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Archive for 12/13/2011

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Need Our Support and Our Prayers

12/13/2011 Leave a comment

 

Syrian refugee children sit on mattresses at an abandoned school where food and shelter are provided by a local charity in Wadi Khaled area, northern Lebanon. (Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)

Syrian refugee children sit on mattresses at an abandoned school where food and shelter are provided by a local charity in Wadi Khaled area, northern Lebanon. (Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)

Christian Aid Mission – “You’ve read about the politics of the Syria/Lebanon situation in the news and media, and now here is your report from a ministry leader working among the Syrian refugees and muslim host families in Lebanon.

‘There are many Syrian refugees in Lebanon escaping from the turmoil in their home country. I can understand why our government will not want to share what is really happening in northern Lebanon.

I have been involved in the relief ministry among the Syrian refugees with a group of local believers since the first of June 2011. We are still involved in ministering to the Syrian refugees. We are also supporting the Lebanese families who are hosting the refugees, since they are also facing a difficult economic situation due to the border closing with Syria.

The numbers of refugees has varied since the problems started in Syria. The official estimates were from 5,000 to 7,000 refugees. When we started to minister among them, we could identify around 1,600 Syrian families located in 16 villages.

As we were distributing Bibles, food and clothing, many Syrian men returned to their homes in Syria since they felt that the danger had ceased and they needed to make an income to support their families. When conditions grew worse again, they wanted to return to Lebanon but the Syrian troops had already closed the borders. Many of those who returned to Syria could not get back into Lebanon when the fighting started up again, and consequently many women and children are separated from their husbands/fathers.

We have hundreds of families to help. They live in a difficult situation because even the men who stayed in Lebanon cannot find work in northern Lebanon, and the Lebanese host families have very limited resources to support them.

The most essential need in these days is the ability to support the Syrian refugees and the Lebanese host families during the winter season. It is very cold these days in northern Lebanon. Most of these people do not have enough winter clothes, blankets, or carpets.

We are the only ministry supporting the Lebanese host families, as well as the Syrians. Now that the border with Syria is closed, the Lebanese host families are in a bad economic situation because these families had lived on an income from smuggling fuel, food items, and other things out of Syria and selling them in Lebanon for a higher price.

Some of the Syrian refugees are staying with Christian families, but the majority of the villages on the border are Sunni Muslim, thus most of the refugee families are living with Muslim Sunnis. This gives us wide open doors to reach both the Lebanese Muslim host families and the Syrian refugees who are living with them.’ Read more…

Israel: Iran Must Chose Between a Bomb, or Survival

12/13/2011 Leave a comment

“A senior Israeli cabinet minister on Monday said Iran must be forced to face an existential question over its nuclear drive: choose between getting an atomic bomb, or survival.

‘We believe that in order to stop the Iranian military nuclear project, the regime in Tehran should face a dilemma — whether to have a bomb or to survive,’ Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon told reporters in Jerusalem.

Yaalon said however it was for the international community, rather than Israel, to apply what he called an ‘achievable’ policy.

‘We prefer that the international community led by the United States will bring about this dilemma in order to convince the regime to give up its military nuclear programme,’ he said, stressing the need for political isolation and economic sanctions aimed at the banking and oil sectors.

Israel and much of the international community fear that Iran’s nuclear programme masks a drive for a weapons capability.

Tehran denies any such ambition and says the programme is for peaceful civilian energy and medical purposes only.

‘Our policy is very clear — by one way or another, the military nuclear project in Iran should be stopped,’ Yaalon said, indicating it “might be 12 months, might be 24 months” until Iran was able to reach a military nuclear capability.

Israel has pushed Washington and the European Union for tough sanctions against Tehran, but has repeatedly warned it would not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.

Yaalon, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle of eight ministers, also reiterated the line that while a military option was still on the table, as ‘the last resort.'” Read more.

Iran to Hold Military Maneuver to Close Strait of Hormuz, ‘If the World Wants to Make the Region Insecure, We Will Make the World Insecure’

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(Reuters) – “TEHRAN (Reuters) – A member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security Committee said on Monday that the military was set to practice its ability to close the Gulf to shipping at the narrow Strait of Hormuz, the most important oil transit channel in the world, but there was no official confirmation.

The legislator, Parviz Sarvari, told the student news agency ISNA: ‘Soon we will hold a military maneuver on how to close the Strait of Hormuz. If the world wants to make the region insecure, we will make the world insecure.’

Contacted by Reuters, a spokesman for the Iranian military declined to comment.

Iran’s energy minister told Al Jazeera television last month that Tehran could use oil as a political tool in the event of any future conflict over its nuclear program.

Tension over the program has increased since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on November 8 that Tehran appears to have worked on designing a nuclear bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end. Iran strongly denies this and says it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Iran has warned it will respond to any attack by hitting Israel and U.S. interests in the Gulf and analysts say one way to retaliate would be to close the Strait of Hormuz.

About a third of all sea-borne shipped oil passed through the Strait in 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and U.S. warships patrol the area to ensure safe passage.” Read more.

