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Middle East Press (20 Jan 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Sponsoring a Syrian Refugee Is All the Rage in Canada: New Age Islam’s Selection, 20 January 2016




New Age Islam Edit Bureau

20 January 2016

Sponsoring a Syrian Refugee Is All the Rage in Canada

By Antonia Zerbisias

Obama’s Historic Mistake Has Dire Repercussions

By Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

Arabs in the Eye of History

By Marwan Bishara

It Could Only Happen In America

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Hezbollah Hastens To Defend the Indefensible

By Diana Moukalled

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Sponsoring a Syrian Refugee Is All the Rage in Canada

By Antonia Zerbisias

19 Jan 2016

Last September, after the photograph of three-year-old Alan Kurdi's body on that Turkish beach hit the world's front pages, the top Google search term in Canada was, "How to sponsor a Syrian?"

The news media here, in the midst of covering a federal election campaign, jumped all over the Kurdi story. Not just because it was tragic, nor because of the Kurdi family's Canadian connection through the toddler's Vancouver-based aunt, but because the country, bitterly divided over the former Conservative government’s attitudes towards Muslims, suddenly didn't recognise itself as the welcoming, multicultural nation it had long believed itself to be.

And so, on TV, online and in print, there were stories on how many refugees were expected, how few the Stephen Harper regime had approved, and how Canadians, individually, in groups and as part of community organisations, could sponsor Syrian refugee families.

Family of dead refugee child reach Canada

Then, on October 19, 2015, the Harper Conservatives were defeated and the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau swept to power.

Syrian Refugee Fundraising

Immigration organisations such as Lifeline Syria were flooded with phone calls. Settlement services scrambled to produce handbooks and hold seminars on sponsorship. Children began competing in a "1,000 Schools Challenge" to each bring in a family.

People banded together in "Groups of Five" to raise the estimated $30,000 it takes to privately sponsor families of four. Churches, mosques and synagogues partnered to bring in refugees. Business stepped up, with funding, free mobile phones and furniture.

Property companies reserved hundreds of apartments. One entrepreneur pledged more than $1m to sponsor 50 families.

While the media were running feel-good stories about the sponsor application rush, anybody scanning the comments sections would find very different attitudes indeed.

During the election campaign, Trudeau had promised to settle 25,000 refugees by the end of the year. That would prove to be impossible. Refugees can't row in crowded dinghies or stream over borders here as they do in Europe. They must come in by plane. It takes logistics. Which is why, despite the enthusiasm of many Canadians, the goal of 25,000 was trimmed to 10,000 by December 31, with the remainder due to land by March 2016.

True, many Canadians were resistant, split especially following the November bombings in Paris. So, while the media were running feel-good stories about the sponsor application rush, anybody scanning the comments sections would find very different attitudes indeed.

In early December, however, when Trudeau turned up at Toronto's Pearson International Airport to greet the first arrivals and help them into warm coats, the country's collective heart melted, its national pride burst.

Doors Slammed Shut

Sure there were bumps. A sponsorship group in Oakville, Ontario found doors slammed shut when it sought housing for its refugee family.

In Vancouver, in what has been deemed a "hate crime", 15 men, women and children were pepper-sprayed at a welcome ceremony. The New Year's Eve sexual assault rampage allegedly committed by recent arrivals in Cologne triggered a wave of fear and loathing.

But the planes kept landing.

According to Canada Immigration and Citizenship, as of January 14, 10,790 refugees have arrived, about half of them Christian, approximately half privately sponsored. Private groups are still submitting some 200 sponsorship applications a week.

Last Wednesday, Joe Jacobs' Syrian family landed.

The Muslim couple and their eight children, who range in age from weeks-old to 17 years, had fled Daraa in south-western Syria where the father was a baker. They arrived to shiver in sub-zero weather but to bask in a warm welcome.

"Our group was supposed to get 24 to 48 hours' notice that they were coming but we got a phone call saying that they were waiting at the hotel; we had to be there within the hour," Jacobs tells Al Jazeera. "Luckily we had made preparations ahead of time."

The Toronto teacher is part of a "Group of Five" that connected through their children's school. They raised money from others and contributed their own funds to bring in the family whose identity they are protecting. They are committed for one year to aid the newcomers with everything from finding housing, schools, jobs and language lessons to introducing them to the city and culture.

