June 05/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 03/05-08/:"Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, "You must be born from above." The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’"

You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence
Acts of the Apostles 02/22-28/:"‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know. this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him, "I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover, my flesh will live in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 04-05/17
Iran Heads towards Iraqi-Syrian Border/Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/June 04/17
Qatar…Test for Trump’s Anti-Terror Plan/Eli Lake/Bloomberg/June 04/17
Trump’s Right: Germany’s Trade Surplus is Too Big/Justin Fox/Bloomberg/June 04/17
After Middle East, Will Islamists Uproot Christians in Europe/Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/June 04/17
Accept Islamic Terror as the New Normal/Nonie Darwish/Gatestone Institute/June 04/17
Qatar pressured to expel Hamas/Seth J. Frantzman/Jerusalem Post/June 04/17

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published on June 04-05/17
Hariri: We are Preparing Northern Lebanon for Syria Reconstruction Phase
Lebanon senior officials decry 'cowardly' London attacks
Franjieh: Those who Invented Bizarre Laws Can't Celebrate Approval of Proportional Representation
Bassil: We've Buried 1960 Law, Ended Vacuum and Crushed Extension Attempt
Reports: Nasrallah Pressed Bassil on Extraordinary Session, Proportional Law
FPM Seeking Agreement on 'Senate, Equal Power-Sharing and Administrative Decentralization'
Army Bombs Militants as Nusra Hit by IS Attack Involving Suicide Blast
Two Wounded in Attack on Palestinian Security Force in Ain el-Hilweh
Hariri: Cabinet will convene in Tripoli to approve its vital projects
Berri condemns London attack
Jumblatt denounces London attacks: We hope that Western democracy will remain deeply rooted
Hezbollah condemns London attacks, calls on British government to conduct realistic study to determine source of such ideology
Franjieh emphasizes BsharreZgharta historical ties

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 04-05/17
Pope Francis: prayers for victims of London terror attacks
Trudeau says Canadian was one of 7 killed in London terror attack
Denmark Halts Funding of Palestinian Groups after Israeli Pressure
Syrian Regime Heads South to Recapture Dara’a
Ankara Reveals Old Plan to Liberate Raqqa by Arab Forces
Egypt, Sudan Hold Talks to Defuse Tensions
Yemeni Minister Says Cholera Cases Likely to Increase
Coup Displaces 700 Families in Yemen’s Taiz in May
Mohammed bin Zayed: UAE, Saudi Arabia Face Challenges Together
Senior Turkish PM Aide Arrested for Gulen Links
Bahraini FM Denies Attempts to Contain Crisis with Qatar
King Salman Discusses Regional Issues with French President
12 Arrested after 'Evil' London Terror Attack
Iraqi Forces Retake Area near Syrian Border from IS
Saudi Arabia, Egypt foreign ministers discuss ties, counter-terrorism efforts
UK election to go ahead on June 8 despite London attack
Iran says London attacks "wake up call", urges uprooting terrorism sources

Latest Lebanese Related News published on June 04-05/17
Hariri: We are Preparing Northern Lebanon for Syria Reconstruction Phase
Asharq Al-Awsat/Asharq Al Awsat/June 04/17/Beirut – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri described the northern region of Akkar as an “example of national adherence” for standing by the state and preserving coexistence. He said during an iftar dinner in the region that the area, which lies in the northernmost part of Lebanon near the border with Syria, is being prepared for the phase of the war-torn country’s reconstruction. He acknowledged that Akkar “suffers more than others due to the economic lapse that affected the whole of Lebanon.” The premier however hailed the locals for hosting scores of Syrian refugees “who have fled the hell of Bashar Assad and his murderous regime.”“The next phase will be about reconstructing Syria after the nightmare against the heroic Syrian people is over,” declared Hariri. He said that despite the hardships, the Akkar residents remained committed to the state and its sons form the backbone of the army and security institutions. They have stood as a solid fortress against extremism and terrorism, he stressed. He pledged that Akkar will witness an economic revival through offshore oil and gas exploration and the opening of the Rene Mouawwad airport in al-Qulaiyaat that will be vital in the reconstruction of Syria.

Lebanon senior officials decry 'cowardly' London attacks
The Daily Star/ June 04, 2017/BEIRUT: Lebanese senior state officials Sunday condemned the attacks in London and called for combatting extremism. President Michel Aoun Sunday expressed solidarity with Britain, denouncing the "cowardly" attacks. "Targeting Britain repeatedly with brutal attacks indicates that it still stands in the face of dark and inhuman [ideologies] represented by terrorism, which is desperately trying to circulate them as an alternative culture to the dialogue of civilizations and religions." Assailants drove a van into pedestrians at high speed on London Bridge on Saturday night before stabbing revelers on nearby streets, killing at least seven people and wounding dozens in what police suspect was a terrorist attack. The Lebanese president sent cables of condolences to Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister Theresa May. "The Lebanese stand in solidarity with Britain in fending off all kinds of terrorism," Aoun told May. At least 48 people were injured in the attack - the third to hit Britain in less than three months - which came days ahead of a parliamentary election on Thursday. “Lebanon that has also paid the price of its belief in the dialogue of civilizations and religions and thwarting terrorism, is holding onto its values that it represents,” Aoun said, calling for collaboration with the UK and other countries "to triumph."Aoun offered his condolences to Queen Elizabeth and May, hoping a speedy recovery of the wounded. Speaker Nabih Berri also deplored the attacks.
"The organized crime and [attacks] targeting capitals and cities across the world ... proves that such terrorism organizing the bloody crimes aims at destabilizing and rattling global security and peace, as well as that of the Middle East and the Arab and Islamic regions,” Berri said in a statement released by his press office. “This terrorism has no religion,” Berri said, adding that “its project is based on killing and destruction.” “It (terrorism) calls for united international measures, joint operations room that coordinates international responsibilities.”Berri also called for "drying the [financial] sources of terror and to cut its movement across the world, as well as issuing unified international laws that govern the means of combating it.”Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati joined the condemnation wave. “One certainty: terror won't win,” said British ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter, who condoled with the families of the victims via Twitter.
London Bridge is a major transport hub and nearby Borough Market is a fashionable warren of alleyways packed with bars and restaurants which is always bustling on a Saturday night. The area remained cordoned off on Sunday, with train stations closed. Forensic investigators could be seen working on the bridge, where buses and taxis stood abandoned. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack to hit Britain and Europe. Less than two weeks ago, a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children, at a pop concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England. In March, in a similar attack to Saturday's, a man killed five people after driving into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in central London. Islamist militants have carried out attacks in Berlin, Nice, Brussels and Paris over the past two years.

Franjieh: Those who Invented Bizarre Laws Can't Celebrate Approval of Proportional Representation
Naharnet/June 04/17/Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh on Sunday slammed “those who invent bizarre laws” and yet claim victory when an agreement is reached on proportional representation, in an apparent jab at Free Patriotic Movement leader Jebran Bassil. “People have a memory. Those who disavowed proportional representation and sought to drop it through inventing bizarre laws cannot consider themselves to be heroes when it gets approved,” Franjieh said during a Marada rally. He also noted that Marada will have “candidates and friends” in all electoral districts in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Bassil had proposed several so-called hybrid laws that combine proportional representation with the winner-takes-all system, arguing that they would secure better “Christian representation.”Prime Minister Saad Hariri confirmed Thursday after talks with President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri in Baabda that the political parties have agreed on an electoral law based on full proportional representation and 15 districts and that the law's details would be finalized “before the expiry of parliament's term” on June 20. “We have agreed on the framework of the electoral law and a committee will address the details and final touches,” Hariri said.

