In a letter today to Prime Minister Paul Martin, the Canadian Islamic Congress said it endorses yesterday Martin's characterization that Syrian troops are in Lebanon as peacekeepers, not invaders. "The withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon should be left up to those two countries to negotiate," said the CIC.
CIC also urged the Canadian government to moderate Washington's aggressive and dangerous policies against Iran, Syria and Lebanon, warning that failure to do so will lead only to more death, destruction and human misery in the Middle East.
To date, the American-led invasion of Iraq has resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 Iraqis and thousands of Americans. Iraq has been transformed from country with 100% employment and a stable public service infrastructure, into an impoverished nation in disarray, with more than half of its adult workforce jobless. From being one of the leading Middle East states in administration, education and health care, Iraq has fallen to one of the world's most disadvantaged societies.
The CIC is charging that America's aggressive Middle East policies are designed primarily to shore up Israel's military power and economic advantages in the region, while attempting to divert world attention from Israel's territorial expansion into the West Bank through illegal Jews-only settlements.
I suppose that the CIC is cheesed off that they did not have a vote to cast on UN Resolution 1559. Furthermore, it is a shame that the CIC was otherwise engaged dashing off letters to Mr. Dithers supporting the occupation of Lebanon that no one at the CIC had time to read what a Kuwaiti paper published. And just in case Mr. Dithers hadn’t made up his mind on Canadian foreign policy; the CIC goes on to offer a mandate based on the benefit of their wisdom and research for Mr. Dithers convenience. My personal favorites taken from the CIC's 10 point talking memo ("according to CIC policy and research") to the Prime Minister are the last four:
7. Aggressive American policies in the Middle East are fueling radicalism and extremism, thereby sabotaging the cause of peace with justice.What an ignominy it is that Dr. Mohamed Elmasry et al were too busy advising Mr. Dithers that they obviously missed the call by not reading this editorial from the Lebanese Daily Star:
8. The U.S. must pursue Israel to fulfill its promised withdrawal from Gaza, while ceasing the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
9. Aggressive U.S. policies in the Middle East are responsible for bringing chronic economic instability to the region, resulting in more debt being loaded on the backs of the poor. The only benefactors are big commercial banks who will happily lend money to war-ravaged countries at exorbitant interest rates.
10. Political, social and economic reform movements in all Middle East countries are grinding to a halt because of the disruption caused by U.S. involvement in their national affairs.
Slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has become Lebanon's latest martyr. This much is already crystal clear by the enormous and continuous outpouring of grief, anger and support for his vision displayed by Lebanese of all persuasions both at home and abroad since his assassination in Beirut on Monday.
And already, the opposition - with whom Hariri was quietly allied and was purportedly about to lend his overt support - has galvanized itself. On Friday, the opposition issued a statement that encompassed both demand and appeal. The key demand was for the formation of a transitional government to supervise a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon before scheduled elections in May. Key appeals were for ongoing peaceful protest at Hariri's murder and against the government and the Syrian presence in Lebanon; for a UN investigation into Hariri's murder; for UN protection of the "captive" nation of Lebanon; and for Lebanese expatriate communities across the globe to assist the country in its quest for freedom and democracy.
All of this would have meant very little without the support of the Lebanese people, which brings us back to the fact that Rafik Hariri has entered the annals of history as a patriot who died for his country. The vigils being kept at his grave and at the blast site by a countless stream of Lebanese citizens are testimony to this. Indeed, the Lebanese people have voted in their mourning - their visits to Hariri's grave and to his family are akin to visits to a ballot box, and the vote is one that overwhelmingly says the time has arrived for the government to resign.
This is a call to all throughout the world for those who value freedom and democracy, because the time to assist the Lebanese in their aspirations is now. An opportunity exists for a significant and meaningful change in the Lebanese status quo - this opportunity must be grasped and fulfilled.
The Canadian Islamic Congress will not heed that call but their 10 point talking points could have been dictated by this Lebanese mullah wannabe:
BEIRUT: Shiite cleric Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah directly accused the Israeli intelligence of perpetrating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on Friday, as the Prayer for the Absent, which is usually reserved for high-ranking personalities such as kings, was held on Friday in Mecca and all the Lebanese mosques to pray for the soul of Hariri and the victims of the blast.
"Israel has exerted violence on the region since its establishment, and allied with the American intelligence in order to implement corruption through political assassinations and attacks on the people of many countries," Fadlallah said. The cleric's statements came during his Friday sermon delivered at Al-Imamayn al-Hassanayn Mosque in Haret Hreik, in the presence of many political, social and religious figures. According to Fadlallah, the Israeli intelligence was responsible for Hariri's assassination because Israel "did not want Lebanon to be a secure and stable country," and was taking advantage of UN Security Council resolution 1559 to stir political conflicts.
He added that Hariri's assassination was within the framework of the "American strategy of political violence" aimed at weakening the Arab world, which spread throughout the region following the American occupation of Iraq and the toppling of its totalitarian regime. Fadlallah said the George W. Bush administration is speaking in the name of the international community as if it was taking total control of it, particularly when speaking about the new Syrian-Iranian alliance and the threat it represents to the U.S.