July 02/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 10/01-07/:"Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, "The kingdom of heaven has come near."

I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus
Letter to the Philippians 03/07-14/:"Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on July 02/17
America Needs a Post-ISIS Strategy/John R. Bolton/Gatestone Institute/July 01/17
Europe: "Big Business" Colludes with Islamism/Yves Mamou/Gatestone Institute/July 01/17
Who Is the Bush carrier meant to deter? Not Iran/DEBKAfile Exclusive Report/July 01/2017
Is War Between a Rising China and a Dominant America Inevitable/David Ignatius/The Washington Post//July 01/17
Embrace a New Saudi Arabia/Dennis Ross/The New York Times//July 01/17
Obama Choked on Russia Long Before the 2016 Election/Eli Lake/Bloomberg/July 01/17
Can London Survive/Satyajit Das/Asharq Al Awsat/July 01/17
A hint of ‘modesty’ is what Qatar needs/Ghassan Charbel/Al-Arabiya/01/17
A permanent boycott of Qatar is the solution/Mohammed Al-Hammadi/Al-Arabiya/01/17
Qatar’s options are limited/Khalid A. J. Al Khalifa/Al-Arabiya/01/17

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published on July 02/17
Lebanon Army Arrests Top Palestinian Terror Suspect
Five Suicide Bombers Attack Lebanese Army, Aoun Calls for Vigilance
Islamic Christian Dialogue Conference calls for cessation of wars, rendering Lebanon an international center for interfaith dialogue
Lebanon President warns Syrian refugee camps turning into military camps
Jumblat Hails Army's Endeavors after Clampdown on Militants
Security Apparatuses on Alert to Counter Terror Threats: 'Situation Under Control'
Palestinian Forces Hand Over Most Wanted Fugitive in Ain Hilweh
Geagea, Makari discuss preparations for upcoming legislative elections
Falha pushes for taking advantage of accelerated technology to improve work of media in developing countries
Frangieh: Moderation is our choice
Riachi at LAU's Media Dinner: Media authority is parallel to the three authorities and a cadence moderator among them
We will confront any terrorist act that shakes our unity, coexistence, Sarraf says
Hasbani says hand is extended to anyone who believes in LF constants for the country's rise
Erslan during new partisans' oathtaking ceremony: Our Party is one of struggle and endeavor
Army: One Syrian arrested on terrorism charges
Geagea Rejects Nasrallah’s Threats: Lebanon’s Defense is Sole Responsibility of the State

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on July 02/17
Two errant projectiles from Syria fall inside Israel; IDF retaliates
Gunman Opens Fire on New York Hospital, Killing Doctor
Saudi Crown Prince, French FM Discuss Ways to Promote Bilateral Ties
OHCHR: Correction to News Reports Appearing in Qatari Media
International Confirmation: Sarin Used in Syria, Ankara Makes Hints of New Operation
IS Withdraws from Syria's Aleppo Province
Sisi: Facing Countries Supporting Terrorism Started With ‘June 30’ Revolution
Bahrain Invokes WTO’s ‘National Security’ Clause in Qatar Boycott
ICAO Commends Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE,Bahrain’s Air Navigation Safety Measures
Pope shakes up Vatican by replacing conservative doctrinal chief By Philip Pullella
Over 60 Students Detained in Venezuela Protest

Latest Lebanese Related News published on July 02/17
Lebanon Army Arrests Top Palestinian Terror Suspect
Asharq Al-Awsat/July 01/17/A Palestinian militant wanted for planning bomb attacks in Lebanon was detained by the army on Saturday at a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Palestinian factions in Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp handed over Khaled Masaad, known as al-Sayyid, to the Lebanese army at dawn at a checkpoint outside the camp, on the outskirts of the city of Sidon, NNA said.
Masaad is accused of leading a terror cell that allegedly plotted attacks during the holy month of Ramadan in the capital Beirut and Sidon, a security source said. The cell was uncovered by Lebanon’s General Security, the source said. Sayyid had previously traveled to Syria to fight with militants in the civil war there, the source added. Lebanese security forces do not enter Palestinian refugee camps, where security is managed by joint committees of Palestinian factions. Ain el-Hilweh, which is home to some 100,000 Palestinians, occasionally witnesses clashes between Palestinian factions and extremists taking refuge in the camp. Lebanese security agencies have been cracking down on sleeper extremist cells to deter any security breach.

Five Suicide Bombers Attack Lebanese Army, Aoun Calls for Vigilance
Asharq Al-Awsat/July 01/17/Beirut- Five suicide bombers blew themselves up as Lebanese army forces raided on Friday Syrian refugee encampments in eastern Lebanon’s Arsal area.One child was killed and a number of soldiers were injured, the Lebanese Army Command said in a statement. The five suicide bombers blew themselves up in response to pre-emptive raids carried out by Lebanese troops which had received information about terrorist attacks being prepared in the area. During the raids, army soldiers arrested more than 300 people. A security source said that the target of the security raids was to hunt one suspect, which happened to be the first suicide bomber who blew himself up. “The raids were based on information about the presence of suspects in the Nour camp and about plans to launch terrorist operations,” the source told Asharq Al-Awsat. “At dawn on Friday, while an army force was searching Al-Nour Syrian refugee camp in the town of Arsal, a suicide bomber blew himself up with an explosive belt in front of a patrol, killing himself and injuring three soldiers,” the army said in a statement. Later, while another unit was inspecting an encampment in the area, one of the terrorists blew himself up with an explosive belt. Another terrorist threw a grenade at a patrol and lightly wounded four soldiers. Later, the army said that a suicide bomber blew himself up among members of a displaced family in the Nour camp, killing a young girl. The military source described the army operation on Friday as “unique,” assuming that the suicide bombers belong to the same terrorist cell, a fact which would later be confirmed by investigators. The operation was hailed by a number of officials. President Michel Aoun said it was a very dangerous operation. “We must remain vigilant and prepared for the upcoming phase after terrorist groups in Syria fall, so that they don’t enter Lebanon,” he added.

Islamic Christian Dialogue Conference calls for cessation of wars, rendering Lebanon an international center for interfaith dialogue
Sat 01 Jul 2017/NNA - In its recommendations following its work session on Saturday, the Islamic-Christian Dialogue Conference called for ceasing all wars, working to deeply root Christians in Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine and making Lebanon an international center for inter-faith dialogue. The Conference's final recommendations were read out by Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bshara Butros al-Rai, who inaugurated the works of the Dialogue Conference at "Our Lady of Loueizeh" University in Zouk Mosbeh, which was organized pursuant to the request of Sheikh of the Azhar and prominent religious leaders and clerics. Conferees voiced their support to the Azhar Declaration, deeming it "a sincere and true call by a leading Arab and Islamic religious institution for complete partnership in each Arab nation and in a national, constitutional and civil State based on equality between all its members and preserving cultural and religious diversity among them."Participants also affirmed that the protection of Lebanese national independence and sovereignty requires strengthening the grounds of coexistence and safeguarding national constants represented by the National Charter, the Taef Agreement and the Constitution.
Moreover, conferees urged Islamic and Christian educational institutions to find formulas for deliberation, cooperation and openness in the educational curricula, encouraging them to think about developing joint programs that promote more mutual knowledge and acquaintance, creating an atmosphere of religious, national and human partnership. Furthermore, participants in the Dialogue Conference declared their will to go to the Vatican and other Christian and Islamic world religious institutions to cooperate and coordinate with them, shedding light on the importance of coexistence in Lebanon which constitutes the true guarantee of liberties, sovereignty and national independence.

Lebanon President warns Syrian refugee camps turning into military camps
Xinhua/ 2017/7/1/Lebanon's President Michel Aoun warned Friday that Syrian refugee camps in the country are turning into safe havens for militants planning terror attacks against the country's troops and citizens. "Displaced Syrian encampments have turned into military camps rather than places for displaced people," said the president in a statement released by his media office. Aoun's comments came ahead of suicide attacks on Friday at dawn in Lebanon that killed a child and wounded seven troops. Five militants blew themselves up and a sixth threw a grenade during raids on two refugee camps near the Syrian border, the army said. A young girl, whose parents are both refugees, was killed. There have been multiple clashes along the border between the Lebanese army and the Islamic State group (IS) or al-Qaida.

Jumblat Hails Army's Endeavors after Clampdown on Militants
Naharnet/July 01/17/Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat praised the Lebanese army's incessant efforts in maintaining stability and thwarting terror plots aiming to destabilize the country, Jumblat's media office said in a statement on Saturday. “At a time when difficulties, challenges and risks spike, the Lebanese army carried out a quality security operation in the outskirts of Arsal thwarting a major terrorist plot aimed at destabilizing the security of Lebanon,” Jumblat said. “The major accomplishment affirms the necessity to provide political and logistical support for the army and other official security services, to carry out the difficult tasks entrusted to them in maintaining security and providing reassurance to the Lebanese,” added the PSP chief. On Friday, the Lebanese army conducted early morning raids in Syrian refugees encampments in the northeastern border town of Arsal, when five suicide bombers blew themselves up injuring seven troops and killing a young girl.

Security Apparatuses on Alert to Counter Terror Threats: 'Situation Under Control'
Naharnet/July 01/17/Lebanon's security apparatuses on Saturday affirmed their preparedness to confront and deter terrorist acts, stressing that their fight against terrorism requires vigilance and precision. “In general, the situation in Lebanon is to a great extent under control. We can't drop the possibilities of a terrorist violation at any moment, that is why we are always on alert and ready to fight back and deter terrorism,” military and security source told al-Joumhouria on Saturday. “The battle with terrorism requires constant vigilance because our enemy is perfidious and does not hesitate to penetrate the Lebanese body from any loophole that it may find weak. The task of the army and the apparatuses is to close all the gaps,” stressed the sources. The statements made came one day after a suicide bombing left one child dead and seven troops wounded. On Friday at dawn, a child was killed and seven Lebanese soldiers were wounded when five militants blew themselves up and a sixth threw a grenade during raids on two refugee encampments in Arsal's outskirts near the Syrian border. The raids were aimed at "arresting terrorists and seizing weapons," the Army Command had said.

