The fall of Sfeira: a major strategic change in the war
By Ghaleb Kandil
The exchange of accusations of treason and cowardice between the armed groups in Syria underlines the strategic importance of the liberation of Sfeira town, southeast of Aleppo, by the Arab Syrian Army and and the national defense units.
In recent months, armed groups had massed in Sfeira large numbers of troops, the best equipped units and those with larger funds. It was al-Nosra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, affiliated with al Qaeda, Liwaa al -Islam, led by Zahran Allouche, Bandar bin Sultan’s man in Syria, Ahrar al-Sham and a local military council affiliated with the free Syrian Army. These groups enjoyed open supply lines to the border with Turkey, from which were sent weapons, ammunition, funds and reinforcement fighters from abroad. The most important support came from Saudi Arabia, according to the foreign press correspondents.
These groups have thrown all their forces into the battle to try to keep Sfeira because of its strategic position. It is indeed an important node controlling the access to the countryside southeast of Aleppo, and is located not far from Aleppo International Airport and the military airport of Koueirès, and is close the Al-Bab area, which controls access to Aleppo.
It is a crucial point of balance within Aleppo and its province, as it is located not far from the defense industries and the supply route that connects the provinces of Hama and Aleppo. In addition, it is located on the axis road communication between Aleppo province and eastern regions, in Raqqa.
For all these reasons, the liberation of Sfeira has decisive impact on the military balance in the country.
The Arab Syrian Army managed to free Sfeira after liberating Khanasser and around a few weeks ago, which allowed it to reopen the supply route Hama-Aleppo, called the "desert road."
The rapid advance of the Syrian army is a proof of its high capacity and its strength, which surprised observers. But it confirms, too, the change in the popular mood of the Syrians, who reject the abuses of extremist groups, torn by internal struggles over the spoils. The collapse of the hostile camp in Syria with the appearance of deep differences between Saudi Arabia on one side, Qatar and Turkey on the other, is another sign of the failure of the universal war against the Syria.
Armed groups fighting the Syrian state are just fronts for foreign powers. They fell into a deep depression after the United States were forced to abandon their aggression plan against Syria. The liberation on will be follow by other victories in different regions of the country.
Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of Hezbollah
«We advise the March 14 alliance to join a cabinet. The situation in Syria would not turn in favor this political movement. March 14 made failed bets since 2005 and now you are betting on Syrian events, and today I tell you that these bets have also failed. We currently accept the 9-9-6 formula for cabinet formation, but when conditions change we might no longer accept it; take advantage of the opportunity. We are being humble by accepting this formula, and now it is your turn to be humble and accept it. Doesn’t this country deserve some sacrifice from you? The caretaker cabinet should meet urgently to tackle outstanding issues, including those of offshore oil exploration and security. But Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati had come under heavy pressure on the issue. What is happening in Tripoli is very saddening to us, and it requires a strict decision by the Lebanese army and everyone must respect the army and cooperate with them. The situation is getting worse due to political and religious fueling of the conflict in Tripoli (...) There will be no military solution in Syria, the acceptable and available solution is political and the way to reach that is through dialogue with no preset conditions. Lebanon and all the region’s countries must push towards a political solution in Syria. Saudi Arabia is seeking to disrupt and postpone the upcoming Geneva 2 conference.»
Nabih Berry, Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament
«Lebanon has a diamond equation, the one of people-army-resistance. The underwater gas must be protected. Two dangers threaten us, Israel first, and terrorism. fed by economic and social crisis, unemployment, lack of jobs and the growing need of our displaced brothers. This is the perfect breeding ground for the growth of terrorism. In Lebanon, I always bet on dialogue. The establishment of trust between Lebanon and Iran will positively affect our country (...) Behind the scenes of the Organization for the Elimination of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, some, unofficially, are considering that Lebanon could be a discharge to the Syrian chemical weapons. We do not think so. No force can impose on us such a solution.»
