[Ynet] The International Religious Freedom Report, revealed on Monday by US State Secretary John F. I was in Vietnam, you know Kerry Former Senator-for-Life from Massachussetts, self-defined war hero, speaker of French, owner of a lucky hat, conqueror of Cambodia, and current Secretary of State... , states that there has been a "continued global increase in anti-Semitism." It adds: "Holocaust denial and glorification remained troubling themes, and opposition to Israeli
policy at times was used to promote or justify blatant anti-Semitism."
According to the report, the greatest concern stems from the anti-Semitic statements by government officials, religious leaders and the media, especially in Venezuela, Egypt and Iran. The report noted that the phenomenon is spreading in La Belle France and Hungary despite state efforts to fight it.
[Ynet] Tunisia's Interior Ministry says that the outspoken feminist that went into hiding after posting semi-nude pictures of herself is under arrest and will be investigated for "provocative acts" in a religious center.
Amina Tyler on Sunday went to the religious center of Kairouan, where hardline Islamists had planned to hold their annual conference, and allegedly scrawled "FEMEN," the name of a Ukrainian feminist group that uses nudity in protests, on a wall near the main mosque.
One feels for her, of course, but really, that was seriously, Darwin Award-winning dumb.
[Naharnet] Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalik Sellal on Monday broke official silence on the health of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika ... 10th president of Algeria. He was elected in 1999 and is currently on his third or fourth term, who will probably die in office of old age... , saying he is convalescing in Gay Paree after a mini-stroke and was "never in danger".
"I would like to reassure our compatriots on the state of health of the president of the republic... he was never in danger and his health is improving day by day," Sellal said in a statement carried by the APS news agency.
Bouteflika was flown to the Val de Grace hospital in Gay Paree three weeks ago after his mini-stroke and his doctors have recommended "total rest for a full recovery," Sellal said.
The president is nevertheless "following up daily on the activities of the government".
His remarks come after mounting media speculation about the well-being of Bouteflika, 76, and a day after the Algerian prosecutor ordered legal action against the editor-in-chief of two local dailies which had reported the president was in a coma.
Sellal said that "false information carried by certain foreign media concerning the president of the republic" serves only to undermine Algerian security and development.
"Soon President Bouteflika's illness will be no more than an unpleasant memory," Sellal added.
[Naharnet] Egypt sent police reinforcements to the Sinai after an attack on a police camp on Monday in the wake of the kidnapping of security personnel, officials said.
In Cairo, the presidency said all options were on the table to secure the release of the three coppers and four soldiers held last week in the lawless peninsula.
Eighty Central Security (riot police) units and 26 armored personnel carriers were deployed in north Sinai hours after a police camp came under fire with heavy weapons at dawn, security officials said.
Hours later, unidentified gunniesshot up the Oja border crossing with Israel close to another police camp with no reports of casualties, the official MENA news agency reported quoting security officials.
The attacks further heightened tensions in the peninsula after last week's kidnapping.
"The presidency did not negotiate with criminals," front man Omar Amer told news hounds, implying that future talks were not ruled out altogether.
"There are many alternatives on the table, but the goal is the release of those kidnapped," Amer said.
"We don't want a single drop of blood spilt," he said.
On Sunday, President Mohamed Morsi ruled out negotiating with the kidnappers of three coppers and four soldiers who appeared to plead for their release in an online video, although the security official said no order had been received to launch a rescue operation.
The abductions last Thursday in the Sinai prompted angry police to shut down border crossings with Gazoo and Israel.
A video posted on YouTube earlier on Sunday appeared to show the seven hostages, blindfolded and with their hands on their heads, identifying themselves.
One of them is prodded by what appears to be a rifle held by an abductor offscreen before another hostage says the kidnappers want the release of jugged You have the right to remain silent... Bedouin "political activists".
"What happened with the video yesterday is disgraceful. We condemn it and we will respond decisively," Amer told news hounds.
The video was later removed from YouTube, which posted a message saying it violated its "policy on violence".
The coppers, who worked at border crossings, and soldiers were kidnapped at gunpoint while travelling to their homes on leave.
Earlier on Monday, assailants opened fire "for 25 minutes using heavy weapons" against El-Ahrash camp in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, without reporting casualties.
"Personnel in charge of camp security managed to repel the attack and forced the gunnies to flee," he said, adding that a hunt was underway.
