Saturday, October 31, 2009

How to get a job in Saudi Arabia

AmericanBedu has, helpfully, put some information together for how to get a job in Saudi Arabia.  HERE the link

Brother Andrew shares real stories of Muslim Christ-followers

This is a very eye-opening and insightful book full of information and true life experiences of the day-to-day journey of being Muslim and a secret believer of Christ. Author Brother Andrew and Coauthor Al Janssen who have written and coauthored numerous books including “God’s Smuggler” began taking Bibles behind closed borders in 1955, which led to the organization of Open Doors International, a non-profit group that gives aid, training and spiritual assistance to any persecuted church in restricted and unstable regions of the world. Brother Andrew has worked diligently alongside coauthor Al Janssen, who is a board member and director of communication for Open Doors International. MORE HERE

Friday, October 30, 2009

Picturing the Prophet

Are representations of the Prophet Muhammad permitted in Islam? To make or not to make images of the Prophet: that is the question Oleg Grabar (picture) will try to answer. It is an unexpectedly burning question, as the newspapers regularly demonstrate. But both the answer to the question and the reasons for raising it require a broader introduction.

There have been many times in recent years when one bemoaned the explosion of media that have provided public forums for so much incompetence and ignorance, not to speak of prejudice. Matters became worse after September 11, for two additional reasons. The first is the propagation of a climate of fear, of ever-present danger from ill-defined foes, which led in the West, and especially in the United States, to a plethora of security measures ranging from reasonable and useful to ridiculous and demeaning. Penetrating and perverting institutions and individuals, this fear collided in the Muslim world with a complex ideological and psychological evolution that led many people in Muslim countries and communities to a reflexive and often self-destructive brutality in reaction to the slightest whiff of verbal or visual provocation.

MORE of this article by  Oleg Grabar, professor emeritus at Harvard University and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, in The New Republic

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Obama administration strongly against 'defamation of religions' legislation

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke forcefully against international efforts to adopt policies outlawing the defamation of religions while presenting the Obama administration's first report on global religious freedom.

The State Department issued its annual assessment of the conditions for religious expression in 198 countries, the first such report since President Obama took office in January. The report, issued Oct. 26, demonstrates there have been both positive and negative trends in the last year, a State Department official told reporters.

Clinton, in introducing the report, took the opportunity to express her disapproval of the defamation of religions movement. Led by the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the effort promotes the condemnation of messages that defame religions and can lead to violence.

"[S]ome claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion is to implement so-called anti-defamation policies that would restrict freedom of expression and the freedom of religion. I strongly disagree," Clinton said.

"The United States will always seek to counter negative stereotypes of individuals based on their religion and will stand against discrimination and persecution. But an individual's ability to practice his or her religion has no bearing on others' freedom of speech," Clinton told reporters. "The protection of speech about religion is particularly important since persons of different faiths will inevitably hold divergent views on religious questions. These differences should be met with tolerance, not with the suppression of discourse."

The American experience shows "the best antidote to intolerance is not the defamation of religions approach of banning and punishing offensive speech but, rather, a combination of robust legal protections against discrimination and hate crimes, proactive government outreach to minority religious groups and the vigorous defense of both freedom of religion and expression," Clinton said.

The OIC may introduce a defamation of religions resolution at the United Nations any day, according to an Oct. 28 report by the American Center for Law and Justice. Such a resolution "stifles the religious freedoms of millions of Christians around the world," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said. It could encourage U.N. members to enact laws barring defamation of religions, empowering Islamic states that seek to ban the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus, he said.

The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted in March a defamation of religions resolution with a plurality, not a majority, of its 47 members in support. The non-binding resolution, which cited only Islam as a specific target, urges countries to protect "against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred in general." MORE HERE

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

USA almost to war with Sudan in 2006

The United States and Sudan came close to a military confrontation in 2006 after Sudanese authorities held eleven US military personnel for five hours at Al-Fasher airport in Darfur, a US defense magazine reported today.

The Air Force Times online magazine reported that the standoff between both sides was an unexpected development in the course of events from a semi-routine mission planned by the US military base in Camp Lemonier, Djibouti.