Bassil: We've Buried 1960 Law, Ended Vacuum and Crushed Extension Attempt
Naharnet/June 04/17/Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil boasted Sunday that the FPM has “buried the 1960 electoral law, ended vacuum and crushed the attempt to extend parliament's term.” “This is a victory for the FPM,” Bassil added from the Keserwan district.
“The FPM's founder has become the country's president and he has invoked his powers. We have witnessed that the president has the ability to use these powers, telling parliament that it has an extraordinary legislative session from June 7 to June 20 that is exclusively limited to devising an electoral law,” Bassil went on to say. Turning to the law that the ruling political class has agreed on – proportional representation in 15 districts – Bassil said “it might not be the ideal law” but it allows Christians to “elect 50 out of 64 MPs instead of 31 under the 1960 law.” “This is not a minor thing but it is not sufficient, that's why we will continue and fight because we want 64 out of 64,” the FPM chief added. Separately, he said the members of the armed forces should be allowed to vote. “Servicemen are not only supposed to die on the fronts and they have the right to vote. Some say that the voting of the army and security forces would be an interference in politics, as if they don't have an opinion in their homes and their minds. What's important is that they don't practice their viewpoint on the checkpoints or on the frontier,” Bassil said. “Whether a serviceman supports the FPM or al-Mustaqbal Movement, whether he is Muslim or Christian, he is firing at Daesh (Islamic State group) and defending us against death and terrorism, and the least we can do is to grant them our votes,” Bassil added.

Reports: Nasrallah Pressed Bassil on Extraordinary Session, Proportional Law
Naharnet/June 04/17/
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah played a key role in persuading Free Patriotic Movement leader Jebran Bassil to accept an electoral law fully based on proportional representation and to seek President Michel Aoun's signature on a decree opening an extraordinary legislative session with the aim of appeasing Speaker Nabih Berri, media reports said. “Hizbullah was decisive in telling Minister Jebran Bassil that it would not accept parliamentary vacuum even for a single minute and that it was necessary to issue a decree opening an extraordinary legislative session prior to the three-party meeting” in Baabda between Aoun, Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, informed parliamentary sources told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Sunday. “Berri was informed of the outcome of the Nasrallah-Bassil meeting and he attended the presidential iftar banquet accordingly after realizing that the opening of the session was not a problem anymore,” the sources added. Other parliamentary sources meanwhile told Kuwaiti newspaper al-Seyassah that Berri was “very relieved” by Nasrallah's stance. “Berri considered Nasrallah's remarks a heavy-caliber message to the FPM that it should not go very far in its new alliances, whether with the Lebanese Forces or al-Mustaqbal Movement, especially that the new presidential tenure cannot afford to lose Hizbullah's support amid the critical circumstances that Lebanon and the region are going through,” the sources added.

FPM Seeking Agreement on 'Senate, Equal Power-Sharing and Administrative Decentralization'
Naharnet/June 04/17/The Free Patriotic Movement is seeking consensus on a host of “guarantees and annexes” after the latest agreement that was reached on an electoral law based on proportional representation and 15 districts, a media report said on Sunday. Explaining FPM chief Jebran Bassil's recent remarks about “guarantees and annexes,” a prominent member of the Change and Reform bloc told al-Mustaqbal daily that the FPM is seeking consensus on three issues -- “the creation of a Senate after passing the electoral law, enshrining equal Christian-Muslim parliamentary power-sharing in the Constitution, and passing an administrative decentralization law within a specific timeframe.”Prime Minister Saad Hariri had confirmed Thursday after talks with President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri in Baabda that the political parties had agreed on an electoral law based on full proportional representation and 15 districts and that the law's details would be finalized “before the expiry of parliament's term” on June 20. “We have agreed on the framework of the electoral law and a committee will address the details and final touches,” Hariri said.

Army Bombs Militants as Nusra Hit by IS Attack Involving Suicide Blast

Naharnet/June 04/17/The Lebanese army's artillery was on Sunday pounding the posts of the militants in the outskirts of the eastern border towns of Arsal and Ras Baalbek, state-run National News Agency reported. Security sources meanwhile told al-Jadeed television that an Islamic State group had carried out an attack on posts for the al-Nusra Front rival jihadist group in the Ajram area in Arsal's outskirts. “A member of the attacking force blew himself up outside one of the posts,” the sources said. “The army's artillery targeted an IS infantry force that was trying to infiltrate into the Ajram area, inflicting confirmed casualties,” the sources added.

Two Wounded in Attack on Palestinian Security Force in Ain el-Hilweh
Naharnet/June 04/17/Palestinian activist Asef Moussa and another activist from the al-Badawi family were wounded Sunday in an attack on the Joint Palestinian Security Force in the Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp, state-run National News Agency reported. The camp's al-Fawqani street witnessed heavy gunfire and the hurling of a hand grenade when an armed group attacked the guards of the JPSF outside the Martyr Saeed al-Youssef Hall, NNA said. The attack was followed by sniper gunfire on the al-Fawqani street and the vegetable market area. The agency added that the camp is currently witnessing a state of tension and a deployment by members of the powerful Fatah Movement in the Jabal al-Halib area.

Hariri: Cabinet will convene in Tripoli to approve its vital projects
Sun 04 Jun 2017/NNA - Prime Minister Saad Hariri Sunday promised to hold a cabinet session in Tripoli to endorse the city's much-needed projects. Speaking during a "Ramadan Suhour" held in his honor by former Minister Mohammad Safadi in Batroun, Hariri said: "Today, a new atmosphere prevails in the country that is in the interest of Lebanon as a whole, and Tripoli in particular." Addressing various attending ministers, deputies and prominent dignitaries representing the North region, Hariri said "God willing, we will meet again in Tripoli. We are aiming for the benefit of Lebanon and Tripoli, which really needs a lot of work." Hariri thanked Safadi for his kind hospitality, valuing their deep and honest friendship. In turn, Minister Safadi praised the Prime Minister's stance, treasuring their brotherly ties and lauding his determination to tackle the needs of Tripoli and its surrounding region.

Berri condemns London attack
Sun 04 Jun 2017/NNA - House Speaker Nabih Berri expressed solidarity with Britain, denouncing the attacks in Central London. "We reaffirm our strong condemnation of the terrorist acts that targeted London Bridge and Boro Market, which resulted in the death and injury of a large number of innocent civilians," Speaker Berri said in a statement on Sunday. The Speaker added that such organized crimes prove that the aim of terrorism is to destabilize and undermine the international and regional security. Berri urged the International community to eradicate terrorists' sources and to issue unified laws to combat them.

Jumblatt denounces London attacks: We hope that Western democracy will remain deeply rooted
Sun 04 Jun 2017/NNA - Democratic Gathering Chief, MP Walid Jumblatt, Sunday condemned the terrorist attacks against Britain, hoping that "the foundations of Western democracy would remain firm and strong, since it reflects the values of freedom and human rights regardless of its positions vis-à-vis various issues." "I deplore this terrorist act and extend my condolences and sympathy to the British Government, the British people and the victims' families," said Jumblatt in his issued statement.

Hezbollah condemns London attacks, calls on British government to conduct realistic study to determine source of such ideology
Sun 04 Jun 2017/ NNA - Hezbollah political party denounced, in a statement on Sunday, the terrorist attack that targeted the British capital, London, urging its government and public opinion to "conduct a realistic study to determine the source of this ideology away from major economic companies' calculations." "This new crime is one in a series of terrible atrocities perpetrated by the same groups against our cities, countries and nations, and every day hundreds of victims and martyrs fall," the statement indicated. "Such atrocities witnessed by the world are indicative of the course that fanaticism will take, in the event that influential forces and states fail to adopt decisive steps in confronting terrorism and those who finance it with the aim of dominating our region and the entire world," the party statement added. Hezbollah concluded by expressing deep sorrow at this human tragedy, offering sincere condolences to the victims' families and wishing speedy recovery for the wounded.

