June 20/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 16/12-15/:"‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."

The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith
Acts of the Apostles 06/01-12/:"Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.’What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. Then they secretly instigated some men to say, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.’They stirred up the people as well as the elders and the scribes; then they suddenly confronted him, seized him, and brought him before the council.

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 19-20/17
Report: Israel secretly giving aid to Syrian rebels/Joy Bernard/Jerusalem Post/June 19/17
IRGC Commanders: Our Main Aim Is Global Islamic Rule/MEMRI/June 19/2017
Palestinians Praise Terror Attack/Bassam Tawil/Gatestone Institute/June 19/17
Washington Ignores Saudi "Involvement in Supporting Terrorism and Terrorist Groups"/A. Z. Mohamed/Gatestone Institute/June 19/17
Iran seizes high ground in Saudi-Qatar dispute/Why Are So Many Young Voters Falling for Old Socialists/Sarah Leonard/The New York Times/June 19/17Al Monitor/June 19/17
The Man Who Wore the Mantle of History/Ghassan Charbel/Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17
Qatar’s lies exposed/Turki Aldakhil/Al Arabiya/June 19/17
Qatar: Separating ‘conspiracies’ from policies/Hassan Al Mustafa/Al Arabiya/June 19/17
Our war is on terrorism, not on Qatar/Sawsan Al Shaer/Al Arabiya/June 19/17

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published on June 19-20/17
Baabda meet looks to revive Cabinet, Parliament functions
Aoun to lay out road map for pre-election period
Aoun signs decree for extraordinary Parliament session
Berri Hails Aoun's Call for Baabda Consultative Meeting
Bassil Lauds Hizbullah, Hariri on Electoral Law, Calls for 'More Restraints'
Franjieh to Visit Baabda for First Time since Aoun's Election
Qassem Stresses Firmness of Hizbullah-FPM Alliance
General Security Arrests IS Militant Plotting Suicide Attack
Yarze discussions feature high on security measures during holidays
Sarraf, Abu Zeid tackle general situation
Bassil confirms battle ongoing to ensure 64 Christian MPs
Hariri discusses tourist cooperation with Turkish Ambassador
Mashnouk meets Austrian Ambassador, interlocutors
Abdel Menhem Youssef released to house arrest

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 19-20/17
Car Plows into Police Van in Paris Champs-Elysees 'Attack'
1 Dead, 10 Hurt as Van Rams Muslim Pedestrians near London Mosque
US Downs Syria Regime Jet that Targeted Kurds
Saudi naval forces detain three Iranian revolutionary guards
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman holds talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abad
UAE, Egypt agree to cooperate in the fight against terror financing
UAE’s Gargash Says Qatar’s Isolation Could Last ‘Years’
Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Blasts in Cairo and Bahrain’s Diraz
Qatar Demands 'Blockade' be Lifted for Talks to Begin
Bahraini Court Supports Revoking Citizenship of 8 ISIS Members
Bahrain Orders Qatari Soldiers to Leave
Iranian FM Kicks Off Tour in North Africa by Meeting with Algerian Counterpart
Trump to Send Top Aides to Jerusalem, Ramallah to Revive Peace Talks
Hamas Official Says Ties with Cairo Are ‘Improving’
Aqsa Witnesses Fiercest Tension since Months
Iraq Tells ISIS ‘Surrender or Die’ as EU Considers Security Mission after Mosul Fall
Kuwaiti Emir Expresses Solidarity with International Community to Fight Terrorism
Kuwaiti Court Overturns Death Sentence in Abdali Cell Suspect Case
Israeli bill proposed to strip terrorists of citizenship
Report: Israel secretly giving aid to Syrian rebels
Netanyahu Warns Iran after Syria Missile Strike
Russia cuts deconfliction channel with Washington after US downs Syrian jet

Latest Lebanese Related News published on June 19-20/17
Baabda meet looks to revive Cabinet, Parliament functions
Hasan Lakkis/The Daily Star/ June 20/17
President Michel Aoun’s planned meeting with leaders of rival political parties at Baabda Palace later this week will focus on reviving the work of the executive and legislative branches following Parliament’s final ratification of a new vote law, ministerial sources said Monday. A ministerial source close to Baabda Palace said the meeting, slated for Thursday, would fall short of the national dialogue conferences held at the presidential palace in the past to agree on divisive issues. However the source said it would seek to lay out a road map after the first six months of Aoun’s mandate were marked by political stagnation with the primary focus of politicians being an agreement on the new electoral law to replace the 1960 winner-take-all system used in the 2009 election. The proportional vote law passed last week to govern next year’s parliamentary elections will now free up politicians to tackle other contentious national issues.
Aoun, the source said, decided to call heads of political parties represented in the government to meet for two reasons: the lack of a majority in the Cabinet and in Parliament and to find a common understanding for projects and priorities that would make the implementation of future plans easier. When projects are put up for discussion, ministers very often need to return to heads of their respective blocs for consultation before any agreement – taking up valuable legislative time. In addition to Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, invitations for the Baabda Palace meeting have been sent to heads of parties and blocs represented in the government. These include: Amal head Speaker Nabih Berri; Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, who is not expected to attend for security reasons and will be represented instead by either MP Mohammad Raad, head of Hezbollah’s bloc in Parliament, or Nasrallah’s deputy Sheikh Naim Qassem; Progressive Socialist Party head MP Walid Jumblatt; Lebanese Democratic Party-affiliated Minister for the Displaced Talal Arslan; Marada Movement leader MP Sleiman Frangieh; Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea; Free Patriotic Movement head and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil; MP Asaad Hardan, representing the Syrian Social Nationalist Party; and MP Hagop Pakradounian representing the Tashnag Party. Referring to the 11-month extension of Parliament’s term, the same source said Aoun does not want this period to pass without substantive achievements, as had happened in the months that preceded the approval of the new vote law due to the political polarization of major parties. There are urgent issues and a raft of draft laws that directly affect the daily lives of the Lebanese public that need to be tackled during the extended period of Parliament’s term, which expires Tuesday, the source said. He added that Aoun would bring up these issues during the meeting with party leaders and lay out priorities. However, this will require support from the ministers and Parliament to ensure they are implemented. There are key issues mentioned in the Taif Accord that have not yet been tackled, such as administrative decentralization and the abolition of political confessionalism from the country’s ruling system. These, the source said, would be broached at Thursday’s meeting. The source also noted that the significance of the political gathering at Baabda Palace stems from the fact that it will bring together leaders whose relations with each other have been strained, like Hariri’s ties with Jumblatt and Aoun’s relations with Frangieh. Notably, it will be Frangieh’s first encounter with his former presidential rival Aoun since his election in October last year.

Aoun to lay out road map for pre-election period
Ghinwa Obeid/The Daily Star/ June 19, 2017
BEIRUT: After the yearslong electoral law saga was put to bed last week, President Michel Aoun will meet with heads of political parties represented in the government Thursday to lay down his plan for the coming months before the elections. A source at the Baabda Palace told The Daily Star the meeting would be held Thursday a day after a Cabinet session is expected to be held. “The idea is that after the electoral law was endorsed and Parliament’s term has been extended for 11 months, the president saw it suitable for heads of parties participating in the government [to meet],” the source said.
Aoun, the source added, doesn’t want the period before elections, which is slated for summer 2018, to merely revolve around talks about the national vote, “where there will be no attention [given] to [the need to] activate the constitutional institutions, particularly the legislative and executive powers.”
Elnashra news agency, quoting NBN TV station, said that Speaker Nabih Berri welcomed Aoun’s invitation and praised his position to focus on national development. The agency also reported that Marada Movement head Sleiman Frangieh had received an invitation from Aoun and will reportedly attend Thursday’s session. This comes after animosity between the pair after Aoun bested Frangieh in the bitter battle for the presidency.
The new proportional vote law came as a replacement for the 1960 sectarian-based winner-take-all system that divides Lebanon into small- and medium-sized constituencies used in the last polls in 2009. During the past months, most of the political discussion focused on reaching a final agreement on the electoral law before the Parliament’s term ended on June 20. “There are many laws and draft laws that weren’t being discussed over the last six months because every time this topic as opened the answer was, ‘Let’s first finish the electoral law,’” the source said. “Now that we are done with the electoral law, the president wants to inform the heads of parties participating in the Cabinet of his directions for the next period and how to make the upcoming months productive on the legislative and executive levels because there is an integration.” The source also confirmed that a Cabinet session headed by Aoun is expected to be held Wednesday at Baabda Palace where a 67-item agenda will be discussed with the issue of electricity and proposals to rent two additional power barges being among the top items. Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri have signed a decree the paving way for the new law to be published in the Official Gazette, the last step for the law to go into effect. According to a statement from the presidency Saturday, the law’s text was referred to the Official Gazette to be “published urgently” and that is according to Paragraph 1 of Article 56 of the Constitution.
Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil announced Sunday that work in the upcoming stage will focus on building on the current vote law, which he said includes several gaps. “We had previously announced that this law needs more controls to better improve representation and we insist on our opinion and we will continue to work to express this opinion until it is achieved,” Bassil said, speaking from Akkar. “We should have the [boldness] to say that the current law in the way it was issued contains a lot of mistakes and we will calmly head, in the coming days and weeks, to prepare an amendment bill for this law in important and less important matters to resolve the gaps for it to be more comprehensive and reformative.”Lebanese Forces Social Affairs Minister Pierre Bou Assi said that the new law was the best possible bill achievable. “It is surely not the best law. However, [it averted] vacuum, destruction and paralysis of institutions and security and socio-economic threats,” Bou Assi said speaking from Jounieh.

Aoun signs decree for extraordinary Parliament session
Daily Star/June 19, 2017/BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun Monday signed a decree to hold an extraordinary Parliament session between June 21 and October 16. Aoun made his announcement via Twitter.The 2017 draft state budget will be the top item on the agenda.
Earlier this month, Aoun signed a decree to hold an extraordinary Parliament session between June 7 and 20 so rival politicians would have more time to agree on a new vote law. Parliament agreed on the new vote law last week. The draft law includes an article that calls for an 11-month “technical extension”.
The next elections will be between March 20 and May 19, 2018.

Berri Hails Aoun's Call for Baabda Consultative Meeting
Speaker Nabih Berri has welcomed President Michel Aoun's call for a meeting in Baabda among the leaders of the political parties that are represented in government. Berri, who received invitations to the meeting from both Aoun and Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil, told al-Joumhouria newspaper in remarks published Monday that he will be “the first one to arrive” at the meeting. “This is not like the previous dialogue meetings and it is an idea that I agree to... We will discuss how we can revitalize the country's situation, economy and priorities and what's more important is to revitalize institutions,” Berri said. “We do not want to create something new in this dialogue but rather to remind of the norms and means to implement them and abide by them,” the speaker added. Asked whether the meeting would tackle the latest violent murders and robberies in the country, Berri said “this only requires the enforcement of the law.”“And as I said before: all covers are lifted and security forces are required to perform their duties,” Berri added. Aoun's unprecedented meeting with the political leaders is aimed at “discussing the previous phase and its obstacles as well as the upcoming phase and the means to reactivate the work of state institutions,” ad-Diyar newspaper has reported. The conferees will “discuss the pending Taef Accord articles, especially in terms of abolishing political sectarianism as a prelude to creating a Senate,” ad-Diyar added. They will also tackle “vital projects that need to be executed” and will address “the rifts that were caused by the electoral law” negotiations, the newspaper said. “The president will put the leaders of the parties in the picture of his vision and reform ideas for the upcoming years of his tenure,” ad-Diyar added, noting that Berri “will contribute to President Aoun's efforts.”

Bassil Lauds Hizbullah, Hariri on Electoral Law, Calls for 'More Restraints'
Naharnet/June 19/17/Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil on Monday credited Hizbullah and Prime Minister Saad Hariri for the approval of the new electoral law, which the FPM says will improve Christian representation in parliament. “The credit for the electoral law goes to our permanent ally Hizbullah and to PM Hariri who rejected extension (of parliament's term),” Bassil said at an FPM ceremony. “Our common stance with the Lebanese Forces contributed a lot to resolving the difficulties that stood in the way of the electoral law, which would not have been possible had it not been for the president's stance,” Bassil added. But the FPM chief noted that the electoral law “should be enhanced with more restraints in the future, including the qualification threshold, the qualification round and other demands.”Bassil also warned that “any manipulation in the issue of the magnetic voting cards will push us to withdraw our support for the technical extension (of parliament's term).”“We must know the answer soon,” Bassil added. He also noted that “all election experts” know that his “personal interest” lies in confining the so-called preferential vote “to the electoral district and not the administrative district.” “We are open to all alliances,” Bassil added. The new electoral law, which is based on proportional representation and 15 electoral districts, was ratified by parliament on Friday after months of political wrangling during which Bassil and the FPM insisted on “improving Christian representation.”The new law paves 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.