Media Frenzy

Jacobs is realistic about the challenges ahead: "You have to provide the support part but you can't be too paternalistic about it. You don't want to treat them as the wretched people of the earth. It is such a difficult position to be placed in where you're dependent on people where you really shouldn't have needed to be and you're expected to be so grateful. And I think that a danger with the whole programme a bit is that Canadians are trying to be very generous but need to be careful that these people are not treated as playthings; that these people should have what they need."

As for what he calls the "euphoria" and media frenzy over Canada's apparent acceptance of refugees, Jacobs is wary.

"It seems to be all about us," he observes. "There seems to be a lot of focus on how wonderful we are to be doing this sort of thing when, for example, part of the discussion for our [refugee] family is, 'How are we going to help these people to rise out of a certain level of poverty here in Canada?' These families have a really tough row to hoe ahead and I'm not sure how much Canada and the Canadians who are sponsoring are understanding of that."

What worries Jacobs is not so much that the refugees adjust to Canada - although that's critical - but that Canada adjusts to them.

"Last week, when we all were getting on a bus, the driver was like 'Holy ****!' and was just looking at them; it was such a negative reaction," he recalls. "The family didn't understand but we certainly saw that a negative view is out there. I don't know how predominant it is, but it has the potential to grow when the euphoria dies down."

Jane Philpott, the health minister, seemed unconcerned last week when she declared: "The integration phase is ultimately the most important phase, to make sure that these Syrian refugees become well integrated into Canadian culture, that they understand our cultural values and practices ...

"The question to me is more can the people of Montreal and Toronto handle this?" Jacobs says. "It's not so much whether the system can. It's whether Canada allows these people to live in poverty or will support them to become economically integrated members of society.

"And if they don't, the question then becomes why did we say we're going to accept them?"

Antonia Zerbisias is an award-winning Canadian journalist. She has been a reporter and TV host for the Toronto Star, the CBC, as well as the Montreal correspondent for Variety trade paper.

Source: aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/01/sponsor-syrian-refugee-canada-top-google-search-160118071153769.html

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Obama’s Historic Mistake Has Dire Repercussions

By Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

20 January 2016

The deed has been done. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the nuclear deal, the key to the lifting of sanctions against the country.

Iran’s parliamentarians are hugging each other; most U.S. Republican lawmakers are highly skeptical if not downright enraged at what they perceive to be a deal with the devil. President Hassan Rowhani says Iran “has opened a new chapter” in its relations with the world while hailing the sanctions-lifting “a glorious victory”.

It certainly is a victory for Iran, especially when the IAEA stated that its nuclear weapons ambitions were shelved nine years ago. Not only does it stand to receive its frozen assets worth around $100 billion, global corporations, including major oil giants, are queuing up to negotiate lucrative deals. Moreover, Iran has reportedly been stockpiling oil to flood the market; this at a time when a glut has driven down prices.

President Barack Obama has sought to silence the deal’s critics asserting Iran’s implementation of the agreement “marks a fundamental shift in circumstances with respect to Iran’s nuclear program”. This is nothing but a red herring. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry were pushing for a U.S.-Iranian detente long before they took office.

In fact, I predicted this dark day – so detrimental to Arab interests and security – would come years ago. At its core, this has little to do with nuclear weapons and all to do with facilitating Iran becoming a regional power in league with Washington to exert control over Arab states, Saudi Arabia and Gulf states in particular, and to rebalance regional power in America’s favour.

Iranian-born American academic and author Vali Nasr warned of an upcoming showdown between Iran and Saudi Arabia in his book "The Shia Revival" claiming that Iran’s growing strength and reach makes it a preferred U.S. partner because it is too strong to destroy and should be brought onside with engagement rather than confrontation.

Obama’s former Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel was quoted saying, “the United States must find a new regional diplomatic strategy to deal with Iran that integrates our regional allies, military power and economic leverage.”

‘Grand Bargain’

I am convinced there is much more to this narrow deal than meets the eye. I shared my concerns of a potential ‘Grand Bargain’ in a report to Gulf leaderships during June 2013 and I have laid out my fears in numerous columns since. If I was concerned then, I am deeply disturbed now. This is one time I hate to be right.