Franjieh emphasizes BsharreZgharta historical ties

Sun 04 Jun 2017/NNA - "Bsharre and Zgharta share a historical relation," stressed Maradah Movement Chief, Sleiman Franjieh, on Sunday. Speaking before a Maradah delegation from Bsharre, Franjieh considered that such deeply rooted ties are further strengthened through the Movement members' presence and contributions. "This was clearly evident in the outcome of the recent municipal elections," he added. Touching on the voting law, Franjieh noted that people have memory; hence, whoever denied relativity in the past and worked against it by inventing strange laws, cannot be considered a hero now, adopting it once approved! "Al-Maradah will have candidates and friends in various districts in the upcoming parliamentary elections," added Franjieh. He concluded by pointing to the need for balanced development in various underprivileged areas in the country, vowing that the Public Works Ministry will tend to this matter.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 04-05/17
Pope Francis: prayers for victims of London terror attacks
Sun 04 Jun 2017/NNA - Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of the Saturday evening terror attacks in London, as well as for the families of the victims. The prayers of the Holy Father came at the end of Mass on Pentecost Sunday, during the course of remarks to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, as they prepared to pray the Regina coeli with him. “May the Holy Spirit grant peace to the whole world,” Pope Francis prayed, “may He heal the wounds of war and of terrorism, which even this [Saturday] night, in London, struck innocent civilians: let us pray for the victims and their families.” Seven people are dead and 48 others are injured in London after a van drove into pedestrians on London Bridge, after which the occupants of the vehicle emerged and began stabbing people in Borough Market. Witness reports say the assailants cried, “This is for Allah,” as they stabbed their victims repeatedly. Armed police shot and killed the three attackers. ---Vatican Radio

Trudeau says Canadian was one of 7 killed in London terror attack
The Canadian Press/June 04/17/A Canadian was among those killed in a terror attack on London Bridge and a bustling market in the U.K. capital, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. Trudeau said in a written statement released Sunday that the government wouldn't be commenting further on the death out of respect for the family. The attack began at about 10 p.m. local time Saturday, when three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, police said. The attackers, wielding blades and knives, then ran down a set of stairs into Borough Market where they stabbed people in several different restaurants.The attack lasted about eight minutes, police said, but seven people were killed and at least 48 were hospitalized. The attackers were shot dead by police, and 12 people have been arrested in Barking in east London. Raids are going on elsewhere in the city. The Canadian government is advising citizens to be vigilant in the wake of the attack. The government and diplomats on the ground in London are advising travellers to avoid the affected areas, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media. Governor General David Johnston tweeted about the attack, calling it "evil and senseless."He said he was "heartbroken to learn that a Canadian is among those who lost their lives."Trudeau said Canada would stand with the U.K. in the fight against terrorism. "We grieve with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones, and wish all those injured a speedy and full recovery," Trudeau said. "Londoners and people across the United Kingdom have always displayed strength and resilience in the face of adversity. We recently witnessed this after the attacks in Manchester and in the Westminster area of London. This time will be no different." Opposition leader Andrew Scheer said in a written statement Sunday that Canada and the U.K. have historically stood "shoulder to shoulder" against threats. "I do not want to see my children grow up in a world where they are afraid to go to the mall, or a concert, or travel the world," Scheer said. "This is why Canada, and our allies, must be fully committed to confronting and destroying this terrorist threat."This is the third attack in Britain in as many months. Two weeks ago, a suicide bomber blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in northwest England, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more. In March, a British convert to Islam ran down people with a vehicle on Westminster Bridge, killing four before fatally stabbing a police officer on Parliament's grounds. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday that police had recently foiled five other plots. May characterized the latest attack as the work of Islamic extremists, but no group has yet claimed responsibility. —With files from The Associated Press

Denmark Halts Funding of Palestinian Groups after Israeli Pressure
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 04/17/Ramallah – Denmark announced that it will halt the funding of civil Palestinian groups in wake of Israeli accusations that some of these organizations promote “terrorism”.Danish Ambassador to Israel Jesper Vahr said on Saturday that his country will discontinue the financing of Palestinian non-government organizations and centers. Copenhagen has decided to completely sever ties with these institutions, adding that it will ask them to return funds provided to them. The decision comes days after a Danish Foreign Ministry investigation over donations that go to Palestinian centers. The ministry vowed to review the donations that the government grants to Palestinian ngos. Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen declared that he will not approve any new financing until the results of the investigation are revealed. “We must make sure that the Danish aid is positively bolstering human rights in the Palestinian territories,” he said in a statement. The development comes after major pressure exerted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “cease the funding of organizations that are active in incitement against Israel.”He had presented Samuelsen with a list of organizations that receive Danish funding. These groups also advocate the boycott of Israel.

Syrian Regime Heads South to Recapture Dara’a
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 04/17/Beirut – The Syrian regime has pushed military reinforcements to the southern front ahead of a strategic battle aimed at cementing its presence in the areas it controls in the city of Dara’a. Opposition sources in the south told Asharq Al-Awsat that its forces are getting prepared for the battle, noting that the opposition has made progress and recently targeted regime reinforcements headed to Dara’a. Sources added that the battle with the regime will not be easy despite the intense airstrikes. The regime reinforcements started hours after the visit of Maher Assad to Dara’a along with officers from the fourth armored division. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Director Rami Abdel Rahman said that the Syrian regime longs to put an end to the depletion of its forces on the contact lines in the city. He told Asharq Al-Awsat however that the reinforcements and military preparations are insufficient for a wide operation in the south. Although the huge reinforcements hint that the battle will not be limited to regaining Manshiya district, estimates show that seizing Dara’a has become a major regime concern. Southern front spokesman Issam al-Rayes told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Manshiya district has become a nightmare for the regime that wants to restore it along with other regions in the city.” He pointed out that the continuous airstrikes and bombardment that were launched two weeks ago have intensified in recent days, a sign that the battle is imminent.

Ankara Reveals Old Plan to Liberate Raqqa by Arab Forces
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 04/17/Ankara – Ankara officially revealed for the first time some details of its proposals to liberate Syria’s Raqqa city from ISIS. The plan relies on Arab forces instead of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said during a television interview on Friday that Turkey had presented the plan to the United States as an alternative to its support to Kurdish militias, which Ankara deem as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party. The proposal calls for training 10,000 to 12,000 thousand people are part of the Free Syrian Army. The Arab members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will then join them. Kalin said that this 20,000-strong force, backed by airstrikes and the international coalition, will be able to carry out the upcoming Raqqa operation. Washington’s plan to recapture Raqqa primarily relies on the SDF. According to some military experts, Washington believes that Kurdish forces are better prepared to defeat ISIS and it does not have much trust in the Free Syrian Amy due to the divisions among its factions. Kalin revealed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had during his latest meeting with US President Donald Trump and other US officials underlined the American error in arming the YPG as part of the war on ISIS. Erdogan had met with Trump in May when he visited the US. Kalin added that the American officials told the Turkish president that they will take measures that will ease Ankara’s security fears.
“We will continue to work with the US as a member in the alliance against ISIS. It is clear however that the Americans committed a mistake in this issue and they will see its results on the long or short term,” he said. He stated that Washington will soon regret arming the Kurdish forces and will eventually turn to Turkey for help.

Egypt, Sudan Hold Talks to Defuse Tensions
Sawsan Abu-Husain/Asharq Al-Awsat/June 04/17/Cairo – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi emphasized the importance of the historical ties with Sudan, stressing the need to continue on strengthening and developing them. He made his remarks during a meeting with the Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, who is currently visiting Cairo. Egyptian Presidency official spokesman, Ambassador Alaa Youssef, said the two parties discussed means of enhancing relations on all levels. They agreed on the importance of continuing work to overcome any obstacles. The Sudanese delegation also conveyed the greetings of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The Sudanese and Egyptian Foreign ministers affirmed their countries’ keenness to develop better relations in all fields and to continue coordination and consultation between the two sides on various issues. During a joint press conference with his Sudanese counterpart, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that both Cairo and Khartoum want to enhance their relations. The Egyptian FM said his meeting with Ghandour was “candid and transparent”, stressing the Sudanese-Egyptian relations will remain strong and will overcome any difficulties. He also said that talks held with his Sudanese counterpart and Sisi were successful. He revealed that the two sides agreed to continue to hold the regular meeting of the consulate committee to further enhance cooperation opportunities. Shoukry added they discussed ways to promote economic cooperation and overcome any recent restrictions to achieve the joint interest, saying he will work with Ghandour to remove any misunderstanding between the two sides. He stated that Sisi ordered the activation of cooperation mechanisms between the two countries, particularly in the security and military domains. For his part, Ghandour said the meeting covered all economic, political, social and cultural issues. He also pointed out that no two presidents in the world have met 18 times like Presidents Bashir and Sisi. This confirms both leaderships’ keenness on maintaining the relations between the two countries.
He called on the Sudanese and Egyptian media to play a positive role to preserve the historic relations between the two countries, saying official ties may occasionally become tense, but “we have to maintain ties between the two peoples”. When asked about Egypt’s announcement concerning establishing a buffer zone on the border triangle between Sudan, Egypt and Libya, Ghandour said the border between Egypt and Sudan extends over more than 1,900 km and no country can protect its border on its own. He added that he proposed to the Egyptian leadership the establishment of a joint border patrol force, pointing to Sudan’s experience with Chad and Ethiopia that managed to protect the joint borders against terrorist groups like Boko Haram of Nigeria and al-Shabaab of Somalia. On Sunday, Shoukry is set to meet with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Cairo to discuss regional and Arab affairs, as well as bilateral relations. On Monday, Shoukry will head to Algeria on a two-day visit where he is expected to participate in the ministerial meeting with the Tunisian and Algerian foreign ministers to discuss counterterrorism efforts in Libya, coordination to address obstacles to the Skhirat agreement, and the impact of the Libyan crisis on neighboring countries. On Thursday, Shoukry will receive French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Cairo. The French official is expected to meet also with Sisi. The visit is the first since the election of French President Emanuel Macron and is scheduled to focus on counterterrorism, Middle East developments, Libya and bilateral relations.