Franjieh to Visit Baabda for First Time since Aoun's Election
Naharnet/June 19/17/Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh's participation in a Baabda meeting called for by President Michel Aoun is expected to receive significant media coverage on Thursday along with the key talks that will gather the leaders of the parties represented in government.
Franjieh and ten other leaders have received official invitations to take part in the meeting. It will be the first time since Aoun's election that the Marada chief visits the Baabda Palace. He had boycotted the binding parliamentary consultations to name a new premier as well as the latest presidential iftar banquet. Ties between the former allies were strained after Prime Minister Saad Hariri nominated Franjieh for the presidency before eventually switching his endorsement to Aoun. It was not immediately clear if a bilateral meeting will be held between Aoun and Franjieh, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Monday, knowing that Franjieh had several times announced his readiness to visit the Baabda Palace should he receive an invitation from the president. “A Franjieh-Aoun meeting hinges on the appropriate timing and circumstances and we will not analyze and make conclusions before the meeting happens, especially that it has to do with the personal relation between the two men,” Marada sources told al-Joumhouria. “The outcome of the meeting would determine the subsequent course,” the sources noted. Aoun's unprecedented meeting with the political leaders is aimed at “discussing the previous phase and its obstacles as well as the upcoming phase and the means to reactivate the work of state institutions,” ad-Diyar newspaper has reported. The conferees will “discuss the pending Taef Accord articles, especially in terms of abolishing political sectarianism as a prelude to creating a Senate,” ad-Diyar added. They will also tackle “vital projects that need to be executed” and will address “the rifts that were caused by the electoral law” negotiations, the newspaper said. “The president will put the leaders of the parties in the picture of his vision and reform ideas for the upcoming years of his tenure,” ad-Diyar added, noting that Speaker Nabih Berri “will contribute to President Aoun's efforts.”

Qassem Stresses Firmness of Hizbullah-FPM Alliance
Naharnet/June 19/17/Hizbullah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem has stressed that the alliance between Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement is “built on firm foundations, not short-lived interests.”“We had several times repeated during the negotiations (on the electoral law), even during the difficult moments, that the relation between the FPM and Hizbullah will not be affected by the discussions course or by the law that would be reached,” Qassem told ad-Diyar newspaper in remarks published Monday. “When disagreements arose over some details at certain moments, it turned out that the disagreements were trivial and limited,” Qassem noted. “Different viewpoints amid a solid relation cannot have a negative impact on this relation, and whoever reviews the course of the past months in the vote law negotiations will realize that the problem was with the others, not between Hizbullah and the FPM,” Hizbullah number two added. He underlined that any disagreement over certain details is “legitimate in principle” and cannot “affect the strategic issues.”“Amid the debate over the electoral law, major and important stances were voiced by President Michel Aoun over the resistance and the domestic situation, and Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah issued important reassurances regarding the nature and the firmness of the relation between the FPM and Hizbullah,” Qassem recalled. And lamenting “the presence of parties distressed and dismayed by the FPM-Hizbullah relation,” the senior Hizbullah official said these parties “spare no effort to stir discord and problems.”But he reassured that “all such attempts had failed in the past and will fail in the future, because the alliance between the two parties is built on firm foundations, not short-lived interests or temporary gains.”

General Security Arrests IS Militant Plotting Suicide Attack
Naharnet/June 19/17/General Security announced Monday the arrest of a Lebanese member of the terrorist Islamic State group who was plotting to carry out a “suicide bombing” in the country. “During interrogation, he confessed to the charges and that he had first belonged to the al-Nusra Front group and undergone military training at the hands of the (slain Lebanese) terrorist Osama Mansour,” a General Security statement said. “He took part in Tripoli's clashes and after the end of Tripoli's battle (with the army) he communicated with the terrorist Osama Mansour, who told him that he had chosen him to carry out a suicide operation,” the statement added. Mansour “then asked him to maintain readiness until he is informed of the target and until he receives a suicide vest and he agreed,” General Security said. The detainee, identified as A.A., later communicated via social networking websites with a number of IS militants before pledging allegiance to the group through senior IS official Abu Amina al-Souri. “He was psychologically prepared to carry out a suicide operation but his arrest foiled the attack,” General Security added.  “Following investigations, he was referred to the relevant judicial authorities and efforts are underway to arrest the rest of the culprits,” it said.

Yarze discussions feature high on security measures during holidays
Mon 19 Jun 2017/NNA - Lebanese Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, held a meeting in Yarze on Monday with the heads of security networks on the best means to strengthen cooperation, prosecute terrorist cells, and fight organized and individual crimes, as well as on the measures adopted for the protection of citizens during Fitr holiday. The meeting was attended by the heads of the Internal Security Forces and State Security, Imad Othman and Toni Saliba, the head of intelligence, Antoine Mansour, and the advisor of the President of the Republic For security and military affairs.

Sarraf, Abu Zeid tackle general situation
Mon 19 Jun 2017/NNA - National Defense Minister, Yacoub al-Sarraf, on Monday met at his ministerial office with MP Amal Abu Zeid, with the pair reportedly discussing the general situation in the country.
Minister Sarraf also met with Beirut City Municipal Council head Jamal Itani, with the city's current situation and stringent needs topping their discussions. Sarraf later met with the Russian Military Attaché, where they discussed preparations underway for the Minister's forthcoming visit to Russia, and the bilateral military cooperation between the two countries.

Bassil confirms battle ongoing to ensure 64 Christian MPs
Mon 19 Jun 2017/NNA - Free Patriotic Movement Leader, Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Gebran Bassil, launched on Monday the FPM's electoral machinery, during which he affirmed that the battle was ongoing until 64 seats were secured for Christian MPs. "The Free Patriotic Movement knew so very well when to raise the ceiling," he said, reminding his audience of the FPM's pride and joy for being the one that pushed for a proportionality-based electoral law. "We have also reached this agreement thanks to the Future Movement and Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, who approved of the proportionality vote law. We would also like to give credit to the Lebanese Forces and all the political parties which helped give the new law a major political cover," he added. "Our all time ally, Hezbollah, is also to be majorly thanked since it has always pushed for proportionality," he added. However, Bassil regretted that the law failed to ensure a women's quota and the election of military men. "There is a great thing that the FPM is proud of, which is granting electoral rights to Lebanese expatriates, as well as the right to restore the Lebanese nationality," he added. "We are ready for elections and accepted parliamentary extension to give time for the issuance of magnetic cards. We are also concerned about the regulation of demographic mobility for electoral purposes, and the FPM has shown keenness on the votes of everyone in Lebanon; however, some places suffer injustice which must be addressed," Bassil said.

Hariri discusses tourist cooperation with Turkish Ambassador
Mon 19 Jun 2017/NNA - The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri received today at the Grand Serail a delegation from the Research and Strategic Studies Center in the Lebanese Army, headed by Brigadier General Fadi Abi Farraj, in the presence of Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Defense, Major General Saadallah Hamad. After the meeting, Abi Farraj said: "We thanked Prime Minister Hariri for accepting the invitation to attend the 7th Regional Conference where he was represented by Minister Jamal Jarrah. We presented to him today the recommendations and the resolutions adopted at the conference."Hariri also received the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Cagatay Erciyes in the presence of a delegation from the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism in the Turkish city of Adana, the Head of Hotel Owners Association in Lebanon Pierre Achkar and the Head of the Association of travel and tourism agents Jean Abboud. After the meeting, the Turkish ambassador said that the meeting was fruitful and discussed ways to develop tourist cooperation between the two countries. He added that Turkey has become the first tourist destination for Lebanese over the past years with almost 300 000 Lebanese tourists visiting Turkey per year while the number of Turkish tourists visiting Lebanon did not exceed 20 000 per year, which is very small because there are 8 million Turkish tourists who spend annually more than six billion dollars. He said that as ambassador to Lebanon, he noticed that this country has provided many facilities for Turkish tourists, in addition to the landscape, culture and nature of the Lebanese people. He added: "Therefore, I think we can raise the number of Turkish tourists in Lebanon to 100 000 tourists annually in a short period of time. We stressed that this plan should be pursued by encouraging cooperation between the travel agencies of the two countries and providing political support and all that is necessary for the success of their work. I asked Prime Minister Hariri to continue his support for our joint project "Commercial Tourism Bridge between Beirut and Adana".
Erciyes added that he conveyed the congratulations of the Turkish government for the adoption of a new electoral law last week, which will lead to a new parliament. He said that he is pleased to see the positive political atmosphere return to Lebanon, and that he emphasized Turkey's firm commitment to the security, stability and prosperity of Lebanon.

Mashnouk meets Austrian Ambassador, interlocutors
Mon 19 Jun 2017/NNA - Interior and Municipalities Minister, Nouhad Mashnouk, welcomed on Monday Austrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Marian Wrba, who congratulated him on the government's agreement on a new vote law. The Austrian diplomat said that he understood the complications accompanying the new Lebanese electoral formula looking at the fact that it resembled in content the Austrian electoral law. Separately, Mashnouk had an audience with former Interior and Municipalities Minister, Ziad Baroud, with whom he discussed the forthcoming phase en route to the full implementation of the new vote law. Latest political developments featured high on talks between Mashnouk and Change and Reform Parliamentary bloc Secretary, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, who visited the Interior Ministry in his capacity as head of the finance and budget parliamentary committee, to discuss the Interior Ministry's budget.

Abdel Menhem Youssef released to house arrest
Mon 19 Jun 2017/NNA - Beirut Investigative Judge, Fadi Onaissi, on Monday released Ogero CEO, Abdel Menhem Youssef, to house arrest.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 19-20/17
Car Plows into Police Van in Paris Champs-Elysees 'Attack'
Naharnet/Agence France Presse/June 19/17/A car loaded with gas canisters rammed into a police van on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on Monday, leaving the driver dead in what the interior minister said was an "attempted attack."Police sources told AFP that a Kalashnikov rifle, handguns and gas bottles were found in the white Renault Megane. "Security forces have been targeted in France once again," Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said, calling the incident an "attempted attack." The weapons and explosives found in the vehicle "could potentially blow this car up," he added. Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said bomb disposal experts were on the scene to "ensure the vehicle poses no further danger." Video showed orange smoke pouring from the car after the impact. No police or bystanders were injured in the incident near the Grand Palais exhibition hall. "People were running every which way," said a 51-year-old bystander who gave his name only as Alexandre. "Some shouted at me to get away." Anti-terrorism prosecutors have opened an investigation. Police have closed two of the Metro stations on the Champs-Elysees, a world-renowned avenue lined with shops and cinemas that is a major tourist draw in the French capital. The incident came just two months after a policeman was shot and killed on the avenue, three days before the first round of France's presidential election. A note praising the Islamic State group was found next to the body of the gunman, Karim Cheurfi, in that incident. Police later found other weapons in Cheurfi's car including a shotgun and knives. On June 7, a hammer-wielding Algerian man was shot and wounded by police after he struck an officer on the head in front of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, shouting it was in revenge "for Syria." He had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in a video found at his home. String of attacks  The attack Monday was the latest of a string in Paris and London. Earlier Monday, a van plowed into a crowd of Muslims near a London mosque, leaving one person dead and injuring 10 others.
It was the second terror attack this month in the British capital. Two weeks ago jihadists used a van and knives to crush and stab to death eight people enjoying a night out in the British capital. Three of the victims were French. France has been consistently targeted by jihadists and remains under a state of emergency imposed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when Islamic State jihadists killed 130 people in a night of carnage at venues across the city. Previous major attacks targeted the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in January 2015. In July last year, a radicalized Tunisian man killed down 86 people as he rammed a truck through a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the Riviera city of Nice.