Walid Joumblatt, MP and Druze leader in Lebanon
«We need to get back to the political initiative of Mr. Nabih Berry, in which he calls for an end to the interaction of all Lebanese actors in the Syrian crisis. This initiative is in line with the political distancing. Unfortunately, the proposal of Mr. Berry has fallen on deaf ears, so we missed another opportunity to go to the dialogue between Lebanese and reunion. It seems that some believe that the clashes between Bab el-Tebbané and Jabal Mohsen could change the course of events in Syria. The equation takes an international dimensions that go beyond some armed elements in Tripoli, and even beyond their sponsors. Some show a contradiction in calling on the government to come together to disarm Tripoli, while refusing any meeting of Cabinet and Parliament under the pretext that it is an outgoing government.»
Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces
«The magic formula Army-People-Resistance is no more. The formula Army-People-Institutions is now the substitute. Interference in Syria is a defeat for Hezbollah. Bashar al-Assad, Nasrallah friend, will not remain in power.»
Ammar Moussawi, head of Hezbollah’s international relations
«Hezbollah supports a political solution in Syria based on the participation of all the parties without preconditions. The statement of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki -moon, about Resolution 1559, lack of rigor and objectivity and reflects a bias. The international community must keep its promises and commitments regarding assistance to refugees.»
Adnan Mansour, caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister
«We told the United Nations delegation that, if invited, Lebanon will attend the conference. It is a national, security, political, social and humanitarian necessity due to the repercussions of the Syrian events on Lebanon. Lebanon should represent the situation affecting it as it is during the conference.»
• General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said that he has established an “indirect” contact with the kidnappers of the two bishops in Syria, and has started the negotiation process to free them. “We managed, about a month ago, to communicate with a person who was able to specify where Bishops Boulos Yazigi and Yuhanna Ibrahim are held, and we have started the negotiations accordingly,” the National News Agency quoted Ibrahim as saying in a statement issued on Tuesday. However, he did not mention an expected date for the Christian figures’ release. Archbishop Yuhanna Ibrahim, head of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Aleppo, and Archbishop Boulos Yazigi, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Aleppo, were kidnapped in a village in northern Syria in late April.
• The Lebanese television channel LBC reported that two car bombs were recently introduced in Lebanon in order to be sent in the Bekaa and the southern suburb of Beirut by the group that planned the attacks. It is not excluded that the car bombs have been already sent to nearby locations of targets that have been assigned to them.
• The National News Agency (official) reported that Lebanese security forces have conducted Wednesday morning raided in a house in the village of Obeidate in Jbeil district, arresting nine Syrians accused of terrorism. An investigation has been opened.
• Syria’s government newspaper Ath-Thawra sais UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is one-eyed and many-tongued. He is acting with unnecessary haste, said an editorial. The envoy has played both sides, as though he wants to please all parties in the same way, forgetting that his role as an international mediator requires him to be neutral.
• Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar claimed that the US is “seriously thinking about opening channels with Damascus” following his meeting with UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus. However, Haidar added that “it is too early to talk about that, especially since the US has not ceased supporting the opposition politically and in the media," Russia Today quoted him as saying in a press conference. Haidar’s comments came the same day Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired Deputy Premier Qadri Jamil for conducting unauthorized meetings abroad, an implicit reference to Jamil’s meeting with US pointman for Syria Robert Ford on Saturday to discuss proposed Geneva peace talks.
As Safir (Lebanese daily, Arab nationalist)
Imad Marmal (October 28, 2013)
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berry described as "unacceptable and baseless remarks" accusations that he would seek to establish a parliamentary power. "It is not normal and it is not acceptable that the legislative power is held hostage to the mood of the person of the Prime Minister, whoever he is, so that he could torpedo the House and some 30 public institutions if he decides to resign," he added. "I will not allow that the work of the Parliament, which is a sovereign institution, be paralyzed because of such a resignation," said Mr. Berry. "Of course, I am the President of Parliament but I do not represent alone this institution. Do not judge the role of the House starting from the position that some may have of me. If Saad Hariri, Fouad Siniora or Najib Mikati occupy the post of prime minister, that does not mean they summarize alone the Council of Ministers", he added.
