special Tribunal for Lebanon media briefings, as well as sources in Congress and North Carolina, it appears that the STL Registrar’s 1/17/11 announcement that the Court might be seeking help of the International community to arrest and deliver to the Hague those against whom Judge Daniel Frensen is widely expected to issue arrest warrants, is indeed generating applications.

Following the STL’s implied job announcement, Blackwater’s HQ, still based in Moyock, North Carolina was abuzz with talk of “business opportunities.”  According to a stringer for the Daily Southerner in nearby Tarboro, NC, who claims that she dates “BW special forces guys”: “Who better to go after the terrorists with arrest warrants from that Court than our local Confederate bounty hunters par excellence?”

By the morning of 1/20/11 and again on 1/21/11, Blackwater representatives, who arrived two days earlier in The Hague on a flight from Israel, tried to convince the Office of the STL Registrar, and, that evening, anyone listening in the nearby Hilton Hotel Grand Café Pearl, that Blackwater could do the job better than Interpol.  All they needed to know was that the proposed per head bounty dollar amount was guaranteed and they would do the rest.

After a dinner of pan fried wild sea bass and enjoying bottles of German wine, the more they drank and partied, which reportedly lasted until the wee hours, the more the Blackwater reps claimed to actually relish a long overdue fight with “Bullahs.” One BW operative, according to two Dutch journalists who were present for part of the evening, told  the groups  ”tourist hostess”  attractive dates, ” when even one of them “Bullahs” needs to get his butt busted, cuffed, and dragged to the Hague, we can do the job young ladies!  Ya got our word on that!”

Will Blackwater help I reoccupy Lebanon?

Ehud Barak’s statements this week about Israel reoccupying south Lebanon might lead some to muse whether the Defense Minister perhaps forgot why, when he was prime minister, he ordered the precipitous Israeli nighttime stealth pullout,  during which some local villagers claim they saw some elements of the Golani brigade  literally skidding down the hill at Maron al Ras during the night of May 23, 2000  on their back sides as other IDF units fled across the  exits points south of Aita Schab and Bint Jbeil with resistance fighters hot on their tails.

In fact the reason then Israeli Prime Minister Barak ordered the IDF out of Lebanon, was partially under electoral pressure from the Israeli public, because Israeli casualties were skyrocketing. Barak also acted on the advice of his well-paid campaign advisor and Bill Clinton confidant, James Carville who advised Barak that ‘moderate Israelis’ would vote for him if he did. As it turned out James underestimated the number of ‘moderate Israelis’, and Barak lost the election by a wide margin to Ariel Sharon who got 1,698,077 (62.39%) to Barak’s 1,023,944 (37.61%).

“Funny Jimmy” as he’s known in the Big Easy where he grew up, returned to the “James Carville and Mary Matlin show.”  Not one to easily give up on lost causes, it is being rumored in Washington that James, the apparent eternal devotee of Le and La Clinton, is spending much of his time these days trying to figure out how to get Hilary elected President and he is studying the odds for the 2012 Democratic primary. Carville, and others including remnants of his former campaign team in Israel, see the possibility of the Democrats dumping Obama, as doable if former IDF reservist, Rahm Emanuel, the new Mayor of Chicago, will dump Obama, sign on with Hilary, and bring the US Israeli lobby and their cash with him.

In his free time James is working as an adman for Miracle Whip in a TV commercial which features ” Funny Jimmy”  Carville and others expressing either their love or hate for the imitation mayonnaise spread.  ”If you’ve got these fancy, dancy mustards and stuff like that, that’s kind of an elite thing,” says Carville. “Miracle Whip is the essence of America. We are a simple people, very trusting and only wanting to do God’s will.”

Contrary to the Israeli lobby spin that Israel left Lebanon in May of 2000 as a unilateral goodwill gesture to advance the fake “peace process”, IDF statistics leading up to Hezbollah’s expulsion of the IDF and the collapse of its collaborationist South Lebanese Army (SLA) match those explained recently by Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary-General, former chemistry professor Naim Qassim who is perhaps the leading expert on exactly what transpired in South Lebanon during this period. Professor Qassim’s book, “Hezbollah from Within” is the most authoritative volume on the subject of Hezbollah…to date.

Also, Israeli TV audiences had grown weary of watching footage-often courtesy of Al Manar, of Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon as a result of Resistance operations. Even today, fighters who were on the scene in the spring of 2000, report that they were surprised at the Israeli debacle as were the Israeli SLA Lebanese collaborators. In some instances, retreating Israeli soldiers used their former Lebanese “partners and brothers” as human shields hoping that the Lebanese resistance would not fire on fellow Lebanese as the Israelis fled. The IDF did not inform their SLA allies that they were withdrawing. Ever hopeful of igniting a civil war in Lebanon, the new IDF Chief of Staff  Benny Gantz and Israeli intelligence meticulously left behind lists of the names of many of its Lebanese collaborators, hoping for a Lebanese-Lebanese bloodbath. As it turned out Hezbollah quickly, and some say reluctantly, instructed their units to adhere to a strict policy or no retribution and to “let bygones be bygones.”  Only modest punishment was administered by the Lebanese State Judiciary partly because the number of Israeli (US taxpayer) paid killers was high and there was not enough prison space to house them and also because Hezbollah wanted to avoid sectarian strife since a large percentage of the collaborators were from one Lebanese sect and cries of “sectarian targeting” were predictable. The issue of whether Hezbollah was too lenient with these collaborators following the expulsion of the IDF is, eleven years later, still sometimes discussed in Southern villages among families who lost loved ones to the turncoats.-many of the latter living today, as next door neighbors to their victims’ families.

If the STL does decide to hire Blackwater USA to execute any arrest warrants in Lebanon or if Israel decides to hire “seek and kill” Blackwater units during its predicted coming invasion, whatever that does for Xe’s Stock prices, its BW’s stock of mercenaries that will be eagarly anticipated in Lebanon.