Canada: Muslims Red-Faced After Ottawa Bans Face Veils at Citizenship Ceremonies

12/13/2011 Leave a comment

There are plenty of countries in the Middle East where face veils are not only accepted, but ‘encouraged‘.  Saudi Arabia, for instance, would welcome you with opened arms.  When you get there, just do as you’re told and you won’t have to worry about the sword in the hands of those opened arms …

By MAX HARROLD – “Some Muslim groups are disturbed by the federal government’s decision to immediately ban the wearing of the niqab and burka during Canadian citizenship ceremonies and worry it could lead to similar bans in other settings.

Federal Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said Monday the ban was necessary because he recently discovered women with face coverings could not be fully identified at ceremonies to swear in new Canadians.

Some citizenship judges have told him it’s a common practice. ‘It is happening pretty much every week around the country,’ Kenney told CBC News in a TV interview. ‘My view is that this is a public act of testimony in front of your fellow citizens – it’s a legal requirement – and it’s ridiculous that you should be doing so with your face covered.’

Salam Elmenyawi, head of the Muslim Council of Montreal, said the ban is an attempt by the Conservative government to divide Canadian Muslims.

He estimated that perhaps two dozen Muslim women in Quebec wear face coverings and a few hundred across Canada.

He said a woman who chooses to cover her face is doing so because she believes it is the best way for her to live her faith.

There is widespread respect by those who don’t cover their faces for those who do cover them, he added.

The government’s decision is ‘sending a message that we’re watching you and we’re going to tell you which parts of your religion are acceptable and which are not,’ Elmenyawi said.

The Supreme Court is hearing a case about whether a Muslim woman who is accusing her cousin and uncle of childhood sexual abuse should be allowed to wear a full face-covering on the witness stand, Elmenyawi noted.

The decision could set precedent for laws on face veils, he said.

Quebec’s Bill 94, still being studied in committee in the National Assembly, would require people receiving or offering health care, education or government services to do so with their face uncovered.” Read more.

Categories: Anything Else

Expert: A Threatened Assad May Attack Israel

12/13/2011 Leave a comment

Here is an addendum to some thoughts on this story

By Elad Benari – “Middle East expert Professor Eyal Zisser warned on Monday against a possible Syrian attack on Israel, if President Bashar Assad feels threatened by the anti-regime protesters.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Zisser said that in the short term there is no reason for particular concern, because a situation which is bad for Assad is good for Israel as this means that the Syrian president is preoccupied with his internal affairs and not with attacking Israel.

Zisser added that the concern is in the long run, because it is quite possible that a desperate Assad may decide to rally his people around a common enemy, namely Israel.

Referring to Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s comments on Sunday that the end of Assad’s rule is approaching and that it would be a ‘blessing for the Middle East,’ Prof. Zisser said that these remarks do not have any special meaning for the Syrians as they do not pay attention to remarks made by an Israeli defense minister.

He also spoke of the interview Assad gave last week to ABC News, in which he told veteran journalist Barbara Walters that ‘no government in the world [would] kill its people unless it’s led by a crazy person.’ Zisser explained that the interview is a direct continuation of an attempt by Assad’s men to show him as an enlightened person who is different from his father. This attempt, he said, has been ongoing since Assad took over power from his father.” Read more.

Report: Syria Arms Medium-Range Missile Arsenal with Chemical Warheads – “The Syrian regime, which has endured nine months of civil unrest spurred by the Arab Spring as it swept across the Middle East, has armed its medium-range missile arsenal with chemical warheads. According to a report published by the Sabah daily Sunday, Damascus armed 600 one-ton chemical warheads to use in the event of a foreign military intervention. Furthermore, President Bashar al-Assad ordered the deployment of 21 missile launchers along its border with Turkey. Syria’s medium-range missiles that can be equipped with chemical warheads have a range of up to 1,300 kilometers…” Read more.

Liege Under Seige: Guns and Grenades Leave at Least Two Dead, Dozens Wounded in Belgium

12/13/2011 Leave a comment

Some reports are now saying at least four dead, including the gunman …

“The attack took place around noon on Saint-Lambert square, home to the town’s courthouse and located near a busy Christmas market, Belga news agency said.

A two-year-old child is reportedly fighting for life in hospital. Six other victims are said to be gravely injured.

One of two or more assailants threw stun grenades into the courthouse while another was hurled at a bus shelter, RTL-TV1 said.

Shots were fired across the square by gunmen posted on the rooftop of a bakery shop, with further shots heard later from across town.

Police cordoned off the square and gave chase to the assailants, one of whom was reportedly killed. The gunmen are thought to be hiding in Liege cathedral.

aspard Grosjean, a journalist for La Meuse Liege on the scene, told The Daily Telegraph there was panic and confusion on the streets of Liege.

‘There is at least one dead and the attacker. Police are looking for another shooter. There are lots of ambulances and many casualties – at least 10 people.'” Read more.

Belgium attack: grenades thrown at bus-stop in Liège – “The death toll from the attack has risen to four, including the attacker, according to police sources quoted in the local media. The identities of the victims are not yet known, but a press conference is due to begin at 4pm local time during which a clearer picture should be formed. Meanwhile the Belgian authorities have quashed speculation about any terrorist links with the Liege attack. Sudpresse, the new site that was the first to name the alleged attacker as Nordine Amrani, is now reporting that his car was found by police on the place Saint Lambert.” Read more.

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