June 04/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 14/15-20/:"‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. ‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability
Acts of the Apostles 02/01-21/:"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: "In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit;and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below,blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood,before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 03-04/17
Gaby Issa, The New Ambassador of Lebanon to the USA/François Bainy/Face Book/June 03/17
As U.S. Targets Hezbollah, Lebanon Lobbies Against More Sanctions/Reuters/June 03/17
Meet the Kurdish woman leading battle against IS in northern Syria/Massoud Hamed/Translated by: Sami-Joe Abboud/Al Monitor/June 03/17
The British Election: Will Voters Opt for Intolerance and Xenophobia/Alan M. Dershowitz/Gatestone Institute/June 03/17
UK polls and the Leftist hangover about foreign intervention/Eyad Abu Shakra/Al Arabiya/June 03/17
Climate change, ethical investments and corporate social responsibilities/Dr. Mohamed A. Ramady/Al Arabiya/June 03/17
The Riyadh Summits: From tensions to strategic partnership/Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin/Al Arabiya/June 03/17
If it wasn’t for ISIS, who would have known Turki Benali/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/June 03/17
Turkey Arrests Kurdish Activist for Armenian Genocide Posts/Uzay Bulut/The Armenian Weekly/June 03/17
Egypt's Battle Against Islamic Extremism/Shireen Qudosi/Gatestone Institute./June 03/17

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published on June 03-04/17
Gaby Issa, The New Ambassador of Lebanon to the USA
Hariri Rejects ‘Hezbollah’ Involvement in Syrian War
Berri Adjourns June 5 Electoral Law Legislative Session
Shehayyeb Says Relations 'Untroubled' with FPM
Allouch Says Electoral Law Made 'Long Journey' but Last Details Count
Hariri Lashes Out at Jumblat, Says Tripoli Has 'Leading Future Role'
Personal Dispute Leaves Druze Sheikh, Nidal Danaf, Dead
As U.S. Targets Hezbollah, Lebanon Lobbies Against More Sanctions

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 03-04/17
UK police rush to attacks across London Bridge, Borough Market and Vauxhall
Putin: US election hackers could have been from anywhere
Mogherini to Riad Seif: We Should Keep Syria Unified
Damascus Trapped in Poverty amid Rise in Number of War Profiteers
Next Round of Astana Syria Talks Set for Mid-June
Red Cross: No Syrian ‘Marshall Plan’ amid Absence of Stability
SDF Makes more Advances Towards ISIS Syria Bastion Raqqa
Kuwait Defense Minister: Saudi Security Integral Part of Kuwait’s Security
Iraqi forces take one of four districts in Mosul’s ISIS-held enclave
Iraq’s PMU enters Syrian villages in spite of Kurdish warning
Report: Blast wounds 17 people in Iran’s Shiraz
Pentagon: 484 civilians killed in US-led fight against ISIS
UN: 70,000 Cholera Cases in Yemen in One Month
Thousands rally in north Morocco after protest leader arrested
German rock festival to resume after terror scare
North Korea 'Poses a Threat to Us All', Says Mattis

Latest Lebanese Related News published on June 03-04/17
Gaby Issa, The New Ambassador of Lebanon to the USAتساؤلات في واشنطن عن السفير اللبناني الجديد
François Bainy/Face Book/June 03/17
Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil agrees after a special meeting with Hozballah Leader Hassan Nesrallah to nominate M, Gabriel (Gaby) Issa, the new Ambassador of Lebanon to the United States. Mr.Issa who is affiliated to the Free Patriotic Movement was chosen among four other names, by M,Hassan Nasrallah for his old ties with the Hozballah and the Syrian and Iran Ayatollah Regimes. Although the other candidates are members of the FPM, Mr Nasrallah insisted on indicating Mr Gaby Issa for his great services rendered to Hozballah during his stay in the United States since the beginning of the years 2000 up till now.Those who know Mr Issa confirm the important role he played in 2003 and 2004 to normalize the relations between President Michel Aoun and both President Bachar Al Assad and Hassan Nasrallah..This approach culminated in the election of General Michel Aoun, President of the Republic. The nomination of Mr Issa is not a surprise to the Lebanese officials, but some are apprehensive for his political background at a time that the Trump Administration is enforcing the sanctions against Hozballah and His allies or undercover facilitators. Another reason to worry about: Mr Issa He does not belong to the Diplomatic Corp, has never had any diplomatical Background. He is a Businessman and some of his close friends have economical ties with Hozballah, others uphold that he is an important financial recruiter for Hozballah… The forthcoming days are very important and if Mr Bassil confirms his nomination. M. Gaby Issa will have still to pass through the very delicate US Diplomatic Procedure called: “Letter of Credentials”
N.B: Enclosed picture shows Aoun & Issa

Hariri Rejects ‘Hezbollah’ Involvement in Syrian War
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 03/17/Beirut- Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said it was the duty of the Lebanese to preserve stability and the country’s principles. “We are Arabs, united with our Arab brothers in facing the Israeli enemy and any neighbor that wants to interfere in the internal affairs of the Arabs,” Hariri said on Friday during an Iftar held at the Rashid Karame International Fair in the northern city of Tripoli. “We are with the state, our project is the state and we reject any weapon other than the weapon of the state,” he said. “We are against any interference in the Syrian war and specifically against Hezbollah’s involvement in this war. Our position from the Assad regime is known, and we firmly believe that the Syrian people will triumph sooner or later. We are the people of moderation and coexistence, against any extremism, discord or marginalization,” Hariri stressed. “Tripoli is among the Arab and Islamic cities that refused to allow terrorism in its neighborhoods,” he said. “The deprived people in Tripoli, who defended the dignity of the city and its Arabism, did not create a favorable atmosphere for terrorism because their faith is real, because they were raised on the real values of Islam and because their Arab and Islamic immunity is stronger than any conspiracy, extremism or misguidance.”Describing Tripoli as the capital of “moderation,” Hariri said: “All the Lebanese, Arabs and Muslims have to pay back this debt to Tripoli, starting with a fair and just amnesty law.” Hariri said in his speech that he was not proud in Tripoli being the poorest city on the Mediterranean. Confronted with this reality, there are two options, he said. “Either continue to look back and regret or look forward and work for Tripoli.”“Today, Tripoli is a development process in itself,” he added.

Berri Adjourns June 5 Electoral Law Legislative Session
Naharnet/June 03/17/Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned until June 12 a legislative session that was previously scheduled to convene on June 5 to tackle the country's electoral law, the National News Agency reported on Saturday. Berri's move came after President Michel Aoun signed a key decree on Thursday opening an extraordinary legislative session that will begin on “June 7 until June 20” limited to the approval of an electoral law. Political parties have been rallying to propose electoral law formats to replace the current 1960 majortitarian law before the parliament's term ends on June. On Thursday, they agreed on a law based on full proportional representation and 15 electoral districts and it was agreed that the details will be finalized before the expiry of parliament's term.

Shehayyeb Says Relations 'Untroubled' with FPM
Naharnet/June 03/17/Progressive Socialist Party MP Akram Shehayyeb denied claims that relations between the PSP and the Free Patriotic Movement were troubled, and assured that the party is keen on having good ties with all political parties, the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat reported on Saturday. “Relations with the FPM are not tepid. We are keen to have good relations with all political parties for Lebanon's interest,” said Shehayyeb in an interview to the daily. The MP and former minister said that coordination with the FPM, the Lebanese and all other political parties have not stopped with regard to the Mount Lebanon region in light of the looming parliamentary elections, “strengthening national partnership and maintaining co-existence in the mountain are far more important than parliamentary seats or any political calculations," he stressed. FPM chief and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil had earlier suggested a so-called qualification sectarian electoral law format –that was dropped from deliberations later on – that PSP leader Walid Jumblat criticized saying it “marginalizes” his role and the Druze community. Political parties have recently approved a voting system to rule the upcoming parliamentary polls based on proportional representation in 15 electoral districts. However, further details will be discussed and finalized before the parliament's term ends on June 20.