As for Baraks boast that the new IDF Chief Benny Gantz “knows south Lebanon” the career assassin might want to recall, as he remembers why Israel withdrew from Lebanon in May of 2000, that as one Hezbollah veteran told this observer this week, “South Lebanon knows Benny Gantz”.


Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director of the Sabra Shatila Foundation in Lebanon. He is working with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign (PCRC), in Lebanon to encourage its Cabinet and Parliament to enact basic civil rights legislation for Palestinian refugees, including the right to work and to own a home.  Website: He can be contacted c/o [email protected].


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Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary

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Far left thugs get out and get a little bloody

Former Massachusetts Republican Congressional candidate Marty Lamb was assaulted and knocked to the ground by a union thug yesterday at a tea party rally.
VA Right reported:

DaTech Guy has more on this rally and latest assault by a leftist thug. He says the union members were signing in (so they could get paid?).

So what are the odds that our corrupt far left media will ignore this latest violent assault on a tea party protester?

Big Government

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Dr. Franklin Lamb/AL-MANAR

A Palestinian woman driven out of modern-day Israel during the 1948 Nakba carries her belongings. – Wikimedia Commons

The Tahrir Square “Hurriya!”  tremors spreading across the Middle East may or may not be impacting today’s events in the  historically liberal American state of Wisconsin and other areas of America,  yet most of us would agree that the Tunisian-Egyptian revolutions are being felt far and wide and appear to be dramatically gaining steam. Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees camps are no exceptions.

Perhaps sooner rather than later, a half dozen or so Arab despots may  reluctantly retire or leave for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. Indeed some Saudis may themselves move to America to occupy their vast real estate holdings stateside, some located in largely Israeli duo-national neighborhoods, whose occupancy rates are also dramatically rising, as many in Israel sense that the CIA predicted collapse of  their settler colony may be accelerating.

Also feeling the widening flood torrents are those depending on the 1978 Camp David Accords and its ‘Rosemary’s baby,’ the 1979 “Peace Treaty” that castrated Egypt, betrayed the Palestinians and ceded regional dominance  to Israel for three decades. The White House reportedly is reconciled to the fact that Camp David may be ‘renegotiated’ but, like Israel, fears it may be frozen and indefinitely suspended if not scrapped completely in the coming months. This is part part of the re-ordering we are witnessing as the new era and indeed culture of resistance spreads.

Panicked Israeli leaders and their  agents in Congress are busy trying to convince the American public how vital and cheap the $ 3 billion per year cost of Camp David is for America’s security while they know the truth is precisely the opposite. AIPAC has been saturating Capitol Hill this week as well as media outlets with  its just released Red Alert!  “Urgent Appeal” which reads as follows:  Please urge your House member to sign a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that urges all branches of the U.S. government to emphasize to prospective Egyptian leaders and opposition figures the importance of Egypt’s international obligations, specifically its Camp David peace treaty with Israel.”

Just yesterday, 2/18/11, the Palestinian UN delegation, in a rare display of back bone, presumably influenced by the revelations in the Palestine Papers, of treachery and resulting charges of treason, as well as Tahrir Square, joined the 130  UN Member co-sponsors of the UNSC Resolution and stared down Barak Obama and Ambassador  Susan Rice and rejected their proposed gutting of the modest  Security Council Resolution condemning Israeli settlements.  Before the vote, threats were issued from the White House personally delivered to PA  “President”  Mahmoud Abass during a 40 minute reportedly tense telephone call from the President and before Abbas presumably recovered from that upbraiding,  another  one came from Hilary Clinton.

The British, Russian, and Chinese ambassadors were among those who rose to speak in favor of the failed resolution. Still, it was a rare 14-1 Security Council vote in solidarity with Palestine. It was also yet another  American Veto, that for the 63rd time, signaled the American public and the World that under Congressional pressure,  it is Israeli settlers inhabiting stolen land, not the American people or their values,  that still prevail even as the US and Israel reap an Arab and Islamic awakening that is hastening their  expulsion from the region. Just hours after the courageous UN vote, the new provisional government in Cairo announced the opening of Rafah crossing, if only on a limited basis—for now.

Symbolism is everywhere-and sometimes seemingly everything. Who would have thought that Egypt, just days after Mubarak’s recall, would welcome, for the first time since 1979, Iranian warships through the Suez Canal?  When Iran’s  ships arrive at Port Said they are expected to be greeted and perhaps feted by dock workers and the Egyptian public, despite Israeli  threats and claims delivered by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Iran’s use of the international waterway is “an hostile act” and “proves the Iranians are becoming more and more cheeky.”

Many Palestinians in Lebanon’s camps and communities, like the rest of us appear almost mesmerized by what’s been happening. A survey conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD), published on February 2, 2011 showed, that  74 percent of the Palestinians support pro-democracy protests in Tunisia, which toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In Lebanon’s camps it appears that support for the Arab Awakening grows with each new revolt in the region.

They feel, as no doubt many who have been working for Palestinian civil rights in Lebanon for the past 20 years, including more than two dozen International and local NGO’s and civil society organizations, that the power of Tahrir Square will mean that Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees will at long last  be granted the elementary, internationally mandated civil right to own a home and  to work that every other refugee enjoys by law.

Stellar examples of the new Palestinian leadership in Lebanon’s camps pressing for civil rights include my best friend in Shatila Camp Zeinab al Hajj, born, raised and still living in Shatila Camp. And does she ever welcome western visitors whom she  quickly converts to her cause! To arrive at Zeinab’s home/office and to learn about the Palestinian refugee’s urgent need for elementary civil rights, and why she and her friends believe the new Hezbollah led government, also inspired by Tahrir Square, will honor its moral, religious, legal and political obligations to achieve the right to work and home ownership, is simple enough.