Palestinian Forces Hand Over Most Wanted Fugitive in Ain Hilweh
Naharnet/July 01/17/A prominent suspect believed to be involved in bombing attack plots targeting Beirut and the southern city of Sidon is in the grip of the Lebanese army and General Security, the National News Agency reported on Saturday. “An army patrol and the General Security agency received from the Palestinian Forces in the refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh the “most wanted fugitive known as Khaled Massaad aka al-Sayyed,” said NNA. Massaad is accused of plotting to carry out bombing attacks during the holy month of Ramadan in Beirut and Sidon. The handover took place at the army's Ain el-Hilweh checkpoint south of Sidon. By long-standing convention, the army does not enter Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, where security is managed by joint committees of Palestinian factions. That has created lawless areas in many camps, and Ain el-Hilweh has gained notoriety as a refuge for extremists and fugitives. But the camp is also home to more than 54,000 registered Palestinian refugees who have been joined in recent years by thousands of Palestinians fleeing the fighting in Syria. More than 450,000 Palestinians are registered in Lebanon with the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA. Most live in squalid conditions in 12 official refugee camps and face a variety of legal restrictions, including on their employment.

Geagea, Makari discuss preparations for upcoming legislative elections
Sat 01 Jul 2017/NNA - Lebanese Forces Leader, Samir Geagea, met on Saturday with Deputy House Speaker Farid Makkari at his residence in Maarab. Discussions focused on the current political developments at the local and regional levels, in addition to preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections and the map of electoral alliances.

Falha pushes for taking advantage of accelerated technology to improve work of media in developing countries
Sat 01 Jul 2017/NNA - Information Ministry Director General, Hassan Falha, took part Saturday in a Ministerial Information Workshop in the Chinese Capital, Beijing, in presence of representatives from 32 States. During the first session which tackled the development of digital technology and its positive impact on the media, Falha gave a presentation on "ways to benefit from this accelerated technology in order to improve the work of media in developing countries." Falha praised the valuable role that China played through its media institutions, especially on the level of TV and Radio Corporation (CTV), "in establishing such workshops to exchange experiences between media organizations across the world."On the other hand, the Chinese side also expressed willingness to contribute to the development of "Radio Lebanon" Station's broadcasting equipment, to be discussed in a future protocol of cooperation. It is to note that said workshop will conclude on the sixth of this month through recommendations agreed upon by conferees.

Frangieh: Moderation is our choice
Sat 01 Jul 2017/NNA - "Moderation must be our option in all our different sects and affiliations, since moderation is a common ground for everyone," Marada Movement Leader, MP Sleiman Frangieh, told friends and supporters from Arab Alma and Fawwar regions who came to see him on Saturday. He thankfully added that "inspite of compelling circumstances and misleading speeches, people still believe in national unity and co-existence."Franjieh reiterated before his interlocutors his commitment to supporting the Palestinian Cause, Arab identity and resistance.

Riachi at LAU's Media Dinner: Media authority is parallel to the three authorities and a cadence moderator among them
Sat 01 Jul 2017/NNA - In his address at the Lebanese American University's 10th annual dinner in honor of the media on Friday, Information Minister Melhem Riachi deemed that "the media authority is parallel to the three legislative, executive and judicial authorities, balancing the cadence among between them." Speaking to a crowd of 400 or more prominent media guests and political officials, Riachi lauded the Lebanese American University's initiatives, emphasizing the importance of communication between the media and academia. Riachi highlighted the importance of building people and humans, adding "this is what the media is doing and should do, and this is what your esteemed University (LAU) is actually doing."

We will confront any terrorist act that shakes our unity, coexistence, Sarraf says
Sat 01 Jul 2017/NNA - Minister of Defense, Yaacoub Sarraf, said on Saturday that "refugees' rights matter to us; however, we will stand against any terrorist or security attack that would crack our national unity and coexistence.""Terrorists will not dare to enter to our territories due to the official, civil and popular embracement of the Lebanese Army," Sarraf stated in wake of yesterday's clashes in Arsal between the Lebanese army and extremists. "When we warned about the issue of Syrian refugees and camps' conditions, some of the Lebanese counterparts accused us of inhumanity," he went on, emphasizing the sacredness of Lebanon's security and sovereignty. The Minister wondered about the rising number of infiltrated terrorists inside the refugee camps, despite the international and humanitarian care accorded to said camps.

Hasbani says hand is extended to anyone who believes in LF constants for the country's rise
Sat 01 Jul 2017/NNA - Deputy Prime Minister, Public Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani stated Saturday that "the hand is stretched out to anyone who believes in the constants of the Lebanese Forces to ensure the country's rise." Speaking in an interview to "Voice of Lebanon" Radio Station, Hasbani referred to the importance that "electoral magnetic cards do not become a hindrance," adding "proportionality is a Lebanese law that resulted from years of maturity. It is not easy to determine the results in advance, which makes the law democratic and solid."On another level, Hasbani lauded the preemptive operation carried out by the Lebanese Army in Arsal yesterday. He stressed, herein, that the State is the only authorized side to defend the country, adding that "any strategic decision belongs exclusively to the State, especially when to wage war."On his visit to Zgharta and meeting with MP Sleiman Franjieh, Hasbani pointed to the resumption of relations between the "Lebanese Forces" and "Mardah Movement."He added: "Common rules and space open the way for restoring vitality and dynamism to an ongoing relationship that has experienced difficulties due to the circumstances in Lebanon."Hasbani described the encounter with Franjieh as "positive," adding that talks focused on main dossiers and possible agreements to contribute to the building of the State. Over government productivity activation, Hasbani emphasized keenness on "ensuring that this cabinet does not fall into the traps of the past or previous governments' practices."

Erslan during new partisans' oathtaking ceremony: Our Party is one of struggle and endeavor
Sat 01 Jul 2017/NNA - "Our Party is one of strive and struggle and not jobs and gratuities," Lebanese Democratic Party Leader, MP Talal Erslan, emphasized Saturday during the oath-taking ceremony of 243 new members marking the Party's 16th foundation commemoration. "Our Party has a true national path, for through our principles and national unity approach we managed to overcome any other dimension, especially that of sectarianism which is the cause of ills and the source of weakness and division among the Lebanese," said Arslan. He stressed that goodness can only be realized through the rise of a fair and just constitutional State, away from a corrupt system. "Your party, the Lebanese Democratic Party, believes in the Lebanese people and their ability to achieve miracles. There is no power that can counter the will of the people, for if they want life, they will eventually win," Arslan told new Party members. "You have to choose between freedom and hope and between disguised slavery and demise. And today, you have taken your will of life choice by joining the Lebanese Democratic Party, the believer in moral unity of the Lebanese people," Arslan underscored.

Army: One Syrian arrested on terrorism charges
Sat 01 Jul 2017/NNA - Army Intelligence units arrested Syrian national, Ahmad Khaled Diab, over his affiliation with terrorist groups, as well as assaulting Army soldiers during 2014, an Army statement indicated on Saturday. During investigations by the concerned judiciary, Diab confessed that he participated in the killing of Army Officer Nour Eddine Jamal.

Geagea Rejects Nasrallah’s Threats: Lebanon’s Defense is Sole Responsibility of the State
Asharq Al-Awsat/July 01/17/Beirut- Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has stressed that only the Lebanese state and citizens should defend Lebanon against any attack. “No one at all, other than the Lebanese state, has the right to take strategic decisions regarding Lebanon’s defense or foreign policy,” the LF leader told a rally held in Maarab on Friday. Geagea’s statements came in response to “Hezbollah” leader Hassan Nasrallah’s recent claims that “hundreds of thousands” of fighters from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Iran’s IRGC would be ready to strike back if Israel staged an attack on Lebanon.“We heard a lot of talk recently about allowing chaos on Lebanon’s borders and about opening them to all sorts of armed groups under the excuse of defending Lebanon,” Geagea said during a ceremony of around 2,500 new members joining the ranks of the LF. “We do not want anyone to defend us or to defend Lebanon … This is an exclusive mission for the Lebanese state,” he said. Recalling the 1975-1990 civil war, Geagea said: “The experience of the armed Palestinian groups that were brought (into Lebanon) in the 1970s under the excuse of facing Israel is still fresh in our minds.”“The result was a confrontation for the Lebanese people and an unprecedented war inside Lebanon,” Geagea lamented. “History has proven, throughout 1,500 years, that the Lebanese deserved Lebanon because they themselves defended it all the time and not because they brought groups of foreigners to defend it.” “Lebanon is for the Lebanese and they will sacrifice their lives for it whenever the need arises,” Geagea added. The LF chief spoke of “winds of change” that blew on Lebanon in June 2015, which culminated with the reconciliation in January 2016 between his party and the Free Patriotic Movement that is founded by President Michel Aoun. That reconciliation turned the page on infighting, which at times was violent, Geagea said.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on July 02/17
Two errant projectiles from Syria fall inside Israel; IDF retaliates
Ynetnews/Yoav Zitun, Ahiya Raved/July 01/17
Projectiles fall in area between Quneitra and the Valley of Tears, close to the border fence; none were hurt in the incident; IDF attacks Syrian army position in Naba'a al-Fawar in retaliation, sends warning to Assad, 'we will not tolerate any breach of Israel's sovereignty.' Two projectiles fell in the northern Israeli Golan Heights on Saturday evening, the 17th and 18th such instance this week of spillover from the civil war in Syria. No one was hurt. In response to the spillover fire, the IDF attacked a cannon belonging to the Syrian army. The Lebanese Al Mayadeen TV network, which is affiliated with the Assad regime and Hezbollah, reported the Israeli retaliation targeted a position of the Syrian army near the Naba'a al-Fawar base. The projectiles, the result of internal fighting in Syria, fell between Quneitra and the Valley of Tears, the same area where most of the projectiles fell over the past week. They landed in "no man's land" between the two border fences—the Syrian and Israeli—closer to the Syrian fence. IDF forces were sent to the scene to search for the projectiles and see if any additional projectiles landed inside Israeli territory. Following the falling of the projectiles, the IDF issued a warning to the Syrian regime. "Israel holds the Syrian regime responsible for any breach of its borders and will act accordingly," IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said in a statement. "Israel maintains a policy of non-involvement in the Syrian civil war. However, we will not tolerate any breach of Israel's sovereignty."Battles were raging on Saturday in the area between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels fighting to topple him, with the sounds of explosions continued to carry across the border throughout the evening. The spillover into Israel began last Saturday, while thousands of vacationers were visiting the Golan Heights, some of them taking part in cherry and berry pickings. On Wednesday, minutes before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to make a speech in Katzrin, a mortar shell landed in an open area in the northern Golan. An hour later, the IDF attacked the Syrian military mortars that fired the shell. "During my speech, shells from the Syrian side landed in our territory and the IDF has already struck back. Whoever attacks us—we will attack him. This is our policy and we will continue with it," he said. Netanyahu further added that "We courageously control the Heights, and we know what's happening beyond the border. Our line is clear—we do not interfere in the happenings in Syria, but we are determined to respond aggressively and powerfully to any violation of our sovereignty. We won't accept any spillover nor trickle in the Golan."
*AFP contributed to this report.