Allouch Says Electoral Law Made 'Long Journey' but Last Details Count
Naharnet/June 03/17/ Al-Mustaqbal Movement official and former MP Mustafa Allouch said the electoral law has made a long journey but some “details” still need to be discussed, as he voiced concerns about failure in that regard. “The voting system law has made the 1000 miles journey and only the last 500 miles remain,” said Allouch in an interview to VDL (93.3). However the MP voiced concerns “if the remaining obstacles are not overcome.”He said the remaining complexities that still stand in the way of adopting the law are the “method of calculating votes, representation of expatriates and the gender representation,” considering the proportional law on the basis of 15 electoral districts as “complex and needs explanation.” The political parties have agreed on an electoral law based on full proportional representation and 15 electoral districts and the details will be finalized before the expiry of parliament's term

Hariri Lashes Out at Jumblat, Says Tripoli Has 'Leading Future Role'

Naharnet/June 03/17/Prime Minister Saad Hariri lashed out at Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat without naming him, as he assured that corruption accusations will not stop the “eager” efforts to provide the country, mainly Tripoli, with electricity. “Electricity will come to Tripoli. There are new political figures who are giving us lessons while their history is known for being corrupt,” said Hariri. “What I personally care about is for electricity to be supplied. This government has drawn up a plan and will implement it, and then electricity will be available within months in all of Lebanon, especially in Tripoli. I promise you,” said the PM during an Iftar held at the Rashid Karame International Fair in Tripoli. An indirect war of words surfaced lately between Hariri and Jumblat and the two men have been indirectly trading corruption accusations. Jumblat had criticized a recently approved tender to lease Turkish power generating ships which he hinted at as illegal, indirectly accusing Hariri of being involved. The crisis reportedly began first in April when Hariri supported the so-called qualification “sectarian” parliamentary electoral law, which Jumblat criticized as a format that marginalizes his role and the Druze community.
Hariri who spoke during the Iftar, also said: “For many years, the Assad regime tried to distort this history and destroy Tripoli's national and civilized image in the minds of the Lebanese and the world. However, Tripoli was bigger than the plot. You were stronger than the plot.”“Tripoli is among the Arab and Islamic cities that refused to allow terrorism in its neighborhoods. The deprived people in Tripoli did not allow any favorable soil for terrorism Tripoli remained the capital of moderation. All the Lebanese, Arabs and Muslims have to pay back this debt to Tripoli, starting with a fair and just amnesty law,” said Hariri.
“We all know the stages we experienced over the last 12 years, what was planned for Tripoli and what happened there. This period passed, but now it is our duty to repair what happened in the past.”Touching on the development projects he inaugurated last week, he added: “We decided to work and look forward. This is why I came last week, to see the Ring Road, the Free Economic Zone, the new vegetables market, the buildings being rehabilitated in Bakkar, Baal Mohsen and Al Mankubin, as well as Al Namuzajiya School and the Dar al-Muallemeen that are being constructed in Abu Samra, the Faculty of Engineering in Ras Masqa financed by the Islamic Bank and the faculty of science funded partially by the Saudi Fund for development. “The role of Tripoli in the region will be active when the reconstruction of Syria and Iraq will start and the world will start looking for the nearest port that has skills and competencies. This will be the role of Tripoli,” the PM concluded.

Personal Dispute Leaves Druze Sheikh, Nidal Danaf, Dead
Naharnet/June 03/17/A personal dispute between two religious figures in the Mount Lebanon's village of Baalchmay left one of the two men dead, media reports said on Saturday. Reports said tension escalated in the area when a conflict between two religious sheikhs erupted near the municipality building killing one of the two men, Nidal al-Danaf. The Progressive Socialist Party in the Metn area issued calls later, urging “residents of the town and dignitaries to help calm the tension and resort to wisdom. "Legal proceedings will take their way and the state's security agencies will handle the matter to bring the perpetrator to justice," they assured. VDL (93.3) later reported during the day that the criminal had turned himself in to the Lebanese army.

As U.S. Targets Hezbollah, Lebanon Lobbies Against More Sanctions
Reuters/June 02/17/BEIRUT — Moves in Washington to widen financial sanctions on the powerful Shi'ite Hezbollah political group have triggered alarm in Beirut where the government fears major damage to the banking sector that underpins Lebanon's stability. Not yet proposed as law, draft amendments to an existing law threatening sanctions against anyone who finances the heavily-armed Iranian-backed Hezbollah in a significant way prompted lobbying trips to Washington in May by worried Lebanese bankers and politicians. They returned saying that U.S. officials recognized their concerns over draft proposals that would widen the scope of the law by subjecting Hezbollah's political allies to sanctions or scrutiny, and believing any expansion of the law would be a toned down version of the draft. But with U.S. President Donald Trump keen to curb the influence of Iran and its Middle Eastern allies in the region, the risks have not gone away for Lebanon, where Hezbollah wields huge influence. "There's one question anyone who wants to put pressure on Lebanon should remember: Do you want another failed state on the eastern Mediterranean?" Yassine Jaber, a member of parliament who led a delegation to Washington in mid-May, told Reuters. "Lebanon is very, very vulnerable economically at the moment," added Jaber, an independent Shi'ite politician who is aligned with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri's Shi'ite Amal movement, which was named as a target for investigation in the draft amendments first reported by Lebanese media in April.Political and financial figures fear more regulatory pressure could damage the banking sector - the cornerstone of Lebanon's precarious economy - endangering a financial stability maintained despite the war in neighboring Syria where Hezbollah along with Iran backs President Bashar al-Assad.
Hezbollah, led by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, was formed to combat Israel's 1982-2000 occupation of Lebanon. Its battlefield prowess, extensive social works among Lebanese Shi'ites and its alliance with powerful regional states have helped it secure a dominant role in the country's politics with seats in parliament and government. It is classified by Washington as a terrorist organization.
The main worry is that U.S. correspondent banks - which face huge fines if found to be dealing with people or companies sanctioned under anti-terrorism financing legislation - might finally decide Lebanese banks are too risky to do business with. That would threaten the remittances upon which the highly dollarized Lebanese economy depends. Shortly after the Lebanese press published the draft, President Michel Aoun - a Maronite Christian and political ally of Hezbollah - said as it stands it could cause "great damage to Lebanon and its people". The draft proposal would widen legislation to include persons and entities affiliated with Hezbollah, and to report on the finances of senior members of Amal. The wording gave rise to speculation in Lebanon that Aoun's finances could be also targeted for scrutiny. Jaber told Reuters the draft - a copy of which was seen by Reuters - was now "outdated".But sources familiar with the matter told Reuters there remains a strong desire in Washington to press harder against Iran and Hezbollah, and there are likely other measures being drafted. A U.S. congressional aide told Reuters that Republican representative and head of the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce, who authored the original 2015 law, is considering additional legislation.
"If they (the banks) aren't doing business with Hezbollah, they don't have anything to worry about," the aide said. The U.S. Treasury declined to comment on the draft saying it had no formal position. Jaber said: "The position at the moment is that there might be some congressmen or senators thinking of preparing a bill, but I think our discussions will help in toning it down from what we saw as a draft."The United States says Hezbollah is financed not just by Iran but also by networks of Lebanese and international individuals and businesses. The 2015 law, known as HIFPA, aimed to cut off these funding routes.
Its implementation triggered domestic tensions in Lebanon. Worried about losing their relationship with correspondent banks, Lebanese banks began closing some customers' accounts, including Shi'ites who were not Hezbollah members. Critics of the law in Lebanon say it resulted in the unfair targeting of the Shi'ite population. Charity networks run by Shi'ite clerics were hit when some of their accounts closed for a time. The law led to an unprecedented dispute between Hezbollah and the central bank which asked all banks to comply with the legislation. Last June, a bomb was set off at the headquarters of leading Lebanese bank Blom Bank, causing no casualties. Since taking office in January, Trump has imposed new sanctions on individuals and businesses involved with Iran's ballistic missile program and with Hezbollah. Ali Hamdan, an Amal member who went on the lobbying trip to Washington, echoed Jaber, saying the leaked draft was outdated and could be forgotten. "An understanding was reached," said Hamdan, media adviser to Berri. "[We] told them: more, wider, generalized sanctions are a recipe to destroy Lebanon." The Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) dispatched its own delegation in May and met with a "good response" in Washington and from U.S. correspondent banks in New York. ABL head Joseph Torbey made the case that existing legislation was sufficient and that the new draft was open to "inappropriate interpretations".
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Yeganeh Torbati in Washington; Editing by Tom Perry and Peter Millership)

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 03-04/17
UK police rush to attacks across London Bridge, Borough Market and Vauxhall
Reuters, London Sunday, 4 June 2017
British armed police rushed to three incidents in central London on Saturday after a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge and reports of multiple stabbings in the nearby Borough Market area. Reports came to light that they are dealing with another unconnected incident in Vauxhall area. Up to seven people were feared dead, while two attackers were shot by armed police, UK media reported. British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday that the incident was being treated as a potential act of terrorism.“Following updates from police and security officials, I can confirm that the terrible incident in London is being treated as a potential act of terrorism,” May said just over four days before voting is due to begin in a June 8 national election. “This is a fast moving investigation,” May said. “I want to express my huge gratitude to the police and emergency services who are on the scene. Our thoughts are with those who are caught up in these dreadful events.”
Three suspects who may be armed after London Bridge incident are being sought after by police, the BBC reported. London’s ambulance service said it had taken at least 20 people to hospital and treated others on the scene. “We have taken at least 20 patients to six hospitals across London following the incident at London Bridge,” the London Ambulance Service's assistant director of operations, Peter Rhodes, said in a statement on Sunday. “We have also treated a number of people at the scene for less serious injuries,” he added. A witness told the BBC she saw a speeding white van veering into pedestrians. The witness said the van hit five to six people. One, Holly Jones, told the BBC a white van veered off the road and struck as many as six people. She said she saw at least four or five people on the ground.
Another witness, Will Heaven, said he saw people who appeared to have been hit, and one being put into an ambulance. “We saw injured people on the road, injured people on the pavement,” he told Sky News. Heaven said he saw armed police arriving on the scene.
London's transport authority said London Bridge rail station had been closed at the request of the police.
A person who was on London Bridge after an incident on Saturday told a Reuters reporter that she saw three people who appeared to have their throats cut. The London ambulance service said it was responding to the incident. Reuters was unable to immediately verify the statement by the witness.
CNN cites eyewitness as saying that two men entered a restaurant near London Bridge and stabbed two people inside. On May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England.
The Manchester bombing was the deadliest attack in Britain since July 2005, when four British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people in coordinated attacks on London's transport network. (With AP)

