June 15/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world therefore the world hates you
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 15/18-21/:"‘If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, "Servants are not greater than their master." If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me."

The Fate Of Those Who Lie To The Holy Spirit Will Face that of Ananias & his wife's Sapphira
Acts of the Apostles05/01-11/:"But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. ‘Ananias,’ Peter asked, ‘why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!’ Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. The young men came and wrapped up his body, then carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter said to her, ‘Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.’ And she said, ‘Yes, that was the price.’Then Peter said to her, ‘How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.’Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 14-15/17
The US Has a Homegrown Terrorist Problem, It’s Coming from the Right/Colbert I. King/The Washington Post/June 14/17
Theresa May’s Biggest Mistake/Therese Raphael/Bloomberg View/June 14/17
Britain Will Pay for Theresa May’s Election Gamble/Matthew d Ancona/The New York Times/June 14/17
A Replacement of Population is Taking Place in Europe/Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/June 14/17
Interpreting Islamism for Peace/Saher Fares/Gatestone Institute/June 14/17
Is Qatar supporting terrorism? A look its ties to Iran, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood/Haretz/AP/June 14/17
‘Leave’, the Qatari slogan that backfired/Fares bin Hezam/Al Arabiya/June 14/17
Will holding Qatar accountable obstruct other battles/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/June 14/17

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published on June 14-15/17
Lebanon Cabinet agrees to May elections, refers vote law to Parliament
Cabinet Approves Electoral Law, Extends Parliament Term to May
Berri Says New Electoral Law Launches 'New Phase' in Lebanon
Adwan: New Electoral Law to Reflect Real Weight of Every Party
Report: Kataeb Says New Vote Law 'Masked' Return to 1960
Oghassapian: Canceling Women's Quota Worst Part of New Law
Policeman Held for Murdering Young Teacher in Baalbek Town
Garbage Dumped in Sea Off Lebanese Coast Sparks Outrage
Cyprus Coordinates Oil Extraction, Export with Lebanon

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 14-15/17
Top U.S. Congressman among Many Shot at Baseball Practice
At Least 12 Dead in London Tower Block Fire
Washington Asks Doha to Find ‘Common Ground’ in Crisis
Astana Meetings Expected Early July
Washington Ambassador in Doha Leaves her Post
Erdogan Calls for Gulf Measures to End Qatar Crisis
Saudi Interior Ministry Names Qatif Bombers Responsible for Killing 9 Security Servicemen
Morocco Supports Kuwaiti Mediation to Resolve Gulf Crisis
Macron in Morocco on His First Official Visit Outside Europe
Gaddafi’s Son Reportedly Released, ICC Demands His Arrest
State of Emergency Extended Four Months in Tunisia
Yemeni Intelligence Taskforce Arrests Top Houthi Leader in Marib
Egyptian Committee Approves Deal to Demarcate Sea Border with Saudi Arabia
West Leaning to Arm International Forces in Golan
Palestinian Chief of Intelligence: We Stand by Saudi Arabia, Refuse Iranian Projects
Hamas Takes Stricter Measures on Gaza Border with Egypt
Hundreds of Refugees Suffer Food Poisoning at Mosul Camp

Latest Lebanese Related News published on June 14-15/17
Lebanon Cabinet agrees to May elections, refers vote law to Parliament
The Daily Star/ June 14/17/BEIRUT: The Lebanese Cabinet Wednesday referred the much-anticipated vote law to the Parliament for endorsement, clearing way for May 2018 parliamentary elections. The Parliament will meet on Friday to approve the new electoral law, paving way for holding the first legislative elections in more than eight years. Ministers have agreed at the session to extending the Parliament's term by 11-months to give way for relevant authorities to prepare for the elections based on the new vote law. Elections are expected to be held on May 6, 2018, ahead of Ramadan, as they should be held between March 20 and May 19, 2018. President Michel Aoun told ministers at the beginning of the session that reaching an agreement on the new electoral law "might not achieve full balanced representation, but it's a step forward." "The vote law is a tremendous achievement. The [voting system] in Lebanon has been majoritarian since before [Lebanon's] independence," Aoun added. He noted that the Cabinet session will remain open "until the Cabinet endorses the new vote law and refers it to the Parliament."Prime Minister Saad Hariri began his address by confirming that the 1960 vote law "became behind us."
"The extension that we are seeking is only technical to stage modern, transparent and impartial elections," Hariri said, citing an eight to ten month extension period.The premier said that the government managed to reach a new vote law "averting a vacuum."Aoun and Hariri held talks ahead of the session.
The Cabinet has the electoral law as the first item on its 47-item agenda. Ministers received a draft of the new vote law late Tuesday night. The law includes 125 articles, and is based on proportional representation . A ministerial committee tasked with drafting the vote law met on the sidelines of the Cabinet meeting to edit its articles before referring it to the Parliament based on remarks by ministers, enabling the Cabinet to continue looking into its 47-item agenda. Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk was quoted by local media as saying during the session that "each side is stating its opening under the helm of approving the new vote law." State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Qanso said that rivals managed to agree on a vote law "despite our reservations," reiterating that Lebanon should be adopted as a one constituency. Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan said that the new vote law includes the "most important form of reforms, which is the proportionality. Aoun and Hariri agreed during their meeting ahead of the session on a 10-month technical extension of Parliament’s mandate to allow for the implementation of the deal, a source told The Daily Star. Machnouk told reporters as he headed into the Cabinet meeting that he will demand during the session a maximum one-year technical extension, saying that work on the magnetic voting card would require minimum seven months. In addition to dividing Lebanon into 15 electoral districts under a proportional voting system, the agreement states that the preferential vote should be based on the qada [district], rather than muhafaza [governorate] as demanded by some parties. The agreement also introduces a magnetic voting card that would reportedly allow Lebanese voters living outside their electoral constituencies to vote at their constituency of residence, within Lebanon and abroad. Lebanese diaspora would be allotted six parliamentary seats in the next elections after four years.
Municipality members, who wish to run for Parliament, will have to resign from their duties a month after the vote law is published in the Official Gazette. The previous period was two years. Unapproved demands included granting the military the right to vote, and a quota for women in Parliament, and lower the voting age from 21 to 18. Kataeb MP Nadim Gemayel tweeted against the approach of rivals to resolve political standstill. "[We] will answer your call [Hezbollah chief sayyed Hasan] Nasrallah," Gemayel said. The phrase is repeatedly used by Hezbollah's supporters to express loyalty to Nasrallah.
Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh said ahead of the session that he didn't understand the vote law. "We didn't object on the law but we have several notes regarding the age of voting, women quota and the voting of expats," he said. Minister of State for Women’s Affairs Jean Ogasapian said that he would propose during the session the addition of an article that guarantees that each list would include a female candidate. Several rights groups and organizations have long lobbied for a quota arguing that a minimum 30 percent of seats should be filled by women in parliamentary elections. In the current sitting Parliament there are only four female MPs out of 128 elected members. Yet, a number of ministers criticized the agreement without hinting at blocking it. The major breakthrough in the monthslong deadlock over the vote law capped a series of intensive and hectic meetings of political rivals chaired by Hariri all day Tuesday and overnight Monday in a stepped up flurry of activity to agree on the final version of the agreement reached by Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and the premier at Baabda Palace on June 1. By all means, the vote law agreement is considered as a big political achievement for both Aoun and Hariri, especially the latter who had declared that the failure to agree on a new electoral law would be viewed as a failure of his government. The agreement came six days before the expiry of Parliament’s term, thus averting a vacuum in the legislative body with all the grave consequences this entails on the country’s stability. It also buries once and for all the disputed 1960 majoritarian voting system used in the last elections in 2009 to which all the political parties have been averse, at least in public.

Cabinet Approves Electoral Law, Extends Parliament Term to May
Naharnet/June 14/17/After marathon talks and an eleventh-hour agreement, the Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new electoral law based on proportional representation and 15 electoral districts, replacing the winner-takes-all system for the first time in the country's history. The Cabinet also approved an 11-month technical extension of parliament's term until May 20, 2018, and stipulated that the elections should be held within the 60 days that precede the expiry of the legislature's term. Media reports said the elections will be held on May 6. Ahead of the session, a committee was formed to “reformulate” the law format and fine-tune it. Aoun congratulated the conferees at the beginning of the session on what he described as a “great achievement,” noting that “the majoritarian system (the 1960 law) did not secure just representation.” “Cabinet will remain in session until it approves it,” he added.
For his part, Hariri stated that the “1960 law is behind us now and the extension we resort to is technical in order to hold modern, transparent and fair elections.”After approval, the law was sent to Parliament for ratification, and Speaker Nabih Berri has scheduled a session for 2:00 pm Friday. Prime Minister Saad Hariri praised the new elections law as a "historic achievement." The agreement came days before the legislature's term was to end on June 20 — avoiding sending the country into a fresh political crisis. Before the session began, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq announced that he would request a one-year technical extension of parliament's term, explaining that preparing electronic cards for voters requires no less than seven months. Industry Minister Hussein al-Hajj Hassan said: “The significance of the newly approved law is that it introduced a proportional representation system for the first time, although we would have favored that the (so-called) preferential vote be counted in the electoral district instead of the administrative district.” For his part, Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh criticized the format saying “it takes us back to sectarianism instead of distancing it away.”Aoun and Hariri had held a closed-door meeting before the cabinet convened and discussed the rest of the law details. They were joined later by Mashnouq. The electoral draft law splits Beirut into two districts and moves the minorities seat to the first district. The first district contains Ashrafieh, Rmeil, Saifi and Medawwar while the second contains Bashoura, Marfa, Zokak al-Blat, Mazraa, Ras Beirut, Ain el-Mreisseh, Minet el-Hosn and Mousaitbeh. The parties also agreed that any electoral list has to reach a certain threshold to become eligible to win seats. The threshold is determined by the so-called electoral quotient: the total number of voters in a certain district divided by the number of seats. The so-called preferrential vote will meanwhile be counted in the administrative district and not in the electoral district, a demand that the Free Patriotic Movement had long called for. An agreement was also reached on other technical details while no agreement was reached on the issues of “allowing the armed forces to vote, lowering the voting age and introducing a women's quota.”The parties also agreed that expat voting will be introduced in the 2022 elections and that the diaspora will be granted six seats.