Yemeni Minister Says Cholera Cases Likely to Increase
Nayef Al-Rasheed/Asharq Al-Awsat/June 04/17/Riyadh – Abdulraqeeb Saif Fateh, Yemen’s minister of local administration, said that the number of cholera cases is likely to increase amidst the absence of environmental sanitation, especially in insurgents-held regions – including Sana’a. The Yemeni minister told Asharq Al-Awsat that the main reason behind the widespread of cholera is that insurgents are acting irresponsibly in Yemen through refusing to disburse salaries for laborers in charge of sanitation and cleaning work even though they have laid their hands on the state’s treasury of around YER500 billion (USD1.7 billion). He added that thanks to the efforts of Saudi Arabia and Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, access has been successful to some regions where there are cholera cases. A sufficient amount of medicine and first aid has been sent after the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud launched a campaign to fight the outbreak. The Yemeni minister demanded again to break the siege on Taiz International Airport and Hodeidah International Airport to permit the access of more medicine and first aid for citizens. “Although there is an airport in Taiz, the region has been under siege for two years and cholera started to spread. Hodeidah witnesses the death of one child every eight hours due to contagious diseases,” Fateh stated. The United Nations had announced an unprecedented outbreak of cholera in Yemen. UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said that in one month 70,000 cases of cholera were registered.

Coup Displaces 700 Families in Yemen’s Taiz in May
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 04/17/Taiz – The humanitarian relief coalition in Yemen’s Taiz province announced that 131 people were killed and 320 wounded, including women and children, in May in the ongoing war the Houthi militia and Saleh insurgents are waging in the area. It said that 736 families have been displaced from their homes in the area. The majority of these families have not received urgent aid because the majority of donor organizations have halted humanitarian assistance to Taiz. The coalition said that 21 children were killed and 28 wounded in May. Two women were killed and 11 injured during the same period. Eight of these cases have been amputations. Thirty-one houses and public and private properties have been damaged in May, added the coalition in a report. Water, electrical and sanitation services continue to be cut from Taiz city. It also lacks the necessary medicine and health services. In May, the coup militias committed 12 massacres in various neighborhoods of the city, killing dozens of people, including children, announced the humanitarian coalition. It called for introducing necessary aid to the displaced and those affected by the unrest. The aid can be allowed entry through the southern and western entrances of the city, it explained, seeing as they are the only secure humanitarian passages in the area. It urged all humanitarian organizations to assume their moral and humanitarian responsibilities towards the people of Taiz.

Mohammed bin Zayed: UAE, Saudi Arabia Face Challenges Together
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 04/17/Jeddah – Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Abu Dhabi crown prince and deputy commander of the UAE Armed Forces, concluded his visit to Saudi Arabia, leaving on Saturday as Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, bade him farewell at King Abdulaziz International Airport. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed discussed earlier ways to strengthen bilateral ties and other regional and international topics of mutual interest. They also congratulated each other on the occasion of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. According to WAM, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed asserted that UAE and Saudi Arabia stand together in face of challenges and risks that threaten the region because they value solidarity and believe that the Gulf Cooperation Council would be more influential if united. They also said that the regional and international challenges and risks require that the Council remain united to protect its states’ security and maintain their development and cultural achievements. The Abu Dhabi crown prince stressed that the UAE will always be a backer of GCC unity.

Senior Turkish PM Aide Arrested for Gulen Links
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 04/17/Ankara – As the trials of the suspects linked to the failed July 2016 coup, Turkish security forces arrested on Saturday Birol Erdem, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s chief adviser and a former senior justice ministry official, on charges of belonging to the movement of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. Gulen has been blamed for the coup. Birol Erdem, a former senior justice ministry official, was taken into custody in Ankara along with his wife Gulumser Erdem, Anadolu news agency said. They had previously been summoned for questioning as part of the investigation in the coup. Republican People’s Party chief Kemal Kılıcdaroglu and Nationalist Movement Party chairman Devlet Bahceli announced last week that Gulen followers have infiltrated the ruling Justice and Development Party. They said that some government officials also support the exiled cleric. Yildirim condemned these claims however, saying that there are no Gulen supporters in the government or the political field. Commenting on the trials of the coup suspects, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that they are taking place according to the law.
He said in a televised interview on Friday that the presidency is monitoring the trials that had kicked off only days ago in Ankara and Istanbul. Meanwhile, Turkey’s permanent ambassador to the European Union Fark Kaymakci reiterated accusations that the Gulen movement was linked to the failed coup. He said that the movement is the greatest danger Ankara is facing because it has been infiltrating state institutions for several years. He also criticized the stances of some European countries on the coup, saying in an interview: “We have unfortunately not heard many statements of solidarity from our western friends in wake of the coup.” “We have strived to understand this. This traitorous attempt has cast a dark shadow on Turkish-European ties,” Kaymakci stated.

Bahraini FM Denies Attempts to Contain Crisis with Qatar
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 04/17/Manama – Bahrain underlined the unity of Gulf nations, yet denied any attempts to contain the recent crisis with Qatar. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa told a group of journalists that he was not aware of any attempts to solve the issue with Qatar, but “there is keenness on Gulf unity.”When asked about the future of the relations, the minister said that Bahrain wants relations between brotherly countries to be clear. He reiterated the Gulf position against any risks that might threaten it, especially after the important summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Bahraini FM stated that the summits renewed relations between the Gulf countries and their biggest ally, the US, adding that this is the most important aspect that they will defend. He went to say that Gulf countries have a unified position and complementary relation against all threats and anything that might attempt to separate them whether internally or externally. The minister also held the Lebanese government accountable for “Hezbollah’s” interference in Bahrain. “There should be a responsible authority as the policy of disassociation over the insulting of Arabs is not acceptable,” he declared. On Saturday, a group of hackers took over the Twitter account of the Bahraini foreign minister. The ministry later confirmed the incident, blaming it on the “terrorist party,” without elaborating. The minister said he was surprised with the incident and was alerted by a number of Saudi and Bahraini youth followers and other friends from the Gulf who informed the Twitter administration. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement a few hours after the hacking incident, saying that “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Kingdom of Bahrain would like to clarify that the Twitter account of His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, was hacked today (Saturday) by a terrorist group attributing false tweets to H.E. the Minister.”The statement continued to say that the terrorist group fears hearing the truth in the minister’s tweets, which often exposes their terrorist nature, said the Bahrain News Agency. The account was recovered after an hour and half after Twitter administration shut it down and coordinated with the IT department and officials of the Bahraini Foreign ministry. The ministry confirmed that all necessary measures will be taken to hold accountable the individuals behind this act. In his first post-Twitter recovery tweet, the FM praised God and thanked all those who supported him. Minister Khalid ruled out the possibility that Iran may be linked to the hacking, saying his country is clear on its position from Iran.

King Salman Discusses Regional Issues with French President

Asharq Al-Awsat/June 04/17/Jeddah – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz discussed with President Emmanuel Macron bilateral relations and means to promote them in all fields. This came during a telephone call during which they tackled regional and international issues of common interest in order to coordinate efforts to bring about peace and security to the region, chiefly fighting terrorism. Macron hailed the Kingdom’s role, in this regard, lauding King Salman’s speech during the Arab-Islamic-US summit, recently held in Riyadh. He also underscored the significance of joint partnership to face extremism and work towards drying up the funding of terrorism.