Putin: US election hackers could have been from anywhere
AFP, Washington Saturday, 3 June 2017/Russian President Vladimir Putin said hackers trying to influence last year’s US election could have been from anywhere, questioning findings by American intelligence that Russia was behind the operation, according to an interview aired Friday. “Hackers can be anywhere. They can be in Russia, in Asia... even in America, Latin America,” he told NBC News, which previewed an interview with the Russian leader that will be broadcast in full on Sunday. “They can even be hackers, by the way, in the United States, who very skillfully and professionally shifted the blame, as we say, on to Russia. “By some calculations it was convenient for them to release this information, so they released it, citing Russia. Could you imagine something like that? I can.” US intelligence agencies have accused Putin of ordering a hacking and influence campaign to tilt last year’s election in favor of Republican Donald Trump, after the billionaire pledged to boost ties with Moscow. Speaking at Russia’s annual showcase economic forum in Saint Petersburg on Friday, Putin slammed accusations that Moscow meddled in the election. “This useless and harmful chatter needs to stop,” the Kremlin strongman said. “This is a transferal, I repeat, of internal political squabbling in the United States onto the international arena,” he said.

Mogherini to Riad Seif: We Should Keep Syria Unified

Asharq Al-Awsat/June 03/17/London- President of the National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces Riad Seif met on Friday with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, at the EU headquarters in the Belgium capital, Brussels.Mogherini expressed concern over divisions inside Syria. “We believe, as you believe, that Syria should stay unified,” she said. A statement issued by the “Coalition” said that during his meeting with Mogherini, Seif asserted that the Europeans are asked to play a bigger role in Syria and in the Middle East. “We feel disadvantaged when we see comments condemning the war crimes committed by the regime against humanity in the absence of any action taken to present those behaviors on the ground,” he said. Seif also said that “Iran was invading Syria, while Russia was allowed to act on its own.” On the other hand, he said: “Our friends fail to stop the assault and show a lack of interest.”The newly-elected Coalition president said that the main presidential program aims to enhance women representation inside Syrian institutions and in political work, also demanding the EU, in collaboration with the United Nations, to help find solutions to around 10 million Syrians who have no travel papers due to the regime’s security measures. According to the “Coalition,” Mogherini said the visit was “very important for me and for my team,” adding: “We support the opposition at the political level, and its works in the political operation in Geneva.” Seif was accompanied by Prime Minister of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) Jawad About Hatab to discuss the political process and support for resilience inside Syria. A EU press release said that “both parties reiterated their commitment and support to the UN-led Geneva process, calling on all parties to fully engage in the intra-Syrian negotiations to achieve a political transition in Syria.” It was agreed that only a political solution could constitute the way out of the Syrian crisis, for the sake of all Syrian people, the statement added.

Damascus Trapped in Poverty amid Rise in Number of War Profiteers
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 03/17/Damascus- “I swear I am not a beggar,” a woman in her 60s said as tears filled her eyes. Standing next to a shop in the Salihiyah district of Damascus, she continued: “I am looking for a job. Do you need a cook for your restaurant, or a woman to wash dishes?”This woman is not the only person standing in the streets of Damascus, now packed with all kinds of beggars: elderly men, women and children. Those people display their handicaps on the sidewalks, or they lower their head above paper boxes suspended over their necks to explain in a large handwriting their dire situation due to the displacement. Also, young women are seen carrying babies in one hand and selling tissue papers on the other, in addition to displaced children jumping around the cars at the traffic lights and begging for money while trying to clean your car glass. Still, it is difficult to differentiate between people in need, the professional beggars or those looking for jobs. Poverty seems a general fact, touching the majority of Syrians and transforming middle-class citizens into poor. As for the already poor people, they are now under the line of poverty, living homeless and with no family. But, the dire scene comes with an irony: The emergence of a “newly rich” class including the regime’s “shabiha” who parade in their luxury cars and next to their good-looking girlfriends, on whom they spend large amounts of money in beauty clinics, restaurants and nightclubs. A restaurant owner in Damascus said that the majority of those “shabiha” have volunteered in the ranks of the regime’s militias and have collected their fortunes from smuggling goods and drugs. “They spend at least $500 a night when they dine,” he said, while a four-member family usually requires an average of $400 per month for a meat-free meal.

Next Round of Astana Syria Talks Set for Mid-June
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 03/17/A fresh round of Syrian peace talks is scheduled for mid-June in the Kazakh capital, Syria's envoy to Moscow said Saturday, with sponsors Russia, Iran and Turkey aiming to bolster safe zones in the country. Ambassador Riyad Haddad told Russia's state-run RIA Novosti agency that Damascus had "received an invitation to participate in talks in Astana, to take place on 12-13 of this month". Two rebel sources said they had not yet received an invitation. Moscow, a key backer of the talks, had earlier said it wanted a fresh round mid-June but has not given firm dates. Host Kazakhstan said it could not "confirm or deny" the talks were scheduled. At the last round of negotiations in May, regime backers Moscow and Tehran and rebel supporter Ankara agreed to establish four "de-escalation zones" to ease fighting in opposition areas. The zones -- where aerial bombardments were supposed to stop -- have ushered in a marked decrease in fighting on the ground, but there remain key outstanding issues to negotiate. The three powers have until Sunday to come up with proposals for definitive boundaries and are still wrangling over which countries should send in forces to police the safe zones. Moscow has spearheaded the talks in Astana since the start of the year as it tries to turn its game-changing military intervention on the ground into a negotiated settlement. The tetchy negotiations -- seen as a complement to broader UN-backed talks in Geneva -- have involved armed rebels and government officials and have focused mainly on military issues.

Red Cross: No Syrian ‘Marshall Plan’ amid Absence of Stability
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 03/17/Geneva- Syria is unlikely to see a major “Marshall Plan” for reconstruction as peace remains elusive despite hundreds of thousands more civilians possibly returning to their homes, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday. ICRC President Peter Maurer, speaking after his fifth visit to Syria, said the aid agency was stepping up work to restore the water, health and power infrastructure in areas retaken by the government, to which civilians are returning. “Some people speak now about a big Marshall Plan for Syria, but we also know this will not happen if there is no political consensus and minimal stability,” Reuters quoted Maurer as saying. “You can’t expect humanitarian and development agencies to rebuild Syria. There is not enough money, there is not enough capacity, there are not enough skills,” he told a small group of reporters in his Geneva office. Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed last month to arrange and monitor “de-escalation zones” in Syria to ease the fighting. Up to 8 million people remain displaced in Syria, and a maximum of 500,000 have returned to Aleppo and other areas, Maurer said. Another 700,000-800,000 may be considering a return to their homes in these zones or under local ceasefires that include the evacuation of rebels to Idlib province, he said. The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent can repair heavily damaged infrastructure so that people can go back to their communities and resume a more normal life, he said. “For the rest, you will need massive investment and investment only comes with a political deal on the future of Syria. While we can help people survive in a very difficult situation, I’m very concerned that we are here again moving into a long, long-term protracted conflict where we don’t really see an overall peace deal,” Maurer said. A peace agreement would galvanize the world to seek public and private investment in Syria and invite financing by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, he said. Maurer said that despite his “more promising and more constructive” talks with senior Syrian officials on opening up more prisons to ICRC visits, he could not report any breakthrough on access to detainees or prospects for a prisoner exchange anytime soon.