Several cop shoppes in Sinai have gone on strike to protest against the abduction and in solidarity with colleagues who have closed the Rafah border with Gazoo and the Oja crossing with Israel, MENA said.
Attacks on police and soldiers in the sparsely populated peninsula have surged since an uprising that overthrow president Hosni Mubarak ...The former President-for-Life of Egypt, dumped by popular demand in early 2011... in 2011, as have cross-border attacks on Israel.
In August 2012, suspected Islamist gunnies killed 16 Egyptian soldiers near Israel's border and commandeered an armored vehicle into Israel, where they were stopped by a helicopter strike.
* EU mission piecing army back together, one battalion at a time
* Army imploded last year despite years of U.S. training
* EU focus on building units and restoring cohesion to ranks
Under a blazing sun and the critical gaze of British and Irish instructors, a line of 11 Malian soldiers lie prone in the dust firing AK-47 rounds at targets, one-by-one.
"One out of 10 - not very good," Captain Ibrahim Soumassa, commander of the Malian unit, tells one of the men. "We're at 25 metres. When we're at 100, it'll be difficult."
A European Union training mission faces a considerable challenge as it seeks to succeed where years of U.S. instruction failed by turning Mali's rag-tag army into a force capable of facing an Islamist threat stretching across the Sahara.
Years of corruption and neglect led the army to a string of defeats against al Qaeda-linked militants last year, leaving northern Mali under Islamist control and sparking a military coup by disgruntled officers in the capital, Bamako.
Only a lightning intervention in January by France - which warned that the al Qaeda enclave posed a threat to Europe - disloged the well-armed Islamist fighters from northern Mali's towns. Paris now plans to pull out most of its troops and hand over to a United Nations peacekeeping force.
But the EU overhaul of Mali's army - one battalion of 700 men at a time - is at the heart of long-term efforts to keep the nation's desert north free not only of Islamist militants but also of traffickers ferrying cocaine, contraband and illegal immigrants into Europe.
General Carter Ham, speaking in January before handing over leadership of the U.S. military command in Africa, recognised the United States had failed during years of counter-terrorism training in Mali to pass on "values, ethics and military ethos".
[Naharnet] Jordanian terror suspect Abu Qatada was on Monday denied bail in his latest legal skirmish with British authorities, who have been trying to deport him for a decade.
The holy man has been in and out of British prisons since 2002 as he fights successive government attempts to send him to Jordan, where he has been convicted of terror charges in his absence.
To ministers' horror he was released from his latest stint in jail in November, but was tossed in the slammer Drop the rosco, Muggsy, or you're one with the ages! again in March for allegedly breaching his bail conditions.
A judge at Britannia's Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) ruled on Monday that the preacher, once dubbed the late Osama bin Laden ... who has left the building... 's right-hand man in Europe, should remain in jug.
"There is no doubt about the national security threat which the appellant presents," judge Stephen Irwin said.
"This appellant has in the past fled in order to avoid a court order, equipping himself with a false passport.
"He is highly intelligent, has a range of sympathetic and supportive contacts, and his risk to national security is undiminished.
"We reject the submission that he can, even now, be relied on to comply with his legal obligations and not to attempt to abscond."
In a surprise move earlier this month, Abu Qatada's lawyer told the court that the preacher would return to Jordan voluntarily if its parliament ratifies a treaty barring the use of evidence obtained by torture.
The issue is at the heart of Britannia's long struggle to deport him to Jordan, where he faces a likely retrial over his alleged involvement in the planning of terrorist attacks.
Last year the European Court of Human Rights blocked his deportation due to fears that evidence obtained through torture would be used against him in the new trial.
SIAC ruled in November that he could be released despite posing a risk to national security.
However, those who apply themselves too closely to little things often become incapable of great things... the holy man was sent back to jail in March after a stash of mobile phones, computer memory sticks and other digital devices were found in his home in what Irwin said was a "significant" breach of his bail conditions.
Government lawyer Robin Tam said a USB stick found in the bedroom of Abu Qatada's eldest son had contained schoolwork but also "jihadist files" including references to Al-Qaeda.
Abu Qatada had admitted breaching bail conditions which prevent him from turning on mobile phones or possessing other communication devices at his taxpayer-funded home in London.
But he claimed that he did not use the phones, several of which belonged to his wife and children.
Abu Qatada's lawyer Daniel Friedman had told SIAC that ahead of his return to Jordan, his client "wants to spend time with his family to prepare to leave the country in a manner that safeguards the dignity and security of all involved".