Berri Says New Electoral Law Launches 'New Phase' in Lebanon
Naharnet/June 14/17/Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced Wednesday that the new electoral law that has been approved by Cabinet will pave the way for a “new phase” in the country. “It was the best possible law and it will lead the country into a new phase,” Berri told lawmakers during the weekly Ain el-Tineh meeting. “It gives the Lebanese hope that a new phase can be started and we hope it will serve the welfare and interest of all Lebanese,” Berri added. Noting that the law “could have been better,” the speaker said the law's format is the product of “the consensus of all parties.”“We must focus on legislation in the period separating us from the elections and it should be a chance to rebuild state institutions and revitalize them at all levels,” Berri added. The government approved the law earlier on Wednesday, ending months of tense discussions and paving the way for the first parliamentary elections in nine years. The deal comes after a stalemate that has seen the country's parliament extend its term twice since the last elections in 2009. Under the agreement, the current parliament's term will be extended once again, but this time for just 11 months to prepare for elections under the new rules in May 2018. Parliament is scheduled to vote on the law on Friday. The new law replaces the existing winner-takes-all voting system with proportional representation and reduces the number of electoral districts to 15. It comes after years of wrangling during which key political parties rejected various proposals for fear of losing parliamentary seats.

Adwan: New Electoral Law to Reflect Real Weight of Every Party
Naharnet/June 14/17/Lebanese Forces deputy leader MP George Adwan on Wednesday congratulated the Lebanese on the approval of the new electoral law, describing the new system as an “achievement” and noting that it will reflect the real political weight of every party or independent candidate. “The new electoral law was made in Lebanon and it is an achievement for all Lebanese. The first winner is stability, security and the economic and financial situations,” Adwan, who played the main role in promoting the new electoral law, said at a press conference. The law is fully based on the proportional representation system and it will be implemented in 15 electoral districts. “Some parties were betting that we won't be able to achieve a new law and that we would return to the 1960 law,” Adwan said. “The law will reflect the real weight of every political party or independent candidate,” Adwan added, noting that “this is the democratic system that will lead us to accountability.”“Some have claimed that this law is aimed at eliminating a certain party, and I tell you that any party that manages to win 10% (of the electoral quotient in a certain electoral district) will be able to get a parliamentary seat,” the lawmaker explained. He pointed out that the new law will transform political life in Lebanon from one based on “unclear alliances” into one based on “political platforms.”The law was approved by Cabinet earlier in the day after months of political wrangling and Parliament is poised to ratify it on Friday.

Report: Kataeb Says New Vote Law 'Masked' Return to 1960
Naharnet/June 14/17/The Kataeb party slammed Wednesday the newly approved proportional representation electoral law as a “political fraud” describing it as a “masked bid to return to the 1960” majoritarian law, al-Joumhouria daily reported. “What happened is a political fraud and a masked return to the 1960 law. The vote law was tailored to suit the interests of some people in power,” a prominent Kataeb source told the daily in an interview. Describing the law as full of “negatives” he said on condition of anonymity: “Proportionality has been drained from its genuine meaning in favor of an evident political deal.”The source pointed out that the party will make a detailed and clear stance in the coming 24 hours to pinpoint the authority's vows to the people and how it “failed to meet them.”Political parties intensified their meetings on Tuesday and reached an agreement in the afternoon on the 15-district parliamentary electoral law and the cabinet is expected to approve it during its session on Wednesday. The draft law splits Beirut into two districts and moves the minorities seat to the first district. The first district contains Ashrafieh, Rmeil, Saifi and Medawwar while the second contains Bashoura, Marfa, Zokak al-Blat, Mazraa, Ras Beirut, Ain el-Mreisseh, Minet el-Hosn and Mousaitbeh. The parties also agreed that any electoral list has to reach a certain threshold to become eligible to win seats. The threshold is determined by the so-called electoral quotient: the total number of voters in a certain district divided by the number of seats. The so-called preferred vote will meanwhile be counted in the administrative district and not in the electoral district, a demand that the Free Patriotic Movement had long called for. An agreement was also reached on other technical details while no agreement was reached on the issues of “allowing the armed forces to vote, lowering the voting age and introducing a women's quota.”The parties also agreed that expat voting will be introduced in the next elections and that the diaspora will be granted six seats. President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri are meanwhile supposed to agree on the elections date, as per the agreement. Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat and the Marada Movement were the first to criticize the law on Tuesday. Jumblat described it as “complicated”, while the Marada rejected the mechanism of counting the so-called “preferred vote.”

Oghassapian: Canceling Women's Quota Worst Part of New Law
Naharnet/June 14/17/Minister of State for Women's Affairs Jean Oghassapian said on Wednesday that dismissing the women's quota from the new agreed vote law was “the worst part of the election law.”“Canceling the women's quota was the worst part of the law. It was canceled the last minute due to a number of complications that affected other items in the new electoral format," Oghassapian told VDL (93.3) in an interview. Moreover, he confirmed that there was no escape from endorsing the new law, or else the country would have been doomed to enter into political vacuum. "The cabinet is opting for the approval of the new law away from the need to vote; however, this will not prevent some parties from voicing objection concerning some points,” the Minister added. Oghassapian finally ruled out the possibility of having the technical extension of the electoral deadline be an opportunity to torpedo the new law. He also explained that putting the new law into effect required time and a lot of technical preparation and training. Later during the day and before joining the cabinet meeting at the Baabda Palace to discuss the law, the Minister told LBCI: “I will propose the addition of an item to the law that guarantees the presence of one female candidate on each (electoral) list."

Policeman Held for Murdering Young Teacher in Baalbek Town
Naharnet/June 14/17/The young teacher Zaher Shalha was shot dead in an ambush Wednesday in the Baalbek district town of al-Ansar and an Internal Security Forces sergeant accused of carrying out the murder has been arrested, state-run National News Agency reported. NNA said the young teacher, who is the son of the journalist Abdul Rahim Shalha, was gunned down in al-Ansar as he was returning home from the Douris state-run school. “His Grand Cherokee came under fire before the attackers shot him in the neck and other parts of his body,” the agency added. ISF Sergeant M.H. was arrested later in the day by the ISF Intelligence Branch in the outskirts of the Bekaa town of al-Taybeh on charges of murdering the young teacher. “Official, religious, popular and social delegations flocked to the house of the journalist Shalha in the wake of the crime to condemn the murder and demand punishment for the culprits,” NNA said.

Garbage Dumped in Sea Off Lebanese Coast Sparks Outrage
A "mountain of garbage" dumped at sea off Beirut under a deal between the government and a company has sparked outrage in Lebanon, two years after mass protests over a waste crisis.
For the past 10 days, civil society groups have shared images of trucks carrying rubbish and tipping it into the Mediterranean, a process that is ongoing. Activists say the waste from the "mountain of garbage" at Bourj Hammoud in north Beirut is disposed of under an agreement between the government's Development and Reconstruction Council (CDR) and a private company. "They are taking garbage from this mountain that has been there for 20 years... and throwing it into the sea," said Wadih al-Asmar, an activist from the "You Stink" campaign behind the protests in 2015. Environment Minister Tareq al-Khatib on Tuesday confirmed the existence of an agreement between the CDR and a private firm to dump the waste at sea. Khatib said he had sent letters to the CDR to "rectify" the situation and that he was trying to find the "best way to limit" the damage. But activists vented their anger on social media, branding the situation "shameful.""Waste is thrown into the open sea and the environment minister justifies it... he gives them the green light," said the You Stink campaign. Asmar, the campaign activist, denounced the disposal of the garbage at sea without any treatment, saying it was "killing the marine ecosystem."
Lebanon experienced a major waste crisis in mid-2015, with garbage piling up in the streets of Beirut and its surroundings after the closure of the country's main landfill. This crisis triggered mass protests, with many taking aim at politicians in a country that has suffered endemic corruption since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. In 2016, the government decided to reopen the landfill temporarily and to create two more dumps, one in Bourj Hammoud next to the "mountain of garbage" whose stench fills the air in the capital's northern suburbs.

Cyprus Coordinates Oil Extraction, Export with Lebanon
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Beirut – Oil and gas extraction and export topped the discussions of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades with Lebanese officials in Beirut, amid expectations that Cyprus would assume coordination on fuel extraction in the Middle East, in light of the absence of any relation or communication between Lebanon and Israel. Anastasiades met on Tuesday with Speaker Nabih Berri, with whom he discussed collaboration between Lebanon and Cyprus on local and regional issues. In remarks following the meeting, Berri said: “In our discussion, we focused on the issue of oil and the economic zone for the sea and the oil wealth and what Israel is trying to extract from us or from our brothers in Cyprus. We agreed that this position is united and that we [will] work together.” Anastasiades said the meeting was positive and highlighted the deep ties between the two countries.
Meanwhile, diplomatic sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the Lebanese government has been cooperating with Greece and Cyprus in an attempt to reach an agreement that allows the country to benefit from its oil and gas resources. They added that the three countries would hold a meeting soon to discuss this matter. In this regard, the Cypriot president has extended an invitation to President Michel Aoun to participate in the tripartite meeting, which will take place in Cyprus. “Turkey, Cyprus and Greece have common interests in reaching an agreement, and they all understand Lebanon’s sensitive issue with Israel,” the sources said. The Cypriot president had earlier met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf, among others, and will meet other officials before leaving Lebanon Wednesday. Meanwhile, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil met on Tuesday with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides, on top of a Cypriot delegation. Speaking at a joint press conference following the meeting, Bassil said that talks touched on future projects in the oil and gas sector, expressing Lebanon’s readiness to increase the level of cooperation and launch dialogue in the energy sector between both countries, in accordance with the principles of the international law and the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 14-15/17
Top U.S. Congressman among Many Shot at Baseball Practice
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 14/17/Several people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. Congressman Steve Scalise, the majority whip who rallies Republican votes in the House of Representatives and one of around two dozen lawmakers gathered at the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, was badly injured by a gunshot to the hip, but in stable condition according to his office. President Donald Trump tweeted a message of support to his "friend and patriot" Scalise, calling himself "deeply saddened" by the incident in Alexandria, where schools were briefly placed on lockdown following the incident. Police said the suspect was detained within minutes of the shooting.  Officers were alerted to the presence of an active shooter just after 7 am (1100 GMT)," Alexandria police chief Michael Brown told a press conference. They arrived at the scene within three minutes, engaged the suspect and took him into custody. Police said five people were transported medically from the scene. They did not release the identities of the victims but they were believed to include at least two law enforcement officers and a congressional staffer. The Washington Post reported that the gunman was counted among the five wounded.
MSNBC quoted a local hospital spokesman as saying two people were in critical condition.
Senator Rand Paul, who was at the scene, said he believed the rapid police intervention narrowly prevented a bloodbath. "It would have been a massacre. And having no self-defense, the field was basically a killing field. If you were to run out while the killer was still shooting, he could have shot anybody," he told reporters. Fellow lawmakers described chaotic scenes as the shooting unfolded. "I was on deck about to hit and I hear, 'bam,'" Republican lawmaker Mo Brooks told CNN. "And then I hear another bam and I realize there is an active shooter.""At the same time I hear Steve Scalise over near second base scream. He was shot."Asked whether he thought it was a random shooting, Brooks told CNN: "It sure as heck wasn't an accident.""People know this is the Republican baseball team practicing," he said. "He knew who we were. I'm a former prosecutor and, yeah, he was going after elected officials, congressmen."Held almost every year since 1909, the Congressional Baseball Game -- which was slated to take place Thursday night at Nationals Park stadium in Washington -- is a well-loved showdown between Senate and House members of both Republican and Democrat camps.
'Dragging his body' -
Republican Senator Jeff Flake told reporters some 50 shots rang out in the exchange of fire between the gunman -- described as a white man with dark hair, in his 40s or 50s -- and law enforcement officers.  Scalise's office said the 51-year-old was in stable condition at a Washington hospital after being shot in the hip. "Prior to entering surgery, (Scalise) was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone," it added in a statement. Trump described himself as "deeply saddened by this tragedy," saying in a statement his "thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders and all others affected" and that he was closely monitoring developments. Vice President Mike Pence canceled a planned speech to the national homebuilders' association and was headed to the White House instead. "Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him," Trump tweeted. Brooks described Scalise dragging his body across the pitch to get away from the shooter while the firing continued. After the shots subsided, he and others at the scene attempted to tend to Scalise's wound, while Brooks took off his belt and used it as a tourniquet for a bleeding staffer who had been shot in the leg. Scalise, a representative from the southern state of Louisiana elected to Congress in 2008, heads the conservative House caucus known as the Republican Study Committee. The staunch conservative is among the lawmakers leading the drive to repeal former president Barack Obama's signature health care law, among other top Republican priorities.