SDF Makes more Advances Towards ISIS Syria Bastion Raqqa
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 03/17/Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) walk along a road near Tishreen Farms on the northern outskirts of Raqqa, Syria, on May 2. (AFP/Ayham al-Mohammad) The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance, have seized new territory that lies halfway between ISIS’ former stronghold of Tabqa and its de facto capital Raqqa in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday. The Britain-based monitor said the SDF captured the town of Mansoura late Friday and the adjacent Baath Dam on the Euphrates River, around 20 kilometers west of Raqqa. “This advance will allow the SDF to expand its control on the southern banks of the Euphrates River and stabilize the western front of Raqqa before launching the final battle to expel ISIS from the city,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said. “We’re nearing the major battle,” he added. Abdel Rahman said combing operations were ongoing in Mansoura and at the dam to “dismantle mines and search for remaining jihadists”. The SDF launched an operation to capture Raqqa last November, and has since surrounded the city from the north and east while closing in from the west.
SDF spokesman Talal Sello told AFP the advances on the western front were part of the final stage of operations before the launch of the assault on Raqqa, which has been held by ISIS since 2014. He said the SDF had received “weapons and advanced equipment from the international coalition… as part of preparations for the launch of the battle for Raqqa, which is close”. Sello said the SDF would launch the attack from the north, west and east of Raqqa. “The SDF has already completed the siege from the northern and eastern sides and is working to complete the siege from the west,” he added.
The SDF is fighting with broad weapons, airpower, and ground support from the US-led coalition. SDF fighters are now just a few kilometers from the city on the north, east and western fronts, with all major routes into the city severed. ISIS militants are still able to move out of the city to the south, however, crossing the Euphrates river by boat before continuing on through the desert. The SDF is not expected to try to seal the southern route before launching its final assault. “The SDF doesn’t need to isolate Raqqa from the south, because the international coalition’s planes can target any jihadists as they cross the river,” Abdel Rahman said.

Kuwait Defense Minister: Saudi Security Integral Part of Kuwait’s Security
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 03/17/Kuwait- Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah has said that the security of Saudi Arabia and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states is an integral part of the security of the State of Kuwait. This came in a statement by the Ministry of Defense on Friday on the occasion of the deputy PM’s visit to the Kuwaiti forces taking part in the “Operation Restoration of Hope” in Saudi Arabia to congratulate them on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan. “Honorable results made by Kuwait’s armed forces are a source of pride for every Kuwaiti citizen,” the statement quoted the minister as saying. He lauded the forces’ high combat readiness, and their vigilance and readiness to achieve their missions efficiently.

Iraqi forces take one of four districts in Mosul’s ISIS-held enclave

Reuters, Baghdad Saturday, 3 June 2017/US-backed Iraqi forces on Friday captured one of the four districts making up the ISIS-held enclave in Mosul, a military statement said. The elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) units took the Sihha district, about one week after the start of operations to dislodge the militants from the enclave and finish off the offensive to capture Mosul, now in its eighth month. With the loss of Sihha, the enclave has shrunk to three districts alongside the western bank of the Tigris river -- the densely populated Old City center, Zanjili and the Medical City. Iraqi government forces retook eastern Mosul in January and began a new push on May 27 to capture the enclave where about 200,000 people are trapped in harrowing conditions. The Mosul offensive started in October with air and ground support from a US-led international coalition. It has taken much longer than expected as ISIS is fighting in the middle of civilians, slowing the advance of the assailants. At least seven civilians were killed and 23 wounded by ISIS mortar shells as they tried to flee Zanjili on Thursday, Iraqi police said. The fall of Mosul would, in effect, mark the end of the Iraqi half of the ''caliphate'' declared in 2014 over parts of Iraq and Syria by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a speech from a historic mosque in the old city. In Syria, Kurdish forces backed by US-air strikes are besieging ISIS forces in the city of Raqqa, the militants' de facto capital in that country. About 700,000 people, about a third of the pre-war population of Mosul, have already fled, seeking refuge either with friends and relatives or in camps.

Iraq’s PMU enters Syrian villages in spite of Kurdish warning
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English Saturday, 3 June 2017/Iraq’s mostly Iran-backed Shiite paramilitary forces known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have entered Syrian villages, leading to the flight of hundreds of local families, who feared possible retaliation from Syrian militias on ground, Al, the Arabic language website for Al Arabiya News Channel, reported on Friday. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has mainly Kurdish fighters, said it will never accept the presence of Iranian affiliates and they will never under any circumstances act as a bridge between PMU and the Tehran-backed Syrian regime. PMU had made it clear previously that it wanted to enter Syria. This has led to the warning by SDF to the Iraqi paramilitary forces if the latter enters areas under its control, a Kurdish leader recently told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat in an interview. Al reported that PMU moved into the villages of Al-Bawardi and Qusayba Al-Souritin in the countryside of the far northeastern Syrian Al-Hasakah governorate. In January, ISIS attacked the southern countryside of Hasakah in a bid to regain positions that were taken by the Kurdish forces in February 2016. While these villages are now free from ISIS control after the militant group’s withdrawal, PMU entering Kurdish-controlled areas might escalate conflict again. PMU advancing into Syrian territory comes after its recent stationing at the Iraqi side of Umm Ghrais village, which is seen as an extension of Iran’s strategy linking both Iraq and Syria. PMU is using homes of the approximately 200 fleeing families in Al-Hasakah villages as launchpad for their operations.

Report: Blast wounds 17 people in Iran’s Shiraz
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English Saturday, 3 June 2017/A blast at a shopping mall in the south-central Iranian city of Shiraz has wounded 17 people late Friday, the Russia-based English language Sputnik news agency reported. The blast took place at Nasr Boulevard 1 am local time. Sputnik cited unconfirmed reports when it said that a gas pipe explosion could have caused the blast.

Pentagon: 484 civilians killed in US-led fight against ISIS

AFP, Washington Saturday, 3 June 2017/Attacks on ISIS targets by US-led coalition forces have killed 484 civilians since mid-2014, the US military reported Friday. The Operation Inherent Resolve coalition added 132 civilians to the total in its April report, including 105 who died when a US aircraft dropped a bomb on an ISIS sniper target in west Mosul on March 17. The bomb inadvertently set off a large cache of explosives, collapsing a building on top of civilians sheltering below. The Inherent Resolve task force “takes all reports of civilian casualties seriously and assesses all reports as thoroughly as possible,” the US-led task force said in a monthly statement. It stressed only 0.27 percent of its 21,035 strikes since the operation began had produced “credible” civilian death reports.
The total reported Friday was still far short of what non-governmental organizations estimate for civilian deaths in the conflict in Iraq and Syria. Airwars, a journalist collective based in London that compiles data from public sources, estimated more than 3,800 non-combatants were killed since the operations began in August 2014. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that in the month from April 23 to May 23, 225 civilians were killed in Syria alone, the heaviest monthly toll since 2014. The official report Friday only covers reported incidents through the end of April.

UN: 70,000 Cholera Cases in Yemen in One Month
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 03/17/Geneva- The United Nations spoke on Friday of an unprecedented spread of cholera cases in Yemen, which have worsened the situation in the war-torn country, mainly affecting children. With about 70,000 cholera cases reported in just over one month with nearly 600 fatalities in Yemen, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that an already dire situation for children is turning into a disaster. Cholera is spreading incredibly fast in Yemen. The number of suspected cases is expected to reach 130,000 within the next two weeks, a UNICEF spokesman in Geneva said.
Countless children around Yemen are dying every day in silence from causes that can easily be prevented or treated like cholera, diarrhea or malnutrition, he said. But the international community needs to do more to provide immediate support to relief efforts in health, water and sanitation, nutrition and community mobilization. UNICEF urgently requires US$16 million to prevent the outbreak from spreading further, the spokesman added.

Thousands rally in north Morocco after protest leader arrested

Reuters, Morocco Saturday, 3 June 2017/Several thousand people protested in a provincial northern Moroccan town to demand the authorities release an activist arrested for leading months of demonstrations against official abuses and corruption. The protest took place late on Friday in the town of Al-Hoceima where tensions have run high since activist Nasser Zefzafi was detained at the start of the week and charged with threatening national security, among other offences. Political unrest is rare in the North African kingdom but protests around Al-Hoceima have been simmering since October after a fishmonger was crushed inside a garbage truck while trying to salvage his fish that had been confiscated by police. Chanting “the people demand prisoners be freed” and “we are all Zefzafi” several thousand people gathered in Al-Hoceima’s Sidi Abed square late on Friday night. Some protesters put tape on their mouths and tied their hands to symbolise arrests. “Nasser defended his rights, he defended our rights, he’s our hero. He did nothing to deserve arrest,” said Zahya Al-Hassani, a mother of four. Many carried flags representing the Rif region, which has a history of dissent and once declared brief independence under a local Berber leader in the 1920s during war with colonial Spanish forces. Authorities placed a heavy police presence around the town and the square, where protesters said they had prevented a larger crowd from forming. Hours early in nearby Imzouren, police fired water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters who clashed with security forces, tossing rocks and rubble. Fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri’s death has become a symbol for frustrations about official abuses and revived the spirit of the February 20 movement that led pro-democracy rallies in 2011 and prompted King Mohammed VI to cede some of his powers.
“We never imagined Fikri’s death would reach this point. The people are angry,” said Suleiman Ben Kadder, who said he knew the fishmonger at the port where he worked. While some anger in the Al-Hoceima protests has been directed at “Makhzen”, the royal governing establishment, the unrest in northern Morocco, as in 2011, has not been aimed at the king. Morocco has a deeply rooted monarchy, the Muslim world’s longest-serving dynasty. But the unrest around Al-Hoceima and the Rif region is testing nerves in a kingdom that presents itself as a model for stability and steady reform, as well as a safe haven for foreign investment in a region widely torn by militant violence.