The assignment objective was humanitarian in nature which is to pick a US military liaison from the capital city of North Darfur and fly him back to Djibouti to reunite with pregnant wife who was sick. MORE HERE

Islam is a religion, not a race

Islam is a religion not a race. Therefore, like any religion or belief, it has to be open to criticism and even ridicule. This becomes even more important in this day and age give that it is the ideology behind a political movement that is wreaking havoc across the world. It must be criticised and ridiculed because that is how throughout history reaction has been pushed back. Our criticism is often all we have to fight this movement.

Islamophobia - and now by the way the Church has asked that Christianity-phobia also be included in UN rights terminology –are not racism because criticisms of a religion, idea, a belief and even the practices that result from beliefs – even a phobia and hatred against beliefs have nothing to do with racism against real live human beings. Just as an attack on the belief and practice of Female Genital Mutilation is not an attack on girls who have been mutilated, just as a criticism of Judaism or the Israeli government is not an attack on Jews and just as Monty Python’s Life of Brian is not an attack on or racism against Christians.

Saying it is racism is merely part of the effort to silence criticism of religion and the political movement that holds it up as its banner. MORE HERE

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The thuggish family of the wife of Tunisia's president

Of all the Arab wives I deplore, Tunisian First Lady Leila Ben Ali takes home every dishonor imaginable. She was previously a simply salon owner and the mistress to the current president (then prime minister) and upon getting pregnant lied to him and told him it was a boy. Unhappy with his first wife (whom bore him a daughter) and eager for a son, he divorced and brought Leila along for his new career as president (installing himself after dethroning President Bourguiba in a medical coup in which the senior president was declared senile - which was true and constitutional permissible). MORE HERE

Saudi female journalist gets 60 lashes for TV show

A Saudi lawyer says a female journalist has been sentenced to 60 lashes for her involvement in a TV show in which a Saudi man publicly talked about sex.
Rozanna al-Yami is believed to be the first Saudi woman journalist to be given such a punishment. The charges against her include involvement in the preparation of the program and advertising the segment on the Internet.
In the program, aired on a Lebanese satellite channel, Mazen Abdul-Jawad, scandalized Saudis by describing an active sex life. MORE HERE

Egypt Muslims stone Coptic churches in sectarian clash

Muslims students stoned Coptic Christian churches and homes in a southern Egyptian village on Saturday after four Muslims suspected of killing a Copt were kept in custody, police said.
The unrest began when the prosecutor extended the detention of the Muslims in the village of Dairut who are suspected of killing an elderly Copt in his home last week, a police official said.
Stone-throwing Muslim students and Copts clashed before police deployed in the town, the official added.
The men in custody had allegedly sought to attack the Coptic man's son, who was dating a Muslim girl and was rumoured to have passed out a CD with explicit pictures of her. Instead they found only the father at home.
Copts account for six to 10 percent of Egypt's 80-million population. They complain of discrimination and have been the targets of sectarian killings and violence. (c) AFP

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The perverse sexual habits of the Prophet - by Abuna Zakaria

Father Zakaria Botros recently ran a show dedicated to discussing the question of morality and how it is—or should be—one of the hallmarks of “prophethood.” At the start, he posed the focal question of the show: “Was Muhammad the prophet a moral man—the most upright man, worthy of being emulated by the world?”
He opened the show by relying on an Ibn Taymiyya quote, which evaluated the signs of prophethood. Taymiyya asserted that there are many false-prophets, such as Musailima “the Liar,” a contemporary of Muhammad. Taymiyya concluded that many of these so-called prophets are, in fact, “possessed,” and that the only way to determine the authenticity of any prophet is by examining his biography (sira) and deeds, and see if he be found worthy of the title.
Being that this is the first of several episodes devoted to examining the concepts of morality and prophethood (with the notion that the former reinforces the latter), the theme for this particular episode was “purity” (tahara): “Was Muhammad a ‘pure’ man?”—in this context, a question concerning his sexual mores (or lack thereof).
After the preliminaries, Botros looked at the camera and gave a stern warning: “This episode is for adults only! I am going to discuss many things that make me blush for shame, so please: have the women and children leave the room.” MORE HERE

Monday, October 19, 2009

The World's Muslim Population

Here on Wikipedia the complete list of countries where Muslims reside in measurable numbers.  Figures are based on the demographic study by the Pew Research Center report of Mapping the Global Muslim Population, as of 8 October, 2009.  Look at Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia.  THAT is where Islam resides...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tension rise between Iran and Pakistan

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's public accusation of "certain officials in Pakistan" cooperating with the main terrorists involved in Sunday's brazen attack in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province, will add to Pakistan's list of security-related woes, senior western diplomats warned on Sunday.

