April 02/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
The Miracle of Healing The Blind Man/If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, 'We see,' so your sin remains.
John09/01-41/:"As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, "Go wash 3 in the Pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see. His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, "Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?" Some said, "It is," but others said, "No, he just looks like him." He said, "I am."So they said to him, "(So) how were your eyes opened?"
He replied, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' So I went there and washed and was able to see." And they said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I don't know."They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay 4 and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see." So some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath." (But) others said, "How can a sinful man do such signs?" And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, "What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet."Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. They asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?" His parents answered and said, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for him self." His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Messiah, he would be expelled from the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, "He is of age; question him."So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, "Give God the praise! 6 We know that this man is a sinner."He replied, "If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see." So they said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered them, "I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?" They ridiculed him and said, "You are that man's disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from." The man answered and said to them, "This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything." They answered and said to him, "You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?" Then they threw him out. When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" He answered and said, "Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"
Jesus said to him, "You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he." He said, "I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind."Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not also blind, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, 'We see,' so your sin remains.

Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord." For it is not the one who recommends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord recommends
2 Corinthians Chapter 10/018/:" Now I myself, Paul, urge you through the gentleness and clemency of Christ, I who am humble when face to face with you, but brave toward you when absent,  I beg you that, when present, I may not have to be brave with that confidence with which I intend to act boldly against some who consider us as acting according to the flesh. For, although we are in the flesh, we do not battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ, and we are ready to punish every disobedience, once your obedience is complete. Look at what confronts you. Whoever is confident of belonging to Christ should consider that as he belongs to Christ, so do we. And even if I should boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for tearing you down, I shall not be put to shame. May I not seem as one frightening you through letters. For someone will say, "His letters are severe and forceful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible." Such a person must understand that what we are in word through letters when absent, that we also are in action when present. Not that we dare to class or compare ourselves with some of those who recommend themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond measure but will keep to the limits 9 God has apportioned us, namely, to reach even to you. For we are not overreaching ourselves, as though we did not reach you; we indeed first came to you with the gospel of Christ. We are not boasting beyond measure, in other people's labors; yet our hope is that, as your faith increases, our influence among you may be greatly enlarged, within our proper limits, so that we may preach the gospel even beyond you, not boasting of work already done in another's sphere."Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord." For it is not the one who recommends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord recommends.

Question: "What does the Bible say about foolishness?"
Answer: Foolishness is the result of a person misusing the intelligence God has given him. A fool uses his reasoning skills to make wrong decisions. The most basic type of foolishness is denying God’s existence or saying “no” to God (Psalm 14:1). The Bible associates folly with a quick temper (Proverbs 14:16–17), perverse speech (Proverbs 19:1), and disobedience to parents (Proverbs 15:5). We are born with an innate foolishness, but discipline will help train us in wisdom (Proverbs 22:15).
Proverbs 19:3 says that foolishness is counterproductive: “A person's own folly leads to their ruin.” Jesus in Mark 7:22 uses a word which means “senselessness” and is translated “folly.” In that context Jesus describes what comes out of the heart of man and defiles him. Foolishness is one of the evidences that man has a defiled, sinful nature. Proverbs 24:9 says, “The schemes of folly are sin.” Foolishness, then, is really the breaking of God’s law, for sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).
To the fool, God’s way is foolishness. “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” (1 Corinthians 1:18; cf. verse 23). The gospel seems to be foolishness to the unsaved because it doesn’t make sense to them. The fool is completely out of phase with God’s wisdom. The gospel goes against the unbeliever’s native intelligence and reason, yet “God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).
The believer in Christ receives the very nature of God (2 Peter 1:4), which includes the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). By relying on the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power, the believer can reject foolishness. His thoughts can please the Lord, and he can make decisions that glorify God as he enriches his life and the lives of those around him (Philippians 4:8–9; Ephesians 5:18—6:4).
When it comes to our eternal destiny, one is either a fool, meaning he rejects the gospel of Christ, or one is wise, meaning he believes in Christ and commits his life to Him (see Matthew 7:24–27). The believer discovers that the gospel—what he thought was foolishness—is in reality the wisdom of God providing him eternal salvation.

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published On April 01-02/17
This is what life taught me/Eias Bejjani/March 31/17
Healing the Blind Beggar, Bartimaeus Son Of Timaeus/Elias Bejjani/April 01/17
Lebanon to bolster border security/Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star/April 01/17
The Blockade of Sinai’s Extremists/Abdul Sattar Hatita/Asharq Al-Awsat/April 01/17
Europe: Combating Fake News/by Fjordman/Gatestone Institute/April 01/17

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published On April 01-02/17
This is what life taught me
Healing the Blind Beggar, Bartimaeus Son Of Timaeus
The biggest spreaders of terror
Lebanon to bolster border security
Hariri Rings Alarm Bells on Syrian Refugee Crisis
Cabinet's General Secretariat: Power plan decision issued in agreement with cabinet's decision
Rifi Criticizes 'Hizbullah's Armed Appearance' in Dahiyeh
Miqati 'Firm on National Constants', Says Hizbullah is Free to Boycott Him
Hariri Urges World Help to Cope with Refugee Influx
Dismayed by Presidents Letter to Arab Summit, Hizbullah Compares it to 'July War Awkar Meeting'
Report: Hizbullah Delegation to Baabda in Regards to Aoun's Arab Summit Position
Hamadeh Mulls Resignation, Says Time Has Come to Privatize Electricity Sector
Report: Two Wounded in Arsal Blast Smuggled out of Hospital
Bou Assi windsup Zahle visit by lighting its Serail Building marking Autism Day: It gave me home in Lebanon and humanity
Fire breaks out in a building in Ashrafieh, Beirut Fire Brigade evacuates residents
Sitin at Ramlet elBaida in protest against takingover maritime properties
Jisr to Islamic detainees' families: Draft amnesty law is underway
Army raids town of Awadah, arrests three people while fourth escapes after throwing a grenade
Relative calm in Ain elHilweh Camp, Contacts underway to maintain tranquility
Bassil from Sidney: Small electoral districts don't mean partition of Lebanon
Bassil meets Australian Foreign Affairs Minister: Common factors, challenges to face terrorism bond us

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published On April 01-02/17
UN Reports Palestinian Population Decline in Syria
Hundreds of dead, wounded and missing persons in a landslide in Colombia
US Defense Secretary James Mattis : Iran Primary State Sponsor of Terrorism
General Jones: A Gulf NATO Delivers Powerful Message to Iran
Egypt's 'Fantastic Guy' Sisi to Meet Donald Trump
Protests Brew as Venezuela Leader Denies Coup

Latest Lebanese Related News published On April 01-02/17
This is what life taught me/هذا ما تعلمته من الحياة
Elias Bejjani/March 31/17
Self-respect, as well as respect of all others is a weapon of pride and dignity.
Honesty is sacred and holy.
Unity is strength.
Honouring of parents pleases Almighty God who Himself is a Father. Meanwhile it is a divine commandment and a worshiping ritual and a holy obligation.
God is Love. Love safeguards from temptations and prevents hardness of hearts
Tolerance and forgiveness keep the conscience alive and in peace
Gratitude is a human obligation, that reveals manhood and loyalty to all what is righteous.
Modesty is a priceless treasure.
Wisdom necessities all calculations be based on personal capabilities and potentials and not on imagined positive expectations from all others, including family members and close friends in a bid to avoid possible disappointments and frustrations. In this realm what comes all others will be a bonus.
Helping the needy honestly and without any personal gains keeps away ailments of arrogance, immodesty and bragging.
Worshiping money is an act of slavery.
Rejoicing at the misfortune, pain, losses or grief of others is a sinful horrible sin. No one is immune against such setbacks and stumbling encounters.
Life is a holy gift from Almighty God, Who God may recover it at any time .. A fact must not be overshadowed or forgotten no matter what.
All the earthly wealth and riches remains on earth. No one does not carry anything from it on the day God recovers from him/her the gift of life.