German rock festival to resume after terror scare
AFP, Berlin Saturday, 3 June 2017/Germany’s biggest rock festival will resume after being disrupted by fears of a possible “terrorist threat” which have proved to be unfounded, the organizers said Saturday. Police said searches at the three-day “Rock am Ring,” held near the southwestern city of Koblenz were over. Some 90,000 people are expected to attend the event which ends on Sunday.

North Korea 'Poses a Threat to Us All', Says Mattis
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 03/17/North Korea and its nuclear weapons programme pose a "threat to us all," US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday, calling on the international community to work together on the issue. "It is therefore imperative that we do our part each of us to fulfill our obligations and work together to support our shared goal of denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula," Mattis said in a policy speech at the Shangri-La defence summit in Singapore. Pyongyang on Monday test-fired another rocket, the latest in a series of launches and atomic tests that have ratcheted up tensions over its quest to develop weapons capable of hitting the United States -- something President Donald Trump has said "won't happen". "The regime's actions are manifestly illegal under international law," Mattis said.  "There is a strong international consensus that the current situation cannot continue. China's declared policy of a denuclearised Korean Peninsula is our policy as well, and also that of Japan and the Republic of Korea."Trump -- who frequently denounced China on the campaign trail -- has turned to Beijing to help rein in North Korea's weapons programme. Mattis's challenge on his visit is to reassure allies that America can apply pressure on China over its claims in the South China Sea, while at the same time convincing Beijing that controlling North Korea is in its own security interests. "The Trump administration is encouraged by China's renewed commitment to work with the international community toward denuclearisation," Mattis said.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on
June 03-04/17
Meet the Kurdish woman leading battle against IS in northern Syria

Massoud Hamed/Translated by: Sami-Joe Abboud/Al Monitor/June 03/17
TABQA, Syria — Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, when the peaceful conflict turned into a military one, Kurdish factions have been working for change in Syria. A large number of the fighters in the Kurdish factions have been female, and they have gained considerable experience in leading battles against the Islamic State (IS).
In an interview with Al-Monitor, Kurdish commander Rojda Felat, one of the leaders in the battle to retake Raqqa, shares her experience as a female fighter against the Islamic State.
Rojda Felat, one of the top commanders of the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) who fought groups like Jabhat al-Nusra at Ras al-Ain in 2012 and IS in Kobani, is now one of the leaders of a major campaign against IS — Operation Wrath of the Euphrates in northern Raqqa. The operation is headed by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the YPJ and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with the support of the United States. The inclusion of female fighters is an intentional response to IS members' fear of being killed by women because that would prevent them from entering paradise.
In the city of Tabqa, west of Raqqa, Al-Monitor interviewed Felat about the battle in northern Syria to retake Raqqa, ongoing since November 2016. The text of the interview, edited for clarity, follows:
Al-Monitor: How did you get to this position? Why was a woman chosen to lead Operation Wrath of the Euphrates? Did you face difficulties when you took the position because you were a woman?
Felat: I have never had any problems. In the YPG, there is no difference between women and men, and both sexes can direct campaigns and lead. There are several reasons I was chosen as the leader of the operation, including my experience in previous campaigns against IS, such as the campaigns of Tal Hamis, Hasakah, Tell Abyad and Suluk, among others. The main reason I was selected is that IS members said that they fear being killed by women as that would prevent them from entering paradise. So I was appointed to show them that women can lead forces such as the SDF, and that they will avenge women who have suffered a grave injustice as a result of IS’ practices.
Al-Monitor: How do you describe the role of the SDF today in northern Raqqa? What is the secret of your success?
Felat: The forces that are actually fighting and advancing on the ground are our forces, the SDF. They are fighting and directly confronting IS. These forces include residents of the area who want to liberate their own areas. The coalition forces, such as the United States, British, French and other forces, have also played a role in advancing our forces as they supported us with heavy weapons and ammunition, and we cannot deny their role in helping our forces advance. The more we move toward the city of Raqqa, the more support we get.
Al-Monitor: Some opposition figures accuse you of seeking to bring about demographic change in the region. What is your take on this? And how do you deal with civilians on the ground?
Felat: The population in this region knows that we came neither to stay nor to impose our control. We are only here to liberate the region and protect our defenseless people from IS. In all of the areas we liberate, a local council is formed to manage the liberated cities, and the military forces never stay in the cities. Had we been treating the population poorly, we would not have seen thousands joining the ranks of the SDF only a few days after the liberation of some areas.
Al-Monitor: The distance separating you from the dam at Tabqa was very short. Did you expect IS to carry out its threat to destroy the dam, which could destroy entire cities such as Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa as well as Anbar in Iraq?
Felat: This dam is one of the largest dams in Syria, and its location is sensitive. We conducted its liberation operation [on May 10] in a very sensitive way. We did not attack the dam or the nearby areas, nor did we bomb them. IS was threatening to destroy it, and it resorted to many methods such as mines and car bombs. Had we not conducted the liberation operation with such sensitivity, IS would have destroyed it already and a humanitarian disaster would have taken place. But it is thanks to our sensitive treatment of the matter that we managed to encircle IS members and force them to move away from the dam, despite some attempts to sabotage it.
Al-Monitor: You liberated Tabqa on May 10. What did you expect from IS?
Felat: IS made it a point to intimidate civilians even after its departure. It planted mines everywhere. We had expected this — it planted so many mines in Tabqa because it had nothing else to confront our forces with. It relies on mines at some times and on car bombs at others. We will try to tread with great caution so that not many civilians will lose their lives as a result of IS’ terrorist acts.
Al-Monitor: What will happen after the liberation of Raqqa?
Felat: Raqqa is a strategic center for IS, and the organization considers the city its capital. IS has put all the civilians it arrested and abducted from other regions in Raqqa. We know that the liberation of Raqqa will be a tough task, but our forces are ready. We will encircle IS members in the city. Just like we won in Tabqa, we will win in Raqqa. We know that IS will use all its ways, like booby-trapped vehicles, snipers and other means, to defeat us. But we also know how to foil these tactics. The US support for our forces will expedite our advancement to Raqqa and its liberation. I do not think many civilians will help IS. When we liberated the [Tabqa dam] civilians ran away to us. After all the injustice they faced, from murder to slaughter from IS, not many will help the organization unless they are IS supporters who came from foreign countries or they were forced into joining the organization.
Al-Monitor: How are you taking care of civilians under these tough circumstances? Which parties are helping you?
Felat: In our battles with all factions like Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham and finally IS, we are freeing civilians first then taking them to safe zones and camps. But in Tabqa, we kept them close so that they could see the difficulties we face. We do not have enough support from humanitarian organizations to provide for the civilians who are freed. We are trying to help them ourselves. Only our organizations from Kobani and Jazira offered help to civilians.
Al-Monitor: What are the possible situations to prepare for in Raqqa? How will the Arab component in that region be treated? Will you head to Deir ez-Zor and Idlib next?
Felat: The liberation of Tabqa was key to an imminent liberation of Raqqa. We promised to fight IS wherever it is in Syria. The SDF, the YPG and the YPJ, if needed, will destroy IS. We will advance to Deir ez-Zor and Idlib and even to the Mediterranean Sea. We are ready and well prepared. The fourth stage of Operation Wrath of the Euphrates is ongoing from Tabqa, the borders of Deir ez-Zor and the north of Raqqa. Our forces need to rest after having liberated Tabqa, which was key to liberating Raqqa completely.
We are trying our best, and we hope to succeed in Raqqa soon. We are removing mines from liberated areas so that civilians can return home. We are also providing their daily needs like food, and we are establishing a Tabqa civilian council. Recently, there was a lapse in supplying citizens with their basic needs, but it was due to scarce capacities and ongoing battles. We also did not receive enough aid from international relief organizations like the UN. There has been some improvement in this regard, and we are now trying to meet all civilians’ needs.
Battles are still raging in the northern Raqqa countryside with the advancement of the international coalition forces and the SDF to the city. We expect a catastrophe in the city because IS is detaining civilians and not letting them escape the conflict zones. Many might die because the organization is turning them into human shields.