12 Arrested after 'Evil' London Terror Attack
Naharnet/Agence France Presse/June 04/17/British Prime Minister Theresa May blamed "evil" Islamist ideology Sunday for an attack by knife-wielding men who mowed down and stabbed revelers in London, killing seven, as police said they had arrested 12 suspects. Saturday night's rampage at the popular nightlife hub around London Bridge, by three men arriving in a van and wearing fake suicide vests, was the third deadly terror attack in Britain in three months and came only days before snap elections. National campaigning for Thursday's general election was suspended for the day out of respect for the victims, who included 48 people treated in hospital, some of them in life-threatening conditions. No details have been released about the suspects, who were shot dead within minutes by police, and detectives are still investigating whether they acted alone. The 12 arrests were made in the ethnically diverse east London suburb of Barking, with Sky News reporting that a property raided by police belonged to one of the killers. May said the attack was driven by the same "evil ideology of Islamist extremism" behind last week's Manchester suicide bombing that left 22 people dead, and the Westminster attack in March, which killed five. "The recent attacks are not connected but we believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face," she said after chairing a meeting of the government's emergency Cobra committee. She warned that perpetrators are inspired to attack "by copying one another."The assailants wore fake suicide vests in a bid to increase the sense of panic as they lunged seemingly at random at the crowds gathered around London Bridge and Borough Market, which is full of restaurants and bars. Gerard Vowls, 47, said he saw a woman repeatedly stabbed, and threw chairs, glasses and bottles at the attackers in a bid to stop them. "They kept coming to try to stab me... they were stabbing everyone. Evil, evil people," he told The Guardian newspaper. Holly Jones, a BBC reporter, saw a white van speeding into crowds of people walking along the pavement on London Bridge, saying it hit about five or six people. Another witness called Eric told the BBC he had seen three men get out and thought they were going to help. Instead they "started kicking them, punching them and took out knives. It was a rampage really," he said, adding that he heard a shout of: "This is for Allah."An Australian and four French nationals were among those hospitalized, their governments said, while a Spaniard was slightly wounded.
Praying for London
Britain was already on high alert following the attack on a concert by U.S. pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester, northwest England, in which seven children were among the dead.Grande, who will headline a benefit concert in Manchester later Sunday alongside stars including Pharrell Williams and Justin Bieber, tweeted that she was "Praying for London."The national threat level was raised to maximum after the Manchester attack and troops were deployed at key public sites, but reduced to its second highest level last weekend. May, who served as interior minister for six years before taking office after the Brexit vote last summer, said Britain's response to the terror threat must change. "We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are," she said. She repeated calls for international action to combat extremist content online, a message she took to the G7 leaders summit last week. May also warned there was "far too much tolerance of extremism in our country", promising to review counter-terrorism efforts, including possibly increasing the jail terms handed out in terror cases. The ruling Conservatives and the main opposition Labor party suspended national campaign events for the day, although local campaigning will continue. "But violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process, so those campaigns will resume in full tomorrow and the general election will go ahead as planned on Thursday," the prime minister said. Saturday's rampage is the latest in a string of attacks to hit Europe, including in Paris, Berlin and Saint Petersburg, and the French, German and Russian leaders sent messages of support. U.S. President Donald Trump offered his help, tweeting "WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!" -- and highlighting his thwarted ban on travelers from six mainly Muslim countries.
Echoes of Westminster attack
Several people said they were ordered by police to stay inside pubs and restaurants as the terror raged outside. Alex Shellum at the Mudlark pub said a woman had come into the bar "bleeding heavily from the neck", telling the BBC: "It appeared that her throat had been cut." Italian photographer Gabriele Sciotto, who was watching the football at the Wheatsheaf pub in Borough Market, said he saw three men shot just outside the pub.In a picture he took, a man wearing combat trousers, with a shaved head and what looked like a belt with canisters attached to it could be seen on the ground with two more bodies behind him. "In two or five seconds, they shot all the three men down," Sciotto told the BBC. The attack had harrowing echoes of the attack on Westminster Bridge in March, when British Muslim convert Khalid Masood rammed his car into pedestrians before crashing into the barriers surrounding parliament. He stabbed a police officer to death before being shot dead by a ministerial bodyguard.

Iraqi Forces Retake Area near Syrian Border from IS
Naharnet/Agence France Presse/June 04/17/Iraqi forces retook an area near the Syrian border from the Islamic State group on Sunday as part of operations to expel the jihadists from strongholds in the country's north. The Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) forces announced the "total liberation" of al-Baaj district "with support from the air force". "The Iraqi flag has been hoisted above its buildings," said a statement from the Hashed, an umbrella organization for pro-government paramilitaries that is dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias. The Hashed on May 12 launched an operation to retake the Qayrawan and al-Baaj areas west of Mosul, the country's second city that is the target of a massive anti-IS operation. The forces on May 23 announced they had retaken Qayrawan. Both areas are in Nineveh, the province of which Mosul is the capital, and lie between territory under IS control in Iraq and Syria. The jihadists took over large swathes of territory of Iraq and Syria in 2014, but have since faced offensives on several fronts in both countries. Iraqi forces backed by the U.S.-led coalition have since October been battling to oust IS from Mosul. They are advancing on the last areas of the city still held by IS, but the presence of large numbers of civilians is slowing their progress.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt foreign ministers discuss ties, counter-terrorism efforts
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSunday, 4 June 2017 /Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met on Sunday with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir and discussed the latest efforts in countering terrorism and extremism in the region.They discussed means of bolstering bilateral relations in all fields and efforts exerted to combat terrorism. The two ministers also tackled regional issues, including the situation in Libya, Syria and Yemen. Al-Jubeir said the recently concluded Arab-American Islamic Summit in Riyadh was a historic one, and that it produced several important decisions in the face of terrorism and cooperation in preventing its support. "We are looking forward to developing cooperation with Egypt, especially in the field of countering extremism and terrorism and protecting Arab national security," Jubeir told reporters at a press conference in Cairo with his counterpart Shoukry. For his part, Shoukry said that Arab national security must be protected from any outside interference.

UK election to go ahead on June 8 despite London attack
Sun 04 Jun 2017/NNA - Britain's national parliamentary election will go ahead on Thursday, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday after an attack in London left seven people dead and 48 injured. Several political parties including May's Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party suspended campaigning on Sunday, but May said it would resume on Monday. "As a mark of respect the two political parties have suspended our national campaigns for today, but violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process, so those campaigns will resume in full tomorrow and the general election will go ahead as planned on Thursday," she said in a televised statement in front of her Downing Street office. ---Reuters

Iran says London attacks "wake up call", urges uprooting terrorism sources
Sun 04 Jun 2017/NNA - Iran said on Sunday the London attacks were a "wake-up call" and urged Western states to go after ideological and financial sources of terrorism, state media reported, in a thinly veiled reference to Saudi Arabia. Three attackers drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing revellers nearby on Saturday night, killing at least seven people in what Britain said was the work of Islamist militants engaged in a "new trend" of terrorism. "Repeated blind terror attacks around the world are a wake-up call for the world community," the official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying. "To uproot terror, it is necessary that they (Western states) address the root causes as well as the main financial and ideological sources of extremism and violence, which are clear to everyone," Qasemi was quoted as saying by Press TV. Iran denies Western charges of sponsoring terrorism, and accuses Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam and funding from its arch-rival of being behind Sunni militant groups who have been behind a recent spate of deadly attacks in Europe.
Saudi Arabia, the bastion of Sunni Islam and a close U.S. ally, denies backing terrorism and has cracked down on jihadists at home, jailing thousands, stopping hundreds from travelling to fight abroad and cutting militant finances. Shi'ite Muslim power Iran and Saudi Arabia are longstanding religious and political arch-rivals and often accuse each other of backing terrorism. Relations are fraught as they support each other's foes in regional wars such as in Yemen, Iraq and Syria. ---Reuters

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on
June 04-05/17
Iran Heads towards Iraqi-Syrian Border

