January 2007

Escalation in Lebanon and Iran

Lebanon

On January 22, 2007, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah, came out with a front-page headline declaring "Tomorrow All of Lebanon Will Be Immersed in Rage." The daily reported that "tomorrow, Lebanon will enter a new phase in the internal political conflict that has foreign aspects. On Tuesday, the opposition will launch a new, high-quality wave of activity which now aims to topple the [current] government and to promote the establishment of a new [one]." According to the daily, the opposition's plan of action, starting tomorrow, includes "blocking main and secondary roads all over Lebanon, from the north to the south, including the Beqa' valley and [the capital] Beirut... The roads will be blocked with tires... This will be accompanied by demonstrations on the roads and at [major] junctions: the resident of each region will stay in their area and block the roads there... so that traffic will be completely paralyzed."

Opposition leader Suleiman Frangieh said that "the demonstration [tomorrow] will be only a prelude to other activities... We want the present situation to change, and the Lebanese public is therefore called upon to be ready [to act] on Tuesday in order to change the situation... God willing, Siniora's bones and legs will shake in the next few days... [The March 14 Forces] will see some things that they have not yet seen. Whoever is willing to heed our call and go on strike – we thank him. As for those who do not wish to participate [in the strike], we thank them as well, but we have the right to boycott them. Anyone who chooses to go to work [as usual] should consider how he will get back home."

Source: Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 22, 2007


Iran

The January 22, 2006 editorial of the Iranian daily Kayhan, titled "Is War on the Way?" stated: "... Even though all signs indicate that America's threats of a military strike against Iran are [nothing but] psychological warfare... the option [of a military strike], however remote, must not be discounted. The Iranian leaders must [prepare] Iran's resources and levers of power, and place them on the alert [for action], while preparing all the means and making all the necessary arrangements for the fateful day which may come... Fortunately, we are already prepared and on alert... The victory of Hizbullah – which is the symbol of Iran's strength – in its 33-day war in Lebanon, and the political and security earthquake in Israel, are [facts] that cannot be denied...

"The Americans must be warned of the terrible consequences that await them and their allies should they act foolishly. The American soldiers [stationed] to the east and west of the Iranian [border] are within the range of our fire. [When] missiles are launched from Iran, Israel will become a scorching hell for the Zionists, [in which they will burn] before reaching actual Hell. Some 24 million oil barrels, out of the 30 million barrels produced daily by OPEC, pass through the Strait of Hormuz. Some of the Arab states in the region... will not only face a large economic and social crisis – their very existence will be in serious danger...

"The clever and civilized people of Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and large parts of Saudi Arabia will make use of this security crisis in the region, [seizing it] as the best possible opportunity to take revenge upon their governments. The Americans, of course, have already tasted the bitter taste of a military conflict with Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. Back then, the Islamic [republic] of Iran was a newly-born state with limited resources and capabilities, [whereas] today..."

The conservative Iranian news agency Mehr published the following statements:

Heshmatollah Falahat-Pishe, member of the Parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said: "The military threat to Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz is a threat to 46% of the world's energy [supply], which passes through [this region] – considered to be the most strategic [energy route] in the world... Instability in this region may undermine world economy, and it is Iran, more than any other [country], which holds the key to the safety of this strategic waterway... Under certain circumstances of insecurity, difficulties will soon arise at the Strait, and the flow of oil will cease..."

"The countries that host the American soldiers in the region are considered to bear the chief responsibility for the insecurity of the Persian Gulf [region]..."

Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezai said: "The Iranian people will deal a resounding slap to the incompetent [leaders] handling [their] affairs, and will evict them from the scene... [But] at the same time, they will deal America 10 slaps in the face, so that it will never be able to [return to the region]..."

Majlis Energy Committee Chairman Kamal Daneshyar said: "Iran has total control over the Strait of Hormuz which is the most important route supplying energy to the West... If the American forces take any action aimed at harming Iran's interests, we will [forcefully] defend our interests in this region, and jeopardize America's security in the Persian Gulf region."