The 14 member three generation Al Hajj family always welcomes foreign visitors into their three rooms and roof top space that overlooks the area of the camp where  some of the most intense slaughter took place not only during the 1982 Sabra-Shatila Massacre, also during the 1985-88 camp wars when Shatila and Burj Barajneh  camps were targeted for destruction by some factions who still today boast that Palestine is their blood stream cause. Indeed some of those who gave the orders  to slaughter men, women and children in Shatila during the misnomered “camp wars’ ghoulishly have their photo-shop posters  plastered around parts of the south end of Shatila camp.

Of course there were no “camp wars”  but rather a series of intermittent slaughters of mainly unarmed civilians between 1985-88, allegedly to prevent the return of the PLO under Arafat’s leadership, until then Hezbollah spokesman, Subhi al-Tufayli (later Secretary-General between 1989-92) and others stepped in and demanded that President Hafez Assad of Syria put an end to the killing, declaring that Hezbollah was prepared to send fighters to  defend the Palestinian camps.  One can imagine what Palestinian families, nearly all of whom lost a relative at the hand of their Arab brothers, feel today about those smiling “solidarity” faces as they walk their children to school. Just seeing them plastered on poles and walls, is for this observer, enraging and the equivalent of seeing Ariel Sharon’s or Rafael Eitan’s bill boarded mugs inside Shatila camp.

To sit with  and learn from ‘Miss International’, her friends and her elderly parents, who as children walked half a day into Lebanon from Safed in northern Palestine on May 12, 1948, all one has to do is enter Shatila Camp from the south, diagonal from what’s left of the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s  Akka Hospital. Continue  north along Rue Sabra toward what remains of the former Gaza PRCS Hospital. Gaza Hospital was for years, before the Palestinian Resistance departed in August of 1982,  among the best equipped and administered hospitals in the Middle East. It was bombarded, destroyed and stripped of all its equipment during the Camp “Wars”,  and  the hospital’s shell is now home to roughly 1000 refugees who exist, packed into every room, hall way and alcove from the operating theater to the hospital morgue.  Continue north  past Martyr’s Cemetery where around 1000 unidentified victims of the Israeli sponsored 1982 Massacre at Shabra-Shatila are buried, one takes the third right down a narrow alley where the sun has not shown for 60 years.  Step around the puddles of sewage and the ruts, watch out for dozens of beautiful children chasing and playing, or going or coming from the camps two UNWRA schools,  avoid careening bikes and proud, if stressed, Palestinian women with shopping bags, sometimes balanced on their heads, and babies in their arms and you’ll find the cinder block hovel on your left next to a rusty zinc roofed shelter that camp residents avoid. The reason people don’t like to go inside the shelter is that 29 years ago the al-Hajj family allowed their neighbors to hide in their shelter during the 1982  massacre, as they themselves fled east to the then Algerian Embassy, across airport road from Shatila camp-currently the City Hall of the Hezbollah run Municipality of Ghouberi.

When the Hajj family returned to their home following the Massacre, they learned that all 17 neighbors using their shelter were slaughtered because the Israelis had given maps showing the exact location of the 11 shelters to the Phalange-Lebanese Forces militias.  Zeinab, 7 years old at the time, recalls that she wanted to stay in the shelter and not flee because she planned to play with her dolls and her best friend Mona and they liked their private ‘hideout’ space.  All  278 camp residents, with four exceptions, who entered the Israeli identified shelters in Shatila Camp were butchered between 6 pm Thursday and around midnight Friday, September 16-17, 1982.

Last night’s conversation, while enjoying a delicious bowl of hot  Palestinian  shorba prepared by Mrs. Hajj was about  what Zeinab and her friends call the “Great Arab and Palestinian Awakening.”  ‘What is happening?  “Is it possible that Sykes-Picot’ off-spring can be liberated sooner rather than later?” Zeinab’s  sister  Suha, a nursing student at near-by Bahman hospital, scowled, referring to Israel.

Amidst the unfolding upheaval in the Middle East, some are expecting Lebanon’s Palestinian camps to  erupt in revolt  to protest economic and social  conditions  that are worse than any of the areas now in open revolt. If an eruption comes, it will be a quest for freedom, dignity and justice. Lots of meetings and discussions are being held but so far few signs of organizing mass demonstrations, although the current calm could abruptly shatter.

Zeinab’s friends are also more optimistic these days about the chances that they will finally be granted some elementary civil rights. The growing excitement  appears to be fueled by the  freedoms  many camp residents predict in Tunisia and Egypt and perhaps throughout the region, but also as a result of the new government in Lebanon. The failure in Parliament last summer to achieve meaningful changes with respect to the right to work and to own a home in Parliament was a major disappointment in the camps, but with the new government hopes have risen.

Their growing zeal is made manifest in the quickly spreading activism among young Palestinians, being encouraged by their elders whose numbers comprise many sometimes honored, sometime seemingly forgotten, Palestinian resistance heroes who over the past half century helped earn the world’s recognition and increasing support of the Palestinian cause. I  mean this reference to honor those, now middle aged, many sitting idly in the camps reminiscing and wondering what went wrong as they discuss latest developments such as the Palestine Papers, and who have struggled for so long to return to Palestine. Many from before the days when the  arch Zionist Golda Meir could proclaim that “there are no such people as  Palestinians” and much of the world’s media reflexively reported her lies as truth,  and who have never compromised the principles which underpin the Palestinian struggle for justice. I recently  met a man in Shatila Camp, who in 1950 in Gaza, worked with the Executive Committee of the Refugees’ Conference.  This was of course 14 years before the founding of the PLO in Cairo. It  was this Committee which led  the first legislative council in Gaza in the early sixties, and sent the first Palestinian delegation of refugees to the United Nations in 1961.

