March 25/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
The angel Gabriel Delivers the Godly Message To Virgin Mary
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 01/26-38/:"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law

Letter to the Galatians 03/15-22/:'I give an example from daily life: once a person’s will has been ratified, no one adds to it or annuls it. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; it does not say, ‘And to offsprings’, as of many; but it says, ‘And to your offspring’, that is, to one person, who is Christ. My point is this: the law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise. Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator. Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one. Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law. But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published On March 24-25/17
Sources ahead of Arab Summit: Lebanon Will Be Part of Arab Fold/Youssef Diab/Asharq Al Awsat/March 24/17
Canada: Bring on the Islamization/Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/March 23/17
The Origin of "Fake News" in Holocaust Denial/Alan M. Dershowitz/Gatestone Institute/March 23/17
Will the West Please Stop Siding with Criminals/Khadija Khan/Gatestone Institute/March 23/17
Canada: House of Commons passes anti-Islamophobia motion/42% of Canadians would vote against, survey suggests/CBC/March 24/17
Syria: Six years of an orphaned revolt/Eyad Abu Shakra /Al Arabiya/March 24/17
After London, where do we go from here/Mamdouh AlMuhaini /Al Arabiya/March 24/17
Arabs and the threat of polarization/Radwan al Sayed /Al Arabiya/March 24/17

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published On March 24-25/17
Sources ahead of Arab Summit: Lebanon Will Be Part of Arab Fold
Gemayel Says PM's Demo Appearance Bold Move: Taxes Aimed at 95% of Firms, 90% of Groceries
Army Arrests in Hermel, al-Qasr
Report: State Apparatuses 'Lay Hands' on Security in Hizbullah Strongholds
Hariri Sends Letter to May Condemning Terrorist Attack in London
Kaag, Lazzarini Hold Meeting with Aoun
Lebanese Authorities Detain Syrian Funding Militant Group
Khoury Warns Merchants Against Price Manipulation
Bomb Defused in Ain el-Hilweh after Deadly Clash
Lebanese Cabinet will convene Monday to review budget draft, electricity plan
EU parliamentary delegation visits Jbeil Municipality head
One dies of wounds following personal dispute in Ain el Hilwe, killer handed over to army
Ogassapian submits bill seeking gender equality in social security
EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn visits Lebanon
Army chief receives Ibrahim, European Parliament delegation
Hariri receives Hamas delegation, Unicef representative and Kuwaiti fund
Civic engagement at core of new partnership agreement between AUB and CIH
Khoury warns against prices increase

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published On March 24-25/17
Police Make New 'Significant Arrests' over London Attack
US senators set bipartisan bill to tighten sanctions on Iran
French Defense Minister sees Raqqa battle starting in coming days
Final Push on Syria's Raqa to Begin 'in Coming Days'
Syrian opposition calls for direct negotiations at the Geneva talks
Russians bombing Syrian rebels near Hama
Syrian troops besiege ISIS stronghold
Syrian SDF forces reach Tabqa dam; US, French forces reach Euphrates dam
Iraqi forces prepare new push, tactics in Mosul as civilians flee city
Iraq's Sadr Threatens Boycott if Election Law Unchanged
Explosion in Cairo suburb kills one, injures three
Ousted Egypt President Mubarak Freed from Detention
Washington talks end without agreement on Israeli settlements
Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian teen
Israel arrests hacker linked to threats on US Jewish centers
Foreign Policy Expert: Iranian Election Irrelevant to the Threat From Tehran
Maryam Rajavi: Wished the Looming of the Spring of Freedom and National Sovereignty, the Failure of the Mullahs’ Belligerence in the Region

Links From Jihad Watch Site for 
March 24-25/17
Canada: Visiting imam at Montreal mosque preaches that Muslims should kill Jews
London jihad murderer had friends who wanted to join jihad groups
Anni Cyrus’ Unknown: Forbes’ Deal with the Devil
Video: “Where are your Jews?” Muslim countries’ hypocrisy rebuked at UN Human Rights Council
Texas public high school defends its Islamic prayer room after warning from state deputy attorney general
Australia: Muslim slaughtered wife for opposing his desire to join Islamic State, wanted children to learn Qur’an only
Las Vegas: Muslim cab driver arrested for sexually assaulting passenger
Two “significant arrests” made overnight in association with London jihad murders
UK pol on London jihadi: “The fact that the man is a Muslim is utterly and completely irrelevant”
Neighbor says he knew London jihadi from mosque, mosque says they didn’t know him
London jihad murderer once stabbed a man in the face
Italy: Muslim tries to run down police, then stabs officer