An Nahar (Lebanese daily close to March-14 coalition)
Ibrahim Bayram (October 30, 2013)
The issues outlined by the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in his last televised interview, is a novelty in the speech of Hezbollah leader. The first development, is the indirect invitation by Sayyed Nasrallah to the leader of the Future Movement Saad Hariri to return to Beirut. This call was preceded by a similar call made by the Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berry. This is a serious invitation. Sayyed Nasrallah began to adopt a new approach, convinced that the page of the past has been turned and that the signs of a new era begin to loom on the horizon. During his last television speech, he appeared to outline the contours of a new roadmap for the coming period, especially internally. He called his critics to go to the evidence and accept the constraints of the current situation and not delay to accept what is offered to them, because the future might hold their developments that might not be in their interest. Some believe that this approach shows that Hezbollah will change the rules of the game and the basis of his relationship with his opponents.
Another novelty, Sayyed Nasrallah allusion to the fact that a page of seven years, dating back to the adoption of resolution 1559, has been turned. In reaching this conclusion, Sayyed Nasrallah relied on several internal and external data. The progress made on the ground in Syria is undoubtedly one of the most important factors of restored confidence by Hezbollah. But on the internal scene as many other factors reassure the party. For example, in Tripoli, where the opponent, who wanted to stoke the fires to exhaust March-8 alliance, including Hezbollah, has failed to achieve this goal. Instead, the events in this city are negatively reflected on Tripoli leading figures of March-14 coalition.
An Nahar (October 28, 2013)
Rosanna Bou Mouncef
Diplomatic reports emphasizing that negotiations between Tehran and Washington will focus on two fields: the Iranian nuclear issue, which is that Iran give up its nuclear ambitions in exchange for the cancellation of international sanctions imposed; the normalization of bilateral relations between Iran and the United States in exchange for recognition by Washington the strategic interests of Tehran in the Middle East. The same sources believe that this means that the United States will continue to recognize the influence of Iran in Iraq and will consider its influence in Syria and protect its interests in this country, regardless of the nature of who is leading Syria after the crisis. There is the same for Lebanon. It is therefore to return to Iran almost all the cards and confirm its zones of influence, known as the "Shiite crescent." Diplomatic sources believe that there will be no obstacles impeding such a process, except perhaps the strong objections of Israel and the influence it could have on the U.S. Congress to bring it to put pressure Obama on in this regard.
Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance)
Yahya Dbouk (November 2, 2013)
When it comes to natural gas, Israel is ahead of Lebanon by three full years – as the Israelis would calculate it – but perhaps by more than 20 years, if one is to go with complacent Lebanese timing. While Lebanon is busy with endless debates, Israel is rushing to put the final touches on its bid to export gas to Europe.
Israel has rejected a proposal for a settlement made by the US administration to resolve the “dispute” between the Jewish state and Lebanon over the boundaries of each side’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The proposal concerned the disputed area of Block 9 in the Mediterranean, which Israel claims sovereignty over.
The Israeli financial newspaper Globes, which broke the news of Israel’s snub of the US proposal on Tuesday, October 29, reported, “The continuation of the dispute will delay development of Lebanon’s Block 9.”
In other words, Israel is obstructing any progress on Block 9 – if it cannot exploit it itself, then it will not allow anyone else to do so.
While Globes did not provide details of the settlement, its report mentioned that the newspaper had contacted Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials for clarification, only to be told, “We do not comment on the matter due to its sensitivity.”