The preacher "has been deprived of his liberty more than any other non-convicted person in British history", Friedman claimed.
Britannia's interior ministry described Abu Qatada as "dangerous" and said it was pleased he had been denied bail.
"The best place for him is behind bars until he can be lawfully removed from the UK," the Home Office said in a Twitter post.
"The government remains committed to securing Abu Qatada's deportation as quickly as possible."
Due Process - dragged on by lawyers and judges in face of a mountain of irrefutable evidence. Blame them. Compare the speed with the processing and execution that Timothy McVeigh got with this.
Hopefully, the money will grow enough to attract those TV ad lawyers to sue on behalf of the family of the victims to empty it out. Just getting liens against the pay or force it into escrow is a start.
In the name of Jihad he massacred and maimed Americans, placed on a fully paid leave paid for by Americans, plus an additional bonus of housing, free meals by Americans. Better than the free Korans, prayer rugs and Halil provided daily to (hunger striking) Jihadis at Gitmo.
[Naharnet] Secretary of State John F. I was in Vietnam, you know Kerry Former Senator-for-Life from Massachussetts, self-defined war hero, speaker of French, owner of a lucky hat, conqueror of Cambodia, and current Secretary of State... was returning to the Middle East Monday, aiming to shore up peace efforts as he seeks to help end the Syria war and coax Israel and the Paleostinians back to talks.
The new top U.S. diplomat -- making his fourth visit to Israel in a little over three months -- left Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, first headed for key Gulf ally Oman, which also maintains close ties to Iran.
The U.S. and other Western countries have condemned Iran for helping to prop up Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Supressor of the Damascenes... in his bloody fight to stay in power against a determined rebellion now in its third year.
Kerry was due to hold talks Tuesday with top Omani officials, most likely including Sultan Qaboos, and he could well be hoping to tap Oman's influence with Iran -- especially amid moves to organize a Syria peace conference.
The United States and Russia are working to bring together the Assad regime and the opposition at a conference to map out a path for a political transition to end the war which has claimed over 94,000 lives.
Russia has insisted Iran should be invited to the peace conference, although a date and venue have not yet been agreed. But the West is wary of engaging Tehran in such global efforts.
"We do not want Iran. The Syrian crisis is contagious and affects the entire zone," French foreign ministry front man Philippe Lalliot said Friday.
"Regional stability is at stake and we cannot see how a country that threatens this stability can participate in this conference," he said in reference to Iran.
The issue is also likely to be raised at a meeting of the Friends of Syria group in Amman, Jordan on Wednesday, which Kerry will also attend after visiting Oman.
While the beginning of his eight-day trip will likely focus on Syria, Kerry then travels Thursday for talks in Israel and with the Paleostinian leadership.
He is seeking to kickstart the grinding of the peace processor, which has languished for more than two years, with a series of parallel moves aimed at restoring trust between the two sides.
One Israeli MP said the center-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would support U.S. efforts to revive the talks, despite the hardline positions held by ministers and coalition parties.
"If Netanyahu goes on the path that U.S. Secretary of State Kerry is encouraging... he will have the full support of... the majority of the parliament," Ofer Shelah, a member of the powerful Yesh Atid party, told army radio on Monday.
The comments came despite opposition from Yesh Atid's leader, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, in a New York Times ...which still proudly displays Walter Duranty's Pulitzer prize... interview, to a settlement freeze and to ceding east Jerusalem to Paleostinian rule, two key Paleostinian demands.
There remains deep skepticism among all sides whether Kerry can break the deadlock and bring the two sides back to negotiations -- let alone whether he can then help broker a peace deal.
"Kerry keeps on saying that he is determined to succeed and will not allow any failure, but he needs to know that the Israeli government is doing anything to prevent him from succeeding in his efforts," Nimir Hammad, a political adviser to Paleostinian president the ineffectual Mahmoud Abbas ... a graduate of the prestigious unaccredited Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow with a doctorate in Holocaust Denial... , told The Voice of Paleostine at the weekend.
With this trip, Kerry, who took office on February 1, will have traveled the same number of times to Israel as his predecessor Hillary Clinton ... sometimes described as the Smartest Woman in the World and at other times as Mrs. Bill, never as Another Dean Acheson ... did in her whole four-year tenure.
And it is a measure of the renewed U.S. commitment to the Middle East, that after a brief stop at the weekend in Æthiopia for celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... , Kerry will return to Jordan.
