June 06/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 04/21-24/:"Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’"

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven
Acts of the Apostles 02/29-39/:"‘Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, "He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption." This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, "The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’ " Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 05-06/17
The Blood of Lamis Nacchouche Shall be the Beginning of an Uprising/Ahmad El-Assaad June 05/ 2017
What is happening with Qatar can happen any moment with Lebanon/François Bainy/Face Book/June 05/17
Walid Phares, the Natational. Security Expert: Time for ‘Real Resistance’ Against Jihadis/Kathryn Blackhurst/LifeZette/June 05/17
Five Reasons Why Israel Should Care About The Qatar Crisis/Jerusalem Post /June 05/17
Defeating Extremist Islam - A Western Imperative/Saied Shoaaib/Gatestone Institute/June 05/17
Turkey: Jail for Hunger Strike/Burak Bekdil/Gatestone Institute/June 05/17
Nasser's populist rhetoric still affects region/Dr. Simon Waldman/The National/June 05/17
Qatar needs to address its policy contradictions/Majid Rafizadeh/The National/June 05/17
Fredom Of Speech in the Age of Yellow Journalism/ 05/17
Europe Has No Bubbles to Fear/Ferdinando Giugliano/Bloomberg View/June 05/17
What Does Russia Think/David Ignatius/The Washington Post/June 05/17
The World Bank Has Bigger Problems Than Bad Writing/Noah Smith/Bloomberg/June 05/17
Ambassadors of the Dark/Ghassan Charbel/Asharq Al Awsat/June 05/17
Six Muslim Countries Just Got Sick of Qatar Bankrolling Terror/Elliot Friedland/Clarion Project/June 06/17

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published on June 05-06/17
Authorities to impose tight security in Baalbeck: Aoun
Pro-Hizbullah Lebanese Journalist Rafiq Nasrallah: Hizbullah Can Strike Israel By Air, And Show It On TV In Real Time - 'We Have Technology Now'
Lassen Visits EU-Funded Projects in Support of Vulnerable Communities in Bekaa
Adwan Says PM to Hold 'Final' Meeting on Electoral Law before Going to Cabinet
Berri Says Vote Law Details Must be Agreed Before Deadline
Hasbani Acts after Woman Dies of Lipo Complications as Jreissati Vows Accountability
Airport Customs Seize 5 Kg of Cocaine, Detain Smuggler
Hariri: Amnesty Bill Will Soon be Issued to Bring Justice to All
Man Found Dead at Suburban Home Northeast Beirut
Hariri: Cabinet to Convene in Tripoli to Endorse Development Projects
Hariri receives delegations from Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, Arab Parliamentary Union and Lebanese University
Kataeb warns against electoral deal: For discussing election law within constitutional institutions
Farah Kassab's family voices confidence in Lebanese judiciary
Army Commander, interlocutors tackle bilateral relations
Sarraf meets Finnish Ambassador, MP Hajjar
Hassan Fadlallah: For election law that safeguards diversity and anchors security
Army refers suspect to judiciary for arms' trafficking
The Blood of Lamis Nacchouche Shall be the Beginning of an Uprising
François Bainy/What is happening with Qatar can happen any moment with Lebanon

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 05-06/17
Five dead in Orlando workplace shooting, attacker kills self: Police
Arab League chief regrets split between Arab states and Qatar
Turkey Offers to Help Resolve Gulf-Qatar Row
Qatar Airways Suspends All Flights to Saudi Arabia
Civil Aviation Bans Qatari Planes from Landing at Saudi Airports
OIC Urges Qatar to Honor Commitments
Al Jazeera Offices Closed in Saudi Arabia
Hacker of Bahrain Foreign Minister’s Twitter Account Identified
Jubeir, Shoukry Discuss Fighting Terrorism on Financial, Intellectual Levels
Two senior Hamas officials forced to leave Qatar
Qatar Denounces 'Unjustified' Cut of Gulf Ties
Gulf States, Egypt Cut Ties with Qatar
New Raids, 'Several' Arrests over London Attack

Latest Lebanese Related News published on June 05-06/17
Authorities to impose tight security in Baalbeck: Aoun
The Daily Star/June 05, 2017/BEIRUT: Security forces will impose strict security measures in the eastern city of Baalbeck following the surge in crime rate in the area, President Michel Aoun said Mondya. "Security forces were given the order to be firm in enforcing the law," Aoun told a delegation from the city. The president said that the Higher Defense Council had decided to "put an end to the security chaos, particularly after local figures lifted the immunity off culprits and demanded their arrest."A security plan for the Bekaa Valley was revived in March. Security agencies cracked down on a number of suspects, including major drug lords. The actions prompted media reports citing the “subtle” revival of the 2015 security plan targeting Hezbollah-dominated areas. The area has witnessed criminal acts including kidnapping, killings, car theft, and arms and drug trafficking. A previous security plan implemented in 2014 was described as a failure, given its inability to reduce the incidence of such events. However, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said last week that “the measures put in place since the institution of the security plan have not been successful in protecting the lives of the citizens and their children.”The interior minister also said that “the situation cannot continue” and vowed to pursue the matter alongside the president in order to implement elements of the security plan that had not yet been enacted.The delegation, headed by Baalbeck Mayor Hussein Lakkis elaborated on the surged crime rate in Baalbeck and neighboring towns, stressing it's negative impacts on the economy. They expressed concern that more innocent civilians fall victim to these crimes. Aoun stressed the importance to "restore stability and calm to the city and its neighboring areas" as summer festivals are nearing. Lamis Hasan Nakkoush – the latest victim of the area’s violence, who was born in 2008 – was shot in front of her house a few minutes before iftar on May 30. Aa.W. of the Wehbe family and the victim’s brother reportedly exchanged words before the former opened fire, hitting Nakkoush in the back of her head. The suspect instantly fled the scene, while Nakkoush was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died. The attack was widely condemned in Baalbeck, with residents calling on officials to put an end to the area’s insecurity. Earlier in May, Baalbeck residents went on a general strike to protest the deteriorating security situation in their city.

Pro-Hizbullah Lebanese Journalist Rafiq Nasrallah: Hizbullah Can Strike Israel By Air, And Show It On TV In Real Time - 'We Have Technology Now'
MEMRI/June 05/17
In a recent TV interview, Lebanese journalist and researcher Rafiq Nasrallah suggested a scenario in which Hizbullah fighters entered the Upper Galilee and fought inside Israel. "What if airplanes were to strike in the heart of Israel and at the settlements?" he asked. "What would the [Israeli] air force be able to do then?" Nasrallah, Director of the Lebanese International Center for Media and Research, said that "even those little reconnaissance aircrafts are being manufactured now by Hizbullah and in Syria" and that they "can strike targets and broadcast it on TV in real time." The interview aired on the Lebanese Al-Jadid/New TV channel on May 23.
Interviewer: "Wars today are waged from the sky, and you cannot do anything unless you possess deterrence capabilities."
Rafiq Nasrallah: "That is what Israel says. But what does the other side say? What does Hizbullah say? What if the confrontations were to take place in the Galilee? Let's imagine a scenario in which groups of 50 infiltration fighters each - you can call them martyrdom-seekers... Let's imagine that these groups were to enter Metula and other settlements inside Israel, and then TV would start broadcasting the scenes from inside Israel, for the first time in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict...
"Note that I am raising my finger... From inside the Upper Galilee, from the Jordanian border, and facing the Golan... What would the Israelis do? What would their air force be able to do then? Secondly, the Israeli air force cannot do whatever it wants in the sky anymore. If they send a plane, we will send one too. Even those little reconnaissance aircrafts are being manufactured now by Hizbullah and in Syria."
Interviewer: "Yes, but you are talking about F-16 and F-29 [sic] airplanes here..."
Rafiq Nasrallah: "They are good for striking specific targets, such as homes and bridges. But what if airplanes were to strike in the heart of Israel and at the settlements? And what if missiles were launched..."
Interviewer: "Does Hizbullah have airplanes?"
Rafiq Nasrallah: "Of course."
Interviewer: "It has reconnaissance aircrafts, but not airplanes..."
Rafiq Nasrallah: "What does everybody rely on these days?"
Interviewer: "On what?"
Rafiq Nasrallah: "They rely on reconnaissance aircrafts. They can strike targets and broadcast it on TV in real time. The concepts of war have changed. We have technology now."

Lassen Visits EU-Funded Projects in Support of Vulnerable Communities in Bekaa
Naharnet/June 05/17/Ambassador Christina Lassen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, visited Monday two EU-funded projects in the Beqaa supporting local development and the response to the consequences of the Syrian crisis. In Labweh, Lassen visited the Primary Health Care Center, which provides services to both Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees. It is one of more than 200 centers and public hospitals that have received EU funds for new equipment, free medications and vaccines for children. The EU funding also covers training for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and health workers, as well as awareness raising sessions. The Primary Health Care Center in Labweh is part of the Ministry of Public Health network. The EU assistance is provided through UNHCR, UNICEF and WHO. The visit was attended by UNHCR Representative Mireille Gerard, UNICEF Representative Tanya Chapuisat, and WHO Representative Dr. Gabriele Riedner. Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the EU provided €92 million to the Lebanese authorities to meet basic health needs of vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugees. Additional €62 million have recently been allocated for access to quality health care. Ambassador Lassen said: "We admire the efforts Lebanon is undertaking in hosting so many Syrian refugees and we know the pressure that the refugee influx is putting on public services." "The EU is committed to continue its support to the Lebanese health sector to improve access to high quality health services for both Syrian refugees and Lebanese citizens," she added. Later, Lassen headed to the border town of al-Qaa where she visited the "One drop for Peace" project which was implemented by the Lebanese NGO ILDES (Institut libanais pour le développement économique et social) with EU-funding.
The project addressed the increasing water shortage in al-Qaa brought by the population rise as a result of the refugee influx, climatic conditions and drought. It also addressed the upgrading of the infrastructure, and tackled the related environmental and financial constraints. As a result of the project, the irrigation water reaching al-Qaa increased by twofold, thus improving the standard of livelihoods of the host and the Syrian refugee communities alike. Educational kits allowed children from both communities to acquire the basis information about the best hygiene and water usage and preservation. Workshops were conducted to allow women to acquire better skills for domestic usage. Young adults also participated in awareness sessions and activities around water preservation. The visit took place in the presence of al-Qaa municipal chief Bashir Matar, the President of ILDES Samir Medawar and the project manager at ILDES Dr. Boutros Labaki. Ambassador Lassen stated: "The project is just another example of our engagement in favor of both the Lebanese host communities and Syrian refugees." "I come here to hear your voices, to know better how this project has impacted your lives and how we could further support you," she stressed.

