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WikiLeaks: Berri Asks Who Will Need Hizbullah if Shabaa Farms are Liberated?

Speaker Nabih Berri believed that liberating the Shabaa Farms would eliminate the reasons for maintaining the Resistance, revealed a leaked U.S. Embassy cable published exclusively in Al-Akhbar Wednesday.

A WikiLeaks cable dated July 25, 2006, reported on a meeting between the speaker and then U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman during which Berri voiced his opposition to Hizbullah’s disarmament if the Shabaa Farms remained occupied.

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Report: U.S. Delayed Release of Indictment to Guarantee Success of Objective

The United States sought to use the indictment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to back Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri after his government was toppled by the Hizbullah-led alliance, As Safir daily reported Wednesday.

The newspaper said that the U.S. administration contacted tribunal officials immediately after the toppling of the cabinet to use the indictment as a political pressure aimed at bringing back Hariri to power and sidelining Hizbullah.

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Cabinet Looming on the Horizon as Miqati Presents Draft Lineup to Suleiman

Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati reportedly presented his first draft cabinet lineup to President Michel Suleiman on Tuesday, a sign that the new government could be formed soon.

An Nahar daily and a source close to Miqati said in remarks published Wednesday that both officials discussed the draft lineup which is a mix of politicians and technocrats.

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Report: Hariri Calls Bahrain’s King to Condemn Nasrallah’s ‘Irresponsible Remarks’

Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri telephoned Bahrain’s King Hamad reiterating to him his condemnation of all acts that harm the interests of the Lebanese either in Bahrain or in the rest of Arab and Gulf countries.

An Nahar newspaper said Wednesday that Hariri held the telephone conversation with King Hamad on Tuesday.

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Hizbullah and Amal Condemn ‘Criminal Act’ of Qoran Burning

Hizbullah and Amal have condemned the burning of a copy of the Qoran by controversial U.S. Pastor Terry Jones at a small Florida church earlier in the week.

The burning was carried out by pastor Wayne Sapp under the supervision of Jones, who last September drew sweeping condemnation over his plan to ignite a pile of Qorans on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

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Report: Bahrain Detains Five Lebanese for ‘Contacting Foreign Parties’

Bahrain authorities detained on Tuesday five Lebanese residents from the Fneish family for allegedly contacting unidentified foreign “parties,” a clear reference to Hizbullah.

Al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday quoted informed sources as saying that “Bahraini security forces raided the ‘Beiruti’ restaurant in central Manama at 10:00 am, detained five Lebanese employees, and confiscated documents and computers.”

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Israel Preparing for Possible Provocation on Border, Peres Says Iran Spending $1 Billion on Hizbullah

The Israeli army is reportedly preparing for the possibility that Syria might use Hizbullah to launch attacks on the Jewish state to divert attention from the growing protests against President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The Israeli daily Haaretz on Wednesday quoted intelligence officials as saying that despite their earlier assessments that the Syrian regime was stable, and the unrest sweeping the Arab world would not affect it, they now believe it will be very hard for Assad to restore the status quo ante.

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Bahrain Warns Citizens against Travel to Lebanon

Bahrain on Tuesday warned its citizens against travel to Lebanon following comments by Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the Shiite-led protests in the Gulf kingdom.

"Due to threats and interference by terrorists," the foreign ministry said, "it warns and advises its citizens not to travel to the Republic of Lebanon as they might face dangers threatening their safety."

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Suleiman Meets Miqati, Urges Everyone to Rise Above 'Selfishness, Individual Interests'

President Michel Suleiman on Tuesday noted that broadening the circle of contacts and meetings among the political parties was "an attempt to make a breakthrough in the ongoing consultations to form the new government."

"The current period requires everyone, without exception, to rise above disputes, selfishness and individual shares and interests for the sake of the rise of a government that garners confidence and works on boosting the productivity of ministries, administrations and institutions," the president added.

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Aoun Denies Obstructing Govt Formation, Accuses Suleiman of Crippling Institutions

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun on Tuesday denied that he was behind the delay in forming the new cabinet, accusing President Michel Suleiman of “crippling governance and state institutions.”

Briefing reporters after the weekly meeting of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, Aoun said that “whatever the shape of the new cabinet may be, it remains the cabinet of the new majority.”

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