The newspaper mentioned that the disputed area, which covers 850 square kilometers north of Israel’s Alon license, is likely to contain gas reserves similar in scale to Israel’s Tamar gas field. Globes also stated that Lebanon, which refuses to demarcate its maritime boundaries in accordance with the Israeli interpretation, had signed an agreement with Cyprus in September 2010 that supports Israel’s interpretation, though it was not ratified by the Lebanese parliament.
Meanwhile, Israel continues its quest to tap into the European market, with the last of the obstacles to do so now cleared. According to recent Israeli media reports, Israel’s efforts in recent months focused on practical plans to transport gas to the European market, and are now way beyond the phase of exploration and drilling for gas. Israel is determined to make Europe a key player in Israel’s gas production, liquefaction, marketing, and transportation, specifically through the Cypriot gateway.
Consistent reports from both Cyprus and Israel indicate that Israel has made great strides in this vein, with special American backing. The practical interpretation of US-Cypriot agreements emerged on Wednesday, October 30.
According to Globes, Cyprus made a special request to turn the island into a transit station for Israeli gas bound for Europe, with confirmation that Israel accepted the request, and even initiated negotiations to find a mechanism for implementation. The two sides are expected to sign a special agreement in this regard in the next few months.
The newspaper revealed that the Cypriot request was related to Tel Aviv’s consent to allocating minimum volumes of gas produced from Israeli fields to be exported exclusively through Cyprus, after being liquefied in the facility it plans to build on the island, with an investment that may exceed $12 billion.
Globes reported that the Cypriot request was the culmination of three years of negotiations. “A strategic partnership with Israel is considered the best possible conduit to draw foreign investors to the island, and to deter Turkey from harming Cyprus’[s] interests,” stated the article.
Before Cyprus’s interests, the Cypriot liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility serves an Israeli interest, despite all claims to the contrary made by the Israeli media. The LNG facility achieves two strategic advantages for Israel: The facility spares Tel Aviv the need to build a costly underwater pipeline far from the coast, and the LNG facility would enlist two EU member states, Cyprus and Greece, as economic partners in marketing Israeli gas in Europe.
While Lebanon is asleep at the wheel, dreaming of its oil and gas without making any practical moves, Tel Aviv is motoring ahead.
To remind the Lebanese politicians obstructing the exploitation of Lebanon’s oil and gas wealth, we repeat what Al-Akhbar published three years ago, on September 25, 2010.
Israeli Minister Yossi Peled, appearing before the Knesset Economic Committee at a special hearing on the oil and gas sector, said that the Lebanese had large gas fields similar to the ones Israel had discovered. He cautioned that the Europeans, who were looking for alternatives to Russian gas, had initiated negotiations with Lebanon, saying, “Imagine what it would mean if this country became a gas producer,” something he claimed had equally alarming economic and security implications.
Although Israel managed to pinpoint the challenges it faced, it did predict at the time —and wager on— Lebanon’s complacency. In response to Peled’s warnings in the Knesset, Globes , in a front-page editorial on 5 October 2010, stated:
Al Akhbar (November 1, 2013)
Firas Choufi and Marah Mashi
It appears that the much-hyped “Great Battle of Qalamoun” will only take place in the media. While the Syrian army does not deny that it has been mobilizing troops in the vicinity of the Qalamoun district, a Qusayr-like battle is not inevitable. Instead, gradual advances are taking place to spare Qalamoun large-scale devastation.
There are daily battles in Qalamoun, the western Syrian mountain range that extends from the Dreij area in the south to Homs. The mountain range may be seen as part of the Eastern Lebanon Mountains, which link Mount Hermon in the south to the plains of Homs.
In truth, this could be a time when Damascus is most reassured to the movements on the battlefield ever since the Syrian army began its counterattack in November 2012. The plan to establish a safe zone around Damascus by securing eastern and western Ghouta is making headway, and also in Homs, where the Syrian army now controls up to 80 percent of the city, according to Syrian military sources.
