city:beirut

  • Saudi-Iranian rivalry over Lebanon is far from over | Middle East Eye
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/saudi-iranian-rivalry-over-lebanon-far-over

    Aloula announced from Beirut that more than 20 agreements with Lebanon would be activated. So far, however, all Saudi officials have given are vague statements on supporting Lebanon “all the way”.

    #Liban #Arabie_saoudite #promesses


  • Gilets jaunes : un boulanger placé en garde à vue - Le Point
    https://www.lepoint.fr/faits-divers/gilets-jaunes-un-boulanger-place-en-garde-a-vue-12-02-2019-2292769_2627.php

    VIDÉO. Un policier en civil portant un brassard s’était vu refusé l’accès à une boulangerie à cause de son arme. La scène avait été diffusée sur les réseaux sociaux.

    La vidéo avait créé la polémique durant la douzième semaine de manifestation des Gilets jaunes à Paris près de la place de la République, le 2 février dernier. La séquence montrait un policier en civil porteur d’un brassard empêché de rentrer dans une boulangerie à cause de son arme. « Tu vois une arme là  ? demande au boulanger l’agent de la brigade anti-criminalité (BAC), c’est bon, on peut passer  ? » « Si vous n’avez pas d’arme, oui », répond le boulanger. « Je crois que je vais aller ailleurs, et à un autre moment de la journée, je vais aussi regarder ailleurs », s’indigne le fonctionnaire de police semblant signifier que si des casseurs s’en prennent à la boulangerie, il n’interviendra pas. Le boulanger a été placé en garde à vue ce mardi pour refus de vente et outrage à personne dépositaire de l’autorité publique. Sur l’extrait, les charges retenues contre Emmanuel G., 32 ans, originaire de Montpellier n’apparaissent pas évidentes.

    Selon un témoin contacté par Le Parisien à l’époque des faits, la vidéo diffusée a été tournée quelques minutes après le début de l’altercation. « Nous étions en plein mouvement de foule (...) Une street-medic (des manifestants-secouristes, NDLR) blessée se trouvait à l’intérieur du magasin. Deux policiers ont débarqué, sans rien dire, armés et cagoulés. Le responsable du magasin a accepté de leur servir un café mais seulement s’ils enlevaient cagoules et armes. Et ils n’ont pas apprécié », a-t-il raconté au quotidien.


  • #métaliste sur les #villes-refuge

    (v. aussi cette compilation : https://seenthis.net/messages/675436)

    Des articles plus théoriques sur les villes-refuge :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message737077
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message751607
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message751608
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message757468
    https://seenthis.net/messages/674762
    https://seenthis.net/messages/478438
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message759148
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message759152
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message759157
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message759158
    https://seenthis.net/messages/656848
    https://seenthis.net/messages/656848#message705607
    https://seenthis.net/messages/478438

    –-----------------------------

    Associations et appels :

    #ANVITA, #association_nationale_des_villes_et_territoires_accueillants :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message726383
    https://seenthis.net/messages/759638

    City Initiative on Migrants with Irregular Status in Europe (#C-MISE) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/727455#message727456

    #ICORN :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message751609
    #International_Cities_of_Refuge_Network

    #Eine_Stadt_für_Alle
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message756231

    #Guide de l’hospitalité du collectif #Le_Perou :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message714073

    #Convention_sur_l'accueil de #Grande-Synthe
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message759150
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message759151

    Projet #APROP de Barcelone :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message759153

    En lien avec le mouvement #Right_to_the_city :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message759155

    L’alleanza dei sindaci del Mediterraneo
    https://seenthis.net/messages/759141

    –---------------------
    En Europe :

    Février 2019, un appel des maires de grandes villes européennes :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/759141
    #Madrid #Barcelone #Saragosse, #Valence #Naples, #Palerme, #Syracuse, #Milan #Bologne

    #Barcelone et #Valence :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/746526
    https://seenthis.net/messages/727455
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message705770
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message705772
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message705800
    https://seenthis.net/messages/665433
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message754517
    Et en général sur les villes en Espagne :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/404085

    En #Italie, les maires qui s’opposent au #décret_Salvini :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/739544
    #decreto_salvini #Decreto_sicurezza
    As well :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message712945

    Sur ce fil de discussion, plusieurs articles...
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769
    ... petite mise en ordre à partir du fil de discussion...

    #Berlin :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message705771
    #Palerme :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message707473
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message735506
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message743268

    #Bilbao :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message717854

    #Gdans, #Pologne :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/568193

    #Sarajevo :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message711714
    (et on va dire que Sarajevo est en Europe...)

    #Fourneaux dans la Maurienne, qui est un village plus qu’une ville...
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message759149

    #Nantes :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/656848#message705608

    #Briançon :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/759967

    #Pessat-Villeneuve :
    https://seenthis.net/tag/pessat-villeneuve

    –----------------------

    #USA #Etats-Unis

    #Atlanta :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message724208

    #New-York_City #NYC :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message751011
    New Sanctuary Coalition of #NYC :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message756227

    –------------------------

    Au Moyen-Orient, #Beirut :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message759154

    –--------------

    Ports-refuge

    #Naples :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705769#message740484

    #Sète :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message714900

    #Syracuse :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/675436#message754797

    Mais évidemment, il y a aussi Palerme...

    #ports
    –---------------------

    #universités-refuge :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731110
    #université

    –----------------

    #ville-refuge #migrations #asile #réfugiés #solidarité #résistance

    ping @isskein


  • #UNIFIL strongly disapproves of Israeli #violation of Lebanon’s airspace - Xinhua | English.news.cn
    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-01/25/c_137772098.htm

    BEIRUT, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) — The spokesperson for the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Andrea Tenenti said Thursday that the UNIFIL strongly disapproves of the daily Israeli violation of Lebanon’s airspace.

    “Using Lebanon’s airspace violates Lebanon’s sovereignty and UN Resolution 1701. These violation contradict with our goals and efforts of minimizing the level of tension while creating a stable atmosphere in southern Lebanon,” Tenenti was quoted as saying by Elnashra, an online independent newspaper.
    Tenenti said that UNIFIL’s Chief Stefano Del Col has called on #Israel on several occasions to stop its violation of Lebanon’s airspace.

    Israeli warplanes have kept violating Lebanon’s airspace in the past few months, prompting Lebanese President Michel Aoun to call on the United States to pressure Israel to stop such practices.

    #Liban #ONU


  • [Revision] « Tell Me How This Ends » | Harper’s Magazine
    https://harpers.org/archive/2019/02/american-involvement-in-syria

    Dans cet article très USA-centré, le récit des premiers temps de la guerre en #Syrie par l’ancien ambassadeur US à Damas. (J’ai grasseyé certains passages. Le récit US passe égaleemnt sous silence la présence à Hama de l’ambassadeur français et de quelques invités...) L’histoire de ce conflit commence petit à petit à s’écrire...

    The vulnerable regimes in early 2011 were in the American camp, a coincidence that the Syrian president, Bashar al-­Assad, interpreted as proof that the Arab Spring was a repudiation of American tutelage. As Russia’s and Iran’s only Arab ally, he foresaw no challenge to his throne. An omen in the unlikely guise of an incident at an open-­air market in the old city of Damascus, in February 2011, should have changed his mind. One policeman ordered a motorist to stop at an intersection, while another officer told him to drive on. “The poor guy got conflicting instructions, and did what I would have done and stopped,” recalled the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, who had only just arrived in the country. The second policeman dragged the driver out of his car and thrashed him. “A crowd gathered, and all of a sudden it took off,” Ford said. “No violence, but it was big enough that the interior minister himself went down to the market and told people to go home.” Ford reported to Washington, “This is the first big demonstration that we know of. And it tells us that this tinder is dry.”

    The next month, the security police astride the Jordanian border in the dusty southern town of Daraa ignited the tinder by torturing children who had scrawled anti-­Assad graffiti on walls. Their families, proud Sunni tribespeople, appealed for justice, then called for reform of the regime, and finally demanded its removal. Rallies swelled by the day. Ford cabled Washington that the government was using live ammunition to quell the demonstrations. He noted that the protesters were not entirely peaceful: “There was a little bit of violence from the demonstrators in Daraa. They burned the Syriatel office.” (Syriatel is the cell phone company of Rami Makhlouf, Assad’s cousin, who epitomized for many Syrians the ruling elite’s corruption.) “And they burned a court building, but they didn’t kill anybody.” Funerals of protesters produced more demonstrations and thus more funerals. The Obama Administration, though, was preoccupied with Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak had resigned in February, and with the NATO bombing campaign in Libya to support the Libyan insurgents who would depose and murder Muammar Qaddafi in October.

    Ambassador Ford detected a turn in the Syrian uprising that would define part of its character: “The first really serious violence on the opposition side was up on the coast around Baniyas, where a bus was stopped and soldiers were hauled off the bus. If you were Alawite, you were shot. If you were Sunni, they let you go.” At demonstrations, some activists chanted the slogan, “Alawites to the grave, and Christians to Beirut.” A sectarian element wanted to remove Assad, not because he was a dictator but because he belonged to the Alawite minority sect that Sunni fundamentalists regard as heretical. Washington neglected to factor that into its early calculations.

    Phil Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs before becoming Obama’s White House coordinator for the Middle East, told me, “I think the initial attitude in Syria was seen through that prism of what was happening in the other countries, which was, in fact, leaders—the public rising up against their leaders and in some cases actually getting rid of them, and in Tunisia, and Yemen, and Libya, with our help.”

    Ambassador Ford said he counseled Syria’s activists to remain non­violent and urged both sides to negotiate. Demonstrations became weekly events, starting after Friday’s noon prayer as men left the mosques, and spreading north to Homs and Hama. Ford and some embassy staffers, including the military attaché, drove to Hama, with government permission, one Thursday evening in July. To his surprise, Ford said, “We were welcomed like heroes by the opposition people. We had a simple message—no violence. There were no burned buildings. There was a general strike going on, and the opposition people had control of the streets. They had all kinds of checkpoints. Largely, the government had pulled out.”

    Bassam Barabandi, a diplomat who defected in Washington to establish a Syrian exile organization, People Demand Change, thought that Ford had made two errors: his appearance in Hama raised hopes for direct intervention that was not forthcoming, and he was accompanied by a military attaché. “So, at that time, the big question for Damascus wasn’t Ford,” Barabandi told me in his spartan Washington office. “It was the military attaché. Why did this guy go with Ford?” The Syrian regime had a long-standing fear of American intelligence interference, dating to the CIA-­assisted overthrow in 1949 of the elected parliamentary government and several attempted coups d’état afterward. The presence in Hama of an ambassador with his military attaché allowed the Assad regime to paint its opponents as pawns of a hostile foreign power.