Gunman Opens Fire on New York Hospital, Killing Doctor
Associated Press/Naharnet/July 01/17/A man opened fire in a busy New York hospital on Friday afternoon, killing a female doctor and wounding six other people before turning his weapon on himself, according to officials. The shooter was himself a doctor and former employee of the hospital, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio and police chief James O'Neill, who ruled out a connection to terrorism. He entered the building in a white coat with an automatic weapon concealed under his shirt, officials said. The incident occurred at the 1000-bed Bronx-Lebanon hospital just before 3 pm (1900 GMT) as many patients were receiving consultations. Police quickly cordoned off the area and encircled the hospital, placing officers on rooftops as they conducted a floor-by-floor search for the assailant. The shooter, whose identity has not been officially disclosed, was eventually found dead in a pool of blood on the 17th floor of the building after apparently killing himself, according to O'Neill. The police chief added that the gunman apparently attempted "to set himself on fire" before activating the institution's fire alarm system. The dead doctor, a woman whose identity has also not yet been disclosed, was found nearby. The mayor said some doctors were "fighting for their lives right now," without disclosing how many physicians were among the wounded. Speaking at a press briefing, De Blasio said: "Thank God this is not an act of terrorism. It is an isolated incident." Several witnesses spoke of the panic that spread during the attack.
Garry Trimbie told AFP he got a phone call from his fiancee, a hospital employee, at around 3:15 pm. "She was crying, she said somebody started shooting and then the employees ran and barricaded themselves in the room," he said. - My turn -A pregnant woman who was undergoing a consultation on the 14th floor praised the way staff responded. "I did as I was told and I'm safe and sound. They told us to go inside a room and hide. We were barricaded inside a room. The hospital staff was on top of everything. They were in control," Tamara told AFP, giving her first name only. "I learned a long time ago: when you're pregnant, never panic," she added. Nurse Patricia Phipps said the shooting did not come as a shock given the borough it took place in, The Bronx, which is known for its high crime-rate. She said: "The neighborhood is sketchy. So you're not surprised sometimes these things happen when you work at hospitals like this. Things happen. That's just living in New York. I just said to myself: it's my turn."The latest incident could also re-ignite debate over gun control laws in the United States, which sees more mass shootings than any other country. Mayor De Blasio briefly touched on the topic in his press briefing, calling the attack "something we have seen around the country". "Every time these things happen, it's another reminder that more needs to be done for those people that have access to these weapons...we can't continue not to do something about it," state legislator Marcos Crespo told news channel New York 1. The last mass shooting occurred on June 14 near Washington DC when a man opened fire on a baseball team comprised of Republican congressmen, wounding four people including the chamber's third most senior member, Steve Scalise. The gunman, James Hodgkinson, was shot dead by police.

Saudi Crown Prince, French FM Discuss Ways to Promote Bilateral Ties
Asharq Al-Awsat/July 01/17/Jeddah- Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense has received a telephone call in Jeddah from French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Saudi Press Agency reported. During the call, the French Minister congratulated the Crown Prince on recently being selected as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, SPA said. They also discussed bilateral relations between the two nations and ways to promote them in all fields, the agency added.

OHCHR: Correction to News Reports Appearing in Qatari Media

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’s official website released a statement on Friday that it regrets the appearance of inaccurate accounts in Qatari media of a meeting held on Thursday between UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar at the United Nations in Geneva. While confirming the meeting did take place, the UN Human Rights Office said reports appearing in the Qatari media significantly distort the remarks of the High Commissioner. The position of the UN Human Rights Office on various aspects of the dispute between Qatar and four other countries in the region are contained in the following two items:
1) A ‘Comment’ issued by the High Commissioner on 14 June 2017
2) A press briefing conducted by the UN Human Rights Office’s Spokesperson on 30 June 2017
The UN Human Rights Office does not normally comment on bilateral meetings with States, except on the rare occasions when it believes the State concerned has publicly misrepresented the content of the meeting.

International Confirmation: Sarin Used in Syria, Ankara Makes Hints of New Operation
Asharq Al-Awsat/July 01/17/Moscow, Beirut, Ankara- The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed on Friday that banned Sarin gas was used in April’s chemical attack that killed dozens of people in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.
The Hague-based watchdog said “the perpetrators of this horrific attack must be held accountable for their crimes,” but the investigation fell short to blame any party for the attack. The OPCW report was sent to the UN Security Council for a joint investigation in order to find the suspects. A council meeting on July 5 is expected to discuss the findings. US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley said in a statement: “Now that we know the undeniable truth, we look forward to an independent investigation to confirm exactly who was responsible for these brutal attacks so we can find justice for the victims.”
For his part, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “The exact responsibility for dropping the Sarin will now go to a joint investigative mechanism to be confirmed but I’ve got absolutely no doubt that the finger points at the Assad regime.”However, the Russian Foreign Minister doubted the OPCW report, and said its “conclusions are still based on very doubtful data obtained from the same opposition and the same notorious NGOs of the White Helmets type, and not on the site of the tragedy.”Meanwhile, Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the coalition against ISIS, was holding talks in Ankara on Friday amid reports that Turkey could launch the “Euphrates Sabre” operation in the countryside of Aleppo, which means that Ankara plans to tighten the noose on the Kurdish-controlled city of Afrin. McGurk’s visit also coincided with a phone call held between US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the latest developments in Syria, the war on ISIS and the US decision to arm the Syrian Democratic Forces that include fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Separately, sources said that head of the Syrian regime Bashar Assad promoted his brother Maher to Brigadier General, with reports predicting that the latter would play a leading role in the “Revolutionary Guards.”

IS Withdraws from Syria's Aleppo Province
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/July 01/17/The Islamic State group no longer has a presence in Syria's Aleppo province after withdrawing from a series of villages where regime forces were advancing, a monitor said on Friday. "IS withdrew from 17 towns and villages and is now effectively outside of Aleppo province after having a presence there for four years," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Regime forces had been advancing on a sliver of southeastern Aleppo province around a key highway linking Hama province to the southwest and Raqa province further east. Abdel Rahman said regime forces seized control of the road late Thursday night, prompting the remaining IS fighters to flee. A Syrian military source in rural Aleppo confirmed the withdrawal. "The military operation is ongoing and Daesh withdrew from the Aleppan countryside towards rural territory in Hama and Raqa," the source told AFP, using the Arabic acronym for IS. "The Syrian army is clearing out the last few meters," the source added. A second military source, quoted by Syrian state news agency SANA, also confirmed that IS had pulled out of territory along the Ithraya-Rasafa highway. Since early 2015, multi-front offensives against IS have eaten away at territory the group held in Aleppo province. U.S.-backed Kurdish and allied Arab fighters ousted the jihadists from Kobane on the Turkish border in 2015 and from the key city of Manbij last year. Rebels backed by Turkey seized the town of al-Bab in February, and Syrian government troops have steadily chipped away at IS towns in the south of the province. In neighboring Raqa province, a U.S.-backed offensive is bearing down on the provincial capital of the same name, which has served as the jihadists' de facto Syrian capital. Abdel Rahman described Friday's withdrawal as "a new loss for IS that decreases its influence and demonstrates that we are watching its collapse as an organization that can manage geographical territory." Syria's conflict broke out in March 2011 with protests against President Bashar al-Assad, before turning into a complex, bloody war. World powers including Russia, Turkey, and a U.S.-led global coalition have all been drawn into the war, which has left more than 320,000 people dead. Talks aimed at reaching a lasting ceasefire will resume in the Kazakh capital Astana next week, before another round of U.N.-backed peace negotiations in Geneva in mid-July.

Sisi: Facing Countries Supporting Terrorism Started With ‘June 30’ Revolution
Asharq Al-Awsat/July 01/17/Cairo- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Friday that “the June 30 Revolution” foiled the plans of foreign forces that sought to produce chaos in the region by financing and sponsoring terrorism. In a televised speech delivered on the fourth anniversary of the mass protests that ended the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, Sisi said the June 30 Revolution marked the restoration of Egypt’s active regional role.Sisi said the revolution had to confront foreign forces that support terrorism and extremist groups. On 30 June 2013, millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest the rule of former president Mohamed Morsi, who had been elected one year earlier and was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. “Four years later, Egypt’s voice is heard and its vision to restore stability in the Middle East is finally appreciated and implemented. The hidden intentions of some sisterly and non-sisterly states were also uncovered.” He said that since the beginning, the Revolution announced that Egyptians do not and will not accept the dominance of any group or section, adding that religion is for God, while the nation is for all forces. “Egypt refused to succumb to terrorism, whether at the financial or the moral level. The people ordered its police to confront terrorism,” Sisi said. He said that the revolution also confronted foreign forces that support terrorism and extremism, but did not name those forces. Last month, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed sanctions on the country for supporting terrorism. On Friday, the Egyptian president also praised the Egyptians for bearing the difficult decisions that were previously implemented to produce economic reforms in the country. “I salute the people for bearing the hard measures that we had to take… I am confident in the future,” Sisi said.