1 Dead, 10 Hurt as Van Rams Muslim Pedestrians near London Mosque
Naharnet/Agence France Presse/June 19/17/A van plowed into a crowd of Muslims near a London mosque early on Monday, leaving one person dead and injuring 10 others in the second terror attack this month in the British capital. Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the "sickening" incident, saying Britain's determination to fight "terrorism, extremism and hatred... must be the same, whoever is responsible." The 48-year-old driver of the van, a white man who police believe acted alone, was detained by people at the scene before being arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
The Finsbury Park Mosque in north London said the van "deliberately mowed down Muslim men and women leaving late evening prayers" at the mosque and the nearby Muslim Welfare House shortly after midnight. Others linked the attack to an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes, particularly since the London Bridge rampage on June 3 that left eight people dead, which was claimed by the Islamic State group. "This was an attack on London and all Londoners and we should all stand together against extremists whatever their cause," said Neil Basu, senior counter-terrorism officer for the Metropolitan Police.
He added that it had "all the hallmarks" of a terrorist attack. It unfolded as a man was receiving first aid from members of the public in an unrelated incident. The man later died, though it is not yet clear whether his death was linked to the attack, Basu said. Ten people were hurt, all of them Muslims, with eight of them requiring hospital treatment. Two of them were in a very serious condition, police said. A witness, Abdiqadir Warra, told AFP that the van "drove at people" and that some of the victims were carried for several meters along the road. "He was shouting: 'All Muslims, I want to kill all Muslims'," another witness, Khalid Amin, told BBC television. Basu praised locals for detaining the man, saying that their "restraint in the circumstances was commendable."
Community in shock
The use of a vehicle to mow down pedestrians drew horrifying parallels with the June 3 attack, when three men drove a van into pedestrians before embarking on a stabbing spree, and with another car and knife rampage in Westminster in March. This time, however, the attacker appeared to have deliberately targeted Muslims. "Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia and this is the most violent manifestation to date," said Harun Khan, head of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body. After the London Bridge attack, the mayor's office reported a 40 percent increase in racist incidents in the city and a fivefold increase in the number of anti-Muslim incidents. Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, described it as "cowardly.""Our community is in shock," he said, urging people attending prayers to remain vigilant. This message was echoed by police, who said extra police had been deployed to reassure Muslim communities in London and security outside mosques would be reviewed. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was a "horrific terrorist attack" aimed at "innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan."
Extraordinary city
It was the third major incident to hit the capital in the past few weeks, after the London Bridge attack and last week's devastating fire in the Grenfell Tower block, in which 79 people are thought to have died. "This is an extraordinary city of extraordinary people," May said in a statement outside Downing Street, after chairing an emergency government meeting on the attack. "It is home to a multitude of communities that together make London one of the greatest cities on earth. Diverse, welcoming, vibrant, compassionate, confident and determined never to give in to hate." The Finsbury Park Mosque was once a notorious hub for radical Islamists but has changed markedly in recent years under new management. Its former imam, Abu Hamza, was jailed for life in New York on terrorism charges in 2015. Despite the change in leadership and the focus on bolstering inter-faith relations, the mosque reported that it had received a string of threatening emails and letters in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris. Some locals came onto the street in support of the mosque on Monday, holding up signs saying "We love our mixed community" and "Leave our Muslim neighbors alone."

US Downs Syria Regime Jet that Targeted Kurds
Thaer Abbas/Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/Beirut- A US coalition warplane downed on Sunday evening a Syrian regime army jet as a response to attacks targeting a group of Kurdish fighters. The coalition announced in a statement that a Syrian SU-22 jet dropped bombs near Syrian Democratic Forces positions in southern Tabqa. “In accordance with its right to defend itself or its partnered force, the Syrian jet was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18 Super Hornet,” the statement said. Meanwhile, the Syrian regime said in a statement that the pilot of the downed jet was missing. The regime statement also claimed that its jet was downed while on a mission against ISIS militants. On Sunday evening, rare fighting erupted between regime forces and SDF fighters in two towns located 40 kilometers south of the city of Raqqa, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Separately, Lebanese sources from the March 8 alliance said that “Hezbollah” is preparing for a battle to control the Syrian-Lebanese border by the end of this summer. The “Hezbollah” battle, therefore, aims to secure the borderline stretching from the sea to the South and put it under the control of its fighters and those of the Syrian regime. “Hezbollah is awaiting the results of some negotiations that would empty the area of Arsal’s outskirts, which the party is not allowed to enter on sectarian grounds,” the sources said. “Even if the negotiations fail, the party has already made up its mind and is determined to resolve the situation on the border, the sources added. Meanwhile, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards announced on Sunday that its paramilitary force launched surface-to-surface missiles into positions located in Syria’s Deir Ezzor. In a statement, the Revolutionary Guards said the move came in response to the two recent attacks on Iran’s parliament and a shrine in Tehran, which were both adopted by ISIS.

Saudi naval forces detain three Iranian revolutionary guards
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English Monday, 19 June 2017/Saudi Arabia’s naval forces say they have detained and are currently questioning three men believed to be Iranian Revolutionary Guards after their armed boat attempted to breach their territorial waters on Friday. An official source stated that at 20:28 on June 16, three small boats, bearing red and white flags, entered the Saudi territorial waters in the Arabian Gulf. Saudi navy forces were able to capture one boat while the other two escaped. “They headed at speed towards platforms of Saudi oil field of Marjan. Immediately, the Saudi naval forces fired warning shots, but the boats did not respond. Consequently, one of the boats was captured which was loaded with weapons for subversive purpose, while the other two escaped,” a statement on Saudi Press Agency read. A statement released by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Informational and Culture quoted a navy source as saying that the attack was apparently carried as a terrorist operation aimed at causing serious damage to life and property. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stresses its determination to combat and eradicate terrorism and its sources, as a part of the country’s permanent objective to protect its national security against any external aggression,” the statement added.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman holds talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abad
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English Monday, 19 June 2017/Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has held official talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi where both discussed regional developments. Abadi arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday as part of his official three-day foreign tour, which includes Kuwait and Iran, an Iraqi government spokesman said. The spokesperson said that Abadi hopes to “renew relations [with these countries], discuss mutual interests, and agree to fight all types of terrorism.”During his one-day visit, Abadi will hold talks with King Salman and several other Saudi officials. It is the first time Abadi is going to visit Saudi Arabia as Iraq’s premier.

UAE, Egypt agree to cooperate in the fight against terror financing
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English Monday, 19 June 2017/The United Arab Emirates and Egypt have agreed to cooperate further in the fights against terror financing as well as against political and media cover over extremism. The agreement comes as Abu Dhabi Crowin Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed met with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Monday to discuss regional developments. Bin Zayed will further discuss with the Egyptian officials several regional and international issues and issues of common concern. Spokesperson for Sisi’s office Alaa Yousif confirmed that a bilateral meeting was held on Monday followed by a session of extensive talks between the two countries' delegations, during which the Egyptian president welcomed Abu Dhabi’s crown prince and praised the distinguished Egyptian-Emirati relations and the level of coordination and continuous consultation between the two countries on various issues of common interest.

UAE’s Gargash Says Qatar’s Isolation Could Last ‘Years’
Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/A senior United Arab Emirates (UAE) official said on Monday Qatar’s diplomatic isolation could “last years” if it did not alter its foreign policy and said a list of their grievances would be completed in the next days. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt two weeks ago cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, closed land and sea borders and imposed severe restrictions on airspace over Qatar’s funding of funding and instability-fomenting activities in the Middle East. “We do not want to escalate, we want to isolate,” state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash told journalists during a visit to Paris. The minister said Qatar’s rivals were “betting on time”, but said a solution could not be brokered until it abandoned its support for “extremist Islamists”. “They have built a sophisticated podium for jihadism and Islamic extremism, we have a golden opportunity to break this support,” the minister said. He called for countries like the United States, France, Germany and Britain to help monitor any agreement reached with Qatar to ensure they are not cooperating with jihadists.“They have the diplomatic clout and technical know-how,” the minister added.

Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Blasts in Cairo and Bahrain’s Diraz
Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia strongly condemned and denounced two explosions that took place in Cairo and Diraz village in Bahrain which resulted in the death and injury of several security personnel, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday. The source reiterated Riyadh’s solidarity with two brotherly countries, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Arab Republic of Egypt, against terrorism and extremism, SPA said. The source offered condolences to the families and the peoples and governments of the two states, wishing a speedy recovery for the injured, the agency added. The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also expressed its strong condemnation of the two terrorist bombings. The General Secretariat affirmed that these acts of terrorism aim at harming the security and stability of Egypt and Bahrain. It also renewed its solidarity with the Egyptian and Bahraini governments in the face of these vicious attacks and in confronting terrorism.

Qatar Demands 'Blockade' be Lifted for Talks to Begin
Qatar on Monday demanded neighboring states lift their "blockade" of the emirate as a pre-condition for crisis talks, even as the United Arab Emirates warned its isolation could last years. Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani called measures imposed against Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and others "an act of aggression." "We have to make it very clear for everyone, negotiations must be done in a civilized way and should have a solid basis and not under pressure or under blockade," he told reporters in Doha. "Qatar under blockade -- there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade," said Sheikh Mohammed. "Until now we didn't see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the pre-condition for anything to move forward."On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar, pulling their ambassadors from the gas-rich emirate and giving its citizens a two-week deadline to leave their territory. The measures also included closing Qatar's only land border, banning its planes from using their airspace and barring Qatari nationals from transiting through their airports. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and others accuse Qatar of supporting and funding "terrorism" and of working with regional rival Iran, charges Doha firmly denies. Asked if the ultimate aim of the Gulf countries was to enforce regime change, the foreign minister replied: "No one is in a position of imposing regime change in this country. "Our system here is based on a consensus between the people and its ruler."
'Isolation could take years'
Sheikh Mohammed's demand came as a UAE state minister warned Qatar's diplomatic isolation could "last years.""We do not want to escalate, we want to isolate," state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash told journalists in Paris. "This isolation can take years."Gargash said that while Qatar's rivals were "betting on time," a solution could not be brokered until it abandoned its support for "extremist Islamists.""They have built a sophisticated podium for jihadism and Islamic extremism," he said.
"They support groups linked to al-Qaida in Syria, Libya... and in Yemen. "This state is weaponizing jihadists and Islamists, it is using this as a weapon of influence," he added. Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar had not received any demands from the Gulf states or from countries seeking a diplomatic solution, including Kuwait, the United States, France and Britain, as the conflict dragged into its third week.
"Why they didn't submit their demands yet? For us, there is no clear answer for this," he said. "But what we have seen until now, there is no solid ground for these demands, that's why they didn't submit their demands yet." The foreign minister said the economic impact on Qatar had so far proved to be minimal, but added: "We are not claiming we are living in a perfect condition."On Monday, Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, chief executive of the Qatar Financial Centre, said the "blockade" had put at risk business deals worth $2 billion in Arab countries that have cut ties with Doha.
Worrying crisis
The Gulf political crisis has also affected countries outside the region. "France, UK or the United States -- they are strong allies of Qatar and we have a great deal of cooperation together in terms of military, defense, security, economically," said Sheikh Mohammed. "So a blockade on Qatar and measures being taken against Qatar in this way is affecting the interests of those countries as well, directly."
Concern over the ongoing crisis also surfaced at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, who said "the depth of the crisis is more worrying than at any time before."
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini called for "de-escalation" and encouraged "all Gulf countries to engage in political dialogue without pre-conditions."Experts fear the crisis could draw in other countries. Adding to the growing tensions, Qatar announced Monday it had begun joint military exercises with the Turkish army. Amnesty International has flagged the humanitarian cost of the crisis, warning it was "spreading fear" across the region. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain had given their citizens a June 19 deadline to leave Qatar, a deadline which came into force on Monday.