Sources: Kayhan, Iran, January 22, 2007 and Mehr News Agency, Iran, January 20, 2007

Date Posted: January 22, 2007
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Internet Video: Children Acting Out Saddam's Execution

January 22, 2007, an Islamist website posted a film showing children acting out Saddam's execution. As the "executors" lead "Saddam" to the "gallows," calls such as "May you go to Hell, O tyrant" are heard in the background. When the staged execution is about to take place, "Saddam" proclaims twice: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger."

Date Posted: January 22, 2007
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Report: Gates Tells Saudis that Iraqi National Unity Gov't Will Stop "Iranian Expansion"

A senior Pentagon official accompanying U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on his visit to Saudi Arabia has told Agence France Press that Gates has assured his Saudi interlocutors that the establishment of a national unity government in Iraq will help serve as a dam to stop "Iranian expansion in the region."

The official also said that the Saudis were upset with U.S. policies in Iraq and with the situation in Iraq in general.

Source: Al-Ridyn, January 22, 2007

Date Posted: January 22, 2007
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Mahdi Army Spokesman: Palestinians Out of Iraq

Muhammad al-Husseini, the spokesman for Muqtada Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, has issued "the final warning" to Palestinians residing in Iraq to leave the country within a month, or "pay the price."

Source: Sotaliraq.com, January 22, 2007


Meanwhile, Palestinian PM Isma'il Haniya, of Hamas, has sent a letter to the heads of Arab and Muslim countries and to the secretaries-general of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to intervene on behalf of the Palestinians in Iraq because of the threats to their lives.

Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, January 22, 2007

Date Posted: January 22, 2007
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Gulf States To Establish Contact With IAEA To Advance Gulf Nuclear Program

The Kuwaiti paper Al-Siyassa reported that the secretary of the Gulf Cooperation Council has announced that in the coming weeks there will be contacts with senior members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the aim of advancing the Gulf states' nuclear program.

Source: Al-Siyassa, Kuwait, January 21, 2007

Date Posted: January 22, 2007
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Al-Mustaqbal Leader Asks Lebanese Not To Participate In Opposition Strike Tomorrow

Sa'd Al-Hariri, who heads the Lebanese party Al-Mustaqbal, has called on the Lebanese people not to respond to the opposition's call for a general strike tomorrow and to continue with their daily lives. He said that Tuesday, January 23, must be a regular day of work, production, and studies, as a response to the opposition's coup plans.

Source: Al-Mustaqbal, Lebanon, January 22, 2007

Date Posted: January 22, 2007
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Senior Lebanese Opposition Member: Jan. 23 To Be "A Decisive Day"

According to the Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah, senior Lebanese opposition member Suleiman Faranjiya has said that tomorrow, January 23, will be "a decisive day and a day of change." He called on the Lebanese people to be prepared tomorrow to change the existing situation. He promised that "the eyelids, feet, and bones of [Lebanese PM Fuad] Al-Siniora will tremble in the coming days" and that Tuesday would be the beginning, and that the people of the regime "will see what they have not seen to date." He also threatened that the opposition was fully entitled to boycott anyone who did not cooperate in tomorrow's strike.

Source: Al-Akhbar, Lebanon, January 22, 2007

Date Posted: January 22, 2007
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Paper: Tomorrow's Escalation – Roads To Be Blocked Throughout Lebanon

The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah, has reported that the opposition's plan for the escalation scheduled to begin for tomorrow includes blocking major and secondary thoroughfares throughout Lebanon – in the north, in the south, in the Beq'a, and in Beirut. Roads will be blocked with tires collected in various areas.

In addition, there are to be demonstrations at various intersections and roads; residents of all areas will block the roads where they live, thus completely paralyzing traffic.

Source: Al-Akhbar, Lebanon, January 22, 2007

Date Posted: January 22, 2007
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Sadrist Party Ends Boycott of Gov't, Parliament

The party of Shi'ite leader in Iraq Muqtada Al-Sadr has announced that it is halting its boycott of the government and parliament, after they responded to its demands.

Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, January 22, 2007

Date Posted: January 22, 2007
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Paper: Islamic Jihad Says 7 Qassams First Volley of "Operation Red Rose"

The military arm of the Islamic Jihad organization has claimed that the firing of seven midrange Qassam missiles at Ashkelon and Sderot was the first volley of "Operation Red Rose," in response to "the Israeli violations."

Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, January 22, 2007

Date Posted: January 22, 2007
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