Healing the Blind Beggar, Bartimaeus Son Of Timaeus
Elias Bejjani/April 01/17
John 09:5: “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world”.
We become blind not when our two eyes do not function any more and lose our vision. No, not at all, this is a physical disability that affects only our earthly body and not our Godly soul. We can overcome this physical blindness and go on with our lives, while our spiritual blindness makes us lose our eternal life and end in hell.
We actually become blind when we can not see the right and righteous tracks in life, and when we do not walk in their paths.
We actually become blind when we fail to obey God’s commandments, negate His sacrifice on the cross that broke our slavery bondage from the original sin, and when we refuse to abandon and tame the instincts’ of our human nature, and when we stubbornly resist after falling into the evil’s temptation to rise to the Godly nature in which we were baptized with water and the holy spirit.
Meanwhile the actual blindness is not in the eyes that can not see because of physical ailments, but in the hearts that are hardened, in the consciences that are numbed and in the spirits that are defiled with sin.
Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”
When we know heart, mind and soul that God Himself, is LOVE, and when we practice, honour and feel LOVE in every word we utter and in every conduct we perform, we shall never be blind in our hearts, conscience and faith, even though when our eyes cease to perform.
In its spiritual essence and core, what does love mean and encompass? Saint Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (13/01-07), answers this question: ” “If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don’t have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing. If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don’t have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails”
In every community, there are individuals from all walks of life who are spiritually blind, lacking faith, have no hope, and live in dim darkness because they have distanced themselves from Almighty God and His Gospel, although their eyes are physically perfectly functional and healthy. They did not seek God’s help and did not repent and ask for forgiveness, although they know that God is always waiting eerily for them to defeat the evil, get out his temptations and come to Him.
On the sixth Lenten Sunday, our Maronite Catholic Church cites and recalls with great piety Jesus’ healing miracle of the blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus. This amazing miracle that took place in Jerusalem near the Pool of Siloam is documented in three gospels; Mark 10/46-52, John 9/1-41, Matthew 20/:29-34.
Maronites in Lebanon and all over the world, like each and very faithful Christian strongly believe that Jesus is the holy and blessed light through which believers can see God’s paths of righteousness. There is no doubt that without Jesus’ light, evil darkness will prevails in peoples’ hearts, souls and minds. Without Jesus’ presence in our lives we definitely will preys to all kinds of evil temptations.
The Miracle: Mark 10/46-52: ” They came to Jericho. As he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, “Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him, that he should be quiet, but he cried out much more, “You son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still, and said, “Call him. ”They called the blind man, saying to him, “Cheer up! Get up. He is calling you!” He, casting away his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “Rabboni, that I may see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. The son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, the blind beggar who was born to two blind parents truly believed in Jesus. His heart, mind and spirit were all enlightened with faith and hope. Because of his strong faith he knew deep inside who actually Jesus was, and stubbornly headed towards him asking for a Godly cure. He rebelled against all those opportunist and hypocrites who out of curiosity and not faith came to see who is Jesus. He refused to listen to them when they rebuked him and tried hardly to keep him away from Jesus. He loudly witnessed for the truth and forced his way among the crowd and threw himself on Jesus’ feet asking Him to open his blind eyes. Jesus was fascinated by his faith, hailed his perseverance and gave him what he asked for. He opened his eyes.
John’s Gospel gives us more details about what has happened with Bartimaeus after the healing miracle of his blindness. We can see in the below verses that after his healing he and his parents were exposed to intimidation, fear, threats, and terror, but he refused to succumb or to lie, He held verbatim to all the course details of the miracle, bravely witnessed for the truth and loudly proclaimed his strong belief that Jesus who cured him was The Son Of God. His faith made him strong, fearless and courageous. The Holy Spirit came to his rescue and spoke through him.
John 9/13-12: “As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. 2 His disciples asked him, “Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents’ sin?” Jesus answered, “His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents’ sins. He is blind so that God’s power might be seen at work in him. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light for the world.” After he said this, Jesus spat on the ground and made some mud with the spittle; he rubbed the mud on the man’s eyes and told him, “Go and wash your face in the Pool of Siloam.” (This name means “Sent.”) So the man went, washed his face, and came back seeing. His neighbors, then, and the people who had seen him begging before this, asked, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “He is the one,” but others said, “No he isn’t; he just looks like him.” So the man himself said, “I am the man.” “How is it that you can now see?” they asked him. He answered, “The man called Jesus made some mud, rubbed it on my eyes, and told me to go to Siloam and wash my face. So I went, and as soon as I washed, I could see.” “Where is he?” they asked.“I don’t know,” he answered.
Sadly our contemporary world hails atheism, brags about secularism and persecutes those who have faith in God and believe in Him. Where ever we live, there are opportunist and hypocrites like some of the conceited crowd that initially rebuked Bartimaeus, and tried with humiliation to keep him away from Jesus, but the moment Jesus called on him they changed their attitude and let him go through. Meanwhile believers all over the world suffer on the hands of ruthless oppressors, and rulers and men of authority like the Pharisees who refused to witness for the truth.
But despite of all the dim spiritual darkness, thanks God, there are still too many meek believers like Bartimaeus who hold to their faith no matters what the obstacles or hurdles are.
Colossians 03:12: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”
Lord, enlighten our minds and hearts with your light and open our eyes to realize that You are a loving and merciful father.
Lord Help us to take Bartimaeus as a faith role model in our life.
Lord help us to defeat all kinds of sins that take us away from Your light, and deliver us all from evil temptations.
In conclusion, let us never blind ourselves from knowing where is the light and who is the light: “I came into this world for judgment, that those who don’t see may see; and that those who see may become blind.” (John 09/39)

The biggest spreaders of terror
Camil Chamoun/Face book/April 01/17
The biggest spreaders of terror are the bloody irresponsible medias who diffuse and amplify their scoops 24/24 on TV and all social medias without whom nobody would even hear about the few isolated psychopathic incidents. Even ISIS is the brainchild of these mediatic demons who use them to promote billion dollar security contracts and surveillance equipment that make travelling such a burden nowadays

Lebanon to bolster border security
Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star/April 01/17
BEIRUT: With Lebanon coming under growing international pressure to bolster security at Beirut airport, President Michel Aoun Friday underlined the importance of coordination between security and military agencies to maintain the country’s stability and stave off threats.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Saad Hariri is set to embark on a three-nation European tour next week, his first since returning to the premiership in November last year, a source close to the premier told The Daily Star Friday.
Hariri is scheduled to fly to Paris Monday for talks with French President Francois Hollande focusing on bilateral relations and regional developments, the source said. He will travel on to Berlin Wednesday for similar talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel before flying to Brussels to attend the April 5 international conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region, the source said.
Hariri chaired a ministerial meeting Friday to discuss government policies on Syrian refugees in preparation for the Brussels conference.
The premier warned that Lebanon had reached “breaking point” by hosting more than 1 million Syrian refugees and appealed to the international community to invest in the country’s infrastructure and educational system to help alleviate the enormous burden.
“This issue has reached a breaking point for us in Lebanon. ... We want the international community to hear us and understand that Lebanon is facing a crisis,” Hariri told international media in Beirut. “Today Lebanon is a big refugee camp.”
He said he would present a comprehensive plan to the Brussels conference to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis and ask for international support.
Hariri said he also fears that the refugee crisis could implode on the social level because of “huge tensions” between Lebanese and Syrians in most host communities. “I fear civil unrest,” he said.
Hariri’s comments came as UNHCR – the United Nations refugee agency – said 5 million Syrians have fled their country since its devastating war broke out in 2011. Of those, Lebanon is hosting more than 1 million Syrians, roughly a quarter of its current population of 4 million.
The conference in Brussels will bring together representatives from 70 delegations, major donors and humanitarian and development organizations to assess where the international community stands in regard to fulfilling the commitments made at the London Conference in February 2016. On that occasion, leaders pledged more than $11 billion to help fund schools, shelter and jobs for refugees.
Addressing a high-level security meeting he chaired at Baabda Palace, Aoun said: “It is very important to maintain stable security and for all security agencies to have coordination between themselves in accordance with rules and laws in force.”
He praised the efforts made by various security forces in maintaining security and stability in the country, particularly at the land, sea and air points of entry in general, and at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport in particular, according to a statement released by the president’s media office. Aoun also underscored the need to take “security and logistical measures” to maintain security and public safety and ensure necessary facilities for incoming and outgoing travelers as the summer holiday and tourism season approaches, the statement said.
The meeting, attended by Hariri and the ministers of interior, defense, and public works and transport, as well as the Lebanese Army commander and other military and security chiefs, was held to discuss the security situation in the country, including border activity and crossings by land, sea and air, as well as safety precautions that should be implemented.The participants also discussed means of beefing up security at Beirut airport amid heavy international pressure to ensure the safety of travelers and planes, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said after the meeting.
“The meeting was essential even though it came very late. Discussions covered three matters: services at the airport and the way to administer them; security readiness amid heavy international pressure, especially from the European Union, [to ensure] the security of travelers and planes; and the issue of all border crossings,” Machnouk said.
He denied that the meeting came in response to new security threats facing the country. “The meeting came due to the responsibility laid on the shoulders of everyone over the issue of the security of land and sea crossings, at the forefront of which is the airport because it represents the country’s showcase,” Machnouk said. “There are international requests [to Lebanon] to raise the security protection level.”
The Cabinet last week approved $28 million and tender documents to buy sophisticated equipment to shore up security at Beirut’s airport.
In January 2016, Machnouk said France and the United Kingdom were considering canceling flights into the airport over safety concerns, adding that the countries were waiting for the Lebanese government to act to close security gaps at the facility.
Last June, new measures were also implemented, including limiting the amount of liquids and aerosols permitted in passengers’ hand luggage, following a measure long in place in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.
Public Works and Transportation Minister Youssef Fenianos said in a TV interview in February that Beirut airport would have new and advanced security screening machines as part of efforts to bolster the facility’s security.
Fenianos said that the new purchases would be part of a renewed push to meet international standards set by ICAO, the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization. Security specialists have requested improved X-ray scanners that can reveal attempts to smuggle contraband, weapons and other prohibited materials into the airport, Fenianos said.
Aviation safety has been a recurring theme at the airport for a number of reasons. Most recently, reports emerged that gulls near the facility posed a threat to the safety of incoming and outgoing flights. Ultrasonic bird-repelling devices have since been installed to ensure aviation safety.
Speaking to reporters at Baabda Palace Friday, Machnouk said that Aoun had recommended a review of land crossings on the Lebanese border and the formation of a committee headed by Hariri that includes the ministers of defense and interior to follow up this issue. This decision was made due to international requests that land border security be enhanced, he said. Although the airport security apparatus has won praise from several foreign countries, Machnouk said this was not sufficient. “Most ambassadors of the European Union states, led by the British ambassador, are following up on the nature of security measures taken at the airport,” he said. He referred to a recent U.K. ban on large electrical items in carry-on bags on inbound flights from six countries, including Lebanon. “There are [EU] requests for more inspection, checking and work to achieve high-level security. This requires personnel, training and equipment,” Machnouk said. He stressed that Lebanon needs to act quickly to bolster security “amid international requests and a surge in terrorist attacks” in the world.
The controversial electronics ban on flights to the U.K. was implemented Sunday.