Bahrain Invokes WTO’s ‘National Security’ Clause in Qatar Boycott
Asharq Al-Awsat/July 01/17/Geneva- Trade restrictions imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates are justified by national security, Bahrain’s representative told a World Trade Organization meeting on Friday, a trade official who attended the meeting said. Speaking on behalf of all three countries, the Bahraini diplomat at the WTO’s Goods Council said the measures were “in accordance with Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade,” which allows the usual rules to be broken for national security reasons, the official said. It is extremely rare, perhaps unprecedented, in the WTO’s 22-year history for a country to explicitly and formally cite the “national security exemption” to pre-empt a potential trade dispute. On the other hand, the Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) officially condemned continued Qatari governments and labeling the boycott imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt as a “blockade”.In a report issued by AFHR, the federation disclosed that in accordance with the provisions of international law, an embargo is defined as a coercive measure taken against a state by a decision of the Security Council, pursuant to the provisions of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations imposing with a military force. It pointed out that a boycott is fundamentally different. It is a withdrawal of diplomatic and economic relations by a state or group of states from another state. A boycott is a sovereign right of all countries to establish or sever diplomatic ties with any country in case the latter seeks to stir unrest and insecurity amongst the international community. Accordingly, Qatar’s description of its boycott as a “blockade” is not justifiable. Therefore, this legal ignorance characterized in the Qatar National Human Rights Committee report in regards to the distinction between a boycott and a blockade lacks objectivity and aims merely to gain international sympathy where the European Union (EU) rejects describing the current measures taken as a blockade and continues to demand that Qatar commits itself to combating terrorism. The Russian government has also adopted the same position. The report pointed out that a senior official at the US Treasury Department, Adam Zubin, stated that “Qatar has shown a lack of political will to implement anti-terrorist financing laws effectively” which was supported by Daniel Glaser, former assistant secretary of the US Treasury Department, who said that “the designated terrorist financiers are openly and publicly engaged in the State of Qatar.”

ICAO Commends Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE,Bahrain’s Air Navigation Safety Measures
Asharq Al-Awsat/July 01/17/The Board of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) held an irregular session in which the Secretariat General of the ICAO presented updated information about the safety of the skies over the Arabian Gulf. In a statement to Saudi state-owned press agency (SPA), the Director of the Middle East Regional Office, Mohammed Rahma, said that in direct cooperation with the countries that announced severing their relations with the State of Qatar, office staff activated at 8:30 am on 5th June the contingency plan set forth in Annex XI to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago, 1944). In response to a question from a member of the Board, the Director of the Air Navigation Bureau, Steve Kramer, said that the General Secretariat of the ICAO has no concerns about the safety of the skies over the international waters in the Gulf, as the boycotting states possess modern navigation devices and abilities covering all international airspace over the Arabian Gulf, adding that the Regional Bureau will hold a meeting on 6th July in Cairo with representatives of the countries that have cut ties with Qatar to discuss any new demands from Qatar regarding the opening of new air routes over the international waters in the Gulf. A number of international representatives commended the efforts being exerted by the countries and the Secretariat General of the ICAO, especially the staff of the Middle East Regional Office, and requested continuing cooperation between the Regional Office, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to ensure safety over international waters in the Arabian Gulf.

Pope shakes up Vatican by replacing conservative doctrinal chief By Philip Pullella
Sat 01 Jul 2017/NNA - In a major shake up of the Vatican's administration on Saturday, Pope Francis replaced Catholicism's top theologian, a conservative German cardinal who has been at odds with the pontiff's vision of a more inclusive Church. A brief Vatican statement said Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller's five-year mandate as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a key department charged with defending Catholic doctrine, would not be renewed. Mueller, 69, who was appointed by former Pope Benedict in 2012, will be succeeded by the department's number two, Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer. Ladaria, a 73-year-old Spaniard who, like the Argentine pope is a member of the Jesuit order, is said by those who know him to be a soft-spoken person who shuns the limelight. Mueller, by contrast, often appears in the media. "They speak the same language and Ladaria is someone who is meek. He does not agitate the pope and does not threaten him," said a priest who works in the Vatican and knows both Mueller and Ladaria, asking not to be named. Since his election in 2013, Francis has given hope to progressives who want him to forge ahead with his vision for a more welcoming Church that concentrates on mercy rather than the strict enforcement of rigid rules they see as antiquated. Mueller is one of several cardinals in the Vatican who have publicly sparred with the pope.
In 2015 he was among 13 cardinals who signed a secret letter to the pope complaining that a meeting of bishops discussing family issues was stacked in favour of liberals. The letter was leaked, embarrassing the signatories. "Clearly, the pope and Cardinal Mueller have not been on the same page for five years," the priest said. Mueller has criticised parts of a 2016 papal treatise called "Amoris Laetitia" (The Joy of Love), a cornerstone document of Francis' attempt to make the 1.2 billion-member Church more inclusive and less condemning. In it, Francis called for a Church that is less strict and more compassionate towards any "imperfect" members, such as those who divorced and remarried, saying "no one can be condemned forever". Conservatives have concentrated their criticism on the document's opening to Catholics who divorce and remarry in civil ceremonies, without getting Church annulments. Under Church law they cannot receive communion unless they abstain from sex with their new partner, because their first marriage is still valid in the eyes of the Church and therefore they are seen to be living in an adulterous state of sin. In the document the pope sided with progressives who had proposed an "internal forum" in which a priest or bishop decide jointly with the individual on a case-by-case basis if he or she can be fully re-integrated and receive communion. After the document was published Catholic bishops in some countries, including Germany, enacted guidelines on how priests could allow some divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments. But Mueller has said there should be no exceptions, making him a hero to conservatives who have made the issue a rallying point for their opposition to Francis. ---Reuters