Lebanon’s camps are full of aging heroes.  Among them thousands of  mothers who have suffered and achieved so much for their families, their cause and their country. Their progeny fill the teeming camps.  There is a young Nelson Mandela in Rashedeyeh camp near Tyre.  Another I met in Ein el Helwe appears to be a clone on Dalal Moughiby. In Nahr al Bared, still waiting to be rebuilt following its destruction in 2007,  I watched a youthful Khalil al Wazir (Abu Jihad) explain his hopes to revive Palestinian resistance until liberation. In Wavall camp in the Bekaa I spent an evening with teenaged would-be Hassan Nasrallah who wants to help lead his people back to Palestine.

Like the streets of Cairo, Lebanon’s camps are starting to cry “Hurriya!” The camps here  have birthed new leadership, aided by the old, that will anticipate that the new government  will respect the words of the Resistance and enact in Parliament the full Right to Work and repeal the discriminatory 2001 law that criminalizes Palestinian home ownership.

Franklin Lamb is reachable c/o [email protected]

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Doron Lamb talks about what he said at Saturday night’s meeting. He told the team he would change and work harder. The freshman said he would “dig in for the last couple of the games of the season.” He talked about displaying more energy, and focusing on defense. He was also asked about Calipari’s talk to him at halftime when he didn’t get back down the floor on a Vandy fast break.

“After that, he didn’t say nothing bad about me,” Lamb said.


John Clay’s Sidelines

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Dr. Franklin Lamb Al-Manar TV

South Beirut — Informed Congressional sources in Washington DC today
are confirming that the White House has informed Congressional Committee
Chairpersons and American allies that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
(STL) will indict Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Wali al
(jurisconsult or Supreme Religious Leader) for issuing the order to
assassinate Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The US and Israel believe
Iran’s motive was that PM Hariri was considered a serious threat to Tehran
and Damascus because their intelligence agencies established that Hariri was
conspiratorially linked to Saudi Arabia, France and the United States-and
by extension, Israel.

One could be forgiven for getting confused by the “its Syria!, no its not its
Hezbollah!, ohmygod it’s really Iran!” labyrinth in the Hariri assassination
saga this past half decade. Late this week key Congressional leaders have
been advised by the White House that the execution order targeting Hariri
was delivered by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds force chief Qassem
Suleymani to Hezbollah’s military commander Imad Mughniyeh. The US,
Israel and their allies intend to back with an international media campaign,
the STL theory that Mughniyeh and his brother-in-law, Mustapha Badr
al-Dine met on several occasions and handpicked the team that carried out
the assassination. Moreover, that Syrian President Bashar al-Aassad,
and his brother-in-law, Syrian intelligence chief Assef Shawkat, also played
key roles in organizing Hariri’s assassination. The US government expects
that each of these named individuals, including several Hezbollah leaders,
will be indicted and convicted, almost certainly in absentia.

Within the coming weeks the US Congressional lobby is expected to initiate
in the House and Senate a total cut off of American aid to Lebanon unless
resigned Prime Minister Hariri is immediately returned to office. This aid
cutoff will be vociferously demanded by AIPAC despite statements to the
contrary by American Ambassador Maury Connelly in Beirut earlier today.
Ambassador Connelly spoke to reporters following a meeting with Hezbollah
ally General Michel Aoun, leader of the Change and Reform parliamentary
bloc (FPM) at his residence in Rabieh. It was a rare visit indeed by an
American Ambassador with Aoun, a gentleman who the US Embassy has
privately labeled “megalomaniac”. The visit by the US Ambassador reflected
Aoun’s newly enhanced political status this weekend. Ms. Connelly assured
the media gathering that “the United States remains steadfast in its support
for Lebanon’s state institutions through our robust military, security, and
economic development assistance. We expect a new government will emerge
through constitutional procedures, and our strong partnership with Lebanon
will obviously endure.”

Few in Lebanon, or the region for that matter, give much credence to the
Ambassador’s statement, particularly as Hezbollah is now the de facto new
majority and can administer the government as its wants should it choose.
The Lebanese Parliamentary lineup is probably, as of today, 64 seats for the
US-Saudi team and 64 seats for the Lebanese National Resistance. Moreover,
the momentum favors Hezbollah since it picked up support from Walid
Jumblatt’s five member Progressive Socialist Party Parliamentary bloc, after
Jumblatt broke with Washington in 2008 (Walid delayed announcing his
switch until 2009 just in case Washington wanted to make amends which
apparently they did not). What caused Jumblatt to bolt from March 14 was
his friend Jeffrey Feltman’s failure to deliver on promised support for
Jumblatt’s very risky May 2008 political challenge to Hezbollah. Feltman
pledged “all the help you need Walid. You can take it to the bank.” Jumblatt
has stated publicly that he felt “stiffed” by the Americans but he still likes
Jeffrey personally, if not politically.

The White House has made it plain that America expects Saad Hariri to be
returned to his Prime Ministerial post. That event is unlikely to occur.
Yet, the Hezbollah led opposition might allow Hariri to be a caretaker until
the 2013 elections—but only if he fulfills their earlier demands and
withdraws Lebanon from any association with the STL. The Obama
administration has informed Congress that it would view a Hezbollah-led
coalition assuming power in Lebanon as a direct threat to its strategic
interests in the region and would likely, at a minimum, respond with an
intense destabilization campaign. Frankly, there is little the Obama
Administration can do that it has not tried before to squeeze Lebanon and it
has little influence over events here partly due to the facts that the US is
way overstretched in the region and is barely taken seriously in Iraq,
Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Levant countries
these days.