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/June 04/17
The Iranian government has a clear goal of creating a reality that is suitable for it when it comes to determining the fate of Syria and later expanding its role in Iraq. To this end, Iran is leading the Iraqi militias, others that it has established and groups that it has influence over to Syria to wage major battles to control the crossings and land passage to Damascus and other vital areas. This means the struggle will last for years, which will push regional powers to back the opposing groups that will in turn reproduce a new ISIS and lead to the failure of war on terrorism. As part of its project, Tehran’s regime is using several excuses to justify its plan, mostly that it is fighting terrorist organizations and guarding the Iraqi border. In reality it is drawing up the areas of its control in borders with Syria and it is attempting to impose its presence on the majority of the 300 kilometers, and then cross over with Iraqi militias to Syria. Initially, Iran’s al-Quds Force had entered Syria to save Assad’s regime from collapse under the pretense of protecting Shi’ite shrines. It is now building its military presence under the claim of fighting ISIS, but in reality, it has a long-term project to control Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Iran’s military presence on the ground will expand during times of tensions and increased sectarian extremism in Syria and Iraq. Surely, this will sabotage the coalition project to eliminate the terrorist organization ISIS because the sectarian practices of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) will prompt Sunni areas to establish organizations to counter it. This will raise a number of questions about the seriousness of the international campaign to combat ISIS. It will also open new fronts with Kurdish fighters when the PMF passed through their areas. This will also put the passage of armed Iraqi organizations to Syria under legal questioning, just like the situation with Turkish forces in Iraq. Tehran is trying to impose a status quo on the international powers, including its ally Russia after it began sensing a partial shift in its stance. Russia reportedly said that it currently has to deal with Iran and its foreign militias because they are present on the ground. Iran is trying to enforce this by transporting thousands of Iraqi and other fighters to northern Iraq to cross over into Syria. Iran will tear Iraq apart and further fragment Syria. It will raise the terrorist risks that take advantage of the chaos and conflicts on several axes. It is not reasonable that concerned parties are looking for a political solution in Astana or Geneva while Iranian military leaders are left to sabotage the situation and ruin international efforts. This requires exerting more pressure on Iran and making it see the need to remove all foreign fighters

Qatar…Test for Trump’s Anti-Terror Plan
Eli Lake/Bloomberg/June 04/17
Will this duplicitous nation cut off terrorist financing, or coordinate with the Pentagon, or both?
For a brief moment it looked like President Donald Trump had done it. He got the leaders of six Gulf nations to sign a communique pledging to eradicate the financing of extremists. The timing happened to coincide with the completion of a new center in Saudi Arabia to combat extremism. It was a powerful signal that America’s traditional allies were united against Iran and extremists. That lasted a couple of days. By Tuesday however tension started with a quotation attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, which Qatar’s official news agency quoted him telling a graduating class of national service recruits that it was important to calm tensions with Iran, that Hamas and Hezbollah were legitimate resistance movements, and that his country has every right to host Muslim Brotherhood leaders. That last organization is banned in most Gulf countries as well as Egypt.
The speech prompted outrage from Qatar’s Arab neighbors. Al-Jazeera, the broadcaster funded in part by the Qatari government, was banned in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates following the sheikh’s reported remarks. (The Qataris have said that the official news agency was hacked and that the remarks were never delivered.) Nonetheless, official newspapers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have slammed the Qataris for the past week, accusing the small nation in the words of one columnist of being a “disobedient son.”
This kind of thing is to be expected in the region. But the conflict also played out in Washington. The setting was a wonky policy conference on Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood sponsored by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.
Normally the politics of the Middle East don’t really intrude on such affairs. But the US ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, contacted many of the panelists in the days before the conference last week to make the case that Qatar’s new sheikh, who came into power in 2013, is committed to reforming his country’s notoriously lax attitude toward extremists, thus, he signed the communique on terror financing earlier this month. There are some pieces of evidence about Qatar’s recent turnaround, but this tiny country has a long history of playing both sides. On the one hand Qatar hosts one of America’s most important military facilities in the region, the Al-Udeid Air Base. And yet at the same time, its neighbors accuse Qatar of running an influence campaign against the US and its allies.
Consider Abdul Rahman Omeir al-Naimi. He was a respected Qatari history professor and the founder of the AlKarama foundation, a human rights organization that focuses on political prisoners in the Islamic world. Then at the end of 2013, the Treasury Department designated him as a financier of al Qaeda. Nonetheless, nearly a year later, the “Daily Mail” reported that he continued to live openly in Qatar’s capital, Doha.
More recently the Qataris have been a host to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Palestinian group, and when Hamas leaders unveiled a new set of principles this month, they made the announcement from a hotel in Doha.
At last week’s conference in Washington, former secretary of defense Robert Gates talked about how he traveled to Qatar for the George W. Bush administration to make the case to the Qataris to stop tolerating terror groups inside their country. “There was a good deal of nodding and explanation, but we didn’t see much change,” he said. Gates concluded: “So we have had a peculiar relationship. There have continued to be political issues with Qatar even as we have been strategic military allies.”
That peculiar relationship will now be tested. As Muslim leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia this month, one of the first tests of this new policy will be whether Qatar shows initiative in rooting out the terror supporters inside its own kingdom. It’s less clear how Qatar will respond when the rest of the world isn’t watching.

Trump’s Right: Germany’s Trade Surplus is Too Big
Justin Fox/Bloomberg/June 04/17
Germany’s gigantic trade surpluses are a problem. Almost everybody — including lots of Germans — agrees on that. But when President Donald Trump decries the US trade deficit with Germany, as he did this morning on Twitter, and declares that “This will change,” it does raise an important question: How can it be changed? Apparently, Germany’s current account surplus (trade plus income flows) has kept growing even as the two nations perhaps most famous for their surpluses — China and Japan — have seen theirs shrink. In 2016, Germany’s current account surplus blew past China’s in absolute terms ($297 billion to $196 billion), even though China’s economy is three times bigger.
Germany’s bilateral trade surplus with the US has grown a lot too over the course of the current economic recovery, although it has shrunk a bit since 2015.
First of all, as an economic journalist, I am required by law 1 to state here that bilateral trade deficits like the one the US runs with Germany are not in and of themselves bad. I run a yawning bilateral trade deficit with my local grocery store, and that’s OK as long as I have enough income from other sources to make up the gap. When countries run chronic overall current account surpluses or deficits, though, there can be problems. As former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke put it in 2015:
The fact that Germany is selling so much more than it is buying redirects demand from its neighbors (as well as from other countries around the world), reducing output and employment outside Germany at a time at which monetary policy in many countries is reaching its limits.
Big trade imbalances can also lead to unhealthy and unsustainable financial flows, as happened with the US and China in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis.
So yes, Germany’s huge trade surpluses are a problem. On that we can (almost) all agree. What’s causing them? The president, who is very big on the word “deal,” offered this diagnosis in March:
Germany has done very well in its trade deals with the US, and I give them credit for it.
Here’s a fun fact: Germany has no trade deals with the US! All its trade relations are managed through the European Union. And yes, the EU ran a goods trade surplus with the US of $146 billion in 2016. Germany accounted for 44 percent of that, Ireland (where US pharmaceutical companies do a lot of their manufacturing) 24 percent, and Italy 19 percent. Then again, other EU countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.K. all run trade deficits with the US The EU does impose a lot of tariffs and quotas on imports, but so does the US, and these trade barriers are seldom cited as a reason for Germany’s big current account surpluses.Which makes sense, given that so many of them were already in place in the 1990s when Germany ran chronic current account deficits.
So what accounts for Germany’s big shift to surpluses? The two most convincing explanations are (1) the birth of the euro and (2) German frugality.
In the decades after World War II, West German economic policy makers made the strength of the country’s currency a top priority. From 1960 to 1990, the German mark almost quadrupled in value against the US dollar. Since merging the mark with the euro in 1999, though, Germany has had to share its currency with the rest of the euro zone. And since the financial crisis, that currency has been pretty weak — significantly weaker than the German mark would likely be if it were still an independent currency. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as much in February:
If we still had the deutsche mark, it would be valued differently than the euro is now. But that’s an independent monetary policy over which I as chancellor have zero influence.
That sounds like a cop-out — and it is a cop-out! But it’s also mostly true. Germany’s influence over the trajectory of its currency is now quite limited.
Where German politicians can make a difference is in spending. This is by Marcel Fratzscher, president of the German Institute for Economic Research, aka DIW Berlin:
Germany has one of the lowest public-investment rates in the industrialized world. Its municipalities, which are responsible for half of all public investment, currently have unrealized investment projects worth €136 billion, or 4.5% of GDP; Germany’s school buildings alone need another €35 billion for repairs. Meanwhile, private investment in Germany’s aging capital stock has been weakened by many German companies’ desire to invest abroad.
Germany also has a perennially high household savings rate, is currently running big government budget surpluses, and has generally been wary of efforts to expand Europe’s monetary union into a fiscal one in which more burdens are shared across national lines. So the problem with Germany isn’t so much that it is exporting too much but that it is spending too little. I’m doubtful that President Trump can effect much change on that front. But maybe French President Emmanuel Macron can!