Adwan Says PM to Hold 'Final' Meeting on Electoral Law before Going to Cabinet
Naharnet/June 05/17/Prime Minister Saad Hariri is expected to call for a “final evaluation meeting” on the electoral law ahead of discussing the electoral system in Cabinet, Lebanese Forces deputy head MP George Adwan said on Monday. “The meeting with the Prime Minister was aimed at informing him of the atmosphere of the meetings that are taking place. Time is running and we have to reach a text and submit it to Cabinet then Parliament. I think that Premier Hariri will request, in the next 24 or 48 hours, a meeting during which we will make a final assessment and then move on to the Council of Ministers,” Adwan said after meeting Hariri at the Grand Serail in the presence of Nader Hariri, the PM's adviser. “The atmosphere is good and we are still working on some points, which are mostly technical. We are also working on reforms that must be included in the electoral law, such as the magnetic card that allows every citizen to vote from wherever they might be,” Adwan added. The political parties have recently agreed on an electoral law format involving full proportional representation and 15 electoral districts but discussions are still revolving over several technical details related to the proposed system.

Berri Says Vote Law Details Must be Agreed Before Deadline
Naharnet/June 05/17/Speaker Nabih Berri stressed the need to speed up deliberations in order to finalize the new parliamentary electoral law in light of the looming end of the parliament's term, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday. “We must complete (discussions) because we are short on time,” the daily quoted the Speaker as telling his visitors on Sunday. Berri pointed out that deliberations and meetings between political parties have started in order to finalize the last details, after agreeing the broad lines of the vote system that will govern the country's parliamentary polls. He said a meeting was held on Sunday and another one will be held on Monday and will be chaired by Prime Minster Saad Hariri to that end. Political parties have agreed the broad lines of an electoral law that will be based on full proportional representation in 15 electoral districts, but they still have to discuss some details before the law is final. In reply to a question, Berri said it has been decided that voters are to use magnetic cards to cast their votes because it “ensures transparency and the integrity of the electoral process, prevents bribes and corruption, and eases the burden of voters' transfer from one region to another.”
He said voters will be able to cast their votes in their place of residence without the need to move to their hometowns, “this card also increases the number of voters,” he said.
The parliament's term ends on June 20.

Hasbani Acts after Woman Dies of Lipo Complications as Jreissati Vows Accountability
Naharnet/June 05/17/Deputy PM and Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani announced Monday that he has taken a series of strict measures in connection with the case of the Iraqi woman who died of liposuction complications, Farah Qassab, as Justice Minister Salim Jreissati vowed accountability and stressed that there will be no political interference in the legal course. In a statement, Hasbani said he has banned surgeries requiring general anesthesia in “daytime hospitals” and “beauty centers.” He has also banned surgeries requiring general anesthesia at the Dr. Nader Saab Plastic Surgery Hospital, where the woman, according to her father, had undergone five liposuction procedures prior to her death. Moreover, the health minister has sent memos to the public prosecution and the Lebanese Order of Physicians, asking them to conduct the necessary investigations into the case. “The Order has two weeks to clarify some technical medical points and answer the public health minister's questions regarding the aforementioned death incident,” the statement said. “The measures complement the minister's instant oral decision that suspended surgeries at the aforementioned hospital in the wake of the incident and his written decision that was issued on Friday, June 2,” the statement added. Hasbani's written resolution had banned “surgeries that could lead to complications requiring intensive care, such as liposuction surgeries and other treatments, except at specialized hospitals containing a intensive care sections licensed by the Health Ministry.”
The resolution had also demanded that plastic surgeons explain the possible risks of certain plastic surgeries to patients and to ask for their signatures on the approval papers. The justice minister meanwhile responded to a question from the National News Agency about reports claiming that there are efforts to “cover up” the case. Explaining the measures that he has taken until the moment and the probe that the public prosecution has launched, in addition to the travel ban that has been issued against Dr. Nader Saab and the decision to conduct an autopsy, Jreissati stressed that “there can be no cover-up in any case that the justice minister is following up on.”
He also noted that medical committees could be formed to further investigate the case if necessary. The Dr. Nader Saab Plastic Surgery Hospital has meanwhile issued a statement denying that Saab, one of the most prominent plastic surgeons in Lebanon and the Arab world, had fled the country.
“Dr. Nader Saab, who is present in Lebanon, and his medical team fully trust the Lebanese judiciary and have placed themselves at its disposal and at the disposal of the reputable Lebanese Order of Physicians and Health Ministry, in order to unveil the full truth and nothing but the truth,” the statement said.
In an interview with Lebanon's Future TV, Qassab's sister has accused Saab of “deceiving” Farah while also alleging the presence of “collusion” between the Dr. Nader Saab Plastic Surgery Hospital and the Notre Dame Du Liban Hospital, to where the woman was transferred after the start of medical complications. The businessman Jawad Qassab, Farah's father, meanwhile told An Nahar newspaper that “all what Farah wanted was to remove some belly fat, but the doctor who has no conscience encouraged her to conduct liposuction surgeries on her entire body and performed on her five simultaneous surgeries with a cost of $50,000.”Media reports said Farah stayed for four hours at the Dr. Nader Saab Plastic Surgery Hospital after the surgeries and that her family was later told that the patient had been transferred to the “relatively far” Notre Dame Du Liban Hospital.
The Notre Dame Du Liban Hospital has announced that the woman was already deceased upon arrival. “She underwent a liposuction surgery but things deteriorated after she suffered a rare fat embolism in the wake of the surgery,” the hospital explained, noting that the Dr. Nader Saab Plastic Surgery Hospital does not have an intensive care unit for use in such cases.

Airport Customs Seize 5 Kg of Cocaine, Detain Smuggler
Naharnet/June 05/17/Customs officials at the Rafik Hariri International Airport foiled an attempt to smuggle around five kilograms of cocaine, the National News Agency reported on Monday. The cocaine was wrapped and hidden inside the bag of a Paraguayan female who had arrived from Brazil on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight at midnight, added NNA. The suspect, who was identified as Silva Del Rosario Almada, was interrogated and will be referred to the related authorities.

Hariri: Amnesty Bill Will Soon be Issued to Bring Justice to All
Naharnet/June 05/17/Prime Minister Saad Hariri stressed that an amnesty law will be issued as soon as possible to do justice to all detainees. “There are people from Minieh among the detainees and I promise you that we will issue an amnesty law as soon as possible to do justice to all,” said Hariri in a speech during the Suhur held in the northern area of Minieh on Sunday.“In each election, Minieh makes the difference because of its loyalty to the school, path and project of Martyr Premier Hariri, which is our project; Lebanon’s Arabism, moderation, coexistence and most importantly the state in Lebanon,” said Hariri. “About the elections and the new electoral law, I know that some fear the elections may result in three MPs for Dinniyeh and the loss of the Minieh seat. But I tell you that this is out of question and the Minieh seat is preserved regardless of the law.“We are repeating ourselves when we say that this region was unfairly treated on the development level in the past, and that there is an ongoing attempt to inflict greater injustice on it by attempting to portray it as an area of extremism, especially after the incidents of Bhanin although the people of Minieh has nothing to do with them. On the contrary they supported the state, the Lebanese Army and the legal security forces, just as the people of Bhanin and Minieh supported the Lebanese army during the Nahr al-Bared incidents,” added the PM. “The people of Minieh do not need lessons in moderation and the real values of our religion,” added Hariri. “They are the first to stand up against extremism, terrorism and misguidance, and are committed to coexistence, legality and the state." "There are people from Minieh among the detainees and I promise you that we will issue an amnesty law as soon as possible to do justice to all,"Hariri concluded.

Man Found Dead at Suburban Home Northeast Beirut
Naharnet/June 05/17/A man found dead outside the entrance of a building in his suburban Adonis home in Keserwan was reportedly killed, authorities said on Monday. The 26-year old man was identified as Elie Kraidi, the National News Agency reported. He was found near a building adjacent to his home where he lives with his family, NNA added. Police in the area inspected the digital surveillance cameras in the street to see whether the crime took place in the street itself or if the body was transferred there.

Hariri: Cabinet to Convene in Tripoli to Endorse Development Projects
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 05/17/Beirut – Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri promised on Sunday to hold a cabinet session in Tripoli to endorse the city’s much-needed development 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 ministers, deputies and prominent dignitaries representing the North region, Hariri said: “God willing, we will meet again in Tripoli. We are seeking to fulfill the interests of Lebanon and Tripoli, which really need a lot of work.”Thanking Safadi for his kind hospitality, the prime minister highly valued their “deep and honest friendship”. Safadi, for his part, lauded the Lebanese premier’s determination to tackle the needs of Tripoli and its surrounding region. In remarks last month, Hariri underlined the need to develop solutions, projects, and programs to address problems facing the northern city of Tripoli. “Tripoli, which was oppressed in recent years due to deliberate rounds of fighting and tensions, and to the distortion of its open, educated and moderate image, has a historic opportunity and we will not allow anyone to spoil it,” Hariri said during the opening of the “Tripoli Development Conference”, which was organized by the Safadi Foundation at the Grand Serail in May.

Hariri receives delegations from Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, Arab Parliamentary Union and Lebanese University
Mon 05 Jun 2017 /NNA - The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri received on Monday at the Grand Serail a delegation of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, headed by its Secretary General, Greek MP Andreas Michailidis, in the presence of MPs Atef Majdalani, Ghassan Moukheiber and Riad Rahal. After the meeting, Michailidis said: "We represent the general assembly of the Interparliamentary Assembly on orthodoxy. We met with a number of political and spiritual leaders of Christian communities. After these meetings, we came up with the idea of holding an international conference next year on March 25th. The theme would be the situation of Christians in the Middle East. We will provide you with more details after the meeting of our general assembly at the end of the month in Rome." He added: "Prime Minister Hariri, like all other political leaders in Lebanon, supported this initiative and we will work for it to succeed and have practical application for the benefit of Lebanon and its friendly people."Hariri also received the Secretary General of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union Fayez Shawabkeh, who said after the meeting: I informed PM Hariri on the work of the Union. Its temporary headquarter has been in Beirut for five years while waiting for the situation in Syria to improve. We have the support of Speaker Nabih Berri who was the president of the union last year and is working for cooperation between Arab parliaments. Prime Minister Hariri expressed his readiness to cooperate and provide all facilities for the work of the Union in the procedures related to the government side. Hariri then received the Executive Committee of the Full-Time Professors Association at the Lebanese University, headed by Dr. Mohammed Smaili, who said after the meeting that the meeting was positive. He added that they discussed issues related to the budget of the Lebanese University, its mutual fund and the nomination of deans of schools.

Kataeb warns against electoral deal: For discussing election law within constitutional institutions
Mon 05 Jun 2017/NNA - Kataeb Party categorically warned against an attempt to pass an electoral deal, calling for extricating the poll law from 'closed chambers' to be discussed and approved according to principles within constitutional institutions. Kataeb's fresh words on Monday came in a statement issued in the wake of its regular meeting, chaired by Party chief MP Sami Gemayel. The Party dwelt on most recent developments in the country. Kataeb considered that the election law based on proportionality with fifteen districts, agreed upon in Bkirki, can be a convergence point for improving representation and fairness, provided that it is not blown up by adding new rules tailored according to narrow interests. Kataeb shed light on the necessity of adopting electoral reforms which have the Party has long advocated, including women quota, expatriates' voting, and the formation of an independent body to oversee the elections. Kataeb deprecated the current political class for deliberately leaving matters till the last moment in an attempt, as he said, to pass an electoral deal.