  • Pan Am Flight 103 : Robert Mueller’s 30-Year Search for Justice | WIRED
    https://www.wired.com/story/robert-muellers-search-for-justice-for-pan-am-103

    Cet article décrit le rôle de Robert Mueller dans l’enquête historique qui a permis de dissimuler ou de justifier la plupart des batailles de la guerre non déclarée des États Unis contre l’OLP et les pays arabes qui soutenaient la lutte pour un état palestinien.

    Aux États-Unis, en Allemagne et en France le grand public ignore les actes de guerre commis par les États Unis dans cette guerre. Vu dans ce contexte on ne peut que classer le récit de cet article dans la catégorie idéologie et propagande même si les intentions et faits qu’on y apprend sont bien documentés et plausibles.

    Cette perspective transforme le contenu de cet article d’une variation sur un thème connu dans un reportage sur l’état d’âme des dirigeants étatsuniens moins fanatiques que l’équipe du président actuel.

    THIRTY YEARS AGO last Friday, on the darkest day of the year, 31,000 feet above one of the most remote parts of Europe, America suffered its first major terror attack.

    TEN YEARS AGO last Friday, then FBI director Robert Mueller bundled himself in his tan trench coat against the cold December air in Washington, his scarf wrapped tightly around his neck. Sitting on a small stage at Arlington National Cemetery, he scanned the faces arrayed before him—the victims he’d come to know over years, relatives and friends of husbands and wives who would never grow old, college students who would never graduate, business travelers and flight attendants who would never come home.

    Burned into Mueller’s memory were the small items those victims had left behind, items that he’d seen on the shelves of a small wooden warehouse outside Lockerbie, Scotland, a visit he would never forget: A teenager’s single white sneaker, an unworn Syracuse University sweatshirt, the wrapped Christmas gifts that would never be opened, a lonely teddy bear.

    A decade before the attacks of 9/11—attacks that came during Mueller’s second week as FBI director, and that awoke the rest of America to the threats of terrorism—the bombing of Pan Am 103 had impressed upon Mueller a new global threat.

    It had taught him the complexity of responding to international terror attacks, how unprepared the government was to respond to the needs of victims’ families, and how on the global stage justice would always be intertwined with geopolitics. In the intervening years, he had never lost sight of the Lockerbie bombing—known to the FBI by the codename Scotbom—and he had watched the orphaned children from the bombing grow up over the years.

    Nearby in the cemetery stood a memorial cairn made of pink sandstone—a single brick representing each of the victims, the stone mined from a Scottish quarry that the doomed flight passed over just seconds before the bomb ripped its baggage hold apart. The crowd that day had gathered near the cairn in the cold to mark the 20th anniversary of the bombing.

    For a man with an affinity for speaking in prose, not poetry, a man whose staff was accustomed to orders given in crisp sentences as if they were Marines on the battlefield or under cross-examination from a prosecutor in a courtroom, Mueller’s remarks that day soared in a way unlike almost any other speech he’d deliver.

    “There are those who say that time heals all wounds. But you know that not to be true. At its best, time may dull the deepest wounds; it cannot make them disappear,” Mueller told the assembled mourners. “Yet out of the darkness of this day comes a ray of light. The light of unity, of friendship, and of comfort from those who once were strangers and who are now bonded together by a terrible moment in time. The light of shared memories that bring smiles instead of sadness. And the light of hope for better days to come.”

    He talked of Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and of inspiration drawn from Lockerbie’s town crest, with its simple motto, “Forward.” He spoke of what was then a two-decade-long quest for justice, of how on windswept Scottish mores and frigid lochs a generation of FBI agents, investigators, and prosecutors had redoubled their dedication to fighting terrorism.

    Mueller closed with a promise: “Today, as we stand here together on this, the darkest of days, we renew that bond. We remember the light these individuals brought to each of you here today. We renew our efforts to bring justice down on those who seek to harm us. We renew our efforts to keep our people safe, and to rid the world of terrorism. We will continue to move forward. But we will never forget.”

    Hand bells tolled for each of the victims as their names were read aloud, 270 names, 270 sets of bells.

    The investigation, though, was not yet closed. Mueller, although he didn’t know it then, wasn’t done with Pan Am 103. Just months after that speech, the case would test his innate sense of justice and morality in a way that few other cases in his career ever have.

    ROBERT S. MUELLER III had returned from a combat tour in Vietnam in the late 1960s and eventually headed to law school at the University of Virginia, part of a path that he hoped would lead him to being an FBI agent. Unable after graduation to get a job in government, he entered private practice in San Francisco, where he found he loved being a lawyer—just not a defense attorney.

    Then—as his wife Ann, a teacher, recounted to me years ago—one morning at their small home, while the two of them made the bed, Mueller complained, “Don’t I deserve to be doing something that makes me happy?” He finally landed a job as an assistant US attorney in San Francisco and stood, for the first time, in court and announced, “Good morning your Honor, I am Robert Mueller appearing on behalf of the United States of America.” It is a moment that young prosecutors often practice beforehand, and for Mueller those words carried enormous weight. He had found the thing that made him happy.

    His family remembers that time in San Francisco as some of their happiest years; the Muellers’ two daughters were young, they loved the Bay Area—and have returned there on annual vacations almost every year since relocating to the East Coast—and Mueller found himself at home as a prosecutor.

    On Friday nights, their routine was that Ann and the two girls would pick Mueller up at Harrington’s Bar & Grill, the city’s oldest Irish pub, not far from the Ferry Building in the Financial District, where he hung out each week with a group of prosecutors, defense attorneys, cops, and agents. (One Christmas, his daughter Cynthia gave him a model of the bar made out of Popsicle sticks.) He balanced that family time against weekends and trainings with the Marines Corps Reserves, where he served for more than a decade, until 1980, eventually rising to be a captain.

    Over the next 15 years, he rose through the ranks of the San Francisco US attorney’s office—an office he would return to lead during the Clinton administration—and then decamped to Massachusetts to work for US attorney William Weld in the 1980s. There, too, he shined and eventually became acting US attorney when Weld departed at the end of the Reagan administration. “You cannot get the words straight arrow out of your head,” Weld told me, speaking of Mueller a decade ago. “The agencies loved him because he knew his stuff. He didn’t try to be elegant or fancy, he just put the cards on the table.”

    In 1989, an old high school classmate, Robert Ross, who was chief of staff to then attorney general Richard Thornburgh, asked Mueller to come down to Washington to help advise Thornburgh. The offer intrigued Mueller. Ann protested the move—their younger daughter Melissa wanted to finish high school in Massachusetts. Ann told her husband, “We can’t possibly do this.” He replied, his eyes twinkling, “You’re right, it’s a terrible time. Well, why don’t we just go down and look at a few houses?” As she told me, “When he wants to do something, he just revisits it again and again.”

    For his first two years at so-called Main Justice in Washington, working under President George H.W. Bush, the family commuted back and forth from Boston to Washington, alternating weekends in each city, to allow Melissa to finish school.

    Washington gave Mueller his first exposure to national politics and cases with geopolitical implications; in September 1990, President Bush nominated him to be assistant attorney general, overseeing the Justice Department’s entire criminal division, which at that time handled all the nation’s terrorism cases as well. Mueller would oversee the prosecution of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, mob boss John Gotti, and the controversial investigation into a vast money laundering scheme run through the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, known as the Bank of Crooks and Criminals

    None of his cases in Washington, though, would affect him as much as the bombing of Pan Am 103.

    THE TIME ON the clocks in Lockerbie, Scotland, read 7:04 pm, on December 21, 1988, when the first emergency call came into the local fire brigade, reporting what sounded like a massive boiler explosion. It was technically early evening, but it had been dark for hours already; that far north, on the shortest day of the year, daylight barely stretched to eight hours.

    Soon it became clear something much worse than a boiler explosion had unfolded: Fiery debris pounded the landscape, plunging from the sky and killing 11 Lockerbie residents. As Mike Carnahan told a local TV reporter, “The whole sky was lit up with flames. It was actually raining, liquid fire. You could see several houses on the skyline with the roofs totally off and all you could see was flaming timbers.”

    At 8:45 pm, a farmer found in his field the cockpit of Pan Am 103, a Boeing 747 known as Clipper Maid of the Seas, lying on its side, 15 of its crew dead inside, just some of the 259 passengers and crew killed when a bomb had exploded inside the plane’s cargo hold. The scheduled London to New York flight never even made it out of the UK.

    It had taken just three seconds for the plane to disintegrate in the air, though the wreckage took three long minutes to fall the five miles from the sky to the earth; court testimony later would examine how passengers had still been alive as they fell. Nearly 200 of the passengers were American, including 35 students from Syracuse University returning home from a semester abroad. The attack horrified America, which until then had seen terror touch its shores only occasionally as a hijacking went awry; while the US had weathered the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, attacks almost never targeted civilians.

    The Pan Am 103 bombing seemed squarely aimed at the US, hitting one of its most iconic brands. Pan Am then represented America’s global reach in a way few companies did; the world’s most powerful airline shuttled 19 million passengers a year to more than 160 countries and had ferried the Beatles to their US tour and James Bond around the globe on his cinematic missions. In a moment of hubris a generation before Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the airline had even opened a “waiting list” for the first tourists to travel to outer space. Its New York headquarters, the Pan Am building, was the world’s largest commercial building and its terminal at JFK Airport the biggest in the world.

    The investigation into the bombing of Pan Am 103 began immediately, as police and investigators streamed north from London by the hundreds; chief constable John Boyd, the head of the local police, arrived at the Lockerbie police station by 8:15 pm, and within an hour the first victim had been brought in: A farmer arrived in town with the body of a baby girl who had fallen from the sky. He’d carefully placed her in the front seat of his pickup truck.

    An FBI agent posted in London had raced north too, with the US ambassador, aboard a special US Air Force flight, and at 2 am, when Boyd convened his first senior leadership meeting, he announced, “The FBI is here, and they are fully operational.” By that point, FBI explosives experts were already en route to Scotland aboard an FAA plane; agents would install special secure communications equipment in Lockerbie and remain on site for months.

    Although it quickly became clear that a bomb had targeted Pan Am 103—wreckage showed signs of an explosion and tested positive for PETN and RDX, two key ingredients of the explosive Semtex—the investigation proceeded with frustrating slowness. Pan Am’s records were incomplete, and it took days to even determine the full list of passengers. At the same time, it was the largest crime scene ever investigated—a fact that remains true today.

    Investigators walked 845 square miles, an area 12 times the size of Washington, DC, and searched so thoroughly that they recovered more than 70 packages of airline crackers and ultimately could reconstruct about 85 percent of the fuselage. (Today, the wreckage remains in an English scrapyard.) Constable Boyd, at his first press conference, told the media, “This is a mammoth inquiry.”