However, faced with this fait accompli the Arab world must join forces to shore up its defences. Thankfully, there are concrete moves in that direction. Saudi Arabia has woken up to the dangers following Iran’s direct interference in its internal affairs not to mention its use of proxies in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. I am somewhat relieved that a Joint Arab Force is on the table and a Muslim anti-terrorism coalition has been formed with the participation of 34 predominately Muslim states.

Sad to say that among our sister nations there are those enjoying close relationships with Iran in a less than transparent way. We know that behind the scenes they have been furthering Iranian interests during its years of virtual isolation. Now they are no longer needed, it is only a matter of time before Iran turns on them too. They need to be cautioned by the GCC and if they continue their pro-Iranian policies, then we have no choice but to build a Trump-style wall between us and them.

Most importantly, Saudi Arabia and Gulf states can no longer rely on mere verbal assurances from their U.S. ally purporting to be their protector when President Obama and his Secretary of State celebrate the release of billions of dollars to the biggest supporter of terrorism in our times. Obama has admitted that there are no guarantees that a portion of those billions will not go to advance Iran’s ideological and territorial ambitions within the region.

Hezbollah, which the U.S. has generously removed from its terrorist blacklist, will continue its killing spree in Syria and Iraq with impunity and will be free to transform Lebanon into an Iranian province. Iran’s efforts to grab control of Yemen and Bahrain, upon which it has made successive territorial claims, will be strengthened by mega sums of cash.

Friends’ Concerns

Obama is aware the money will be spent on terrorism and the further destabilisation of the Middle East and in particular the Gulf, but has ignored the concerns of America’s friends in his rush to seal a narrow agreement, which fails to take Iran’s crimes into account.

Obama has tried to placate GCC countries with an invitation to heads of states to meet with him at his Camp David retreat. Just last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir to persuade him there is nothing to worry about. According to press reports he is not buying this argument especially since the Obama administration expressed its “dismay” over the execution of convicted terrorist Nimr al-Nimr while seeming less dismayed over the torching of the Kingdom’s embassy and consulate by rabble suspected of being in the regime’s pay.

The U.S. must put its money where its mouth is. Sweet words partnered with yet more offers of weapon sales will not provide us with a good night’s sleep. Basically, our governments must receive clarification from Mr. Obama whether the U.S. is with us or with Iran. We must demand that the White House proves it genuinely has our interests at heart by leaning on Tehran to comply with the following measures:

• The official severing of Iran’s relationship with Hezbollah, which is strangling Lebanon and has chosen the wrong sides in both Syria and Iraq.

• An end to Iran’s arming and financial support of Houthis in Yemen.

• A commitment from Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei to dismantle its terrorist cells within Gulf states and to quit their infiltration with spies.

• Tehran’s agreement to negotiate the independence of Arabistan, renamed Khuzestan following Iran’s seizure, so that the Ahwazi Arab population, which has been reduced to third-class citizens, can regain their independence, natural resources and dignity.

• Iran’s acceptance that the body of water it refers to as the “Persian Gulf” is henceforth known as the “Arabian Gulf” given that 85 percent of the population of countries surrounding the Gulf (including Ahwazi Arabs) are Arab.

I must point out that I have nothing against the Iranian people of whatever faith or sect. They have all been oppressed socially, economically and politically since 1979 when the Ayatollah Khomeini turned up to send the country back to the Middle Ages. Despite its wealth, up to 55 percent of urban Iranians live under the poverty line. People there live in fear in a country where women are stoned, men hung from cranes in public places and even poets and song writers are jailed and lashed.

Given that the U.S., which fought hard for the deal, is now Iran’s prime benefactor, the Obama administration should find ways to ensure the billions of dollars released are used to build the economy, improve infrastructure and create jobs. It must tie any future rapprochement to an improvement in Iran’s miserable human rights record.

I look forward to the day when the Iranian people reject their fanatical regime and reclaim freedom and prosperity they enjoyed under the Shah. Only then should Iran be welcomed into the community of nations – and in that event I will be celebrating too.

Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor is a prominent UAE businessman and public figure. He is Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group - one of the most successful conglomerates in the Gulf. Al Habtoor is renowned for his knowledge and views on international political affairs; his philanthropic activity; his efforts to promote peace; and he has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad. Writing extensively on both local and international politics, he publishes regular articles in the media and has released a number of books. Al-Habtoor began his career as an employee of a local UAE construction firm and in 1970 established his own company, Al Habtoor Engineering. The UAE Federation, which united the seven emirates under the one flag for the first time, was founded in 1971 and this inspired him to undertake a series of innovative construction projects – all of which proved highly successful.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2016/01/20/Obama-s-historic-mistake-has-dire-repercussions.html

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Arabs in the Eye of History

By Marwan Bishara

19 Jan 2016

When the Arab Spring swept through the Middle East five years ago, progress seemed inevitable and the contagion unstoppable. But then everything started to regress and now looks destined to go from bad to worse unless we identify why and how something so divine turned so ugly so fast.

Unfortunately, the most peddled answers one hears nowadays are also the most flawed.

In the Middle East, the conspiracy theorists blame the West's intervention and manipulation of a misguided Arab youth who bought into its subversive ideas. And in the West, smug, told-you-so cynics repeat the same derisive clichés: the Arabs are hopeless; Islam is incompatible with democracy.

Some see the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL) as proof of their scepticism of the democratic promise of the Arab Spring, and advocate support for Arab autocracy, proclaiming its security apparatuses the essential bulwark against chaos.

But that is a misreading of history.

What Went Wrong?

The Arab Spring was an authentic and potent response to United States neoconservative attempts to spread democracy on the back of US tanks. It showed the world that millions of Arabs, Christian and Muslim, are just as passionate as citizens of Western democracies are about the universal values of human rights, justice and political freedom. To claim otherwise is either ignorant, or racist.

READ MORE: The Roundabout Revolutions: When Tahrir goes to Gwangju

If the young leaders of the Arab rebellion are at fault, it's not because they dared to act, but rather because they didn't act vigorously enough. For example, they failed to turn their slogans into political programmes and form political parties to rally the support of the wider public around their democratic vision.

If the young leaders of the Arab rebellion are at fault, it's not because they dared to act, but rather because they didn't act vigorously enough.

Predictably, given the absence of a civil society space for opposition movements, when the grip of autocracy was breached, older and better-organised Islamist groups rushed to fill the void. Those groups failed to heed the sentiment expressed in the streets and squares of the Arab world.

Instead of embracing pluralism and strengthening the democratic process, the Islamists were seen as seeking to monopolise power, albeit through the ballot box.

But the fallout from the Islamist-secular divide could have been contained peacefully, as in Tunisia, if only the ancient regime had accepted the principle of peaceful transition towards a more just society and representative democracy. It didn't. As expected.

How It Got So Ugly

The old political, business and military elites - the so-called "deep state" - worked to subvert the democratic process and resorted to extreme violence in the cases of Syria, Libya, Yemen and Egypt, in the belief that they could bludgeon their way back to stability.

When that didn't work, they redefined their oppression, as a much-needed anti-terror campaign.

And ISIL was more than happy to provide the alibi for dictators to continue to repress their people. If ISIL didn't exist, it would have been necessary to invent it. But was that really the case?

Meanwhile, the region continues to unravel at terrible cost of life and property because defenders of the status quo have failed to grasp the historic transformation their repression has helped to trigger.

What began as peaceful calls for freedom, justice and jobs became revolutionary challenges that exposed the rottenness of the post-colonial regional order of Arab states.

The failure of the Arab Spring to transform those states peacefully has quickened the erosion of the entire system of the post-colonial nation state. Not necessarily a bad thing if it led to region-wide Arab unity, but in reality, it is creating new rifts within the colonial partitions.

By eschewing a relatively painless path towards political change, the security states put the region on a course towards a more painful transition. Chaos and insecurity have pushed people to seek refuge in tribal, ethnic and other primordial affiliations that undermine state legitimacy and threaten to reshape the entire region. It's a process that started in Iraq after the US invasion of the country in 2003.

Powers beyond The Pale

The region is now in the throes of what Condoleezza Rice, George Bush's secretary of state, memorably (if mistakenly at the time) called "the birth pangs of a new Middle East".