Farah Kassab's family voices confidence in Lebanese judiciary
Mon 05 Jun 2017 /NNA - Farah Jawad Kassab's family on Monday voiced confidence in the Lebanese judiciary, and said in a statement that it clings to its full legal rights. "The only authorized side to speak on Farah's subject, in Lebanon, is the office of Lawyer Fadi al-Barsha... And in Jordan, the office of Attorney Faisal Batayneh," statement said. Kassab's family urged all media outlets, including audio-visual, written and social media, to absolutely desist from dwelling on the issue in any form, reserving all their rights in this regard.

Army Commander, interlocutors tackle bilateral relations
Mon 05 Jun 2017/NNA - Army Commander Joseph Aoun on Monday received at his Yarzeh office Canadian Army's Joint Operations Commander, General Stephen Bowes, on top of a delegation, with talks reportedly touching on the bilateral ties between the armies of both countries.
General Aoun also met with US Defense Attaché Colonel Ulises V. Calvo, who came on a farewell visit at the end of his mission in Lebanon. Colonel Calvo introduced to the General his successor Colonel Daniel Mouton.

Sarraf meets Finnish Ambassador, MP Hajjar
Mon 05 Jun 2017/NNA - Minister of National Defense, Yaacoub Sarraf, on Monday met with Finnish Ambassador to Lebanon, Matti Lassila. The pair reportedly discussed latest developments and the bilateral relations between Lebanon and Finland, especially in the military field.Sarraf also met today with Future bloc's lawmaker Mohammad Hajjar, over the current general situation on the local scene. He later met with the military committee tasked with following up on the military hospital's rehabilitation.

Hassan Fadlallah: For election law that safeguards diversity and anchors security

Mon 05 Jun 2017/NNA - "Loyalty to Resistance" bloc MP Hassan Fadlallah categorically underlined the dire need to devise an election law that safeguards diversity and consecrates security and stability in the country. MP Fadlallah's stance came during a memorial in the southern town of Haddatha in Bint Jbeil district, where he emphasized the need for an election law that preserves nationwide coexistence. The Lawmaker beseeched all political parties to benefit from the prevailing positive climate in the country at the level of the election law, calling on all concerned sides to work at speed to put the last touches on the new poll law before June 20.

Army refers suspect to judiciary for arms' trafficking
Mon 05 Jun 2017/NNA - Army intelligence referred the so-called Hassan Mohammed Al-Ahmad to the concerned judiciary over arms and ammunition trafficking, army command said in a communiqué.
The communiqué said that the suspect was referred to judiciary for sending weapons to Syria for the benefit of terrorist organizations, and smuggling terrorists between Syria and Lebanon. The suspect is also wanted for a number of arrest warrants issued against him.

The Blood of Lamis Nacchouche Shall be the Beginning of an Uprising
Ahmad El-Assaad June 01, 2017
While the politicians are preoccupied with internal strife, and having sterile debates about the electoral law, Baalbek was once more sinking in grief and suffering. While those endeavor to push the government into the abyss, Baalbek paid the price of that government’s absence, and this time, the price was too high: a small girl, the same age as the twice-extended parliament, i.e. eight years old, died with a bullet to her head, fired by some hooligans. Lamis Naccouche, this innocent child, was assassinated by the illegal weapons, which would have never even existed, hadn’t it been in the protection of the Forces of the Status Quo in the region. Those same weapons that have turned Baalbek and the region into a stronghold for criminals of all sorts, and a constant battlefield for clans and gangs. The people of the region – same as in all of Lebanon – have had enough, and it is no longer acceptable to continue this way. But the solution is not only to have a security campaign here, and some raids there, nor is it through arresting some criminals alone. The radical solution would be to eradicate the statelet and its illegal weapons. The solution is not only through lifting the metaphorical cover, but through not allowing such a cover to exist in the first place. The government alone should be the protector of all the citizens, on all Lebanese territories. This protection must be granted without an invitation, and without permission. Baalbek, just as the southern Beirut outskirt Dahiyeh, and all regions suffering from illegal weapons, is a blatant example of what happens when there is an extra governmental authority in the possession of weapons. Let Lamis Naccouche’s blood be the start of the uprising of the City of the Sun, against this darkness. Let her martyrdom spark the revolution of all the Lebanese, united for a true government, uncontested and sovereign.

François Bainy/What is happening with Qatar can happen any moment with Lebanon, ما يحدث في قطر قد يستنسخ في لبنان في أي لحظة فلنتجنب دفن رؤسنا في الرمال
Thank You Qatar, Good Bye Obama, Watch out Lebanon.
By: François Bainy/Face Book/June 05/17
Less than two weeks after the end of the Arab-Islamic Summit in Ryad falls the Giant Sponsor of the Terrorism. Don't underestimate the event because it is only the beginning. Let's have a look at the impact of this incident on the Lebanese scene.
First, Those who considered this summit as a plain exhibition should review their position.
Second: Those who thought that President Trump was interested by the Saudi Money have no idea how complex is the American system when it comes to arm sale to our region.
Third: Those who spread around gossips and whispers that the US policy is the same no matter who is the President are still living in the Obama era and are so blind that it is hard for them to see and perceive that President Trump is a man of deal which means a man of word and principles
Fourth: The main points of the agenda meeting in Ryad were the terrorism, Syria and the Iranian expansion in the Middle-East
Fifth: Qatar sponsored and financed ISIS and Iran at the same time with the knowledge and the instruction of the Obama Administration.
What has Lebanon to do with all that???
First let us compare Lebanon with Qatar
Qatar is one of the wealthiest countries on the planet and Lebanon is sorry to say that) one of the most corrupt countries in the world... Being rich like Qatar does not allow you the right to threat the world order by financing terrorism. Being corrupt like Lebanon does not allow our country to support indefinitely and sponsor the Iranian terrorism at the official level. Even before the start of the Arab-Islamic Summit Lebanon was under watch and vetoing the presence of the Lebanese President Michel Aoun is a clear indication, not only from the Arab league but also from the new US Administration, that Lebanon is officially sponsoring and sheltering Hezbollah Terrorism, That same terrorists that killed 249 marines and Kidnapped and killed American Diplomats and citizens in Beirut. The Minister of Foreign affairs M.Gebrane Bassil declares that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization every time that US Secretary Tellerson delivers a note stating that Hezbollah is an Iranian backed Terrorist Organisation. Saudi Arabia is monitoring closely Prime Minister Saad Hariri and might call him to visit Saudi Arabia soon in order to give explanations about Bassil's declarations if they represent the Lebanese Government's position, and if not he should have to contain him and put every one in his right place. If not... What is happening with Qatar can happen any moment with Lebanon, Let's not hide our head in the sand.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 05-06/17
Five dead in Orlando workplace shooting, attacker kills self: Police
Mon 05 Jun 2017/NNA - A shooting on Monday at an industrial park in the Florida city of Orlando has resulted in five fatalities, authorities said, without describing the circumstances of the incident. The Orange County Sheriff's office said the situation had been "stabilized.""Multiple fatalities. Situation contained. Sheriff will brief as soon as info is accurate," the sheriff's office said on Twitter. A year ago, the city - a hub of Florida's resort industry popular with tourists - was the scene of a mass shooting in a gay nightclub+ that left 49 people dead and dozens more wounded. ---AFP

Arab League chief regrets split between Arab states and Qatar
Mon 05 Jun 2017/NNA - Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit expressed regret on Monday that relations between Qatar and major regional powers had got to the point of suspending diplomatic relations. The Arab world's strongest powers cut ties with Qatar on Monday over alleged support for Islamists and Iran. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut relations with Qatar in a coordinated move. Yemen, Libya's eastern-based government, and the Maldives joined in later. "Aboul Gheit is sorry things reached this point between several Arab states and is concerned about the ramifications these differences will have on joint Arab work," his office said in a statement. A former Egyptian foreign minister, Aboul Gheit said he hoped Arab states would overcome their differences and present a united front against common threats to their national security. He called on all sides to return to agreements reached in 2014, the last time matters between Qatar and its neighbours had reached a tipping point. Qatar has for years presented itself as a mediator and power broker for the region's many disputes, but Egypt and the Gulf Arab states resent Qatar's support for Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, which they see as a political foe. Qatar denies it interferes in the affairs of other countries. ---Reuters

Turkey Offers to Help Resolve Gulf-Qatar Row
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 05/17/Turkey on Monday called for dialogue and said it was ready to help defuse the row between Qatar and Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt that accuse Doha of supporting extremism. "It's a development that really saddened all of us," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters. "There could be problems between the countries but dialogue must prevail in all circumstances," he said, adding that Ankara was ready to do its best to help resolve the dispute. Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen joined Saudi Arabia and Egypt in severing relations with gas-rich Qatar, with Riyadh accusing Doha of supporting groups, including some backed by Iran, "that aim to destabilize the region."Cavusoglu said problems could only be resolved through dialogue. "We will give any kind of support for the situation to be normalized," he said. Turkey enjoys friendly relations with Qatar including in the energy sector but also maintains good ties with other Gulf countries.

Qatar Airways Suspends All Flights to Saudi Arabia
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 05/17/Qatar Airways said on Monday it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia as a major diplomatic crisis escalated in the Gulf region. The move by the Doha-based carrier came just hours after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Doha over accusations it supports extremism. Several airlines from those countries earlier announced they would no longer fly to Qatar. "Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" until 1159 GMT the same day, a statement from the airline said. A spokeswoman said it was unclear if the suspension would be extended. Qatar Airways flies to nine cities in Saudi Arabia. UAE carriers Emirates, Etihad, Fly Dubai and Air Arabia, as well as Saudi Airlines, all announced earlier on Monday they would suspend flights to Doha starting from Tuesday morning. It was not immediately clear if Qatar Airways would also suspend flights to other countries. Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia on Monday ordered its nationals to leave Qatar within 14 days and barred Qataris from the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has also closed its border with Qatar.

Civil Aviation Bans Qatari Planes from Landing at Saudi Airports
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 05/17/General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has issued a decision – effective immediately- banning all Qatari airlines and aircraft from landing at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s airports, Saudi Press Agency reported. It also prevented all private and commercial airlines registered in the Kingdom from operating to Qatar (both direct and non-direct), SPA said. Furthermore, GACA decided to prevent all Qatari airlines and aircraft from crossing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s airspace as of 6/6/2017 at 00:01 according to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the agency said. GACA pointed out that all airlines and non-registered aircraft in the Kingdom or Qatar wishing to cross the Kingdom’s airspace from the State of Qatar and to it have to contact the Authority within a week to determine the necessary procedures for continued operation across Saudi airspace. This circular of GACA includes all airlines operating from and to Saudi airports based on the statement issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding the severing of diplomatic and consular relations with the State of Qatar. Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) also announced on its official Twitter account Monday that it has suspended all flights to Qatar.