Hariri Rings Alarm Bells on Syrian Refugee Crisis
Asharq Al-Awsat/April 01/17/Beirut- Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said Lebanon was close to “breaking point” due to the strains of hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees, and he feared unrest could spiral from tensions between them and Lebanese communities. “Today if you go around most of the host communities, there is a huge tension between the Lebanese and the Syrians… I fear civil unrest,” Hariri told journalists working for foreign media on Friday. “Municipal chiefs have asked me to come up with ways to deport them (the displaced) to Syria. The government will never take such action because we know that the refugees will confront many dangers,” he said. Refugees who fled the six-year-long conflict in neighboring Syria make up a quarter of Lebanon’s population. They live in informal settlements mainly in northern and eastern Lebanon and receive assistance from the United Nations. But Hariri stresses that such aid is not enough. The prime minister will head a delegation from Lebanon to the Brussels Conference on Wednesday, which aims at supporting Syrian refugees. “I am going … to make sure that the world understands that Lebanon is on the verge of a breaking point,” he said. He told the journalists that, at the conference, he will propose a five to seven-year policy paper under which the international community would commit to paying 10,000 to 12,000 dollars for each refugee by investing in Lebanon’s infrastructure. “I think that will make sure that Lebanon is going to stand on its own and the economy will thrive,” he said. The number of students at schools has risen from 200,000 to 450,000 in the past six years, Hariri said. “The international community should do something,” he stressed. According to UNHCR, there are over 1 million registered refugees in Lebanon, but some believe there are 1.5 million.
Another refugee-related problem is electricity. Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said in a press conference held on Friday that displaced Syrians are consuming 490 Megawatts of electricity. This means they are depriving the Lebanese of five hours of power daily and burdening the state treasury with 330 million dollars.

Cabinet's General Secretariat: Power plan decision issued in agreement with cabinet's decision
Sat 01 Apr 2017/NNA - The Cabinet's General Secretariat stressed on Saturday that the decision regarding the power plan was issued by the Secretariat just as that taken by the Council of Ministers during the session in which the said plan was discussed. "The General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers rules out the information broadcasted by one of the T.V. stations as for publishing the latest cabinet's decision regarding the electricity plan in the official Gazette claiming that it is fake and disagrees with the agreement which the cabinet took in the session during which the plan was discussed," the cabinet's General Secretariat said.

Rifi Criticizes 'Hizbullah's Armed Appearance' in Dahiyeh
Naharnet/April 01/17/Former Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi slammed “Hizbullah's armed manifestation” in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Friday, saying it confirms the “state's resignation in favor of statelets,” his media office said in a statement on Saturday “Although Lebanon's security forces are capable of uprooting drug dealers and contraband promoters, we instead saw yesterday a manifestation that confirms the State's resignation in favor of statelets,” said Rifi in his statement. “Hizbullah has staged an armed appearance in Dahiyeh, showing the contradiction that this party expresses with the State and its institutions,” it added. Addressing President Michel Aoun, Rifi asked referring to the President’s statement that defended Hizbullah's arms and asked: “What you stated earlier about the army's incapability to defend Lebanon, does it apply now to the security forces as well? Are they incapable too of protecting the social security of the Lebanese?”“I pose the same question on the entire government specifically the Ministers of Defense and Interior. The Lebanese are waiting for clear answers from their officials on what happened. We will follow up on the issue until the end,” stated Rifi. Pictures of masked Hizbullah members in black-clad went viral on social media on Friday, as reports said they spread out in Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp in the evening in a campaign against drug dealers and gangs.

Miqati 'Firm on National Constants', Says Hizbullah is Free to Boycott Him
Naharnet/April 01/17/Former Prime Minister Najib Miqati was marveled on Saturday at the verbal campaign launched against a letter sent to the Arab Summit by five Lebanese presidents including himself, but assured that he stands by Hizbullah's fight against Israel saying “it is up to the party” to boycott him. “When Hizbullah is in a battle with Israel I would blindly jump to its side, but other matters are subject to national constants,” Miqati told al-Akhbar daily on Saturday. Commenting on reports that Hizbullah has decided to boycott Miqati after signing the so-called five-party letter, he said: “My ties with all Lebanese parties have been nothing but respectful and based on the national constants which I believe in. Anyone wishing otherwise is his own business.”Miqati denied any plans to tarnish the position of presidency through the letter, he remarked: “How can that be possible when we have already sent a copy to the President, PM (Saad Hariri) and Speaker (Nabih Berri)?”, adding that the campaign only aims to divert the attention from “our national constants.”The ex-PM revealed saying the idea has first emerged during a lunch banquet at the residence of former President Michel Suleiman, pointing out it is not the first for a certain Lebanese side to send out a letter to the Arab summit or international forums.“I will allow no one to question my patriotism. I will be in the forefront every time the situation requires rescue in the country,” said Miqati. He refused accusations of planning to boost his popularity in the northern city of Tripoli in light of looming parliamentary elections. The letter was signed by Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman and Amin Gemayel and PMs Tammam Salam, Fouad Saniora and Miqati. It stresses the importance of Lebanon's commitment to U.N. resolutions, especially Resolution 1701, and tackles controversial issues such as Hizbullah's arms, the Baabda Declaration, Lebanon's dissociation policy, the state's authority over its territory and foreign interference in the Syrian crisis.Several officials have voiced dismay over the letter and accused the former presidents and premiers of bypassing the country's president and premier.

Hariri Urges World Help to Cope with Refugee Influx
Associated Press/Naharnet/April 01/17/Lebanon will present a comprehensive plan to help alleviate the enormous burden of Syrian refugees at an upcoming Syria conference in Brussels, but needs urgent international support to avoid collapse, Prime Minister Saad Hariri said. Speaking to a group of journalists ahead of the April 5 European conference in Brussels on supporting the future of Syria, Hariri warned on Friday that Lebanon faces serious security and economic issues and has reached breaking point. "The international community has to understand that Lebanon cannot pay the price of the unresolved conflict in Syria," Hariri said. Lebanon, which shares a large border with Syria, has taken in some 1.2 million Syrian refugees — the equivalent of one-fourth of its own population — who have been a burden on Lebanon's infrastructure. The tiny country beset with internal divisions now hosts the highest concentration of refugees and its people are often praised by world leaders for generously shouldering the burden of so many refugees. The country has long refused setting up refugee camps like in Turkey or Jordan, fearing that would make the refugee presence more permanent. Consequently, unorganized makeshift settlements have sprouted across the country, putting a huge strain on local infrastructure and host communities whose populations have swelled to double or triple their size. "Some people say we should have refugee camps in Lebanon. I say Lebanon has become a refugee camp," Hariri said. He cited World Bank estimates that the Syria crisis has cost Lebanon US$18 billion in lost economic activity since 2011. He also said Lebanon's infrastructure was made to sustain four million people but the same infrastructure is now bearing 6 million people due to the presence of Syrian and Palestinian refugees. "We have been pushing our capabilities to the extreme," he said. Hariri said Lebanon has prepared a plan to improve the infrastructure and the public services in a way that equally benefits Lebanese citizens and displaced Syrians, as well as increase economic growth and create job opportunities. If the international community commits $10,000 to $12,000 per refugee every year over a period of five to seven years, investing in infrastructure, schooling, security and other sectors, "I think that will make sure that Lebanon could stand on its own," Hariri said. "For the longest time we've been extremely lucky, making sure that this crisis has not affected those host communities, but we have stretched our luck," he added.