    On Christmas Eve, a searcher found a piece of a luggage pallet with signs of obvious scorching, which would indicate the bomb had been in the luggage compartment below the passenger cabin. The evidence was rushed to a special British military lab—one originally created to investigate the Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament and kill King James I in 1605.

    When the explosive tests came back a day later, the British government called the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for combating terrorism, L. Paul Bremer III (who would go on to be President George W. Bush’s viceroy in Baghdad after the 2003 invasion of Iraq), and officially delivered the news that everyone had anticipated: Pan Am 103 had been downed by a bomb.

    Meanwhile, FBI agents fanned out across the country. In New York, special agent Neil Herman—who would later lead the FBI’s counterterrorism office in New York in the run up to 9/11—was tasked with interviewing some of the victims’ families; many of the Syracuse students on board had been from the New York region. One of the mothers he interviewed hadn’t heard from the government in the 10 days since the attack. “It really struck me how ill-equipped we were to deal with this,” Herman told me, years later. “Multiply her by 270 victims and families.” The bombing underscored that the FBI and the US government had a lot to learn in responding and aiding victims in a terror attack.

    INVESTIGATORS MOVED TOWARD piecing together how a bomb could have been placed on board; years before the 9/11 attack, they discounted the idea of a suicide bomber aboard—there had never been a suicide attack on civil aviation at that point—and so focused on one of two theories: The possibility of a “mule,” an innocent passenger duped into carrying a bomb aboard, or an “inside man,” a trusted airport or airline employee who had smuggled the fatal cargo aboard. The initial suspect list stretched to 1,200 names.

    Yet even reconstructing what was on board took an eternity: Evidence pointed to a Japanese manufactured Toshiba cassette recorder as the likely delivery device for the bomb, and then, by the end of January, investigators located pieces of the suitcase that had held the bomb. After determining that it was a Samsonite bag, police and the FBI flew to the company’s headquarters in the United States and narrowed the search further: The bag, they found, was a System 4 Silhouette 4000 model, color “antique-copper,” a case and color made for only three years, 1985 to 1988, and sold only in the Middle East. There were a total of 3,500 such suitcases in circulation.

    By late spring, investigators had identified 14 pieces of luggage inside the target cargo container, known as AVE4041; each bore tell-tale signs of the explosion. Through careful retracing of how luggage moved through the London airport, investigators determined that the bags on the container’s bottom row came from passengers transferring in London. The bags on the second and third row of AVE4041 had been the last bags loaded onto the leg of the flight that began in Frankfurt, before the plane took off for London. None of the baggage had been X-rayed or matched with passengers on board.

    The British lab traced clothing fragments from the wreckage that bore signs of the explosion and thus likely originated in the bomb-carrying suitcase. It was an odd mix: Two herring-bone skirts, men’s pajamas, tartan trousers, and so on. The most promising fragment was a blue infant’s onesie that, after fiber analysis, was conclusively determined to have been inside the explosive case, and had a label saying “Malta Trading Company.” In March, two detectives took off for Malta, where the manufacturer told them that 500 such articles of clothing had been made and most sent to Ireland, while the rest went locally to Maltese outlets and others to continental Europe.

    As they dug deeper, they focused on bag B8849, which appeared to have come off Air Malta Flight 180—Malta to Frankfurt—on December 21, even though there was no record of one of that flight’s 47 passengers transferring to Pan Am 103.

    Investigators located the store in Malta where the suspect clothing had been sold; the British inspector later recorded in his statement, “[Store owner] Anthony Gauci interjected and stated that he could recall selling a pair of the checked trousers, size 34, and three pairs of the pajamas to a male person.” The investigators snapped to attention—after nine months did they finally have a suspect in their sights? “[Gauci] informed me that the man had also purchased the following items: one imitation Harris Tweed jacket; one woolen cardigan; one black umbrella; one blue colored ‘Baby Gro’ with a motif described by the witness as a ‘sheep’s face’ on the front; and one pair of gents’ brown herring-bone material trousers, size 36.”

    Game, set, match. Gauci had perfectly described the clothing fragments found by RARDE technicians to contain traces of explosive. The purchase, Gauci went on to explain, stood out in his mind because the customer—whom Gauci tellingly identified as speaking the “Libyan language”—had entered the store on November 23, 1988, and gathered items without seeming to care about the size, gender, or color of any of it.

    As the investigation painstakingly proceeded into 1989 and 1990, Robert Mueller arrived at Main Justice; the final objects of the Lockerbie search wouldn’t be found until the spring of 1990, just months before Mueller took over as assistant attorney general of the criminal division in September.

    The Justice Department that year was undergoing a series of leadership changes; the deputy attorney general, William Barr, became acting attorney general midyear as Richard Thornburgh stepped down to run for Senate back in his native Pennsylvania. President Bush then nominated Barr to take over as attorney general officially. (Earlier this month Barr was nominated by President Trump to become attorney general once again.)

    The bombing soon became one of the top cases on Mueller’s desk. He met regularly with Richard Marquise, the FBI special agent heading Scotbom. For Mueller, the case became personal; he met with victims’ families and toured the Lockerbie crash site and the investigation’s headquarters. He traveled repeatedly to the United Kingdom for meetings and walked the fields of Lockerbie himself. “The Scots just did a phenomenal job with the crime scene,” he told me, years ago.

    Mueller pushed the investigators forward constantly, getting involved in the investigation at a level that a high-ranking Justice Department official almost never does. Marquise turned to him in one meeting, after yet another set of directions, and sighed, “Geez, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you want to be FBI director.”

    The investigation gradually, carefully, zeroed in on Libya. Agents traced a circuit board used in the bomb to a similar device seized in Africa a couple of years earlier used by Libyan intelligence. An FBI-created database of Maltese immigration records even showed that a man using the same alias as one of those Libyan intelligence officers had departed from Malta on October 19, 1988—just two months before the bombing.

    The circuit board also helped makes sense of an important aspect of the bombing: It controlled a timer, meaning that the bomb was not set off by a barometric trigger that registers altitude. This, in turn, explained why the explosive baggage had lain peacefully in the jet’s hold as it took off and landed repeatedly.

    Tiny letters on the suspect timer said “MEBO.” What was MEBO? In the days before Google, searching for something called “Mebo” required going country to country, company to company. There were no shortcuts. The FBI, MI5, and CIA were, after months of work, able to trace MEBO back to a Swiss company, Meister et Bollier, adding a fifth country to the ever-expanding investigative circle.

    From Meister et Bollier, they learned that the company had provided 20 prototype timers to the Libyan government and the company helped ID their contact as a Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who looked like the sketch of the Maltese clothing shopper. Then, when the FBI looked at its database of Maltese immigration records, they found that Al Megrahi had been present in Malta the day the clothing was purchased.

    Marquise sat down with Robert Mueller and the rest of the prosecutorial team and laid out the latest evidence. Mueller’s orders were clear—he wanted specific suspects and he wanted to bring charges. As he said, “Proceed toward indictment.” Let’s get this case moving.

    IN NOVEMBER 1990, Marquise was placed in charge of all aspects of the investigation and assigned on special duty to the Washington Field Office and moved to a new Scotbom task force. The field offce was located far from the Hoover building, in a run-down neighborhood known by the thoroughly unromantic moniker of Buzzard Point.

    The Scotbom task force had been allotted three tiny windowless rooms with dark wood paneling, which were soon covered floor-to-ceiling with 747 diagrams, crime scene photographs, maps, and other clues. By the door of the office, the team kept two photographs to remind themselves of the stakes: One, a tiny baby shoe recovered from the fields of Lockerbie; the other, a picture of the American flag on the tail of Pan Am 103. This was the first major attack on the US and its civilians. Whoever was responsible couldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

    With representatives from a half-dozen countries—the US, Britain, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, France, and Malta—now sitting around the table, putting together a case that met everyone’s evidentiary standards was difficult. “We talked through everything, and everything was always done to the higher standard,” Marquise says. In the US, for instance, the legal standard for a photo array was six photos; in Scotland, though, it was 12. So every photo array in the investigation had 12 photos to ensure that the IDs could be used in a British court.

    The trail of evidence so far was pretty clear, and it all pointed toward Libya. Yet there was still much work to do prior to an indictment. A solid hunch was one thing. Having evidence that would stand up in court and under cross-examination was something else entirely.

    As the case neared an indictment, the international investigators and prosecutors found themselves focusing at their gatherings on the fine print of their respective legal code and engaging in deep, philosophical-seeming debates: “What does murder mean in your statute? Huh? I know what murder means: I kill you. Well, then you start going through the details and the standards are just a little different. It may entail five factors in one country, three in another. Was Megrahi guilty of murder? Depends on the country.”

    At every meeting, the international team danced around the question of where a prosecution would ultimately take place. “Jurisdiction was an eggshell problem,” Marquise says. “It was always there, but no one wanted to talk about it. It was always the elephant in the room.”

    Mueller tried to deflect the debate for as long as possible, arguing there was more investigation to do first. Eventually, though, he argued forcefully that the case should be tried in the US. “I recognize that Scotland has significant equities which support trial of the case in your country,” he said in one meeting. “However, the primary target of this act of terrorism was the United States. The majority of the victims were Americans, and the Pan American aircraft was targeted precisely because it was of United States registry.”

    After one meeting, where the Scots and Americans debated jurisdiction for more than two hours, the group migrated over to the Peasant, a restaurant near the Justice Department, where, in an attempt to foster good spirits, it paid for the visiting Scots. Mueller and the other American officials each had to pay for their own meals.

    Mueller was getting ready to move forward; the federal grand jury would begin work in early September. Prosecutors and other investigators were already preparing background, readying evidence, and piecing together information like the names and nationalities of all the Lockerbie victims so that they could be included in the forthcoming indictment.

    There had never been any doubt in the US that the Pan Am 103 bombing would be handled as a criminal matter, but the case was still closely monitored by the White House and the National Security Council.

    The Reagan administration had been surprised in February 1988 by the indictment on drug charges of its close ally Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, and a rule of thumb had been developed: Give the White House a heads up anytime you’re going to indict a foreign agent. “If you tag Libya with Pan Am 103, that’s fair to say it’s going to disrupt our relationship with Libya,” Mueller deadpans. So Mueller would head up to the Cabinet Room at the White House, charts and pictures in hand, to explain to President Bush and his team what Justice had in mind.

    To Mueller, the investigation underscored why such complex investigations needed a law enforcement eye. A few months after the attack, he sat through a CIA briefing pointing toward Syria as the culprit behind the attack. “That’s always struck with me as a lesson in the difference between intelligence and evidence. I always try to remember that,” he told me, back when he was FBI director. “It’s a very good object lesson about hasty action based on intelligence. What if we had gone and attacked Syria based on that initial intelligence? Then, after the attack, it came out that Libya had been behind it? What could we have done?”