Over 60 Students Detained in Venezuela Protest
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/July 01/17/Police arrested 62 students during some of the latest in three months of anti-government protests, a student leader said Friday.About half them were detained when trying to march to offices of the electoral authority in Caracas on Thursday, said Daniel Ascanio, student leader from Simon Bolivar University. "There is no reason for them to be detained," he said, insisting they had been protesting "peacefully." Opposition demonstrators accuse the security forces of repressing and jailing opponents. Judicial NGO Foro Penal says 3,500 people have been arrested in the unrest. Prosecutors say 82 people have been killed. The opposition is demanding elections to replace President Nicolas Maduro, blaming him for a desperate economic crisis. He says the crisis is a US-backed conspiracy. Attorney General Luisa Ortega, the most high-profile official to break ranks with Maduro, announced a fresh move in her legal challenges against him on Friday. She filed charges against the head of the state intelligence service, Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez, for alleged human rights violations.US carrier United Airlines ran its last flight from Venezuela on Friday. It said it was suspending the Caracas-Houston route due to financial problems in the country.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on July 02/17
America Needs a Post-ISIS Strategy/أميركا بحاجة لإستراتجية ما بعد داعش
John R. Bolton/Gatestone Institute/July 01/17
The headlines out of Syria are eye-catching: There are signs the Assad government may be planning another chemical attack. American pilots have struck forces threatening our allies and shot down a Syrian plane and Iranian-made drones. The probability of direct military confrontation between the U.S. and Russia has risen. Yet the coverage of these incidents and the tactical responses that have been suggested obscure the broader story: The slow-moving campaign against Islamic State is finally nearing its conclusion — yet major, long-range strategic issues remain unresolved.
The real issue isn't tactical. It is instead the lack of American strategic thinking about the Middle East after Islamic State. Its defeat will leave a regional political vacuum that must be filled somehow. Instead of reflexively repeating President Obama's errors, the Trump administration should undertake an "agonizing reappraisal," in the style of John Foster Dulles, to avoid squandering the victory on the ground.
First, the U.S. ought to abandon or substantially reduce its military support for Iraq's current government. Despite retaining a tripartite veneer of Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs, the capital is dominated by Shiites loyal to Iran. Today Iraq resembles Eastern Europe in the late 1940s, as the Soviet anaconda tightened its hold. Extending Baghdad's political and military control into areas retaken from ISIS simply advances Tehran's power. This cannot be in America's interest.
Iraq's Kurds have de facto independence and are on the verge of declaring it de jure. They fight ISIS to facilitate the creation of a greater Kurdistan. Nonetheless, the Kurds, especially in Syria and Turkey, are hardly monolithic. Not all see the U.S. favorably. In Syria, Kurdish forces fighting ISIS are linked to the Marxist PKK in Turkey. They pose a real threat to Turkey's territorial integrity, even if it may seem less troubling now that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's plans have turned so profoundly contrary to the secular, Western-oriented vision of Kemal Atatürk.
Second, the U.S. should press Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf monarchies for more troops and material assistance in fighting ISIS. America has carried too much of the burden for too long in trying to forge Syria's opposition into an effective force. Yet even today the opposition could charitably be called "diverse." It includes undeniably terrorist elements that are often hard to distinguish from the "moderates" the U.S. supports. Getting fresh contributions from Arab allies would rebalance the opposition, which is especially critical if the U.S. turns away, as it should, from reliance on the Iraqi forces dominated by Tehran.
Third, the Trump administration must take a clear-eyed view of Russia's intervention. The Syrian mixing bowl is where confrontation between American and Russian forces looms. Why is Russia active in this conflict? Because it is aiding its allies: Syria's President Bashar Assad and Iran's ayatollahs. Undeniably, Russia is on the wrong side. But Mr. Obama, blind to reality, believed Washington and Moscow shared a common interest in easing the Assad regime out of power. The Trump administration's new thinking should be oriented toward a clear objective: pushing back these Iranian and Russian gains.
Start with Iran. Tehran is trying to cement an arc of control from its own territory, through Baghdad-controlled Iraq and Mr. Assad's Syria, to Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon. This would set the stage for the region's next potential conflict: Iran's Shiite coalition versus a Saudi-led Sunni alliance.
The U.S.-led coalition, enhanced as suggested above, needs to thwart Iran's ambitions as ISIS falls. Securing increased forces and financial backing from the regional Arab governments is essential. Their stakes are as high as ours — despite the contretemps between Qatar and Saudi Arabia (and others) — but their participation has lagged. The U.S. has mistakenly filled the gap with Iraqi government forces and Shiite militias.
Washington is kidding itself to think Sunnis will meekly accept rule by Iraq's Shiite-dominated government or Syria's Alawite regime. Simply restoring today's governments in Baghdad and Damascus to their post-World War I boundaries would guarantee renewed support for terrorism and future conflict. I have previously suggested creating a new, secular, demographically Sunni state from territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria. There may well be other solutions, but pining for borders demarcated by Europeans nearly a century ago is not one of them.
At the same time, the U.S. must begin rolling back Russia's renewed presence and influence in the Middle East. Russia has a new air base at Latakia, Syria, is involved in combat operations, and issues diktats about where American warplanes in the region may fly. For all the allegations about Donald Trump and Russia, the president truly in thrall to Moscow seems to have been Mr. Obama.
Russia has a new air base at Latakia, Syria, is involved in combat operations, and issues diktats about where American warplanes in the region may fly. Pictured: A Russian Air Force Su-24 passes a Syrianair Airbus A320 at Latakia.
Russia's interference, particularly its axis with Mr. Assad and Tehran's mullahs, critically threatens the interests of the U.S., Israel and our Arab friends. Mr. Assad almost certainly would have fallen by now without Russia's (and Iran's) assistance. Further, Moscow's support for Tehran shatters any claim of its truly being a partner in fighting radical Islamic terrorism, which got its modern start in Iran's 1979 revolution. Both Iran and the Assad regime remain terror-sponsoring states, only now they are committing their violence under Russia's protective umbrella. There is no reason for the U.S. to pursue a strategy that enhances Russia's influence or that of its surrogates.
As incidents in Syria and Iraq increasingly put American forces at risk, Washington should not get lost in deconfliction negotiations or modest changes in rules of engagement. Instead, the Trump administration should recraft the U.S.-led coalition to ensure that America's interests, rather than Russia's or Iran's, predominate once ISIS is defeated.
*Ambassador John Bolton is Chairman of Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad".
**This article first appeared in the Wall Street Journal and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Europe: "Big Business" Colludes with Islamism
Yves Mamou/Gatestone Institute/July 01/17
For "Big Business," the more things that are declared "forbidden" in the name of Islam, the more products declared "permitted" must be produced for "good Muslims" to buy.
In the 1970s, Iran and Saudi Arabia, which were engaged in a competition to spread their vision of Islam worldwide, found help from multinationals such as Nestlé, which had in mind the creation of the large global halal food market.
The next stage is that if most Muslims consider a veil and halal food an Islamic obligation, they will soon ask for sharia law and Islamic courts -- as in Great Britain.
When there is a profit to be made, capitalism has no political spirit and can collude with any ideology -- from democracies to totalitarian tyrannies. This view was most recently set forth by the French anthropologist Florence Bergeaud-Blackler in her book, "Le marché halal ou l'invention d'une tradition" ("The Halal Market or the Invention of a Tradition").
Bergeaud-Blackler claims in her book that "halal" food (food that, in Islam, is religiously permitted) was "recently invented" as a label and as a potential commercial market, in a collusion between Iranian fundamentalists and multinational agrifood businesses. In an interview with the French daily newspaper, Liberation, she said:
"I speak of invention of the 'halal market' in the sense that we are not dealing with an ancient tradition imported from Muslim countries. The halal market never existed in the Muslim world until food 'big business' created it and exported it. The halal convention was born in the 70s and 80s. At this time, two ideologies triumphed on the international scene: on the one hand, Muslim fundamentalism, including the proclamation of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, and, on the other hand, neo-liberalism, with Thatcher and Reagan. This convergence, unscheduled and unexpected, would allow these two ideologies to work together to establish a halal food industrial protocol".
According to Bergeaud-Blackler, halal food, for centuries, had been reduced in Muslim countries to the prohibition of pork. All food, with the exception of pork, that had been produced both locally -- and non-locally, by "People of the Book" (Christian and Jews) -- was considered halal. But after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, halal became a fundamentalist food requirement habit, sanctified by economic interests. In the 1970s, Iran and Saudi Arabia, which were engaged in a competition to spread their vision of Islam throughout the world, found useful help by multinationals such as Nestlé, which had in mind the creation of the large global halal food market.
Bergeaud-Blackler says food businesses and Islamic fundamentalists found a common interest to convey a new idea: Muslims have specific "needs" in terms of food. Before the Iranian Revolution, Islamists, including radicals like Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, considered that Muslims could consume food produced by countries of Christian and Jewish tradition. But, aware that a "food border" might produce some effects in politics, the fundamentalists have changed their position. The food produced in secularized countries was proclaimed haram (forbidden) and a specific Muslim food market began to arise.
According to Bergeaud-Blackler, by industrializing halal food production, agrifood multinationals gave a strong hand to fundamentalists and helped to build a separation wall between Muslims and non-Muslims in European countries:
"Splitting in two the space between what is permitted and what is not, creates a certain social anxiety and leads to a behavior of avoidance. When you eat exclusively halal, you do not invite home non-halal people, for fear this person will invite you in return. These patterns of avoidance combine with speech that rejects of "impure" food. The confusion between halal and purity is disturbing."
The separation wall, however, goes far beyond common sociability. According to Gilles Kepel, professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies:
"By exacerbating the question of halal, the political actors of Islamism are leading a logic of rupture -- Muslim children are incited to abandon school canteens, and this helps them to distance the youth from the school and from the nation".
In France, for example, where public schools are the traditional tool of social and cultural integration, this is especially important.
According to Kepel, halal food is the second battle Islamists are leading in France and in Europe. Once the veil covers the heads of most Muslim women, the time has come to achieve the secession of the Muslim population with halal:
"Initially, halal is presented as a consumption pattern; halal is part of a demand for pluralism: we eat halal like vegan, organic or kosher. And retail companies are not mistaken: their supermarkets offer a wide range of halal products in the aisles, with an estimated market of 5 billion euros.... the political actors of Islamism... see halal as an opportunity for community control and they strive to radicalize and exacerbate..."
In France, in the workplace, halal has begun to be a major source of conflict. Companies are confronted by growing demands for halal food in canteens. In France, companies are not legally required to supply halal food, but many companies, if they do not comply with the demands, fear being treated as racist.
Shop sign in French and Arabic for a halal butcher's shop in Rue de Patay, Paris. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons / Mu)
By now, all Western companies specializing in food, poultry, candy, meat, fast food, and retail chains are deeply involved in halal production. Nestlé is number one worldwide, competing fiercely with other food multinationals such as Woolworths, Cole's, Aldo's, Cadbury, Kraft, Kellogg's and hundreds of others. Fast food outlets such as McDonald's, Burger King, Red Rooster, KFC and Subway have invested in halal meat, sometimes only abroad.
A report established by Thomson Reuters and DinarStandard estimated the halal food market in 2014 at $1.37 trillion. This represents 18.2% of the total food and beverage market worldwide, and an increase of 6.2% compared to 2013.
For "Big Business," the more things that are declared "forbidden" in the name of Islam, the more products declared "permitted" must be produced for "good Muslims" to buy.
For fundamentalists, the more that Muslims adhere to these outward signs of Islam -- halal food, veiled women, burkinis -- the easier it is to separate Muslims from non-Muslims.
"In Europe, the halal market is growing at an estimated annual rate of between 10-20%. It is a demand driven by a general desire for Sharia compliance among a growing Muslim population," according to Paulius Kuncinas, business analyst and managing editor Asia, at Oxford Business Group.
We can now safely say that Muslim population in Europe -- and in France -- is totally under cultural and religious control led by different Islamic organizations (Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood). In 2016, according to a study, "A French Islam is Possible", released in France by the Institut Montaigne, 70% of the Muslims polled said they "always" buy halal meat; 22% buy it "sometimes" and only 6% "never".
The next stage is that, if most Muslims consider a veil and halal food as Islamic obligations, they will soon ask for sharia and Islamic courts -- as in Great Britain.
Governments will have to decide what to do: start trying to hold back the encroachment of Islamism or to split each European country in two: one for Islamists, the other part for non-Muslims.
**Yves Mamou is a journalist and author based in France. He worked for two decades for the daily, Le Monde, before his retirement.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Who Is the Bush carrier meant to deter? Not Iran/لردع من هي حاملة الطائرات الأميركية "بوش" التي وصلت إلى إسرايل؟ ليس لردع إيران
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report/July 01/2017
The arrival of USS George H.W. Bush on Saturday, July 1, for the first visit a US aircraft carrier has paid to Israel in nearly two decades is a happy event for the Jewish state. The 5.700-strong crew of the biggest nuclear-powered vessel in the world will be given a joyous welcome when they celebrate America’s Independence Day on July 4.
But amid the comings and goings of helicopters ferrying official VIPs and high officers between the port of Haifa and the decks of the Bush, one question remains unanswered. Why was this mighty ship, with its more than 80 warplanes and cruise missiles, deployed to the eastern Mediterranean at this time? And which bad guy is it meant to deter?
Russia is certainly not in US sights, or even the air force and naval units it has posted to Syria. Washington and Moscow are not seeminlgy poised for a direct confrontation over Syria and its ruler Bashar Assad. Since no showdown occurred in the two years since the Russians stepped up their military intervention in September 2015, it won’t be staged days before President Donald Trump’s first face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 in Hamburg, Germany.
Assad can therefore rest quietly; he is out of danger for the foreseeable future. Even the new French President, Emmanuel Macron admitted on June 22: “France is no longer pushing for the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad.”
Washington and Moscow will no doubt have their ups and downs over military moves in Syria while carving up their spheres of influence, but Putin appears to have got away with his strategy for stabilizing the Assad regime and its future, while setting up a chain of Russian air and naval bases on the western Syrian Mediterranean coast.
Propped up by Russian air might, the regime in Damascus is additionally secured by Iran and Hizballah.
However, unlike the Russians, their presence in Syria directly imperils Israel’s national security.
When Trump entered the White House in January, he and his aides doubled down on two vows, which were to tear up the bad nuclear deal with Tehran, and boot Iran and Hizballah out of Syria. Those steps aimed at stripping Iran of the leading Middle East power status conferred on the Islamic Republic by Barack Obama; curtail its aggressive expansionism; and snatch away from Tehran the prize of a direct land bridge to the Mediterranean via Iraq and Syria.
Just two months ago, when President Trump visited Riyadh and performed his sword dance with Saudi King Salman, he repeated those vows to provide the platform for a new US-Arab Sunni pact. For a brief moment, Trump appeared to have come up with America’s answer to Putin’s Shiite Iranian-dominated bloc.
But this week, the Riyadh plan had clearly been set aside..
The US armed forces journal Stars and Stripes commented in its June 29 issue: “President Donald Trump decided against killing off the Iran nuclear deal in a Day One spectacular. It may face a lingering death instead.”
No Middle East watcher sees any sign of this happening; just the reverse. Even if Washington did walk out of the nuclear pact, it would make no difference, since, in recent months, the Iranians have fast forwarded the development of their nuclear and missile programs. They sent blunt notice of their stance last month when they fired seven ballistic surface missiles from western Iran into eastern Syria.
Not a peep came out of the Trump administration at the time. And no one stopped Tehran following up with rapid one-two steps designed by Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani – and carried forward by Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian forces - to seize control of large parts of the Syrian-Iraqi border and open up their coveted land bridge.
This Iranian-Syrian offensive had two consequences:
1. The Iranian and allied military moves in eastern Syria hemmed in and cut off the US special forces which had set up a garrison in the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border triangle.
2. While Moscow never declared its support for the Iranian-initiated move on the border, the Russians secretly helped it by supplying intelligence and logistical assistance.
On this too, Washington chose to hold its collective tongue.
On Thursday, June 29, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu solemnly stated in Katzrin, at an anniversary celebration of the Golan town, that he would never permit Iranian forces to reach Israel’s border.
However, as he spoke, the Syrian army and rebel forces were locked in fierce battle just 3 kilometers away from the speaker for control of the village of Al-Baath in the Quneitra district. Netanyahu never let on that Iran had set up its military headquarters for southern Syria at Al-Baath under the command of Gen. Soleimani. Neither did he mention that Soleimani’s plan was to replicate Iran’s grab for the Syrian-Iraqi border by similar attacks on Syria's borders with Jordan and Israel.
The fact is that the Iranians have already arrived and are sitting on Israel’s border. But the prime minister, like the US president, chooses to turn a blind eye to this rapidly advancing reality.