Dismayed by Presidents Letter to Arab Summit, Hizbullah Compares it to 'July War Awkar Meeting'
Naharnet/April 01/17/Hizbullah party expressed dismay at a letter sent by five Lebanese Presidents and Prime Ministers to the Arab summit in Jordan, ahead of President Michel Aoun's travel to take part in the summit, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday. The party likened the letter “to a meeting held at the US embassy in Awkar during the 2006 July war between some Lebanese leaders and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, when the US was seeking to stop the war, while some of those leaders were enthusiastic about its continuation,” according to the daily. Hizbullah has interpreted the letter as a clear invitation to carry on with the sanctions against Hizbullah, reported the daily. The letter was sent to the Arab Summit by former presidents Michel Suleiman and Amin Gemayel and ex-PMs Tammam Salam, Najib Miqati and Fouad Saniora. It stresses the importance of Lebanon's commitment to U.N. resolutions, especially Resolution 1701, and tackles controversial issues such as Hizbullah's arms, the Baabda Declaration, Lebanon's dissociation policy, the state's authority over its territory and foreign interference in the Syrian crisis. Several officials have voiced dismay over the letter and accused the former presidents and premiers of bypassing the country's president and premier.

Report: Hizbullah Delegation to Baabda in Regards to Aoun's Arab Summit Position
Naharnet/April 01/17/Hizbullah party is set to dispatch a delegation to the Presidential Palace to convey the party's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's “appreciation” for President Michel Aoun's stance at the Arab summit in Jordan, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday. After Aoun's return from Jordan, the President has reportedly received a telephone call from Nasrallah expressing his deep appreciation for Aoun's position, something which has not been confirmed by either parties, said the daily. Circles close to the party told the newspaper: “Hizbullah commends the President's stance. It is a kind of historical document at the level of candor, and an attempt to shed light on the Arab wound caused by the Arabs themselves. “He presented a picture of Lebanon as seeking therapy, describing it as a stable area amidst an inflaming region,” they added, praising Aoun's offering to make Lebanon an “intermediary among the Arab countries to try to extinguish the fire raging in the region.”In his speech, Aoun highlighted the aggravating refugee burden and warned that Lebanon is reeling under the pressure of around two million Syrian and Palestinian refugees on its soil. He urged sparing Lebanon the social, economic, security and political repercussions as a result, calling for their safe return to their homeland. The president urged an end to “wars between brothers”, expressing Lebanon's full readiness to help in bridging the differences and reviving the language of dialogue.None of the states participating in the summit took a stance on Hizbullah, unlike last year's conference where the party was a subject of heated debate. Al-Joumhouria added, Hizbullah's stance did not fail to show dismay at a letter sent by five Lebanese Presidents and Prime Ministers to the Arab summit in Jordan, likening it to a meeting “held at the US embassy in Awkar during the 2006 July war between some Lebanese leaders and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, when the US was seeking to stop the war, while some of those leaders were enthusiastic about its continuation.”Hizbullah has interpreted the letter as a clear invitation to carry on with the sanctions against Hizbullah, reported the daily. The letter was sent to the Arab Summit by former presidents Michel Suleiman and Amin Gemayel and ex-PMs Tammam Salam, Najib Miqati and Fouad Saniora. It stresses the importance of Lebanon's commitment to U.N. resolutions, especially Resolution 1701, and tackles controversial issues such as Hizbullah's arms, the Baabda Declaration, Lebanon's dissociation policy, the state's authority over its territory and foreign interference in the Syrian crisis. Several officials have voiced dismay over the letter and accused the former presidents and premiers of bypassing the country's president and premier.

Hamadeh Mulls Resignation, Says Time Has Come to Privatize Electricity Sector
Naharnet/April 01/17/Minister of Education Marwan Hamadeh said on Saturday he was considering resigning from his post but decided otherwise upon the wishes of MP Walid Jumblat and his colleagues at the Democratic Gathering bloc. Hamadeh explained that mulling resignation stemmed from the “heavy toll that partisan and sectarian pressure took on ministerial work,” adding that he is disappointed by the new term's (of President Michel Aoun) failure to act upon reforms. “I do not feel that the grand slogans of reform launched by the new term and government have produced any genuine reform,” the Minister told Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5). “There are alliances within the cabinet that defeat logic,” he said. Turning to the thorny electoral law file, Hamadeh noted that the proportional law was not appropriate for the time being. “I was astounded when I read the Orthodox law for the extent of its sectarian and confessional divisiveness,” he noted, adding that he was equally shocked at a hybrid law proposes by Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil. He went on to say that the proposal of the Kataeb Party, for an individual district, was best at securing proper representation. As for Lebanon's notoriously ineffective and costly electricity sector Hamadeh said that the Energy Ministry has been a failure since 2010 and has only been run by the same party. "It is high time for the private sector to take over the electricity file,” he concluded.

Report: Two Wounded in Arsal Blast Smuggled out of Hospital

Naharnet/April 01/17/One of the two Syrians killed on Thursday in a blast in the Bekaa border town of Arsal is likely an Islamic State militant, while two of the wounded were smuggled outside the hospital where they were getting treatment, the pan Arab al-Hayat daily reported on Saturday. A senior Lebanese security source who spoke on condition of anonymity told the daily that one of two Syrians killed in the blast that ripped through a pickup truck in Arsal is likely a member of the IS militant group. Two of the wounded who were transported to a field hospital on the outskirts of Arsal after the blast were later smuggled outside the town. Hawwa al-Zuhouri, 20, and Nour al-Husseiki, 25 who hail from the Syrian town of Qusayer, were killed on Thursday by the accidental detonation of a suicide vest that Husseiki was wearing. A Lebanese woman from the Kranbi family and two other Syrians who hail from Qusayr were also wounded in the blast. The five were taken to a clinic controlled by Syrian militants outside the town, officials had added. Transferring the two wounded while they were receiving treatment at a hospital, is an intent to spare them from being investigated, and a bid to cover the identity of the sides behind the blast, said the daily. Semi-official Lebanese sources told al-Hayat that the mere presence of a belt indicates that they belong to a suicide group likely the IS. The sources did not rule out a direct relationship with the recent disagreements between groups of the IS which soon developed into family disputes that prompted those in the car to prepare the belt to blow it up with their opponents. Members of al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria and the Islamic State group control areas between Arsal and the Syrian border where the explosion occurred.
The two groups often clash in the area.

Bou Assi windsup Zahle visit by lighting its Serail Building marking Autism Day: It gave me home in Lebanon and humanity
Sat 01 Apr 2017/NNA - Social Affairs Minister, Pierre Bou Assi, ended his long day visit to Zahle on Saturday, by lighting up the Zahle Serail Building with colors of Autism marking "World Autism Day," in presence of Zahle Bloc Deputies and crowds of citizens."Through visiting Zahle, the beauty queen of Lebanon, and through the warm hospitality and appreciation of its people, I gained hope in Lebanon and humanity, for it is a city that includes all different parts of society's spectrum and greatly cares for its weaker constituents," said Bou Assi. In a word marking Autism Day, Bou Assi referred to the many difficulties suffered by people with Autism, noting that "we ought to exert utmost efforts to ensure that Autistic children are diagnosed at their early stages, so as to provide them with the necessary medical treatment early on."

Fire breaks out in a building in Ashrafieh, Beirut Fire Brigade evacuates residents
Sat 01 Apr 2017/NNA - A huge fire broke out in a number of residential floors in al-Kik Building along Amine Gemayel Street in Ashrafieh on Saturday evening, and members of the Beirut Fire Brigade are working on putting out the fire on the 7th and 8th floors of the building, after managing to extinguish it on the 6th floor and preventing it from extending to the remaining floors and apartments, following the evacuation of residents to save their lives, Beirut Municipality Public Relations Department indicated.

