As talk of an American no-fly zone over Syria gains momentum, Arab media exposes on Sunday a Syrian-Lebanese conspiracy to assassinate Lebanese Christian politicians.
“For the first time, Hillary Clinton speaks clearly of a no-fly zone over Syria,” states an Al-Jazeera video report Sunday. The daily reports an Arab foreign minister meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to discuss appointing a replacement for UN and Arab League representative Kofi Annan.
“However, it is still unknown under what mandate [the replacement will work], and if the long Annan saga will repeat itself, in which he came and went as though nothing had happened,” says Al-Jazeera.
‘I personally hope that Mr. Ibrahimi refuses to take this dangerous assignment … for fear that he fall into the trap prepared for him in advance to divide Syria as a prelude to dividing the entire region’
London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi cites the name of Al-Ibrahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister, as a possible successor to Annan. In a written statement, Al-Ibrahimi called on Syrians to unite and decide together on their destiny following Assad.
“I personally hope that Mr. Ibrahimi refuses to take this dangerous assignment … for fear that he fall into the trap prepared for him in advance, to divide Syria as a prelude to dividing the entire region.”
Meanwhile, a former Lebanese media minister, Michel Smaha, was arrested over the weekend after Lebanese intelligence caught him red-handed giving explosives to a government agent for the purpose of detonating them in the northern city of Akkar, near the border with Syria in order to ignite “civil strife.”
Smaha was reportedly acting on behalf of two Syrian officials: the head of Syria’s National Security Agency Ali Mamlouk and a Syrian intelligence officer identified only as Colonel Adnan. Smaha allegedly received 24 explosive charges and $170,000 in cash from the Assad regime in Damascus. He then proceeded to drive with the explosives in his trunk to Damascus, where he delivered them to a man whose known (according to Dubai-based news-channel Al-Arabiya) as M.K. It was subsequently revealed that M.K was a government agent, who had recorded the entire transaction using a spy pen.
On Sunday, the London-based daily Al-Hayat dubbed the Smaha-Mamlouk affair “the most dangerous affair since the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005 and an unprecedented incident between Lebanon and Syria.”
And speaking of subversive activities, Syrian-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported Sunday that the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) had thwarted attempts by the Assad regime to insert agents into the FSA with the goal of “benefiting from them following the fall of the regime.”
Egyptian playwright Ali Salem on the ‘lack of Egyptian imagination’
In an extraordinary op-ed Sunday, Egyptian playwright and A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Ali Salem — one of the few Egyptians to openly support normalization with Israel — attacks the Egyptian ‘lack of imagination’ which led the country’s security forces to disregard Israeli warnings of a looming terrorist attack, claiming they “could not believe” that Muslims would kill Muslims on the eve of Ramadan.
‘Israel the country has disappeared and has been replaced by an entity ruled by villains. Villains, as we know, lie, so why should we believe their warnings?’
“I clearly believe that the two sacked men [the governor of northern Sinai and chief of general intelligence] genuinely expressed the level of public awareness and level of education in Egypt,” writes Salem.
“The prevalent culture, created by the previous regime (is it truly previous?) is built on fear of Israel. This fear has bred hatred which the prior and current regimes have played on for their own daily purposes. Thus, Israel the country has disappeared and has been replaced by an entity ruled by villains. Villains, as we know, lie, so why should we believe their warnings?”