Is War Between a Rising China and a Dominant America Inevitable?
David Ignatius/The Washington Post//July 01/17
Let’s imagine a Chinese “applied history” project, similar to the one at Harvard’s Belfer Center that helped spawn Professor Graham Allison’s widely discussed book “Destined for War.”
Allison’s historical analysis led him to posit a “Thucydides Trap” and the danger (if not inevitability) of war between a rising China and a dominant America, like the ancient conflict between Athens and Sparta chronicled described by the Greek historian Thucydides. A study by the Belfer Center’s Applied History Project identified 16 similar “rising versus ruling” cases over the past 500 years, 12 of which resulted in war. What would the Chinese say about the lessons of past interactions with the West?
Chinese analysts, from President Xi Jinping on down, have nominally rejected Allison’s pessimistic analysis. “There is no Thucydides Trap,” Xi has argued, claiming that he had devised an alternative “new type of great-power relations” that would avoid war by recognizing that each Asian giant had its own legitimate interests. More recently, he has shifted to arguing that “China and the US must do everything possible to avoid [the] Thucydides Trap.”
Similar protestations have reportedly been offered privately in recent months by a string of senior Chinese officials, and China’s modest cooperation with the United States in dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat provides some hope that this is indeed a “win-win” game, as Xi and other Chinese leaders so tirelessly repeat. (Of course, if you’re a hawkish “Trap” advocate, these are just more soothing blandishments to encourage the United States to avoid reckoning with the potency of Chinese power.)
An interesting thought experiment would be to imagine a Chinese version of Allison (though one of their weaknesses is they don’t have such a prominent, independent scholar), who decides to examine the ledger from their side. What would such applied history teach the Chinese about their looming intersection with the dominant power of the United States?
I’m no expert on Chinese history or foreign policy, so I’ll simply sketch some areas of possible study for a hypothetical Sino-Thucydides analysis. In each case, my imaginary Chinese scholars would apply Allison’s rubric for applied history (developed by the late Professor Ernest May), which asked how each case was like its historical antecedent, how it was different and how that evidence might produce a net assessment.
Here’s my list of testable propositions, from a Chinese perspective.
Economic and cultural power is no substitute for military power. China was a dominant economic and intellectual force when it first encountered European power, but it lacked technologically backed military muscle. Mistake.
Weakness breeds contempt. Western powers made a show of pledging loyalty and tribute to China’s rulers and warlords, but this masked hostile intent. The Chinese were wooed and corrupted by the West’s influence. Mistake. Allison quotes Thucydides’ precept: The weak (and by extension, the corrupt) suffer what they must. Rooting out (or at least controlling) corruption is a central Chinese task.
The West preached openness as the way for China and other Asian nations to absorb advanced technology and Western know-how. But the West exploited that openness to create dependence. Even Japan, which built an astonishing manufacturing base, remained dependent on Western raw materials and energy supplies. Mistake. The result was a catastrophic war.
Networks of aid and assistance are good covers for expanding influence and military power. The Marshall Plan was a sublime scheme for spreading US influence and blunting the Soviet Union, in the name of relieving humanitarian suffering. China is devising similar outreach through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the cooperative development project known as “One Belt One Road.” The United States has done everything it can to prevent other nations from signing up to China’s initiatives. Mistake. Asian development is the handmaiden of Chinese power.
The United States argues that transparency and an international rules-based order are the best guarantee of security for all sides. But what this really means, through modern history, is that the United States makes the rules and others obey the orders. Adherence to the “rules” would have checked China’s expansion into the South China Sea (allowing perpetual US domination). And if last year’s Philippine arbitration ruling had been enforced, it would have rolled back China’s projection of power through reclaimed islands and military bases. Mistake. History teaches that China should proclaim that its intentions are limited, benign and non-military — even as its power expands and it creates the military bases that will allow it to challenge US naval power in the South China Sea.
I’ve stacked the deck here, a bit, with some of the cases that lead many analysts to assume that a rational China, seeing these lessons of history, will opt for a course that increases the likelihood of confrontation. But maybe I’m wrong; maybe there really is an alternative “new type of great-power relations” that would posit different outcomes. I await such an analysis from my imaginary Chinese counterpart to Graham Allison.

Embrace a New Saudi Arabia

Dennis Ross/The New York Times//July 01/17
Saudi Arabia has a new crown prince. Mohammed bin Salman, known as MbS, is clearly now slated to succeed his father, King Salman. At 31, the kingdom has never seen anyone like him. He has been given very wide responsibilities as defense minister and overseer of the Saudi economy and its transformation. As one Saudi minister said to me shortly before I met him, “You are about to meet our force of nature.”
There is no question that he is driven. He believes that Saudi Arabia must diversify its economy and modernize the state, its governance and even its sociology. He knows that in an age of rapid technological change, Saudi Arabia must create a knowledge-based economy.
Visit the college of entrepreneurship in King Abdullah City and it feels like being on the Google campus. But it is not just the layout, it is the coed students, who exude an energy and sense that they can reshape the country. And there is little doubt that MbS is their inspiration.
Whether they and the new crown prince can succeed remains to be seen.
Saudi Arabia is a deeply conservative country where social change in general, and particularly for women, will not come easily.
In an era of reduced oil prices, the crown prince’s task becomes more difficult still. Already some of the salary cuts he imposed to reduce the budget deficit have been rolled back given the opposition they engendered.
Still, he is pushing forward, promising to diversify the sources of revenue, working to change the culture – bringing concerts and dance troupes to the kingdom, even as he seeks to transform the Saudi educational system. His minister of education wants, for example, to do away with the old textbooks, replacing both their content and changing the rote style of instruction by introducing interactive digital tablets in place of books. The challenges are not only internal. External threats start with Iran. The crown prince sees Iran as an existential threat and is determined to counter it. Saudi Arabia drew a line in Yemen when it saw the Iranian hand in the Houthi overthrow of the Yemeni government (and was convinced the Obama administration would never act against Iranian aggression).
In addition, the kingdom, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, is now embroiled in an effort to force Qatar to change its policy of double-dealing – being a putative partner to these states and the US while it also provides material support and a platform for the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Taliban and al-Qaida affiliates. The four countries have now conveyed 13 conditions through Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator with Qatar. There are surely some, like seeking “reparations and compensation” for damages caused by Qatar’s policies, that go too far, but there are others that do not.
For example, expelling Iranian Revolutionary Guard members from Qatar, severing ties to terrorist groups, and stopping the funding of organizations and individuals that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia as well as the United States and other countries are appropriate and necessary.
Maybe it is too much to ask the Qataris to shut down Al Jazeera, but isn’t it time to stop its subsidizing the network when it gives a platform to those like Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi who legitimize terrorism?
Thus, the US should be supporting the effort to get Qatar to change its ways.
We have a stake in the successful transformation of Saudi Arabia, and finding the right way to work with the crown prince is the place to start.