The suicide attack, claimed to have been carried out by Jundullah - a militant Sunni Muslim group, killed at least 42 people in Pishin, a town in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province which borders Pakistan's own southwestern Baluchistan province. MORE HERE

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mr Tolerance vs Osama bin Laden

I came across this digital comic book by Dr Tawfik Hamid.  A very tolerant western gentleman is so overjoyed to find out that Osama bin Laden's faith is not so bad after all. :-)  Download HERE

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Opposition in Egypt campaigns against the coming kingdom of Egypt

A prominent Egyptian opposition leader said on Wednesday he was launching a campaign to block President Hosni Mubarak from passing on his post at the helm of the most populous Arab country to his politician son Gamal.
Ayman Nour, who came a distant second to Mubarak in a 2005 presidential vote before being jailed for over three years on forgery charges, said he was launching the campaign alongside other opposition activists including Islamists and liberals.
"One of the goals of the campaign is to get rid of this ghost of succession and oppression and corruption," Nour told Reuters on the sidelines of a news conference to announce the move at the headquarters of his liberal al-Ghad party. MORE HERE

Monday, October 12, 2009

Christian conscript murdered in Egyptian army

Mistreatment of Christian conscripts in the Egyptian army, including beatings, psychological harassment and torture, at the hands of radical Muslim officers to force them to convert to Islam is widespread, but is rarely reported by conscripts for fear of reprisals.
In the latest incident, 22-year-old draftee Mubarak Masood Zakaria, a Coptic Christian, died in mysterious circumstances on August 15, 2009. Three days after his death the police in Mallawi summoned his father, Masood Zakaria, to inform him of his son's "sudden death" of "natural causes," and give him the body and burial permission. "We were not allowed to see the body," said the father, who works as a rope spinner and lives under the poverty line, in the Upper Egyptian village of Deir Abu Hennes, Mallawi, in Al-Minya Governorate.
Although the death certificate stated "cause of death still under investigation," permission for burial was granted.
On their way to the church for the funeral ceremony, the odor from Mubarak's corpse was so offensive the Zakaria family and some mourners decided to inspect the body before its burial. They discovered that Mubarak's body was riddled with bullets, his face was bruised and his abdomen was cut open and sewn.
The military prosecutor in Assiut summoned the father several days after the burial and tried to explain to him how his son shot himself during his sleep, with the weapon that was with him, reported Ms Nermine Reda, correspondent for Copts United advocacy.

Church growth for Adventists in Egypt

An ongoing series of evangelism meetings in Cairo, Egypt called the Revelation of Hope, has brought attention and new interest to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Egypt--which the church's president in Egypt, Samir Berbawy, describes as dying.
On the books there are 840 members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Egypt. But in reality only about 200 people throughout the entire country are active in the church, Berbawy says.
Through meetings held at the Heliopolis, Cairo Seventh-day Adventist Church 17 people, 10 Sudanese and seven Egyptians, have committed to taking more Bible studies to prepare them for baptism into the Adventist Church.
"This is a significant number of people," says Berbawy. "We have not had non-Adventists make decisions like that for years."
He adds, "We haven't had such a meeting in Egypt for years and years and years. This has been good for our members and has been helping with the awakening of our local members."
See more in press release of ANN

Adventist Church in Iraq targetted by bomb

A car packed with an estimated 330 pounds (150 kilograms) of dynamite was detonated outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Baghdad late Friday night Sept. 10. While there were no services in progress at the time, a guard was present on the church compound and escaped unhurt.