OIC Urges Qatar to Honor Commitments
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 05/17/The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) stated that it has been following closely the current developments in the Gulf region, namely the severance of diplomatic relations with Qatar by many OIC member states following information and evidence of Qatar’s involvement with hostile acts. OIC’s General Secretariat called urged that Qatar honors previous commitments and agreements signed within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), particularly with regard to ceasing support of terrorist groups and their activities and ending media incitement, said the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). The General Secretariat underscored the need for all member states, including Qatar, to adhere to the principles of the OIC Charter, which calls for upholding good neighborliness, respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of member states, and non-interference in their domestic affairs. The OIC is an international organization founded in 1969, comprises of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.6 billion as of 2008. The organization is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.”

Al Jazeera Offices Closed in Saudi Arabia
Asharq Al-Awsat/June 05/17/Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information announced on Monday shutting local offices of Al Jazeera, Qatar’s influential satellite channel, hours after the kingdom and other Arab powers cut ties over Doha’s support for ultra-hardliners and Iran.
The move comes after Al-Jazeera has promoted terrorist propaganda and plots, supported Houthi militias in Yemen, and tried to compromise Saudi security by inciting public unrest which is aimed at harming the kingdom’s sovereignty, Saudi Press Agency(SPA) reported Monday.
More so, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut relations with Qatar in a coordinated move. Closing all transport ties, Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave. While Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt banned Qatari planes from landing and forbade them from crossing their airspace. The UAE and Saudi Arabia also stopped exports of white sugar to Qatar. The diplomatic broadside threatens the international prestige of Qatar which is set to host the 2022 World Cup.

Hacker of Bahrain Foreign Minister’s Twitter Account Identified
Obaid Al-Suhaymi/Asharq Al-Awsat/June 05/17/Manama – Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior announced on Sunday that the hacker of Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa’s Twitter account has been identified. The investigation identified the hacker as a fugitive terrorist living outside of Bahrain and whose nationality had been revoked in a previous case. The hacker took over the account for a short time before the Twitter management froze it and returned it to its original owner. The Director General of Anti-corruption and Economic and Electronic Security announced on Saturday that as part of the monitoring and follow up by the Cyber Crime Directorate, the department learned that the Twitter account of the foreign minister was hacked. Commenting on the incident, Sheikh Khaled Al Khalifa said that the IT department in the ministry contacted the concerned officials in the United States and Dubai to recover the account and delete all the harmful tweets.

Jubeir, Shoukry Discuss Fighting Terrorism on Financial, Intellectual Levels
Sawsan Abu Hussein and Mohammed Abdu Hassanein/Asharq Al-Awsat/June 05/17/Cairo – Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry underlined the need to promote bilateral cooperation and fight terrorism on financial and intellectual levels. During a meeting in Cairo on Sunday, the two officials discussed the activation of bilateral agreements on various levels, as well as coordination of stances on regional issues, including the situation in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Speaking at a joint news conference, the Saudi foreign minister said: “Saudi Arabia and Egypt are keen on facing extremism and terrorism in all its forms, and spreading the values of tolerance and coexistence.” He added that discussions with Shoukry were “broad and have touched on latest developments in the region”. “We look forward to promoting cooperation with Egypt, in particular in facing terrorism and extremism and protecting Arab national security,” Jubeir also said. Describing relations with Egypt as “excellent”, the Saudi foreign minister highlighted the presence of “very strong collaboration” between the two countries, adding that the Riyadh summits have produced an effective partnership to counter terrorist threats in the region. On the Riyadh summits held on 20–21 May, Jubeir said: “The presence of US President Donald Trump in the summits was a positive indication of building true partnerships in this field.”The Egyptian minister, for his part, underlined the “historic and strong relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt.”Welcoming his Saudi counterpart in his “second country Egypt”, Shoukry stressed the importance of the visit to resume political coordination in the wake of challenges facing the region. He also said that discussions have tackled the means to fight terrorism by halting all forms of terrorism financing and eradicating extremist groups’ safe havens. Shoukry added the meeting underlined the need to bolster Arab national security to face foreign interference.

Two senior Hamas officials forced to leave Qatar

Elior Levy/Ynetnews/June 05/17/Hamas has begun cooperating with Qatar after the Gulf State issued the organization a list of members it wanted out of the country posthaste; those who left are tied to the West Bank section of the terror group. Two senior Hamas officials have left Qatar since reports surfaced that the Gulf State submitted the terrorist organization a list of members who were required to leave immediately. The senior Hamas officials were identified as Saleh al-Arouri—believed to be responsible for organizing and directing Hamas members in the West Bank—and Musa Dodin, who was released in the 2011 Shalit prisoner exchange. There are still several more Hamas officials who are required to leave Qatar, but their identities and exact numbers remain unknown. All those leaving Qatar will be dispersed to different countries such as Malaysia, Lebanon and Turkey. Qatar's list of persona non grata Hamas members includes those involved in attempts to establish Hamas terror infrastructure in the West Bank. Al-Arouri had worked for many years to establish Hamas cells in the West Bank in order to carry out terror attacks against a variety of Israeli targets. He had previously been located in Turkey, but was banished as part of the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Ankara. Musa Dodin was active in Hamas' West Bank headquarters, directing terror attacks against Israelis. Dodin is also in charge of the issue of Hamas prisoners in Israel. Dodin's brother has been in administrative detention for more than a year. Hamas admitted Sunday that there were changes in the location of various officials whose names have not been disclosed. However, the organization said it was linked to administrative changes that were made following the internal elections. At the same time, Hamas denied that the request was made by Qatar following external pressure on it.

Qatar Denounces 'Unjustified' Cut of Gulf Ties
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 05/17/Qatar on Monday slammed the decisions of three Gulf states to sever ties with it, saying they were "unjustified" and aimed to put Doha under political "guardianship"."The measures are unjustified and are based on false and baseless claims," the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to the unprecedented steps taken by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. "The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its (Qatar's) sovereignty as a state," it added. The host of the football World Cup 2022 said it has been subjected to an "incitement campaign based on fabrications, which reflects an intention to harm Qatar". Doha insisted the sanctions, which include the Gulf states severing air, land and sea links with Qatar, "will not affect the daily life of citizens and residents".The Qatari government will take all measures necessary... to foil attempts to affect or harm Qatar's society and economy," the statement said. Qatar has land borders with Saudi Arabia and is separated by Gulf waters from nearby Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Gulf States, Egypt Cut Ties with Qatar
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 05/17/Gulf states on Monday cut diplomatic ties with neighbouring Qatar and kicked it out of a military coalition, less than a month after US President Donald Trump visited the region to cement ties with powerhouse Saudi Arabia.In the region's most serious diplomatic crisis in years, Qatar's Gulf neighbours Riyadh, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates as well as Egypt all announced they were severing ties with gas-rich Qatar. Riyadh cut diplomatic relations and closed borders with its neighbour to "protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism," the official Saudi Press Agency said. A Saudi official cited by SPA said Riyadh decided to "sever diplomatic and consular ties with Qatar, and to close all land, sea and aviation ports."The "decisive" measure was due to the "gross violations committed by authorities in Qatar over the past years," the Saudi statement said.
Many expatriate and Saudi travellers use Qatar as their gateway into the kingdom. A Saudi-led coalition which for more than two years has been fighting Iran-backed rebels in Yemen separately announced Qatar was no longer welcome in the alliance. In a statement, the coalition accused Qatar of "support to (terrorist) organisations in Yemen". Qatar had assigned warplanes to the coalition conducting air strikes against Yemen's Huthi rebels. Egypt's foreign ministry also accused Doha of supporting "terrorism" and announced the closure of its ports and airports to Qatari carriers.
- 'Shameful cybercrime' -Doha launched a probe into an alleged "hack" of state media after it said false and explosive remarks attributed to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani were published on the Qatar News Agency website last month. The stories quoted him questioning US hostility towards Iran, speaking of "tensions" between Doha and Washington, commenting on Hamas and speculating that Trump might not remain in power for long. The alleged comments were made after Trump's visit to the region. However, Doha has denied all the comments and said it had been the victim of a "shameful cybercrime". Trump's visit to Riyadh -- the first foreign stop of his young presidency -- saw the two sides sign a "strategic vision" agreement to intensify ties in defence, economics and other areas. Riyadh has embraced Trump's harder line against its rival Iran, with which it severed diplomatic relations in January last year. In a Riyadh speech to Muslim leaders from around the world, Trump urged them to "drive out" extremists and "terrorists", as Sunni jihadists carry out attacks in many countries. But he also singled out Shiite Iran for allegedly fuelling "the fires of sectarian conflict and terror".
Qatar said it had also been the victim of a hostile media campaign, particularly in the US over the issue of its supposed support for Islamist groups. Qatar has so far given no indication of where the alleged cyber May 24 cyber attack originated. But regional powers including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates used the comments to demonstrate that Qatar is out of line with Gulf foreign policy, especially regarding Iran. Media organisations in several countries in the region reported the emir's comments as fact, despite an official denial by Qatar. They also blocked Qatari broadcasters and websites following the alleged comments. In a sign that the rift in Qatar's relations with its near neighbours was deepening, one Saudi newspaper reported that members of a prominent Saudi family had demanded that Qatar's state mosque, the Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque, be renamed.The demand came amid questions over the Qatari royal family's link to Abdul Wahhab, co-founder of the Saudi state. Some experts had feared the current situation could trigger a repeat of the crisis in 2014, when several Gulf countries recalled their ambassadors from Doha, ostensibly over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Last week the Qatari emir travelled to Kuwait to meet Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in what was widely seen as an attempt at mediation by the Kuwaitis.