    Marquise was the last witness for the federal grand jury on Friday, November 8, 1991. Only in the days leading up to that testimony had prosecutors zeroed in on Megrahi and another Libyan officer, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah; as late as the week of the testimony, they had hoped to pursue additional indictments, yet the evidence wasn’t there to get to a conviction.

    Mueller traveled to London to meet with the Peter Fraser, the lord advocate—Scotland’s top prosecutor—and they agreed to announce indictments simultaneously on November 15, 1991. Who got their hands on the suspects first, well, that was a question for later. The joint indictment, Mueller believed, would benefit both countries. “It adds credibility to both our investigations,” he says.

    That coordinated joint, multi-nation statement and indictment would become a model that the US would deploy more regularly in the years to come, as the US and other western nations have tried to coordinate cyber investigations and indictments against hackers from countries like North Korea, Russia, and Iran.

    To make the stunning announcement against Libya, Mueller joined FBI director William Sessions, DC US attorney Jay Stephens, and attorney general William Barr.

    “We charge that two Libyan officials, acting as operatives of the Libyan intelligence agency, along with other co-conspirators, planted and detonated the bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103,” Barr said. “I have just telephoned some of the families of those murdered on Pan Am 103 to inform them and the organizations of the survivors that this indictment has been returned. Their loss has been ever present in our minds.”

    At the same time, in Scotland, investigators there were announcing the same indictments.

    At the press conference, Barr listed a long set of names to thank—the first one he singled out was Mueller’s. Then, he continued, “This investigation is by no means over. It continues unabated. We will not rest until all those responsible are brought to justice. We have no higher priority.”

    From there, the case would drag on for years. ABC News interviewed the two suspects in Libya later that month; both denied any responsibility for the bombing. Marquise was reassigned within six months; the other investigators moved along too.

    Mueller himself left the administration when Bill Clinton became president, spending an unhappy year in private practice before rejoining the Justice Department to work as a junior homicide prosecutor in DC under then US attorney Eric Holder; Mueller, who had led the nation’s entire criminal division was now working side by side with prosecutors just a few years out of law school, the equivalent of a three-star military general retiring and reenlisting as a second lieutenant. Clinton eventually named Mueller the US attorney in San Francisco, the office where he’d worked as a young attorney in the 1970s.

    THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY of the bombing came and went without any justice. Then, in April 1999, prolonged international negotiations led to Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi turning over the two suspects; the international economic sanctions imposed on Libya in the wake of the bombing were taking a toll on his country, and the leader wanted to put the incident behind him.

    The final negotiated agreement said that the two men would be tried by a Scottish court, under Scottish law, in The Hague in the Netherlands. Distinct from the international court there, the three-judge Scottish court would ensure that the men faced justice under the laws of the country where their accused crime had been committed.

    Allowing the Scots to move forward meant some concessions by the US. The big one was taking the death penalty, prohibited in Scotland, off the table. Mueller badly wanted the death penalty. Mueller, like many prosecutors and law enforcement officials, is a strong proponent of capital punishment, but he believes it should be reserved for only egregious crimes. “It has to be especially heinous, and you have to be 100 percent sure he’s guilty,” he says. This case met that criteria. “There’s never closure. If there can’t be closure, there should be justice—both for the victims as well as the society at large,” he says.

    An old US military facility, Kamp Van Zeist, was converted to an elaborate jail and courtroom in The Hague, and the Dutch formally surrendered the two Libyans to Scottish police. The trial began in May 2000. For nine months, the court heard testimony from around the world. In what many observers saw as a political verdict, Al Megrahi was found guilty and Fhimah was found not guilty.

    With barely 24 hours notice, Marquise and victim family members raced from the United States to be in the courtroom to hear the verdict. The morning of the verdict in 2001, Mueller was just days into his tenure as acting deputy US attorney general—filling in for the start of the George W. Bush administration in the department’s No. 2 role as attorney general John Ashcroft got himself situated.

    That day, Mueller awoke early and joined with victims’ families and other officials in Washington, who watched the verdict announcement via a satellite hookup. To him, it was a chance for some closure—but the investigation would go on. As he told the media, “The United States remains vigilant in its pursuit to bring to justice any other individuals who may have been involved in the conspiracy to bring down Pan Am Flight 103.”

    The Scotbom case would leave a deep imprint on Mueller; one of his first actions as FBI director was to recruit Kathryn Turman, who had served as the liaison to the Pan Am 103 victim families during the trial, to head the FBI’s Victim Services Division, helping to elevate the role and responsibility of the FBI in dealing with crime victims.

    JUST MONTHS AFTER that 20th anniversary ceremony with Mueller at Arlington National Cemetery, in the summer of 2009, Scotland released a terminally ill Megrahi from prison after a lengthy appeals process, and sent him back to Libya. The decision was made, the Scottish minister of justice reported, on “compassionate grounds.” Few involved on the US side believed the terrorist deserved compassion. Megrahi was greeted as a hero on the tarmac in Libya—rose petals, cheering crowds. The US consensus remained that he should rot in prison.

    The idea that Megrahi could walk out of prison on “compassionate” ground made a mockery of everything that Mueller had dedicated his life to fighting and doing. Amid a series of tepid official condemnations—President Obama labeled it “highly objectionable”—Mueller fired off a letter to Scottish minister Kenny MacAskill that stood out for its raw pain, anger, and deep sorrow.

    “Over the years I have been a prosecutor, and recently as the Director of the FBI, I have made it a practice not to comment on the actions of other prosecutors, since only the prosecutor handling the case has all the facts and the law before him in reaching the appropriate decision,” Mueller began. “Your decision to release Megrahi causes me to abandon that practice in this case. I do so because I am familiar with the facts, and the law, having been the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the investigation and indictment of Megrahi in 1991. And I do so because I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of ‘compassion.’”

    That nine months after the 20th anniversary of the bombing, the only person behind bars for the bombing would walk back onto Libyan soil a free man and be greeted with rose petals left Mueller seething.

    “Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice. Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law. Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world,” Mueller wrote. “You could not have spent much time with the families, certainly not as much time as others involved in the investigation and prosecution. You could not have visited the small wooden warehouse where the personal items of those who perished were gathered for identification—the single sneaker belonging to a teenager; the Syracuse sweatshirt never again to be worn by a college student returning home for the holidays; the toys in a suitcase of a businessman looking forward to spending Christmas with his wife and children.”

    For Mueller, walking the fields of Lockerbie had been walking on hallowed ground. The Scottish decision pained him especially deeply, because of the mission and dedication he and his Scottish counterparts had shared 20 years before. “If all civilized nations join together to apply the rules of law to international terrorists, certainly we will be successful in ridding the world of the scourge of terrorism,” he had written in a perhaps too hopeful private note to the Scottish Lord Advocate in 1990.

    Some 20 years later, in an era when counterterrorism would be a massive, multibillion dollar industry and a buzzword for politicians everywhere, Mueller—betrayed—concluded his letter with a decidedly un-Mueller-like plea, shouted plaintively and hopelessly across the Atlantic: “Where, I ask, is the justice?”

    #USA #Libye #impérialisme #terrorisme #histoire #CIA #idéologie #propagande


  • Sherezade viaja a Beirut para inyectarse bótox | Internacional | EL PAÍS
    https://elpais.com/internacional/2018/12/10/actualidad/1544472236_894439.html

    “La belleza no tiene clase ni religión. Las mujeres se operan porque no se sienten a gusto con su físico”, sostiene el cirujano Saab. Haberse sometido a algún retoque estético es motivo de felicitación en Líbano. Ya sea en los restaurantes más chic de Beirut o en las pequeñas tiendas de los suburbios de la capital. En cualquier lugar es común ver mujeres con los ojos amoratados e hinchados y felicitarlas por ello. Y es que la cirugía plástica es muy accesible en este pequeño país de Oriente Próximo: cuesta menos de la mitad que en Europa. Aquí se puede conseguir la nariz de Angelina Jolie por 1.000 euros o los generosos pechos de Haifa Wehbe por solo 1.300.

    Une femme sur 4 au Liban serait passée par la chirurgie esthétique. "Sans exclusive « de classe ou de religion » dit l’un des praticiens célèbres. Certainement faux pour ce qui est de la classe sociale mais, au Liban, les pauvres sont réputés être invisibles. Au total, chez les riches, cela signifie que les femmes opérées sont au moins deux fois plus nombreuses en proportion, si ce n’est davantage.

    #liban


  • Lebanon on the Brink - رأي اليوم
    By Abdel Bari Atwan - December 24, 2018

    https://www.raialyoum.com/index.php/lebanon-on-the-brink

    (...) The public quarrel over the representation of the bloc of Sunni MPs allied to Hezbollah blew up after prime minister-designate Saad al-Hariri refused to appoint any of its six members to the government. A compromise was agreed under which each of these MPs would nominate another figure and President Michel Aoun would select one of these. But this solution unravelled in turn when the Lebanese president chose Jawad Adra as the prospective minister. The other MPs protested that he did not represent them, and accused Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) of effectively trying to enlarge its own bloc — thereby giving itself 11 out of 30 cabinet posts and effective veto power over government decisions. So things went back to square one.
    The demands for lower taxes and food prices, improved public services and free health-care made by the demonstrators who took to the streets of Beirut largely echo those of the ‘yellow vests’ in France who have shaken up French politics in recent weeks.
    Lebanon’s public debt has reached nearly $100 billion and the World Bank estimates that a third of the country’s inhabitants live below the poverty line. These certainly do not include the members of the political elite who have been fighting over cabinet seats and important state posts.
    Hariri has now decided to go on vacation until the new year, while declaring that he will remain silent about the country’s growing crisis, on the grounds that “sometimes silence is necessary for others to listen.” But we do not think he will find anyone to listen to him. The choice of Hariri to form a government, in this difficult juncture in the history of Lebanon and the region, is one of the main impediments to the country recovering and overcoming its mounting problems.
    Lebanon could be on the brink of an explosion with popular frustration at the status quo reaching unprecedented levels. And if such an explosion were to occur, it would be extremely difficult to control.

    #Liban #MichelAoun #Hezbollah


  • Caught in Russia-Ukraine storm: a cargo ship and tonnes of grain | Reuters
    https://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKBN1O4128-OCATP


    Cranes and ships are seen in the Azov Sea port of Berdyansk, Ukraine November 30, 2018. Picture taken November 30, 2018.
    REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

    When the Island Bay cargo ship arrived from Beirut at the Kerch Strait, gateway to the Azov Sea, it sailed into a perfect storm of geopolitics and bad weather.

    The following day, Russia opened fire on three Ukrainian naval ships, impounded them and detained their sailors, some of them wounded. It then blocked the strait by putting a tanker underneath a new bridge it has built linking the Russian mainland to the Crimean peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

    While the world digested the implications of the Nov. 25 incident, the most explosive clash in recent years, Russia said it had reopened the channel to the Azov Sea, which is shared by Russia and Ukraine.