The British Election: Will Voters Opt for Intolerance and Xenophobia?
Alan M. Dershowitz/Gatestone Institute/June 03/17
On June 8, British voters will head to the polls, three years early. When Prime Minister Theresa May called last month for a snap election, the assumption was that she would win easily and increase her parliamentary majority. Recent numbers, however, show the gap closing between May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn – who was given 200:1 odds of when he ran for the party leadership in 2015 – is doing surprisingly well again. This is despite the fact that Labour has been under fire for anti-Semitism in its ranks, and Corbyn himself has been accused of anti-Jewish bigotry. Corbyn denies having a problem with Jews, claiming that he is merely anti-Israel. Even if it were possible to hate Israel without being anti-Semitic – and I am not sure that it is – Corbyn's words and deeds demonstrate that he often uses virulent anti-Zionism as a cover for his soft anti-Semitism.
For example, in a speech last year, he said that Jews are "no more responsible" for the actions of Israel than Muslims are for those of ISIS. In 2009, he announced: "It will be my pleasure and my honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I also invited friends from Hamas to come and speak as well."
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. When British voters go to the polls on June 8, will they opt to keep Prime Minister Theresa May in power, or reject rationality in favor of intolerance? (Image source: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The company that Corbyn keeps, too, suggests that at best he gives a free pass to bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism within the ranks of his own party, and at worst, he espouses them. He has shared speaking platforms and led rallies with some of the most infamous Jew-haters. He has attended meetings hosted by 9/11 conspiracy theorist Paul Eisen, author of a blog titled: "My Life as a Holocaust Denier." He has been associated with Sheikh Raed Salah – leader of the outlawed northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a blood libel perpetuator convicted for incitement to violence and racism – whom he referred to as a "very honoured citizen" whose "voice must be heard." Corbyn was also a paid contributor for Press TV, Iran's tightly controlled media apparatus, whose production is directly overseen by anti-Semitic Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
One of the biggest criticisms of the "Corbynization" of British politics has been the mainstreaming of traditional anti-Semitism. The country's chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, has called the problem within the Labour party "severe."
Consider the late Gerald Kaufman, a Labour veteran and close political associate of Corbyn's who touted conspiracy theories about Jews throughout his political career. When speaking at a pro-Palestinian event, Kaufman said: "Jewish money, Jewish donations to the Conservative Party – as in the general election in May – support from the Jewish Chronicle, all of those things, bias the Conservatives." While Corbyn condemned this remark, he refused to yield to widespread demands for disciplinary action against Kaufman. This is in keeping with what a key former adviser to Corbyn, Harry Fletcher, wrote: "I'd suggest to him [Jeremy] about how he might build bridges with the Jewish community and none of it ever happened."
Let's be clear: I do not believe that Corbyn's rise in the polls is due to his hatred of Jews and Israel, but rather in spite of it. May called for elections and then refused to debate her opponents. She is running a lacklustre campaign somewhat reminiscent of U.S. Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton's last year. For his part, Corbyn is a populist, like U.S. President Donald Trump. Although politically polar opposites, they have much in common, such as a penchant for shooting from the hip and unpredictability.
Furthermore, many British voters are unaware of Corbyn's anti-Semitic associations. Others know, but don't care. Those on the hard-Left, such as union activists and academics, include knee-jerk opponents of the nation state of the Jewish people and supporters of academic and cultural boycotts of Israel. Many of these favor trade and engagement with such egregious human-rights violators as Iran, Cuba, China, Russia, Belarus and Venezuela. Singling out Israel – the Middle East's only democracy, with one of the world's best human-rights records, rule of law and concern for enemy civilians — for boycotts itself is a form of anti-Semitism.
Corbyn himself has called for boycotts of the Jewish state. He has advocated for an arms embargo, citing Israel's supposed "breach" of the human-rights clause of the EU-Israel trade agreement. He also led the call to boycott Israel's national soccer team in the European Championship in Wales. (Ironically, Israel only plays in this league because it was expelled from the Asian Football Confederation due to the Arab League's boycott.)
Corbyn, as well, has been a vocal supporter of the so-called Palestinian "right of return," something that would lead to an Arab majority and Jewish minority within Israel, and render the two-state solution completely obsolete.
Whether anti-Semitism is the cause or effect of the Labour party's problem is not important. What is relevant is that Corbyn not only has not stemmed the tide, but has played a big part in perpetuating it.
British voters now have the opportunity to choose where they will go as a nation. Will they opt to move away from stability, rationality and tolerance toward simple mindedness and xenophobia? I sincerely hope not.
© 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.

UK polls and the Leftist hangover about foreign intervention
Eyad Abu Shakra/Al Arabiya/June 03/17
The UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s comments on the Manchester suicide bombing, suggesting that “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home,” provoked a storm of criticism. What is worth mentioning is that the terrorist atrocity committed by Libyan-born, British Salman Abedi was linked to the American air force bombardment of Syria. Interesting, indeed, that it is specifically linked to the American – as well as British, under the umbrella of ‘anti-ISIS coalition’ – attacks targeting ISIS-held territories inside Syria. This may call the attention of serious analysts to several issues, although people like Abedi – who murdered 22 innocent people and injured many others while attending a concert – are nothing but brainwashed ‘killing machines’.
One issue is surely related to the aforementioned ‘justifications’ of the atrocity. The attacks of US-led ‘coalition’ started quite late in the Syrian War. Actually, they started many years after the Assad regime’s attacks on civilians, then direct involvement of Iran’s sectarian militia backing the regime, and later Russia’s joining the war directly against the Syrian people. It is a well-known fact that the Russian air force has played a decisive part during the last three years in turning the tide of the war in Assad’s favor. It has provided it with the much-needed air cover to systematically destroy the cities and carry out ‘sectarian cleansing’ and demographic change.
On the contrary, during Barack Obama’s presidency, Washington – so keen to befriend Iran – refused to intervene militarily in Syria. Subsequently, encouraging the Damascus regime and Iranian leaders to escalate the war using all kinds of weapons, including chemical weapons!
Another issue concerns the concept of ‘intervention’. In general, this term on its own does not reflect a comprehensive political vision. It is impossible to morally justify ‘intervention’ in a stable country governed by broadly-based political, social and institutional consensus; but, it is both morally and politically right to prevent the escalation of a war whereby a dictatorial leadership kills its own people as we have been witnessing in Syria and Yemen.
It is impossible to morally justify ‘intervention’ in a stable country governed by broadly-based political, social and institutional consensus; but, it is both morally and politically right to prevent the escalation of a war whereby a dictatorial leadership kills its own people as we have been witnessing in Syria and Yemen.
Moreover, it is wrong to intervene with the intention of ‘regime change’ without having a plan for the day after, and a proper viable and legitimate alternative. When the 2003 Iraq War was met with wide Arab and international opposition, those opposing the war did not do so because they were great admirers of Saddam Hussein and his regime, but because Washington and London had no plan to fill the power vacuum and save the post-Saddam Iraq chaos.
Eventually, as we know now, Iraq was handed to Iran and its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on a platter.
Most preposterous understanding
Still, the most preposterous understanding of ‘intervention’ must be reserved to Obama’s handling of Syria. Here, both the US president and his associates kept on justifying their refusal to defend the Syrian people and deter its murderers by pathetically repeating the claim that the “intervention in Iraq made the situation worse!”It is particularly this shameful and destructive inaction that created ISIS phenomenon as a global problem.
Today, in the UK, the Labour leader Corbyn is following the footsteps of Barack Obama. Last week, Corbyn made the connection between wars UK supported or fought in other countries and terrorism on British soil. The Labour leader, however, does not seem to be interested in the details of these wars, who caused them, are benefitting from them, or the realities they seek to impose.
Reality of Iranian extremism
Corbyn, who rightly opposed the 2003 Iraq War, today ignores the fact that that war brought about an explosive regional reality that all those who opposed the war must realize. They need to understand how Iranian extremism has provoked an opposite, extremist reaction, and that Tehran’s rulers are now exploiting this reaction in order to cut deals and make international alliances that would nurture it for years and decades to come.
The third issue, linked to the above, is that the current Labour leadership has been too consistently loyal to its opposition to foreign adventures. It is ‘principled’, and like some Labour leadership before it, has been too dogmatic and simplistic in arguing international affairs, as well as being sometimes ‘childishly’ anti-Washington. Something that makes it fall an easy prey to great slogans of ‘progress’ and ‘liberation’ uttered by fake nationalists and their mouthpieces. Indeed, the Labour ‘Left’ has always been idealistic, and quite often naïve. During the thick of the Cold War, the Labour Left won control of the party’s leadership with clear-cut radical leftist political positions bearing all the fingerprints of the UND (Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament) – of which the new leader Michael Foot was an active member – as well as a radical economic agenda. The Left’s ascendancy led the leaders of centrist Labour Right to break away with their supporters and found the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1981. This party merged later with the Liberal Party to form the current Liberal Democratic Party.
In 1983, as the leftist Labour leadership announced its radical electoral manifesto, the late Labour wise man Gerald Kaufman described it as “the longest suicide note in history”. He was absolutely right; as Labour was trounced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives, gaining just above 27.5 percent of the votes and paving the way for uninterrupted Conservative rule until 1997.
In the early 80s, Corbyn and some of his associates were young firebrands and ‘spiritual’ sons and daughters of Michael Foot and his fellow Leftist luminary Tony Benn. However, while many of those matured and moderated their outlooks, including Benn’s son Hilary Benn – a former cabinet minister – Corbyn remained an unrepentant radical. Today, he practically supports Iran and Assad since he believes they are confronting America’s influence and conspiracies. This is why he promised a change in London’s foreign policy if Labour wins on June 8.
Finally, the fourth issue regards an anxious period Western societies are going through.
Many ‘givens’ and ‘constants’ have fallen; causing astounding electoral surprises. Thus, it would be ironic if the problems of the Middle East and Muslim world would shape the future of cultural co-existence and democracy in the West.