New Raids, 'Several' Arrests over London Attack
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 05/17/British police on Monday made several arrests in two dawn raids following the London attack claimed by the Islamic State group which left seven people dead. "At around 4.15 on Monday... officers from the Met's Counter-Terrorism Command investigating the London Bridge terror attack entered two further addresses -- one in Newham and another in Barking. A number of people have been detained and are at present being spoken to," a statement said. In earlier raids in the ethnically diverse London suburb of Barking, police arrested seven women and five men aged between 19 and 60 at two properties in the hours after Saturday night's rampage. A 55-year-old man was later released. The attackers ran people over with a van on London Bridge, then lunged with knives seemingly at random at crowds gathered around Borough Market, which is full of restaurants and bars. A vigil for the victims will take place at nearby Tower Bridge on Monday evening.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 05-06/17
Walid Phares, the Natational. Security Expert: Time for ‘Real Resistance’ Against Jihadis
وليد فارس: حان الوقت لمحاربة الجهاديين بجدية
Kathryn Blackhurst/LifeZette/June 05/17
Walid Phares urges western leaders to 'step forward' and tell the public 'we are in a war'
National security and foreign policy expert Walid Phares called on ordinary citizens to form a “real resistance” against the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorists, during an interview Monday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” Since President Donald Trump’s election, outraged liberals have labeled themselves “The Resistance,” staging protests and engaging in any effort to undermine the president’s agenda. Phares, a former adviser to Trump during the campaign, said the real and present danger facing the world are the deadly actions carried out by Jihadis. “Instead of having the national leadership — I’m talking about mostly Europe and other countries in the West — advising the citizens as to what to do, my concern now is that … the government needs to step forward and tell the nations that we are in a war, unlike in the last eight years of the Obama administration,” Phares said. “And that is what Trump has been trying to do over the last few weeks now.” "Tell the public that we need to resist, be the real resistance against the Jihadis," Phares added. "And then see what else we can do."
As a prime example, Phares pointed to reports stemming from Saturday's London Bridge and Borough Market attacks in the British capital that described bystanders throwing bottles, chairs and other items at the terrorists.
"When one of the terrorists attacked a bar or a restaurant, for the first time we hear that the citizens who threw the tables and bottles at him … that is the spirit of resistance," Phares said, adding that if the government tells the people that "everything is normal and don’t do anything," it only serves to demoralize them. Phares appeared to be alluding to London Mayor Sadiq Khan's statement following the attacks in which he said, "My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world."
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May also offered remarks that seemed to dismiss the scale of the threat. "Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would," she said, "Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values."
President says DOJ submitted 'watered down, politically correct' exec order to Supreme Court. Phares urged Europe and the U.S. to steadfastly pursue stricter immigration policies and extreme vetting in order to begin dealing with the increasing global threat.
"Actually at the beginning of civilization, the Romans, they had this saying, 'First you survive. Then you do all the philosophy that you want.' We are with terrorism at a similar stage," Phares said. "The government needs to ensure the survival of the population. Even if these are still dispersed actions, they are growing in numbers.""What happened to vetting? We've been talking about vetting for the last 10 years. Nothing has happened. And when there is an attempt by government … to begin looking at vetting, it is charged as Islamophobia," Phares said, alluding to Trump's blocked travel ban executive order awaiting a Supreme Court hearing. "So we need to make sure that whatever the policy is on immigration, it be preceded, not followed — we don’t vet after migration. You vet before migration," Phares said. "And that’s why we need to change that policy. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of opposition to the Trump administration’s attempt to create a re-vetting system."

Five Reasons Why Israel Should Care About The Qatar Crisis
Jerusalem Post /June 05/17

Israel's image in the region likely can improve amid the current developments.
IIt hurts Hamas
Qatar has supported Hamas over the last decade and hosted former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal for the last five years in Doha. In 2012 Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani visited Gaza and pledged hundreds of millions for the Strip. Qatar therefore provided Hamas not only a home in Doha but financial support and diplomatic succor. The new pressure on Qatar has encouraged it to expel Hamas members and will reduce its support for the group. This may also isolate Turkey’s relations with Hamas. Qataris are now focused on which airlines will still fly to the country tomorrow, spending money on the Gaza Strip and hosting Hamas may seem like a liability they don’t need now. Hamas will find itself with even fewer allies which could give Israel leverage to encourage the group to change its ways. More likely, Hamas may lash out against Israel to show its relevance.
2. It brings Israel closer to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf
Israel has shared interests with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states in opposing Iran. Because Qatar has supported Hamas, the new crises encourages those states that oppose Qatar to see Israel as a partner against Hamas and against Iran. This relationship has already been quietly growing in recent years, but the crises with Qatar allows writers in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf to speak out more firmly against Hamas. Saudi's Al Arabiya has showcased interviews with Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot.
3. It shows US influence is back in the region
The background of the current crises was a feeling that US President Donald Trump’s speech to “drive out” terror gave a blank check to local states to act. Under Barack Obama Israel sometimes felt isolated, especially as the US pursued the Iran deal. Now Israel feels that the Americans are back in the region and will stand by their allies.
4. It delegitimizes terror
The regimes that have broken relations with Qatar pay lip-service to fighting terror and instability. Israel prefers a stable region without terror groups undermining neighboring states. However there is ISIS in Sinai, Hamas in Gaza, Jihadists near the Golan and Hezbollah on the Golan and in Lebanon. In that sense Israel knows that any greater instability can be a threat. So long as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other states work in concert, the winds of stability will blow in Israel’s direction as well. The saying “all ships rise with the tide” is apt. All stable countries in the region will rise if extremist groups are reduced.
5. It bolsters Israel’s hand in general and Israel’s current government in particular
Israel benefits when it is not the center of attention and certainly when it is not under pressure. This is a boon for the current government because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long spoken about working towards quietly cultivating regional relationships beyond Egypt and Jordan that stretch to the Gulf. He has spoken about the Iranian threat for two decades. If the Arab states are more concerned with Iran and Qatar, than with the Palestinians, that takes pressure off of Israel, at a time when Palestinians are trying to remind the region that they are facing fifty years of living under Israel’s military rule. Over the years Israel has gone from being seen as the center of the region’s problems, to today when the Palestinian issue is dwarfed by larger conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen Libya and now in the Gulf. That plays into Netanyahu’s narrative, and takes the wind out of any sails that hoped 50 years since 1967 would have some sort of jarring affect. This will have some blowback because voices in the region will accuse the Gulf and Saudi of working "for Israel." Syria and Iran already accuse them of working with Israel. But these voices are already opposed Israel, which means Israel's image in the region likely can improve amidst the current crises.

Defeating Extremist Islam - A Western Imperative
Saied Shoaaib/Gatestone Institute/June 05/17
The infiltration of this ideology is reminiscent of the spread of communism and should be defeated similarly -- not with weapons, but by exposing its true nature and providing an alternative. The West first must abandon, however, the notion that radical Islam is an internal Muslim issue, any more than communism was a "Russian issue" that "the Russians" needed to solve.
In addition, the views of liberal Muslim scholars, who reject the whole premise of extremist, political Islam, should be supported and widely circulated.
Finally, imams in Western countries must be held to the same standard as members of other professions. They should be required to receive occupational licenses, based on criteria determined by the state, in conjunction with modern Muslims seeking a peaceful life and the ability to integrate into their societies without fear of repercussions at the hands of fundamentalists.
Many imams in the West -- citizens of the United States, Canada and other countries -- use their pulpits to promote practices that go against democratic values and ultimately lead to terrorism.
Some call on their flock to kill Jews, Christians and "infidel" Muslims who do not adhere either to the strictest interpretation of Islam. Others justify the marriage of grown men to nine-year-old girls. There are those, too, who defend the spousal "right" of husbands to rape their wives.
Contrary to some claims, the type of clerics who preach murder and sexual abuse in North American and European mosques do not suffer from poor socioeconomic conditions and are not mentally unbalanced. Rather, they are loyal followers of an interpretation of Islam that envisions the establishment of a worldwide caliphate governed by sharia law. They deeply believe that the only way to enter Allah's paradise is to live by the letter of the Quran and the Hadith (the words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammed).
It is from such imams, most of whom are graduates of renowned Islamic institutions in the Middle East and Asia, that Muslims in the West have been receiving guidance. Key among these institutions is Al-Azhar, a Cairo-based Sunni center for higher learning, attended by students from all over the world. Its curriculum includes extremist content, such as tenets that killing "apostates" is a Divine obligation; that it is a Muslim's duty to humiliate female prisoners through sexual abuse; that adulterers should be stoned to death, and that Christians and Jews are the "enemy of God."
Many imams in the West are graduates of Cairo's Al-Azhar, a Sunni center for higher learning. Its curriculum includes extremist content, such as tenets that killing "apostates" is a Divine obligation; that it is a Muslim's duty to humiliate female prisoners through sexual abuse; that adulterers should be stoned to death, and that Christians and Jews are the "enemy of God." (Image source: Diego Delso/Wikimedia Commons)
Whenever confronted by critics in the West calling them to task for spreading such violent teachings, many imams respond by cloaking their real objectives, saying that the texts should be read in the context of the time that they were written, and by highlighting peaceful and tolerant Quranic verses. Other clerics -- those who do not know how to tailor their rhetoric to Western ears -- openly admit their religious ideology's true intentions.
The infiltration of this ideology is reminiscent of the spread of communism and should be defeated similarly -- not with weapons, but by exposing its true nature and providing an alternative. The West first must abandon, however, the notion that radical Islam is an internal Muslim issue, any more than communism was a "Russian issue" that "the Russians" needed to solve. Islam and Muslims are part and parcel of Western societies, and Islamist terrorism is a global problem.
In addition, the views of liberal Muslim scholars, who reject the whole premise of extremist, political Islam, should be supported and widely circulated. Among these are prominent intellectuals -- such as the late Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd from Egypt; Mohammed Arkoun, an Algerian who died in France in 2010; the late Egyptian Supreme Court justice Muhammad Sa'id al-'Ashmawi; Egyptian talk-show host Islam Bahiri; and the late Sudanese theologian Mahmoud Muhammad Taha -- all of whom have provided evidence, based on knowledge of the Quran and Hadith, that the "caliphate" is merely a project to colonize more land, as all the old empires did, and that the hostility toward Jews connected to the Muhammed's battle with the Banu Qurayza in the 7th century should have ended long ago.
Muslim innovators abound in the West, as well, and should be the ones establishing mosques, educational institutions and media outlets, to provide followers with an alternative to political Islamism. Finally, imams in Western countries must be held to the same standard as members of other professions. They should be required to receive occupational licenses, based on criteria determined by the state, in conjunction with modern Muslims seeking a peaceful life and the ability to integrate into their societies without fear of repercussions at the hands of fundamentalists.
**Saied Shoaaib is a Muslim writer and researcher, specializing in Islamic movements. He can be reached at:
© 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.