Moreover, President Obama is said by one Congressional source to believe
that Hezbollah is not interested in the hands on, “Jimmy Carter” style of
governing for Lebanon or being involved in dealing with every detail of
Lebanon’s very complicated sectarian system. The White House is said to
expect Hezbollah to play a major role in forming the next government and
some State Department staffers believe that it may even play a constructive
role in shaping a policy statement that will govern the day to day running
of the government. Few but the Israel lobby in Washington believe, or even
mention, the idea that Hezbollah has any interest in an Islamic Republic
system for Lebanon, repeatedly disavowed by Hezbollah officials including
Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah is expected to increase
its focus on Israel and continue to apply its skills and manpower to build a
regional deterrence to Israeli aggression while working for domestic
tranquility and stability. “In short, as one Congressional staffer via email,
“Washington is not panicked by events in Lebanon at this time. We have
bigger problems in the region and we’ll watch the STL’s progress and
see what happens as a result of the indictments. But for sure we will not sit
on our hands if things get out of hand.” The White House is said to be
considering French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s idea of creating a “contact
group” comprised of United States, France, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and
Turkey to negotiate a solution to the latest crisis.

There continues to be much speculation about the timing of the Special
Tribunal indictments and what they will mean on the street. Bookies at the
Casino de Liban near Jounieh have odds that those indicted will be named
publicly on next month’s valentine’s day, the 6th anniversary of the Hariri
murder. Others are holding their bets arguing that using that date would
make the STL prosecutor’s office appear too politicized, a charge Prosecutor
Daniel Bellemare has been chafing under for more than a year. The STL has
said that the names of those indicted will be kept sealed when prosecutor
Bellemare sends them to Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen. The public will
likely learn the names of those indicted when arrest warrants are issued by
the Court.

Despite civil war still being talked about as a possibility here in Lebanon,
it has proven impossible to ignite to date even though it would suit US-Israel
political goals. The sage of Lebanon, former Prime Minister Salem el Hoss
predicts Lebanon is now headed for a long period of governmental
stagnation while domestic and foreign actors angle for political and military
advantages. Dr. Hoss explained that a civil war is unlikely given the
attitudes of the young generation and the fact that none of the sects could
successfully confront the Opposition led by Hezbollah and western powers
lack credibility here.

More likely would be Israel undertaking a White House green-lighted
invasion of Lebanon to degrade Hezbollah and Syria as a base toward the
weakening of Iran from ground level. Congressional sources report that the
Pentagon disagrees with Israel and intend to attack not from the base
but from above the top of the Resistance pyramid, which is Iran. The US will
hit Iran hard thus hopefully opening up another attempt to peel away
Syria and forced them to accept a peace deal with Israel. The scheme would
return the Golan heights to the Assad regime minus the 100 meters
strip along Syria’s Lake Tiberius. This sliver of lake front is where former
Syrian President Hafez Assad told President Bill Clinton in 2000, he used to
swim as a kid. He also told Clinton that Syria’s demand for its full return
was non-negotiable, the same position adamantly held today by the Syrian

In Beirut, discussing the likelihood of street violence, a March 14th Hariri
supporter attending Professor Norman Finkelstein’s public lecture at AUB
last night told this observer that Lebanon needs stability and justice. “Let
all the dead from Lebanon’s black civil war period rest in peace. It’s time
to move on and rebuild our fractured country. I say all those who have been
killed in Lebanon are equal.”

Well almost.

The enthusiastic young man did not believe his counsel should apply to the
case of his personal idol, former P.M. Rafik Hariri, who while not the first PM
to be killed in office, is the first one to be killed with such powerful friends
insisting on “justice.”

Originally published in Al Manar

The views expressed in published articles are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Intifada-


Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and can be reached c/o
[email protected]

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Part II “Know thyself” Tsu Sun and Hassan Nasrallah

Sun Tzu and Hassan Nasrallah

Exclusive to Al-Manar

by: Dr. Franklin Lamb

“To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight back), because they are wronged; and verily, God is most powerful for their aid; (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right, (for no cause) except that they say, our Lord is God”. (22:39-40)

According to the Lebanese military, at 11 am and again at 1 p.m.  on 1l/24/10, a total of six Israeli warplanes crossed into Lebanese airspace, and violated for the 8256th time UNSC resolution 1701 that ended Israel’s 5th war against Lebanon, on August 14, 2006. Nearly, daily, and sometimes several times daily, warplanes and/or reconnaissance aircraft invade the skies over Lebanon to frighten, attempt to intimidate, and pressure the Lebanese population. They also to try to keep tabs on Lebanon’s resistance, led by Hezbollah.

As every Resistance defender  is aware, if a twice daily high flyover by a US supplied specially programmed satellite imaging camera detects a stone the size of golf ball out of place, since the previous photo, anywhere in an area thought to be visited by Hezbollah forces,  the photos are closely examined by Israel and American analysts. The moving of a stone or a tree branch or significantly more or fewer goats appearing in a herd, meandering, for example, in  Lebanon’s “nature preserves” is carefully analyzed. The reason, and perhaps encapsulating Israel’s increasing likelihood, according to UNIFIL — United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and US sources,  of failing in its next war against Lebanon, is that Israel has never even been able to figure out  what became of the hundreds of tons of chipped rock and soil removed during the construction of hundreds of suspected deep Hezbollah bunkers, impenetrable to every weapon but nuclear.  Some bunkers are almost literally under the noses of where suspected  Israeli agents live or where UNIFIL forces patrol daily. “ Do they remove the debris by teaspoons full?”  a UNIFIL official wondered recently.

Also unsettling to the Israeli military and reportedly censored from viewing by Israeli forces  are a collection of Hezbollah training videos thought to have been photographed by US  high altitude  cameras. IDF psychologists reportedly have advised the Israeli Cabinet that seeing the Hezbollah videos may further erode Israeli forces confidence if they are ordered  again into Lebanon.