Bahraini Court Supports Revoking Citizenship of 8 ISIS Members
Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/Manama- Bahrain Court of Appeal commuted prison sentences of eight defendants accused of establishing a branch of ISIS in Bahrain. The High Court of Appeal upheld the decision to revoke the nationalities of the eight convicts who had joined ISIS, reducing the prison sentences from 15 to eight years. Among the defendants whose sentences were commuted were Abdullah al-Binali, the second defendant in the case of the brother of ISIS religious theorist Turki al-Binali, who assured the court that he is proud of joining the organization. Twenty-four men were tried in connection with this case in June 2016, but only eight appealed the sentences as the rest are at large. Turki had earlier handed down life imprisonment, while his other co-defendants were given 15 years behind bars each. The eight appellants’ jail terms have been slashed to 10 years in prison each. Aged between 16 and 42, the defendants were charged in October last year with forming a cell of the ISIS group, plotting suicide attacks and recruiting militants for the organization. The defendants were said to have been planning to carry out a suicide bombing in a local mosque. The mastermind of the cell was Turki who is believed to have recruited dozens of Bahraini youth and sent them to the frontlines outside the country. The suspects also include two of Binali’s brothers (the second and third defendants). The second defendant reportedly traveled to Syria where he received military training and took part in hostilities before returning to Bahrain. He, along with the third defendant, were assigned later by their brother Turki to encourage more young Bahrainis to join ISIS and facilitate their travel to Syria to receive militia training and fight with ISIS members. The fourteenth defendant is said to have requested the fifth defendant to carry out a terrorist attack in Bahrain because there wasn’t sufficient money to help him travel to Syria. Turki was charged with establishing a branch for a terrorist organization intended to disable the provisions of the Constitution and prevent state institutions and public authorities from exercising their business by means of terror. The other defendants were indicted for joining a terrorist organization, receiving militia training, using arms, possessing weapons and explosives, participating in terrorist operations and planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Bahrain. In October 21, Bahrain charged 24 people with forming a cell of ISIS, plotting suicide bombings and recruiting militants. The move came after investigations into the formation of a “branch for a terrorist group, ISIS,” said a prosecution statement.

Bahrain Orders Qatari Soldiers to Leave
Nayef Al-Rasheed/Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/
Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Manama-Manama ordered on Sunday Qatari troops serving with the US Naval Forces Central Command to leave its territory within the next 48 hours, the same day a deadline offered by each of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain for Qatari nationals to leave their territories ended.
“The Bahrainis told the US general in command of the base that Qatari soldiers must leave,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity. ”They are still in the base but likely to leave within the next two days,” the source added, without detailing the number of Qatari troops based in Bahrain. Also on Sunday, Qatar’s Defense Ministry announced that the first batch of Turkish troops have arrived in Doha and that these forces conducted their first training at Tariq bin Ziyad military base. Meanwhile, a Saudi government source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that Riyadh remains determined to implement the decision related to Qatari nationals who are asked to leave its territories, but added that the Kingdom would “take into account the humanitarian aspects.” The source also said Saudi Arabia insists to provide all the facilities and services for Qatari pilgrims. The source denied rumors that Riyadh was not facilitating services for Qatari pilgrims at the Salwa crossing, the only land road connecting Qatar with the world. Separately, the Emirates Writers Union warned its writers, authors and cultural figures from dealing with any Qatari party and to prevent any joint cooperation with Qatari funding entities.

Iranian FM Kicks Off Tour in North Africa by Meeting with Algerian Counterpart
Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/Algeria – Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif began on Sunday his official tour to three African states by holding talks with Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdelkader Messahel. During a joint news conference with his Algerian counterpart, Zarif said that both countries shared common policies towards regional and international issues, while Messahel noted that the current circumstances were favorable to promoting cooperation between Iran and Algeria on the different levels. Zarif said that his country considered dialogue as the best means to resolve regional and international problems. Commenting on his talks with Messahel, he said: “Such meetings are necessary in the wake of the current developments.” He also said he hoped that discussions between Iran and Algeria would lead to boosting cooperation between Islamic states and non-aligned countries on the international level. The Algerian foreign minister, for his part, underlined the importance of negotiations in settling regional conflicts. Meanwhile, diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the crisis between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors topped the discussions of Zarif in Algeria. The Iranian foreign minister said that fighting extremism “must be a priority for everyone”. He added that his country and Algeria shared common views regarding the need to preserve the values of sovereignty and non-interference in other countries’ affairs. It is noteworthy that Algeria cut its ties with Tehran in 1993 after it accused the Persian State of supporting extremist groups that emerged following the army’s interference to cancel the parliamentary elections results in 1991, which saw the victory of Islamists. Relations were normalized in 2000 following a meeting between the two countries’ presidents under the auspices of the United Nations. Zarif left for Mauritania on Monday in the second leg of his tour, which will later take him to Tunisia.

Trump to Send Top Aides to Jerusalem, Ramallah to Revive Peace Talks

Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/US President Donald Trump will send later this week his top aides to Jerusalem and Ramallah to resume efforts to possibly revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, announced a White House official on Sunday. Jared Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law and husband of his daughter Ivanka Trump, and Jason Greenblatt, a top national security aide, will arrive in the Middle East on Wednesday. The visit follows Trump’s discussions last month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Behind-the-scenes conversations have been taking place since the Trump trip, the White House official said. “President Trump has made it clear that working towards achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a top priority for him. He strongly believes that peace is possible,” the White House official said.
Kushner and Greenblatt will have meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah to hear directly from the Israeli and Palestinian leadership “about their priorities and potential next steps,” the official said. “Excited to be traveling back to Israel and the Pal. Territories to continue the discussion about the possibility of peace”, Greenblatt tweeted on Sunday night. Kushner and Greenblatt are working with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster on the Middle East issue. “It is important to remember that forging a historic peace agreement will take time and to the extent that there is progress, there are likely to be many visits by both Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt, sometimes together and sometimes separately, to the region and possibly many trips by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to Washington D.C. or other locations as they pursue substantive talks,” the official added.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians were high over the weekend however after Israel revoked on Sunday the permits of 200,000 Palestinians to enter Israel that were approved for the holy month of Ramadan. The decision was taken after two near simultaneous Palestinian attacks on police that killed a young female officer near Jerusalem’s Old City. Israeli defense body COGAT, posted the announcement on its Arabic language Facebook page.Earlier, Netanyahu said that preparations are underway to destroy the homes of the Palestinian attackers and tighten security at the entrance to the Old City, home to sensitive holy sites sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. Three Palestinian attackers armed with an automatic weapon and knives assaulted officers on duty near the Old City in two locations Friday evening.
Police said Staff Sgt. Maj. Hadas Malka, 23, was rushing to respond to that initial attack nearby when a Palestinian assaulted her with a knife. Malka wrestled with the man for several seconds as he stabbed her multiple times before other officers saw what was happening and opened fire, killing him, police said. She later died of her wounds in hospital. The ISIS terrorist group took responsibility for the attacks but two Palestinian militant groups, Hamas and People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine quickly retorted the three attackers were their members and accused ISIS of trying to undermine their efforts.
Earlier, at his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu lashed out at Abbas for not condemning the attack. Israel had previously announced its annual goodwill measures for Ramadan that included 200,000 thousand visiting permits for family visits for Palestinians from the West Bank and access for 100 Gaza residents to attend prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. COGAT said the visiting permits were canceled but the prayer permits remain unchanged.There was no official comment from Abbas. Osama al-Qawasmi, a spokesman for Abbas’ Fatah party said “When Netanyahu ends his occupation all the problems will end, but as long he continues occupation and land confiscation and building settlements on our land … the conflict will continue.” Friday’s deadly attack affected thousands of families across the West Bank who planned to visit relatives over the Ramadan holiday.

Hamas Official Says Ties with Cairo Are ‘Improving’
Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/Gaza- Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas, announced on Sunday that ties with Egypt have been improving substantially. “Hamas’ delegation which recently visited Egypt found unparalleled understanding on the level of officials on Cairo’s ability to play a significant role in mitigating crises striking the Gaza Strip,” said Hamas Senior political leader Khalil al-Hayya. Speaking to a group of reporters in Gaza city, Hayya said that the group’s relations with Iran are stable, and that developing them is a goal underway. “We do not hide it (referring to Hamas-Iran ties) nor are we ashamed of it.”
Hayya added in his statement that Hamas had recently improved its relationship with Egypt. Egypt, the only country sharing a border with Gaza, has upheld the Israeli blockade since President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood-led government in 2013.
Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya al-Sinwar and a delegation of other Hamas officials visited Egypt earlier in June to reportedly discuss Hamas’ relations with Egypt and possibilities of opening the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Palestinian territory by September, in time for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Commenting on Qatar demanding that a number of Hamas officials leave its capital, Doha, Hayya said that Hamas is already in the process of redistributing its political weight after having held internal elections. “We will not be a burden to anyone– Palestine is an honor to all who approach it and we are concerned that Hamas’ central relations reach all wherever Palestinians are,” said Hayya. Hayya claimed departure of Hamas political leaders from Qatar was part of a redeployment plan following the election of Gaza-based Ismail Haniyeh as Hamas politburo head in May, adding that “Hamas’ main headquarters is Gaza, and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh won’t leave Gaza except for foreign visits.”“Haniyeh will not change his address except on short visits,” said Hayya. Hayya also said on Sunday that the departure of a number of Hamas leaders from Qatar was not due to them being expelled from the Gulf state following several regional powers severing ties with Qatar, Hamas’ major backer, earlier this month.

Aqsa Witnesses Fiercest Tension since Months
Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/Ramallah, Tel Aviv- Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surrounding have turned into a conflict zone on Sunday with outbreak of clashes between worshipers and Israeli occupation forces – these clashes included siege, conflicts, arrests and attempts to raid Al-Qibli Chapel, causing a huge destruction in the building in the fiercest tension witnessed by the mosque since months. Clashes started when worshipers confronted settlers who insisted on breaking into the mosque in the early morning hours, so the Israeli Police sent a huge special force inside the mosque to arrest worshipers who took the chapel as a shelter. Director of Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Omar Kiswani said that some 250 Israeli soldiers had allowed Jewish worshipers to enter the mosque to provoke fasting worshipers, in a violation of all international agreements and pledges. Israeli forces violently beat some young people and also fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas, causing three injuries and cases of suffocation, Kiswani added. Israeli Police stated that it had detained two worshipers suspected of attacking its members, adding that they would be sent to court to consider extending their arrest duration. The city residents and sellers said that usually during the last days of Ramadan markets boom but the occupation procedures have paralyzed the city getting prepared to Eid-Al-Fitr. The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab citizens of Israel denounced the assault on Aqsa Mosque in a statement issued on Sunday. Munir al-Jaghoub, head of Fatah’s Information Department in the Office of Mobilization and Organization, said that the suffering of residents of Jerusalem show the racist facade of Israel and refute its claims of respecting rights of religious people to access sacred Islamic and Christian sites.

Iraq Tells ISIS ‘Surrender or Die’ as EU Considers Security Mission after Mosul Fall
Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/Iraqi authorities have dropped leaflets over Mosul warning civilians to stay inside and are telling ISIS terrorists to “surrender or die” a day after US-backed Iraqi troops launched a major battle to retake the Old City. The Old City is the last district of Mosul still held by the terrorist organization after a months-long offensive. Late on Sunday, Iraqi forces dropped nearly 500,000 leaflets over the city, warning that they “have started attacking from all directions”. The leaflets calls on civilians to “stay away from open spaces and… to exploit any opportunity that arises during the fighting” to escape. Commanders say the jihadists are putting up fierce resistance and there are concerns for the more than 100,000 civilians believed to remain inside the Old City. Iraqi forces have stationed Humvees by the Grand Mosque on the eastern side of Mosul, which faces the Old City and is mounted with speakers. The loudspeakers have been blaring messages to civilians, saying Iraqi forces “are about to end your suffering”. Messages were also being broadcast to ISIS militants, telling them: “You have only this choice: surrender or die”.The push into Mosul’s Old City — a densely populated warren of narrow alleyways on the western side of Iraq’s second city — marks the culmination of a months-long campaign by Iraqi forces to retake the terrorist group’s last major urban stronghold in the country. Meanwhile, diplomats said that the European Union may send a new security mission to help stabilize Iraq after the expected recapture of Mosul, cautioning that plans were at an early stage. EU foreign ministers will hold a first discussion on Monday in Luxembourg and consider the deployment of an EU Security Sector Reform Advice and Assist Team which could train Iraq security officials, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters. Iraq has formally requested EU help, diplomats said. While a small step, any such effort could signal an end to France and Germany’s aversion to European Union involvement in Middle East wars in the wake of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, which Berlin and Paris opposed. ISIS’ loss of Mosul would mark the effective end of the Iraqi portion of the cross-border “caliphate” that the group declared in the summer of 2014 after seizing large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria. But U S officials are concerned tribal groups may fight for control as the militants flee. “We cannot afford to allow a vacuum to develop,” said one EU diplomat briefed on the EU discussions. “We and others are ready to step in. Just how we do that is to be decided.” The EU’s foreign service, the European External Action Service, is expected to present proposals soon.

