Beating prisoners of Roumieh won’t help the fight against extremists.

Videos, taken inside the infamous prison of Roumieh, in Lebanon, emerged online. The videos show guards beating prisoners laying on the ground, with a large green stick. The prisoners were shirtless, half-naked, and had their hands tied-up. The abuses may date from April and could be answers or punishment to the riots that month, when prisoners briefly held 20 guards as hostages.

Nuhad Machnuk, Lebanon’s interior minister, announced that the guards who abused the prisoners were arrested.

Omar al Atrash is allegedly one of the prisoners beaten, he is a well-known Islamist cleric and was the Imam of a mosque in Central Bekaa. “He was charged of smuggling suicide bombers and car bombs between Lebanon and Syria through Arsal border crossings.” NOW Lebanon reported in 2014.  Does he and the other prisoners “deserve” the treatment from the guards? Absolutely not, never.

Beating a prisoner is useless. 

Beating a prisoner, abusing him, torturing him have never lowered the number of religious extremists over the years. Beating them won’t save lives. It is notorious that the Roumieh prison had an “operation room” for the extremists and helped them in their terrorist network, but after the police raid and the destruction of the room and the confiscation of phones, I believe that the connection with the external world is today minimal. The state, with force, took back the control of all the prison. Whether this video happened yesterday or before the full control of the prison by the state doesn’t make any difference to the online repercussion of the videos.

Beating prisoners helps radicalisation and terrorism. 

Opportunist extremists will use the video for propaganda purposes. While this abuse and beating may be isolated, the video will be used by some agitators to show that Sunni clerics are abused and that Sunni in general in Lebanon, are abused and oppressed against, no need to say that this is absurd. Some are calling the guards Shias and even Hezbollah members. The video is already a tool in the hands of extremists or agitators, and will help them recruit. Beating a prisoner isn’t “productive”, quite the contrary, their numbers will grow.

There’s absolutely no proof that these guards are Hezbollah members or even sympathisers of Hezbollah. Saying this is only helping the propaganda and therefore the recruitment.

Beating prisoners could lead to unrest.

Some are already calling for protests in Tripoli and other towns. The town has sadly known numerous fightings between Alawites of Jabal Mohsen, Assad supporters, and Sunnis of Bab al Tabbane, a mini proxy war from Syria. The city has also witnessed battles between extremists and the Lebanese army. This video won’t help at all the security of this country.

Beating and abusing a prisoner doesn’t make the guards better than them. 

IS, Nusra front, the two leading Islamist groups of Syria, are well known for inhuman acts: IS beheads their prisoners, enslaves woman, pushes homosexuals to their deaths, and it infamously burned a man alive. Nusra Front, though often presented as less violent, are not human rights advocates either, they’re the offshoot of al Qaeda, the same group responsible for 9/11. Omar al Atrash may be directly responsible for the deaths of innocent during multiple bombings in the southern suburb of Beirut. Beating him won’t make the innocent come back from their tombs. It’s useless and sadistic at best.

Isn’t beating them, on the ground, defenceless, resemble the doings of IS?

Why We Should Not allow terrorists on Lebanon TV’s ; the Rima Karaki case.

The past week, Lebanese supported TV Host Rima Karaki for reacting strongly to the so called sheikh Hani Al-Seba’i, but why should we allow outspoken supporter of terrorism (and maybe terrorists themselves) to speak on live TV’s in the first place ?

Rima Karaki from al Jadeed was conducting an interview with Hani Al-Seba’i, an islamist based in London. She even wore a loose hijab over her heard to show respect to her interlocutor. The latter was explaining how the fact that Christians and other “Nasriyeh” joining terrorist groups weren’t you. Rima Karaki cut him decently and explained to him that they had no time to go into the historical details, Al-Seba’i overly reacted (how the hell could a woman cut Him?) but Karaki tried to calm down the situation, Al-Seba’i continued disperecting her, and even told her to shut up. Karaki demanded from her TV team to end immediatly the interview and the “Sheikh” was muted and out. Karaki wanted to have a respectful and decent debate but she claimed that she couldn’t do an interview like this.

Rima Karaki reacted swifly and bravely to Hani Al-Seba’i. She showed to him that it’s not so easy to shut up a woman on TV within a complexed and macho Middle East, although I want to get into another side of the story.

Who is Hani Al-Seba’i ? An Egyptian strong supporter of Bin Ladin al Quaeda, who has been banned by the UN for supporting terrorism.

Resolution 1267 (1999) and subsequent resolutions have all been adopted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and require all UN Member States to inter alia: “freeze the assets of, prevent the entry into or transit through their territories by, and prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale and transfer of arms and military equipment to any individual or entity associated with Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and/or the Taliban as designated by the Committee”.

So Hani al Seba’i is in fact a terrorist.