Sitin at Ramlet elBaida in protest against takingover maritime properties
Sat 01 Apr 2017/NNA - A sit-in took place on Saturday in front of the "Eden Rock" Project at Ramlet el-Baida, in protest against taking control of maritime properties, organized by the National Youth Union and People's Aid, with the participation of Beirut citizens and representatives of civil associations. Protesters held out banners which read: "Our coast belongs to us and not to the brutal capitalism!" - "Beirut beach is for the people, not for the corrupted class, you exploitation monsters!" and "Interior Ministry is required to implement the State Shoura Council decision." Protesters also chanted slogans calling on the Interior Minister and Beirut Governor not to neglect and waste maritime properties. In turn, Lebanese People's Congress Head, Kamal Shatila, addressed a word of praise to the protesters, stressing that "this sit-in is part of the popular action against the corruption of the ruling class, supported by large-scale banks and savage capitalist companies, which violate the laws without any national or religious deterrent."

Jisr to Islamic detainees' families: Draft amnesty law is underway
Sat 01 Apr 2017/NNA - MP Samir Jisr met, on Saturday, at his office in Tripoli with a delegation including families of the Islamic detainees, who came to discuss the preparations underway regarding the amnesty law. "We are working on a draft amnesty law, which PM Saad Hariri is following-up on, and we shall update you with all new in this dossier," Jisr told the delegation.

Army raids town of Awadah, arrests three people while fourth escapes after throwing a grenade
Sat 01 Apr 2017/NNA - An army force raided a number of houses in the town of al-Awadah in the border region of Wadi Khaled on Saturday, arresting three wanted suspects while the fourth managed to escape after throwing a grenade at the Army patrol, NNA correspondent in Akkar reported. Army units are currently tracking down the wanted fugitive.

Relative calm in Ain elHilweh Camp, Contacts underway to maintain tranquility
Sat 01 Apr 2017/NNA - A relative state of calm prevailed Saturday evening over Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp, in wake of the security tension witnessed this afternoon which resulted in the injury of two people, namely the son of "Fateh" Movement senior official, Bilal Qutaibeh Tamim, and Mohamed Fakhri Deeb, NNA correspondent in Sidon reported. Clashes resumed following the announcement of Mohammed Hilal's death, after suffering from injuries during the recent incidents in the camp, whereby exchange of fire occurred between the areas of Safsaf, a stronghold of the Islamic militant groups, and Barkasat which is a stronghold of "Fateh" Movement. Meanwhile, Palestinian contacts are working to calm things down and prevent the situation from deteriorating.

Bassil from Sidney: Small electoral districts don't mean partition of Lebanon
Sat 01 Apr 2017/NNA - Foreign Affairs Minister Gibran Bassil stated on Saturday that dividing Lebanon into small electoral districts doesn't mean the partition of Lebanon, noting that "Australia has seven states, yet it is not divided."Speaking during a ceremony hosted by the Lebanese Consul in Sidney George Bitar Ghanem, Minister Bassil expressed fear over turning federalism in Lebanon and the region into a federalism of sects.Bassil stressed that Lebanon can't live without both the Christians and Muslims communities. He emphasized on the importance of the participation of the Lebanese Diaspora in the political life of their homeland, urging the Australian Diaspora to have a deputy in the Parliament. Bassil concluded by saying that "Lebanon is more than a homeland; Lebanon is a message; Lebanon is greater than 10,452 km."

Bassil meets Australian Foreign Affairs Minister: Common factors, challenges to face terrorism bond us
Sat 01 Apr 2017/NNA - Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil discussed on the third day of his visit to Australia with Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, the Lebanese- Australian relations and the Lebanese Diaspora situation. Talks also tackled the displaced Syrians issues. It is noteworthy that State Minister of Presidential Affairs Pierre Raffoul, Australian Ambassador to Lebanon Glen Miles, Lebanese Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Giscard El- Khoury, General Consul in Melbourne Ghassan Al-Khatib attended the meeting. Bassil talked about the Lebanese Diaspora all over the world and the Lebanese distinguished habits, calling upon them "to cooperate in order to preserve Lebanon's beautiful image, as it is now, worldwide."Bassil said "I met today morning with Minister Bishop during which we exchange ideas over the relations between Lebanon and Australia and the common factors and challenges, especially in facing terrorism and extremism."

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published On April 01-02/17
UN Reports Palestinian Population Decline in Syria
Associated Press/Naharnet/April 01/17/Syria's Palestinian refugee population has fallen by one-fifth since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011 and many of those who stay in Syria have been displaced, the U.N.'s Palestinian relief agency said Friday. UNRWA Director Pierre Krahenbuhl said there are 440,000 refugees in Syria, compared to 560,000 in the country before the war. Many of those still in Syria have been displaced by Syria's six-year civil war. For them, it is the second time they or their families have been forced out of their homes, after being displaced from Palestinian lands by Israeli forces last century.
"Displacement is a very difficult experience, to lose another home, to lose another place of residence," said Krahenbuhl, who was wrapping up a five day tour of UNRWA operations in Syria. Several Palestinian camps in Damascus and Aleppo, Syria's largest city, have been destroyed during the conflict that has killed more than 400,000 people, displaced half the country's population and sent more than 5 million as refugees, mostly to neighboring countries. Elsewhere in Syria, opposition activists reported clashes between government forces and insurgents groups in different regions including the central province of Hama, the northwestern province of Idlib and the suburbs of Damascus, according to opposition activists and state media. The activists reported airstrikes on rebel-held parts of Idlib and Hama. Physicians for Human Rights reported Friday that at least two medical facilities in Hama have come under attack over the past week. It said the facilities, a hospital in the village of Latamneh and a medical point in Kafar Naboudeh, together serve tens of thousands of people in the province that witnessed intense violence over the past two weeks after insurgents launched a wide offensive against government-controlled villages.
The group said the attacks on the two medical facilities violate international law, in that they are either intentional attacks on medical facilities or indiscriminate attacks on civilian-populated areas. "Hospitals have become scenes of total devastation and destruction throughout this conflict," said PHR's lead Syria researcher Elise Baker. "What we're seeing in Hama governorate is an extension of a gruesome pattern of attacks against medical facilities and personnel across the country." "As we've seen throughout the conflict, as fighting intensifies and the need for medical care grows, hospitals and other medical facilities come under increasing attack," she said. On March 25, the Latamneh surgical hospital — a facility built into a cave to protect it from airstrikes — was hit by multiple barrel bombs, PHR said. While the attack only caused minor structural damage to the facility, multiple sources inside the hospital testified that at least one of the bombs, which landed inside the hospital, contained a chemical agent, it said. The hospital's coordinator told PHR that the attack and chemical exposure led to the death of one of the hospital's doctors, Dr. Ahmed Darwish. Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, said the hospital in Latamneh was supported by the group. It added that a bomb dropped by a helicopter hit the entrance of the building, adding that information collected by the hospital's medical staff suggests that chemical weapons were used. It said patients and staff reported suffering severe respiratory symptoms and burning of mucous membranes immediately after the impact, symptoms consistent with a chemicals attack. It said that in addition to Dr. Darwish, another person was killed. "The loss of Dr Darwish leaves just two orthopedic surgeons for a population of around 120,000," said Massimiliano Rebaudengo, MSF's head of mission in northern Syria.

Hundreds of dead, wounded and missing persons in a landslide in Colombia
Sat 01 Apr 2017/NNA - More than 110 people have been killed and some 188 others injured in southern Colombia due to landslides caused by torrential rain from the Peruvian region to Ecuador, which also led to the flooding of the Mocoa River and its three tributaries in Mocoa, the largest city of Putumayo in Colombia, with a population of 40,000. Colombian President Juan Manuel dos Santos visited the disaster area, accompanied by a number of ministers, to oversee the rescue operations. "I have been informed that 112 people have been killed and we do not know what the outcome will be," he said. The Colombian Red Cross also reported that 188 people were injured and some 200 people were reported missing. Amid concern over the rising number, the Director-General of the Red Cross told the French Press, "The proceeds are rising at a frightening speed." Putumayo Governor described what happened as an "unprecedented disaster," noting that "hundreds of families have not yet been found, and there are whole neighborhoods no longer there."

