Friday 17 April 2009


يدعوكم التجمع اليساري من اجل التغيير الى

عرض فيلم: نوبة صحيان، المدة: 10 دقائق

يتبعه ندوة تحت عنوان:

الحركة العمالية المصرية: بين قمع اجهزة الدولة ومعركة الاستقلال النقابي

يتكلم فيها: عمر سعيد، عضو في مركز الدراسات الاشتراكية في مصر

وذلك مساء الثلثاء 21 نيسان 2009، الساعة السادسة والنصف

المكان: بيت زيكو، اول شارع سبيرز، الصنائع، بيروت

Thursday 16 April 2009

Israel's spy

This from LA Times:

A former Lebanese security officer and his wife have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel.

The intelligence branch of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces (ISF) have locked up a retired brigadier general identified only as "Adib A." and his wife on suspicion of belonging to an Israeli spy network.

[Note the Tayyar website identify him as Retired General Adib Alaalam]

The general was described as a “valuable catch” in the left-leaning daily Al Akhbar by an unnamed high-ranking security official. Though retired, he continued to maintain an office at the general directorate of the ISF, which he allegedly turned into a communications center for passing information to the Israelis.

News of the arrests comes just one month after military prosecutor Rashid Muzhir said he would seek the death penalty for two brothers arrested and charged with espionage last year.

According to another security source quoted by Al Akhbar, the retired general has confessed to working with Israeli intelligence services for the last 10 years, but insists his role was limited to gathering information and that he never carried out assassinations or bombings.

Suspicion fell on his wife as an accomplice based on information she gave during questioning.

Both hail from Lebanon's Bint Jbeil area along the border with Israel and could potentially have access to information about Lebanese security forces and militant groups there.

The official said ISF intelligence has been monitoring a group operating throughout Lebanon and especially south of the Litani river for several months now, indicating that more arrests are probable.

The network was reportedly uncovered after a young man was detained for possession of a large weapons cache. The youth was later linked to Israeli intelligence agents in Europe, but the charges could not be proven and the case was left to European spy agencies.

The paper went on to note that the investigation is expected to reveal even more sensitive information, “especially since the directorate [of General Security] has started coordinating with more than one party relevant to intelligence operations in Lebanon,” referring, most probably, to Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group.

Twice in the last seven months, Hezbollah has handed over suspected spies to the Lebanese army after conducting its own investigations.

In November, the group arrested brothers Youssef and Ali Jarrah for their alleged link to the assassination of Hezbollah official Imad Mughniyeh, and in February, Marwan Faqih was detained and accused of supplying bugged cars to the militia. All three were handed over to the Lebanese army.

Israel above the law

This from the AP newsagency:

Israel is unlikely to cooperate with a Gaza war crimes probe because it distrusts the UN agency sponsoring the investigation, an Israeli government official said.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers said they would work with investigators from the UN Human Rights Council which ordered the investigation in January, shortly after Israel’s three-week military offensive in Gaza.

The Israeli government official said Israel sent its response concerning cooperation to the UN agency a week ago.

He said Israel is “very unlikely” to cooperate. He spoke on condition of anonymity and said he could not elaborate because it’s not clear whether the head of the investigation, Richard Goldstone has been briefed.

Israel’s likely refusal to work with Goldstone raises questions about whether he will be able to carry out his mission.

Investigators have not yet said when they will visit the region, but without Israeli cooperation they would be denied access to crucial information from the military.

Goldstone, 70, is Jewish, has close ties to Israel and is known for his impartiality.

But Israeli diplomats said their opposition has nothing to do with who heads the investigation.

Yousef Rizka, an adviser to Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, said that the investigators “will find full cooperation of the Palestinian government and Palestinian people because the crimes of the occupation are clear and no one can underestimate them.”

Armenian vote

The BBC has an interesting piece on the Armenian-Lebanese:

In the upcoming parliamentary election in June, the main Armenian political party, Tashnak, looks set to play kingmaker.

The vote of the 150,000-strong Armenian community may sway the outcome of the bitter and close race between the pro-Western government and the opposition led by Hezbollah, a Shia group backed by Syria and Iran.

In the run-up to the election, politicians from both blocs have been fighting for the Armenian votes.

But of the three Armenian parties, Tashnak enjoys most support and it has already made its choice, joining the Hezbollah-led alliance.

"What makes us strong is our unity. That's how we survive as a community, that's how we preserve our identity - and that's why I'll vote with everyone else," Mr Havatian says.

But voting for the opposition is also highly unusual for the Armenian community, which has traditionally gone with the government, not against it.

In Lebanon's confessional political system, Armenians - like other major religious and ethnic communities, have an assigned number of seats in parliament.

For years, these seven seats were always won by the Tashnak Party.

But in 2000, a new law backed by Prime Minister Rafik Hariri redrew the electoral map of Beirut, dividing the Armenian neighbourhoods among districts with Sunni Muslim majorities.

As a result the Tashnak party lost seats to lesser-known Armenians who supported the Sunni Muslim prime minister.

"We were forced to go to the opposition," says Tashnak MP Hagop Pakradounian. "We simply cannot trust the government anymore."

For the Tashnak party and its supporters, the June election is a chance to re-establish its parliamentary foothold.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

More toys for the army

According to the PA:

The US Embassy says the US will provide Lebanon will 12 unmanned military aircraft in the coming months.

Since 2006, the US has provided Lebanon with more than a billion dollars in assistance, including $410 million to support security.

The US hopes a strengthened Lebanese military would spread state authority across a country buffeted by political and sectarian divisions. An Embassy statement Tuesday said Lebanese air force members are training on the Raven.

Picture above: How to launch a Raven using the delicate steps of a ballerina. As part of the new cultural sensitivity approach favoured in the US, the Lebanese army will be taught to launch the drone while dancing the dabke.