Monday, July 31, 2006

News (Tα Nέα)

*** Al Jazeera has a feature story on the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the ghost town of Varosha. Click here to read the article. ***

Athenian headlines - Monday, July 31, 2006Athens daily newspapers display headlines about the Israeli bombing of Qana. Lebanon, Monday, July 31, 2006. Headlines clockwise from the top, left: The daily Ethnos, 'Slaughter of infants,' Eleftherotypia 'Beastly act.' (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

A C-130 military plane flew from Elefsina, west of Athens, to Larnaca, Cyprus, yesterday transporting humanitarian aid for Lebanon as part of a European Union relief effort. The food, blankets, anti-biotics and tents were expected to be dropped off in the Cypriot city where they would then be transported by military ship to Beirut. It is the fifth shipment of humanitarian aid that Greece is sending to Lebanon since the conflict with Israel began.

Greek subway dig excites archaeologists
+ Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-07-31
Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-07-31
+ The ghost city of Cyprus (and the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus)

Oh I see...Syria is flexing it's muscles NOW. The Syrians have been sitting safe and comfy on their asses all this time, while Lebanese and Israelis were getting killed or injured. Now Syria is flapping their gums...just in case someone would DARE exclude them from the peace talks. "Show us Syrians some respect!"

"The operation has not yet been completed. Many days of fighting still await us. Missiles and rockets will still fall. Hours of fear and uncertainty and, yes, also pain, tears and blood await us." -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

+ Israel's Olmert: No cease-fire in Lebanon, air strikes resume and Israel votes to expand ground attack
+ Hezbollah uses UN posts as shields
Israeli shelling kills Gaza boy
IDF: "Hezbollah has only few launchers left"
Iran's clout rises
Trapped Lebanese flee city of Bint Jbail
+ USMC sniper metes out swift death in Iraq
Islamic Jihad leader killed
U.N. issues nuke deadline for Iran
Fighting breaks out in Sri Lanka
Congo holds first multiparty election in four decades
+ Russia warns of environmental damage after oil spill from pipeline
+ Ethiopian Jews face more conflict in Israel
+ When Egypt took over the Suez
+ The ghost city of Cyprus (and the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus)

Killing in the name of [insert your excuse here]

Qana massacre
Articles and photographs about the Israeli attack on the Lebanese village of Qana where Jesus had turned water into wine. A house was destroyed killing at least 56 people - mostly women and children - who had taken refuge there, are seen on the front pages of newspapers available in Lebanon Monday, July 31, 2006. Isreal claimed Hezbollah was firing rockets from the area.

On Saturday we kill the Jews, and on Sunday we kill the Christians

My friend Amr translated the Arabic for me: "
On Saturday we kill the Jews, and on Sunday we kill the Christians."

Praying the bombs hit their targets.
Praying the bombs hit their targets.

Below: The horror of
Fallujah, Iraq.

Below: Hizbullah rockets being shot from within a house. From the
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Below: The beauty that is

"It is an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of the last Jew on earth." -
Hizbullah, 1992

"We are waging the battle of the nation...whether the Lebanese like it or not." -
Hassan Nasrallah, 2006 Hizbullah-Israeli War

"Destroy Hizbullah" - Jerusalem Post

In this article, Hizbullah indicates that "The real battle is after the end of this war...we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let's finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later." Many of my Sunni friends fear that "the real battle" for Hizbullah is with Sunni or Sunnah Muslims....

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hizballah - More military than militia

Day 19: Hizballah-Isreali War

As the shells fall around them, Hizbullah (sic) men await the Israelis
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, south of Tyre
Saturday July 29, 2006 - The Guardian

Inside a well-furnished apartment in a village on the outskirts of Tyre, with shelves of books piled from floor to ceiling, a black turbaned cleric and three men sit sipping bitter coffee. By the door is a pile of Kalashnikovs and ammunition boxes; handguns are tucked into the men's trousers. The four are Hizbullah fighters, waiting for the Israelis.

"Patience is our main virtue, we can wait for days, weeks, months before we attack. The Israelis are always impatient in battle and in strategy," says the cleric, Sayed Ali, who claims to be a descendant of the prophet. "I know them very well."

As if to make his point, the sound of Israeli shells blasting the surrounding hills shakes the door and shutters every few minutes. Ali does know the Israelis. He started fighting them at the age of 17 when they invaded Lebanon in 1982. Three years later he was arrested with two of his comrades and spent a few months in an Israeli prison. Within weeks of his release he was fighting them again.That's what he did for the next six years.

For the last five years he has been finishing his theology studies in Tehran. A month ago, he was asked by Hizbullah to return to southern Lebanon. He arrived a week before the fighting began.Standing at the window, he points to the banana plantations between us and the blue Mediterranean. "I have fought for years in these groves. We used to sit and wait for them [the Israelis] to make a move and then we would hit. They always moved too quickly, too soon."All over the hills of south Lebanon hundreds of men like Sayed Ali and his comrades are waiting - some in bunkers, some in farm houses - for the Israeli troops to arrive. Sayed Ali and his men spend most of their time in the building where his apartment is, moving only at night.