At Least 12 Dead in London Tower Block Fire
At least 12 people are confirmed dead in a massive fire which ripped through a London tower block on Wednesday, police said. "I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12," Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said in a televised address. "Sadly I don't anticipate that there will be further survivors."Dozens of residents caught up in the blaze at Grenfell Tower in west London have received hospital treatment and 18 remain in critical care. The 24-story tower is home to between 600 and 800 residents and has one stairway through which people could escape, locals told AFP. A newsletter last year advised residents that if there was a fire they should initially stay in their homes. London Fire Brigade said shortly after 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) the fire was still burning, more than 16 hours after the alarm was raised. "I can confirm I have had firefighters manage to get through particularly arduous conditions up to the top floor," said Steve Apter from the fire brigade. More than 200 firefighters had tackled the blaze and a minimal crew remained inside the building on Wednesday afternoon, assisted by drones.

Washington Asks Doha to Find ‘Common Ground’ in Crisis
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Washington, Moscow – While Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz received on Tuesday a telephone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Gulf crisis, the US called on authorities in Qatar to find common ground to solve the crisis with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. The Saudi news agency SPA said on Tuesday that during their conversation, King Salman and President Putin discussed the latest developments in the region and the joint cooperation to combat extremism and fight terrorism to achieve security and stability in the region.
For its part, the Kremlin said in a statement: “Putin and King Salman bin Abdulaziz touched on the aggravated situation around Qatar, which unfortunately does not help consolidate joint efforts in resolving the conflict in Syria and fighting the terrorist threat.”On Monday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress that funding of any kind of terrorist group “is inimical to all of our interest,” also stating that Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani has inherited a difficult, very tough situation, and “he’s trying to turn the society in the right direction.”In line with those developments, a summit via telephone was expected between Russian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and Qatar’s Emir. Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insisted Tuesday that Saudi Arabia has not imposed a “blockade” on Qatar.While in Washington for talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, al-Jubeir said: “There is no blockade of Qatar. Qatar is free to go. The ports are open, the airports are open.”The Saudi foreign minister added: “What we have done is we have denied them use of our airspace and this is our sovereign right.”Informed US sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that a high-ranking Gulf delegation is currently in Washington to meet with Congress officials and tackle the crisis in the Gulf region and the means to stop supporting terrorism. The meetings in Washington come prior to the expected visit of the US Secretary of State to the region in the coming days.

Astana Meetings Expected Early July
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Moscow – A Russian official said that the next round of Astana talks on Syria would be held in early July, noting that the meeting, which was supposed to be held in June, was delayed due to the holy month of Ramadan. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Tuesday that the next round of talks on Syria in Kazakh capital, Astana, was scheduled for July 4-5. “We are now preparing for this meeting — we wanted to hold it on June 12, but we were told that they will not be ready by that time, then we were told 20,” Bogdanov said. RIA news agency quoted Bogdanov as saying: “This issue is being discussed, but there is a desire among our fellow Muslim partners, first of all the Turks and the Iranians, who are sure to make these meetings immediately after Ramadan.” He added that the Geneva talks would immediately follow the Astana meetings, stressing that officials in Geneva were currently working on the matter. During the previous round of talks in early May, states acting as guarantors in bolstering the ceasefire in Syria have signed a memorandum on four de-escalation zones proposed by Russia. Participants agreed that preparatory talks would be held in Ankara at the level of experts two weeks ahead of the fifth round of the Astana talks, which was scheduled to take place in June, with an aim to delineate the borders of the de-escalation zones and to discuss the memorandum’s technical issues. On Tuesday, sources in Moscow said that there were still some disagreements between guarantor states over the borders of the de-escalation zones, as well as other important details. Meanwhile, Geneva will host on June 15-16 discussions over the new Syrian constitution, with the participation representatives from the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), as well as the Moscow and Cairo platforms. An official from the Moscow platform told Tass news agency that talks would look into a mechanism to discuss the bases of the new Syrian constitution, which was established by UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Washington Ambassador in Doha Leaves her Post
London – The US ambassador in Qatar announced on Tuesday that she was leaving her post in Doha.
Dana Shell Smith announced on Twitter: “This month, I end my 3 years as US Ambassador to #Qatar. It has been the greatest honor of my life and I’ll miss this great country.”She did not explain why she was stepping down and did not mention whether she will remain part of the diplomatic mission or who will be appointed in her place. Several US ambassadors leave their posts after around three years of service. In Washington, officials said the ambassador had made a personal decision to leave the post earlier this year after serving a normal three-year tour. “Ambassador Dana Smith’s assignment as ambassador comes to an end this month and she will depart Qatar later this month as part of the normal rotation of career diplomats throughout the world,” a senior State Department official said. “Her decision to leave the foreign service was made earlier this year. We wish her the best as she moves on from the Department of State.”Smith was appointed ambassador to the Gulf emirate by Barack Obama in 2014. Last month she appeared to express dissatisfaction with political events back home in another message posted on social media. She took to Twitter in the hours after Trump’s dramatic sacking of FBI director James Comey, tweeting: “Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions.”

Erdogan Calls for Gulf Measures to End Qatar Crisis

Ankara – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Tuesday for Gulf measures to be taken to end the crisis with Qatar. He demanded that Saudi Arabia use its clout as the largest Gulf state to resolve the crisis, reiterating his stance that the accusations over Doha’s support of terrorism were “baseless.” He said during a speech before the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz in his role as the major figure of the Gulf should take the initiative to end the dispute. “I think that as the elder statesman of the Gulf, the king of Saudi Arabia should solve this affair and show leadership,” said Erdogan. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain broke off relations with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism. “Isolating Qatar is a mistake. We cooperate with it in combating and destroying terrorism,” Erdogan added. The Turkish leader hoped that the crisis would be resolved before the end of the holy month of Ramadan. He added he would hold three-way phone talks on the crisis later Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Erdogan would hold talks on the crisis with US President Donald Trump in the coming days. Cavusoglu said that his country will play a mediator role in the dispute, but that it will also help others in their efforts to resolve it. He noted that Erdogan is the current leader of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, so he therefore has added responsibility in reaching an end to this problem. He revealed that Ankara is leading a mediation initiative with Finland and that the two sides will organize in the coming days a mediation forum over the crisis in the Turkish city of Istanbul. The foreign minister stated that Ankara informed Gulf states that the measures they had taken against Qatar were “unbalanced” and that it opposes them. Meanwhile, the Turkish army said in a statement on Tuesday that a three-person Turkish military delegation was currently in Qatar to carry out preparation work for the deployment of troops in the future. Turkey’s parliament last week approved deploying troops to a Turkish base in Qatar.

Saudi Interior Ministry Names Qatif Bombers Responsible for Killing 9 Security Servicemen
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Dammam- Saudi Arabia’s Interior ministry announced initial investigation results on the June 1 car-bombing in Qatif. DNA testing identified the two suicide-terrorists as Fadhel Abdullah Mohammed Al Hamada, Saudi national and Mohammed Hassan Al Suwaimal also a Saudi national.
The interior ministry spokesman said that the two were wanted by security forces for multiple claims in 2016—a statement issued by the ministry and published by the Saudi state-run news agency SPA listed the two terrorists’ crimes as:
– Killing of First Class Private Rayed Obaid Abed Al-Mutairi
– Opening fire at the Qatif Governorate police station, which resulted in the killing of First Class Private Abdulsalam Barjis Sayah Al-Enezi
– Armed robbery on a vehicle transferring money in Nabia district in Qatif province
– Opening fire on a security patrol in Dammam, which resulted in the martyrdom of Master Sergeant Musa Ali Al-Qubi and Private Nawaf Muhammas Al-Otaibi
– Opening fire on First Class Private Hasan Jabbar Sahluli and Private Farah Faleh Al-Subaie, which resulted in killing of the two security men in Dammam
– Opening fire on a security patrol resulting in the martyrdom of the First Class Private Sultan Salah Al-Mutairi in Qatif
– Opening fire on First Class Private Musa Dakhilallah Al-Sharari, which led to his killing in Tarout
– Kidnapping and killing Vice Sergeant Hashem Garmhan Al-Zahrani, and killing of Corporal Abdullah Aqeel Muhail Al-Dalabahee, in Qatif province The statement then added that Mohamed Hassan Al-Suwailmil was involved with others in committing the following crimes: – Kidnapping and killing of Vice Sergeant Hashem Garmhan Al-Zahrani, and killing of the Corporal Abdullah Aqeel Muhail Al-Dalabahee in Qatif province
– Opening fire at security men
– Monitoring movement of security patrols as they perform their duties in maintaining security in the province of Qatif and passing information to armed terrorist elements to target them
More so, the Interior ministry confirmed its commitment towards maintaining the public order, detering criminals and arresting those responsible for crimes and bringing them to justice. It also renewed its call to remaining wanted individuals to surrender themselves to responsible authorities.