US Defense Secretary James Mattis : Iran Primary State Sponsor of Terrorism
Heba El Koudsy/Asharq Al Awsat/April 01/17
Washington- Iran is continuing to behave as an exporter of terrorism and still sponsors militant activity, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Friday on his first trip to London since taking the Pentagon’s top job.
Asked during a joint news conference with British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon about comments Mattis made in 2012 that the three primary threats the United States faced were “Iran, Iran, Iran,” Mattis told reporters that Iran’s behavior had not changed in the years since. “At the time when I spoke about Iran I was a commander of US central command and that (Iran) was the primary exporter of terrorism, frankly, it was the primary state sponsor of terrorism and it continues that kind of behavior today,” Mattis said. The Trump administration is seeking to challenge Iran by providing more military assistance to its allies in the Gulf and improve military relations with Gulf states. The US State Department announced on Thursday that Washington would resume the sale of fighter jets to Bahrain that had been suspended by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama. Sources at the White House also expected resumption of military sale to Saudi Arabia mainly after the successful talks that Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense held with President Donald Trump recently. During his press conference on Friday, Mattis signaled Washington might soon decide how to respond to what it says are Russian violations of a Cold War-era arms control agreement, saying the United States was conferring with allies.Washington and Moscow have long questioned each other’s commitment to the INF treaty, which banned nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500-5,500 km. The United States has accused Moscow of developing and fielding a ground-launched cruise missile, in violation of its INF Treaty obligations. Vice Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff General Paul Selva said in March that the Russian system presented a risk to most US facilities in Europe. Mattis, said Trump’s administration was still formulating policy on the matter. “On the INF issue, we’re in consultation with our allies and we are still formulating a way ahead. In fact, it will be addressed, I think, very, very soon as a matter of highest-level concern,” Mattis told the joint news conference.
Fallon acknowledged the INF treaty came up in his discussions on Friday with Mattis and said the matter should also be taken up by NATO. “We look forward to the more formal response from the United States and we do think that is something that needs to be taken forward – not just by the United States but by NATO generally, once we have those violations confirmed,” Fallon said. Neither Mattis nor Fallon elaborated. In the United States, such compliance issues are usually handled by the State Department.

General Jones: A Gulf NATO Delivers Powerful Message to Iran
Huda Al HusseiniAsharq Al Awsat/April 01/17
London – General James Jones, former supreme allied commander of NATO, has always been involved in the Middle East affairs, problems and causes. In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Jones expressed relief towards the “tremendously successful” meeting between Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, and US President Donald Trump where both agreed upon “risks threatening the Gulf.”Jones suggested forming a Gulf coalition similar to the NATO. “The NATO succeeded in facing the existential threat posed, then, by the Soviet Union and helped in dissociating it,” Jones added as he affirmed that US will be pleased to join this dialogue if the idea of a Gulf NATO was endorsed by Saudi deputy crown prince and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
When asked to evaluate US-Saudi relations and to point out how they will differ compared to the presidential tenure of Barack Obama, General Jones replied that “Trump and the government were clear that Iran is a state that can’t be trusted and that it represents a threat to the region and is a source of terrorism. I think that the common vision of Saudi deputy crown prince and other Gulf leaders towards Iran enhanced the ties with the new US administration.”“How can the US cooperate with the Saudi kingdom and the Arabian Gulf countries to limit the Iranian intervention in their affairs and to halt Iran’s terrorist operations?”Jones answer was as follows, “I see that if we are facing an existential threat then we should be decisive, double the sanctions and do all that we should to make Iran change its attitude radically.”“When the NATO was established in 1949 the European population was more than 350 million but this is not the case of the GCC countries, right?”General Jones replied, “We are in a different century now in which it is unnecessary to rage wars by land armies but through armies of high techniques and psychological potentials. If the US decided to sign on such a thing then the balance of power will be in favor of the Gulf countries. So, I don’t think it is a matter of number but a national insistence to form a coalition.”Commenting on whether Syria will be the first test of the US-Russian partnership, he suggested to wait and see, not denying that Syria is part of the first test. Answering a question on US-Turkish ties, Jones assured that the communication and military cooperation are ongoing and that the two states are in a pursuit to reach an agreement. He added, “Turkey is a strategic and vital country that should be considered by the US and other countries. The Turkish Army is the second biggest army in the NATO and I hope that relations develop during Trump presidency.”

Egypt's 'Fantastic Guy' Sisi to Meet Donald Trump
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/April 01/17/After four years of tension with the United States, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi now has a fan in the White House and on Monday he meets President Donald Trump. The American former reality television star and tycoon has made no secret of his admiration for the ex-army chief who overthrew his Islamist predecessor and cracked down on his supporters. Mohamed Morsi's ouster in 2013, a year after he had won Egypt's first democratic election, and the ensuing crackdown on Islamists prompted then US president Barack Obama to suspend military aid to Cairo temporarily. But when Sisi meets Trump on Monday during his first state visit to Washington, he will see a counterpart who better appreciates his "mission" to fight Islamists and jihadists, without Obama's hand-wringing over human rights. "As a matter of fact President-elect Trump has shown deep and great understanding of what is taking place in the region as a whole and what is taking place in Egypt," Sisi, who met Trump in September before his election, said in an interview. A senior White House official said Friday that Trump wants to "build on the strong connection the two presidents established" then.
Trump has been gushing about Sisi. "He's a fantastic guy. Took control of Egypt, and he really took control of it," he told Fox Business of the period after Morsi's overthrow which saw hundreds of Islamist protesters killed and thousands detained. Over the past three years, Sisi has met a trickle of delegations from American think-tanks and other groups, drumming home the importance of supporting him.
"He made a passionate and convincing case for why all nations should stop working with Islamists," said a member of one delegation who requested anonymity. - Egypt trying to reassert itself -Sisi often speaks of himself as though he were a Cassandra whose warnings go unheeded. "We warned two years ago our European friends, the foreign fighters in Syria will return and commit terrorism in Europe," he said during a 2016 visit by French President Francois Hollande. Cairo is pleased by signals from Trump's administration and Congress that they may consider blacklisting Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement, a move which also has its critics in Washington. "America prepares to confront the Brotherhood," read a banner headline in red in the official Al-Ahram newspaper.
"Beyond Sisi being thrilled that Trump replaced Obama, and the opportunity to turn a page, this is Egypt trying to reassert itself in a more central way to US Middle East strategy," said Issandr El Amrani, the International Crisis Group's North Africa director. Egypt -- one of two Arab countries to have a peace treaty with Israel -- had traditionally played a central role in US regional alliances, in return receiving $1.3 billion in annual military aid. Cairo has also mediated between Israel and the Palestinians. Sisi's office said he will broach the issue with Trump, who has confusingly suggested that he is fine with either a two-state or a one-state solution to the conflict. Sisi had already made a goodwill gesture on that front in January, retracting a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements after a call from the then president-elect who opposed it.
The resolution was reintroduced after objections by other Security Council members, and passed with the US abstaining. "Egypt is one of the traditional pillars of stability in the Middle East and has been a reliable US partner for decades," the White House official said on Friday. Sisi's trip comes ahead of Trump's talks on Wednesday with King Abdullah II of Jordan and after a tentative invitation to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to visit.
US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt has been trying to build momentum for a deal that would be the ultimate achievement for a president who prides himself on his bargaining prowess. Although Sisi may be delighted about having Trump's ear, he may yet be disappointed. "The focus (for Trump) is on areas where Egypt has little relevance, like Iraq and Syria," El Amrani said. Egypt is part of the international coalition against the Islamic State group, but is bogged down fighting the jihadists' franchise in the Sinai Peninsula, where they have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen. Western officials who requested anonymity say Egypt is primarily interested in advanced military hardware it believes Western countries are withholding. Cairo also wants conventional equipment that Washington believes is not useful for a counter-insurgency campaign.

Protests Brew as Venezuela Leader Denies Coup
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/April 01/17/Venezuela faces calls for street protests Saturday at the tensest moment yet in a political and economic crisis that has brought it close to collapse. President Nicolas Maduro's opponents called on Venezuelans to take to the streets and urged the army to abandon him, branding moves to consolidate his power a "coup d'etat." Maduro has clung to power in a more than year-long standoff with his center-right opponents, but on Friday a sign emerged of possible division in his camp when the attorney general broke ranks with him. Yet uncertainty reined in the volatile nation hit by food shortages and violent crime, which has seen three attempted military coups since 1992. - Maduro defiant -Maduro faced the strongest criticism ever from within his own camp Friday as his attorney general condemned recent court rulings that strengthened the socialist president's grip on the levers of power. Attorney General Luisa Ortega denounced on live state television what she called a "rupture of constitutional order." She was referring to two Supreme Court rulings this week that effectively dissolved the opposition-majority legislature and revoked lawmakers' immunity from prosecution.
Maduro's opponents and political analysts alleged a coup and international powers condemned the moves. The government rejected that accusation. Maduro said in a speech to cheering supporters late Friday: "In Venezuela, the constitution, civil, political and human rights and people power are in full force."He vowed "through dialogue and the constitution, to resolve the impasse" between the attorney general and the court.
He also said he had called a meeting of security chiefs to "deliberate and draw up a resolution."
- Scuffles, arrests -The legislative speaker, Julio Borges, called on the military and other institutions to follow Ortega's example and speak up against Maduro."Now is the time to obey the orders of your conscience," he said. Street protests erupted for a second day Friday in Caracas. Students marched on the Supreme Court, where they scuffled with soldiers. Protesters also blocked streets in the working-class Petare neighborhood, and opposition lawmakers clashed with Maduro supporters downtown.Two students and a journalist were arrested, activists said.
- International concern -International condemnation has poured in from the United States, the European Union, Spain, Germany and a host of Latin American countries. The head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, has called for the regional group's permanent council to hold crisis talks on the situation. South American regional bloc Mercosur -- which suspended Venezuela in December -- will also hold crisis talks Saturday, Argentina announced. - Power struggle -The opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won a landslide in legislative elections in December 2015. But the court has overturned every law passed by the current legislature. Venezuela has the world's biggest oil reserves, but the collapse in prices has sapped its revenues, prompting shortages of food, medicine and basic goods. Maduro is not up for re-election until October 2018. But he has been forced to fend off opposition efforts to call a vote on removing him from power. - Protests called -Outside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuelans were agitated at the news as they queued to buy food rations. "If it's not a coup then it looks very like one," said mechanic Eduardo Rodriguez, a 58-year-old mechanic. "It looks very ugly to me."
Opposition groups called for more street protests Saturday. "We have to come out and defend democracy," said Sara Ramirez, 68, a building porter, waiting in line. But others were sick of the political conflict. "I don't support either side," said Yandry Diaz, 18, who works in a shoe shop. "What they want is to have us in the street, fighting and killing each other so that they can hold power."


Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published On April 01-02/17
The Blockade of Sinai’s Extremists
Abdul Sattar Hatita/Asharq Al-Awsat/April 01/17
Cairo- Extremists in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula are cooperating and helping each other through money and arms transfers across several states in the region, security reports have said.
Although they have dispersed after three years of attempts to establish their own “Emirate” in an area that lies between the border with the Gaza Strip and the outskirts of El-Arish city, the insurgency in the rugged, thinly populated Sinai has gained pace after the militants joined hands with extremists in El-Arish.
Asharq Al-Awsat has received copies of the reports which reveal that among those extremists are Egyptians that had battled the authorities as part of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group before establishing training camps in both Syria and Libya.
MP Salameh Salem told the newspaper that “developments in Sinai cannot be separated from what’s happening in the rest of the region.”
Other lawmakers have also expressed belief that ISIS members abroad are trying to offer a helping hand to the extremists in El-Arish that have formed a branch of ISIS terrorist organization.
“Major powers are helping the fight against ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya but Egypt hasn’t received much assistance,” one MP was quoted as saying. “Terrorists have killed our troops and citizens in Sinai while the world stood by.”
MP Rahmi Abedrabbuh told Asharq Al-Awsat that there seems to be a foreign support to shake the situation in Sinai. “Yet things will eventually be brought under control because armed forces are playing a huge role there.”
Sisi’s Speech at the Arab Summit
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said at the Arab League summit this week that the proliferation of terrorism has been one of the biggest challenges facing the Arab world.
“The confrontation of such proliferation should be comprehensive,” he said in his speech in Jordan. “Yet this is not an easy task because it (terrorism) is like cancer that spreads in the social fabric.”
Many Egyptians believe that the administration of US President Donald Trump unlike his predecessor Barack Obama could consolidate the war against extremists.
Despite the Obama administration’s long obstruction to deliver Egypt 10 helicopter gunships, Egyptian forces have in the past three years been able to launch a large-scale security campaign in Sinai.
The armed forces were able to close more than 95 percent of tunnels linking Sinai to the nearby Gaza Strip. Heavy weaponry were also deployed in Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and Al-Arish and fighter jets carried out air strikes on vehicles transporting extremists.
Then the army entered Mount Halal where battles in the past years have left hundreds of soldiers and civilians dead.
How Extremists Operate
Residents now fear that the battles, which were confined to Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid, would move to El-Arish that has a population of 100,000.
It is believed that there are currently between 200 and 300 armed extremists in El-Arish, less than the number in the past three years.
These gunmen have the ability to move incognito inside the city’s alleyways by using small and light Korean-made vehicles.
“Three to four gunmen suddenly storm a house. They stay there for a couple of hours, make threats, do as they like and suddenly disappear,” a trader in the city said.
According to a security source, ISIS terrorists in El-Arish are operating in a complicated matter and are seeking to receive funds and weapons from the group’s branches in Syria and Libya.
They are also recruiting young men, who wear modern outfits and draw no suspicion, to facilitate their movement in the city that is barricaded by the army and security forces.
Militant attacks have been on the rise in El-Arish. Among such operations are the kidnapping of citizens for their alleged collaboration with the Egyptian authorities.
Local media have also shed light on the plight of the city’s Christians. They said scores have escaped El-Arish after the extremists killed several Christians and burned their houses.
They have sporadically targeted Christians while more frequently attacking police and military personnel in the north Sinai. But there is no official data on the number of civilians, both Muslims and Christians, killed in the attacks.