And there is a lot of blame to go around for the region's descent into a series of interlocking ethnic and sectarian proxy wars. Especially those players with high stakes and few scruples, such as those ruling in Moscow and Tehran.

But unlike Western powers, Russia and Iran never claimed to support or stand for the values and aspiration of the Arab Spring. Indeed, they have been consistently dead set against them.

However, US President Barack Obama, who has been marked by his predecessor's military blunders and preoccupied by negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme, has insisted that no good can come of intervening in distant civil wars. And while he may be right, there is much the West could have done to stop the deterioration and reduce the pain. 

For example, the US could have acted early and decisively against ISIL before it exploited the chaos and entrenched itself in vast areas of Iraq and Syria, by providing sufficient support to the secular or so-called moderate opposition.

He should have at least spoken forcefully in defence of the oppressed Egyptian youth, and helped to impose a no-fly zone to protect the Syrian people from the daily barrel bombings.

As the US and others held back, the situation deteriorated dangerously, the death toll rose and the prospects for a decent outcome dimmed.

Obama's hesitation on Syria was underscored by the lesson he said he had learned from the Libya debacle ...

Obama's hesitation on Syria was underscored by the lesson he said he had learned from the Libya debacle - that toppling a dictator without extensive, patient involvement in managing the aftermath was a recipe for an even more dangerous civil war.

After five years of turmoil and bloodshed and 50 years of dictatorships, one might not expect the West to act decisively in the spirit of the Arab Spring, but at least to refrain from selling expensive military hardware, as the US and France have done to the likes of the bankrupt Egyptian regime.

Silver Lining

But the US and Russia are not paying attention.

Neither Egyptian General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, nor any of the regional dictators such as Syria's Assad are able to restore stability or security, let alone bring prosperity to their peoples.

They have violently suppressed opposition with total impunity, but have failed to tame the spirit of change.

When Assad and Sisi held elections, the turnout figures show that Syrians and Egyptians voted with their feet. Their fall is only a matter of time, but the substitute or the alternative, it seems, will be transitional at best.

The Arab world is going through an historic transformation that is certain to take more time and many lives, alas. But judging from other similar experiences in other areas and eras, history is not on the side of violent tyrannies of the Arab region.

Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.

Source: aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/01/arabs-eye-history-160119093305885.html

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It Could Only Happen In America

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Jan 20, 2016

Last September, a 14-year-old boy whose interest is robotics and who wanted to impress his teacher, made a homemade clock out of scrap material to take to school to display to his class.  But when he showed it to his teacher, all hell broke loose and school administrators at the MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas alerted police because they thought the device Ahmed that had built was a bomb.

The boy, Ahmed Mohamed, a Muslim of African origin from the Sudan, was then confronted by the arrival of five Dallas police officers who immediately arrested and handcuffed him and took him to jail. The school suspended him as well.  He was not allowed to contact his family during questioning.  Ahmed was then sent off to a juvenile detention center where he was fingerprinted and his mugshot taken before he was finally released to his parents.

The 14-hour ordeal alarmed the boy to a degree that perhaps most of us would not understand.  As he told reporters later, it was “very sad” that his teacher thought his clock was a threat. “I built a clock to impress my teacher but when I showed it to her she thought it was a threat to her. I’m very sad that she got the wrong impression of it.”  His ordeal soon hit social media and generated a huge wave of protest at the manhandling of this student with cries of racial profiling and Islamophobia.  The publicity brought its own rewards, however, when Ahmed was invited to meet President Barack Obama at the White House not long after the incident.

Now flash forward to a few months later.  In early January of this year, armed white men seized the headquarters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, a parcel of land that is owned and managed by the US Federal government.  These armed militia men kept US Forest Rangers at bay threatening to kill if necessary. Calling the land “ours”, the Malheur invaders said that they wanted to put control of public land in the hands of ranchers and local governments.

This armed militia, led by an out-of-state Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan, “wants the federal government to relinquish lands so that ranchers can graze their cattle and log more freely.”  They want to privatize land for their use instead of leaving it for the benefit of all.

The response of the US government should have been immediate.  This was an armed invasion of federal land.  And yet 48 hours into the takeover, there was no measurable response causing the New York Times to wonder why “no effort was made to keep the occupiers from coming and going as they pleased.” The UK Guardian some days later said that “federal authorities were considering plans to cut off power and place the Refuge under siege.”