Kuwaiti Emir Expresses Solidarity with International Community to Fight Terrorism
Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/Kuwait- Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said he is looking forward to overcoming the latest developments in the Gulf, remedying the situation and healing the rift through dialogue. He highlighted the deep-rooted historic ties, family relations, and common fate and interests that connect the GCC member states. Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported the speech of Sheikh Sabah in the last ten days of Ramadan, who stressed that the latest developments make it inevitable to exert utmost effort to preserve the Gulf entity so that it can remain cohesive, embodying the expectations of its peoples. Sheikh Sabah reiterated Kuwait’s solidarity with the international community against all forms of terrorism, hoping for realizing security and stability around the globe. He warned from the growing threat of terrorism worldwide that has been spreading under various slogans and names, constituting a threat to countries and communities, and innocent people. The fears and risks require further caution and unity to maintain the security and safety of the country, he noted. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved last week the Turkish Parliament’s decision to deploy Turkish soldiers to Qatar – the arrival of Turkish forces to Doha comes two days after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s visit to Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in attempts to resolve the crisis.A Saudi source asserted that the kingdom would not permit Turkey to establish military bases on its land. He added that the kingdom’s armed forces and military capabilities are in their best condition.

Kuwaiti Court Overturns Death Sentence in Abdali Cell Suspect Case
Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17/Kuwait- Kuwait’s Court of Cassation overturned on Sunday the death sentence imposed by a lower tribunal against a man convicted of belonging to the Abdali cell case in addition to sentencing 15 others who were previously found “not guilty” to 10 years. In this case, 26 Kuwaitis and one Iranian are accused of arms possession and having links with Iran and “Hezbollah”. The Court of Cassation commuted the death sentence for one man to 15-year in prison. This cell was uncovered when security forces raided a farmhouse in Abdali outside Kuwait City on August 13, 2015 and found a cache of guns and explosives. In September, the court accused the suspects of committing various crimes, including carrying out acts that target Kuwait’s safety and unity and having links with Iran and “Hezbollah” to conduct hostile acts against Kuwait. The Kuwaiti Criminal Court issued on January 12, 2016 an execution sentence in the case of an Iranian and a Kuwaiti accused of being involved in this cell. On July 21, the Court of Appeal endorsed the execution sentence of the first suspect of Abadli cell and acquitted 15 others. The court declared one suspect not guilty.

Israeli bill proposed to strip terrorists of citizenship

Gil Hoffman/Jerusalem Post/June 19/17 /The citizenship of terrorists and the permanent residency of terrorists and their families could be removed, according to a new bill submitted to the Knesset Monday morning by Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov. The bill was previously proposed by the late Yisrael Beytenu MK David Rotem. Ilatov proposed it again with the encouragement of his party leader, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, in response to Friday's murder of 23-year-old border policewoman Staff Sgt. Maj. Hadas Malka at Jerusalem's Damascus Gate. Ilatov said Israeli citizens and Jerusalem residency permit holders have become increasingly involved in recent terrorist attacks. He said holding such permits enabled the terrorists to reach their targets in a way that Palestinians could not. He expressed hope that what is being called the Hadas Malka Bill could deter similar attacks in the future.
"This bill is necessary for our security in order to prevent terrorists from being able to carry out their attacks," Ilatov said. Ilatov stressed that family members would be given an opportunity to prove to the Interior Ministry that they were not involved in any planning of attacks and be permitted to remain in the country. But he said if terrorists' family members aided the attacks, there was no reason for Israel to give the socioeconomic benefits, such as welfare payments. "We will no longer permit the absurd situation in which terrorists and their enablers enjoy the perks of being Israeli citizens while working to destroy the country," Ilatov said. The right-wing organization Im Tirtzu was involved in planning the legislation, which is similar to bills that have been presented in Europe. In March 2016, then-French president François Hollande scrapped plans to strip convicted terrorists with dual nationality of their French passports and deport them. The controversial proposal was to be enshrined in France’s constitution but was opposed by his center-right opposition.

Report: Israel secretly giving aid to Syrian rebelsإسرائيل في السر تساعد الثوار السوريين
Joy Bernard/Jerusalem Post/June 19/17
Israel has reportedly been discreetly supporting Syrian rebel groups for years in order to protect its northern border from the war raging in Syria
Israel has been secretly providing aid to Syrian rebels groups in the Golan Heights for years, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday night.
According to the Journal, Israel has offered rebel groups medical supplies, food, funding and even hard cash in order to safeguard the country's border from the ever-deepening crisis taking place in Israel's northern neighbor Syria, which is suffering from the consequences of the bloody and grueling civil war raging in the country since 2011.
Israel's motivation behind its continued and discreet assistance was to stave off attacks from Iranian proxies operating in Syria such as Shi'ite terror organization Hezbollah, the Journal explained, basing the reasoning on similar claims that were associated with unnamed sources.
The report alleged that the aid was mainly provided via a military unit set up in the IDF and tasked with supporting independent rebel groups that do not receive help from other Western powers. The funds directed to the groups are used to purchase ammunition and to pay fighters.
The Journal based its report on interviews with rebel soldiers and other sources. A spokesman for the rebel group Fursan al-Joulan told the Journal that Israel's help to his group was essential and significant. "We wouldn't have survived without Israel's assistance," Moatasem al-Golani was quoted as saying. "Israel stood by our side in a heroic way," he added.
The Journal report said that the Fursan al-Joulan rebel group was the main faction to coordinate its activities with Israel, and has reportedly started this collaboration back in 2013. The group, which is reported to be comprised of 400 members, has worked with other groups in the area that have also enjoyed Israel's assistance.
Israel has been providing the group with a monthly stipend estimated at $5,000, the Journal reported, citing the group's commander as its source.
The Journal contacted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office for comment, and was referred to the IDF.
According to the Journal, the IDF refrained from commenting on the report that it has been operating a unit tasked with the mission to help the rebel groups, but did say that it was "committed to securing the borders of Israel and preventing the establishment of terror cells and hostile forces... in addition to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrians living in the area."
IDF soldiers in the Golan Heights transfer injured Syrians into Israel for medical treatment
Syrian President Bashar Assad accused Israel in the past of supporting the rebel groups, to which his regime refers as terrorists.
Contrarily, the Syrian opposition has claimed that Israel was actually collaborating with Iran and Hezbollah to help Assad maintain his power.
Israel has been openly helping Syrian refugees for years, mostly by providing medical aid to injured or displaced people. The IDF has in the past set up field hospitals along the border to help injured Syrians, and since 2013 when the country first started to offer aid it has treated some 3,000 wounded Syrians.
However, the country strongly maintains that it remains uninvolved in the fighting, and has denied previous allegations that it did take part in one way or another.

Netanyahu Warns Iran after Syria Missile Strike
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday warned Iran not to threaten Israel after Tehran launched ballistic missiles at a Syrian base of the Islamic State group. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said it had fired six missiles from western Iran into northeastern Syria on Sunday, targeting "terror bases."
The Guard said the strike was "in retaliation" for June 7 attacks in Tehran that killed 17 people in the first IS-claimed operations in the country. Netanyahu has repeatedly said Iran is a threat to the Jewish state, the Middle East and potentially the world. "We follow their actions and we follow their words," he said Monday. "I have one message to Iran: Do not threaten Israel.""The army and our security forces are constantly monitoring the activity of Iran in the region," Netanyahu told senior members of his Likud party on Monday. "This activity also includes their attempts to establish themselves in Syria and, of course, to transfer advanced weapons to Hizbullah and other operations," a party statement quoted him as saying. Netanyahu was a vocal opponent of the 2015 deal between Tehran and major powers that saw sanctions against Iran eased in return for curbs on its nuclear program. Israel, which is itself believed to have atomic weapons, says the program aims to produce a nuclear bomb -- something Iran denies. Iran's homemade missiles, including some that are capable of hitting Israel or American military bases in the region, are a major point of tension with Washington and Israel. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel was not worried by Sunday's strike. "Israel is prepared for every development," he told members of his right wing Yisrael Beitenu party on Monday. "We are prepared, we have no concerns or worries."

Russia cuts deconfliction channel with Washington after US downs Syrian jet
Mon 19 Jun 2017/NNA - Moscow is terminating its communication channel with the United States under a memorandum for preventing incidents in Syria's skies, as a consequence for the US downing a Syrian Su-22 plane, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday.
"As of June 19 this year, the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation has ended its interaction with the US side under a memorandum for preventing incidents and providing for safe flights during operations in Syria and demands that the US command carry out a careful investigation and report about its results and the measures taken," the statement reads."The shooting down of a Syrian Air Force jet in Syria’s airspace is a cynical violation of Syria’s sovereignty. The US’ repeated combat operations under the guise of ‘combating terrorism’ against the legitimate armed forces of a UN member-state are a flagrant violation of international law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic," the ministry said.--TASS Russian News Agency

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 19-20/17
IRGC Commanders: Our Main Aim Is Global Islamic Rule
MEMRI/June 19/2017
In recent statements and speeches, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commanders have emphasized that the Islamic Revolution in Iran is only the first stage on the path to the spread of the rule of Shi'ite Islam in the Middle East and worldwide, and that the mission of advancing the Islamic Revolution to these heights falls to the IRGC commanders.
The commanders reiterated the argument that the U.S., the leader of the "world of arrogance," opposes Islam, and thus also Iran, which is, they say, the standard-bearer of the Revolution and its global vision. The U.S., they added, is acting to sabotage the plan to institute Islam worldwide, and is doing so by infiltrating the circles of decision-makers in Iran in order to impregnate them with Western cultural values and spark internal disputes among the Muslims. This is aimed at changing the direction of the Revolution and diverting it from its path. However, the robustness of the Revolution remains, they said, thanks to Iranian Supreme Leader 'Ali Khamenei and the IRGC.
The following are translations of recent statements by senior IRGC commanders on this matter:
IRGC Commander Ja'fari: "We Are On The Path That Leads To The Rule Of Islam Worldwide"
On March 11, 2017, IRGC commander Ali Ja'fari said of the worldwide Islamic regime: "The history of Iran is replete with agreement on the Rule of the Jurisprudent [velayat ] which has [already] crossed Iran's borders, and the united Islamic nation is being formed... We are on the path that leads to the rule of Islam worldwide."[1]
On March 15, 2017, Ja'fari added on the same subject: "The Islamic Revolution is aimed at creating an infrastructure of the religion of God on earth, and it will wait for no man on its path advancement. All [Iranian] officials must adapt to the accelerated progress of the Revolution.
"The Islamic Revolution is now in its third stage – that is, [the stage] of assembling the Islamic government, and with God's help it will pass this stage successfully despite the ups and downs that constantly occur.
"As IRGC commander, and as one of the commanders during the era of the Sacred Defense [i.e. the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war], I believe that today the young people's yearning to unconditionally defend the Revolution has expanded greatly relative to the era of the Sacred Defense. Their repeated requests to play a role alongside the defenders of the holy places indicate this.
"The religious seminaries and the IRGC bear the joint mission to advance and deepen the Islamic Revolution. This is God's promise for the salvation of humanity, and we are charged with it. The senior revolutionary clerics and the IRGC will without a doubt actualize God's promises, while implementing a comprehensive plan of the Islamic Revolution for shaping the picture of the Islamic world.
"Our internal spiritual and material potential for creating [such a global regime], and the robustness of the [Iranian] regime, which constitutes the main nucleus of this plan, are expanding in might. According to the words of [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini, if the revolution and the regime stop on the path, this will cause damage to Islam."[2]
On April 30, 2017, at a teachers' conference, Ja'fari said: "Some [people] have a flawed perception of the Islamic Revolution, for they think that its aim was only to defeat the regime of the Shah and to establish the Islamic regime [in Iran]. [But] if we look at the words of the Imam [Khomeini], we will discover a correspondence between the Islamic Revolution and the spread of the religion of Islam. In order to build the Islamic regime, there is no other path but to advance the Islamic Revolution... As the Imam said: If this Islamic regime is defeated, Islam is defeated.
"The framework of our activity is the Islamic Revolution, and first we must know what its aims are... The external dimension of the Revolution is based on the principle of Islam [as] derived from the lesson of the Ashura. This is in effect the principle of enmity towards evil and enmity towards the arrogance [the West, led by the U.S.]. This is actualized by means of the Islamic awakening against evil, and it is waged in the best possible way thanks to the Leader [Khamenei], who is its standard-bearer."[3]
Supreme Leader's Representative In The IRGC Saeedi: "The Islamic Revolution Is The Prelude To Islam Becoming Global"
Similar statements were made on March 15, 2017, by Ali Saeedi, Supreme Leader Khamenei's representative in the IRGC: "There is no doubt that the Islamic Revolution is a prelude to Islam becoming global. Therefore, the Revolution must be strengthened in the best possible way, in order to create the framework for the revelation of God's promise."[4]
Deputy Qods Deputy Force Commander Esmail Qaani: "The Main Aim Is Global Rule"
On March 1, 2017, IRGC Qods Force deputy commander Esmail Qaani said: "Without a doubt, our martyrs and those of the dear ones like you Fatimiyyoun[5] will not settle for less than the global rule of the Imam Mahdi. Our martyrs inaugurated a great path. Syria and Aleppo are the temporary aims, and the main aim is global rule, which I hope is not far off."[6]
IRGC Navy Commander Fadavi: "Today We Are Fighting Not At Home But Thousands Of Kilometers Beyond [Our] Borders"
IRGC Navy commander Ali Fadavi said on March 3, 2017: "Today, the thinking of the Islamic Revolution has expanded. Today, we are fighting not at home, but thousands of kilometers beyond [our] borders. Although our equipment does not compare to that of the enemy, with the blessing of faith in God and the martyrdom-seeking spirit, the enemies will fear us."[7]
[1] (Iran), March 11, 2017.
[2] (Iran), March 15, 2017.
[3] ISNA (Iran), April 30, 2017.
[4] ISNA (Iran), March 15, 2017.
[5] A pro-Iranian Afghan militia fighting on Iran's behalf on the Syrian front.
[6] (Iran), March 1, 2017.
[7] ILNA (Iran), March 13, 2017.