"Details are still sketchy, but it appears to have been a deliberate attack on the church since there are no other significant targets on the side that was bombed," says Homer Trecartin, secretary-treasurer for the Adventist Church's regional headquarters in the Middle East. As yet, nobody has claimed responsibility.

The car was parked on the side of the building, adjacent to the church vestry and electrical control room, which also served as a storage area. The ensuing fire gutted both these rooms, and most of the windows in the main worship area were blown in. Oweda Wahba, pastor of the Baghdad Adventist Church, who was on the scene within 15 minutes of the blast, feels that the flying glass would have caused serious injuries to worshippers had the car bomb gone off during regular Sabbath morning services.

Local and international radio and television reporters interviewed Pastor Wahba, and news of the explosion was carried on most Arabic satellite channels as well as the local press and Reuters news agency.

Adventists in Iraq have been on high alert since six bombs went off outside Christian churches on Sunday, Aug. 1, killing 11 people. From that time, the Baghdad church board took the brave decision to continue meeting on Sabbaths but incorporated several security precautions, such as erecting concrete barriers, increasing the number of guards, and transferring church services to the basement hall until the situation improves.

This is the second time the church has sustained bomb damage in less than a year. Last October a powerful explosion, which destroyed the Red Cross headquarters 200 meters away, shattered the stained glass windows on the other side of the church.

Michael Porter, president of the Adventist Church in the Middle East, is concerned about the escalating insecurity in Iraq.

"Last month, a member of the Baghdad Church, a mother of three young children, was caught in cross fire on her way to a relative's wedding in Mosul and lost her life. It is hard to imagine the daily stresses the people are under. We earnestly pray for restraint and that the various factions in Iraq will end their quarrels so the wonderful people of this beautiful country may be given a chance to flourish once more," Porter said.

Baghdad Iraq, Seventh-day Adventists believers in Baghdad participated in their weekly services on Sabbath, March 29, say staff members at the church's regional headquarters in Nicosia, Cyprus. It is not clear how many members were able to make the journey because many use public transportation, which is seriously disrupted.

As the bombing of the Iraqi capital continues, there is growing apprehension about the safety of families and friends of regional headquarters employees still living in Baghdad. The bombing of three telephone exchanges on March 28 has rendered communication with several sectors of the city impossible.

One Iraqi worker at the Nicosia office says, "I was very concerned because I heard on many of the Arabic radio stations that some of the residential areas near our home had been hit on Friday. I desperately wanted to check that my family was safe but couldn't get through on the phone. My only option was to telephone an Iraqi friend in Nicosia and ask him to call his family in Baghdad, an area where the phones are still working, to get more accurate information. To my relief the report came back that the rockets had fallen about one kilometer short of our neighborhood."

In a telephone conversation with ANN at deadline, Pastor Michael Porter, president of the church in the Middle East region, said there had been no new reports from Baghdad. He indicated that the church building in Baghdad, which so far has been unharmed by military action, is located about 4 kilometers from the center of the city, in the eastern part of Baghdad, away from areas which have so far been bombed. Source: ANN (c)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Islamic women need prayer as they are attacked for wearing Niqab

We are in an era of trials and tribulations, as foretold by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Al-Fitan – tests of faith, confusion between truth and falsehood, mutual dissensions, obscurity between right and wrong, widespread killing, war, and natural disasters – are rampant. Not to mention that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Muslims to be able to freely practice their faith without facing some form of persecution, disdain, discrimination, humiliation or verbal assault.
Those of us who are living in countries where the Shariah is openly adhered to have no idea what it is like to be discriminated against. The alleged statements of Sheikh Tantawi of Al-Azhar University caused an outcry in the international media, perhaps blown totally out of proportion and context, to cause yet another furor against the niqab. Circles of so-called “progressive” Muslims, who wish to see the growing trend of young Muslim women willingly donning the face-veil banned, particularly in western countries, have jumped at the chance to denounce this trend, which they claim is an ancient “custom”, and not a part of Islam.
MORE of this column by Sadaf Farooqi in the Saudi Gazette HERE

Dubai merges all state-owned media

Dubai's ruler ordered Sunday that all government controlled media outlets, including radio stations, newspapers and television, be brought under the umbrella of one holding company.