Obama Choked on Russia Long Before the 2016 Election
Eli Lake/Bloomberg/July 01/17
“I feel like we sort of choked.” That is the killer quote in an extraordinary Washington Post investigation into how Barack Obama responded to intelligence last year that Russia was running a sophisticated influence operation against the 2016 elections.
It’s attributed to a former senior Obama administration official, but it captures the view of many Democrats and now many opportunistic Republicans. President Donald Trump got in on the action on Monday morning when he tweeted: “The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling.”
It’s tempting to grant Trump this point, despite Trump’s own insistence during his campaign that there was no evidence Russia meddled in the election at all. Obama was the commander-in-chief when Moscow hatched this operation. It was his duty to defend our election.
But this isn’t entirely fair. To start, by the time the CIA had gathered the intelligence in August about how President Vladimir Putin himself was trying to elect Trump over Hillary Clinton, the servers of the Democratic National Committee and other leading Democrats were already breached. Obama’s government did inform state election officials about the prospect of hacking of voter rolls and helped make them more resilient. In the end, the Russians spread fake news and distributed the messages they hacked. They had the good fortune of a Republican candidate willing to amplify the pilfered emails. But there is no evidence that Russia changed the vote tallies or took voters off the registration rolls.
What’s more, Trump himself had in the final weeks of the election suggested the vote itself would be rigged. Had Obama been more public in warning about the Russian influence operation, he would risk undermining the legitimacy of the election in the eyes of Trump’s supporters, essentially aiding Russia’s plan to undermine it before any votes were cast.
Rather than asking why Obama didn’t do more to stop Russian meddling, the better question is why President Vladimir Putin thought he could get away with this interference in the first place. In every respect, the US is more powerful than Russia. It has a much larger economy. Its military is superior. Its cyber capabilities are greater. Its diplomatic position is stronger. So why did Putin believe he could treat America like it was Estonia?
The answer is that Obama spent the first six years of his presidency turning a blind eye to Russian aggression. In his first term, Obama pursued a policy of “reset” with Moscow, even though he took office only five months after Russia had occupied two Georgian provinces in the summer of 2008. In the 2012 election, Obama mocked his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, for saying Russia posed a significant threat to US interests. Throughout his presidency, Obama’s administration failed to respond to Russian cheating on arms-control agreements. His diplomacy to reach an agreement to temporarily suspend progress on Iran’s nuclear program made the US reliant on Russian cooperation for Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement.
In the shadows, Russian spies targeted Americans abroad. As I reported in 2011 for the Washington Times, Russia’s intelligence services had stepped up this campaign of harassment during the reset. This included breaking into the homes of NGO workers and diplomats. In one case, an official with the National Democratic Institute was framed in the Russian press on false rape charges. In 2013, when the Obama administration appointed Michael McFaul to be his ambassador in Moscow, the harassment got worse. McFaul complained he was tailed by cameramen from the state-owned media every time he left the Embassy for an appointment. He asked on Twitter how the network seemed to always know his private schedule.
The Washington Post reported that these incidents continued throughout the Obama administration. In June 2016, a CIA officer in Moscow was tackled and thrown to the ground by a uniformed guard with Russia’s FSB, the successor agency of the KGB.
In 2011, the former Republican chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Christopher “Kit” Bond, told me: “It’s not the intelligence committee that fails to understand the problem. It’s the Obama administration.”
This lax approach to Russia was captured in the memoir of Obama’s former defense secretary, Robert Gates. He wrote that Obama at first was angry at his FBI director, Robert Mueller, and his CIA director, Leon Panetta, for recommending the arrest in 2010 of a network of illegal Russian sleeper agents the FBI had been tracking for years.
“The president seemed as angry at Mueller for wanting to arrest the illegals and at Panetta for wanting to exfiltrate the source from Moscow as he was at the Russians,” Gates wrote. He quoted Obama as saying: “Just as we’re getting on track with the Russians, this? This is a throwback to the Cold War. This is right out of John le Carré. We put START, Iran, the whole relationship with Russia at risk for this kind of thing?” Gates recounts that the vice president wanted to ignore the entire issue because it threatened to disrupt an upcoming visit from Russia’s president at the time, Dmitry Medvedev.
After some more convincing, Obama went along with a plan to kick the illegal spies out of the country in exchange for some Americans. But the insight into the thinking inside his Oval Office is telling.
Eventually, Obama responded to Russian aggression after its stealth invasion of Ukraine in 2014. He worked closely with European allies to impose sanctions on Russia for their violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty. But he never agreed to sell the Ukrainians defensive weapons. In the final years of his presidency, as Wired magazine has recently reported, the Russians engaged in bold cyberattacks against Ukraine’s electric grid. So far, the US has not responded openly to that either.
Even after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Obama policy toward Russian aggression was inconsistent. As Foreign Policy magazine reported in May, Obama’s State Department slow-rolled a proposal from the US Mission to the United Nations to lay out a set of options to punish Russia’s client Syria for its use of chlorine bombs against its own citizens in 2014. Russia and the US forged the agreement in 2013 to remove chemical weapons from the country. In 2015, the Obama administration did nothing to deter Russia from establishing air bases inside Syria, preferring instead to support John Kerry’s fruitless efforts to reach a cease-fire agreement with Russia in Syria. That inaction now haunts the US as Russia declared its own no-fly zone this month in Syria, after US forces shot down a Syrian jet.
All of this is the context of Putin’s decision to boldly interfere in the 2016 US elections. Perhaps Putin would have authorized the operation even if Obama had responded more robustly to Russia’s earlier dirty tricks and foreign adventures. But it’s easy to understand why Putin would believe he had a free shot. Russia probed American resolve for years. When Obama finally did respond, it was too late to save Ukraine and too late to protect our election.

Can London Survive?
Satyajit Das/Asharq Al Awsat/July 01/17
Ever since Britain voted to leave the European Union, analysts have debated the City’s fate. In 2016, the British financial services sector employed more than 1 million people (3.1 percent of all UK jobs) and contributed around 7.2 percent of the UK’s total gross value added, just over half of it from London. Any threat to the sector — and to London’s place as arguably the leading global financial center — would be a major blow.
Fortunately for the UK, Brexit itself won’t erode the significant advantages London currently enjoys. Perhaps more importantly, neither will it help European rivals build up similar advantages.
It’s easy to see why cities such as Paris and Frankfurt (or Amsterdam, often mentioned as a compromise candidate) imagine they can steal business away from London. For one thing, all overlap with Asian and US markets during the trading day.
London largely depends on transaction flow from European markets, British and European multinationals, international fund managers, insurers and global currency and derivatives trading. It also benefits from transactions completed elsewhere which flow through key exchanges or markets. LCH Clearnet Group Ltd., owned by the London Stock Exchange, clears over 50 percent of interest-rate swaps across all currencies. London clears 97 percent of dollar interest-rate swaps and 75 percent of those in euros. There’s no inherent reason that business couldn’t shift elsewhere.
But London also has some unique advantages over its competitors. English is the lingua franca of international finance. English law governs the bulk of international transactions and English courts are particularly well-regarded.
Institutions like the Bank of England command great confidence. Low taxes, reliable corporate laws and regulations that have historically been responsive to evolving industry needs all add to London’s financial power. London benefits from network effects, where similar businesses and supporting services such as lawyers, accountants and consultants are located within close proximity to one another. Good infrastructure, technology and telecommunications as well as convenient transport links are key advantages. Even more important is access to a skilled labor force with the relevant expertise. London has historically treated foreign workers generously, especially in the financial services industry, although Brexit could make hiring European bankers more difficult.
It’s difficult to see Frankfurt, Paris or Amsterdam accommodating an English-speaking, English-law financial culture. Developing the infrastructure and networks needed to sustain a global financial center will take time, regardless of French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation for foreigners to move to Paris. Neither Paris nor Frankfurt have a global trading culture, which in the cases of London and Amsterdam evolved over centuries of trading in goods and services.
An aggrieved European Union is obviously keen to use Brexit to diminish London’s much-resented financial dominance. The current debate about euro clearing is one example. Given that the UK was never part of the euro zone, there’s no reason it can’t continue to act as a clearing house. Nothing stops the relevant firms from agreeing to abide by EU laws and directives, supported by UK legislation. London-based financial firms can access European customers by complying with common-market rules under equivalent regulation provisions, or by establishing or using existing European entities.
Indeed, at a deeper level, the whole debate around London’s future as a financial center is perverse. Markets are global. Advances in technology and communications make location largely irrelevant. Most transactions are concluded electronically. People routinely work remotely and transactions are completed between firms and individuals who may never meet other than electronically.
The companies that dominate the UK financial services industry are mostly foreign and many of the transactions have little to do with Britain. Transactions are frequently not even recorded in London but booked elsewhere. Many functions are no longer performed in London but have migrated to other parts of the UK or further afield in order to save money.
The reality is that financial centers are creatures of tradition, habit and comfort. The concentration of financial firms in a small number of cities is driven by social connections and proximity of people in related fields, as well as factors important to highly paid financiers, such as reasonable personal income tax rates and an acceptance of large bonuses.
The perfect mix includes lifestyle issues which affect families, such as housing, education and health (not to mention reasonable divorce laws, given the prevalence of break-ups). Inevitably, a tolerance for masters of the universe (and those huge bonuses) is helpful.
These conditions aren’t easily replicated. London may or may not continue its historical role as a major financial center. But its competitive advantages are substantial — and won’t be easily eroded even by a hard Brexit.