He also claimed that non-muslims are all criminals and that France liked to drink blood to get close to Satan.

Here’s another lovely transcript from another interview back in 2011, this time on al Jazeera.

“Let me tell you: I love Sheikh Osama bin Laden as a Muslim. I am not glorifying or extolling anything. I am simply telling it as it is – Sheikh Osama is loved by millions of Muslims. Sheikh Osama is a hymn in the hearts of the downtrodden – from Jakarta to the Hindu Kush Mountains, to the villages and rural areas of Egypt… Ask those downtrodden and poor people, and they will tell you that they are grieving for Sheikh Osama bin Laden.

He adds without any restraint or shame.

“Sheikh Osama bin Laden fought occupation forces. He never killed civilians, and he never said he did. On the contrary, he extended his hand in peace to Europe and the West, and they were the ones who rejected it.”

He thinks that all non-muslims are targets (and murderers) so the victims of 9/11 were not civilians. Absurd.

Why should we allow this sort of man on live TV ? They already have the internet and probably a Mosque to spread their disgusting and stinking lies that actually harm more Arabs and Muslims than the Western civilisation. I confirm and don’t deny that they’re part of our societies. In Lebanon, we have similar “Sheikhs” that called for an insurrection against the military in Tripoli, what followed was a fierce battle between extremists galvanised by the Sheikhs Friday speeches and the Lebanese soldiers. Tripoli residents fled the battle in a massive exode. What if those Sheikhs were given the primetime on TV to call for a “rebellion” against the Lebanese soldiers ?

The media of Lebanon has a role in the spreading of their “ideology” and dogma. As the adage says, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, making  Live TV is a springboard for their words.
Of course, the interviews they participate to are not the sole explication of their existence and their supporters. The issue is political and social. Lack of jobs and education are one of the main reasons, but not necessary always the explanation, the western intervention in Iraq back in 2003 and the War in Syria also played a part in their fast expansion.

I strongly believe that our society and media is way better off without them, their ideas and their brainwashing lies. What do we lose if we stopped allowing them on Lebanese (and Middle East) TV’s ? Nothing, because there’s never been any real debate on TV, just shouting extremists that want to impose their “vision”. Maybe the TV’s like the sort of tension and electricity it creates. But Apart a good fiasco, there’s no real value added. They are a part of our society, but let us restraint this part by beginning to censor them on TV. Yes, censorship is what I am thinking of. I don’t need any euphemism.

In France, the apologists of terrorism, aka their supporters, are not allowed to speak on TV. The dimension it took after Charlie Hebdo attack got out of hand, and I strongly mocked them and condemned the French authorities as they were arresting a child over some words spoken in recreation courts. I’m not saying we should do as France, jailing people over drawings mocking Charlie Hebdo attack (see the irony here), but someone who openly support terrorism (or a terrorist) that already have faithful followers and armed extremists shouldn’t be allowed on TV. Sheikh al Assir should have never spoken on TV, we realised that after his peaceful protest transformed into a bloody battle against the Lebanese army, we shouldn’t have let him have this voice that he needed so much. But again, it’s not the fault of the media.

Al Jadeed is an example in Lebanon, it’s not openly supportive of any political party and I respect the fact that they want to allow the expression of all the Lebanese voices. But there must be limits. Al Manar (Hezbollah owned) and Mustaqbal (Future owned), should learn from it.

Finally, I wish a happy International Woman day to Rima Karaki and all the woman who said “stop” against any form of Machismo, including violent extremism. We need more woman like her in the Middle East and in the World.

What Assad Supporters need to know.

It is always useful to take a step back, look at some (not so old) history and place yourself within the given new context.

Pro-Assad people will never hesitate to blame pro-opposition in Syria to support IS, Al Qaeda and sometimes as far as Zionism. They will point out how evil powers of the world are all plotting to make the Assad regime fall, including Turkey. In fact, the latter is allowing Jihadis to pass by its porous frontiers and getting directly to the front.

But what about the role of Syria in the Iraqi turmoil ? Let’s quote some parts of an article in the Guardian.

Like the Americans, General Kamal was convinced that Syria was destabilizing Iraq, an assessment based on the interrogations of jihadists who had been captured by his troops. Throughout 2009, in a series of interviews, Kamal laid out his evidence, using maps that plotted the routes used by jihadists to cross the border into western Iraq, and confessions that linked their journeys to specific mid-ranking officers in Syrian military intelligence.

General Kamal was the director of intelligence of Iraq’s Interior ministry.

As Isis activity ebbed in Iraq, he had become increasingly obsessed with two meetings that had taken place in Syria early in 2009, which brought together Iraqi jihadists, Syrian officials and Ba’athists from both countries. […]

The attendees included senior Iraqi Ba’athists who had taken refuge in Damascus since their patron Saddam was ousted, Syrian military intelligence officers, and senior figures in what was then known as al-Qaida in Iraq. The Syrians had developed links to the jihadists since the earliest days of the anti-US insurgency and had used them to unsettle the Americans and their plans for Iraq.

