Nasrallah warns of Israeli attack
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said that Israel‘s threats to launch an aggression against Lebanon should not be underestimated, even if they were issued for internal Israeli political reasons.
He warned that if Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak makes good on his threat to strike Lebanon, Hezbollah would destroy the Israeli army in the battlefields.
AL-AYYAM (WEST BANK)
Boat activists tour Gaza
Human rights activists who arrived on two boats to breach the blockade on the Gaza Strip toured Gaza yesterday and said that docking their boats on the coastal strip was a dream come true.
They said the move demonstrated a successful defiance by the people of the world against the blockade and injustice befalling the Palestinian people, adding that breaching the siege in this manner should be repeated.
Unilateral U.S. attack feared for Pakistan
Debate is growing in the Pentagon over a unilateral U.S. military operation against gunmen in the tribal areas in West Pakistan because of the continuing differences between the new civilian leadership there over whether to accept U.S. military training of the Pakistani army.
A decision for a direct military operation inside Pakistan would constitute a big shift for senior officers, who have been opposing such a move, being sought by other officials in the American administration.
Pak coalition split worries Arab neighbor
A leader in the Pakistan Muslim League-N, led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said the party is preparing to leave the ruling coalition government today if parliament fails to reinstall the dismissed judges.
The party official, Zafar Ali Shah, told Al-Qabas that his party has no choice but to leave the coalition and join the opposition, adding that [Ali] Asef Zardari of the Pakistan People’s Party violated three agreements reached with Nawaz Sharif to reinstall the judges within 24 hours after President Pervez Musharraf’s resignation.
AL-QUDS AL-ARABI (LONDON)
Rice tour panned as ‘useless’
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday began a new negotiating tour, which Palestinian sources described as a waste of time.
Meanwhile, Israeli sources said Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will head to Egypt today amid reports of an Egyptian-Saudi plan to deploy Arab forces in the Gaza Strip, giving Cairo a major role.
AL-HAYAT AL-JADEEDA (WEST BANK)
Abbas: no peace until all prisoners free
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said during a massive reception for 198 Palestinian prisoners whom Israel released yesterday that all 11,000 Palestinian detainees must be freed as a basic condition to achieve peace with Israel.
Mr. Abbas had received the liberated prisoners, who prayed at the late Yasser Arafat’s grave before addressing thousands of people who came to celebrate their freedom.
AZ-ZAMAN (LONDON; IRAQ)
Iraqi lawmakers call U.S. deal unseen
Iraqi lawmakers complained they have not seen a draft of an Iraqi-U.S. military pact, saying they will not endorse an agreement that falls short of guaranteeing full Iraqi sovereignty and independence.
Meanwhile, Washington denied statements by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that a final agreement was reached entailing a date for U.S. troop withdrawal.
France mediates between Beirut and Damascus
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said during a visit to Damascus, after a brief visit to Beirut, that a new page of relations has opened between Syria and France and announced that Syria and Lebanon will exchange ambassadors before the end of the year.
He said France has not set conditions to ensure continued normal relations and that establishing Lebanese-Syrian diplomatic ties was a decision that both countries made independently.
AL-MASRY AL-YOUM (EGYPT)
Judiciary fines cement factories
An Egyptian court has convicted 20 cement company owners for agreeing to raise prices and divide the market among themselves, fining them with a total of 200 million Egyptian pounds.
The court found these firms had monopolized the market in violation of the anti-monopoly law and behaved as if they were one company.
Compiled by Sana Abdallah of the Middle East Times in Amman, Jordan