Climate change, ethical investments and corporate social responsibilities
Dr. Mohamed A. Ramady/Al Arabiya/June 03/17
Once again President Trump has taken the world by storm by announcing that the US is withdrawing from the painstakingly put together 2015 Paris climate agreement with Trump saying the accord “punished” the US and would cost millions of American jobs. In an address at the White House, he said he was prepared to negotiate a new agreement or re-enter the accord on improved terms. His decision has been greeted with widespread international condemnation and even some members of his President Business Advisory Council have resigned in protest with both Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Walt Disney boss Robert Iger doing so while global giants like Google and Facebook said they would continue to work towards a cleaner environmental future .
Long before the Paris deal was signed, many of the world’s biggest companies were addressing their impact on the environment and their role in tackling climate change, and in the hours after the announcement, major firms were quick to emphasise that whatever the US’s official position on the Paris deal, their own environmental focus would remain. Even energy firms, such as ExxonMobil, and Chevron whose businesses have depended heavily on oil and fossil fuels, have long been looking to the future, pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into researching and developing more sustainable, clean sources of energy. Other major producers including BP and ConocoPhillips already publish reports on how rising temperatures would impact their businesses.
It is not only energy companies that are committed to alleviate climate change but those whose business depends on stable weather conditions and that’s why companies like Kellogg and General Mills, which depend on the weather to grow grains to make cereals for example, are looking for ways to protect their supply chain.It is not only energy companies that are committed to alleviate climate change but those whose business depends on stable weather conditions and that’s why companies like Kellogg and General Mills, which depend on the weather to grow grains to make cereals for example, are looking for ways to protect their supply chain.
But the issue of “going green” is not only a business decision but is driven by demographics as new and future customers are the millennial generation, which will make up half of the global workforce by 2020. This younger demographic is far more passionate and vocal about social and environmental issues, particularly on social media and company reputation can be made or broken through the use of this new powerful communication medium.
At the same time, shareholders, led by religious and other special lobbying groups , are making their voices heard at company general assembly and voting for more ethical ad environmentally friendly operations and investments. This pressure sometimes works at the national level , with the Norwegian parliament now mandating its national Sovereign Wealth Fund, one of the largest in the world, to invest in socially responsible companies and this changes market perceptions, as fund managers now have to take this into account and change their portfolio mix accordingly.
This bold ethical and transparent sovereign decision , might cost the Norwegian state a loss of revenue in the short term , but is a model that other long term Gulf sovereign Wealth Funds should aspire to. Climate change is now at the front and centre in investors’ engagement. As the oil giants are a standard bearer for the oil and gas industry, analysts are now warning that even smaller companies should take note and respond accordingly.
What can businesses do to join this bandwagon , despite Trump’s rejection, of ensuring economic sustainability and ethical investment , both of which are entwined ? The reason is both pragmatic and ethical; it has been noted that firms following such ethical and sustainable investments produce superior financial returns over time, as investment in their own environmental performance achieves, through better technology, cost savings and process efficiency. This leads to outperformance over the long term, compared to their competitors, both in terms of stock market and accounting performance .
Financial risk
In some countries, banks are now assessing a company’s social and economic responsibility investments before granting loans, by offering lower rates leading to reduced cost of debt and cost of equity. Of course for some companies , especially those in the Gulf dependent on large scale government subsidies , doing nothing is an option but the consequences to reputation and financial risk from environmental disasters could be enormous as evidenced by the long list of fines imposed on companies involved, as well as wiping out significant company value on the stock markets .
Most progressive companies have now instituted ethical investment and socially responsible activities and have hired Economic Sustainability Managers to oversee this at various company level.
The aim is simple: to address the broader economic and other factors beyond mere profit and loss bottom line accounting . Sometimes making that decision is hard as well as converting climate change sceptics within one’s company, but there is no escape from the fact that global weather is changing as seen even in the countries of the Gulf, with the most recent unusual weather patterns.
While President Trump has the right to stress “America First”, it would seem that his latest action is one of “America Alone” .

The Riyadh Summits: From tensions to strategic partnership
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin/Al Arabiya/June 03/17
The visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia, and his participation in three summits with Saudi Arabia, GCC member-states, and Arab and Muslim countries was an unprecedented historic event. The three summits with representatives of over 50 Arab and Muslim countries was larger than the fourth summit of South American-Arab countries that was held in Riyadh in 2015.
This success reflected the growing importance of the role of Saudi Arabia in the international community with its ability to gather such a huge attendance due to its status, the wisdom of its leadership and the strength of its economy, which has enabled it to be a leader of the Arab and Muslim worlds. The summit also highlighted the power, weight, role and impact of Saudi foreign policy on the course of many important and thorny issues in international relations.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman said: “The Saudi-American summit will enhance relations and international peace and security. It will establish partnership in the face of extremism and spreading tolerance.”
The summit was positive and the two sides reached considerable agreement on many political issues concerning terrorism and Iran’s negative influence in the region. It resulted in the signing of agreements worth $400 billion, which will create hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides. This is the largest deal in the history of relations and a major indicator of the improvement in bilateral relations after the chill experienced with the former administration.
Agreement on many issues
As for the Gulf-American summit, it was the third in two years, preceded by Camp David 2015 and Riyadh 2016, and was special due to the fact that it was the first summit of the Trump administration.
There was significant agreement on many issues regarding peace and security in the region. Moreover, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding for the inauguration of a center to drain the sources of terrorism financing. Thus, the summit was an historic opportunity for both parties to strengthen strategic relations and to embark on fruitful dialogue on many issues of common interest. The agreement to hold the summit annually in order to review the progress made concerning what has been agreed upon indicates serious intent on both sides to move forward on common issues.
Trump shared the growing concerns of Arab and Muslim countries about Iran and the need to work on isolating it in order to put an end to its interference. The summit resulted in the inauguration of the Global Center for Combating Extremism in Riyadh, which is intended to exchange information on foreign fighters and the movement of terrorist organizations, which I believe to be a much needed step in border protection and exchange of information regarding the movement of foreign fighters to areas of conflict.
President Trump’s speech during the Arab-Muslim-American summit with representatives of 50 Arab and Muslim countries was positive and reassuring. It came after much controversy regarding his policy toward Muslims and the Muslim ban during his campaign.
Growing concerns about Iran
Trump shared the growing concerns of Arab and Muslim countries about Iran and the need to work on isolating it in order to put an end to its interference. The summit resulted in the inauguration of the Global Center for Combating Extremism in Riyadh, which is intended to exchange information on foreign fighters and the movement of terrorist organizations, which I believe to be a much needed step in border protection and exchange of information regarding the movement of foreign fighters to areas of conflict.
In addition, there was an explicit agreement between the participating countries to combat all forms of terrorism as they welcomed the provision of 34,000 soldiers as a reserve force to back up operations against terrorism in Iraq and Syria.
Finally, the three summits manifested the effective and positive role played by Riyadh in many regional issues, which cannot be omitted in any proposed resolution. During the reign of King Salman and due to the complexities of the regional and global scene, Saudi foreign policy has shifted from neutrality to initiative in order to protect its interests and to restore regional peace and security.