In Daraa, which the army considers to be a weak link in its security plans as arms and fighters continue to flow through it to the Damascus countryside, efforts are underway to cut supply routes and secure the city. The fierce shelling sustained throughout the past week against the strongholds of al-Nusra Front and the Army of Islam there can be seen in this context. The situation in Idlib is similar to that of Daraa.
But sources say that the situation in Aleppo and its countryside is quite different from the rest of the battlefronts. Those in charge in Damascus are convinced that the battle of Aleppo cannot be settled by tanks and warplanes, but only by a political agreement, which the sources say “will come sooner or later, compelling Turkey to close the borders and isolate the militants regardless of their affiliations, before the Syrian army begins pursuing them in the vast areas of the north.”
“The Army will keep its hold on the liberated neighborhoods in [Aleppo] and access routes, and attempt to expand the safe zone as much as possible, while continuing military operations and precision targeting of militant weapons caches and command centers.”
Sources say that the army prioritizes its operations, especially in a vast and complex area like Qalamoun. For instance, the army proceeds to first secure the areas that “pose a threat to the army’s main weapons caches, airstrips, or bases, and also the areas that compromise strategic routes, followed by areas that constitute a direct threat to Damascus.”
No doubt, Qalamoun, and its Lebanese extensions in Ersal and the wilderness around it, has become a haven for a large number of Syrian opposition fighters from various affiliations, starting with the Army of Islam, al-Furqan Brigades, and Suqur al-Sham Brigades, and not ending with al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and other militants fleeing the battles in Ghouta. The area also poses a direct risk to the international expressway between Damascus and the governorates of Homs, Hama, Idlib, Tartous, and Latakia.
Subsequently, it is of paramount importance for the Syrian army to retake Qalamoun. But the sources explained how the methods used in the battle of Qusayr and its countryside are not appropriate in Qalamoun’s case, not only because of the different geography, but also because of current political circumstances.
The sources said: “Settling the war in Qusayr was the beginning of a political transformation and the reversal of international attitudes in favor of the regime and its allies.”
“Any battle in Qalamoun in the current political climate could damage political cards ahead of Geneva II, if it convenes, rather than being a point of strength, if settling the battle is delayed and the army is unable to achieve quick results, which is to be expected given the size of the area and its harsh topography.”
The sources added, “The military leadership and allies are convinced that things on the battlefield are going well after learning the lessons from the battles over the past two years, and exposing the tactics of the militants and those who back them.”
Al Akhbar (November 1, 2013)
It remains unclear whether Israel did in fact wage an attack on a Syrian military facility on Thursday, October 31. Most of the reports that first appeared in the Western media refer to sources in the Syrian opposition, but the way the Israeli press handled the matter suggests a kind of admission of responsibility on the part of Tel Aviv.
The nature of the designated target also raises a number of questions about Israeli intentions: Was the strike carried out against an empty facility and was therefore an attempt to cut the regime in Damascus down to size after its recent reversal of fortunes? Or was it an attack on strategic weapons that Israel fears may be passed on to Hezbollah?
In any case, we are before an event, many details of which still need to be confirmed, returning us to an ongoing debate about the need for Syria to find a way to confront this repeated Zionist aggression on its territory. But before we open that discussion, let us agree that Damascus in not interested in a direct confrontation with Israel, which is in line with its long-held policy of supporting resistance groups while not engaging in such activity itself.
The key question is: What is the role of the Resistance axis – which includes Hezbollah and Iran alongside Syria – in deterring further Israeli attacks against one of its key components? After all, Tehran and the Resistance have openly intervened in the Syrian events, an implicit acknowledgement that their security is now intertwined.
On the other side, the United States and its regional allies are also treating the Resistance forces as a single camp to be contained or destroyed, with the Syrian regime currently representing the weak link in the alliance. Add to this that many of Israel’s previous strikes on Syrian territory over the past decade have targeted the interests of Hezbollah and Hamas, be it to destroy weapons intended for them or assassinating their military commanders.