Europe: Combating Fake News
by Fjordman/Gatestone Institute/April 01/17
If present demographic trends continue, in a few decades, native Swedes could easily become a minority in their own country.
Swedish ambulance personnel want gas masks and bulletproof vests to protect their staff against the escalating attacks, similar to equipment used by staff working in war zones.
Most dangerous, however, is our inability to deal forcefully with problems undermining Western societies, because some Western media refuse to admit that the problems exist.
In January 2015 The New York Times denied that there are "no-go-zones" -- areas that are not under the control of the state and are ruled according to sharia law -- dominated by certain immigrant groups in some urban areas in Western Europe. The American newspaper mentioned this author, alongside writers such as Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes, for spreading this alleged falsehood. The article was published shortly after Islamic terrorists had massacred the staff of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7, 2015. Other established media outlets such as the magazine The Atlantic also dismissed claims of no-go-zones.
Fox News issued an unusual on-air apology for allowing its anchors and guests to repeat the suggestion that there are Muslim "no-go zones" in European countries such as Britain and France.
Regarding the subject of "no-go-zones," this is largely a question of semantics. If you say that there are some areas where even the police are afraid to go, where the country's normal, secular laws barely apply, then it is indisputable that such areas now exist in several Western European countries. France is one of the hardest hit: it has a large population of Arab and African immigrants, including millions of Muslims.
I have been writing about the problems in Sweden and the rest of Europe for many years. The problems are unfortunately all too real. Here are a few facts:
Sweden surpassed ten million inhabitants in early 2017. The recent population growth is almost entirely due to mass immigration. If present demographic trends continue, in a few decades native Swedes could easily become a minority in their own country. The economist Tino Sanandaji suggests that this transformation could happen within the coming generation.
Statistics from January 2017 indicate that for people born in Sweden, the unemployment rate is 4.3%. Yet for people born abroad, the unemployment rate is a staggering five times higher, at 22.1%. This constitutes a huge economic and social burden for the taxpayers. The famous Swedish welfare state has been quietly cut back for many years.
In an essay published in February 2016, Stockholm police inspector Lars Alvarsjö warned that the Swedish legal system is close to collapse. The influx of asylum seekers and ethnic gangs has overwhelmed the country and its understaffed police force. In many suburbs, criminal gangs have taken control and determine the rules. The police, fire brigades and ambulance personnel in these areas are routinely met with violent attacks.
Malmö, Sweden's third-largest city, houses over 300,000 people, as of 2017. Despite its modest size, the town has a crime rate equal to that of vastly larger cities. The local police are barely able to investigate murders. Less serious crimes often go unpunished. Malmö probably has the highest percentage of Muslim immigrants of any city in Scandinavia. The most Islamic city in Scandinavia also happens to be the most criminal and the most violent.
In November 2016, Malmö's chief prosecutor Ola Sjöstrand publicly admitted that his office was approaching a total collapse in terms of criminal investigations. "If people are hit by crimes which then aren't investigated, they will lose faith in the rule of law," Sjöstrand told the regional newspaper Sydsvenskan.
During New Year's Eve celebrations at the beginning of 2017, parts of central Malmö resembled a war zone. Young immigrants shouted "Jihad!" while throwing fireworks at people. Swedish teenagers gathered in a large group to avoid being robbed.
A janitor in Malmö was shot and sustained life-threatening injures while clearing snow in February 2017. Police detained several suspects, understood to be linked to gang violence, for questioning. A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
Meanwhile, officials at a local electrical firm announced that they would no longer expose their staff to risk by taking jobs in Malmö; there is just too much violent crime in the city.
Beginning in March 2017, the emergency ward at the hospital in Malmö will lock the doors at night. This is a security precaution that became necessary due to repeated violent threats from certain gangs or clans against patients and staff.
In July 2015, the police in Malmö asked for assistance from the national police to stop the wave of violence. Apparently, even that response was not enough. In January 2017, the police chief, Stefan Sintéus, publicly appealed to residents in Malmö for help in containing violent crime and deadly gang shootings: "Help us to tackle the problems. Cooperate with us."
Peter Springare, a police officer in the town of Örebro in central Sweden, finally vented his frustration in February 2017. Migrants are to blame for the vast majority of serious crime in Sweden, causing the police force to become overloaded, he wrote on Facebook. When dealing with drug crimes, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, murders, extortion or violence against the police, the suspected perpetrators very often have names such as Ali, Mahmoud or Mohammed. They usually have a family background from Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan or Somalia. Others do not have valid papers.
Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city, has been for several years one of the most important recruitment centers in Europe for jihadists seeking to join the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). A survey carried out in 2016 showed that about one in nine school students aged 12-18 in certain Gothenburg suburbs openly expressed sympathy with militant Islamic groups.
Nordstan in Gothenburg is one of the largest shopping malls in Sweden, located in the heart of the city. 3,250 crimes were reported to the police from Nordstan in 2016. That number is from a single shopping mall in one year. Aggressive groups of Muslim immigrants, especially young men from North Africa, Syria or Afghanistan, partly dominate the mall. "I've had people in front of me that look like they are 35, but who claim to be 15. I can't prove they're lying so we have to release them," Rikard Sörensen from the police said.
Stockholm suburbs such as Husby, Rinkeby and Tensta house large concentrations of recent immigrants. These districts are riddled with crime, violence and social problems. The Swedish police have repeatedly been attacked by criminal gangs there, even with hand grenades.
One day in December 2016, shopkeepers in Husby closed their stores as a protest. Salam Kurda is the chair of the local shopkeepers' association. He says he has had enough after his shop was burgled. Politicians and the police have abandoned Husby to the criminals, states Kurda, who plans to give up his shop. He says it is not profitable and he doesn't feel safe.
In December 2016, the American Jewish documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz told the story of his venture into Husby. A few seconds after they arrived, five men approached them. They said "You guys gotta get out of here right now." The film crew, being Swedish, turned around and ran for it. Horowitz decided to stay and try to figure this thing out with the men.
The five men then immediately attacked Horowitz, punching, choking and kicking him. Nobody came to his aid, even though this attack took place in a public area outside Stockholm. Horowitz recalls his assailants saying something in Arabic as they beat him to the ground.
"Let's define what a 'no-go area' means, really, at least in Sweden," Horowitz says.
"What's interesting is, there's an actual debate out there whether or not these places even exist, right? You go to CNN, the BBC, and you listen to people discuss no-go areas in France, in Belgium, in Sweden, in Germany. And there's an actual debate whether this is real or the figment of the conservative imagination. I can tell you for a fact they exist. And in Sweden what that means is, and this is what the police tell me, they use the words 'no-go area.' They said, in their words, 'If we're chasing a suspect, and they cross into this no-go area, we simply stop pursuit.' And if we want to enter this area, we have to go in with an armed convoy, as if you're going into like the kill zone in Afghanistan."
In 2014, the Swedish police themselves estimated that there were 55 areas in which they are no longer able to uphold law and order. That number is increasing. The country also experiences shocking levels of violence against ambulance personnel in some areas. Swedish ambulance personnel want gas masks and bulletproof vests to protect their staff against the escalating attacks, similar to equipment used by staff working in war zones.
In February 2017, the local police chief Erik Åkerlund in Botkyrka near Stockholm denied that "no-go zones" exist in Sweden. This claim does not sound very credible.
When dissident writers such as this author wrote about these issues 10-15 years ago, the real problems we raised were falsely dismissed as the "xenophobia" of alleged "right-wing extremists."
Unfortunately, the "multicultural" problems in Sweden have grown so large and visible that some international media now regularly write about them. Swedish authorities apparently find this hugely embarrassing. They try to conceal this unpleasant reality as much as possible. In 2016, the Swedish embassy in London complained that Britain's Daily Mail newspaper was running a campaign against Sweden's immigration policy.
In February 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump made some critical remarks about the situation in Sweden, regarding immigration and security. This triggered protests from the Swedish government and the mass media. At the same time, violent riots once again erupted in Rinkeby, a Stockholm suburb with many Muslim immigrants. A Swedish press photographer was assaulted by around 15 people when arriving in Rinkeby to report on the riots.
Cars burn during a riot in Stockholm, on February 20, 2017. (Image source: YouTube/gladbecker82 video screenshot
Two leading politicians from the Sweden Democrats supported Trump's comments in the Wall Street Journal. Immigration, they argued, has indeed caused major problems in Sweden.
In Malmö, violent crime is no longer limited to districts such as Rosengård. Gang-related shootings happen in different parts of Malmö, and in other cities such as Gothenburg.
A survey from 2016 indicated that nearly half of all Swedish women are afraid to go outside after dark. 46% of women feel very unsafe or somewhat unsafe when they exercise alone in the dark -- an indication that there is a widespread sense of fear and uncertainty across much of the country, not just in a few urban areas. "Feminist" Sweden has very high rape rates.
Swedish women have never had more feminism, and have never been less safe.
In January 2017, Magnus Olsson, a politician from the Sweden Democrats in Malmö, suggested that the military should be deployed in the city. "There is a great lack of police officers in Sweden and Malmö. For this reason, it is perhaps time to let the military and police stand together to reestablish order in the country," he said.
Sweden's military forces have been drastically reduced since the Cold War. However, the authorities suddenly seem to have realized that there could be potential for armed conflict in the future. There are now plans to reintroduce compulsory military service.
In early 2017, the Swedish police were instructed to increase their preparations for war. They were not told who this potential war would be against, although the authorities like to talk about an alleged threat of an invasion from Russia.
It is not, however, the Russians who now routinely burn cars and commit gang-rapes in Swedish cities. These crimes are largely committed by recent immigrants, many of them Muslims coming from war zones. These immigrants have for decades been allowed in by the ruling political elites, applauded by the mass media and supported by the EU and the UN.
The Islamic terror threat in Western Europe is now endemic. In late 2016, the police at Brussels International Airport detained 30 terror suspects in one month. That is one potential terrorist per day, at one European airport. Belgium's highest-ranking police chief warned in February 2017 that the terror threat remains "grave" after the Brussels bombings on March 22, 2016. Because of the many radical Muslims living in Belgium, the authorities are concerned that Belgian citizens may lose their visa-free access to the United States.
Due to the threat of terrorism, robberies and street crime, many Chinese, Japanese and Korean travelers have dropped their holiday plans in France. Chronic instability and violence have damaged the country's reputation as a travel destination. Even a prolonged state of emergency and large numbers of police and soldiers deployed in the streets are not enough to uphold law and order.
In February 2017, Paris and other French cities were once more rocked by days of rioting by Muslim and African immigrant. The trigger was an allegation of police violence. However, discontent seems to be endemic. Riots among immigrants could erupt again at any moment.
After a firebomb attack on four police officers near Paris in 2016, France's prime minister insisted there were no no-go zones in the country. However, this is not what the police themselves say.
"Of course there are no-go zones in France where the police cannot intervene and do their jobs in safety," says Denis Jacob from the union Alternative Police-CFDT.
"And it's the same for fire fighters or pretty much any representative of the state. The police can't apply the law in these areas, they are attacked. If the police can't do their work it's because there are criminals and delinquents who don't respect the law."
Yet it would be very bad for business and tourism if the authorities openly acknowledged this. "Governments will never admit there are no-go zones because it's a sign of a failed state," Jacob adds.
As Soeren Kern writes at Gatestone Institute:
"The problem of no-go zones is well documented, but multiculturalists and their politically correct supporters vehemently deny that they exist. Some are now engaged in a concerted campaign to discredit and even silence those who draw attention to the issue."
What does it take for the New York Times and other established media to define an area as a no-go zone?
It is an indisputable fact that a number of areas exist in several Western European countries where criminal ethnic gangs dominate the streets and where even the police find it very difficult to walk in safety. The number and size of these areas, fueled by mass immigration, seems to be growing.
If the New York Times and other mass media deny this fact, then they are engaged in producing "fake news." People who truthfully warn about these problems thus risk being unfairly vilified and smeared for doing so.
Most dangerous, however, is our inability to deal forcefully with problems that are undermining Western societies, because some Western media refuse to admit that the problems exist.
Mass immigration from incompatible cultures, particularly from the Islamic world, is gradually undermining law and order in many Western cities. If Western media refuse frankly to acknowledge this fact, they are putting the long-term survival of our societies seriously at risk.
**Fjordman, a Norwegian historian, is an expert on Europe, Islam and multiculturalism.
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