One such video shows the following:  A line of Hezbollah fighters on mountain bikes in a steep ravine south of the Litani river riding at high rates of speed. The rider must flip the bike  up onto only the back wheel so the soldier’s body is facing the sky and his back flat parallel with and about two feet off  the ground. The examinee must travel at close to 90 mph  holding a RPG in either hand, and a cell phone in the other waiting firing instructions from a subterranean command center. The fighter must then fire the rocket thru a swinging small tire approximately 120 meters away on a tree branch.  Achieving fewer than 11 bulls eyes out of 12 requires the arduous physical test repeated.  A commander in UNIFIl, who claims to be familiar with this particular Hezbollah training exercise commented that none of the UNIFIL soldiers from the 28 countries could even do the exercise, much less get one RPG through such a swinging tire.  “ I would doubt very much if any Israeli could do it either. Hezbollah fighters are probably the world’s best. I have never studied the Chinese up close but I’ve seen a whole lot of the others.”

It is these kinds of skills that Hezbollah fighters used to force repeated errors by Israeli forces during the July 2006 war, and although not widely reported, during its 18 years of occupation of Lebanon (1982-2000). Errors, that the Israeli Winograd commission called “ the worst kind of mistakes and failures of the ground forces.” Among the examples still discussed in Dahiyeh, and presumably in Tel Aviv and Washington, include the Hezbollah forces routing of the Israeli “elite” Golani, Egoz and Magland Brigades at Maron al Ras on the Lebanese-Palestine border between July 25-30, 2006.  Another was the Battle of Bint Jbeil which Dan Halutz  called Israel’s planned “Web of Steel’ which was expected to take less than 48 hours to defeat Hezbollah forces starting on July 24.  But by July 30, the much battered Golani forces withdrew and the Israeli air force renewed indiscriminate aerial bombardment.  Down the road from Bint Jbeil, at Aita al-Shaab, Israel lost 26 soldiers and more than 100 severely injured without gaining an inch of territory. Shortly before Israel agreed to a ceasefire,  its forces experienced the catastrophe at Wadi Slouqi, a ravine through which  a column of Israeli tanks were sent to link up with airlifted troops at Ghandouriyah village.  The Israeli plan, read by Hezbollah forces from the onset, was to move toward Tyre and head north.  “They (Hezbollah forces) jumped up out of the ground all around us” one Israeli at the scene testified later. Hezbollah hit more than a dozen tanks, quickly killing 17 Israelis and wounding more than fifty. It became known in Israeli military circles as “the Black Sabbath, the goddamned Sabbath”, as one Israeli war room officer commented.

Increasingly during the 33 day July 2006 War, Israeli forces refused orders to advance against Hezbollah fighters, happily opting for 14 day jail sentences for failure to obey orders.  Concerning IDF recruitment and  AWOL problems, according to IDF Captain Arye Shalicar of the IDF Recruitment Fraud unit, it is US taxpayers who  foot the bill  for eight companies of private investigators recently hired to track down Israeli draft dodgers.  The popular social networking site, Facebook,  is being used  to track down thousands who lied about being religiously observant and seeking to avoid facing Hezbollah.  Israelis not wanting to join the military often post a photograph on Facebook showing them eating at non-kosher restaurants or accepting invitations for fake Friday night (Sabbath) parties sent by the investigators.

It was against the backdrop of examining these kinds of IDF-Hezbollah confrontations, that  a US Senate Armed Services Committee staffer reports that, “seemingly counterintuitive given the past six decades of US coddling  Israel with all manner of  support and  political cover”, the White House has informed Israel that the days of ‘green lights’ for trampling and carpet bombing Lebanon are over.  Secretary of State  Clinton reportedly told PM Netanyahu during his recent visit to basically ‘forget about it’ when Israel’s Prime Minister repeated ad nausea the mantra that “Lebanon is now Hezbollah and Hezbollah is  now Lebanon” so Israel can exercise “blanket self defense.”  ( Ed: gets to bomb and obliterate at will)

During US Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, John Kerrey’s recent swing through the region he warned Lebanese and Syrian officials that Israel could attack at any time.  But he also carried the message to Israel that Washington does not want an Israeli attack on Lebanon or on Iran for precisely the same reasons.  Israel can’t win Washington increasingly believes and the risk of regional conflagration from either is too great.

It is in this context that Washington is  using the STL – Special Tribunal for Lebanon as a 6th war against Lebanon, following those 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996, and 2006. It is reported by Haaretz on 11/16/10 that  Israeli Foreign Minister  Lieberman reveal Israel has been helping the STL with its “investigation.”

“Hezbollah’s greatest advantage against Israel in the next war against Israel”, according to Pentagon sources, including a 22 year veteran who maintains an office in Beirut,   “is not seen in Washington as  being based on just Hezbollah’s  demonstrated ability to prevail on the battlefield against Israeli ground forces, withstanding potential days or weeks or months of carpet bombing and during hugely asymmetric conflicts. Rather, increasingly Hezbollah’s success against Israeli is being explained by its moral, political, popular, religious, psychological, culture that were enhanced by Hezbollah’s “Lebanonization” and growing acceptance by other sects while being dubbed by some at the Pentagon as now “the 8th greatest missile power in the World.”

There is also the factor of the environment that is embracing Hezbollah and the Resistance. These are  people who will no longer accept to yield to the dictates of  Israel,  the US, Lebanese Forces, Phalanges, or anyone else.  As far as the Resistance is concerned, no one can ask a people that was oppressed, occupied, and disdained by others for decades and centuries, yet managed to gain power to defend itself at a time when everyone abandoned it, to let go of its element of power and become again under the mercy of Israel’s threats as well as those of its local Israel’s allies. Hezbollah believes it has to win the next war for the sake of the whole country, because the army is poorly equipped and because Lebanon has hundreds, maybe thousands of Mossad agents in Lebanon compromising the country’s institutions. Hezbollah MP, Nawaf Moussawi has said on many occasions that the STL indictment accusing Hezbollah of the Hariri assassination will be dealt with as a US Israeli invasion, and to date Hezbollah has proven to have great skills in countering ‘invasions.’  The Party is not easily provoked or intimidated but when their existence is threatened it fights back.