All this suggests that it cannot be left to Syria alone to develop the wherewithal to deter future Israeli attacks – the effort necessarily requires the support of other components of the Resistance front. Israel will continue to launch such strikes, knowing that the kind of attacks it intends to carry out in Syria are not enough to provoke a retaliation, particularly given the internal problems Damascus is facing at the moment.
But why is there no response?
There is no convincing justification why there cannot be a response to these repeated and brazen attacks, but like any country in the world, Syria must calculate its actions carefully according to its priorities. In the given circumstances, the priority of both the Resistance axis and the Syrian regime is to avoid being drawn into a confrontation for which the Israelis determine the place and time.
Most importantly, while all this is happening, the work of building up an effective deterrence system must continue unabated. And all the rest of the talk is simply empty bravado.
Al Akhbar (October 29, 2013)
The former general director of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF), Ashraf Rifi, is spending his retirement gathering Tripoli’s street fighters into a more formidable militia intended to defend the Sunni sect.
“Ahrar Tripoli” – that’s the name of a new militia under construction in the northern city of Tripoli, led by former ISF commander Rifi, who seeks to unite the various bands of fighters under the banner of protecting the Sunni sect.
Sources tell Al-Akhbar that Rifi started working on this project shortly after his retirement on 1 April 2013, with Saudi funding and under the direct supervision of the kingdom’s intelligence chief, Bandar bin Sultan, sparking the ire of many Future Party competitors who fear the former police chief being anointed the next prime minister.
The first sign of tensions over Rifi’s growing prominence came last September 10, when his men clashed with another group loyal to Saad Hariri’s security adviser, retired Col. Amid Hammoud. The fighting only ended after the mediation of yet another former army officer at the request of Hariri.
Nevertheless, Rifi continued his efforts to build up a united Sunni militia, with Hammoud agreeing to coordinate with the former commander, while at the same time working behind the scenes to undermine Rifi’s bid to control Tripoli’s fighters.
Regarding the ongoing battles between Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh and Alawi Jabal Mohsen, sources say that Rifi is unhappy with Tripoli’s Future MPs, because they are the ones responsible for weakening the party in the city. He is even reported to have called for their replacement by representatives “who will not surrender the city’s honor and dignity.”
The sources relay that Rifi was against any ceasefire in the latest round of fighting in Tripoli, hoping “to teach [Alawi leader] Rifaat Eid a lesson he will not forget.” It is for this reason that Rifi refused to participate in the usual meetimg held at MP Mohammed Kabbara’s house to defuse the crisis.
Instead, Al-Akhbar learned that he held a series of meetings with local fighters, promising to provide them with ammunition to continue the fight and win their loyalty. In addition to winning over a number of experienced fighters who are active on the Bab al-Tabbaneh front, he has made contacts with the hardline Salafi supporters of Sheikh Husam al-Sayyadi.
Rifi’s attempts to lure some of the local commanders loyal to Prime Minister Najib Mikati have yet to succeed. Local sources in Tripoli insist that all the hot spots in the city are those under the influence of Rifi, while others have remained relatively quiet.
Al Akhbar (October 28, 2013)
As Lebanese political prisoner Georges Abdallah enters his 30th year in French prison, a UN human rights committee is expected issue a report on his illegal detention in early November.
In January 2013, French authorities decided to continue the detention of Georges Abdallah by refusing to deport him to Lebanon, even though he had served out his sentence and was legally freed by a court of law.
This prompted the International Committee to Free Georges Abdallah to lodge a complaint at the United Nations in front of a team of experts concerned with arbitrary detentions, which is expected to make its report public, after having sent it to the French authorities in mid-October.
The UN committee designates a person under arbitrary detention when it is no longer possible for the authorities to present any legal justification for their continued detention. Ironically, the UN team concerned with arbitrary detention was set up in 1991 at the he behest of France, which headed the committee for the first seven years.