Morocco Supports Kuwaiti Mediation to Resolve Gulf Crisis
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Rabat- Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita arrived in Jeddah on Tuesday to deliver a message from King Mohammed VI to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, within efforts to resolve the crisis between Gulf countries and Qatar. Earlier on Tuesday, the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah, received the Moroccan foreign minister at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, as reported Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). The agency added that Bourita delivered a verbal message from King Mohammed VI to the Kuwaiti emir. “The King expressed his full support to the Emir’s efforts in defusing tension amongst Gulf countries,” he said, as quoted by KUNA. Bourita arrived in Kuwait following a visit on Monday to Abu Dhabi, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Morocco’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Bourita had delivered a “verbal message” from the Moroccan king to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, without elaborating on the content of the message. On Sunday, King Mohammed VI urged all parties concerned with the diplomatic Gulf crisis to “exercise restraint” and “show wisdom with a view to easing tensions and resolving the crisis”.

Macron in Morocco on His First Official Visit Outside Europe
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Paris – In his first official visit outside Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron will arrive in Rabat on Wednesday to meet with King Mohammed VI. The visit was seen as an initiative by the new French president to stress his keenness to preserve excellent relations with the African country. In parallel, the Elysee Palace announced in a statement that Macron held a phone conversation with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, adding that they agreed to boost their counter-terrorism cooperation and continue efforts to restore peace and stability in Libya and Mali. The statement added that the discussions touched on a number of issues including the Libyan crisis and the situation in the Sahel region. The two officials underlined their “common resolve to unify efforts to eradicate terrorism in the Sahel region,” according to the statement. “The talks represented an opportunity for the two presidents to confirm their desire to reinforce friendship and cooperation relations between Algeria and France,” it added In the same context, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian conducted a two-day visit to Algeria on Monday. This visit was the first of a French official since the election of Macron. Meanwhile, sources at the Elysee said that the French president and King Mohammed VI would develop bilateral relations and cooperation in security and the fight against terrorism.

Gaddafi’s Son Reportedly Released, ICC Demands His Arrest
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/The International Criminal Court chief’s prosecutor Wednesday called for the “immediate arrest and surrender” of Moamer Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam, who was reportedly set free by a militia in Libya. Seif al-Islam, the second son and heir apparent of the late deposed Libyan dictator, was said to have been released on Friday by a militia that controls the town of Zintan in western Libya. An arrest warrant issued by the Hague-based ICC against Seif in 2011 “remains valid and Libya is obliged to immediately arrest and surrender Mr Gaddafi… regardless of any purported amnesty law in Libya,” Fatou Bensouda said.But the prosecutor general’s office in Tripoli, where a rival UN-backed administration is based, said the amnesty could not apply to Seif al-Islam because of the severity of his crimes, saying he was still wanted for a 2015 conviction. Bensouda said the world war crimes court is now “verifying” Seif al-Islam’s whereabouts. She called on Libya, the UN Security Council and “all other relevant” countries “to provide my office with any relevant information in their possession.” The ICC also called for the arrest and surrender of Libya’s former security chief Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, who is wanted on similar charges as Seif for his role in attempting to quash the 2011 revolt against slain strongman Gaddafi. The ICC in April unveiled an arrest warrant for Khaled. “It is imperative for both suspects to be apprehended and immediately surrendered to the custody of the ICC so that their guilt or innocence can be established…for justice to be done, and seen to be done,” Bensouda said.

State of Emergency Extended Four Months in Tunisia

Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Tunis – The Tunisian presidency extended on Wednesday the country’s state of emergency for four months. “President Beji Caid Essebsi decided on Wednesday to extend the state of emergency for four months starting from Thursday, June 15,” his office said on Facebook. The state of emergency has been in place since a November 2015 extremist bombing in Tunis that killed 12 presidential guards. The ISIS terrorist group claimed the attack as well as bombings earlier in 2015 at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis and at a beach resort near Sousse that killed a total of 59 foreign tourists and a Tunisian guard. In wake of the attack, the presidency imposed a 30-day state of emergency that it extended on several occasions, sometimes for a month and others for three. Wednesday’s decision is the first time it is extended to four. The last time the state was extended was on May 16.
The state of emergency gives allows the banning of strikes. It also allows the interior ministry to place under house arrest anyone whose activities it deems a danger for security or public order.
Authorities would also be allowed to censor the press without obtaining permission from the judiciary.

Yemeni Intelligence Taskforce Arrests Top Houthi Leader in Marib
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Aden – Yemeni security forces announced arresting a senior militia leader in Marib east of the country, said officials. Military sources revealed that national army units were able to comb through remaining territory of the Nihm district, in the eastern region of rebel-held Sana’a. Arrested while attempting to flee, Houthi militia leader code named by ‘Abu Hussain’ was detained in a police chase, security sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. According to the sources, he worked undercover as a city merchant, but was tasked with rendering intelligence data.’ Apparently, he was also involved with pro-insurgency assassinations, in addition to being one of a key security leader. Investigations with Abu Hussain are ongoing, security sources said. More so, army forces in Marib recently arrested a number of coup leaders and officials in the coup-run government in Sana’a. Arrests took place while the officials were attempting to escape the country by road through Marib and into neighboring Gulf states. Over the last months, Marib witnessed intensifying operations and assassination attempts targeting tribal figures loyal to the legitimate government.National Army forces are still fighting with the rebels in the front of the Sarawah district, the last insurgency stronghold in strategic oil-rich Marib, army commandership said. Concerning field developments, a military source revealed the movement of the National Army forces, during the next few days, will be in full control coup-held Nihm District, and will advance deeper into Sana’a. In 2014, Iran-aligned Houthi militias and armed loyalists backing ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh staged a full-on coup, wreaking havoc nationwide. Since then, the internationally recognized government led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi had joined forces with Arab and international parties in hopes of restoring peace and stability to Yemen. A Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to help the government retake the capital Sana’a.

Egyptian Committee Approves Deal to Demarcate Sea Border with Saudi Arabia
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Cairo – The Egyptian parliament will vote on Wednesday on a Saudi-Egyptian agreement to demarcate the marine borders. The parliament’s legislative committee had approved the deal, signed last year, on Tuesday. It passed with 35 lawmakers for and eight against.
It was then sent to the Committee on Defense and National Security that approved it on Wednesday. It will then be referred to a general parliament session for a final vote. “We have unanimously approved the maritime demarcation accord with Saudi Arabia and it will be voted on in the general session today,” said committee Chairman Kamal Amer. Saudi Arabia and Egypt had signed on April 18, 2016 an agreement to demarcate the sea borders that would see the islands of Tiran and Sanafir handed over to the Kingdom. Parliament Speaker Ali Abdulaal said that the demarcation will be based on maps and documents that were released by the armed forces.He stressed that Egypt’s armed forces “cannot waste a single grain of national soil.”

West Leaning to Arm International Forces in Golan
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/London – Western diplomatic sources confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday the presence of a leaning among western states towards amending the mission of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Golan to become an armed force capable of protecting civilians, at a time when UN-Russian talks are being held to establish a “safe zone” that includes Quneitra and a part of Daraa. According to the sources, Washington and Moscow are currently looking for the establishment of a fifth zone in the south that would be different from the four de-escalation zones that states acting as guarantors in bolstering the ceasefire in Syria have signed during the fourth round of the Astana talks, held in the Kazakh capital last month. Washington insisted that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards should not be present in any area near Jordan or the Golan, while talks were launched to discuss amending the mission of UNDOF, established by UN Security Council Resolution 350 in 1974. Western countries suggested that those forces be allowed to defend themselves and to protect civilians. The issue will be discussed at the Security Council at the end of this month. A Russian source said that Moscow is working to reconcile Washington’s insistence during the US-Russia talks in Amman to keep Iran away from the south and southeastern of Syria, and Iran and the Syrian regime forces’ attempts to control areas located on both sides of the border with Iraq. The source spoke about a possibility that both parties agree to “exchange lands” in the areas of influence that includes Deir Ezzor in exchange for Raqqa, al-Tanf crossing in exchange for al-Boukamal, and Daraa in exchange of Quneitra. Lately, it was noticed that the advancement of regime forces and their militias towards the east witnessed a detour rather than a direct march towards al-Tanf military camp to prevent a confrontation with Washington. The US-led coalition last week said it had destroyed a unit of pro-regime forces in Syria as they advanced near al-Tanf, an area where coalition commandos have been training and advising rebels. On Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the strikes against pro-Syrian regime forces in the past few weeks had been in self-defense and that his country would take all measures to protect its forces in Syria.

Palestinian Chief of Intelligence: We Stand by Saudi Arabia, Refuse Iranian Projects
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Ramallah – Palestinian intelligence chief Majed Faraj sounded accusations on Tuesday over Hamas being unwarrantedly involved in crisis in the region, in a thinly-veiled hint to the recent diplomatic crisis with Qatar. “Palestinian Authorities have sided with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt and refuses any ‘Persian’ projects (in a remark made on Iran’s expansionist ambitions) for the region,” said Faraj at a charity meal held in Nablus in the West Bank. “It is awfully embarrassing what we heard of slogans being cheered over in Gaza against Arab countries. We must cheer on for life… and for the Arab countries taking in our children abroad, we do not need for any Arab state to take a negative stance against our people or government,” Faraj criticized the Hamas responses and statements to the Qatar crisis. He went on saying that the Hamas movement has control over Gaza, but is dragging Palestinians into places with no good consequence could prevail because of its involvement in Qatar. “Our decision is independent and does not belong to foreign agendas. We refuse to interfere unilaterally or with bias into any Arab spat at hand. Intervention would cost us heavily for our cause and people who live all over the world.”Faraj described Hamas’s decisions as “unsound” and called on the movement to resort to the umbrella of Palestinian legitimacy and end divisions polarizing the people of Palestine. On the other hand, Egypt announced its preparedness to provide more electricity to Gaza — but only if Hamas cooperates with Egypt in its harsh ‘counterterrorism’ crackdown. Egypt has reportedly demanded that Hamas hand over 17 men wanted by Cairo on terrorism charges, more protection by Hamas at the border, the cessation of alleged weapons smuggling into the Sinai Peninsula, and information on the movement of “elements” into Gaza via underground tunnels. Israeli authorities approved the electricity cuts Monday, upon the request of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank, which foots Gaza’s monthly electricity bill from Israel by subtracting from taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authorities.