Hezbollah, has  smashed the myth of Israel’s invincibility, broken the barrier of fear, increased the popular demand for resistance, exposed  the fake peace process and rejected  appeasement, acquiescence and surrender. Hezbollah forces taught the world that Arabs can and will liberate Palestine because  they possess the qualities  and acumen to do it. The kings and the presidents in the region, who for six decades chose their thrones over Jerusalem  quake as does Israel.

This observer is obviously not privy to any security information relating to Hezbollah, and it would be treasonous and unthinkable for anyone in Hezbollah to share any, but among the many scenarios that the Lebanese National Resistance is said to be preparing for includes a possible invasion from North Lebanon using troops from two Arab countries that for years having been trying to train Sunni and Lebanese Forces “Security minus” troops. The plan, if it exists, would try to force Hezbollah from Beirut back to the south, by using a blitzkrieg type of invasion using Arab, American and Israeli forces attacking south Beirut as north Lebanon Sunni and Christian forces close of roads heading out from Beirut. Phalange forces would try and capture Mt Lebanon, and Arab Special Forces would hunt Hassan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah leadership amidst “Dahiyeh option” ruins.  All to be made perfectly legal and respectable by the all but certain STL indictments and convictions.

This kind of scenario is reminiscent of when the French sent Moroccans and Algerians to fight for them last century against the Turks.  A French General on the scene was asked “you are sending Muslims to fight against Muslims” ?

The general reportedly laughed and replied, “if  our Arabs win we get the credit , if our Arabs or theirs die, who cares”.

Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book.  He can be reached at [email protected]


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by Franklin Lamb/ STAFF WRITER

I’ve got these [expletive deleted] just where we want them Maura!   Watch the 1000 slow cuts as we shred Hezbollah–who do they think they are? And we’ll do it by using 1757 and this time we’re going all the way. I told Israel to stay out of Lebanon because the IDF can’t defeat Hezbollah plus the whole region would burn.

I will handle this and it will be my Christmas present to Lebanon.” So said Jeffrey Feltman in conversation with his former office staffer, now US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly during October 17, 2010 visit with MP Walid Jumblatt at his Clemenceau residence.

On December 12, 2008, reported that “Former US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman presented Prime Minister Fuad Siniora with what the American diplomat described as his personal Christmas present to Lebanon. Mr. Feltman assured PM Siniora that he will force Israel out of Ghajar village before the end of 2008.”

As it turned out, Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Lebanon never did receive Feltman’s promised 2008 Christmas present and Israel still has its tanks and troops in Lebanon’s Ghajar village even as pressure mounts for ending its four-year illegal occupation of North Ghajar which, in violation of UNSCR 1701, Israel invaded in July 2006 and  from which it has refused to withdraw.

Jeffrey Feltman – US undersecretary of State for Near East Affairs

This holiday season Jeff is again assuring his Lebanese allies that he’s Santa Claus and Hezbollah’s head will adorn his sleigh during his Christmas eve rounds. The reason for his optimism is that US and Israel are quietly confident that they can achieve with UNSCR 1757 what was intended but fell short with UNSCR 1559, which is stripping Lebanon’s Resistance of its defensive weapons.

On November 11th, Vice Premier and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom predicted that “an STL  (Special Tribunal for Lebanon) indictment against Hezbollah will lead to the implementation of Resolution 1559 and the forced disarming of the Party as well as the collapse of the effort at a Syrian-Lebanese-Iranian-Turkish alliance.

The grand trophy would be Hassan Nasrallah

The US-Israel project is said to be based on elaborate computer models among other calculations and includes the expectation that members of Hezbollah, possibly even Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, will be indicted, tried and convicted, in absentia of course, of involvement in the February 14, 2005 murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

The US State Department Office of the Legal Adviser has proudly assured the White House that because its office insisted back in 2005 that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon be established under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, anyone who the STL convicts will face sure UN justice. Chapter Seven allows for the use of unlimited international armed force to implement any verdict that the STL hands down. Washington and Tel Aviv intend that those convicted will not escape the full power of the United Nations system anymore than others earlier, including former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

Israel, serial violator of international law including more than 60 UN Resolutions is also busy boasting that international law supports the Tribunal and that high priced law firms around the world can be hired if necessary to back up the legal work of the STL office of the Prosecution, led by Daniel Bellemare of Canada.

Within hours of Israel instructing Secretary of State Clinton, not to worry, that there is no way for the STL to be stopped or its final judgment sidetracked and all the US  has to do is fund it, the White House announced an additional $ 10 million for the Tribunal and got the UK to pony up another $ 1.8 million. More cash is expected from France. Today the STL is flush with cash and it will likely remain so.

Based on interviews with two former staff members of the Office of the STL prosecution, as well as numerous public statements by US officials, there are reasons to take seriously the “all the way” intensions of Jeffrey Feltman and Silvan Shalom. Their governments assert the that  STL is legitimate under both international law,  given that it was established in accordance with a U.N. Security Council  resolution issued under Chapter 7, and also under Lebanon’s legal and constitutional principles contrary to what is being claimed by Hezbollah and STL’s adversaries in Lebanon.

In addition, the US State Department points out that the preamble to the Lebanese Constitution provides that “Lebanon is a founding and active member of the United Nations Organization and abides by its covenants and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Government shall embody these principles in all fields and areas without exception.” Moreover, the Charter of the United Nations obliges U.N. member states to “accept and carry out the decisions of the (U.N.) Security Council.”

According to one  State Department lawyer, “If the STL indicts and convicts one member of Hezbollah we win. A driver, a boy scout, we don’t care. The Security Council can do a dozen things to topple Hezbollah. For example, can you imagine the effect of Iranian style sanctions if applied against Lebanon until the killers are handed over? The Lebanese only care about money and with all those sects hating each other anyhow, the country will quickly implode in recriminations and civil war if they’re forced to diet a bit…And very tough sanctions against Syria? The US and Israel will only have to collect the pieces and do what should have been done half a century ago and that was to install governments that understand regional and international realities.”

