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Report: U.S. Warns Lebanon of Isolation Risk

The U.S. is upping pressure on Lebanon to reduce its ties to Syria and is warning Lebanese officials that they risk being isolated, diplomats and officials told the Los Angeles Times.

A Western diplomat and Lebanese officials said that during his visit to Beirut last week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman bluntly warned Lebanese officials that the tide had turned against Syria’s Assad regime and urged them to distance themselves from it.

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Ashkenazi: Hizbullah Poses Biggest Challenge to Israeli Army

Former Israeli Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has said that Hizbullah poses the greatest challenge to the Jewish state’s military.

"Despite the criticism against the Second Lebanon War, deterrence has increased in its wake…. Still, if Hizbullah wanted to, it could fire a massive amount of rockets at nearly any point on Israel's map,” Ashkenazi said during a conference at Bar Ilan University on Wednesday.

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Gates: Hizbullah Warheads Could Carry Biological or Chemical Agents

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that Hizbullah has a sizable arsenal of missiles and rockets which could be tipped with warheads carrying biological or chemical warfare agents.

The Shiite group possesses a stockpile that outstrips the number of missiles and rockets held by most nations, Gates said Tuesday after a speech on Pentagon budget issues at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

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Geagea: Nakba Day Martyrs Had a Cause, But Were Exploited to Deviate Attention from Syria Unrest

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Wednesday said the caretaker cabinet “has a duty, amid what’s happening in the region, to take all measures necessary for the proper implementation of (U.N. Security Council) Resolution 1701, as we should not expose our borders, youths and Lebanon to danger.”

“We respect the martyrs who fell on our northern border while commemorating Nakba Day, because hadn’t they been sincere in defending their cause, they wouldn’t have been ready to die in that way,” Geagea added, calling on “political officials to take all measures necessary to avoid the recurrence of such an incident.”

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Nasrallah Urges Syrians to Back Regime: Technocrat Govt a U.S. Idea

Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday described calls for forming a technocrat cabinet in Lebanon as a U.S. suggestion, noting that “the other camp’s claims of a coup have been refuted because the government has not been formed yet.”

The suggestion to form a technocrat government “was raised by the Americans and the Mustaqbal Movement,” Nasrallah charged.

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Cassese Sets Deadline for Bellemare to File Response to Sayyed’s Appeal

Judge Antonio Cassese, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, has set a deadline of June 10 for STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare to file a response, if any, to the appeal filed on May 23 by Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed, Lebanon’s former General Security chief, against STL Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen’s ruling on the disclosure of more than 270 investigation documents to Sayyed, STL’s press office said Wednesday.

“The Prosecutor shall file a response, if any, to the Appeal by 10 June 2011 and the Appellant a reply thereto, if any, by 22 June 2011,” says Cassese in his scheduling order.

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Suleiman: Internal Developments Require us to Form Government and Hold National Dialogue

President Michel Suleiman stated on Wednesday that the internal developments in Lebanon require the formation of a government and the staging of comprehensive national dialogue.

He said before his visitors that this would help fortify the internal scene against local and regional developments.

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March 14: ‘Hizbullah Team’ Lacks Courage to Admit its Failure

The March 14 general-secretariat said Wednesday that the delay in the formation of the cabinet confirms that the March 8 forces lack the courage to admit their failure.

“The non-formation of the cabinet four months after the nomination (of PM-designate Najib Miqati) is a sign of the Hizbullah team’s failure (to stage) a coup on democracy and constitutional institutions,” said a statement issued after the weekly meeting of the general-secretariat.

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Jumblat on Liberation Day: Resistance is the Best Way to Deter Occupation

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat addressed the Lebanese on the occasion of Liberation Day, greeting all the “martyrs” and those who fought for freedom.

“Greetings to the thousands of martyrs” who adopted the cause of “the resistance politically, militarily and intellectually,” al-Liwaa newspaper quoted the PSP leader as saying.

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Army Ends Deployment along Northern Border Despite Security Fears

Military sources have appeased fears about a possible attempt by Syrian forces to cross the Nahr al-Kabir in northern Lebanon after an end to the deployment of the Lebanese army along the border with Syria.

The sources denied to An Nahar daily on Wednesday that the Syrian army would cross the border and reach Lebanon. The denial came amid rumors and fears among residents in the area about the possibility of infiltration by Syrian troops.

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