After Middle East, Will Islamists Uproot Christians in Europe?
Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/June 04/17
About terrorism and Islamist violence, Christian leaders offer only words of relativism and moral equivalence. Is it possible that after two recent big massacres of Christians, Catholic leaders have not a single word of courage and honor, but only the same offer of the other cheek?
Our secular elites condemn proselytizing only when it is practiced by Christians, never when practiced by Muslims.
In Syria and Iraq, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of places of Christian worship that Islamic fundamentalists have demolished in the past three years. These images, along with the mass decapitations and the rape of the minorities, shock the public, it seems, for one day.
We do not yet know enough about the three terrorists who, saying "This is for Allah!", killed and wounded so many in London on June 4, but consider these two recent scenes:
Scene one: Manchester, United Kingdom, the "free world". A British-born Muslim terrorist prays in a former church. All around him, the Christian sites and congregations accepted being turned into Islamic sites. The day after, this terrorist goes on a rampage, murdering 22 concert-goers.
Scene two: Minya, Egypt, the "unfree world". An Islamist terror group stops a bus full of Christian pilgrims. The terrorists demand that their victims recite the Islamic creed, the shahaada. The Christians refuse to abandon Christianity and become Muslims. The Islamists murder them, one by one.
What do these scenes tell us? Christians resist Islam more in the Middle East than in Europe.
Salman Abedi, the British terrorist who massacred 22 innocent men, women and children at the Manchester Arena, could, every day, enter what was once a beautiful Christian church, consecrated in 1883. It was desecrated in the 1960s, during a great wave of secularization. People still remember the Methodist Church that it was until it was bought by the local Syrian Muslim community to make it a place of Islamic worship, the Didsbury Mosque. One can still see the typical architecture of a church, from the bell tower to the windows. But inside, instead of an altar, Abedi would be headed to the mihrab, the niche in the mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca. The pulpit is still there, but it is no longer used by a Christian pastor. It is used by the imam for the Khutba, the Islamic prayer.
Outside the Didsbury Mosque there is a sign announcing: "Do you want to know more about Islam? Come and socialize". Such a sign for Christianity would be unthinkable in any European city. Our secular elites condemn proselytizing only when it is practiced by Christians, never when practiced by Muslims. On YouTube, an Islamist organization celebrates "the church converted to a mosque". Instead of the times for Mass, there is another sign: "Prayer Room for Men".
A few days after the Manchester attack, Islamists again struck Christians; this time, pilgrims in Egypt. That attack took place after Pope Francis's trip to Egypt, where he offered the local suffering Christians only a vague condemnation of "every form of hatred in the name of religion". The head of the Catholic Church evidently did not have the courage to address the question of Islamic fundamentalism, as had his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, at Regensburg.
"Religions do not cause violence and terrorism", assured the new head of Italian bishops, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, after the massacre in Manchester, adding: "Muslims, Jews and Christians believe in a single creator". Unfortunately, the terrorists murdered the Christians in Minya because they believe Allah is superior to the Judeo-Christian religion, and gives them the right to take the lives of "disbelievers".
About terrorism and Islamist violence, Christian leaders offer only words of relativism and moral equivalence. Is it possible that after two big massacres of Christians, Catholic leaders have not a single word of courage and honor, but only the same offer of the other cheek?
The most honest Catholic prelate was the Archbishop of Ferrara, Luigi Negri, who said:
"I hope that some of these gurus -- cultural, political and religious -- in this situation will hold back words and not invoke the usual speeches to say that 'it is not a war of religion'. I hope there is a silent moment of respect".
The gurus, unfortunately, did not hold back; they had words only of weakness and confusion.
These Islamic fighters, such as those who hit Manchester and Minya, are not "radicalized"; they follow an Islamic religious dictate according to a literal reading of the Koran. They attack Europeans because they believe that Islam is superior and stronger than Europe. They feel that Allah and history are on their side. They want to see the flag of Islam flying across Western capitals.
The jihadists might think they can do to Europe what they did to Christians in Niniveh, Iraq. The only way we can win is by defeating them; no compromise is possible. But Europe speaks of "inclusion" and "integration", never of victory.
While Muslims pray in Europe's former Christian sites, Christians in the Middle East are murdered for refusing to renounce Christianity and convert to Islam. Father Antonio Gabriel, of the San Mina parish of the Coptic church in Rome, in the course of an interview with Tg2000, revealed the dynamics of the new Islamist aggression against the Egyptian Coptic community. The terrorists, before killing the passengers of two buses traveling to the San Samuele monastery, "asked them to give up Christ and become Muslims". But, at the demand for apostasy, the Christian Copts responded negatively. The rejection of conversion to Islam triggered the fury of terrorists, who "put the gun on the head and neck" of pilgrims "to kill them directly".
"If they had accepted", Father Gabriel pointed out, "they would have spared them".
The same strong-arming took place in Iraq. When ISIS militants gave four Iraqi children the choice of converting to Islam or death by beheading, the children chose to follow Jesus and were murdered.
But these amazing stories never reach the European mainstream newspapers and televisions, as if the information might disturb our self-righteous certainties. "For decades, the Middle East's increasingly beleaguered Christian communities have suffered from a fatal invisibility in the Western world", Ross Douthat wrote in the New York Times. Is that invisibility the result of the West forsaking of its own identity, as happened with the church in Manchester?
In Syria and Iraq, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of places of Christian worship that Islamic fundamentalists have demolished in the past three years. These images shock public opinion, it seems, for one day -- along with the mass decapitations and the rape of the minorities. Churches, cemeteries and archaeological sites -- every building that carried the symbols of the Christian faith (crosses, statues of the Virgin Mary, icons of the saints, even graves) -- were razed to the ground. But is the demise of Christianity in the heart of Europe, by churches converted to mosques, less severe? And why has Pope Francis not condemned the abandonment of Christian holy sites and their takeover by Islam?
Archpriest Dmitri Smirnov, chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church Commission on Family Matters, recently announced:
"There is very little time left until the death of the entire Christian Civilization. Several decades, perhaps 30 years, well, maybe in Russia it will last 50, no longer."
It is impossible for any observer to deny that Christianity is descending into a terminal crisis in Europe. Catholic leaders in the Netherlands estimate that two-thirds of their 1,600 churches will be out of use in a decade, and that 700 Dutch Protestant churches will be closed within four years. The Church of England closes around 20 churches a year. The Catholic Church in Germany has closed about 515 churches over the last ten years. You find the same scenario everywhere in Europe.
"I have often heard from Muslims that their goal is to conquer Europe with two weapons: their faith and their birthrate," said the Maronite patriarch of Antioch, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai. "So when they come to Europe and see the empty churches, and find the unbelief of Europeans, they immediately think that they will fill that void".
This is one of the most tragic ironies of our time: that Christians in Europe, including Pope Francis, have a lot to learn from Christians in Egypt, Syria and Iraq.
Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, the Maronite patriarch of Antioch, has said "I have often heard from Muslims that their goal is to conquer Europe with two weapons: their faith and their birthrate... So when they come to Europe and see the empty churches, and find the unbelief of Europeans, they immediately think that they will fill that void". (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
After another ISIS jihadist slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest, Father Jacques Hamel, during a Catholic mass in France, no rally was called to protest his murder. No secular personality or newspaper said, "We are all Christians". The entire Christian establishment refused to write the word "Islam".
Make no mistake; these Islamists are very clear in their goal: eradicating Christians not only from Mosul, as they did in 2014, but also uprooting Christians from Manchester, where churches are already converted to Islam. The pumped-up forces who drove Christians out of their ancestral lands rightly thought: Why not continue in the West the work begun so well in the East?
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Accept Islamic Terror as the New Normal?
Nonie Darwish/Gatestone Institute/June 04/17
"The use of terror under this doctrine [Targhib wal tarhib, "luring and terrorizing"] is a legitimate sharia obligation." — Salman Al Awda, mainstream Muslim sheikh, on the Al Jazeera television show "Sharia and Life".
Part of the tarhib or "terrorizing" side of this doctrine is to make a cruel example of those who do not comply with the requirements of Islam. That is the reason Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, and entities such as ISIS, intentionally hold ceremonial public beheadings, floggings, and amputation of limbs.
Islamic jihad has always counted on people in conquered lands eventually to yield, give up and accept terrorism as part of life, similar to natural disasters, earthquakes and floods.
After terror attacks, we often hear from Western media and politicians that we must accept terrorist attacks as the "new normal."
For Western citizens, this phrase is dangerous.
Islam's doctrine of jihad, expansion and dawah (Islamic outreach, proselytizing) rely heavily on the use of both terror and luring. Targhib wal tarhib is an Islamic doctrine that means "seducing (luring) and terrorizing" as a tool for dawah, to conquer nations and force citizens to submit to Islamic law, sharia. It amounts to manipulating the instinctive parts of the human brain with extreme opposing pressures of pleasure and pain -- rewarding, then severely punishing -- to brainwash people into complying with Islam.
Most ordinary Muslims are not even aware of this doctrine, but Islamic books have been written about it. Mainstream Muslim sheikhs such as Salman Al Awda have discussed it on Al Jazeera TV. On a show called "Sharia and Life," Al Awda recommended using extremes "to exaggerate... reward and punishment, morally and materially... in both directions". "The use of terror under this doctrine,"' he said, "is a legitimate sharia obligation."
People in the West think of terror as something that Islamic jihadists inflict on non-Muslims, and it is. But terror is also the mechanism for ensuring compliance within Islam. Under Islamic law, jihadists who evade performing jihad are to be killed. Terror is thus the threat that keeps jihadists on their missions, and that make ordinary Muslims obey sharia.
An online course for recruiting jihadists contains this description:
"Individual Dawa depends on eliciting emotional responses from recruits (and building a personal relationship). Abu 'Amr's approach illustrates a recruitment concept called al-targhib wa'l-tarhib, which is a carrot-and-stick technique of extolling the benefits of action while explaining the frightening costs of inaction. The concept was introduced in the Qur'an and is discussed by many Islamic thinkers exploring the best way to call people to Islam (several scholars, for example, have written books titled al-targhib wa'l-tarhib). According to Abu 'Amr, recruiters should apply the concept throughout the recruitment process, but emphasize the benefits of action early in the process and the costs of inaction later."
In other words, recruiters of jihadists should start by emphasizing the "good stuff" first, the "lure" -- the future glory, supremacy and fulfillment of every lustful wish, such as virgins in heaven. Later, they should threaten the recruits with "terror" and shame -- the consequence if they fail to participate in jihad.
Part of the tarhib or "terrorizing" side of this doctrine is to make a cruel example of those who do not comply with the requirements of Islam. That is the reason Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, and entities such as ISIS, intentionally hold ceremonial public beheadings, floggings, and amputation of limbs. Countries such as Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey are more discrete, but they tolerate and support honor killings; killing apostates; beating women and children, and torture and murder in their jails. The doctrine of targhib and tarhib is alive and well, not just in Islamic theocracies but also in the so-called "moderate" Muslim countries.
Islam has been using these "pleasure and pain" brainwashing techniques, and cruel and unusual punishment, from its inception and until today. While the Bible -- the Western Judeo-Christian tradition -- is in harmony with, and nurtures, kindness in human nature, Islam does the opposite: it uses the human instincts for self-preservation and survival to break the people's will and brainwash them into slavish obedience.
Like the majority of Muslims, I never heard of this foundational Islamic doctrine when I was growing up in Egypt, but have felt the impact of this doctrine on my life -- in every aspect of Islamic culture; in Islamic preaching, in my Islamic family relations; in how Islamic governments operate and how people of authority, in general, treat the people under them.
The Islamic doctrine of "lure and terror" has produced a culture of toxic extremes: distrust and fear, pride and shame, permission to lie ("taqiyya"), and rejecting taking responsibility for one's actions.
Having lived most of my life under Islam, I am sad to say that people the West calls "moderate Muslims" are frequently, in fact, citizens who have learned to live with and accept terror as normal. For centuries, many have made excuses for terror, condemned victims of terror, remained silent or equivocal, and have even compromised with the terrorists to survive. The Islamic culture in which I lived looked the other way when women were beaten. When girls were honor-murdered, the question was "what did she do?" instead of "how could that be?" When Christians were killed and persecuted, many blamed the Christians for their own persecution at the hands of Muslims. The normal Islamic response to terror became: "None of my business."
And now the Islamic doctrine of Targhib wal Tarhib, has moved to the West and aims at changing Western humanistic culture. It would replace respect for human rights, caring for one's neighbor and the values of freedom and peace, with the values of bondage, terror, tyranny and fear.
Islamic jihad has always counted on people in conquered lands eventually to yield, give up and accept terrorism as part of life, similar to natural disasters, earthquakes and floods.
It did not take long for the Islamic doctrine of Targhib wal Tarhib to work on the psyche of Western leaders and media, who are now telling us to live with it as the "new normal." Islam counts on turning everyone into "moderate" Muslims who will eventually look the other way when terror happens to the person next to you.
**Nonie Darwish, born and raised in Egypt, is the author of "Wholly Different; Why I chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values."
© 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.