    But Island Bay remained at anchor outside the strait, lashed by gale force winds and sleet, its hull icing over while cargo ships amassed on either side.

    On Monday, a week on, the captain reported seeing 20 vessels awaiting clearance to cross. Refinitiv data that day also showed 20 Ukraine-bound vessels held up at the strait since Nov. 25, with two others allowed through.

    Meanwhile, Island Bay’s cargo of 5,500 tonnes of wheat, destined for flour mills in Libya, waited in the Ukrainian port of Berdyansk.
    […]
    In Berdyansk’s port, where icy winds had recently ripped off the roof of a nearby shed, staff of stevedore company Ascet Shipping were reading the daily reports from the Island Bay with growing concern.

    Ascet loads almost a million tonnes of Ukrainian grain a year onto cargo ships in Berdyansk and was waiting to load the Island Bay; its size means each day of waiting time costs around $2,000-$2,500, Ascet’s chief executive, Denis Rusin, said.

    This has made Berdyansk an unpopular port in recent months.

    Ship owners do not want to go to Berdyansk,” said Rusin, whose clients include U.S. firm Cargill [CARG.UL], one of the world’s largest dry bulk and tank shipping companies. “Buyers are refusing to bet on passage.


  • Putin’s interests in Syria and Lebanon are limiting Israel’s military options
    Playing chess with Hezbollah is one thing. Trying to figure out what Putin wants, in Syria and perhaps also in Lebanon, even as Hezbollah is trying to manufacture weapons there, is a completely different challenge
    Amos Harel - Nov 18, 2018 9:39 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-putin-s-interests-in-syria-and-lebanon-is-limiting-israel-s-milita

    One reason for Israel’s exceptional caution in dealing with Hamas in the Gaza Strip is its growing concern over the northern front. Though it may sound like a threadbare excuse, this seems to be one of the considerations driving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to decide, time after time, to try to reach a cease-fire in Gaza.

    The problem Israel faces in the north, in a nutshell, is the real danger that its operational window of opportunity is closing. In recent years, Israel has exploited the upheaval in the Arab world to expand its offensive activity, most of which is secret.

    Via hundreds of airstrikes and special operations, the army and the intelligence agencies have worked to distance the danger of another war and reduce the enemy’s operational capabilities in the event that war does break out.

    In Syria and Lebanon, the campaign initially focused on preventing Iran from smuggling advanced weaponry to Hezbollah. But over the last year or so, a new mission has been added – preventing Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. This peaked with a flurry of incidents between the Israel Defense Forces and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards last winter and spring.

    A problem may also be developing in Lebanon. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Netanyahu warned of efforts by Iran and Hezbollah to set up missile production facilities in the Beirut area. Given the problems its smuggling operations had encountered, the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force apparently decided it had to shorten the distance between the manufacturer and the customer by moving its efforts to improve the accuracy of Hezbollah’s rockets to Lebanon.

    Netanyahu’s speech did its job. In the three days between that speech and the tour of Beirut the Lebanese government conducted for diplomats to rebut it, someone worked hard to get rid of the evidence. But over the long run, Iran seems unlikely to abandon this effort.

    What’s even more worrying is that Putin has recently displayed increased interest in events in Lebanon. In the worst-case scenario, the defensive umbrella — both real and symbolic — that Russia has spread over northwest Syria would be expanded to Lebanon, further complicating Israel’s calculus.

    Even now, at least according to Arab media reports, Israel hasn’t conducted an airstrike in Lebanon since February 2014, when the IAF, apparently pursuing an arms convoy that had crossed the border from Syria, bombed a target in Janta, a few hundred meters to the Lebanese side of the Lebanon-Syria border.

    Hezbollah, which was willing to pretend the spit was rain as long as its convoys were being bombed on the Syrian side, immediately responded with a series of attacks by Druze residents of the Syrian Golan Heights.

    The cell’s commander, Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, and his successor, Hezbollah’s Jihad Mughniyeh, were both subsequently killed in attacks attributed to Israel. Since then, Israel has confined its attacks to Syria.

    But playing chess with Hezbollah is one thing. Trying to figure out what Putin wants, in Syria and perhaps also in Lebanon, even as Hezbollah is trying to manufacture weapons there, is a challenge of a completely different order of magnitude.

    Netanyahu was presumably hinting at this problem, among others, when he spoke about security considerations that he can’t share with the public, at the memorial for Paula Ben-Gurion earlier this week.

    #IsraelRussie


  • Opinion | Iran & Saudi Arabia, Thelma & Louise - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/06/opinion/iran-saudi-arabia-thelma-louise.html

    Les cons, ça ose tout, c’est même à ça qu’on les reconnaît... Après avoir chanté les louanges de MBS (Mohamed Bone Saw), Friedman vous analyse la politique extérieure iranienne !

    And how did that work out?

    Iran denuclearized, but the Revolutionary Guards used the release of pressure and fresh cash and investments from the West to further project their power into the Sunni Arab world, consolidating the grip of Iran’s proxies over four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Damascus, Sana and Beirut.

    Worse, Iran and its Lebanese Shiite mercenary army, Hezbollah, joined with Syria’s pro-Shiite regime in suppressing any chance of power-sharing with Syrian rebels and helped that regime ethnically cleanse Sunnis from key districts in Syria. Iran and its mercenaries also winked at Syria’s genocidal use of poison gas and barrel bombs, which contributed mightily to the death toll from the Syrian civil war of some 500,000 people, with 11 million people displaced.

    Iran’s imperial overstretch was halted only by the Israeli Air Force dealing a heavy blow to Iranian units in Syria when Iran sent missiles there to attack Israel.

    I thought the Iran deal was a bet worth making. No regrets. It did curb Iran’s nuclear program — a big deal — but it did nothing to moderate Iran’s regional behavior, which was never part of the pact. Indeed, it may have been the price of it, as Iran’s supreme leader seemed to compensate for making the deal with the “American devil” by allowing the Revolutionary Guards a freer hand to project their power.

    #friedman #nyt #iran


  • Barak Ravid sur Twitter : « 1 \ Scoop on news10 tonight : Israel asked France to convey a warning message to Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri regarding the missile factories built by Hezbollah and Iran near Beirut, Western Diplomats told me » / Twitter
    https://twitter.com/BarakRavid/status/1058076740118036480

    Si je comprends bien ces psychopathes qui promettent depuis plus de 10 ans à longueur de colonnes de journaux l’apocalypse au Liban, ce dernier devrait fermer les soit disant ateliers de missiles pour pouvoir pulvériser tranquillement le pays ?

    #insane #Israel #pays_de_merde


  • Beyrouth, à moitié réveillé

    Les établissements de nuit grignotent peu à peu la capitale libanaise, redessinent l’espace et mélangent les confessions, mais restent réservés à une jeunesse aisée.
    A la nuit tombée, les rues branchées de Beyrouth dégagent la même effervescence : les musiques émanant des bars viennent se mêler au son des klaxons et des cris des noctambules qui s’interpellent, se retrouvent, s’oublient. Dans les quartiers de #Hamra, #Mar_Mikhaël ou #Badaro, les robes ajustées côtoient les blousons des voituriers et les tabliers des serveurs qui circulent entre les tables. Ces lieux remplis de monde, de bruit et d’alcool, constituent un terrain de jeu de plus de 200 bars et boîtes de nuit où se rassemble une partie de la jeunesse libanaise.
    Certains établissements sont devenus des icônes urbaines en raison de leur longévité inhabituelle (comme le B018, ouvert pour la première fois en 1994), de leur décor spectaculaire ou de leur capacité d’accueil (à l’instar du club Uberhaus ou du Grand Factory, logé sur le toit d’un bâtiment industriel). Omniprésente dans les clips de promotion touristique, la vie nocturne de Beyrouth est aujourd’hui un modèle qui s’exporte : la Beirut Electro Parade, qui organise un événement à Paris ce mois-ci, en est un exemple. Rappelant que la concurrence internationale entre les métropoles se joue aussi sur les activités nocturnes, Beyrouth offre un vaste champ d’investigation pour qui intègre la nuit à la réflexion géographique et étudie les usages de l’espace relevant de la consommation et du plaisir.

    Mimétisme

    La concentration des établissements nocturnes dessine à l’échelle de la ville une géographie prioritaire et mouvante prenant la forme d’un archipel d’îlots lumineux facilement repérables dans un contexte où l’éclairage urbain est globalement défaillant. L’observation de ces quartiers éclaire la recomposition permanente des centralités urbaines : ils émergent dans des lieux à l’origine peu animés, sous l’impulsion d’entrepreneurs pionniers qui ouvrent les premiers établissements. Leur densification rapide s’explique ensuite par le rythme soutenu d’ouvertures et de fermetures des bars et des boîtes de nuit et la faible réglementation d’un secteur lucratif. S’y ajoute un effet de mimétisme qui résulte d’un choix fondé sur l’emplacement et la proximité, permettant de capter l’essentiel des mobilités nocturnes.

    Axe principal de Mar Mikhaël, la rue d’Arménie compte ainsi une trentaine de bars sur 500 mètres. Dans le centre-ville, la rue de l’Uruguay regroupait, en 2015, 19 établissements sur une centaine de mètres. L’émergence des nouvelles centralités nocturnes est par ailleurs liée à la gentrification des quartiers centraux et péricentraux de Beyrouth. Le succès des établissements, certes peu durable, contribue à la hausse des prix du foncier et du marché locatif. Un tel constat montre que la gentrification ne se limite pas au changement du profil résidentiel d’un quartier : elle concerne aussi les appropriations temporelles et matérielles de l’espace.

    La géographie changeante de la nuit beyrouthine se comprend également à travers les mutations spatiales liées à la guerre civile libanaise (1975-1990). Les quinze années de conflit correspondent en effet à une fragmentation du territoire libanais et de sa capitale sur une base confessionnelle et politique. La plus emblématique est la ligne de démarcation ayant séparé, de manière schématique, les quartiers chrétiens et musulmans de Beyrouth. Ces divisions, conjuguées à l’instauration d’un système milicien, ont entraîné le délitement des espaces publics et la fermeture de la quasi-totalité des cafés, bars et clubs qui avaient fleuri dans la ville, à l’image de l’emblématique quartier de Hamra.
    Reconquête

    A partir des années 90 et dans les années 2000, la sortie nocturne devient le moteur efficace d’une réappropriation physique des espaces urbains notamment autour de la rue Monnot. Les ouvertures successives d’établissements nocturnes ont certes profité de la disponibilité foncière d’un quartier accolé à l’ancienne ligne de démarcation et partiellement vidé de ses habitants. Mais les noctambules ayant fréquenté ce quartier aujourd’hui passé de mode soulignent aussi, non sans nostalgie, la symbolique de son emplacement. Monnot a offert la possibilité d’un mélange confessionnel - de la clientèle - fondé sur les pratiques festives, en lieu et place des fractures identitaires imposées et inscrites dans l’espace urbain. Ce rôle fédérateur, partagé par la boîte de nuit B018 ouverte dans les quartiers périphériques de Sin el Fil puis de la Quarantaine, montre que la vie nocturne de Beyrouth a permis une autre reconquête : celle d’un possible « vivre ensemble ».