Assets previously held under Dubai Holding's unit Arab Media Group, including the newspapers Emirates Business 24/7 and Arabic daily Emarat Al Youm, will now fall under the ownership of Dubai Media Incorporated, according to a directive from the emirate's ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum. (photo)

The emailed statement specifies that "printing and publishing, Dubai Radio and television, with all their assets, rights, contracts and liabilities will transfer from Arab Media Group to Dubai Media Inc."

Dubai government-owned companies are under pressure to restructure as the emirate struggles to revive an economy that's been hit hard by the global financial crisis.

Abdullatif Al Sayegh, chief executive of Arab Media Group, didn't answer phone calls.

Dubai Holding said in August it would pare down its businesses to concentrate on property, business parks, hospitality and investments. In June, Emaar Properties said it will merge with Dubai Holding's real estate units - Dubai Properties LLC, Sama Dubai LLC and Tatweer LLC - to help absorb the impact of the collapse of the sheikdom's real estate market.

Sheik Mohammed created Dubai Holding in 2004 by consolidating a number of companies that he used to spearhead some of his most ambitious infrastructure and investment projects. (c) Business Maktoob

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Daoud Kuttab: Why leaders of Palestine agreed to postpone the Goldstone Report

The angry political and public reaction to the decision by the Palestinian leadership to postpone discussions of the Goldstone war crimes report requires a sober look at the reasons and lessons that need to be learned to avoid repetition.
Anger came from Palestinians and non-Palestinians alike, including many supporters of Palestine. Arab media, especially Al Jazeera dedicated hours and hours of prime time TV to give space to bombastic attacks against Mahmoud Abbas and his leadership. Public accusations calling Abbas a traitor who sells out the blood of Palestinians in Gaza have become so common that it is worrisome.
MORE by Daoud Kuttab on this issue HERE

King Abdullah (SA) visits President Asad (Syria)

The visit of King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to Syria is the first embarked upon by an Arab leader since the assassination of Lebanon’s Premier Rafiq Hariri in 2005. It marks a new era in relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia that will most certainly define Syria’s relations with rest of the Arab world as well.
Saudi Arabia’s keenness to break the ice with Syria through negotiations and diplomatic overtures for achieving the larger good in the Middle East has seen Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad meeting with King Abdullah three times over the last two years.
Diplomats of both countries deserve praise and admiration for their dedication and sincerity that eventually resulted in this historic visit. The timing could not more perfect, as celebrations are underway in Syria for the anniversary of the 1973 October War, a war that is definitely a reminder to the Arabs of what unity can achieve.
Observers have already expressed high hopes of what this visit might achieve. Could this be the beginning of a collective effort to tackle issues that hurt us all? Could this be the birth of a united body that results in the One Ummah that we have all been dreaming about? We definitely hope so.
Comment in Saudi Gazette.

Tantawi: Niqab is not Islamic

Sheikh Mohamed Tantawi, dean of al-Azhar university, said full-face veiling (niqab) is merely a tradition that has nothing to do with the Islamic faith.
Although most Muslim women in Egypt wear the Islamic headscarf, increasing numbers are adopting the niqab as well.
The niqab question reportedly arose when Sheikh Tantawi was visiting a girls’ school in Cairo at the weekend and asked one of the students to remove her niqab.

Egypt's parliament has rejected a request from two opposition lawmakers to seek the dismissal of the country's top Islamic cleric over his planned ban on women's veils at a top university, Al Jazeera reported.
Muhammad Sayed Tantawi is planning to bar female students wearing Islamic niqab from the schools of Al Azhar University, saying the garment has "nothing to do with Islam."
A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman told the Qatar-based news network that preventing women from wearing veils would "undermine our moral foundations and mutual respect," and "discredit Islam."
Group members Hamdi Hassan and Ibrahim Abu Auf have urged parliament to formally ask Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif to dismiss the cleric over the "illegal" ban.
However, their request was rejected by the 454-seat lower house. The Muslim Brotherhood has just 88 seats in the chamber.
The proposed ban has been widely seen as part of the Egyptian leadership's crackdown on resurgent ultra-conservative elements in the country.
On Saturday, dozens of female students protested against the ban outside the university.
Shaikh Ali Abu al-Hasan, the former head of the Fatwa Council at the Islamic Studies Institute (ISI) in Cairo, was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying although women are not required by Islam to cover their faces, Al Azhar University must give them freedom of choice.
"The niqab is not in contravention of the sharia or Egyptian law," he said.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

EGYPT: Virtually, Some Real Freedom

Egyptians critical of their government are using new media and the Internet to expose its improprieties and press for social change.