He is to attend a World Economic Forum meeting at which he may outline his plans to revive the crippled Paleostinian economy.
Thanks to the Secretary of State's boss, nobody cares. Rhetoric only works in the international arena when it is backed up by a credible superior force and the acknowledged will to use it
, [Naharnet] The United States on Monday denounced what it called a spike in anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe and Asia, pointing to restrictions and violence against Mohammedans including the faith's minority sects.
Releasing a wide-ranging annual report on religious freedom, Secretary of State John F. I was in Vietnam, you know Kerry Former Senator-for-Life from Massachussetts, self-defined war hero, speaker of French, owner of a lucky hat, conqueror of Cambodia, and current Secretary of State... also voiced alarm at what he called rising anti-Jewish sentiment, and filled a position of special envoy to combat anti-Semitism.
The State Department report, which covered 2012, said that "Anti-Mohammedan rhetoric and actions were clearly on the rise -- particularly in Europe and Asia."
"Government restrictions, which often coincided with societal animosity, resulted in anti-Mohammedan actions that affected everyday life for numerous believers," it said.
In Myanmar, officials allegedly fanned deadly anti-Mohammedan violence in Rakhine state while in China, authorities showed less tolerance toward the mostly Mohammedan Uighur community and Tibetans, the report said.
It said that Mohammedans also faced new restrictions in 2012 in countries ranging from Belgium, which banned face-covering religious attire in classrooms, to India where schools in Mangalore restricted headscarves.
The report also voiced alarm at soaring violence against Islamic minorities including Shiites and Ahmadis in Pakistain as well as discrimination against non-Sunni Mohammedans in Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face... and Bahrain.
However, predicated upon the acts of a few, the official US government position will continue to treat whites as inherently racist and will continue to pursue 'remedies' that curtail basic civil and Constitutional rights.
And I suppose not a single word about the anti-Christian and Jewish persecutions throughout the Islamic World. Not a word about the Coptic Christian of Egypt, or the Christians of Indonesia or Africa.
How much of that 'Anti-Muslim' Sentiment is simply resistance to Islamic conversions (aka: Convert, Pay a tax in humiliation, or die). I'm thinking a lot of it.
I'm really tired of our so-called leadersh*t simply bending over and spreading our butt-cheeks every time some Islamic Cleric claims persecution. They aren't persecuted. Protected, Coddled, yes. Persecuted - no.
The people supposedly being hated on made their own bed, now they get to lie in it.
Sow, reap and all that...
Posted by: M. Murcek ||
The intolerant complaining of intolerance....only idiots find this confusing or unexpected. As for my personal prejudices, I'm ok with them, since they seem fact based on the content of the Koran and Hadiths.
[Naharnet] Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Monday he will overhaul Iraq's security strategy as a two-day wave of violence killed 72 people including 24 police, bringing the month's corpse count from unrest to 349.
"We are about to make changes in the high and middle positions of those responsible for security, and the security strategy," Maliki said at a news conference in Storied Baghdad ...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate... .
"We will discuss this matter in the cabinet session tomorrow (Tuesday) to take decisions," Maliki said, without providing further details.
"I assure the Iraqi people that they (militants) will not be able to return us to the sectarian conflict" that killed tens of thousands of people in Iraq in past years, he added.
A boom-mobilewent kaboom! in Shaab, a Shiite area in north Storied Baghdad, at around the time Maliki spoke, killing 12 people and wounding at least 20, officials said -- just the latest in a wave of bombings on Monday.
Two boom-mobiles went off in the main southern port city of Basra, killing 13 people and wounding 48, while a wave of other bombings hit Storied Baghdad, killing at least 11 people and wounding 102.
In Balad, north of the capital, a boom-mobilewent kaboom! near a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims, killing eight people and wounding at least 15.
Iraq is home to some of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam and is visited by hundreds of thousands of foreign pilgrims every year, most of them from neighboring Iran.
Three Sahwa anti-al-Qaeda gunnies were killed and 14 maimed in two separate attacks north of Storied Baghdad, and a roadside kaboom in the northern city of djinn-infested Mosulmaimed three people.
Monday's violence comes after 24 police were killed overnight.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Majid al-Jlaybawi said police and soldiers carried out a joint raid to free kidnapped coppers in Anbar province, west of Storied Baghdad, but festivities ensued.
Twelve kidnapped coppers were killed and four maimed, although it was not immediately clear if they were caught in crossfire, killed by their abductors, or a combination of the two.