Palestinians Praise Terror Attack
Bassam Tawil/Gatestone Institute/June 19/17
President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA), which is funded by Americans and Europeans, has once again chosen to maintain silence following a terror attack perpetrated by Palestinians. This silence of Abbas and his PA leadership, specifically their refusal to condemn the terror attack, can only be interpreted as an endorsement of the killing of Jews.
This is the twisted logic of Abbas and his people: How dare Israeli police officers shoot terrorists armed with knives and a submachine gun and prevent them from killing more Jews?
One wonders: how does this public endorsement of the Jerusalem terror attack and the terrorists stand up to Abbas's promise to President Trump to stop anti-Israel incitement and "promote a culture of peace" among Palestinians?
For many Palestinians, the stabbing murder of a 23-year-old Israeli Border Police officer in Jerusalem on June 16 is an act of "heroism" that proves that the "revolution against the Zionist entity will continue until the liberation of Palestine, from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river."
For many Palestinians, the three terrorists who murdered the young woman, Hadas Malka, are "heroes" and "martyrs" who will be rewarded by Allah in Paradise.
President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA), which is funded by Americans and Europeans, has once again chosen to maintain silence following a terror attack perpetrated by Palestinians. This silence of Abbas and his PA leadership, specifically their refusal to condemn the terror attack, can only be interpreted as an endorsement of the killing of Jews.
The silence of Mahmoud Abbas following the Jerusalem terror attack, specifically his refusal to condemn the attack, can only be interpreted as an endorsement of the killing of Jews.
Moreover, in a move reminiscent of a demented Alice in Wonderland, Abbas's ruling Fatah faction, which is often described by Westerners as "moderate" and "pragmatic," publicly blasted Israel for killing the three terrorists who murdered the policewoman and wounded several others.
In a statement published in Ramallah shortly after the terror attack, Fatah "condemned the Israeli occupation forces for killing three young Palestinian men in East Jerusalem." It said that the killing of the three terrorists "proves that the Israeli government is pursuing its policy of escalation." Fatah called on the international community to "seriously look into providing protection for the defenseless Palestinian people."
The Fatah statement failed to mention that the three Palestinian "young men" were armed with knives and a homemade submachine gun. Nor did Fatah mention a word about the Border Police officer who was stabbed to death in the terror attack.
Such a statement could never have been published without the approval of Abbas and his top cronies in Ramallah. They even seem to have endorsed the Fatah communiqué by publishing it on the website of the PA's official news agency, Wafa. This agency is managed and funded by the PA, which also appoints the editors and journalists working there.
This is the twisted logic of Abbas and his people: How dare Israeli police officers shoot terrorists armed with knives and a machinegun and prevent them from killing more Jews?
Fatah spokesperson Osama Qawassmeh went as far as accusing Israel of committing a "war crime" by killing the terrorists and thwarting a bigger attack. He called on the international community to condemn Israel for the "cold-blooded" killing of the three terrorists in Jerusalem, dubbing it a "cruel crime." Qawassmeh, who is considered a trusted advisor and confidant of Abbas, seized the opportunity to heap praise on the terrorists, describing them as "martyrs." Palestinians, he added, should remain faithful to the "blood of the martyrs" by "holding on to their lands and holy sites and defending them."
One wonders: how does this public endorsement of the Jerusalem terror attack and the terrorists stand up to Abbas's promise to US President Donald Trump to stop anti-Israel incitement and "promote a culture of peace" among Palestinians?
This is but further proof in an endless string of damning evidence concerning the 'peace lies' spouted by Abbas and his PA. The PA president is always among the first to denounce terror attacks around the world, including Britain, France and Germany. Yet when Palestinians murder Israelis, they suddenly become "heroes" and "martyrs."
How would the British government and public have reacted had someone condemned the British police for killing the three terrorists who carried out the recent London Bridge attack?
How would the British government and public have reacted had the international media run headlines such as, "British policemen kill three Muslim men in London attack?" This is precisely how Abbas's media outlets -- and the BBC -- reported on the Jerusalem terror attack: "Israeli policemen shoot dead three Palestinians in Jerusalem" and "Three Palestinian youth martyred at the hands of Israeli occupation policemen."
It is no wonder, then, that many Palestinians have been celebrating the terror attack in Jerusalem. If these are the messages Abbas and his PA and Fatah cronies are sending to their people, why should it come as a surprise that many Palestinians have been glorifying the terrorists and calling for more attacks against Jews?
Hamas, notably, was the first party to applaud the Jerusalem terror attack, saying it proves that the Palestinian intifada was continuing and would escalate.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist Palestinian terror group, also joined the chorus of those heaping praise on the terrorists for murdering the Israeli policewoman. Hamas and the PFLP have claimed responsibility for the "heroic operation" and dismissed as "false" a statement by ISIS taking credit for the attack.
To be clear: the two terror groups are furious with ISIS for attempting to rob them of the "honor" of murdering a young policewoman on the streets of Jerusalem. This is the surreal reality in the Middle East today.
Not to be left behind in the promotion of Jew-killing, Palestinians across the political spectrum took to social media to applaud the latest terror attack and express their jubilation over the murder of the policewoman.
In innumerable postings on Facebook and Twitter, dozens, if not hundreds, of Palestinians praised the terrorists, describing them as "heroes" and "martyrs." They particularly expressed excitement over the use of a homemade submachine gun (often referred to as a "Carl Gustav"). This type of weapon is often produced in workshops in various parts of the PA-controlled territories in the West Bank.
The Palestinians also expressed deep satisfaction that the terrorists chose to carry out their attack during the holy month of Ramadan. They pointed out that the three terrorists, who were fasting, had chosen to carry out their attack during Ramadan because this was the surest and fastest path to Paradise. "There is nothing more pure and sacred than killing the infidels and Jews than when one is fasting during Ramadan," remarked some of the Palestinians.
There is documented, widespread jubilation in the Muslim world about this and other terror attacks perpetrated not only by Palestinians against Israelis, but -- contrary to the statements of many in the West -- by many Muslims against all "unbelievers": if "infidels" are murdered during Ramadan, their killers expect to be "doubly rewarded in Paradise."
In Israel, this joy over Jew-killing does not emerge from nothing. It can be traced directly to the Palestinian leadership, beginning with President Abbas and his Palestinian Authority friends. When he and the PA leadership next mouth their lies about a "culture of peace," perhaps the world will pause for a moment, not just to think of a murdered young woman, Hadas Malka, but also of what the Palestinian leadership really wants.
*Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.
© 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.

Washington Ignores Saudi "Involvement in Supporting Terrorism and Terrorist Groups"
A. Z. Mohamed/Gatestone Institute/June 19/17
Saudi Arabia is the second largest source of ISIS fighters from Muslim-majority countries, with an estimated 2,500, according to a working paper produced by the National Bureau of Economic Research. According to a report by the Institute for Gulf Affairs, a whopping 16% of these fighters were in the U.S. when they joined ISIS.
An equally disturbing finding of the report is that the Saudi government, which has been monitoring its nationals in the U.S., is fully aware of the fact that many of them are joining ISIS and not only has done little to stop it, but has kept information about it from American authorities.
A new investigative report reveals that hundreds of Saudi and Kuwaiti nationals residing in the United States -- many of them students with dual citizenship and receiving government scholarships -- have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq during the past three years.
Titled "From American Campuses to ISIS Camps: How Hundreds of Saudis Joined ISIS in the U.S.," the report -- released June 1 by the Washington-D.C.-based think tank the Institute for Gulf Affairs (IGA) -- provides details of the flow of students leaving American institutions of higher learning to fight in the Middle East. According to a 2016 working paper produced by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Saudi Arabia is the second largest source of ISIS fighters from Muslim-majority countries, with an estimated 2,500. If the IGA report is accurate, a whopping 16% of these fighters were in the U.S. when they joined ISIS.
An equally disturbing finding of the report is that the Saudi government, which has been monitoring its nationals in the U.S., is fully aware of the fact that many of them are joining ISIS and not only has done little to stop it, but has kept information about it from American authorities.
This completely contradicts the 2014 State Department assertion that "Saudi Arabia has continued to cooperate with the United States to prevent acts of terrorism ... through information exchange agreements with the United States."
Meanwhile, according to the report's authors -- IGA director Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi Shiite expatriate critical of the Sunni regime in Riyadh, and researcher Mohamed Dhamen -- the FBI failed to notice the steady stream of would-be jihadis exiting the U.S. and heading for Iraq and Syria in the three years since then. This failure should not come as a surprise, given that one of the FBI's own employees -- Daniela Greene, a translator with top security clearance -- absconded to Syria in June 2014 and married an ISIS recruiter she had been assigned to investigate. The rogue agent lied to the FBI about where she was going, alerted the terrorist that he was the subject of an FBI probe and shared classified information with him.
In a May 10 letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley requested additional information on how Greene, who eventually turned herself in and reached a lenient plea deal, was able to slip through the system undetected. Two days later, Grassley released a statement about it:
"I'm troubled that a relationship between an FBI employee and a prominent ISIS recruiter went unnoticed, and more troubled that there wasn't a safeguard to successfully catch this incident... It's important for the public to understand how this happened and how similar problems will be prevented in the future. We also need to know how prosecutors settled on the charges in this case. A sentence of two years seems unusually light for such a potential threat to national security."
Greene's case sheds light on the findings of the IGA report and its claim that Saudi influence on American administrations, and relationships between senior officials in both countries, is behind Washington's ignoring Riyadh's "well-established... involvement in supporting terrorism and terrorist groups."
The number of Saudi students in the United States in 2016 reached 125,000, the "most in the world," according to a June 14 Arab News report. Those who leave to join a terrorist group and subsequently return -- enabled by their U.S. citizenship, combined with lax monitoring of and leniency with them -- present a clear and present danger to America's home front.
As then-FBI director James B. Comey said during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in September 2014,
"Foreign fighters traveling to Syria or Iraq could... gain battlefield experience and increased exposure to violent extremist elements... they may use these skills and exposure to radical ideology to return to their countries of origin, including the United States, to conduct attacks on the Homeland."
The IGA report, covering the three-year period since then and including extremely serious charges against both Saudi Arabia and the previous U.S. administration and security officials, indicates the urgency with which the current administration needs to treat the issue and act upon it. American blood is at stake.
ISIS fighters, featured in a propaganda video by the group.
*A.Z. Mohamed is a Muslim born and raised in the Middle East.
© 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