"We stay put and we don't move till we get our orders, and this is why we are not like any other militia. A militiaman will fire whenever he likes at whatever he likes," explains one of the men, who says he has been involved in firing Katyusha rockets into northern Israel. "We have specific orders. Even when we fire rockets we know when and where [to fire] and each of the men manning the launchers runs to a specific hiding place after firing the rockets."He says Hizbullah fighters expect the site of a rocket launch to be hit by an Israeli airstrike or shell within 10 to 15 minutes.Another of the men, who says he is Sayed Ali's brother, explains how Hizbullah teaches its fighters patience: "During our training we spend days in empty buildings without talking to anyone or doing anything. They tell me go and sit in that building, and I go and sit there and wait."

According to Ali, Hizbullah operates as "a state within the state", with its own hospitals, social organisations and social security system. "But we are also an Islamic resistance movement, an indoctrinated army," he adds. "I would go and knock the door at someone and say we need $50,000, he would give me [that] because they trust us."The fighting force of the organisation is divided into two: the "active" group, whose task is to serve in Hizbullah, and the reserve, or Ta'abi'a, as it is known in Arabic. The active fighters get monthly pay. The reserves are called on only in time of war, and receive bonuses but no regular pay. A third section, the Ansar, comprises people who support or are supported by the organisation.

Ali, the commander of Hizbullah in his village, and his men are part of the active force, and their orders are to wait for further orders. "Hizbullah hasn't even mobilised all its active fighters, and the Israelis are calling their reserve units," he said.Hizbullah prides itself on its secretiveness and discipline. "We don't take anyone who knocks at our door and says 'I want to join'. We raise our fighters. We take them when they are young kids and raise them to become Hizbullah fighters. Every fighter we have believes that the ultimate form of being is martyrdom." The three men nod their assent.

Shia symbols and mythology play a big role in the ideology of Hizbullah, especially the tragedy of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet who in the 7th century led a few hundred men against the well-organised army of the caliph in Damascus. He was slain in Karbala, and Shia around the world commemorate these events in Ashura.

"Every one of those fighters is a true believer, he has been not only trained to use guns and weapons but [indoctrinated] in the Shia faith and the Husseini beliefs," Ali says.He and his fellow fighters have been preparing for the latest conflict with the Israelis for years and he acknowledges the support received from Iran."When we defeated them in 2000 we did that with [Katyusha] rockets. We had six years to prepare for this day - the Americans are sending laser-guided missiles to the Israelis, what's wrong if the Iranians help us? When the Syrians were here we would get stuff through their supply lines, now it's more difficult."

The TV is blaring patriotic songs and pictures of destroyed bridges, houses and buildings. The men are feeling confident - only a day earlier the Israelis suffered heavy casualties in the village of Bint Jbeil."Our strategy is to hit the commandos and the Golani units like we did in Bint Jbeil," Ali says. "Those are their best units. If they can't do anything, the morale of the reserve units will sink."For Ali and his comrades, the latest conflict is a war of survival not only for Hizbullah but for the whole Shia community. It is not only as a war with Israel, their enemy for decades, but also with the Sunni community. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have all expressed fears of Iranian domination over the Middle East.

"If Israel comes out victorious from this conflict, this will be a victory for the Sunnis and they will take the Shia community back in history dozens of years to the time when we were only allowed to work as garbage collectors in this country. The Shia will all die before letting this happen again."He says that even if the international community calls on Hizbullah to disarm as part of a peace deal, he and his men will not lay down their arms. "This war is episode two in disarming Hizbullah. First they tried to do it through the Lebanese government and the UN. When they failed, the Americans asked the Israelis to do the job."

Despite Israel's claims to have inflicted heavy losses on Hizbullah, Ali insists his side is in a strong position. "Things are going very well now, whatever happens we are winning. If they keep bombing us we will stay in the shelters, and with each bomb more people support the resistance. If they invade they will repeat the miserable fate they had in 1982, and if they hold one square foot they will give the Islamic resistance all the legitimacy. If they want to kill Hizbullah they have to kill every Shia in the south of Lebanon."

And even when the battle with the Israelis is over, he adds menacingly, Hizbullah will have other battles to fight. "The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle score with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let's finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later."

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Greek restaurants around the planet

Greek restaurants in Shanghai:

Aegean Greek Restaurant, 333 Changle Lu, near Shaanxi Lu (behind Secret Garden restaurant). Tel: 54031850.

