In a little noticed ruling on Monday, November 28, a Washington, D.C. district court found that both Iran and Sudan were culpable for al Qaeda’s 1998 embassy bombings. As is typical in state sponsorship of terrorism cases, neither Iran nor Sudan answered the plaintiffs’ accusations. But in a 45-page decision, Judge John D. Bates issued a default judgment. The court found that the “government of the Islamic Republic of Iran…has a long history of providing material aid and support to terrorist organizations including al Qaeda,” which “claimed responsibility for the August 7, 1998 embassy bombings.”
In the aftermath of a reported explosion earlier today in the Iranian city of Isfahan that may have targeted a uranium enrichment plant, at least three katyusha rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel's western Galilee overnight Monday.
In today’s New York Times, Avi Jorisch argues that the U.S. should seize the Iranian embassy and other assets belonging to the Islamic Republic. The purpose isn’t retaliation for the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran more than 31 years ago, but rather to pressure Iran for funding terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda.
If Sir James Wolfensohn, the cofounder of Edward Said’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, doesn’t deserve to be honored at the American University of Beirut (AUB), then who does? Recently, the former World Bank chief found himself in the midst of controversy after AUB had announced that he would receive an honorary doctorate and deliver the June commencement address. Faculty members and students signed a petition in protest, arguing that honoring Wolfensohn “undermines AUB’s legacy in the struggle for social justice and its historical connection to Beirut, to Palestine and beyond.”
Last Friday, protesters in Syria burned Russian and Iranian flags as they took to the streets to speak out against the regime. Today's Friday, so protesters again took to the streets. This time, some were spotted burning pictures of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
The Brazilian magazine Veja is reporting that al Qaeda members have established an active presence in South America’s largest country, as have militants associated with Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups. They are apparently engaged in fundraising, recruitment, and strategic planning.
After two months of Arabs spontaneously taking to the streets to protest against their regimes, there's another kind of uprising going on here in Lebanon. The setting isn’t even an Arab street, but rather Beirut's Rafiq Hariri International Airport; and the occasion isn’t a protest, but rather a “flash mob” executing a traditional Lebanese song and dance routine, “Dabke.”
Nir Rosen, as it turns out, had pro-Taliban inclinations for quite some time. And so it should not really come as a surprise that a person who’d be willing to defend the terrorist organization might mock a woman—in this case, CBS’s Lara Logan—for being sexually assaulted in Cairo.
As the remnants of Lebanon's March 14 pro-democracy has taken to the streets of Beirut and other Lebanese cities to protest against what has now become a government led by Hezbollah and its allies, it's worth remembering why the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) matters.
Last week Tunisians deposed their president for life, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. So now we have the week of tear gas in the Middle East, with Arab security services and militaries pitted against their countrymen. In Egypt, riot police are firing tear gas at protesters, and the same is so in Algeria, where demonstrators are faced off against a regime that presided over a civil war costing the lives of a quarter million people. In Lebanon, where the Lebanese Armed Forces have used tear gas against demonstrators, it’s a little different. In Beirut and other cities the remnants of the March 14 pro-democracy movement have taken to the streets in a “Day of Rage” to protest what is essentially a coup d’etat engineered by a terrorist organization, Hezbollah.
The perennial Middle East crisis known as Lebanon has entered a new phase with the fall of Sunni prime minister Saad Hariri’s government. The proximate cause of the government’s collapse was the withdrawal from Lebanon’s coalition Shiite and opposition ministers aligned with Hezbollah. They object to Hariri’s support for the U.N.-authorized Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigating the 2005 assassination of his father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. It’s little wonder —the Party of God’s general secretary Hassan Nasrallah fears that the STL will soon indict members of Hezbollah.
As Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri was in Washington to meet with President Obama this morning, Hezbollah and its allies withdrew from the Lebanese cabinet, setting the table for what many fear is an inevitable escalation of violence in the eastern Mediterranean. The Obama administration promises to support Hariri, but at some point the 39-year-old prime minister needs to know what Washington really wants—whether that’s to ensure stability in Lebanon, or to gamble on the possibility of handing Hezbollah a defeat. For Hariri, his life and maybe his country depend on him getting the right answers.