Twitter users in Egypt have provided minute-by-minute coverage of labour strikes, while Facebook groups are rallying opposition against the ruling party and its policies. But perhaps the most striking example of new media activism are the dozens of videos of police brutality - many filmed using mobile phone cameras - that have been uploaded to blogs and YouTube.

"The Internet has created a new type of activism," says blogger Sherif Abdel Aziz. "It took the political voice from activists and gave it to the average citizen."

Internet use is growing rapidly in Egypt as connection costs fall. More than 12 million Egyptians, about 15 percent of the population, are logging on regularly. And in doing so, they are being exposed to a flood of news and views outside the sphere of the state-dominated press. MORE HERE

UAE measuring TV-watching habits

The initial results of the recently launched TV audience measurement initiative has proved positive trends in the in the study of application of the project for the measurement of TV audience in the United Arab Emirates.
The National Media Council (NMC) and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) were jointly apprised of the findings by the consulting firm appointed to implement the project. The NMC and TRA launched the TV Audience Measurement initiative as a critical step towards greater development of the UAE's media industry after a series of workshops and industry consultations held earlier this year. During these discussions, broadcasters, advertisers and members of the general public expressed the need for an independent, NMC-led initiative to establish improved transparency in TV audience measurement. The Steering Committee for the project took a comprehensive overview of the first phase, which lasted for eight weeks, during which interviews with more than 100 key players in the field of Information including officials from government and television stations as well as with advertisers, viewers, experts and others were conducted. Phase I aims to provide the basic rules to move forward in implementing the project to measure the percentage of television viewers in the UAE by offering proposals on aspects of restructuring and corporate governance, cost as well as technical regulations and quality control. A detailed implementation plan covering all activities and time periods necessary to the launch of the system to measure the rate of TV viewers was also explained. The officials at the NMC and TRA appreciated the media organisations for their strong support for the project and expressed satisfaction over the method in which the preliminary study was prepared. The coming weeks will witness more meetings to determine the plan and goals of each phase in preparation for the implementation of the project. The participation of key stakeholders has been earmarked as the critical success factor for the initiative. Although industry groups have been pursuing such alignment for some time, the NMC and TRA's involvement is expected to catalyze the process, which will have far-reaching, positive impact on major multinational broadcasters and advertisers. © Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2009.

If Israel bombs Iran's nucleair plant to smithereens, then...

The Pakistan Daily gives gives possible scenarios for what happens after Israel bombs Iran's nucleair plant:

Now that the Iranian/Six Power talks have concluded with no breakthrough (Netanyahu will never accept the ‘final’ uranium refining being done in Russia as a breakthrough), we can expect an Israeli attack on Iran at any time. We need to consider what will happen next.

Scenario 1: The Israeli Air Force bombs the major Iranian nuclear sites. The destruction of the fully fueled nuclear reactor causes massive deaths. Iran does nothing. This is the pre-school level thinking scenario and believe it or not, it is the scenario that is most likely covered by the corporate owned mainstream news media. If you believe this scenario it is likely you should also believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.  THE OTHER 5 SCENARIO'S HERE

Friday, October 2, 2009

Syria's influence in Lebanon increases

When Syria's vice president recently boasted that his country is now stronger than ever in Lebanon, many Lebanese dismissed his words as wishful thinking. Months of political stalemate in Beirut may show how right he was.
Lebanon's pro-Western politicians have been unable to form a government since winning June elections, and many of them blame Damascus, saying it is using its allies in Lebanon — led by Hezbollah — to stymie negotiations and show that nothing can get done without its say-so. The whole AP story HERE