Reviews: "It is officially the best Greek restaurant in Shanghai”
Aegean review - HomeboyMediaNews
Aagean review -

Acropolis Greek Restaurant, No. 33, Wuxing Rd, known as the 1st Greek Restaurant in shanghai Tel: 64665608

News Around The World

2006 August
+ US government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered to immediate halt to it
+ al-Qaida: Tracing Terrorist Plots Back to the Source
Israel, Hezbollah both claim upper hand as ceasefire holds
Tamil schoolgirls killed in bomb attack, website claims
Iranian Censors Clamp Down on Bloggers ++++ Hostage: Jill Carroll's story in her own words
Christian villages in Lebanon spared ++++ Israel-Hizbullah war continues as U.N. truce nears
Lebanon – Independent No More (2001 article)
British troops under-equipped, overstretched in Iraq ++++ Child Bride in Afghanistan
Kenya and South Africa are among emerging democracies that have done well in guaranteeing freedom++
Israel and Palestinians in Gaza ++++ Early Congo election results
Keep on bloggin in the free world: Internet censorship in China, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran

2006 July
34 youths among 56 dead in Israeli strike on Qana, the city in which Christ turned water into wine.
Hizbullah men await the Israelis ++++ Lebanon: a pawn in Iran's power play (OpEd)
Israel army pulls out of Lebanese border town ++++ Hezbollah agrees to Lebanese peace plan
500,000 Israelis Living in Bomb Shelters ++++ US to sell Arab states arms worth $5bn
Kuwaiti women vote for first time ++++ Iranian leader bans usage of foreign words
Support for Hezbollah Increasing ++++ California heat wave death toll tops 130
Congo's holdout militias agree to disarm ++++ Turkish intellectuals facing trials for "offensive writing"

Friday, July 28, 2006

Significant Ongoing Armed Conflicts - 2006

(click on image below for a larger view)

An Israeli paratrooper unloads his gun after arriving back in Israel. Israeli forces pulled have back from positions on the outskirts of a Hezbollah stronghold town that was the scene of the deadliest battles of their advance into south Lebanon.(AFP/Menahem Kahana)

Lebanese soldiers take position during clashes at the entrance of the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon.

Hezbollah soldiers observe Israeli forces

Children dressed as Hizbollah guerrillas march at a parade to celebrate 'Jerusalem Day' in Beirut on Friday. — Reuters

Hizbollah soldiers - Lebanon.

Humanitarian aid in full swing

Johnny Santana fills an order of medical supplies for shipment at the Humanitarian Center Run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City Utah. The Christian Mormon Church is responding to an appeal from the U.N. for Humanitarian aid to help civilians caught in the conflict between Israeli and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. Donations will be shipped from the Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake via 'Islamic Relief Worldwide' Tuesday, Aug.1, 2006. (AP Photo/George Frey, File)

Demonstrations for and against the Isreali-Hezbollah War

Lebanese protesting against the war in New York City.

New York City.

Lebanese demonstrators who live in Cyprus, shout anti-Israeli slogans outside the US embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 31, 2006.

Make Hommus Not War
Sydney, Australia.

Orthodox Jews participate in an anti-Israel rally in front of the Israeli consulate, Friday, July 28, 2006 in New York. Some 400 Lebanese and 50 Israelis are confirmed killed in the 17 days of the conflict, which started after the militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight in a cross-border raid on July 12th. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh)

Israeli residents hold flags during a demonstration supporting offensive in Lebanon in Haifa July 28, 2006. REUTERS/Yonathan Weitzman (ISRAEL)

Demonstrators with Israeli and German flags defend the Israeli policy and the attacks against Lebanon and Gaza during a demonstration in Berlin on Friday, July 28, 2006. (AP Photo/ Jan Bauer)

Protesting the war in Pakistan.

Lebanese children display posters during an anti-Israeli protest in Beirut July 30, 2006. (Issam Kobeisy/Reuters)

Jordanian demonstrators. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji (JORDAN)


We pray for all the innocent victims in Lebanon and Isreal.
God bless and watch over all of you.
-- FreeCyprus

Greek News (Tα Nέα)

2006 August
+ Greece defeats Australia to go 3-0 [World Basketball Championship 2006]
+ Stiff fines for reckless drivers
+ Fire rages in Greece's Halkidiki region
Stolen: Icon of the Virgin Mary, at the monastery of Elona, which symbolised Greek freedom during a 19th-Century campaign to expel the Turkish Ottoman empire.
Caught: illegal immigrants, each paying up to 3,000 euros to be brought to Greece from Pakistan, Afghanistan
Greek Foreign Minister Bakoyannis heads to Middle East
Limits on Greek protests dividing opinion

2006 July
Oil from bombed plant covers Lebanon shore
McDonalds, Starbucks Stores Firebombed In Greece
The Greek military, delaying additional fighter-jet procurement, has approved a nearly $15 billion military modernization plan.
Athens: Candlelight protest over Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon
Greek PM begins Mount Athos tour, expresses support for monasteries
Greek protesters topple Truman statue in anti-war demonstration
Greece OK's first mosque in Athens

LEFT: The statue, located in central Athens not far from the U.S. embassy, has been the subject of numerous attacks over the years. It has been seriously damaged at least twice before, once by a bomb attack in the 1980s. As president, Truman supported the right-wing Greek government against Greek Communists in the country's 1946-48 civil war.
RIGHT: Dora Bakoyannis, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister

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