Inspired by his father Cliven Bundy, a Mormon, who had encroached on public land and was confronted by US Forest Rangers a year earlier and had proclaimed that “The Lord told me … if the sheriff doesn’t take away these arms from federal agents, we the people will have to face these arms in a civil war. This is your chance to straighten this thing up,” Ammon is now in a direct confrontation with the might of the entire US government.

Cliven Bundy once publicly speculated whether African-Americans would have remained better off as slaves. “I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom,” he said.  Such is the ideology of white supremacists.

Almost three weeks after the takeover, the standoff continues. The government’s inaction has created a buzz in social media.  Dismissing the excuses that the authorities want to avoid bloodshed, many Oregonians want this militia to be arrested and charged with trespassing on federal property.  One prominent Oregonian went so far to say that if Bundy and his band were Muslims or black, they would have long been exterminated by the power of the arsenal under US authority.

Fortunately, there is no Ahmed Mohamed this time around to blame Muslims for an act of terrorism, an act that does not seem to warrant an appropriate response.

Source: saudigazette.com.sa/opinion/it-could-only-happen-in-america/

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Hezbollah Hastens To Defend the Indefensible

By Diana Moukalled

20 January 2016

Hezbollah did not hesitate to voice support for Lebanese military court’s shameful decision to release ex-minister Michel Samaha. It did not even wait for the people’s anger and shock to subside over the release of Samaha against whom there was purported to be video evidence showing his involvement in smuggling of explosives into Lebanon from Syria and planning attacks.

Hezbollah’s response has been as strange as the court’s decision. The anger against the decision was described by them as “malicious” and “temperamental”. That’s how Mohammad Raad, the leader of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, put it. True, how can we get angry!

Raad is right in accusing us of being malicious, considering the situation we live through in Lebanon. How ill-tempered we are! How can we condemn the release of a Lebanese politician, who is among the top ranks of the “Axis of the Resistance”, just because he participated in the scheme to assassinate religious and political figures and carry out attacks?

What madness has struck us when we voice surprise that Samaha was released despite evidence against him in this case? This has been as clear an evidence as any we have seen in Lebanon and the region?

Hezbollah and Raad have the right to describe the reaction of many Lebanese people as “temperamental”, and Hezbollah’s miserable media can go on generalizing this rhetoric. In other words, they can downplay the decision to release Samaha and call it a judicial matter.

This must be accepted just the way previous judicial violations have been accepted and thus it must be concluded that all this anger over the release of the ex-minister is nothing more than bad temper.

Vulgar Rhetoric

This rhetoric is all Hezbollah has left when it comes to defending its tasks and positions. It justifies violations by referring to other violations, which they say are nothing compared to the acts of Hezbollah and its media. Hasn’t Hezbollah voiced surprise over our shock because it is besieging the Syrian town of Madaya, and starving its people, and accuse us of remaining silent over the siege of al-Foua and Kefraya?

Why accept one siege and reject another? You must therefore accept all forms of siege and starvation!

Hezbollah has used this kind of vulgar rhetoric to defend a practice which even former head of general security Jamil as-Sayyed could not defend. He clearly stated his discontent over Samaha’s release. So why condemn Samaha’s release when other convicted men have been released in the past? We must not differentiate between criminals and accept them all. This is the logic Hezbollah is confronting us with.

The “Axis of the Resistance” media could not defend the Lebanese military court’s decision as the scandal could not be concealed. All they could do was draw up comparisons with other cases whose evidence and gravity are nothing compared to those related to the Samaha scandal.

The decision to release Samaha finds no precedence in Lebanon’s history. It resembles incidents that happen in North Korea or in dictatorships of the 1970s and in Latin America’s banana republics. This happened in Lebanon at a time when it is no longer possible to cover the scandal of a magnitude of Michel Samaha.

Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV.

english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2016/01/19/Hezbollah-hastens-to-defend-the-indefensible.html

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/middle-east-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/sponsoring-a-syrian-refugee-is-all-the-rage-in-canada--new-age-islam’s-selection,-20-january-2016/d/106051





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