Iran seizes high ground in Saudi-Qatar dispute
Al Monitor/June 19/17
Hassan Ahmadian explains that Iran’s call for dialogue in reaction to the Qatar dispute is already paying dividends. Tehran’s tack has been to back Doha while calling for diplomacy, seizing the high ground amid what most parties would probably agree has been an excessive and calamitous turn of events for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) unity. The US-Saudi-Islamic summit, which sought to rally Sunni states along a sectarian fault line against Iran, can now safely be put in the “farce” or “flop” columns.
No doubt the bravado of Iran’s leaders following US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh last month masked at least some anxiety about a deepening US-Saudi relationship, as well as grudging acknowledgment of the kingdom’s impressive display of diplomatic convening power. But the Qatar dispute has been a windfall for Iran’s regional posture. “A rift among the pro- and anti-Brotherhood camps in the region is strategically in Iran’s favor,” Ahmadian writes. “Saudi Arabia tried to avoid such a split by prioritizing Iran as the main threat. Yet having Qatar and Turkey versus the UAE [United Arab Emirates] and Egypt in the same boat turned out to be overly problematic for Riyadh. In that sense, the Saudi move against Qatar is thoroughly counterproductive for its anti-Iran campaign in the region, and Iran should not help Riyadh correct its mistakes."
Iran is also leveraging the Gulf dispute to its advantage in Syria. Ahmadian explains that “standing with Qatar can help strengthen Tehran’s ties with Doha, Ankara and their Brotherhood allies, who — possibly moving toward a regional understanding of sorts with Iran and its allies — can play constructive roles in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere in the region. Additionally, it can hinder Saudi Arabia’s capacity to assemble coalitions aimed against Iran, Qatar and other nations in the future as well.”
Bruce Riedel assesses the fallout of the dispute for US-Saudi ties. Riedel observes that Saudi King “Salman and his son, Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, are much more belligerent and willing to take risks. The signature policy of their two and a half years in power is the war in Yemen, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today, according to the United Nations. Operation Decisive Storm is a quagmire wrapped around a stalemate. Iran is the only winner. If Yemen is a harbinger for Qatar, expect a long, drawn-out and messy process.”
In dealing with Saudi Arabia, the United States should avoid the “all-in” approach that has characterized the Trump administration’s approach to date. “A nuanced approach to this very important American alliance is crucial,” Riedel writes. “Saudi Arabia is America's oldest ally in the Middle East. … Together, they have confronted many challenges, from Soviet imperialism to Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda. It's a partnership that needs a sure touch, not a blind eye.”
Riedel concludes that “the Qatar affair combines American incompetence, Saudi bullying and Qatari game-playing with Iranian meddling and subversion. Too many outside players are getting involved muddying the waters. What began as farce may end as much worse.”
Rethinking the Aleppo "narrative"
Back in January 2016, we wrote that “if the Syrian army, backed by its Iranian and Russian allies, retakes Aleppo, the city’s liberation will come by directly defeating terrorists and armed groups that are already deserting the battlefield. A government victory would be of a different order and have a different impact than the negotiated departures of besieged armed opposition forces in Homs and around Damascus. The people of Aleppo would experience a flat-out victory by the government and a defeat, and exodus, by the armed groups. A good question is whether the Syrian army would be received as liberators by those Syrians, including Sunnis, freed from the reign of Islamic law and armed gangs. The answer might surprise those who would prefer to engage with the likes of Zahran Alloush and the ‘Army of Islam.’”
Picking up those themes from our column almost 18 months ago, we wanted to acknowledge the superb reporting by Robert Worth in The New York Times Magazine in May. Contrasting the perspectives of expatriate Syrians with those of Aleppo’s residents, Worth captures the complexity lost in so much Western media coverage of the war until now: “For these exiled Syrians, he said, the specter of [President Bashar al-] Assad’s crimes looms so large that they cannot see anything else. They refuse to acknowledge the realities of a rebellion that is corrupt, brutal and compromised by foreign sponsors. This is true. Eastern Aleppo may not have been Raqqa, where ISIS [Islamic State] advertised its rigid Islamist dystopia and its mass beheadings. But as a symbol of Syria’s future, it was almost as bad: a chaotic wasteland full of feuding militias — some of them radical Islamists — who hoarded food and weapons while the people starved.”
Worth rejects that “sectarianism” was key to the Syria war and observes that “many ordinary people now see Assad as their only hedge against a far more toxic kind of chaos.” His comment on the role of Russia is especially telling: “These facts translate into a genuine gratitude — in regime-controlled areas — toward Russia, whose military intervention in late 2015 may have forestalled a total collapse. Many Syrians say they feel reassured by the sight of Russian soldiers, because they (unlike the army and its allied militias) are not likely to loot or steal. Some of my contacts in regime-controlled areas are even learning Russian. In Latakia, some people told me that their city might have been destroyed if not for the Russians.”
Al-Monitor has often been a lonely voice in our consistent focus on the jihadi armed gangs, including Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, which has terrorized the people of eastern Aleppo and co-opted other jihadi forces. For example, from 2013-2015 we featured columns by Aleppo resident Edward Dark (a pseudonym), whose on-the-ground reports of life there often contrasted with mainstream media accounts of the “rebels”; cited the groundbreaking report by Amnesty International on the tyranny and brutality of Syrians living under jihadi bands in Idlib and Aleppo; gave headline to UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura’s apt characterization that 1,000 Jabhat al-Nusra fighters were holding Aleppo “hostage” in fall 2016, and were therefore culpable in the siege of the city; and all the while calling out Syrian and Russian forces for indiscriminate and criminal bombings of civilians and hospitals.
In January, five months before Worth’s article, Fehim Tastekin, in his groundbreaking reporting from Syria, wrote, “Contrary to persistent popular analysis from abroad, the country is not divided. Despite sectarian campaigns and clashes by jihadis financed with money they received from the Gulf, Syrians did not split along sectarian lines. There was no sectarian divide between the Syrian army and the people, as some said. When you carefully observe the internal dynamics, you can see it was not a war between Alawites and Sunnis or Christians and Muslims. … Aleppo is the best example that this was not a sectarian war. At least six Sunni religious notables were killed in Aleppo because they rejected an armed uprising. Sunni religious figures were constantly under threat for not joining the war. The most annoying question you can ask soldiers on the Aleppo front is whether they are Sunni or Alawite. Nothing angers Syrians as much as this question. As far as I could see, Assad is more popular today than before.”
This month Mohammed al-Khatieb writes from Aleppo that Syrian government and allied forces have continued to press their advantage in the Aleppo countryside, driving out pockets of Islamic State fighters. “The Syrian regime advance in Aleppo’s eastern countryside in the past few days has given it many benefits. For one, it has solved the water problem of Aleppo and regained June 4 two pumping and water purification stations in the west of Maskanah, which are the only sources of water for Aleppo, apart from al-Khafsah station. Moreover, the regime control of wide stretches of fertile land constitutes a good source of income from crops,” Khatieb reports. We thought it fitting to end our column this week with our conclusion from January 2016: “A Syrian government victory in Aleppo could be the beginning of the end of the sectarian mindset that would have been alien to the city prior to 2011. There is no more appropriate city to begin Syria’s healing.”

Why Are So Many Young Voters Falling for Old Socialists?
Sarah Leonard/The New York Times/June 19/17
At 68, Jeremy Corbyn has been on the Labour Party’s left flank longer than many of his most enthusiastic supporters — the ones who nearly propelled him to an upset victory in this month’s British general election — have been alive. Bernie Sanders, who won more votes from young people in the 2016 primaries than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton combined, is 75, and has a demeanor that, honestly, reminds me of my Jewish grandfather. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Communist-backed candidate who, thanks to support from young people, surged in the polls ahead of the first round of France’s presidential election, is a sprightly 65.What has driven so many young people into passionate political work, sweeping old socialists with old ideas to new heights of popularity? To understand what is going on, you have to realize that politicians like Mr. Sanders and Mr. Corbyn have carried the left-wing torch in a sort of long-distance relay, skipping generations of centrists like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, to hand it to today’s under-35s. And you have to understand why young people are so ready to grab that torch and run with it.
Both Britain and the United States used to have parties that at least pledged allegiance to workers. Since the 1970s, and accelerating in the ’80s and ’90s, the left-wing planks have one by one been ripped from their platforms. Under Mr. Blair, Labour rewrote its famous Clause IV, which had committed the party to the goal of “common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.” Under Mr. Clinton, the Democratic Party cut welfare programs and pushed anti-worker international trade deals. Writing in 1990, Kevin Phillips, a former strategist for Richard Nixon, called the Democrats “history’s second-most enthusiastic capitalist party.” Elsewhere in Europe, traditional socialist parties became sclerotic and increasingly business-friendly.
All of this left many voters with a sense that there is no left-wing party devoted to protecting the interests of the poor, the working class and the young.
Meanwhile, people my age — I’m 29 — are more in need of a robust leftist platform than ever. The post-Cold War capitalist order has failed us: Across Europe and the United States, millennials are worse off than their parents were and are too poor to start new families. In the United States, they are loaded with college debt (or far less likely to be employed without a college degree) and are engaged in precarious and non-unionized labor. Also the earth is melting.
There’s nothing inherently radical about youth. But our politics have been shaped by an era of financial crisis and government complicity. Especially since 2008, we have seen corporations take our families’ homes, exploit our medical debt and cost us our jobs. We have seen governments impose brutal austerity to please bankers. The capitalists didn’t do it by accident, they did it for profit, and they invested that profit in our political parties. For many of us, capitalism is something to fear, not celebrate, and our enemy is on Wall Street and in the City of London.
Because we came to political consciousness after 1989, we’re not instinctively freaked out by socialism. In fact, it seems appealing: In a 2016 poll conducted by Harvard, 51 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 rejected capitalism, and a third said they supported socialism. A Pew poll in 2011 showed that the same age bracket had more positive views of socialism than capitalism. What socialism actually means to millennials is in flux — more a falling out with capitalism than an adherence to one specific platform. Still, within this generation, certain universal programs — single-payer health care, public education, free college — and making the rich pay are just common sense.
At the ballot box, our options have been relatively limited. Clinton- and Blair-era liberals have hobbled their parties’ abilities to confront the ills of capitalism. But while left-of-center parties ran into the waiting arms of bankers, Mr. Sanders and Mr. Corbyn held fast to left-wing politics.
In May, when Labour’s manifesto calling for free university education and increased spending on the National Health Service was leaked, Britain’s mainstream press responded with derision: “Labour’s Manifesto to Drag Us Back to the 1970s” read a headline in the Daily Mail. (In fact, some of Mr. Corbyn’s proposals, like nationalizing rail and water companies, hark directly back to Labour’s Clause IV commitments.) To some readers it may have sounded like a threat, but to many young people it was a promise. Following the headlines, Labour’s poll numbers surged. In the election on June 8, the party finished with a shocking 40 percent of the vote, its highest share in years. And much of the success was thanks to young voters.
Of course, Mr. Corbyn, who is famous for cycling to work and being “totally anti-sugar on health grounds,” has a certain ascetic charm. And there’s something appealingly unpretentious about Mr. Sanders’s Brooklyn accent and disheveled appearance. But it seems safe to say that their success with young people has been based on their platforms, not their charisma.
That’s a good thing, too, since, sooner or later, those platforms will need to acquire new representatives. America’s working class is increasingly racially diverse. Hotly contested politics around race, gender and sexuality shape our political terrain (and our experience of downward mobility). Mr. Sanders suffered shortcomings on this front: He freely confessed to not comprehending the scale of American police brutality when he began his campaign; he can sound awkward when it comes to race and gender.
The upside is that Mr. Sanders’s campaign and Mr. Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party have paved the way for a socialist politics that doesn’t just look like them.
The day after the election in Britain, I flew to Chicago to speak at the People’s Summit, a national convention of progressive and left-wing activists organized by people from the Bernie Sanders campaign alongside National Nurses United.
Also attending were a next generation of leftist organizers and candidates: Linda Sarsour, a 37-year-old Palestinian-American organizer from New York known for her skill in building bridges among communities; Dante Barry, the 29-year-old executive director of the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice; and Maria Svart, also in her 30s, who became the national director of the Democratic Socialists of America in 2011.
I encountered many young people who found themselves radicalized over the last couple of years and are now joining campaigns in their communities for state-level single payer health care or for better housing. Those campaigns exist because older campaigners have carried the torch. Out of all this activity, a next generation of socialist candidates who actually reflect America is almost guaranteed to emerge.
When Mr. Sanders took to the stage, I looked around to see hundreds of young organizers cheering his democratic socialist agenda. I hit the convention floor and saw people my own age tabling for new lefty magazines and organizations. A friend texted me a Corbyn emoji: thumbs up.
Three days after Britain’s general election, Mr. Corbyn sat down for an interview with Andrew Marr on the BBC. Mr. Marr grilled the Labour leader on the feasibility of turning his platform into governing policy. Was Mr. Corbyn, at this point in his career, really in it for the long haul? “Look at me!” he said. “I’ve got youth on my side.”