    La diversité confessionnelle est une réalité des établissements nocturnes, en termes statistiques comme dans les pratiques et les interactions. Elle continue pourtant d’être revendiquée par les noctambules, les barmans et les serveurs, qui ajoutent parfois les divergences politiques, l’acceptation de différentes orientations sexuelles ou la pluralité ethnique. Ces marques d’ouverture ne sont pas l’apanage de tous les établissements : elles concernent des grands clubs au tarif d’entrée accessible (à l’instar du Gärten) ou bars dits alternatifs, orientés à gauche du spectre politique libanais.

    Elles contribuent surtout à alimenter les représentations d’un univers nocturne où une société pacifiée et hédoniste se met en scène, occultant d’autres formes de polarisations. La fréquentation des bars et des boîtes de nuit demeure celle d’une jeunesse aisée, réceptive aux modèles globalisés de la fête et dépositaire d’une identité libanaise cosmopolite et tolérante. Si les nuits beyrouthines fédèrent et brouillent les barrières, elles sont devenues un marqueur social traduisant des rapports de domination d’ordre socio-économique et symbolique.


    https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2018/10/03/beyrouth-a-moitie-reveille_1683005
    #géographie_de_la_nuit #Beyrouth #Liban #nuit #cartographie #visualisation


  • Jamal Khashoggi: A different sort of Saudi | Middle East Eye

    https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/jamal-khashoggi-different-sort-saudi-1109584652

    This is the darkest day of my time as editor of Middle East Eye. It should not be. Jamal Khashoggi is not the first Saudi exile to be killed. No one today remembers Nassir al-Sa’id, who disappeared from Beirut in 1979 and has never been seen since.

    Prince Sultan bin Turki was kidnapped from Geneva in 2003. Prince Turki bin Bandar Al Saud, who applied for asylum in France and disappeared in 2015. Maj Gen Ali al-Qahtani, an officer in the Saudi National Guard, who died while still in custody, showed signs of abuse including a neck that appeared twisted and a badly swollen body. And there are many, many others.

    Thousands languish in jail. Human rights activists branded as terrorists are on death row on charges that Human Rights Watch says “do not resemble recognised crimes”. I know of one business leader who was strung upside down, naked and tortured. Nothing has been heard of him since. In Saudi, you are one social media post away from death.

    A Saudi plane dropped a US-made bomb on a school bus in Yemen killing 40 boys and 11 adults on a school trip. Death is delivered by remote control, but no Western ally or arms supplier of Saudi demands an explanation. No contracts are lost. No stock market will decline the mouth-watering prospect of the largest initial public offering in history.  What difference does one more dead Saudi make?

    As a journalist he hated humbug. The motto in Arabic on his Twitter page roughly translates as: “Say what you have to say and walk away.”
    And yet Khashoggi’s death is different. It’s right up close. One minute he is sitting across the table at breakfast, in a creased shirt, apologising in his mumbled, staccato English for giving you his cold. The next minute, a Turkish government contact tells you what they did to his body inside the consulate in Istanbul.


  • Sabra and Shatila: New Revelations
    Seth Anziska , The New York Review of Books, le 17 septembre 2018
    https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/09/17/sabra-and-shatila-new-revelations

    Historians try not to audibly gasp in the reading rooms of official archives, but there are times when the written record retains a capacity to shock. In 2012, while working at the Israel State Archives in Jerusalem, I came across highly classified material from Israel’s 1982 War in Lebanon that had just been opened to researchers. This access was in line with the thirty-year rule of declassification governing the release of documents in Israel. Sifting through Foreign Ministry files, I stumbled upon the minutes of a September 17 meeting between Israeli and American officials that took place in the midst of the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

    The startling verbatim exchange between Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and US diplomat Morris Draper clearly demonstrated how the slaughter of civilians in the Palestinian refugee camps of south Beirut was prolonged by Draper’s acquiescence in the face of Sharon’s deceptive claim of “terrorists” remaining behind. This made the US unwittingly complicit in the notorious three-day massacre carried out by militiamen linked to the Phalange, a right-wing political party of Lebanese Maronite Christians that was allied with Israel.

    Some critics have always suspected, and hoped to uncover evidence, that Israeli officials explicitly ordered the massacre or directly colluded in its execution. These new documents don’t supply that smoking gun. What they do show is a pattern of extensive cooperation and planning between Israeli and Maronite leaders in the aims and conduct of the war that provides a more comprehensive framework for judging moral accountability. These sources suggest a line of thinking about the political and military defeat of Palestinian nationalism that built on the legacy of the Nakba itself, reaching tragic ends through the destruction wrought in Beirut.

    The excerpts from the Kahan Appendix do, however, underscore the fact that members of the Israeli military and intelligence organizations knew in advance what the Phalange was intending to do to the Palestinians—at a minimum, forced expulsion through threatened or actual deadly violence, and the subsequent razing of the refugee camps. According to the testimony of Colonel Elkana Harnof, a senior Israeli military intelligence officer, the Phalange revealed that “Sabra would become a zoo and Shatilah Beirut’s parking place.” Harnof added details about acts of brutality and massacres that had already taken place, inflicted by Maronite forces with “specific references to acts of elimination of locals ‘most likely Palestinians.’” This was relayed to Defense Minister Sharon as early as June 23, little more than two weeks after the start of the Israeli invasion (II: 78). On that day, a report was passed to Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Sharon that described the Christian militia’s “terminating” 500 people in the evacuation of West Beirut. The Mossad Director Nahum Admoni and others met with Bashir Gemayel and the description of the meeting contains harrowing evidence of what was planned for the Palestinians throughout Lebanon.

    https://www.scribd.com/document/388796835/Kahan-Commission-Appendix-English#from_embed

    http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4887715-Kahan-Commission-Appendix-Complete-English.html

    #Palestine #Liban #Sabra #Chatila


  • The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب : Beirut, the movie
    http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2018/09/beirut-movie.html

    By far, my favorite scene of Jon Hamm’s movie, Beirut: Camels on the beaches of Beirut. Some Israeli assistant director must have come up with this touch.

    #représentation


  • Arabie saoudite : Peine de mort demandée pour des militantes | Mediapart
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/220818/arabie-saoudite-peine-de-mort-demandee-pour-des-militantes

    La peine de mort a été requise contre cinq militantes des droits de l’homme en Arabie saoudite, ont annoncé Human Rights Watch (HRW) et plusieurs groupes de défense.

    RYAD (Reuters) - La peine de mort a été requise contre cinq militantes des droits de l’homme en Arabie saoudite, ont annoncé Human Rights Watch (HRW) et plusieurs groupes de défense.

    Parmi les détenues figurent Israa al Ghomgham, militante musulmane chiite de premier plan qui a rassemblé des informations sur les manifestations de masse qui ont eu lieu dans la province Orientale à partir de 2011. Elle a été arrêtée chez elle en décembre 2015 avec son mari.

    Elle pourrait être la première femme à être condamnée à la peine capitale pour son activité relative aux droits de l’homme. Elle est notamment accusée d’incitation à manifester et d’avoir apporté un soutien moral à des émeutiers.
    L’Arabie saoudite, monarchie absolue sunnite où les manifestations publiques et les partis politiques sont interdits, a adopté ces dernières années des réformes sociales et économiques de grande envergure sous la houlette du jeune prince héritier Mohamed ben Salman (MBS).

    Mais ces réformes sont accompagnées d’une répression contre les dissidents. Des dizaines de religieux, d’intellectuels et de militants ont été arrêtés cette année, dont des femmes qui avaient fait campagne pour le droit de conduire dans ce pays musulman profondément conservateur.

    Or, les femmes se sont vus récemment accorder le droit de passer leur permis de conduire.

    « Toute exécution est effroyable, mais demander la peine de mort pour des militantes comme Israa al Ghomgham, qui ne sont même pas accusées de comportement violent, est monstrueux », a déclaré mercredi Sarah Leah Whitson, directrice de HRW au Moyen-Orient.

    ALQST, un groupe saoudien de défense des droits de l’homme basé à Londres, a rapporté la décision concernant Israa al Ghomgham au début de la semaine.

    Des militantes des droits de l’homme ! Ce sont pour les droits des femmes qu’elles se battent et que les hommes vont les décapitées.

    • #merci @mad_meg de systématiquement relever la question terminologique, il reste un long chemin à faire avant de réussir à passer des droits de l’homme aux droits humains. Il se trouve qu’on s’est accroché il y a quelques mois avec un groupe de militantes (de défense des droits humains, donc) - et non pas de militants mâles pourtant, qui souhaitaient utiliser nos cartes pour leur nouveau site, et qui ont refusé de changer l’expression « Droits de l’homme » pour « Droits humains » au prétexte que c’était l’histoire, que ça venait des « Lumières » et qu’on ne s’essuit pas les pieds sur l’Histoire. Voilà aussi ce contre quoi il faut se battre. J’ajoute que jai finalement refusé de fournir la cartographie tant que l’expresion « Droits de l’homme » figurerait sur le site.

    • Merci @reka de ne pas avoir laissé passer ça. Il y a parfois des femmes qui s’arcboutent pour conserver un statut d’inférieures à toutes les autres femmes.

      Et je souligne aussi la #traduction_sexiste de médiapart avec son « militantes des droits de l’homme » d’autant que Human Rights Watch a fait un communiqué en anglais.

      https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/08/21/saudi-prosecution-seeks-death-penalty-female-activist

      (Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution is seeking the death penalty against five Eastern Province activists, including female human rights activist Israa al-Ghomgham, Human Rights Watch said today. The activists, along with one other person not facing execution, are being tried in the country’s terrorism tribunal on charges solely related to their peaceful activism.

      The Public Prosecution, which reports directly to the king, accused the detained activists of several charges that do not resemble recognizable crimes, including “participating in protests in the Qatif region,” “incitement to protest,” “chanting slogans hostile to the regime,” “attempting to inflame public opinion,” “filming protests and publishing on social media,” and “providing moral support to rioters.” It called for their execution based on the Islamic law principle of ta’zir, in which the judge has discretion over the definition of what constitutes a crime and over the sentence. Authorities have held all six activists in pretrial detention and without legal representation for over two years. Their next court date has been scheduled for October 28, 2018.