The completion of the UN report coincided with Abdallah crossing the 30-year mark in French prison, leading the political prisoner’s supporters in France and around the world to mark the date with protests against Paris.
Last week, several hundred French solidarity activists held a protest outside Lannemezan Prison where Abdallah is being held, with signs calling for the Lebanese prisoner’s freedom. Another group of activists tried to occupy the local offices of the ruling Socialist party in solidarity with Abdallah.
In Beirut, the International Committee to Free Georges Abdallah held a protest in front of the French embassy, which was locked down, despite the fact that no diplomats were present inside the building at the time. The protesters declared that since Abdallah was released by a French appeals court on April 4, he has become nothing more than a hostage, illegally held by the Socialist government, which has done all it can to get around an undisputed court order to release him after having completed his sentence.
A number of French parliamentarians had also joined the chorus of protests by sending President Francois Hollande a letter calling for Abdallah’s release “no matter the foreign pressures,” in reference to American efforts to prevent his release.
Al Joumhouria (Lebanese daily close to March-14 coalition)
(October 31, 2013)
The Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah met Wednesday, a large number of senior militant with whom he discussed the latest political developments. He reportedly told his interlocutors: "The camp of war against Syria was defeated and the axis of the Resistance has won this battle. We are in the final stretch to achieve this victory."
Referring to the Syrian issue, Sayyed Nasrallah said that "the camp of war against Syria came to a standstill. It remains for him to bow to new realities and take the path of political settlement. However, some regional states continue to create obstacles but they’ll arrive, ultimately, to the conclusion that stubbornness will lead to nothing"
Concerning the internal Lebanese issue, Hezbollah leader said that the coming period should know political cloudy in the wake of regional and international unlocks .
In terms of security, Sayyed Nasrallah expressed fear of terrorist attacks during the Ashura ceremonies, adding that the party has strengthened its coordination with the security services, which have all the data. Hezbollah will take steps to prevent terrorist acts.
Ad Diyar (Lebanese daily close to March-8 alliance)
(October 29, 2013)
A meeting between the Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berry, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) General Michel Aoun, could be held soon to discuss the upcoming period.
This meeting is now possible after Hezbollah managed to defuse a large number of mines, for opening a new page in relations between the Amal Movement and the FPM.
A Hezbollah delegation will soon go to General Aoun to discuss with him the issue of oil, after the various components of the March-8 coalition agreed to hold a meeting of the Council of Ministers devoted to this question.
The Daily Star (Lebanese daily close to March-14 coalition)
Antoine Amrieh (November 2, 2013)
At least three residents from the mainly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen were beaten and wounded by gunfire Saturday after they were forced out of a bus in a predominantly Sunni area of Tripoli, in the latest sectarian attack in the northern Lebanese city.
The men, all from the pro-Syrian regime neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen, were commuting on a public bus at the time of the incident and their movements had been monitored by their assailants.
At Zahriyeh, a predominantly Sunni neighborhood, unidentified gunmen blocked the path of the bus and then forcefully dragged the Jabal Mohsen locals out on to the street, where they proceeded to beat and then later shoot at the men.
At least one of the locals hemorrhaged severely as a result of shots to his leg.
Residents, noticing the commotion, headed to the scene of the violence but none approached to help the terrified men, who were prevented from leaving the place.
The assailants let their captives go after the Lebanese Army moved in to cordon off the area.
The wounded and injured men were transferred to a local hospital for treatment.
The incident, the second in less than week, raised tension in the northern city which was recently the scene of fierce clashes between the rival neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh, a predominantly Sunni neighborhood that backs the Syrian uprising against President Bashar Assad.
Earlier this week, three Alawites from Jabal Mohsen who were returning to Tripoli from Beirut were attacked with knives in al-Tall, a central neighborhood in the port city.
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