A hint of ‘modesty’ is what Qatar needs
Ghassan Charbel/Al-Arabiya/01/17
In brief words of wisdom directed at an ambitious young writer, a more renowned and established journalist says “Over the years, I was enthralled with seeing my name going to print, but days showed me better.”
“Always be reminded that a newspaper dies at sunset, and that readers are rather keen on being forgetful of the pen behind the words. Do not lose yourself to dreams and illusions— once you find yourself caught up in the clamor of ego take a trip down to the closest library, there you’ll see that the world is greater than you think.”“The shelves are stocked with books and to each there is an author. Look closely, you’ll discover that they have written grander pieces than you have. And should you ever find success, you can all but hope to be a drop in an overwhelming sea.”
“Modesty is an educator and vanity is an open trap.”
“With time you will learn that the above goes for both journalism and politics—take say, the example in Charles de Gaulle, a French President who overdid self-conceit to the point where the people forced his resignation.”
“Similarly, the concept can be sampled in the experiences of other pompous leaders. Libya’s notorious Muammar Gaddafi was unmistakably envious of historical figures that had their legacy etched in time. Owing to prodigious poets like Al-Mutanabbi rulers like Emir of Aleppo Sayf al-Dawla had managed to endure time. But such phenomenal poets able to carefully and wittily document the lives of leaders in perfectly worded verses of praise emerge once every blue moon.”
Reshaping the world?
Emboldened by economic clout, wealthy leaders wrongly believe that history has tasked them with reshaping the world. They later on abandon their natural duty, which is developing their nations and leaving foreign policy to the guidance of international norms. The fallout is almost always catastrophic.
Some would go as far as saying that Colonel Gaddafi’s “The Green Book” was written for the sole purpose of joining the league of grand pieces of writing like Gamal Abdel Nasser’s “The Philosophy of The Revolution,” or even “The Red Book” by Mao Tse-tung.
A hint of modesty is needed to spare this gas-rich peninsula the price of a painful divorce with its neighbors
We can easily imagine the prosperity Libya would have enjoyed had its leader chosen to invest in a prestigious university rather than supporting the Japanese Red Army and its likes.
The absence of modesty in Gaddafi’s mindset has cost his people, neighbors and the world very dearly.
In another encounter of political pretentiousness, Qatar’s ex-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim arranged a dinner with the then Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa and Libya’s former Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril and ex-Foreign Minister Abdul Rahman Shalgam.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in 2011 in New York.
The dinner was intended to clear the air after a misunderstanding taking place when the Emir of Qatar abruptly interrupted Jibril in a Paris meeting, and in an audience including France’s then President Nicolas Sarkozy and UK former Prime Minister David Cameron.
Qatar’s Emir refuted Jibril’s proposal on disarming paramilitary factions and rebels, and reinstating national institutions and authorities to power.
Hamad’s attempt at mending bridges did not succeed. Qatar’s Emir was determined to leave Jibril without solidified authority over security and defense.
At the time, Doha was committed to giving Abdelhakim Belhaj, a Libyan politician and veteran who fought in Afghanistan, reign over Libya’s security.
Qatar’s foreign policy aggravated the situation later forcing Jibril to resign.
The question is whether the Emir of Qatar or anyone else even has the right to decide who should head the Libyan government and what powers would they enjoy. World major powers, such as the White House and the Kremlin are not entitled to do so, then how is it that others believe that they are –regardless of how affluent they are and how large of an impact their media platform could sway?
Leading by example
Small countries can indeed play big roles, but in terms of leading by example such as presenting a successful model of ruling, cultural prosperity, intellectual advance, or economic success. Taking on rogue conduct in an effort to overturn historically-empowered facts is another story that entails great risk.
Simply put, it is dangerously rash for a geographically limited peninsula to adopt a policy compatible with well-established countries whose roles involve upholding regional security and stability.
It is clear that the Syrian-Qatari-Turkish tripartite axis was set up on the premise of downsizing Saudi and Egyptian regional roles. Qatari sponsorship of the Doha Agreement between rival Lebanese factions was aimed at shackling the Saudi-sponsored Taif Accord.
Two decades ago, Qatar set itself an aggressive policy branded by direct and public interference, especially in the Arab Spring uprisings. This policy is no longer competent due to changes affecting the region and, more importantly, the recent change in Washington. Doha’s policy left it strained on multiple fronts, and in conflict with many states.
Qatar needs to thoroughly review its former policies. A drop of modesty is a key ingredient to building up realistic expectations and in drawing lessons from former experiences.
Modesty helps a state understand where limits must be drawn. A hint of modesty is needed to spare this gas-rich peninsula the price of a painful divorce with its neighbors.
Managing some modesty will benefit Qatar’s interests before those of others. Natural roles must be fulfilled and norms ought to prevail.

A permanent boycott of Qatar is the solution
Mohammed Al-Hammadi/Al-Arabiya/01/17
It appears to be difficult for Qataris to understand what's happening around them. Despite the boycott for the fourth consecutive week, Qatar continues to be in denial and is even taking a few steps backwards.
Doha seems to be relying solely on its worn-out media, its obvious populist propaganda and its misleading policies, all while wanting the world to stand with it. Qatar is hoping that countries in the region would turn back on their landmark and decisive step to boycott it, which shocked many allies who are now skeptical about Qatar’s fate.
After Qatar failed to internationalize its crisis, many are now waiting for an announcement after a 10-day deadline to respond to the requests of the boycotting countries is coming to an end.
But Qatar will not do anything, and will not know how to deal with the demands of the boycotting countries. Stranger still is that the requests are identical to the ones of the Riyadh agreement in 2014 – with the addition of several items. But the initial requests had been already approved and signed by Qatar so why would it reject the demands this time and consider them all as offensive?
Up until now, Qatar does not know if Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt are boycotting it or besieging it. It cannot identify its allies: the Gulf and Arabs or Persians and Turks? It does not even know whether Sheikh Tamim or Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa is the state’s reference for decision-making. Those who live in such a situation – a natural consequence of going back and forth for years – will find it hard to understand what is happening. Doha may have thought what is happening is a “prank” from the Gulf, or a “joke” from the people of Egypt.
The decision to boycott or to end the boycott is a decision purely taken by Arab countries that will not accept any pressure or blackmail, neither from international forces nor human rights organizations and biased media.
Qatar is roaming east and west, looking for lobbies here and there to put pressure on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain. It believes that this might work, but this actually shows that it does not understand the new reality and the new rules of the game: the decision to boycott or to end the boycott is a decision purely taken by Arab countries that will not accept any pressure or blackmail, neither from international forces nor human rights organizations and biased media.
The only solution for Qatar is to stop supporting terrorism, stirring turmoil and aggravating the situation in Arab countries. If it does not do so, Arab countries will keep on boycotting Qatar, which is their legitimate right to protect their security, stability and peoples. The four countries boycotting Qatar are applying the popular saying “close any door that might be causing you trouble.” As long as Qatar refuses to cooperate with these countries, it should go on without them and without complaining; if it does not cooperate, to each country its own way.

Qatar’s options are limited
Khalid A. J. Al Khalifa/Al-Arabiya/01/17
After years of harboring and financing terrorists, destabilizing the Gulf region and broadcasting terrorist-sympathetic propaganda, Qatar has finally been called to account by other Arab nations, which have presented 13 demands. Qatar can respond in one of two ways – by joining its neighbors in the fight against terror or by retreating further into its outlaw status, becoming a pariah state.
The option Qatar choses will determine its fate and the fate of the region.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have demanded that Qatar cut diplomatic ties with Iran, sever its links to terror organizations, stop funding terrorists, hand over the terror figures it harbors and end its contact with political opposition groups in neighboring countries.
‘North Korea of the Middle East’
These are reasonable demands. They uphold a principle that all nations should respect: the rule of law. If Qatar cannot honor this basic tenet, it will become the North Korea of the Middle East, shunned by the world and befriended only by belligerent powers such as Iran and Turkey.
The groups that Qatar backs include radical militias and terrorist organizations, including Al Nusra and the Muslim Brotherhood. These are non-state actors with horrific and bloody histories. Qatar uses organizations such as these to project influence in Syria, Libya and elsewhere, undermining international efforts for peace and stability in those places.
Qatar’s disruptive policies particularly involve Iran, a known sponsor of terror in the region. Iran supports Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hamas in Gaza. In 2011, Qatar infamously refrained from criticizing Iran’s interference in Bahrain’s domestic politics even as fellow Gulf states condemned Iran’s meddling.
The very terrorists that Qatar hosts may one day turn on Qatar if it fails to serve their fanatical ends. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have made their demands clear. They will not tolerate Qatar’s actions forever. Qatar has a choice to make and it must be made soon.
Qatar has established a close relationship with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which has alarmed officials in both the Gulf region and Washington. The Revolutionary Guard is under US sanctions and recent reports indicate that the Trump administration is considering designating it a terrorist organization.
Several official meetings took place between the Qatari armed forces and their counterparts in the Revolutionary Guard. In 2010, Revolutionary Guard general Alireza Nasseri met Qatar Navy general Mohamed Nasser Mubarak al-Mohannadi and said: “The presence of the [Guard’s] fleet of warships in Doha and the warm welcome it received indicates the depth of bilateral relations between Iran and Qatar.”
In addition to its close ties to Iran, Qatar has a long relationship with Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah. In 2010, former Qatari Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani toured Hezbollah’s Lebanese stronghold and funded several projects there. Qatar has maintained the relationship despite Hezbollah’s bloody campaigns in the Syrian war.
Qatar has a choice to make
Qatar staged a $1 billion hostage deal as a cover to fund radical militias in Iraq and Syria, including the Kta’eb Hezbollah in Iraq, which is linked to the Lebanese organization. Recently, Qatar lifted visa requirements for Lebanese citizens knowing it would open the gate for Hezbollah terrorists to threaten the US’s Al Udeid Air Base, 20 miles southwest of Doha, home to 11,000 American military personnel.
Amplifying all of Qatar’s terrorist and terrorist-sympathetic behavior is its state-owned Al Jazeera television and online network. Al Jazeera has given a platform to global terrorists, including Osama bin Laden and Al Nusra leader Al Jolani. How can a nation be truly committed to fighting global terrorism, as Qatar says it is, if it gives a megaphone to notorious terrorists? This is why shuttering Al Jazeera is on the list of demands presented to Qatar.
Qatar is on its way to becoming a hub for regional terror. In addition to transforming itself into an outcast nation, Qatar does not seem to realize that terror groups are unreliable partners. The very terrorists that Qatar hosts may one day turn on Qatar if it fails to serve their fanatical ends. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have made their demands clear. They will not tolerate Qatar’s actions forever. Qatar has a choice to make and it must be made soon.