      Attention, comme je le soulignais dans un autre seen, la traduction Gogll ne traduit pas le féminin correctement. N’empêche, l’algorithme utilise bien l’expression « droits humains ».

      #Israa_Al-Ghomgham
      #Samar_Badawi
      #Nassima_Al-Sadah
      #Loujain_al-Hathloul
      #Aziza_al-Yousef
      #Eman_al-Nafjan
      #Nouf_Abdelaziz
      #Mayaa_al-Zahrani
      #Hatoon_al-Fassi
      #Amal_al-Harbi

    • Moi aussi, j’essaie d’utiliser systématiquement cette expression. Dans ma trad pour le Nicaragua, je l’ai utilisée partout sauf pour le nom en français de la commission ad hoc à l’Onu mais ça pique les yeux. Je me suis aussi posé la question de « défenderesses » des droits humains pour defendoras (ou femmes qui défendent, ou un néologisme féministe ?) et j’ai plutôt choisi les paraphrases. Je n’aime pas cette expression ampoulée, qui fait passer pour une bizarrerie le fait que des femmes défendent quelque chose. Vous en pensez quoi, de cette expression visiblement historique elle aussi ?

    • Oui, l’euphonie tient à l’habitude. Mais défenderesse me déplaît parce que je ne comprends pas pourquoi l’usage n’a pas gardé défenseuse, plus simple, plus évident, plus symétrique avec la forme masculine. Le suffixe -esse est long, il m’évoque la manière dont il faut se déguiser pour sortir alors qu’on pourrait mettre des fringues à la con comme les gars. J’ai donc pris l’option paraphrase, comme @reka.

    • Je comprend pas ce qui t’empeiche de dire « Défenseuse » si le suffixe en -esse te va pas et que tu aime « défenseuse ». Pas de problème avec la paraphrase non plus. Les suffixes en esse ont un coté ancien régime - noblesse, papesse, philosophesse, peintresse, comptesse...
      Le dictionnaire cordiale accepte defenseuse :
      https://www.universalis.fr/dictionnaire/defenseuse
      wikipédia dit que le dictionnaire de l’AF ne reconnait pas défenseuse, mais c’est une raison de plus pour s’en servir. L’AF choisissant toujours le mot ou la tournure qui va exprimer haine ou/et mépris des femmes et tout ce qui est féminin de près ou de loin.

      Sinon pour revenir à ces millitantes qui risquent la peine de mort. Je me disait qu’au moins le féminin était conservé à « militante » car il y a 5 femmes, sinon le féminin aurais disparu. Sur le e-monde en fait elles disparaissent.
      https://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2018/08/23/riyad-requiert-la-peine-de-mort-pour-cinq-militants-des-droits-de-l-homme_53

      Riyad requiert la peine de mort pour cinq militants des droits de l’homme

      Parmi eux, Israa Al-Ghomgham pourrait devenir la première femme condamnée à la peine capitale pour son engagement en faveur des libertés.

      Et pour illustré ceci une photo de 5 hommes et Israa Al-Ghomgham enfant.

      Du coup c’est curieux de parler de 5 millitantes chez médiapart. D’autre part j’ai pas vu l’usage du mot féminisme, seulement « militante pour les droits de l’homme » ou « pour la liberté » en anglais les journaux vont jusqu’a osé dire parfois « militante pour les liberté des femmes » mais le mot féminisme est proscrit.

    • Merci @mad_meg, je n’avais pas fait de recherche sur défenseuse et j’en étais restée au refus de mon correcteur d’ortho. L’AF, vu que c’est pas des philologues (il y a même un biologiste qui n’a publié qu’en anglais), ils peuvent se branler la nouille avec leur dictionnaire débile qui sort une fois par siècle.

      #écriture_incluse et #invisibilisation
      C’est pas pour des raisons fantaisistes qu’on se bat pour que les femmes apparaissent dans le discours, c’est pour qu’elles apparaissent dans la réalité !


  • Kamal Nasser «  Les rêves de mon peuple  »
    L’Humanité | Mardi, 7 Août, 2018 | Joseph Andras
    https://www.humanite.fr/kamal-nasser-les-reves-de-mon-peuple-658941

    (...) Kamal Nasser avait coutume de marcher dans Beyrouth un livre de poésie à la main  : cela, ils le savaient. Comme ils savaient qu’il se trouvait là, dans une chambre au troisième étage, penché sur une machine à écrire sur la table de la salle à manger, là, bel et bien là, en train de rédiger quelque communiqué. Pains de plastic. Porte explosée. Le commando s’engouffra, Nasser, pas même 50 ans, se saisit d’une arme et ouvrit le feu sur l’un des agents avant de s’écrouler tandis que ses camarades étaient abattus dans leurs chambres respectives. L’opération, dite «  Printemps de la jeunesse  », fut un franc succès pour les autorités israéliennes, soucieuses de venger la meurtrière prise d’otages des jeux Olympiques de Munich  : pour un œil, les deux yeux.

    Né Pierre Abraham Jacob Kamal Nasser un jour de 1925, le poète grandit à Bir Zeit, dans l’actuelle Cisjordanie – le village comptait alors moins de 900 âmes, chrétiennes pour la plupart –, puis étudia les sciences politiques à l’American University of Beirut et le droit à Jérusalem. Il enseigna à l’école Ahliyeh, à Ramallah, l’année de la Nakba – la «  catastrophe  », autrement dit la création de l’État d’Israël, l’expulsion de centaines de milliers de Palestiniens et la destruction de trop nombreux villages.
    (...)
    L’essayiste américain Mark Ensalaco indiquera en 2011 que Nasser fut assassiné «  pour ses mots davantage que pour ses actes  », ne comptant pas au nombre des organisateurs de Munich.

    L’un de ses vers appelait à «  la révolution du retour  »  ; un demi-siècle plus tard, les présents mots s’étirent tandis que par centaines tombent à Gaza les manifestants de la Marche du même nom.


  • Les services irakiens et libanais démantèlent un réseau qui faisait chanter les banques libanaises - P.H.B. - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1127931/les-services-irakiens-et-libanais-demantelent-un-reseau-qui-faisait-c

    Les services de renseignements irakiens ont annoncé mardi avoir démantelé, en coopération avec la Sûreté générale libanaise, un réseau qui répandait des informations erronées dans le but d’extorquer des fonds à des établissements bancaires libanais. Parmi ces derniers Bank Audi, qui avait été il y a deux semaines la cible de rumeurs de blanchiment d’argent de groupes terroristes. 

    « Les services de renseignements irakiens, en coopération avec la SG libanaise, ont découvert un réseau d’escroquerie, dont les membres publiaient des informations erronées dans le but d’extorquer de l’argent à plusieurs banques libanaises, en affirmant être en possession de documents attestant qu’ils disposaient de comptes s’élevant à des millions de dollars dans ces banques et en faisant circuler de fausses informations sur ces établissements », selon le communiqué des services de renseignements irakiens. « Il s’est avéré que ces documents étaient des faux », ajoute le communiqué, selon lequel « plusieurs membres de ce réseau ont été arrêtés ». « Les efforts se poursuivent pour appréhender les autres malfaiteurs », dans le cadre de « la poursuite des efforts visant à protéger l’économie des deux pays et maintenir les relations privilégiées » entre l’Irak et le Liban, toujours selon le texte.

    Lebanese banks return Saddam’s hidden millions to Iraqi authorities - The National
    https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/lebanese-banks-return-saddam-s-hidden-millions-to-iraqi-authorities-1.75

    The head of Lebanon’s Association of Banks said on Thursday that the country’s financial sector had returned to Iraqi authorities nearly all money hidden in Beirut banks by officials under former dictator Saddam Hussein.

    The announcement came the day after the head of Lebanon’s General Security branch, Maj Gen Abbas Ibrahim, said that a joint operation with Iraqi authorities had prevented a $1 billion fraud scam targeting Iraqi branches of major Lebanese lenders. He announced that some suspects had been arrested.


  • The Aviationist » F-35 Stealth Aircraft Goes “Live” On Flight Tracking Websites As It Flies Mission Over Israel
    https://theaviationist.com/2018/07/24/f-35-stealth-aircraft-goes-live-on-flight-tracking-websites-as-it-fl

    An F-35, most probably one of the Adir jets recently delivered to the Israeli Air Force, appears on Flightradar24.com: deliberate action or just a case of bad OPSEC?
    On Jul. 23, an F-35 went fully visible on popular flight tracking website Flightradar24.com as it performed a mission out of Nevatim airbase. The aircraft could be monitored for about 1 hour as it went “feet wet” (over the sea) north of Gaza then flew northbound to operate near Haifa.
    […]
    As for the reasons why the aircraft could be tracked online, there are various theories. The first one is that it was a deliberate action: considered the F-35 went “live” few hours Israel made first operational use of David’s Sling missile defense system against two SS-21 Syrian ballistic missiles, there is someone who believes the mission was part of a PSYOPS aimed at threatening Israel’s enemies (Syria in particular). Our readers will probably remember the weird, most probably bogus claim of an IAF F-35 mission into the Iranian airspace originally reported by the Al-Jarida newspaper, a Kuwaiti outlet often used to deliver Israeli propaganda/PSYOPS messages.

    However the Israeli Air Force has already made public the fact that the F-35 has been used in air strikes in the Middle East (Syria and another unspecified “front”) lately. On May 23, the Israeli Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said during a IAF conference attended by 20 commander of air forces from around the world: “The Adir planes are already operational and flying in operational missions. We are the first in the world to use the F-35 in operational activity”. He also showed a photograph of an “Adir” flying at high altitude off Beirut (with radar reflectors, hence not in “stealthy mode”). In other words, there’s probably no need to remind Syria or Iran that the Israeli Air Force has the F-35 since they are already using it in combat.

    For this reason, there is also someone who believes that the first appearance of an Israeli Adir on Flightradar24 may have been a simple mistake: the Mode-S transponder was not turned off. A case of OPSEC fail in one of the most secretive air arms in the world.

    Indeed, transponders are usually turned off during real operations as well as when conducting missions that need to remain invisible (at least to public flight tracking websites and commercial off the shelf receivers). Unless the transponder is turned on for a specific purpose: to let the world know they are there. In fact, as reported several times here, it’s difficult to say whether some aircraft that can be tracked online broadcast their position for everyone to see by accident or on purpose: increasingly, RC-135s and other strategic ISR platforms, including the Global Hawks, operate over highly sensitive regions, such as Ukraine or the Korean Peninsula, with the ADS-B and Mode-S turned on, so that even commercial off the shelf receivers (or public tracking websites) can monitor them. Is it a way to show the flag? Or just a mistake?