If it wasn’t for ISIS, who would have known Turki Benali?
Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/June 03/17
We will try to get out of the context of the two previous articles for a while, not completely, as we are still talking about the problematic individuals. However, our persona today, is a contemporary one who was killed a few days ago in a raid on the city of Raqqa, the base of the illusive caliphate of Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. We will talk about a young Bahraini man from a well-known family: Benali, which can be also spelled as Bin Ali. The man we are discussing today is Turki Benali (34 years), who was killed recently. He is from Muharraq. He pursued his elementary and complimentary education in Bahrain and then continued his studies at the religious schools of Sharjah and Beirut. He was a quick-tempered and problematic young man. Since his childhood, he was an extremist boy who was programmed to be fanatic. These rebellious groups slandering all traditions, allow the dangerous ambitious postulants to take a shortcut to reach leadership, rather than waiting in the usual social, political and scientific rehabilitation queue. It is clear that Turkey had many high aspirations that were not limited to his capabilities, and this is what led to his demise.
Here is an important issue that has been discussed previously in the history of the Kharijis at the early beginnings of Islam: these rebellious groups slandering all traditions, allow the dangerous ambitious postulants to go through a shortcut to reach leadership, rather than waiting in the usual social, political and scientific rehabilitation queue.
The deadly temptation
It seems that ISIS and before it, al-Qaeda, had these means of temptation, otherwise, without ISIS and al-Qaeda, who would have known an Iraqi mullah called Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, a Jordanian preacher called Issam Barqawi (Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi), an ordinary Saudi young man like Saleh al-Awfi, or a Bahraini teacher like Turki Benali? Turki has become an important leader for ISIS; he was a legitimate preacher in Syria and Libya; he deployed all efforts and energy to support Baghdadi. He advocated his legitimacy in his famous letter “extending hands for allegiance to Baghdadi”. And for Baghdadi’s sake, he accused Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who was the teacher of all these extremists, of non-belief. However, every extremist will find someone who is more radical than him, even if it takes him time. Imagine that there is a group within ISIS that believes that Baghdadi is tolerant and accuse him of being apostate from Islam! In February 2015, the Bahraini Ministry of Interior revoked his nationality after joining ISIS. The justification was that they did so to maintain security and stability in the country and combat terrorist threats.
Turki’s story shows a greater tragedy: the demand for the Gulf members in terrorist groups, especially from the Arabian Peninsula, the land of the Sahaba, in order to add to their symbolic tools of legitimacy, as we have seen in Afghanistan and Chechnya.
A character like Turki Benali deserves to be analyzed and studied so that we can stop the emergence of similar extremists.

Turkey Arrests Kurdish Activist for Armenian Genocide Posts
Uzay Bulut/The Armenian Weekly/June 03/17
Originally published under the title "Turkey: Kurdish Activist Arrested for Social Media Posts on Armenian Genocide."
Kurdish human rights activist Mukaddes Alataş is under arrest in Turkey for posting about the Armenian Genocide on social media.
Mukaddes Alataş, a Kurdish human rights activist from Diyarbakir, was recently arrested for "being a member of a terror organization." Her crime? She posted about the Armenian Genocide on social media and engaged in women's rights activism.
Unlike the relentless denial of the Turkish government, the Kurdish political movement in Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide and commemorates it.
On April 23, 2013, for example, an event was organized by the Diyarbakir Bar Association, then led by Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elçi, and the Diyarbakir Municipality, to commemorate the 98th anniversary of the destruction of the Armenian community in the city.
"Today, we commemorate the genocide in Diyarbakir for the first time. This is a very important day for us. We bow respectfully before the memory of our Armenian brothers who were murdered in 1915, and condemn the genocide," Elçi said in his speech.
A scene from Tahir Elci's funeral.
Two years later, on Nov. 28, 2015, Elçi was murdered in broad daylight while he was holding a press conference, in which he spoke about the destruction caused by the military attacks carried out during the curfew imposed by the Turkish government in the Sur district of Diyarbakir.
In his last public speech, he called for an end to violence between the Turkish state and the Kurdish PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party).
Though almost two years have passed, his murderers have still not been brought to account.
Mahsuni Karaman, Elçi's family's lawyer and a member of the "Tahir Elçi Murder Investigation Commission said:
Our connection with Elçi's file has been cut. We are not given the copies; we do not know at what stage it [the file] is... But there are things we know. There is not a single suspect in the file. The gun with which Elçi was shot has not been identified because the cartridge bullet has not been found. As there is no certain evidence, no progress has been made to shed light on this murder. We have made more than 100 requests from the Diyarbakir prosecutor's office, but we do not know what has been done about these requests. For the prosecutor does not give information either to the public or to us.
Similarly, lawyer Neşet Girasun, a board member of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, told The Armenian Weekly: "An effective investigation that would reveal the perpetrators as well as the forces behind them has not been launched."
Many Kurds were victims of kidnappings, torture, and murders at the hands of Turkish state forces in the 1990s. Elçi worked vigorously to shed light on what has come to be known as "murders by unknown assailants" in Turkey. Ironically, he became a victim of one himself.
The Kurdish political movement in Turkey recognizes and commemorates the Armenian Genocide.
In the meanwhile, Sedat Peker, a gang leader, who has been convicted of several crimes and is a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was given the "most benevolent businessman" award by the Turkish 2K Media Company on May 24.
Peker had threatened academics who signed a petition calling for peace between the Turkish government and the Kurds in early 2016. He said that he wanted to take a bath in "the blood of the academics." Peker has not yet been brought to account for his statements openly calling for mass slaughter. Turkey not only denies the Armenian Genocide but also violently crushes any voice that dares tell the truth about it. Meanwhile, those who incite mass murder against dissident academics and peace activists are protected, promoted, and awarded.
**Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist and political analyst, is a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Egypt's Battle Against Islamic Extremismحرب مصر ضد التطرف الإسلامي
Shireen Qudosi/Gatestone Institute./June 03/17
When it comes to regional interests in the Middle East, the priority is the most dominant and violent force.
Egypt stands out as a primary target, given the cocktail of challenges that position it as a center of radical Islam. Egypt faces political, violent, and theological militancy within its borders.
For a nation to do what it must to survive, it needs the steadfast support of world powers. Step one is annihilating all sources of violent Islam.
For a Western audience, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is a complex figure, who was shunned by the Obama administration. There appear truly pressing, immediate priorities in Egypt, such as developing the economy and combating the avalanche of extremist attempts to overthrow him. Among Middle East and North African territories, Egypt stands out as a primary target, given the cocktail of challenges that position it as a center of radical Islam.
President Sisi faces violent extremist hotbeds in the Sinai Peninsula, and the still-destabilizing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood (a political arm of violent radicals). Most notably, Sisi brought a reality check to the Arab Spring when he led the military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, ushering a spiritual and cultural Islamic reformation with widespread popular support from Egyptians on a grass-roots level.
Sisi faces more than just militant and political extremists within Egypt's borders; he is also walking a theological tightrope. Egypt is home to the regressive theocratic influence of the most revered Islamic institution in the Sunni world, Cairo's Al-Azhar University, which openly views freedom as a "ticking time-bomb."
Being held hostage intellectually by the grip of Al-Azhar University ensures that there is a constant supply when it comes to producing the next generation of militant and political Islamists.
Egypt also faces extremist infiltration from neighboring Libya, a nation caught in a power vacuum after the murder of its leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi. This vacuum has been readily filled by Islamic militants, including ISIS.
Upon returning home in April from his first visit to the U.S. since 2013, Sisi faced a series of domestic terror attacks that once again put Egypt in a global spotlight. On Palm Sunday, in April, two suicide bombings in Coptic Christian churches killed more than 45 people and injured another 120. For Egypt, one of the last regional strongholds that still has a vibrant non-Muslim minority population, violent eruptions on major Christian holidays have become routine.
In England, just days after the May 22 Manchester suicide bombing, attention was once again on Egypt where 29 Coptic Christians were gunned down on a bus traveling to a monastery near the city of Minya. The attack was launched by masked terrorists who arrived in three pick-up trucks and opened fire on the passengers, many of whom were children. Egyptian intelligence believes the Minya attack was led by ISIS jihadists based in Libya. In February, the aspiring terrorist caliphate also launched a campaign against Egypt's Christian population. The Egyptian military responded swiftly with air strikes against terrorist camps, along with a televised warning against sponsored terrorism.
President Sisi's response to the brutal slaughter of peaceful Christian worshippers is being called rare but should not be surprising, considering the aggressive measures that need to be taken to hold extremism at bay, and to eradicate the threat that local groups pose to the Egyptian people. Coming out of the Riyadh Summit, where President Trump and a host of Muslim nations, including Egypt, agreed to drive out extremism, Sisi's reaction was necessary.
In a war that is equally ideological and kinetic, Muslim nations and others trying to survive the plague of Islamic terrorism will need to be as ruthless as their extremist counterparts. That is something that the warring political factions in the U.S. quickly need to understand. When it comes to regional interests in the Middle East, the priority is combating the most dominant and violent force. If that force wins, human rights are completely off the table. Beyond Egypt, President Trump has received considerable backlash in the U.S. for siding with what are seen as repressive regimes, whether it was hosting Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the White House or engaging with dictators and monarchs during the Riyadh Summit.
In order to bring security to the region, alliances need to look at the real instigators and agents of chaos. There is a metastasizing threat that requires a new coalition of the willing. For a nation to do what it must to survive, it needs the steadfast support of world powers. Step one is annihilating all sources of violent Islam.
**Shireen Qudosi is the Director of Muslim Matters, with America Matters.
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