Qatar pressured to expel Hamasضغوطات على قطر لطرد حماس
Seth J. Frantzman/Jerusalem Post/June 04/17
Reports emerged in the Arab press on Sunday that Qatar would expel Hamas officials based in its capital, Doha.
According to Al Mayadeen, a channel considered close to Iran and the Syrian regime, Qatar regretted the decision, but said “external pressure” had been placed on Qatar to reduce its relationship with Hamas. This pressure has come from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s Riyadh speech, where he urged the country to “drive out” extremists. Khaled Mashaal, the former head of Hamas, has resided in Qatar since 2012. The pressure on Qatar is part of its wider war of words between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, which accuse Qatar of destabilizing the region through support of Islamists. “The countries in the region can be divided into two camps, one that seeks to advance its foreign interests through the support of Islamists and one whose foreign policy is guided by opposition to the rise of Islamists,” wrote Hassan Hassan at The National in the United Arab Emirates.
He sketched out an Islamist-supporting block that spans the region from Iran to Qatar and Turkey.
Hassan’s paradigm may be a bit contradictory, since Qatar, Turkey and Iran are on opposite sides of the Syria conflict, but his article published in the UAE is part of a larger new war of words between Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh and Doha. They portray Qatar as a source of regional instability. Qatar-based Al Jazeera was blocked in the UAE and Saudi Arabia on May 24. According to Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Qatar has been a “support base for Islamists from across the Middle East. It hosts the political headquarters of Hamas” and other groups. Schanzer agreed with accusations that Qatar’s softening of its approach to Iran “appear[s] to be one of the issues at the heart of the current Gulf rupture.” He also said the recent war of words comes after Trump urged countries to “drive out” extremists like Hamas. “There are conflicting reports as to whether Qatar actually followed through here [expelling Hamas]. I think the likelihood of Qatar ejecting Hamas is low.”Qatar has gone on the offensive against its accusers. On June 4, Al Jazeera reported that leaked emails from the UAE ambassador the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, “reveal [the] Emirati ambassador played [a] role in [the] campaign to tarnish Qatar’s image.” The report quoted The Intercept, noting “there is a growing axis between some of the Gulf countries, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Israel.”
Some of this dispute may seem petty, such as claims that Al Jazeera “posts a tweet insulting [the] Saudi king,” but the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash warned Sunday that Doha’s behavior was a danger to stability in the Gulf.
This has implications for Israel. Reports in late May claimed that Iran will resume funding Hamas. Several days later, Al Mayadeen claimed that a Qatari envoy gave Hamas officials a list of names of its members who must leave Doha.
The Qatar-Hamas connection goes back years. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the former ruler of Qatar who abdicated in 2013, visited Gaza in 2012 and pledged $400 million in aid to the Strip. “I haven’t seen Hamas officials looking so pleased with themselves since they managed to free more than 1,000 Palestinian political prisoners last year [in exchange for Gilad Schalit],” said the Al Jazeera correspondent in Gaza at the time. When Sheikh Hamad’s son Tamim came to power in 2013, expectations were that he would moderate Qatar’s role and reduce funding for Islamists in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Gaza. The Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia and others haven’t seen enough improvement, and they hope to squeeze and isolate Qatar. The question Doha faces is whether its claims that Arab states are choosing Israel over one of their own, will work to deflect criticism, or whether the Gulf can successfully rein in the Qataris.