Mohammed Hadi, one of the maimedcoppers, told Agence La Belle France Presse they had been kidnapped on the highway between Storied Baghdad and Jordan on Saturday.
In Haditha, a town in Anbar province, gunnies attacked a cop shoppe, killing eight police, among them two officers, First Lieutenant Murad al-Hadithi and a doctor said.
And gunnies killed four police and maimed three in an attack on another cop shoppe in the town of Rawa, also in Anbar, said Qais al-Rawi, head of the area's local council.
Gunmen also killed a shop owner in djinn-infested Mosul on Sunday.
The security situation in Anbar, home to two of the main centers of Sunni anti-government protests that broke out almost five months ago, has tanked sharply.
On Saturday, security forces tried to arrest Mohammed Khamis Abu Risha, who is wanted in connection with the killing of five Iraqi soldiers near Ramadi, west of the capital.
But the bid arrest Abu Risha, nephew of a powerful tribal sheikh who is a key supporter of Sunni anti-government protesters in Anbar, sparked festivities with rustics in which two of them were killed.
Hundreds of gunnies then gathered in the area of the Anbar Operations Command headquarters near Ramadi, but later withdrew, police said.
Officials also reported kidnappings of people including security forces in Anbar on Saturday, though they gave differing figures for how many were seized.
Tensions are festering between the government of Maliki, a Shiite, and Sunnis who accuse authorities of marginalizing and targeting their community, including through wrongful detentions and accusations of involvement in terrorism.
While the government has made some concessions aimed at placating the protesters and Iraqi Sunnis in general, such as freeing prisoners and raising the salaries of Sunni anti-al-Qaeda gunnies, underlying issues have yet to be addressed.
[Ynet] President Shimon Peres will participate on Sunday in the World Economic Forum conference held in Jordan. Peres is scheduled to give a speech and meet with various leaders, some of them from Arab countries.
Concurrently, attempts are being made to organize a joint meeting between Peres, Jordan's King Abdullah II, Paleostinian President the ineffectual Mahmoud Abbas ... a graduate of the prestigious unaccredited Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow with a doctorate in Holocaust Denial... and US State Secretary John F. I was in Vietnam, you know Kerry Former Senator-for-Life from Massachussetts, self-defined war hero, speaker of French, owner of a lucky hat, conqueror of Cambodia, and current Secretary of State....
[Ynet] A top official says Paleostinians have done all the legal work necessary to join 63 UN agencies, conventions and treaties, but haven't applied yet mainly to give the US peace effort a chance to succeed.
Chief Paleostinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat ...negotiated the Oslo Accords with Israel. He has been chief Paleostinian negotiator since 1995. He is currently negotiating with Israel to establish a de jure Paleostinian state... said Monday that Paleostinians have done "everything" to enable President Barack Obama Republicans can come along for the ride, but they've got to sit in the back... and Secretary of State John F. I was in Vietnam, you know Kerry Former Senator-for-Life from Massachussetts, self-defined war hero, speaker of French, owner of a lucky hat, conqueror of Cambodia, and current Secretary of State... to succeed, and "there is a good opportunity now."
[Ynet] Al-Arabiya TV reported 20 Hezbollah activists were killed in battles in the Syrian rebel-held town of Qusair and transferred to a hospital in Beirut. According to the report, one of the casualties is the son of Syrian Ba'ath party Lebanese chief. In addition, more than 60 maimed were taken to hospitals in Leb.
One of the hospitals released a request to the public to donate blood due to large number of maimed fighters. Syrian rebels announced they are still in control of Qusair, despite Assad's joint attack with Hezbollah.
One of the side effects of the Iran-Iraq war was the large number of disabled vets in Iran after the war was over and their effect on the population and mullahcracy. The Iranian government eventually had to spend a lot of funds setting up a support network* to take care of them.
* The bad thing is that the IRGC is using the charities set up for the disabled vets as fronts and money laundering.
[Naharnet] Britannia remains committed to amending the EU arms embargo on Syria, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday, but stressed it had taken no decisions to provide weapons to the rebels.
He said it was important to demonstrate to Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Light of the Alawites... 's regime that "no option is off the table" if he failed to agree a political solution to end the bloodshed.
Hague was speaking the day before flying to Jordan for a meeting of the Friends of Syria group, which backs the uprising, for talks with U.S. Secretary of State John F. I was in Vietnam, you know Kerry Former Senator-for-Life from Massachussetts, self-defined war hero, speaker of French, owner of a lucky hat, conqueror of Cambodia, and current Secretary of State... and other top diplomats.