The Man Who Wore the Mantle of History
Ghassan Charbel/Asharq Al Awsat/June 19/17
Guests received an invitation to welcome the newcomer. As usual, feelings of anxiety surrounded the History Hotel. A fierce wave of anger swept through Joseph Stalin. He considered the invitation an insult. History is not a home to the elderly and not a retirement break. It is not a charitable organization. The name of the newcomer was not mentioned in big wars. We did not hear of his victims. He did not crush any country or nation. He did not dispel nationalists. He did not cause a tsunami of coffins. He was not present at major turning points.
Stalin ignites his pipe and walks angrily. The invitation is provocative by excellence. The newcomer is an insidious enemy. He marked down the sacrifices and achievements of the Red Army. He ignored the fact that we have paid an expensive price for following Adolf Hitler to his nest. The newcomer is a detestable man. He saw the Berlin Wall swinging and he pounced on the prey. He struck the wall that represented the borders of the state, the borders of a model, the borders of an empire… He dragged East Germany into the motherland and pushed the empire to death.
The comrades fell as the leaves of history and the Soviet Union disappeared. History is a master of deception of insults. You have the illusion that you have booked your final seat in it. Suddenly, it shows you new stories. It brings back to your ears the voices of your victims. It restores events and roles. And who knows: perhaps tomorrow we will receive an invitation to welcome the big traitor who drew the storm; the traitor, who wasted the land, the blood and the esteem, and his name is Mikhail Gorbachev.
Charles de Gaulle flipped the invitation card. He knows nothing about Helmut Kohl. But he read in the papers that the man is called the “Chancellor for Reunification”.
It is not simple that newspapers give today’s man the title that was exclusive to Bismarck. De Gaulle smiles. He considers that he encouraged Germany to sleep in the European cuddle when he turned, with Konrad Adenauer, the page of chronic enmity between the two countries. He smiles again. He finds it difficult to remember the new man who sneaked into the Elysee Palace. The world has changed. New leaders emerge from “social media” and not from battles of world wars. In any case, he will participate in the reception ceremony.
Francois Mitterrand will be present to welcome the man. The picture of the famous handshake near Verdun is still fresh in his mind. He also contributed to the ripening of Kohl’s options, in his siding with the choice of European Germany and staying away from committing the dream of German Europe. Margaret Thatcher will also be present. It was no secret that she did not indulge in Kohl’s style. She was disgusted by the dishes presented at his table. However, she cannot ignore that the man succeeded in changing Germany and Europe, and with them the world.
Saddam Hussein reread the invitation. He opened his hands in wonder. How could a man be called a historic leader when he enters and exits the palace through ballot boxes? A man who did not fire a bullet and did not devour his comrades, his party and his country? History has changed, so did the newcomers. Nothing in the man’s biography is like the long war with Iran, the Halabja station or the Kuwait invasion. The world is unjust. Kohl returned the branch to its origin and nobody punished him. He will accept the invitation despite his preoccupations. Accepting Kohl in the History Club is a thousand times easier than seeing the picture of Qassem Suleimani dancing with weapons in Anbar and over its ruins.
When Helmut Kohl was residing at the Chancellery (1982-1998), Libya was under the grip of Muammar al-Gadhafi. The latter did not like the invitation. Who is Helmut Kohl to reside in a hotel that accommodates men, whom history sent to accomplish important missions and then brought back to live in its nestle? We did not hear that he had a universal theory, or that he wrote a book that is equivalent to the “Green Book”. We didn’t hear that the man has set fire to air, land, and sea. Kohl is an ordinary man, whose likes can be found in universities or on the streets. He can be a chairman of a company or a bank. A historic leader is something else. Anyway, he will attend the event. He will wear the outfit of the king of kings of Africa.
It is not surprising that guests are stupefied by the name of the newcomer. He himself did not expect to be summoned to a role as huge as his stature. He did not dare to dream that Germany would be reunified during his days and under his term. When he assumed the Chancellery, he was busy with weaving relations here and there; promoting openness towards the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; consolidating ties with the US and Europe and maintaining the Atlantic spirit. He did not expect what Putin would later describe as the century’s biggest geostrategic catastrophe, which is the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Kohl was on a visit to Poland when his aides told him on November 9 that there was a hole in the Berlin wall and that people from eastern Germany were preparing to infiltrate. He decided, as he said, to wear the “mantle of history” and to return to his country. He decided to grab the historic opportunity. He had to convince Mikhail Gorbachev to ease the concerns of Thatcher and Mitterrand and to win the support of Georges H. W. Bush. It was necessary to make a bribe to Moscow, and he did. He also gave guarantees to the Europeans. Through ballot boxes, Eastern Germany threw itself back into the homeland.
When the wall of Berlin fell, a spy with the rank of colonel threw the secret papers he was keeping in the country of the wall, and returned to the KGB headquarters in Moscow. His name was Vladimir Putin.
Democracies are dispassionate about figures of exceptional stature. They are afraid to suffocate under their presence. In 1998, the elections forced Kohl to leave the Chancellery. The man’s reputation will be stained by the black boxes he used to receive donations for his party. But the last blow will come from the woman whom he supported and encouraged. Her name is Angela Merkel. For that, he did not pity her in his memoirs. He recounted that when he met her, she had no idea, and she did not know how to use a fork and knife.
They welcomed him in the hotel courtyard. Kohl arrived wearing the mantle of history.

Qatar’s lies exposed
Turki Aldakhil/Al Arabiya/June 19/17
Saudi diplomats across the world are speaking out to clarify facts that Qatar is trying to hide and obscure. When Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief is willing to support Qatar, he was addressing Qatari lies that speak about a siege.
The aim of relief is to aid countries that suffer from siege and organized starvation. However, Qatar refused the term “relief” and continued to use the word “siege.” Isn’t relief meant for countries that are besieged?The Qatari rhetoric has been confused since the beginning of this crisis. Its justifications, evidence and arguments have not been steady. The confusion underlying Qatari rhetoric clarifies the situation Doha finds itself in as a result of its arrogant and intransigent policies
Contradictory statements
The country has been making contradicting statements ever since they claimed that their state news agency was hacked. Their practices continued to confirm the statements, which were being released in the Qatari news agency. All the Qatari political behavior harmonizes with these statements.
The confusion underlying Qatari rhetoric clarifies the situation Doha finds itself in as a result of its arrogant and intransigent policies.

Qatar: Separating ‘conspiracies’ from policies
Hassan Al Mustafa/Al Arabiya/June 19/17
In 1998, the late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who was then the crown prince, sent his special envoy, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, to Libya to meet Colonel Muammar Qaddafi to discuss the Lockerbie case in order to reach a peaceful resolution with the international community. This was to ensure an end to the siege imposed on Libya. Libya was facing hardships as people had to travel to Tripoli by land because of the air embargo imposed on Libya. William Simpson, in his book The Prince, mentions lot of these details. This eventually led to successful Saudi mediation efforts and end to the siege which had been on for years on Libya. Colonel Qaddafi honored Prince Bandar bin Sultan in the presence of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia – at that time – Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Only a few years after Saudi Arabia’s efforts, and in 2003, an assassination attempt plot against the then Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was unearthed. It was funded by Libyan intelligence, under Qaddafi’s guidance. “The investigation was complete and all the information was available to us. Nothing was left except a judicial verdict against them,” a senior Saudi source, who had seen the file, told me, indicating that King Abdullah preferred to pardon the Libyans who conspired against him. This happened in 2005. Even under international law, it is a “crime” to “conspire” and make secret plans to harm another country, either through financial means or by supporting fundamentalist groups
Qaddafi’s intentions
Despite the royal amnesty for his intelligence men Qaddafi’s intentions toward Saudi Arabia did not change. This was revealed in the tapes documenting his conversations with former prince of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, in which they were discussing the internal situation in Saudi Arabia, and how to influence it, weakening the authority of the state, and pushing them toward disintegration. The recordings, which were broadcast on the media, are only part of more documents owned by Saudi Arabia. They only displayed some details, which explains Riyadh’s suspicions at Doha and mistrust with the behavior and promises made by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. There is mistrust between the two countries, caused by what Riyadh considers “conspiracies” emanating from Doha toward it. This is why the Qatari politicians should begin to address the problem from this point, to restore confidence between them and their neighbors in the Gulf, and stop such suspicious activities. Qatar is an independent and sovereign state. It has full freedom in its foreign relations, political positions, and having its own opinion on regional and international issues. This is also guaranteed by the international law to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf countries. However, even under international law, it is a “crime” to “conspire” and make secret plans to harm another country, either through financial means or by supporting fundamentalist groups.
When there is “conspiracy” hatched by one state against another, this means that politics is set aside, and that conspiracies will be in control. Doha has to pay attention to end this before it is too late.

Our war is on terrorism, not on Qatar
Sawsan Al Shaer/Al Arabiya/June 19/17
We are not at war with Qatar but at war with terrorism. This message must be the slogan of the countries, which boycotted Qatar. “The frontline of the war on terror” is a phrase that must always be used to remind of the major aim which Qatar is trying to divert people’s attention from by coming up with other headlines such as siege, starvation, subjugation and others. The second plan is “to internationalize our goals” and not just limit them to our local front. This is a strategic orientation that requires different activity that’s directed to the international public opinion and not just to the decision makers.
Unfortunately, Qatar insists to bury its head in the sand as it thinks the time it will gain will be in its favor. However, Qatar does not have a winning card and its only bet is to try and gain time. Its only hope to survive is to disintegrate “the front of the war on terror” locally and internationally and divert the world’s attention from our goal which is war on terror and make everyone think that there is a war against its people and economy.
It is inspired by the Israeli model as it internationally markets the crisis by claiming it is a moderately religious country that’s surrounded by extremist religious countries. It is marketing itself as a small state that is surrounded by big countries and as an oasis for safety among countries suffering from unrest. It wants the world to think that it was targeted for these reasons to divert attention from what is really happening.
Qatar’s rhetoric while addressing the international community is confusing when it talks about its relations with armed organizations. There are recordings and footage that document these ties
Buying time
Meanwhile, Qatar’s reaction clearly shows that it has not yet understood the size of Gulf and international changes. It is betting on time while hoping that these changes are not permanent. Doha is not aware that time is not on its side as long as leads on terrorism eventually reveal that Qatar either financed terrorists or embraced them. In the end, Qatar will not only be targeted by Gulf countries but it will also be targeted internationally and in that case, it will have no choice but to submit to international will.
All we have to do is clarify these ties to the international community. This is what we must focus on while “addressing the international community.” We must not allow Qatar to address the latter on its own via more misleading campaigns.
Qatar’s rhetoric while addressing the international community is confusing when it talks about its relations with armed organizations. There are recordings and footage that document these ties. These armed organizations have begun to get out of control and to target Europe via “lone wolves.”
This latter term is used to describe individuals whom armed organizations recruit from afar. The international community cannot be lenient with any party that has anything to do with these attacks against it. This is where Qatar gets confused as it cannot confront these facts. Qatar must respond to the recent developments, however, so far it has limited its activity to working internally to strengthen the local front and mobilize Qatari support. It adopted the mechanism of “fear” and relied on the sympathy of some Arabs, and exploited this to play the victim.
Confused rhetoric
However, it’s clear that Qatar’s rhetoric is confused on the international level. This was seen during the interview of Hamad bin Jassem – the maestro of Qatari foreign policy over the course of 20 years – with Charlie Rose. The interview did not match the seriousness of recent developments and their repercussions on Qatar and the region. Some television channels and writers stand by Qatar because they adhere to its role in the plan to re-divide the region and not because they love it or believe it is innocent. This support though did not put an end to the repercussions affecting the Qatari command. What if we address the European and American public opinion and if the “front of war on terror” supply it with information and data that link the attacks on Europe to organizations which Qatar supports?
Qatar bets on time and on those who despise the Saudi kingdom to reshuffle the deck. It cannot defend itself but is working on making Saudi Arabia defend itself. Qatar is working to turn the attack against it into an attack against Saudi Arabia and it is doing so by exploiting the agendas and internal conflicts of some parties. Doha is also using the media outlets which do not like US President Donald Trump and favors the former American policy and which for years criticized Saudi Arabia and promoted Iran. This is how Qatar is reshuffling the deck.
Our task then is to address the international public opinion and reorganize the situation so the world realizes that supporting the Qatari command is not tantamount to a protest against Saudi Arabia but is tantamount to playing with fire. Leniency with Qatar means leniency with terrorism. This is the message, which must be conveyed.