Abu Ahmed, a “senior official” within IS adds.

“The mujahideen all came through Syria,” he said. “I worked with many of them. Those in Bucca had flown to Damascus. A very small number had made it from Turkey, or Iran. But most came to Iraq with the help of the Syrians.”

Militant Islamist fighters waving flags, travel in vehicles as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Stringer/Reuters

To sum it up, the Syrian regime of Al-Assad helped Jihadis install chaos in Iraq. Those Jihadis then used the chaos in Syria and grew much bigger than they intended to.

Before blaming Turkey and their evil plans, (and you have every right to do so), take a second and think about the Syrian contribution to terrorism in the region. Blame both.

Continue reading What Assad Supporters need to know.

Ali Bazzal’s Execution and his family response. [Opinion]

A Lebanese policemen has been executed by Jabhat el Nusra. May Ali Bazzal rest in peace.

One could understand the anger and the frustration of the families, their impatience with the government that is slowly, barely acting. But a family can’t use force and violence and act as it will go unpunished.

Rana Fliti and Ali Bazzal and their daughter Maram (Photo courtesy of Rana Fliti) –

A family can’t demand the execution of other people because their sons has been executed, as much as they are frustrated. A family can’t decide on its own to block international aid to refugees. This is not the answer for your child vile execution.

A family can’t decide to kidnap others people. Yes, the families are on the good side of the fight, but how do you expect the terrorists to respond if not by executing more Lebanese soldiers and policemen. You don’t respond to execution with executions.

Yes, the state is useless here, and I stand with every civil, peaceful act they used, road-blocking, pressure on the government, etc. They have every right to do so, but they have absolutely no right to act as vengeful blood-thirsty citizens.

We stand by the side of the families that have their sons and brothers kidnapped. Just don’t make things worse by escalating the tension already untenable for all the country.

Let the army do its job.

What is the difference between Death Penalty and Drones Strikes. [Opinion]

Defining the Death Penalty.

The Death Penalty or Capital punishment is a legal process when a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. Death Penalties must occur after the accused face a just court. The accused person is punished after concluded that he is the perpetrator of the alleged crime.

The Death Penalty must then be applied in a predefined and installed “just” system. A set of laws that indiscriminately judge people in Justice and Fairness. In Justice, all men must face legal courts and a judgment before being punished. All men have the right to claim they are falsely accused and prove the accuser is wrong.

I really stress on the All men, yes, even Ben Laden or Hitler. Personally, I wish they faced Justice before being punished, even when it is a fact than Ben Laden conducted 9/11, even when it is a fact that Hitler led to awful massacres in WW2. That is justice. All men are equal before the law all man must face just and legal action based on a fair set of laws.

Death Penalty and War.

But what about war ? Is it legal or fair to kill a person before he is judged ? Let’s imagine a small scene.

A group of armed man enter your neighborhood with a clear goal to destroy it and kill. They begin to fire, you and your neighbors take weapons and kill them all.

In this previous scenario is killing a person “death penalty” ? Not really, it is a direct act of self-defense. The Armed men were going to kill you, so you decided that you are going to kill them first. So in a state of war, when faced to a direct lethal threat or attack, you respond and kill without really facing prison.

That’s the whole debate here. The difference between threat and factual attack. The difference between a very well defined threat or a probable threat.

Are drones strikes considered to be conducted in a state of war ?

I said previously that in a state of war you could act in self-defense and kill without facing prison. But is killing alleged terrorists considered as an act of war, in a state of war ? Pro “war on terrorism” will come and say : “yes, it is a war against terrorists that pose a direct threat to the Security of USA and the world so it is legitimate to kill those terrorists”. But what if they aren’t direct ? (Here again define direct threat), Will they be able to conduct terrorists acts in USA ? When ? How?

Those are questions that should be answered.

Personally, I think that drones strikes aren’t considered to be acts of a state of war. Those that are preparing an act of terror in USA or anywhere else in the world, didn’t act yet. Of course we must not wait until they act to judge them or stop them. Those terrorists will try to find ways to destroy USA and their enemies. But destroying them before judging them is dangerous. It is better to stop them and judge them and put them in jail [or face death penalty]. Today it is highly possible with Interpol and the international police force. In fact, it is way more instructive to understand why they want to attack America and their allies. This only could end the endless conflict against terrorists.

So what is the difference between death penalty and drones strikes to my opinion ?

Drones strikes are unjust because they happen 1) before the crime of the alleged terrorist and 2) before he is judged.| Death penalty is an act of justice whereas drones strikes are unjust death penalties.

PS : What I have said in this article doesn’t make me pro-terrorist or pro-death penalty. But it does make me anti-drones strikes.