  • With Weddings in Cyprus, Israelis and Lebanese Bridge a Divide - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/middleeast/israel-lebanon-cyprus-marriages.html

    They eat falafel, live on the Mediterranean and worry that a new war could erupt across the hostile border that separates them. But many Israelis and Lebanese share something else: a desire to circumvent their respective religious authorities when getting married.

    In both Lebanon and Israel, only religious leaders can perform marriages, so lovers who wish to keep the rabbis, sheikhs, priests and pastors out of their love life have to tie the knot elsewhere.
    […]
    Cyprus owes its rise as an international marriage destination to geography, economics and law. Its airports receive direct flights from cities across Europe and the Middle East; its prices are good; and its laws permit foreigners to contract marriages with no clerics involved.

    And its palm-studded beaches, historic sites and abundant hotels are inducements for couples to start honeymooning as soon as the ink on their marriage contract is dry.

    About 7,000 marriages are conducted in Cyprus per year, adding 1 million euros, or over $1.1 million, to the economy annually, according to the Cyprus Tourist Organization. While European lovers prefer more picturesque towns elsewhere on the island, Israelis and Lebanese tend toward Larnaka, which can be reached by air from both Tel Aviv and Beirut in less than an hour.


  • The world isn’t flat - Opinion
    The dangerous nation-state law declares the intention of its authors: To teach generations of Israeli Jews that the world is flat and entrust them with the mission of expelling and wiping out a nation

    Amira Hass
    Jul 24, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-world-isn-t-flat-1.6310944

    From a balcony in Ramallah, surrounded by friends and acquaintances, the nation-state law shrinks to its proper ludicrous proportions. The creationists erased a nation from the written text.
    And yet, nine indisputable representatives of that nation sat and joked, turned serious, reminisced, traded political gossip about senior Palestinian Authority officials, voiced fears and concerns, made predictions and retracted them. What a privilege it was for me to sit among them and enjoy what is so natural to them that they don’t even categorize it — a rootedness and a belonging that don’t need verbal trappings; a zest for life; unimaginable strength and courage.
    They were born in a village that was destroyed; in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip; in Damascus, Jaffa, Nablus, Ramallah, Nazareth, Acre. They’re the first, second and third generations of the 1948 refugees. Some are third-class citizens — fifth-class, now — of the state that robbed them of their homeland. Some returned to their homeland after the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994 and settled down in the West Bank, subject to Israeli military orders.
    >> Planted by Netanyahu and co., nation-state law is a time bomb exploding in Israel’s face | Analysis ■ By degrading Arabic, Israel has degraded Arabs | Opinion ■ Israel’s contentious nation-state law: Everything you need to know >>
    All are members of the same nation, regardless of what is written on their identity cards. They escaped Israeli bombings in Beirut and in Gaza; they lived under Israeli-imposed curfew, siege and house arrest; they were jailed in Israeli prisons for political activity; they were interrogated by Israel’s Shin Bet security service; they raised themselves from poverty; they wandered, studied, worked in left-wing organizations.

    All of them have lost relatives and close friends, killed by Israel or in civil wars in the Arab countries where they used to live. All of them treasure the silent, pained gazes of their parents, who told them about the home that was lost 70 years ago.
    Some of them also became bourgeois. Which doesn’t spare them the checkpoints; the Israeli expressions of racism and arrogance; the forced separations from relatives who cannot go (from the Gaza Strip) or come (from Syria); the fears for the future.

    Not far, yet very far from there — under a lean-to in Khan al-Ahmar — women sit on thin mattresses placed on the ground and talk about the attack by police officers two weeks ago and a wedding party that is scheduled for this week. The strength and courage of these women from the Jahalin Bedouin tribe are equally evident. There, in those heartbreaking shelters, Israel’s greedy racism is also an immediate issue, broadcast by the spacious houses of the settlement of Kfar Adumim.
    How do they live like this, with nonstop threats and aggression from bureaucrats, soldiers, policemen and settlers who covet the little that remains to them? Where do they get the strength to live in crowded conditions that are hard to get used to, without electricity or running water — which are the minimum conditions for community life — with shrinking pasturage and shrinking income, and yet not give in to the expellers’ orders? Their strength comes from that same rootedness and natural sense of belonging, which the deniers of evolution, the drafters of the nation-state law, are incapable of understanding.
    For over a month, this community, which is threatened with a new expulsion, has been hosting mass public events — press conferences, rallies, speeches, delegations. There’s an element of exploitation and ostentation here on the Palestinian Authority’s part. Yet at the same time, another process is taking place, one that is very political: Palestinians from both urban and rural communities are liberating themselves from the alienation they used to feel toward the Bedouin.


  • Patrick Cockburn · The War in Five Sieges · LRB 19 July 2018
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n14/patrick-cockburn/the-war-in-five-sieges

    The decision to defend certain areas, or to besiege them, was often determined by sectarian or ethnic allegiances. Both the government (dominated by the Shia Alawi sect) and the opposition (dominated by Sunni Arabs) would play down the fact, but divisions between communities were at the heart of the Syrian civil war. These divisions decided the location of the military frontlines that snaked through Damascus and Homs, much as they had once done in Belfast and Beirut. The government-held districts were inhabited by the minority groups, Alawites, Kurds, Christians, Druze, Ismaili and Shia, which together make up about 40 per cent of the population. A businessman in Damascus told me that the weakness of the anti-Assad forces was that ‘the exiled opposition leaders have not developed a serious plan to reassure the minorities.’ Opposition enclaves were overwhelmingly Sunni Arab, though the Sunni community was itself divided between rich and poor and between rural and urban areas. Well-off secular Sunnis in government-held West Aleppo didn’t feel much sympathy for the poor, religiously minded Sunni in the rebel-held east of the city.

    #Syrie #classe #religions #environnement


  • Gaza : polémique autour d’un immeuble bombardé par l’armée israélienne
    Par RFI Publié le 16-07-2018 - Un reportage de Hassan Jaber et Guilhem Delteil
    http://www.rfi.fr/moyen-orient/20180716-gaza-immeuble-bombarde-armee-israelienne-polemique-hamas

    Samedi 14 juillet 2018 a eu lieu la plus importante confrontation militaire entre les groupes armés de la bande de Gaza et l’armée israélienne depuis la fin de la dernière guerre qui les a opposés en 2014. La journée fut marquée par des dizaines de bombardements israéliens et plus d’une centaine de tirs de roquettes et d’obus de mortier palestiniens. Parmi les cibles visées par l’armée israélienne un immeuble en construction dans la ville de Gaza. Deux adolescents ont été tués. Le bâtiment est présenté par Israël comme un centre d’entraînement militaire du Hamas, le mouvement islamiste qui contrôle l’enclave palestinienne. Mais à Gaza, ces accusations sont rejetées.

    Ahmad Halis fouille les décombres de l’immeuble dont il avait la garde. A ses côtés, son collègue, Fouad Limzini, sort de sa poche un morceau d’objet calciné. « C’est un bout de l’obus qui a touché le bâtiment », assure-t-il.

    Cet immeuble encore en construction dépend de la prison voisine, dit Fouad Limzini. Et il se veut catégorique : ce n’était pas un centre d’entraînement du mouvement islamiste au pouvoir à Gaza.

    « Le Hamas n’est pas présent ici. Quand nous voyons qui que ce soit du Hamas, nous lui disons de partir. Il n’est pas autorisé à être là. »

    Daoud Shehab, le porte-parole du Jihad islamique, deuxième groupe armé de la bande de Gaza et allié du Hamas, réfute également les accusations israéliennes.

    L’idée que ce bâtiment situé à proximité de ministères et de trois universités puisse être un terrain d’entraînement militaire fait même rire Daoud Shehab.

    « C’est un lieu très central : des milliers de personnes passent autour de cet immeuble tous les jours. Si vous emmenez votre dulcinée là-bas pour l’embrasser, tout Gaza vous verra ! » (...)

    • Israel First Country to Kill Children using US-made F35 Fighters
      July 16, 2018 9:49 PM
      http://imemc.org/article/israel-first-country-to-kill-children-using-us-made-f35-fighters

      According to Days of Palestine, the Israeli occupation state is the first country to use the US-made F-35 fighter jet to kill people –two innocent Palestinian children in Gaza Strip.

      While America and the rest of the world’s attention was focused on the Wold Cup, Wimbledon, Trump’s visit to England, and the Stormy Daniels story, Israel unleashed the heaviest air strikes since 2014, on the besieged Gaza Strip.

      This makes Israel the first country in the world to use the new US-made F-35 fighter jets to kill people.

      Last week, the Israeli air forces also used the F-35 fighter jets to fly over Beirut, Lebanon and bombard targets inside Syria.

      According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Israeli airstrikes, on Saturday, injured hundreds of civilians, killing two Palestinian boys Louay Khoheel , aged 16, and Amir al-Namara , also 16, who were at a public park next to an unfinished building.

      A few hours later, Amir and Louay’s parents visited the morgue to claim their bodies.

      Mahmoud el-Yousseph is a retired USAF veteran from Westerville, Ohio.


    • Israeli Air Strikes Kill Two Children, Injure 25 Palestinians, In Gaza
      July 15, 2018 12:56 AM IMEMC News
      http://imemc.org/article/israeli-air-strikes-kill-two-children-injure-25-palestinians-in-gaza

      The Israeli Airforce carried out, on Saturday evening, several airstrikes targeting Gaza, killing two children and wounding at least twenty-five Palestinians in Gaza city, when the missiles struck a building next to a public green park, filled with people.

      The Health Ministry in Gaza said the Israeli missiles killed Amir an-Nimra, 15 , and his friend Luay Kahil, 16 , in addition to causing injuries to at least 25 other Palestinians.

      It added that the Israeli missiles also targeted ambulances, the Central Medical Emergency building, and several mobile clinics.

      The targeted public square, known as al-Kateeba, is near al-Azhar and the Islamic Universities, and is surrounded by several government ministries and facilities. It is also used by Palestinian factions when they celebrate certain events, such as the anniversaries of their establishment.

      #Palestine_assassinée #GAZA

    • Gaza : funérailles des deux victimes des frappes israéliennes
      Publié le 15-07-2018
      http://www.rfi.fr/moyen-orient/20180715-gaza-funerailles-deux-victimes-frappes-israeliennes

      Un certain calme est revenu dans la bande de Gaza, ce dimanche 15 juillet 2018. Avec des dizaines de bombardements israéliens et plus d’une centaine de roquettes et d’obus de mortiers tirés depuis l’enclave palestinienne, samedi fut la journée la plus violente depuis la fin de la dernière guerre en 2014. Deux adolescents palestiniens ont été tués dans le bombardement d’un immeuble en construction dans la ville de Gaza. Et ce dimanche, les Gazaouis ont rendu un dernier hommage à ceux qu’ils qualifient de « martyrs ».

      Avec notre envoyé spécial à Gaza City, Guilhem Delteil