Efforts by Hezbollah and Syria to derail the STL are viewed in Tel Aviv and Washington as futile, because Lebanon is thought to have nothing to say about the STL. It is created by the UNSC and nothing the Lebanese Parliament, Cabinet or people do will affect it. The only reason Lebanon is in the picture at all is that it is the crime scene. And it happens to harbor some suspects. Apart from that Lebanon is essentially irrelevant to the STL work.

One congressional staffer advised: “What we will use are all the many tools, enforcement and other, available to the international community to bring down Hezbollah. The coming phase need not even look like the US and Israel have much involvement. We will just watch like football spectators from the sideline as the UN employs myriad legal and political measures to bring to justice those found to be involved. That’s the beauty of this and it’s also why Hezbollah is very, worried. Or for sure they should be.”

Another staffer in the same office added in an email: “Don’t you see, the STL is the perfect international law instrument to destroy Hezbollah, achieve regime change in Syria, create deadly Sunni-Shia conflicts everywhere, cause civil a war in Lebanon and topple the Mullahs in Iran. It’s going to be like Cheney never left office.”

Following the  STL indictments, assuming they include Hezbollah, Washington sources expect that the Israel lobby will launch perhaps history’s most massive and expensive international media campaign of defamation against Hezbollah, Syria and Iran and they will be joined by the US government and some of its European allies, plus the ever-rentable Micronesia.

The objective will be to essentially unite the world’s population against the presumed Shia killers of the Sunni Prime Minister. More than a dozen US-Israel projects that failed in Lebanon over the past decade, from an airbase in Kleiat to street battles to cutting optic telecommunication lines may come back into play when stamped with the imprimatur of international law and full UN Security Council legitimacy.

The current project includes continuing the public threats and hyping threats that Israel is ready to attack Lebanon whereas the Pentagon believes Israel is not ready and may never be ready again and is being rejected regionally and internationally.  According to Hezbollah MP Kamel al-Rifai U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and U.S. Senator John Kerry informed Lebanese officials during their recent visits to Lebanon that Israel is serious in its threats to attack Lebanon and might just attack. Al-Rifai told the daily Asharq al-Awsat on 11/15/10 that Hezbollah was told that the American administration gave Israel the green light to do as it pleases in Lebanon, adding that Kerry sent this message to the Syrian leadership as well.

For these reasons the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is seen as an extraordinary US-Israel opportunity to maintain control of the region. The coming media campaign will employ especially sharp personal attacks on Hassan Nasrallah who the US and Israel fear as an Arab leader in the mold of Nasser and as a Muslim leader without modern parallel. Nasrallah is seen as a leader who has the potential to heal many Shia-Sunni divisions  and for this he is viewed in Washington and Tel Aviv as very dangerous.

Hezbollah’s assessment

Hezbollah charasmatic leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

On November 11, 2010 Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah discussed the STL at a neighborhood Martyr’s day gathering in South Beirut. Offering his views on the US-Israel project, he told his audience that Hezbollah knows the US-Israel strategy, which he explained is:

“Let’s accuse Shiite men of assassinating the most important Sunnite leader and consequently issue an indictment in this regard. We will call on the Lebanese government which had signed an agreement with us to arrest these men. The latter would set to arrest them and dispatch army troops and security forces which would be engaged in a clash with the Resistance.”

Nasrallah continued, “Primarily this is the plot. It is not important for the Americans, the Israelis and the sponsors of the STL what would happen or what might happen in Lebanon. Lebanon in itself is not important, neither is martyr PM Rafiq Hariri, the Sunnites, the Shiites, the Muslims, the Christians, the Future Movement, March 14 Bloc nor March 8 Bloc. What is important is Israel, and Israel’s interest is that the Resistance be hit, eliminated, isolated, besieged, weakened, snatched away from its popular environment and its image be distorted. Its morals, belief and will must be harmed and consequently, it would be ready to be hit or to surrender to this plot.”

Hezbollah MP Nawaf Mousawi, one of the most sought after Hezbollah officials for discussions by visiting American and foreign delegations due to his  intellect and clarity, advised the media a short time later that:

“The Resistance party is prepared for all scenarios,” adding that “nothing would surprise Hezbollah…. Hezbollah has prepared a series of responses.

Every option corresponds to a specific scenario. Thus if things are positive, we’re ready. But if things are negative and the efforts failed in reaching a solution to the crisis, we’re also ready. In brief, we’re ready to face all options,” Mousawi said.

Source: Veterans Today

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For dinner tonight I made Stuffed Kabocha Squash with Arabic Lamb Stew. Lacking baharat I substituted a mix of garam masala, red curry powder, and chili powder. So it tasted Indian instead of Arabic. So what? It was still yummy. (If I do say so myself.)

I substituted sundried tomatoes for chopped fresh ones and green onions for chives. I added minced garlic and grated ginger because I like garlic and ginger. I also used two small kabocha squashes so Helen and I would each have one for our very own, cutting the recipe in half to make 2 substantial servings. One tip: fully cook the rice before dishing the stew into the squashes. The rice doesn’t fully cook in the oven.

I served a 2006 Paraduxx (Napa Valley), a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Delicious. Black cherries, blackberries, white pepper, herbal notes, and a suggestion of something sweet (there’s no residual sugar just a suggestion of sweet fruits which nicely matched the heat of the meal). Soft tannins make it easy to drink now, although I think it’ll continue to develop a while. Grade: B++

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(CNN) – Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, who is under investigation by the House ethics committee, said Tuesday she has not been given due process and she “will not be a sacrificial lamb for anyone.”

The congresswoman is alleged to have helped steer federal bailout money to a bank in which her husband had a financial stake.

In a radio interview with CNN contributor Roland S. Martin on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Waters said she is “not guilty of any violations” and she “want[s] to go to trial.”

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