Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, said that the attacks the Egyptian army is currently being subjected to are being perpetrated by terrorists aiming to weaken its spirit but that everyone is confident that the leaders of the armed forces are leading the military in high spirits. He stated that the lowest soldier in the army is well aware of his role and responsibility.
In his discussion with Russia Today (RT), Pope Tawadros added that confronting extremism and terrorism is the responsibility of governments and officials, indicating that the fire of terrorism will reach everyone in the Middle East and beyond and whoever plays with that fire will inevitably get burned.
The Pope indicated that it will not be easy for the Egyptian army to be defeated because it is completely different from the Iraqi or Libyan armies, or others that were weakened. He added that the Egyptian people always say that “our army is made up of men,” because it is the strongest Arab army, has a very regimented structure, is a prestigious institution in Egyptian history and has always been the voice of truth.
In his interview, the Pope said that after the Russian church showed its kind feelings towards us it was his duty to come to them in order to thank them and strengthen relations between the two churches. The Pope also confirmed that the Russian church is considered the biggest Orthodox church in the world in terms of numbers, making it an influential voice.
The Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church also explained that the dialogue that occurred during his visit to Russia included the situation of Christians in the Middle East, and he pointed out that their situation is dangerous and unacceptable to the Russian church and government. He explained that the situation is almost tragic in Iraq Syria, whereas Libya and Lebanon are on the brink of falling into the same position, adding that God intervened and saved Egypt at the appropriate time before it became like Iraq.
On the other hand, Pope Tawadros confirmed that the church serves society by building schools and hospitals, participating in community events and sending Coptic businessmen in force to the economic arena, in addition to the use of Coptic expertise and personnel in national projects.
Translated by Kevin Moore.
Original article available here.
Hisham Safieddine, president of Hezbollah’s legislative council, commented on the statements made by American Vice-President Joe Biden, viewing them as evidence and confirmation that the events happening in Syria are not a revolution, nor the will of the people.
The Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) quoted Safieddine as saying: “What American Vice-President Joe Biden said yesterday, that the money and weapons that were being provided to takfiris came from countries allied to the United States. He named Turkey and some Gulf States, demonstrating once again that everything that we have been talking about with regards to what is happening in Syria is correct, and that what is happening there is not a revolution, nor the will of the people, but sabotage and the realisation of the political goals of regional countries, Western states, and America.”
He continued: “Turkey and the Gulf States, when they gave money and support with weapons, this was not just to achieve their goals, but because American asked them to do that. The United States, for its part, is a full partner with them in every drop of blood that has fallen in Syria, as well as all the suffering and destruction that has happened there. What the American Vice-President said yesterday clearly demonstrates that those who carry the responsibility for everything that has happened in Syria is the United States and its allies who act today as an international coalition to eradicate the terrorism that they created, funded and armed by their own admission.”
Safieddine added: “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was mistaken when he gambled on the overthrow of the regime in Syria, just as his old friends and rivals erred today. Just like they were mistaken previously, they are wrong today in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, and at the level of every balance in the region. They were completely mistaken if imagine that they can turn back the clock, as the saying goes.”
Safieddine pointed out that “it is not possible for any force, pressure, arming, media/political intimidation, or fatwa to make us retreat from our right, our resistance, our righteous causes that we have held onto for decades and to this day we take such a line and strong approach. We will keep it and stay loyal to all of our martyrs, sacrifices and bids.”
Translated by Kevin Moore.
Original article available here.
Egyptian terrorist organisation Ansar Beit al-Maqdis posted a video to YouTube in which it appears the group fires five rockets into Israeli territory from their border position in the Sinai peninsula. While the video cannot be independently verified, the group has claimed previous attacks in the past, and the latest claim comes as Israel continues its bombardment of the Gaza Strip (Operation Protective Edge). The current operation has led to over 120 deaths and retaliatory rocket fire from Hamas. Additionally, rockets were fired into northern Israeli on Friday morning from unidentified militants in southern Lebanon. The current violence is the worst since Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.
Moroccan daily newspaper Alittihad has reported that Iran is attempting to spread the influence of Shi’a Islam to North Africa, using Lebanese communities in Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon and Sierra Leone to financially support Shi’as in Maghreb states. Continue reading
Al- Asad aims to open a strategic road in hopes of getting various weapons to Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon according to opposition sources.
Turkey witnessed 9% growth in the number of tourists coming from Arab states last year, with over 3 million Arabs visiting the country for a number of reason. Tourists come to Turkey from around the Middle East for a variety of reasons, including shopping opportunities, hair transplants and to purchase homes. Continue reading
The African continent is being represented by three countries at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Representatives from Morocco, Togo and Zimbabwe will compete in the games. All participants are of mixed heritage, and have chosen to represent the countries of either a mother or father from one of the three nations. Interestingly, the article claims that Morocco is the sole Arab country represented at the games, while Lebanon also has two athletes participating. Meanwhile, Algeria did not permit its sole entrant, an alpine skier, to register for the games.
The Syrian Civil war has increased tensions in Lebanon and no more so than in the coastal city of Tripoli where the Sunni-Shi’a division has threatened the stability of the city. In the midst of this, a Sunni group in Tripoli threatened to burn down the offices of the ruling political party ‘al-Mustaqbal’ due to their policies in Tripoli.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated $100 million dollars to the United Nations International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his thanks at a meeting with the Saudi foreign minister, just before the Geneva II Convention began.
Beirut experienced another car bombing today, leading to at least four deaths and dozens of injuries. The explosion occurred on the same street as the last bombing, less than a month ago, despite heightened security in the area. The bombing is being connected to ongoing violence in Syria.