Hamas Takes Stricter Measures on Gaza Border with Egypt
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/London, Gaza – The militant Hamas movement announced on Tuesday that it was taking stricter security measures along the Egyptian border of the Gaza Strip. The decision was made a day after a Hamas delegation had held talks in Cairo with Egyptian authorities on security issues.
A spokesman for the Hamas Interior Ministry Ayad al-Bazam said that the movement has issued orders to take the new measures on the border with Egypt. He said that the ministry’s undersecretary Toufik Abou Naeem had visited the area where he inspected the security measures there. “Abou Naeem held several meetings with the concerned sides and recommended taking a series of new measures and exerting all possible means to bolster stability on the border,” al-Bazam added. “Stability on the southern border with Egypt is a priority for us and we will not allow any security threat there,” he declared. Cairo had demanded that Hamas cut ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, control the border and pursue Salafist extremists and prevent their movement to Sinai to Egypt. It had urged it to share any security information that is related to Egypt and halt the smuggling of weapons through Sinai. Cairo had also asked Hamas about the fate of a number of Brotherhood and Salafist figures. Hamas had in theory severed its ties with Brotherhood in wake of its announcement of its new founding document. In it, it does not define itself as a movement that is associated with the Brotherhood.

Hundreds of Refugees Suffer Food Poisoning at Mosul Camp
Asharq l Awsat/June 14/17/Erbil – Hundreds of refugees suffered from food poisoning at a camp for displaced people from the Iraqi city of Mosul. People at the he Hassan Sham U2 camp were left needing urgent treatment after eating an iftar meal to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The tainted food was provided by a Qatari charity in collaboration with a local restaurant. The meal included rice, yogurt, chicken and soup and had been bought from a restaurant in the area by a Qatar-based civil society group reportedly working to help displaced people in the region, said Millman of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The police have since arrested the owner of the restaurant and a member of the organization that helped carry out the dinner. Health ministry spokesman Seif al-Badr had told AFP that there were 752 cases of food poisoning and two deaths, a woman and child, at the Hasansham camp. Another spokesman Fakher Harky told Asharq Al-Awsat that 828 people were poisoned, 625 of whom have been taken to hospitals in the northern city of Erbil. “The situation has been contained,” he added. And UN migration agency spokesman Joel Millman had confirmed those details to reporters in Geneva, while adding that 312 people had been hospitalized. But later in the day, UN refugee agency the UNHCR said there had not been any deaths. “This information is incorrect… there were no deaths” related to the food poisoning outbreak, the UNHCR’s Baghdad office said in a statement. Saman Barzenji, head of the health ministry in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, also denied there were any fatalities, saying a child who fainted had been “declared dead by mistake”. Badr and UN officials said there would be further investigations. Hasansham is one of many camps dotting the region around Mosul, where Iraqi forces are battling the ISIS terrorist group. More than 800,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since a massive operation against the extremists in one of their last strongholds in Iraq was launched in October 2016. Many now live in overcrowded camps where soaring summer temperatures are compounding the difficulties faced by the government and the United Nations in maintaining acceptable living conditions. UN refugee agency spokesman Andrej Mahecic said staff in the area had worked through the night in response to the “massive” poisoning. “More water has been now provided at the camp and additional health agencies have been brought in to help with the response,” Mahecic told the same news conference in Geneva. He said it was “tragic” this happened to people “who have already gone through so much suffering”.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 14-15/17
The US Has a Homegrown Terrorist Problem, It’s Coming from the Right

Colbert I. King/The Washington Post/June 14/17
Richard W. Collins III, fatally stabbed last May on the University of Maryland’s College Park campus, was as innocent as the 22 victims slain in the Manchester suicide bombing on Monday. Collins, an African American, newly commissioned US Army officer from Maryland, was, like the victims of the Manchester, England, massacre, not bothering anybody. Slated to graduate from Bowie State University this week, Collins was simply out with friends enjoying himself. So, too, were those killed and wounded in Manchester.
Authorities are investigating Collins’s death, allegedly at the hands of a knife-wielding University of Maryland student, Sean Urbanski, as a possible hate crime. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), speaking on the House floor, called the killing of his constituent a “vicious crime probably motivated by hate.” The cause has not been pinned down.
In Manchester, there’s certainty.
That attack is deemed an act of terrorism spurred by an aim to intimidate and make a statement about the presumed religion, nationality and cultural values of the victims.
But the suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, reportedly was radicalized recently. Flirtation with the dark side may have also attracted Urbanski.
According to University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell, Urbanski belonged to a Facebook group where members post racist and other offensive statements. Mitchell described the postings as “despicable” and said they showed “extreme bias against women, Latinos, persons of the Jewish faith and especially African Americans.”
What’s striking about these unprovoked attacks is how much is known about motivators of extremists abroad and how little is known, or at least discussed, about instigators of extremism here at home.
As the Anti-Defamation League noted in a new report, “A Dark & Constant Rage: 25 Years of Right-Wing Terrorism in the United States,” the United States has experienced a long string of terrorist incidents, with many connected not to Islamist terrorists but to right-wing extremists.
The findings were startling.
The ADL analyzed 150 terrorist acts in the United States that were committed, attempted or plotted by right-wing extremists. “More than 800 people were killed or injured in these attacks,” the ADL said, noting that the attacks “surged during the mid-to-late 1990s and again starting in 2009” — the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency.
They also looked at other acts of violence and determined that “from 2007 to 2016, a range of domestic extremists of all kinds were responsible for the deaths of at least 372 people across the country. Seventy-four percent of these murders came at the hands of right-wing extremists such as white supremacists, sovereign citizens and militia adherents.”

Theresa May’s Biggest Mistake
Therese Raphael/Bloomberg View/June 14/17
It’s happened again: The leader of a mainstream party was given favorable election odds, ran a poor campaign, got trounced on social media and was taught a painful lesson by voters. It’s tempting to ask if they’ll ever learn.
Theresa May, the UK prime minister, is known as a careful plodder, more technocrat and master-of-the-brief than glad-hander. But she took the biggest gamble possible in politics: She called an election she didn’t have to call in a bid to increase her governing majority.
It isn’t clear yet if May will lose her job as Cameron did. But the election has big implications regardless — for politics, domestic policy and especially the Brexit negotiations that begin in 11 days.
As the initial exit polls showed a loss of Tory seats last night, the realization set in that, once again, voters weren’t following the script. The Conservatives ended the night having lost their governing majority and facing a hung parliament; they’re projected to get 318 seats. They will most likely stagger on as a minority government, getting support where they can.
This is miles from the thumping majority May expected. And Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party pulled off a historic reversal of fortune from the start of the campaign, when it trailed the Tories by more than 20 percentage points.
Labor is expected to add around 35 seats from the 232 it received in 2015, an extraordinary coup. Only a short while ago, union boss Len McClusky was saying that 200 seats would be a good result.
It may seem that Thursday’s election changes little: A Conservative prime minister will still occupy 10 Downing Street and Brexit still means Brexit. But in Britain’s winner-take-all system, a narrow majority can change the landscape significantly.
One immediate question is whether May will continue as prime minister; that’s hard to imagine now. The Conservatives are an unforgiving bunch. But they may decide that with the Brexit negotiations beginning so soon, and with such a slim majority, there’s too much to lose now to succumb to in-fighting and become distracted by another leadership election.
If May stays on, her job will become much harder. The fact of Brexit doesn’t change with this election, but the shape of it almost certainly does. The government will have to rely on parties that disagree with its approach to pass a hugely complex deal — if one is reached at all — through two houses of parliament. That may mean a gentler Brexit; or just a more confusing one.
Assuming May achieves a new trade deal with the EU and a smooth exit in 2019, Bloomberg Intelligence’s forecast is that the UK economy will still be 2 percent smaller.
Where did May go wrong? Set aside her manifesto U-turn, her wooden television performances, the awkward refusal to join the debate, and her overuse of the phrase “strong and stable.” May simply fought a negative campaign. The Tory marketing material that arrived in our home mainly warned of doomsday scenarios under a Labor leadership, in language that was suggestive of a hostile alien landing — it was reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s warning of Donald Trump’s invasion, which likewise backfired.
In the UK election, the scaremongering was even less effective, just as the scaremongering about Brexit didn’t work. Voters don’t like being bullied. Today’s Labor voters, many of them young, don’t remember the socialist experiments of 1970s but are still smarting from the financial crisis. They find Corbyn’s promises of stimulus and spending on services attractive; “nationalization” isn’t such a dirty word to them.
Ultimately, May seemed to harbor the same twin conceits as Cameron, Clinton and even France’s mainstream parties: All underestimated the appeal of their opponent’s message, and all assumed that voter support was sticky — that once you have it, you get to hold it.
Today’s voters instead resemble online shoppers. They can move quickly and impulsively, but are also ruthless, inclined to deliver a scathing review, and quick to demand a refund if they aren’t happy. Misreading that was May’s biggest error: She looked at poll figures back in April and saw a stock instead of a flow. With party loyalty at a low in the UK, as elsewhere, there’s more onus on a leader’s personality, so each one of May’s missteps — and there were many — were magnified.
There’s irony in how May got here. Cameron sought to put an end to Tory divisions over Europe by holding a referendum that would settle the matter, unite the party and keep it in power. When his gamble failed, May inherited Brexit and the party, with its simmering divisions. She called a vote of her own to settle any remaining doubts and strengthen her hand. Her party is still clinging to power — but only just.