"The case for further amendments to the arms embargo on Syria is compelling, in order to increase the pressure on the regime, and to give us the flexibility to respond to continued radicalization and conflict," Hague said in the House of Commons.
He insisted Britannia had not armed the rebels so far and had made no decision to do so, but said amending the EU embargo was part of a package of efforts to end the conflict.
"We have to be open to every way of strengthening moderates and saving lives rather than the current trajectory of extremism and murder," Hague told politicians.
"We have not sent arms to any side during the conflicts of the Arab Spring. No decision has been made to go down this route."
Amid fears weapons could fall into the wrong hands such as al-Qaeda-linked groups, Hague said: "We could only supply arms in carefully controlled circumstances and with very clear commitments from the opposition side."
Wednesday's meeting will pave the way for an international conference on Syria in June, dubbed Geneva 2 after a conference in the Swiss city last year, to bring together the rebels and representatives of Assad's regime to try to establish peace.
Hague said that both Britannia and La Belle France believed "that changes to the embargo are not separate from the diplomatic work, but essential to it".
"We must make clear that if the regime does not negotiate seriously at the Geneva conference, no option is off the table," the foreign secretary said.
Hague also said Britannia now had "physiological" evidence that the Syrian regime had used the chemical weapon Sarin in the conflict.
Write it up on the Stiff Note notepaper, add a cup of coffee, and they'll be able to pick their teeth between sips. Three cheers for The Smartest Men In The Room.
[Naharnet] The United States on Monday condemned both the Syrian government's assault on the rebel stronghold of Qusayr and the close involvement of Hizbullah in the attack.
"The United States strongly condemns the Assad regime's intense air and artillery strikes this weekend on the Syrian town of Qusayr along the Lebanese border," State Department deputy front man Patrick Ventrell said.
"The Assad regime deliberately provokes sectarian tensions through its assaults," he said.
The battle began on Sunday, when Syrian government troops backed by Hizbullah fighters stormed the western town, casting a shadow over U.S.-Russian efforts to organize a peace conference.
The town is considered strategically important because it sits between Damascus and the coast and is near the Lebanese border.
"We also condemn Hizbullah's direct intervention and assault on Qusayr where its fighters are playing a significant role in the regime's offensive," Ventrell said.
"Hizbullah's occupation of villages along the Lebanese-Syrian border and its support for the regime and pro-Assad militias exacerbate and inflame regional sectarian tensions and perpetuate the regime's campaign of terror," he added.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting had left at least 56 rebels dead, six of them on Monday, and four civilians including one woman.
Quoting "reliable sources", the opposition-aligned watchdog said that "28 members of Hizbullah's forces were killed and more than 70 others maimed in festivities in Qusayr on Sunday."
[Naharnet] President Michel Suleiman ...before assuming office as President, he held the position of commander of the Leb Armed Forces. That was after the previous commander, the loathesome Emile Lahoud, took office as president in November of 1998. Likely the next president of Leb will be whoever's commander of the armed forces, too... denied on Monday receiving a warning from Israel that it would destroy Leb in case of a Hizbullah attack on the Jewish state.
Suleiman's press office said that the president hasn't received such a warning "although Israeli threats and violations of Lebanese airspace never stop."
"No party informed the president about such a threat," it said in a statement.
The denial came after an Israeli website reported that Tel Aviv has sent a warning to Leb through the U.S. administration that it would "take Leb 50 years backwards" if Hizbullah attacked Israel.
The message was delivered to Suleiman to confirm that Israel would not stand idle to any attack by the party or Syria on the Jewish state, the site said.
Earlier this month, Suleiman urged the international community to pressure Israel to stop violating Lebanese airspace, saying its activities were in contravention of United Nations ...an idea whose time has gone... Security Council Resolution 1701.
Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers in July 2006 led to the 34-day war that killed more than 1,200 civilians in Leb as well as 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
A federal appeals court is backing the U.S. government's decision not to release photos and video taken of Osama bin Laden during and after a raid in which the terrorist leader was killed by U.S. commandos.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia turned down an appeal Tuesday from Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, which had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the images.
The court said that the CIA properly withheld publication of the images. The court concluded that the photos used to conduct facial recognition analysis of bin Laden could reveal classified intelligence methods -- and that images of bin Laden's burial at sea could trigger violence against American citizens.