Turkey: Jail for Hunger Strike
Burak Bekdil/Gatestone Institute/June 05/17
Instead of trying to silence the global voice against his increasingly autocratic governance, and oppressing millions who do not respect him, Erdogan could try to earn respect by having a little mercy on dissidents.
Although there has been no ruling so far that Fethullah Gulen was the mastermind behind the attempted coup, 150,000 people have been purged, and they, their families and perhaps a million Turks are decrying Erdogan's unjust behavior.
So, officially, they remain "terrorists", even though they were acquitted of charges of terrorism.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in an odd mood: He is trying to convince the international community that he is not Hitler. Most recently, Erdogan's government ordered Google to de-list more than 40 URLs that reported about the Turkish government's recent crackdown on journalists and other critics that compared Turkey's president to Hitler.
Instead of trying to silence the global voice against his increasingly autocratic governance, and oppressing millions who do not respect him, he could try to earn respect by having a little mercy on dissidents. That is probably too much to expect from someone who once infamously said that "If you pity you will be pitied".
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to convince the international community that he is not Hitler. (Photo by Elif Sogut/Getty Images)
In the aftermath of a failed coup against his government in July 2016, Erdogan has dismissed 150,000 public employees, citing their alleged links with Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric in self-exile in Pennsylvania, whom Erdogan claims was the mastermind behind the attempted putsch. The Ankara government also has arrested more than 50,000 people on the same charges.
Although there has been no ruling so far that Gulen was, in fact, the mastermind behind the attempted coup, 150,000 people have been purged, and they, their families and perhaps a million Turks are decrying Erdogan's unjust behavior. The victims are not only the "Gulenists": The purge has targeted a wide spectrum of dissidents including anti-Islamist leftists of different views. In just one week in May, Turkey's Interior Ministry said, 1,284 suspects were detained in "counter-terrorism raids".
In March, a professor of literature, Nuriye Gulmen, and a primary school teacher, Semih Ozakca, both victims of the purge, started protesting by going on a hunger strike: a liquid diet of lemon, saltwater and sugar solutions. They have lost weight and doctors say their health is deteriorating.
What to do? Let the teachers die a slow and painful death? Listen to their plea and rethink if, without guns and bombs, they really are "terrorists"? Erdogan's government chose a third way: On May 22, the 76th day of their hunger strike, the police broke down their door and detained them. The reason for their arrest? The police feared "that their protest could turn into death fasts and new protests".
So, at around the same time that Erdogan's government was trying to convince world opinion that he is not Hitler, his police detained two protesters on hunger strike.
"I've been a lawyer for a long time and have never seen such a reason for an arrest," said Selcuk Kozagacli, a lawyer representing the teachers. When Kozagacli met them in jail, he said they "looked tired and knocked about a bit".
Amnesty International said that the dismissals of state employees in Turkey had been carried out arbitrarily and had a catastrophic impact on their lives:
"The failure of the authorities to set out clear criteria for the dismissals or provide any individualized evidence of wrongdoing blows a hole in their claim that all the dismissals are necessary to counter terrorism ... Instead, evidence suggests widespread abusive and discriminatory motives behind the purge".
In a letter to Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, 62 members of the European Parliament condemned the arrests and called for the hunger-strikers' immediate release. The letter said:
"We, the undersigned members of the European Parliament, wish to express our deepest concern about the ongoing state of emergency and disproportionate effects thereof on democracy and human rights in Turkey".
Ankara looks entirely indifferent, even remorseless. Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister, said that the two teachers had lost their jobs because of links to the leftist militant group Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). "There are organic ties between these two persons and the DHKP-C terrorist organisation... It is very clear," the minister said. And it all fell on deaf ears when the teachers' lawyer, said that they had both been acquitted of the charges mentioned by the minister in 2012. So, they remain "terrorists", even though they were acquitted of charges of terrorism: Guilty without verdict. Minister Soylu also claimed that the teachers were "on a hunger strike from 9 am until the evening but then went home to eat".
Didem Engin, an opposition MP, said that at least 37 people who had been purged have committed suicide. Messrs Erdogan and Soylu must be sorry about that. They might be thinking: If only we had detained them first, before they killed themselves in "terrorist activity"...
**Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was just fired from Turkey's leading newspaper after 29 years, for writing what was taking place in Turkey for Gatestone. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
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Nasser's populist rhetoric still affects region
Dr. Simon Waldman/The National/June 05/17
Everywhere you look, populism is on the rise. In the UK, there’s Brexit; in the United States, there’s Donald J Trump; in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan keeps winning elections.
The Australian academic Benjamin Moffitt explains that populism is a political style, a kind of repertoire, a performance if you will. Indeed, one could certainly add that it's a form of political theatre where social media is the stage and soundbites within 140 characters are the actors’ lines. The populist leader likes to simplify policy and groups political life into "us" and "them" with appeals to "the people" against a particular group, nation or outsider.
Such displays of a political performance are not new. There are plenty of past examples. But, it was in the Middle East that the populist leader par excellence emerged. His name was Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Rising through the ranks of the military during turbulent 1930s and 1940s Egypt, Nasser was aware of the widespread anti-British sentiment across the country. Confined to the barracks, Nasser established the Free Officer movement. He used the loss of Palestine to the nascent state of Israel during the 1948 war to rally more officers to his cause, blaming the British-backed King Farouk for giving Egyptian troops defective weaponry.
The Free Officers staged a coup in July 1952. First it was General Naguib who claimed leadership. But with the support of the Liberation Rally, an organisation formed by Nasser to create the appearance of popular street support, not unlike fake Twitter and Facebook accounts used by some political campaigns today, Nasser took over as president in 1954, a position he held until his death in 1970.
Nasser used the social media of his day, the radio station Voice of the Arabs, to spread his message across the Arab world. Using colloquial language, he styled himself a man of the people standing up to imperial powers while promoting Arab unity and decrying "reactionary" Arab regimes. Meanwhile, in Egypt, Nasser initiated land reforms and other popular domestic policies. Although they did little to change inequality, they helped his claim to represent the ordinary man.
Nasser’s popularity reached unprecedented heights after he nationalised the Suez Canal in 1956. It was an act of defiance against the colonial powers of Britain and France and a means to fund the Aswan Dam, a huge project Nasser said was for the benefit of the common Egyptian. London and Paris conspired to depose Nasser: Israel would attack Egypt, prompting Britain and France to intervene and remove him. But Nasser was defiant and held his ground against Britain, France and Israel, who bungled their operation.
Nasser’s popularity was now so great that it was by the invitation of Syria’s nationalists that, in 1958, the United Arab Republic was formed, unifying Egypt and Syria and making Pan-Arabism appear a reality and not just a dream.
But Nasser’s undoing was his disastrous attempt to lead the Arab world to liberate Palestine in 1967.
Perhaps this was a bid to rekindle his light which was waning after Syria left the UAR in 1961, complaining of Egyptian colonialisation of all things. Perhaps Nasser wanted to reverse Egypt’s losses following its intervention in the Yemen civil war to support the republicans against Saudi-backed royalists. The long and bloody war became known as Egypt’s Vietnam. Or perhaps Nasser was disturbed by accusations that he was doing nothing to support Jordan or Syria in military skirmishes and conflagrations with Israel. "Nasser is hiding behind the skirts of the UN," quipped King Hussein of Jordan, referring to the UN forces stationed in the Sinai separating Israeli and Egyptian troops.
Nasser expelled the UN forces from Sinai, closed the straights of Tiran to Israeli shipping and, to the cheers of the masses, proclaimed his intention to destroy Israel. On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike. After six days of fighting, Egypt lost Sinai while Israel controlled the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, which it has held on to ever since. Nasser accused Britain and the US of colluding with the Israelis. But he had been defeated.
Nasser resigned. In one last populist performance, crowds gathered in a stage-managed call from the street for he to remain president. he died three years later. His goals of defeating Israel and seeing through pan-Arab unity lay in tatters.
As the fate of Nasser shows, without substance populists are merely performers facing a possible final curtain call of failure.
**Dr Simon A Waldman is visiting research fellow at King’s College London

Qatar needs to address its policy contradictions
Majid Rafizadeh/The National/June 05/17
For Iran’s ruling Shia clerics, the increasing division between Doha and other Arab nations is a significant victory.
First of all, the rift plays right into a core pillar of Iran’s regional and foreign policy: the divide-and-rule doctrine. When Donald Trump made his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, Tehran was alarmed. After many years of exploiting diplomacy, concessions and divisions, Iranian leaders became aware that the region’s realignment was under way. A powerful coalition and united front between the US and the GCC was formed to counter Iran’s regional ambitions.
Iran is not going to alter its foreign policy and revolutionary ideals. As a result, Iran’s tactical shift is to break up this coalition through various means. And for Iran, the key was Qatar. Iran is attempting to abuse the situation by sending a message to Washington and the international community that there is no unity in the GCC or among Arab nations.
Secondly, Iran is also rejoicing the fact that the divisions between Qatar and other GCC allies are diverting attention from the region’s geopolitical and security priority; which is confronting Iran’s military adventurism and expanding influence in the Middle East.
While the headlines are directed towards the rift between Qatar and other Arab allies, Iran is liberally increasing its financial, military, advisory, intelligence and weaponry assistance to Bashar Al Assad, Shia militias and some designated-terrorist groups in Syria. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and its elite wing, the Quds Force, are deploying more troops in Syria as well.
In Iraq, Iran is expanding its Shiite militia proxies, arming them and making political reality of these groups in order to further control the political destiny of the nation.
In Bahrain, Tehran is escalating its attempts to further infiltrate the system and generate chaos in order to advance the core pillar of its foreign policy.
In Yemen, Iran continues to deliver sophisticated arms to the Houthis which is exacerbating and radicalising the conflict.
Tehran is benefiting from the instability. Roughly four decades of the history of the Islamic Republic has shown that it is through chaos and crisis that Iran expands its influence.
What Qatar has failed to recognise is that Iran’s ruling Shia clerics will not serve Doha’s long-term economic, strategic and geopolitical interests. For Qatar, alliance with Arab nations and the US ought to be more important. For example, economically speaking, Qatar’s deals and trades with other GCC members and the United States significantly outweigh Doha’s business deals with Iran.
Qatar should be aware that geopolitically and strategically, Iran’s revolutionary political establishment is not sustainable.
In addition, if Qatar faces domestic challenges, Arab nations, not Iran, are more likely to assist Doha. Tehran will instead attempt to exploit the situation and infiltrate Qatar’s political establishment as it did with Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.
Therefore, to preserve its long-term interests, Qatar needs to adequately address the deep contradictions in its foreign policy. Qatar cannot appear to appease Iran and its proxies while simultaneously projecting itself as an ally of other GCC members.
Qatar's foreign policy is also undermining the US-GCC united front to confront terrorism and Iran's military adventurism in the region. This is diverting attention from the underlying issue: Iran’s relentless pursuit of regional power.
In order to stop Iran’s pursuit of regional superiority, diplomacy is required to bridge the gap between Qatar and other Arab allies.
The US can play a crucial role as a mediator. Since the largest American base in the Middle East is located in Qatar, Washington can play a critical role in persuading Qatar through negotiations, diplomacy and political pressure to change its calculations. Meetings between Qatar and other GCC members would be crucial as well.
If these diplomatic initiatives are coherently implemented, they can lead Qatar to recalculate its political and economic priorities. It is not in the interest of Qatar to lose its relationships with Washington and other Arab nations for the Shia Iran, Hizbollah and other non-state actors.
In a nutshell, Iran is the major beneficiary of Qatar’s actions and the rift between Doha and other GCC allies. Tehran is freely advancing its expansionist policies, military adventurism and sectarian agenda. ​ When it comes to the division between Qatar and other Gulf members, Iran will definitely continue to add more fuel to the fire. Doha should wake up to that fact and change its calculations.
*Dr Majid Rafizadeh is a leading Iranian-American political scientist, president of the International American Council and board member of the Harvard International Review