Britain Will Pay for Theresa May’s Election Gamble
Matthew d Ancona/The New York Times/June 14/17
LONDON — Like a stumbling figure from “The Walking Dead,” Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, has yet to realize that she is a political zombie. For all her poise as she spoke on Downing Street on Friday, the day after Britain’s general election, when she declared her intention to continue in office, she is roaming the land of the undead. Sooner or later, reality is going to bite — hard.
Once again, almost all the pundits, pollsters and political betting wonks got it wrong. Less than a year after Brexit stunned this country, and seven months after Donald Trump won in the United States, a political outcome that seemed certain and preordained was upset by people actually going to vote. They made an emotional pick, and now Mrs. May has to figure out what to do after a net loss of seats in the House of Commons that deprives her of the overall majority required for stable government.
As the extent of the upset became clear on Thursday night, it was assumed — even by many of Mrs. May’s most ardent supporters — that she would be gone by Friday morning. There was talk of a “dignified exit,” a timetable for departure and then, unavoidably, another general election. Instead, Mrs. May has formed a pact with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, an alliance that will give her an aggregate number of members of Parliament that passes, just, the 326-seat threshold required for a governing majority.
Doesn’t this suffice? Surely a politician is entitled in such circumstances to be creative, if only to deprive her opponents of power?
I have praised much that Mrs. May has done as prime minister: uniting a party torn apart by the European Union referendum last year; triggering the Brexit process in Parliament after a supreme court challenge; and, most laudably, seeking to extend the reach of her party from the affluent to those who are, in her own phrase, “just about managing.” In her unfairly criticized manifesto, she eschewed glib slogans and confronted issues of great and pressing complexity, such as the care of the elderly in a country with an aging population, the pathologies of the internet and the grievances of those left behind by the hectic forces of globalization and modernity.
So why not salute her gutsy decision to carry on? The problem is twofold. First, Mrs. May explicitly framed the election — which she was not obliged to call when she did — as a test of her leadership, character and credentials to negotiate a good Brexit deal with the European Union. Posturing as a statesman being undermined at home by amateur politicians, she demanded a clear mandate from the voters to crush her opponents and demonstrate to European leaders that she was backed unequivocally by the British people.
Well, the British people have spoken — and conspicuously withheld that backing.
In a race against a supposedly unelectable hard-left leader, Jeremy Corbyn — whose own Labour Party members of Parliament tried to topple him last year — Mrs. May lost seats. Though Mr. Corbyn failed to win the election, he has made significant gains. He has not only secured his own position, but also, extraordinarily, has established his Castro-loving, Chávez-friendly brand of socialism as the mainstream creed of the party that, only 10 years ago, was led from the center by Tony Blair.
This election campaign was twice interrupted by horrific terrorist attacks, first in Manchester, then in London. Inevitably, this put security at the heart of the race, and shone an unflattering light on Mr. Corbyn’s past links with the Irish Republican Army and his opposition to antiterrorism legislation. For days, before the election, Britain’s tabloid press was crammed with lurid details of his coterie’s alleged associations with paramilitary and Islamist organizations.
But none of this made the slightest difference in the outcome. Or, put another way, none of it did Mrs. May any good. In the early stages of the campaign, some of her supporters privately admitted that she had called this snap election for fear that Labour would ditch Mr. Corbyn later in the year and deprive the Conservative Party of an opportunity for a landslide victory.
Mrs. May took that shot, and missed by miles. Her decision to cling to power now looks undignified; that is out of character. Moreover, her alliance with the unionists looks like an act of desperation. It is.
From 2010 to 2015, the Conservatives (then led by David Cameron) governed in coalition with the Liberal Democrats under Nick Clegg (who lost his seat in this election). That alliance, long-planned and carefully choreographed, was hard enough to maintain, even with plenty of common ground between the center-right Tories and their center-left partners.
The Democratic Unionist Party, in contrast, is a hard-line reactionary party, devoted not only to the union of Britain and Northern Ireland, but to a social conservatism that directly contradicts the modernization of the Conservative Party in the past 15 years. When she was the party chairman from 2002 to 2003, Mrs. May did much to brush away the cobwebs, daring to tell annual conference delegates that theirs was perceived as “the nasty party.” Now, nearly 15 years later, she has allied it with the Even Nastier Party.
How will she explain to the socially liberal, centrist voters whom Mr. Cameron won over during his decade-long leadership that she must now govern in partnership with a group of homophobes, zealots and creationists?
Mrs. May might claim that it is her duty to form a government, given the alternative: some improbable Corbyn-led rump of Labour plus the Liberal Democrats and the various nationalists. But that alone is not sufficient justification for this shabby deal, which will only confirm the suspicion that all the Conservatives truly care about is power.
Worse, Mrs. May has failed to acknowledge the scale of what has happened, or even that it has happened at all. Whatever one thinks of Mr. Corbyn’s credentials and record, he tapped into a popular anger and a yearning for change, as the Brexiteers and Mr. Trump did. He understood how to achieve emotional resonance and, most impressively, inspired young people to vote.
If Mr. Corbyn never really looked like a prime minister-in-waiting — someone who could run the Civil Service, craft detailed public policy or handle the nuclear codes — there, counterintuitively, lay his appeal. The insurgent populism of 2016 has not gone away. Here, it took a new, left-wing form.
I see little sign that senior Tories have grasped how radically the rules of the game are changing around them. It has now been 30 years since the party won a solid majority, and in apparently ideal conditions, it failed to do so in this election. What sharper wake-up call do Conservatives need?
The new government, Mrs. May said on Friday, provides “certainty.” She is right, but not in the sense that she meant. Its parliamentary majority is certain to be under constant attack from rebels of all kinds. Its weakness is certain to be mocked in Brussels, as the Brexit negotiations begin. And it is certain, sooner rather than later, to collapse, as such fragile arrangements always do. These extra months that Mrs. May remains in power will be grueling, unproductive and harshly judged by posterity.
As an admirer of Mrs. May, I wish she had chosen to leave with honor intact, instead of subjecting herself, and the country, to the ordeal ahead. The party is well and truly over. Will someone have the grace to tell her?

A Replacement of Population is Taking Place in Europe
Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/June 14/17
People-smugglers bring the migrants to the NGOs' ships, which then reach Italian seaports. Another legal enquiry has been opened about the mafia's economic interests in managing the migrants after their arrival.
One cannot compare the migrants to the Jews fleeing Nazism. Pope Francis, for example, recently compared the migrants' centers to Nazi "concentration camps". Where are the gas chambers, medical "experiments," crematoria, slave labor, forced marches and firing squads? These comparisons are spread by the media for a precise reason: shutting down the debate.
By 2065, it is expected that 14.4 million migrants will arrive. Added to the more than five million immigrants currently in Italy, 37% of the population is expected to be foreigners: more than one out of every three inhabitants.
First, it was the Hungarian route. Then it was the Balkan route. Now Italy is the epicenter of this demographic earthquake, and it has become Europe's soft underbelly as hundreds of thousands of migrants arrive.
With nearly 10,000 arrivals in one recent three-day period, the number of migrants in 2017 exceeded 60,000 -- 48% more than the same period last year, when they were 40,000. Over Easter weekend a record 8,000 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean and brought to Italy. And that is just the tip of the iceberg: during the summer, the number of arrivals from Libya will only increase.
A wooden boat carrying migrants waits to be escorted to the Topaz Responder vessel, as members of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station make a rescue at sea on November 21, 2016 in Pozzollo, Italy. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A replacement of population is under way in Italy. But if you open the mainstream newspapers, you barely find these figures. No television station has dedicated any time to what is happening. No criticism is allowed. The invasion is considered a done deal.
In 2016, 176,554 migrants landed in Italy -- an eight-fold increase since 2014. In 2015, there were 103,792. In 2014, there were 66,066. In 2013, there were just 22,118. In the last four years, 427,000 migrants reached Italy. In only the first five months of this year, 2017, Italy received 10% of the total number of migrants of the last four years.
There are days when the Italian navy and coast guard rescue 1,700 migrants in 24 hours. The country is exhausted. There are Italian villages where one-tenth of the population is already made up of new migrants. We are talking about small towns of 220 residents and 40 migrants.
One of the major aspects of this demographic revolution is that it is taking place in a country which is dramatically aging. According with a new report from the Italian Office of Statistics, Italy's population will fall to 53.7 million in half a century -- a loss of seven million people. Italy, which has one of the world's lowest fertility rates, will lose between 600,000 to 800,000 citizens every year. Immigrants will number more than 14 million, about one-fourth of the total population. But in the most pessimistic scenario, the Italian population could drop to 46 million, a loss of 14 million people.
In 2050, a third of Italy's population will be made up of foreigners, according to a UN report, "Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Decline and Aging Populations", which designs a cultural melting-pot that could explode in cultural and social tensions. The level of arrivals will fall from 300,000 to 270,000 individuals per year by 2065; during the same period, it is expected that 14.4 million people will arrive. Added to the more than five million immigrants currently in Italy, 37% of the population is expected to be foreigners: more than one out of every three inhabitants.
In addition, the humanitarian-aid system has been hit by new scandals. "The investigative hypothesis to be verified is that subjects linked to ISIS act as logistical support to migration flows", was a warning just delivered in front of the Schengen Committee, to the Italian anti-mafia and counterterrorism prosecutor, Franco Roberti. There are now judges investigating the connection between the migrants' smugglers in North Africa and the Italian NGOs rescuing them in the Mediterranean. People-smugglers bring the migrants to the NGOs' ships, which then reach Italian seaports. Another legal enquiry has been opened about the mafia's economic interests in managing the migrants after their arrival.
Only 2.65 percent of those migrants who arrived in Italy were granted asylum as genuine refugees, according to the United Nations. The other people are apparently not fleeing wars and genocide. Yet, despite all this evidence, one cannot compare the migrants to the Jews fleeing Nazism. Pope Francis, for example, recently compared the migrants' centers to Nazi "concentration camps". One wonders where are the gas chambers, medical "experiments," crematoria, slave labor, forced marches and firing squads. Italian newspapers are now running articles about the "Mediterranean Holocaust", comparing the migrants dead by trying to reach the southern of Italy to the Jews gassed in Auschwitz. Another journalist, Gad Lerner, to support the migrants, described their condition with the same word coined by the Nazis against the Jews: untermensch, inferior human beings. These comparisons are spread by the media for a precise reason: shutting down the debate.
To understand how shameful these comparisons are, we have to take a look at the cost of every migrant to Italy's treasury. Immigrants, once registered, receive a monthly income of 900 euros per month (30 euros per day for personal expenses). Another 900 euros go to the Italians who house them. And 600 euros are needed to cover insurance costs. Overall, every immigrant costs to Italy 2,400 euros a month. A policeman earns half of that sum. And a naval volunteer who saves the migrants receives a stipend of 900 euros a month. Were the Nazis so kind with their Jewish untermenschen?
The cost of migrants on Italy's public finances is already immense and it will destroy the possibility of any economic growth. "The overall impact on the Italian budget for migrant spending is currently quantified at 2.6 billion [euros] for 2015, expected to be 3.3 billion for 2016 and 4.2 for 2017, in a constant scenario", explains the Ministry of the Economy. If one wants to put this in proportion, these numbers give a clearer idea of how much Italy is spending in this crisis: in 2017, the government is spending 1.9 billion euros for pensions, but 4.2 billion euros for migrants, and 4.5 billion euros for the national housing plan against 4.2 billion euros for migrants.
The Italian cultural establishment is now totally focused on supporting this mass migration. The Italian film nominated at the Academy Awards last year is Fire at Sea, in which the main character is a doctor treating the migrants upon their arrival. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi carried with him 27 DVDs of the film to a session of the European Council. Italy's commercial television channels produced many television programs about the migrants, such as "Lampedusa", from the name of the Italian island. 100,000 Italians even took the streets of Milan for a "rally of solidarity" with the migrants. What "solidarity" can there be if half a million people have been rescued by the Italian government and the whole country seems determined to open its doors to all of North Africa?
Winston Churchill was convinced that the Mediterranean was the "soft underbelly" of Hitler's Europe. It has now become the soft underbelly of Europe's transformation into Eurabia.
*Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Interpreting Islamism for Peace
Saher Fares/Gatestone Institute/June 14/17
"Today, Muslim public opinion is shaped by schools, mosques and the media. Everywhere in the Islamic world, these three channels are state-controlled. This triad is how terrorism is bred." — Ayad Jamal Aldin, Iraqi Shiite cleric and former parliamentarian.
The Muslim Brotherhood, too, is linked to the House of Saud, which, Aldin said, "offers every kind of required support to the White House. In exchange, they enjoy the U.S.'s cover, which they use to spread Wahhabism even farther. From Minnesota, to Canada, to Latin American, to Asia, Africa, and Europe -- they claim they only build mosques. Through their literature, they constitute a more lethal danger than that posed by nuclear technology proliferation."
"Let the U.S. and others pressure the Iranians and Saudis to stop their support for extremist movements. You will be surprised how soon people will start to think and act differently." — Ayad Jamal Aldin.
In the wake of the ISIS's Palm Sunday bombings of Coptic churches in Egypt, Cairo's Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam's most revered institution, not only refused to denounce the terrorist organization as "un-Islamic," but repeated its implausible boast of being a bulwark against extremism in the Muslim-Arab world, and accused those calling for religious reform of treason.
One such "traitor" was Egyptian TV presenter Islam Behery, a British-educated writer and Sunni Muslim who had been exposing the roots of violence within Islamic tradition itself, until he was forced off the air after protests by Al-Azhar in 2015.
According to Behery, who was later convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to a year in prison, the tradition in question
"has very little good amid a multitude of evil, least of which is the insistence by all the four schools of Sunni Islam that Christians can be killed with impunity [as] a Muslim life is 'superior' to that of a non-Muslim." (Kol Youm show, ON TV with Amr Adib, 25 April).
On his television program, "With Islam," Behery had called for an overhaul of the millennia-old compilation of hadiths [sayings and deeds] of Muhammad, and proposed the reconstruction of Islam, to separate it from its onerous legacy cemented in the 9th century.
This March, an Iraqi Shiite cleric and former parliamentarian, Ayad Jamal Aldin, expressed similar views on a TV program hosted by Brother Rachid, a Moroccan convert to Christianity living in exile. The two men -- one an outspoken supporter of the separation between mosque and state, and the other a former Muslim -- discussed how to remove the theological justification for violence in Islam and peacefully integrate Muslims of different streams.
Like Behery, Aldin holds to the theory that lust for power and sex motivated ancient clerics to tamper with Islam:
"Every crime a Muslim ruler wished to commit was first legalized as Sharia. Every unconscionable action had first been validated by Islamic jurists; through a process of making something automatically lawful by ascribing it to the Prophet. You'd be amazed at the amount of erotica written by the Abbasids [the third of the Islamic caliphates, descended from Muhammad's youngest uncle, Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib] in praise of the charms of a 'fiver' – what they called a five-span-tall slave girl, a child, measuring some 60 centimeters in height."
Today, what has come to be called "political Islam" is based on the idea that the religion was originally charged with governing both mosque and state. According to Aldin, however, this is historically untrue, as the Prophet Muhammad was not a theocratic ruler or warlord, but a "king of hearts" who "sought to foster a good society."
Nevertheless, Aldin continued, Islam has been entrenched in militancy, and it will take more than mere goodwill to extricate it:
"Today, Muslim public opinion is shaped by schools, mosques and the media. Everywhere in the Islamic world, these three channels are state-controlled. This triad is how terrorism is bred. In other words, Muslim states themselves, wittingly or unwittingly, stand behind the spread of Islamic terror... [and] embellish the Caliphate as a time of universal good, a bygone era of Muslim might."
This, he said, is utterly false and self-defeating. "People need to know that, compared to how caliphates really were, today is the 'Golden Age' of Islam."
Aldin went on to say that while most Muslim countries "unconsciously undermine themselves in favor of an imaginary super-state," some, such as Saudi Arabia, have an agenda for promoting their interests abroad.
For more than the past six decades, the Saudis have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to spread what Aldin described as
"by far the ugliest manifestation of the religion, or of any religion, for that matter... Wahhabism... the veritable mothership of all Sunni Islam's terror movements, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab -- in places as far away as Mali, France and everywhere."
The Muslim Brotherhood, too, is linked to the House of Saud, which, Aldin said,
"offers every kind of required support to the White House. In exchange, they enjoy the U.S.'s cover, which they use to spread Wahhabism even farther. From Minnesota, to Canada, to Latin American, to Asia, Africa, and Europe -- they claim they only build mosques. Through their literature, they constitute a more lethal danger than that posed by nuclear technology proliferation."
Turning to the Iran, Aldin called it, "the hotbed of modern Shia terror, just as Saudi Arabia is the hotbed of modern Sunni terror." He then expressed disappointment in the "confusion" in Washington on this issue. Pointing to talk in the American administration of an anti-Iran "Sunni alliance," he said it is tantamount to "rely[ing] on one terrorist to fight another."
"If Trump can clearly see that there can be no 'good terrorism' and 'bad terrorism' -- that [Sunni] terrorism is equal to [Shiite] terrorism... [and that] all terrorism is pure evil -- America can be the key to finding a way out of this impasse we are in."
Still, Aldin and Behery are among the many less-touted Muslims who agree with Trump's use of the term "radical Islamic terrorism" to define what they see as the problem; they are looking to the West for assistance in encouraging a new and peaceful reading and interpretation of Islamic texts and the religion as a whole.
"Let the U.S., or some other powerful state, dedicate itself to supporting a new movement within Islam, and you will see the end of this terrorism as we know it today," Aldin said. "Let the U.S. and others pressure the Iranians and Saudis to stop their support for extremist movements. You will be surprised how soon people will start to think and act differently."
The West has a stake in reforming Islam, not only due to pluralistic values, he claimed, but because "home-grown" terrorism is on the rise in Europe and the United States.
The entire Muslim world, too, must decide where it stands, said Aldin.
"Today 55 Muslim States are members of the United Nations, a club that is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, at the core of which is equality. It is equality in all its forms, religious, racial, gender, etc. This paramount principle of equality must be 'imposed' on Islamic States. They will have to choose to either stay as part of the world community – on the condition of effective adoption of equality between Muslims and non-Muslims – or make their own club, their own 'United Nations Under Sharia,' if you like."
Aldin concluded that a new "Islamism," as he and others such as Behery envision it -- one not determined by the likes of Al-Azhar -- is possible through the joint efforts of Western leaders and Muslims "crying in the wilderness" for a different, peaceful paradigm and prism through which their religion is viewed and judged.
*Saher Fares is a specialist on the Middle East, Arabic and English journalism, Islamic jihad and political current affairs. He had held posts in Egypt, Cyprus and the United Kingdom.
© 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

هل قطر تدعم الإرهاب/مراجعة لعلاقاتها مع داعش وإيران والإخوان
Is Qatar supporting terrorism? A look its ties to Iran, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood

Haretz/AP/June 14/17
The political crisis engulfing Qatar stems from accusations by its Arab neighbors that it supports terrorism. Qatar denies the allegations, but its ties with Iran and embrace of various Islamist groups have brought intense scrutiny, made it a regional outlier and created enough smoke to suggest a fire. Last week, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar amid a slew of punitive measures. On Friday, the four Arab states upped the pressure by naming 59 people and several charities linked to Qatar on a terrorist list. U.S. President Donald Trump echoed the accusations against Qatar in various tweets and statements since the diplmoatic crisis erupted in the between the Gulf monarchies. During a press conference with the Romanian president at the White House, Trump said Qatar is funding terror "on very high level." A statement he had made after tweeting, "During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!"Governments across the region routinely cite terrorism as justification to clamp down on political opposition and rights activists. Some groups Qatar has backed - such as the Muslim Brotherhood - are seen by many as a legitimate political force. Others, including some hard-line Sunni rebel factions in Syria, are not that different ideologically from groups that Saudi Arabia backs there.
Here's a look at the various groups Qatar's accused of supporting and its relationship with them:
Al-Qaida and the Islamic State
Qatar's Arab neighbors have accused it of backing al-Qaida and the Islamic State group's ideology across the region, from Syria to the Sinai Peninsula. Experts and groups in Syria say Qatari finances have indirectly propped up militant groups. Similar accusations were leveled at Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries in the early days of Syria's 2011 uprising, but experts say these governments amended their official stances and financing laws. Some express concern that the row between Saudi Arabia and Qatar could undermine all finances to the Syrian opposition - where, on the ground, the lines are blurred over which groups cooperate with radicals. Hassan Hassan, a Syria expert, said Qatar has never supported al-Qaida or IS directly. However, he said Qatar has supported Ahrar al-Sham, whose founders are linked to al-Qaida. For its part, Saudi Arabia once hosted members of Ahrar al-Sham at a Syrian opposition conference in its capital.
The Muslim Brotherhood
The Islamist Sunni group remains one of the region's most polarizing. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt view it as a direct threat to their rule and deem it a destabilizing force. However, the Brotherhood's offshoots remain active in Jordan and Tunisia. The Brotherhood was elected to power in Egypt after protests toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and Qatar aided the Brotherhood-led government in Cairo with billions of dollars. It was a key supporter of the group's offshoots in Syria and Libya. Qatar argues it supported Egypt as a whole, and not one particular faction, when the Brotherhood was in power. Egypt's military ousted the Brotherhood and unleashed a lethal crackdown against its members amid mass protests in 2013. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt outlawed the group and branded it a terrorist organization, accusing it of plotting attacks. Brotherhood affiliates in the Gulf have been arrested. Gulf monarchies also accuse Qatar of providing financial support, a safe haven and even citizenship to Islamist opposition figures from their countries.
Hamas, the ruler of Gaza
The Palestinian group, an offshoot of Egypt's Brotherhood, is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and its Western allies. The group, which rules the Gaza Strip, has fought three wars with Israel and is seen by some in the Arab world as an armed resistance force against Israeli occupation. Saudi Arabia says Qatar must sever ties with Hamas. Qatar has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in roads, housing and a major hospital in the Gaza Strip offering a lifeline for jobs in the devastated area that is under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Its support for the territory makes Qatar one of its few foreign backers. Qatar says its work in Gaza is "purely humanitarian" and its engagement with the group has been in the context of internationally backed peace talks.
Groups holding hostages for ransom
A deal negotiated recently to release kidnapped members of Qatar's ruling family has been a source of anxiety for Gulf leaders, particularly in Saudi Arabia, which views Iran as its top adversary. Qatar reportedly paid hundreds of millions of dollars to an Iranian-backed Shiite militia that had kidnapped the 26 hostages on Dec. 16, 2015 from a desert camp for falcon hunters in southern Iraq. Egypt has asked the U.N. Security Council to investigate reports that Qatar "paid up to $1 billion to a terrorist group active in Iraq" to free the hostages, which would violate U.N. sanctions. Qatar says it only supported the Iraqi government financially for its efforts in the release of hostages, and that it did not deal with armed groups there. The deal also allegedly resulted in the evacuation of residents of predominantly Shiite villages in Syria, where Iran's proxies hold sway. Several people close to the negotiations say Qatar also paid a hefty sum to Islamist groups in Syria, including one linked to al-Qaida, for the evacuation of the residents. They told The Associated Press that the talks were probably the region's most complex and sensitive hostage deal.
Iran, the Shi'ite powerhouse
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain accuse Qatar of supporting Shiite militant groups in both countries. Violence has increased in recent weeks between militants and Saudi security forces in a predominantly Shiite town in the country's east. In Bahrain, the Sunni-led monarchy crushed an uprising by majority Shiites there in 2011 and continues to crack down on peaceful dissent. Bahraini security forces have since been targeted by local Shiite militants. Saudi Arabia has also accused Qatar of backing Iranian-allied rebels in Yemen, known as Houthis. However, Qatar was a member of a Saudi-led coalition bombing the Houthis in Yemen. Experts say there is no evidence to support the claims, but that the accusations appear to stem from negotiations for a transfer of power in Yemen in 2012. Qatar and Saudi Arabia were in disagreement over how to go about it, and Qatar was accused of trying to sabotage a Saudi-led initiative by working with Houthis. Qatar's ambassador in Washington Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani has said that while the country has ties with Iran and shares with it a vast underwater natural gas field its stance is similar to that of other Gulf Arab states.

‘Leave’, the Qatari slogan that backfired
Fares bin Hezam/Al Arabiya/June 14/17
The slogan “leave” has been very popular during the phase of the so-called Arab Spring. It’s the right term to address when raising questions about the party which coined it. We all know the repercussions of that phase as it did not take several years for the harmful and painful consequences to unfold in the Arab world. I recall this specifically bitter word (leave) out of the several slogans which emerged in the beginning of 2011 and which voiced the people’s enthusiasm and fueled popular voices. These developments were not limited to the small country of Tunisia, as the situation escalated and protests erupted in an Arab country which has a major political and historic weight.Perhaps it was not expected that its streets will be led by this momentum and by that useless approach to create a real “Arab revolution” – that is if we consider that it was in fact a virtuous revolution. The fire of the Arab Spring thus reached Egypt. Those who joined this “revolution” or seized it later began to sabotage Egypt and disrupt the state. Egypt is the homeland and origin of Muslim Brotherhood leaders who found a friendly environment for all their expansive ambitions in a “rich Gulf state.” The latter has for years worked on providing the Muslim Brotherhood with solid references and it also facilitated its movement and helped it achieve its goals of which the major one was destroying the home of the leaders of “Arabism Egypt.”It has been a difficult war secretly led by Doha to hasten the collapse of the Egyptian state and to infiltrate the Saudi unity and weaken it
Muslim Brotherhood
I will not talk about the Muslim Brotherhood but about this Arab Spring’s end results. The Arab Spring has been imposed on the Arab and global political memory considering the unprecedented support it received to immortalize the brutality of what happened and what is still happening in Arab countries.
We can anticipate this end result and there’s currently a confrontation against those who sowed this destruction in countries like Tunisia, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Palestine. The source and origin of everything which the so-called “Arab Spring” produced has begun to emerge, and it is Doha. Qatar is today incapable of defending or justifying the sources of destruction in these countries. Its arrogance has even led it to target countries which share the same fate with it and which share solid religious and cultural ties with it. The “General Father” led the path towards his empire via the coup on his late father Khalifa II in 1995. He founded the theories of the new “guide,” and the so-called “Arab Spring” constituted a fertile ground to spread the plans that aim to disrupt the strong ties among some blocs. The common fate between Egypt – which is the depth of Arab resilience – and Gulf countries was a direct target for the “new” Doha.
Back then, Qatar hid behind developmental plans which included foreign investments, modern infrastructure projects and massive financial capabilities. It exploited them to strengthen its presence in the international arena. However, its hidden agenda was to rip Arab unity apart according to the plan set by the “General Father” and the schemes he’s prepared for his son afterwards.
Simplest slogan
Let’s go back to the simplest slogan during these protests which is “leave.” This was a frank term used to voice the people’s rejection of their presidents. We heard it in Libya and Tunisia. However to Doha, “leave” echoed all over the world.
When protests first began in Tahrir Square in Cairo, official and non-official Qatari media outlets, both public and hidden, worked to expand these protests against Hosni Mubarak’s regime. However, they did not do so to support the Egyptian people as they’ve given up on them during their darkest moment after they brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power. They insulted, humiliated and defamed all leaders from Egypt’s modern history and their slogan did not exceed the word “leave.”It’s been a difficult war which has been secretly led by Doha to strengthen the collapse of the Egyptian state and to infiltrate the Saudi unity and weaken it. The scene comes to a halt today. It entirely collapses in front of the “general’s ambition” particularly in Doha which is usurped by these failed practices. Everything collapses in front of the truth.
Reprimand and anger which are concerned over Doha seem to be echoing “leave,” as this is in the interest of Qatar and its continuity. Leave, Tamim. Leave with your father, the general, and take with you his history which we will not miss at all.

Will holding Qatar accountable obstruct other battles?
Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/June 14/17
Some people have been asking “What’s the point of punishing Qatar or Qatar’s policies to be specific when we (who is we?) are fighting the nation’s battle (against whom?) now?”According to the propaganda of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Sururists, who are a Salafized branch of the Brotherhood, the nation’s battle, which is the only battle, is against the Safavid invasion. They are referring to the Khomeini republic and its networks, and Qatar is a partner in this battle. According to some leftists and westerners who sympathize with Qatar, the world’s battle is against ISIS and it is only against ISIS as all other battles are silly. Qatar contributes to this war by providing its bases and funds. During the German foreign minister’s press conference with his Qatari counterpart few days ago, he commented on the recent Saudi, Emirati, Egyptian, Bahraini and other countries’ fury against Doha and said that everyone must remember that our only battle is against ISIS.
Decisive propaganda
Let’s put aside this deceiving propaganda by the Brotherhood and the Sururists regarding confronting Iran, which is being obstructed now due to this anger from Qatar as they claim. Let us go beyond this “selfishness” or say “naivety,” if you don’t want to say “spitefulness” in the German minister’s statements, and play along with these arguments. According to some leftists and westerners who sympathize with Qatar, the world’s battle is against ISIS and all other battles are silly. According to them, Qatar contributes to this war by providing its bases and fundsز Who said Doha’s policies have been against the interests of the Khomeini republic for the past 20 years? Who said Doha was honestly working with determination and good intentions against the terrorist al-Qaeda network and its ungrateful branch ISIS? There’s clear financial, media and political evidence pointing to strange relations between al-Qaeda figureheads and Doha. Osama bin Laden had commended Al-Jazeera television channel. A number of the channel’s journalists, such as Tayseer Allouni and Sami al-Hajj, have been detained over terrorist charges and links to al-Qaeda.
The Houthi network
Relations between Iran and its networks, such as the Houthi network, are well-known and can be clearly seen. I recommend reading Fahd al-Sharfi’s article “Qatar’s story in Saada mountains”, which has been published in this daily. Sharfi is a Yemeni journalist from Saada and his article provides insights to these relations. Badreddine al-Houthi, the father of Abdulmalik and Hussein, thanked Hamad bin Khalifa in a famous speech in February 2010 and also thanked “the lions of Islam in Iran” for their support of the Houthis! In 2008 during the fifth Houthi war, Yemeni tribal leader Mohammed bin Naji al-Shayef accused “Iran of standing behind the Qatari mediation” between the Yemeni government and the Houthis and confirmed that “Qatar was only a messenger sent by Iran.”This is the real problem. It is not about a siege or ignoring the real issue, which people like Mr. Erdogan cannot see clearly. In short, in order for the “real” confrontation to succeed against Sunni and Shiite networks of chaos and terrorism, some Arab and Islamic countries and other countries decided to tell Doha: Enough in enough. It’s time for real work.