Fredom Of Speech in the Age of Yellow Journalism! 05/17
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” While this popular quote is normally attributed to Voltaire, it refers to what Evelyn Hall thought Voltaire’s attitude would have been in response to the condemnation of the Claude-Adrien Helvétius’s controversial work by the Parlement de Paris and by the Collège de Sorbonne. This is an extreme approach to defending the fundamental right to speech, but that right should not abridge on the rights of others. Indeed, the law and the Constitution, even in a free country like the United States, do not protect all types of speech. For example, defamation or libel cannot be protected.
The flood of defaming articles that has invaded the Lebanese press and social media is nothing but a manifestation of what is better known as yellow journalism or ‘presstitution.’ Without any research and reliable facts, people have bombarded the public with unfounded, unsubstantiated, and damaging claims. To better understand the fine line between the fundamental right to speech and defamation, the LACD media team reached out to Joey Chbeir, an attorney in the United States whose doctoral thesis has focused on constitutional protection to civil liberties.
LACD Media: Mr. Chbeir, as it is very well known, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution pertains to the freedom of speech. Could you please explain to us the extent of this right?
J.C.: There is no doubt that the United States of America remains the beacon of freedom to most democracies and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution mandates for Congress to “make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances….” The United States Supreme Court has creatively interpreted the First Amendment and created an extensive body of law, but not every speech is protected. The law will protect your opinion, your thoughts, and your recitation of true facts. However, the law will not protect someone claiming, without any basis to the story, that a minister stole or was paid an $800 million in commissions or someone finances terrorist activities. The First Amendment does not protect speech that leads to illegal activity, imminent violence, obscenity, defamation, or libel.
LACD Media: Does Freedom of speech protect defamation of character?
J.C.: Freedom of speech will always protect an opinion, but not false and damaging statements that harm the reputation of an individual, group, or a business. As such, a defamation lawsuit will be generally lost if the defendant can prove that the statement he or she made is true or if the statement is a true expression of an opinion (and not facts). That second category entails a long analysis to determine whether the opinion is protected under the First Amendment. At any rate, in some cases and without proving any damages, a plaintiff can recover from a defendant if he/she simply proves that the defendant made a statement that involves one of the following four categories: (1) accusing the plaintiff of a crime, (2) claiming that the plaintiff has a loathsome disease, (3) accusing the plaintiff of a trait that would adversely reflect on his or her fitness to conduct business or trade, or (4) imputing serious sexual misconduct. Again, the truth is always a good defense.
LACD Media: So, journalists can say “I don’t approve of/like this politician” but cannot falsely state “This politician supports a terrorist organization?”
J.C.: Exactly. Freedom of speech allows people to express their opinion or their approval of people and/or laws, but it does not give them a carte blanche to convey false information as facts. This can be grounds for a legitimate lawsuit. My advice to all journalists, reporters, bloggers, and analysts is to check their sources and verify their information before publishing it. Several years ago, an American/Lebanese blogger was sued for accusing another fellow American/Lebanese of supporting a terrorist organization. Despite the blogger’s claim to a constitutional right, which would normally preempt any law, the Court found that the blogger’s statements were defamatory and the jury awarded the plaintiff $90,000.
LACD Media: Thank you.
LACD Media Coordinator
Marlene Sabeh

Europe Has No Bubbles to Fear
Ferdinando Giugliano/Bloomberg View/June 05/17
Talk to critics of the European Central Bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy and a common theme emerges: concern about financial stability. Quantitative easing is seen as creating dangerous asset bubbles. Negative interest rates are said to hurt bank profitability, making the financial system more vulnerable to shocks. These concerns are widely misplaced. In fact, the real worry should be the risks that arise from ending monetary stimulus too soon. A premature tightening could cause euro zone government bond yields to spike, raising doubts over debt sustainability in the weakest member states.
There is little evidence so far that the measures the ECB has implemented to lift inflation and revive growth have had any dangerous side effects for financial stability. The Bundesbank has warned that the ECB’s unorthodox monetary policy has pushed up property values in Germany, adding that house prices in some German cities are now overvalued by up to 30 percent. However, while property prices may be climbing fast in some parts of the euro area, the increases are well in line with long-term valuations. When they are not — for example in the case of prime commercial real estate — the increase does not seem sufficiently widespread to threaten a financial crisis.
A second fear relates to negative interest rates. Instead of paying banks interest on their extra reserves, the ECB now charges banks a rate of 0.4 percent for storing their money. Some central bankers, such as François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Bank of France, are now warning against this policy, which they fear is eating too deeply into the profitability of the banks.
Still, the evidence that negative rates are hurting the banks is flimsy. True, between June 2014 and September 2016, the ECB’s monetary policy reduced the margin between deposit and lending rates for the median bank by 1 percentage point. However, only a quarter of this effect can be attributed to negative rates, according to the central bank’s own calculations. Meanwhile, the ECB’s easing package has delivered other benefits, for example improving the quality of credit by reducing the risk of default. The overall impact on the profitability of banks appears negligible. A much bigger challenge for banks — in Germany and elsewhere — is to adapt to the digital revolution, cutting costs and finding new revenue streams.
For now, the continuation of the ECB’s stimulus does not pose particular risks to financial stability. Its premature removal, however, would. As the latest issue of the ECB’s Financial Stability Review has shown, stress in the euro zone sovereign bond market has increased around the turn of the year. On aggregate, government debt for the currency area stands at around 90 percent of gross domestic product, which is high by historical standards. An increase in sovereign risk could have an impact on debt sustainability for the most vulnerable countries, such as Italy or Portugal, where debt is around 130 percent of GDP. And since many banks still hold large quantities of domestic government bonds, these tensions could easily spread to the financial system.
These risks suggest that the ECB should err on the side of caution when it withdraws its stimulus. Luckily, the central bank can afford to be patient: the inflation rate in the euro area — once stripped of its more volatile components — is still well below the central bank’s target of just below 2 percent. Unemployment remains high; the recovery has further to go before putting pressure on wages.
But there are risks that are beyond the control of the ECB. The most important one is the divergence between countries in the euro area. Mario Draghi, ECB president, has made it clear he will not withdraw the monetary stimulus unless the pickup in inflation is broadly spread across the currency union. However, it is possible that the recovery will be faster in some countries than in others. When the ECB chooses to wind down QE and raise rates, the most vulnerable member states could face an exceedingly tight monetary policy. This could spook investors, raising fears over debt sustainability.
With a one-size-fits-all monetary policy, the ECB is poorly equipped to deal with possible financial turmoil in one or a handful of countries. Governments must do their bit, keeping debt levels in check and seeking higher rates of growth. While the ECB can do a lot to preserve financial stability, it cannot act alone.

What Does Russia Think?
David Ignatius/The Washington Post/June 05/17
When Russian officials and analysts here talk about the US investigation of their alleged hacking of the 2016 campaign, two themes predominate: They’re flattered that their country is seen as such a powerful threat, and they’re amazed that the United States is so preoccupied with the scandal.
This is the official line, to be sure, but it was also expressed by several critics of the regime I interviewed this week. People can’t quite believe the sudden reversal of fortunes: Russia is back as a global force, after decades of humiliation. And the United States, so long the dominant superpower, is now divided, disoriented and, to Russian eyes, in retreat.
For the Kremlin version, here’s how Sergey Karaganov, the head of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, describes his reaction to the investigation: “It’s a mixture of disgust and sympathy. Disgust because 99 percent of that is lies or a concoction, maybe 100 percent. As for sympathy, it’s a desperate picture when a great democracy is killing itself, committing collective suicide.”
There’s an undisguised tone of schadenfreude here, even as officials talk about US overreaction. “I would have been proud and happy if the authorities of my country would have used some hackers to penetrate [your system], and showed that you’re living in a crystal palace and should not interfere in the affairs of others,” said Karaganov, who’s an informal Kremlin adviser in addition to running the think tank.
Russian President Vladimir Putin wins either way, argues Andrei Kolesnikov, an independent analyst who’s a senior associate with the Carnegie Moscow Center. “If we did meddle in your elections, we show our might. If we didn’t, we’re pure.”
A similar assessment of the win-win dynamic for Putin comes from Andrei Soldatov, one of Moscow’s best investigative reporters and the author of many exposés about Russian intelligence. “What did Russia get [from the hacking] in terms of foreign policy? Almost nothing, except that Russia looks powerful,” he told me. “That’s why Putin is so popular. He gives people an identity: Once again, we’re a superpower.”
What surprises Russians is how quickly the US-led order has been coming apart since the election of Donald Trump. Russian officials loathed Hillary Clinton and favored Trump. But it’s unlikely that, even in the darkest corridors of the Kremlin, Putin’s advisers imagined that President Trump would be so disruptive, or the reaction to him so volatile. Russians have grown up being intimidated by the United States; they didn’t imagine it was so fragile.
“We think Washington has gone crazy,” said Andranik Migranyan, a former Russian government official who has taught politics in the United States. “The American story was always one of self-sufficiency. Now, we see a sense of vulnerability.” He sees Trump’s election as a “paradigm shift” for an America that was much more polarized and overstretched than the elites realized. Now, in his view, it’s payback time.
You might expect that Russians would feel embarrassed by the charge that they tried to subvert US and European campaigns, but it’s the opposite. Migranyan explained: “You are assuring us that Putin is all-powerful, that he can do anything he wants — fix elections, change Europe, do anything.”
The official media here are sardonic about each day’s revelations in the US media and Congress. When Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said this week that Russia was more dangerous than ISIS, a Russian news site responded: “Somebody give this gentleman a sedative.” When a story broke about White House adviser Jared Kushner’s problems, the same site headlined: “Once again, those Russians!” Basically, they think it’s funny.
Karaganov described Trump as “unbelievably brave” in challenging US political orthodoxy, including his calls for better relations with Russia.
Trump’s chief virtue for the Kremlin is that he turned back Clinton, who embodied the aggressive, pro-democracy, interventionist policies that Russia viewed as a mortal threat. “We saw them as absolutely 100 percent dangerous,” Karaganov said. “My advice to the government if she wins was: Put your nuclear forces on alert, so they would know.”
Putin is hosting a celebration of Russia’s new power this week, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a Davos-like gathering. It’s not a victory parade, but it might as well be. For Putin and his allies, America’s vaunted “liberal international order” is dissolving.
“That order we did not like, and we are doing away with it,” Karaganov said.

The World Bank Has Bigger Problems Than Bad Writing
Noah Smith/Bloomberg/June 05/17
Economists, to put it mildly, are not known for their communication skills. The typical economics paper is written in a formal, stilted style, laden with phrases like “in the following subsection” and “it has been shown that.” Jargon flies thick and fast, interspersed with highly formalized mathematical definitions and propositions. For a non-economist to hack through the verbal jungle of the typical paper is often an impossible task.
Why is econ so abstruse? A simple explanation is that economists are just math nerds who were never forced to communicate well. A hardened cynic might suggest that the purpose is to create a secret language that can only be understood by insiders, in order to thwart outside scrutiny. I suspect that econ is far from the worst offender when it comes to using jargon as an artificial barrier to entry, but it’s possible some of this is going on.
In any case, Paul Romer, chief economist of the World Bank, seems to have tried to change this situation. After assuming leadership of the Bank’s research arm last year, the Development Economics Group, Romer apparently initiated a crusade against stilted writing, even going so far as to count how many times researchers used the word “and.” The researchers were having none of it, however, and successfully campaigned to force Romer to give up leadership of the group. Romer’s budget cuts and elimination of positions within the bank probably didn’t endear him to his subordinates, either.
This is sad, but was probably inevitable. An aggressive, maverick leader rarely succeeds in shaking up a sleepy, hidebound organization overnight. To truly change the institutional culture of a place like the World Bank would take a long time and a lot of painful inside baseball — it’s not the kind of thing that can be accomplished with a quick frontal assault. Romer isn’t the first reformer to get bogged down in that particular organization — President Jim Yong Kim, who attempted a massive restructuring of the Bank in 2014, caused turmoil and even provoked a work stoppage.
So Romer’s efforts were probably always a low-percentage shot. But it was a good try. From an outside perspective, it certainly looks as if the World Bank is an institution in need of great change. And the problem goes far beyond poor communication.
First of all, the Bank’s original mission — to lend money to developing countries — is becoming less and less important. As Center for Global Development researchers Scott Morris and Madeleine Gleave noted in a 2015 report, the rapid growth of the world economy means that most countries just don’t need the bank anymore:
The Bank will continue to play an essential role in a relatively small number of fragile states, but the rest of its core lending model could very quickly become irrelevant to most of its other current borrowers…On its current path, the World Bank will soon enough be viewed as no longer essential.
Morris and Gleave suggest a number of other roles the Bank could step into, including disease response, funding scientific research, making municipal loans or simply acting as a think tank. But this isn’t very encouraging — it paints the picture of an organization shambling onward out of sheer momentum, an expensive bureaucracy looking for a purpose. In 2014, the Financial Times wondered openly if the Bank was “sliding into irrelevance.”
Meanwhile, the World Bank’s sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, has its own problems. Created to make emergency loans to countries in crisis, the IMF advocated fiscal austerity that probably often ended up making the situation worse. In recent years, the Fund’s macroeconomists, led by Chief Economists Olivier Blanchard and Maurice Obstfeld, have almost completely reversed the organization’s standard approach to fiscal policy. But that leaves the uncomfortable question of why the Fund’s institutional culture allowed such a wrongheaded approach to persist for so long in the first place.
A picture is beginning to emerge of global financial institutions that are too hidebound and conservative. Faced with changes in both the global economy and economists’ understanding of recessions, both the World Bank and the IMF have too often resisted change rather than embrace it. It’s worth wondering if the root of the problem comes from the culture of economics.
Economists are, in general, an insular and hierarchical bunch. They are used to having the quality and value of their work judged only by other economists. The outside world is expected to pay economists’ salaries and listen to their advice, but not to question the value of what they do. But when this ivory-tower approach is applied to real-world organizations, the result can be unacceptable institutional inertia.
Perhaps it was this insular culture, rather than just bad writing, that Romer had really intended to shake up. If so, the deck was stacked against him from the start. Making economists open up and engage with the wider world — and make themselves vulnerable to criticism by intelligent outsiders — may be a task too great even for a famous and brilliant individual like Romer.

Ambassadors of the Dark

Ghassan Charbel/Asharq Al Awsat/June 05/17
I initially wanted to write about June 05, 1967. I wanted to discuss the half century of degeneration from the Naksa to the Nakba we are drowninng in today.
This Nakba is more horrific than that we witnessed after Palestine was occupied.
I was planning to talk about what “historic leaders” did and how their escapades ended with the dissipation of nations and their wealth. They killed every promising idea and chance and left the people out in the open to face bigots who dream of taking the nation back to the stone age.
I meant to address the delusion of trans-border leadership and its expensive termination. I also intended to discuss republics that collapsed because of fear, the brutality of regimes that gambled with the fate of lands and its people, millions of displaced civilians living in refugee camps with their hungry children, hundreds of prisoners rotting in jails.
I wanted to share the experience of three of my friends on how the Naksa affected their lives. My Libyan friend said that the present is far more dangerous than the past. The youngsters who witnessed the series of civil wars initiated by the “Arab Spring” will turn into ticking bombs in the Arab nations, he added.
He believes that the disappointment of moderate Arabs is deeper than when people discovered half a century ago that the war is not going as the “Voice of Arab” radio station stated or what its famous anchor Ahmad Said reported.
My Iraqi friend said he was deeply saddened and at loss, with a feeling like a delusional disbelief. Yet, he said, he felt a sense of a challenge which prompted him to participate in the protests despite the fact that he had been in hiding since his release from prison.
He explained the role of Baath Party in persecuting every different opinion and slaughtering and arresting the opposition.
Nonetheless, my Syrian friend was very brief. He just said that the Naksa of 1967 caused pains far less than the current one.
I decided on Sunday morning to write about the Naksa turned into Nakba. Things have changed. London was enjoying a beautiful weather which doubled its magic. I left my office on Saturday night to the center of the city hoping I could steal away something of this short and swift Spring night.
People were clearly enjoying the beautiful weather. That’s the normal thing for cities that have bid farewell to tragedies of civil wars and opted for elections to express content or discontent. The British are getting ready for Thursday’s election.
All of sudden, shortly after 10 PM, police and ambulance sirens filled the air, and a few minutes later, it was confirmed that the city was attacked by a lone wolf or a group of wolves. Everyone was in shock, especially that Manchester attack happened only recently.
The news about the stabbing and rampage were on all cellphones and restaurant goers cut their visit short. I, as an Arab, had a strange feeling of guilt. Every time a similar incident occurs, we all wish the executor weren’t an Arab or a Muslim. But our wishes are always crushed by the fact that these incidents seem to be limited to the world we belong to.
I felt like apologizing.
Courtesy aside, these European countries welcomed millions of Arabs and Muslims who escaped poverty, injustice, and depression and were, in fact, kinder to them than our own countries.
Europe aimed to integrate the newcomers into its communities and economy and granted them the right to be different and respected their beliefs. It gave them money from taxpayers and enrolled their children in modern education.
I am saying this because I monitored closely how Germany was busy welcoming the Syrian refugees where one of them expressed his joy for arriving at a country where he can find his three daily meals.
The tragedy is horrific indeed. Over the past decades, darkness took over: an ideology that doesn’t acknowledge others and insists on eliminating or killing them. A creed provoked by lit streets, cultural occasions, freedom and creativity, scientific research and posing complicated questions.
A doctrine that considers anyone different as the enemy who deserves to be stabbed, rammed, or slaughtered.
Worse than that tragedy are those looking for justifications for the perpetrator, citing what this country did or what history wrote as if we haven’t done any transgressions ourselves. The situation can no longer bare justifications or silence.
Terrorists have inflicted far more damages to the West than they have done to our countries. Arabs and Muslims should take a clear stand for the sake of their countries and their grandchildren.
A comprehensive battle against extremism should be the first article in the constitution of every Arab and Islamic nation. Without winning this battle, we will continue our fall towards hell.
We do not have the right to punish the world like this.
Ambassadors of the dark’s obdurate actions will sooner or later backfire at the Arab and Islamic community and the countries they came from.

Six Muslim Countries Just Got Sick of Qatar Bankrolling Terror 6 دول لم تعد تتحمل ارهاب المال القطري
Elliot Friedland/Clarion Project/June 06/17
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, the Maldives and the Eastern government of Libya all just severed diplomatic relations with Qatar. Saudi Arabia sealed all land, sea and air borders with the country. All countries said they would halt all air and sea traffic to Qatar.
Qatari diplomats have just 48 hours to get out.
The six countries cited Qatar’s ties to terrorism, in particular to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is a global Islamist movement originally founded in Egypt that seeks to implement sharia as state law.
Join our campaign to ban the Muslim Brotherhood. Write to your elected representative and tell them why they demand the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.
UAE state media outlet WAM accused Qatar of “supporting, funding and embracing terrorism, extremism and sectarian organisations.” Bahrain accused Qatar of “shaking the security and stability of Bahrain and meddling in its affairs.”
Qatar has pulled its forces from the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The exact cause of the severing of ties remains unknown. Qatar hit back saying there was “no justification.”
Ties were severed just days after it was reported that Qatar expelled senior Hamas leaders tied to terrorism from its territory. Qatar said the expulsions came as a result of unspecified “outside pressure.” Palestinian officials told Israeli TV the pressure came from the United States and Saudi Arabia and that Qatar gave Hamas a list of names of individuals who had to leave Qatar immediately.
Yet there has long been tension building. Two weeks ago the same four countries blocked access to Qatari websites after controversial statements criticizing Saudi Arabia and supporting Iran were reported to have been made by the Saudi Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
The emir reportedly said “There is no reason behind Arabs’ hostility to Iran and our relationship with Israel is good.”
“Iran represents a regional and Islamic power that cannot be ignored and it is unwise to face up against it,” he was reported as saying. “It is a big power in the stabilization of the region.” In a series of tweets which were later deleted, Qatar’s state owned media outlet Al Jazeera also said Qatar would be withdrawing its ambassadors from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Qatar dismissed the reports as fake news caused by a hacking attack against its media outlets. Nevertheless, the damage was done.
So why is this happening?
Qatar has funded jihadi groups in Syria that wage war against the Assad regime, including Ahrar al-Sham which was perfectly happy to fight alongside then al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra. In Libya, Qatar has funded the Islamist “Libya Dawn” coalition. Arms shipments to Islamist militias there were tracked by British intelligence.
In 2014, anger over these funding ties led Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE to pull their ambassadors from Qatar.
Over the past decades, Qatar has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into funding Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliate based in Gaza.In March, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal unveiled the new Hamas Charter in the Sheraton Hotel in Doha. As recently as February they sent $100 million to Gaza, as part of a $1-billion package they promised after Operation Protective Edge.
Al Jazeera also provided much in the way of media support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt during the 2011 revolution, during the tenure of Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt Mohammed Morsi and in the aftermath of his departure. Immediately following the coup, 22 journalists working for Al Jazeera in Egypt resigned after being told by their Qatari bosses to support the Muslim Brotherhood.
Abdel Latif el-Menawy, former head of the Egypt News Center accused the outlet of being a “propaganda channel” for the Brotherhood.
Egypt later shut down Al Jazeera offices and arrested several of its journalists accusing them of supporting the Brotherhood. You can read Clarion Project’s interview with the former bureau chief of Al Jazeera Egypt, Mohammed Fahmy, here.
The Muslim Brotherhood is correctly regarded, along with Pakistan’s Jamaat e-Islami as the grandfather of modern Islamism. The mentor of Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, was a Muslim Brotherhood member and Milestones, written by Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb has become a foundational textbook for the jihadi movement.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE see the Brotherhood as a threat to their rule. All have banned the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The UAE not only banned the Muslim Brotherhood, but also 80 of their international affiliates including the American Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Muslim American Society (MAS).
For more information about the Muslim Brotherhood, see Clarion Project’s Special Report: The Muslim Brotherhood.
The White House is reportedly considering banning the Muslim Brotherhood. There are those in policy circles, such as the Brookings Institute, which oppose a ban. It is worth noting that in 2013 Brookings took a $14.8 million gift from none other than Qatar, payable over four years, which among other things “helped fund a Brookings affiliate in Qatar and a project on United States relations with the Islamic world,” according to The New York Times.
Join our campaign to ban the Muslim Brotherhood. Write to your elected representative and tell them why they demand the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.