Links From Christian Today Site For March 24-25/17
PrayForLondon is the latest #PrayFor hashtag to trend. Sadly, there have been many others
Archbishop of Canterbury: 'Christ's love and self-sacrifice will triumph over evil and despair'
Collateral damage: how factional fighting in the Church damages us all
Why Trump's deportation policies are making immigrants afraid to go to church
Bishop steps down after speaking of campaign forcing him to quit
Hillsong has a 'no tolerance' policy on paedophiles, Brian Houston tells Royal Commission
Prayer vigil in Westminster as thousands say defiantly: #WeAreNotAfraid
UKIP's Paul Nuttall calls for mosque funding probe after London terror attack
Why does prayer make a difference? 3 lessons from Moses
Newly restored tomb of Christ may be on the brink of 'catastrophic' collapse

Latest Lebanese Related News published On March 24-25/17
Sources ahead of Arab Summit: Lebanon Will Be Part of Arab Fold
Youssef Diab/Asharq Al Awsat/March 24/17
Beirut – Lebanese circles are eagerly anticipating next week’s Arab League Summit, most notably President Michel Aoun’s stance and whether he will stress Lebanon’s commitment to Arab consensus in wake of the so-called “Hezbollah’s” involvement in regional wars. Presidential sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the summit will mark the first occasion for Aoun to directly address Arab leaders, emphasizing that Beirut is committed to Arab consensus and causes. There can be no doubt that the Lebanese stance will be “very critical”, but the Baabda sources were quick to ease concerns, saying: “Lebanon’s participation will be significant because its seat has not been occupied by a president for three years.”Various political disputes in Lebanon resulted in a three-year vacancy in the presidency that was ended with Aoun’s election in November 2016. During the vacuum, Lebanon was represented at Arab summits by then Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil. The Arab Summit will be held in Jordan on March 29. “Lebanon has never veered away from Arab consensus,” continued the sources. “It used to distance itself from regional issues, but since Aoun’s election, he eliminated this policy himself, and Lebanon now has a stance on and role in all files that concern it and its people,” they added. “Lebanon will not stray away from consensus if it is present, but it will have a clear and honest position if it is absent,” they explained. Asked how Lebanon will reconcile the Arab stance on the Syrian and Yemeni crises and Iran and “Hezbollah’s” role in them, the sources replied: “We should not jump to conclusions or make assumptions, because this issue hinges on the discussions that will take place at the summit.”“Aoun is the first defender of Lebanon’s Arabism and the country is a main part of the Arab world,” they said, while noting that the president had kicked off his term in office by visiting Saudi Arabia, and therefore there can be no doubting the country’s Arab identity. “Aoun believes that Lebanon will never find itself outside of the Arab fold,” they declared.
Member of the Lebanese Future Movement, former MP Mustapha Alloush, told Asharq Al-Awsat however that the country “is still under Iran’s hegemony through ‘Hezbollah’, which treats Lebanon like an Iranian colony.”He explained that Aoun’s election was a product of local agreements and the president, “whether he wants to admit it or not,” believes that he is in ‘”Hezbollah’s” debt on the personal and national levels. “This is why we witness stances that do not fall in line Arab consensus when it comes to issues related to ‘Hezbollah’,” said Alloush.
Lebanese former Foreign Minister Fares Boueiz meanwhile told Asharq Al-Awsat that Lebanon will be in a “very tight spot” at the summit because it is torn between “wanting to remain part of the Arab world and between the role of ‘Hezbollah’ and Iran in regional issues.”He hoped that Arab leaders would “understand” Lebanon’s position that “cannot condemn ‘Hezbollah’ due to the consequences and sharp internal division such as step will cause.”Observers are “banking on Aoun’s wisdom and ability to find middle ground between these two positions whereby Lebanon will remain in the Arab fold without causing internal rifts,” said Boueiz.

Gemayel Says PM's Demo Appearance Bold Move: Taxes Aimed at 95% of Firms, 90% of Groceries
Naharnet/March 24/17/Party chief MP Sami Gemayel on Thursday described Prime Minister Saad Hariri's appearance at Sunday's anti-tax demo as a “bold move,” describing the hurling of empty bottles at him by angry protesters as a “very regrettable incident.”Hariri got out of his armored convoy behind the police line at the demonstration facing the government's headquarters but could get no closer as protesters began throwing bottles and harrying him with cries of "Thieves!"With water bottles falling around him and his bodyguards shielding him with their arms, Hariri told TV cameras: "It's true there is waste and corruption in the country, but we will fight it."Gemayel accused certain political parties of sending “30 masked rioters” in a bid to disrupt the demonstration in Beirut's Riad al-Solh Square. “Street protesters halted the tax increase on citizens and created confusion among the ranks of the political class, and had it not been for our objections in parliament, the taxes would have been approved,” Gemayel said in an interview on LBCI television. “We have never been against the new wage scale but we're against funding it through arbitrary taxes,” Gemayel added. He noted that out of 22 taxes approved by parliament, “only four” are not targeted at low-income citizens. “We were going to vote in favor of taxes on seaside properties and the (banks') unprecedented profits,” Gemayel added.“$700 million in customs fees are being squandered, let them tell us how they intend to stop that,” he went on to say. “We are not arguing with (Finance Minister) Ali Hassan Khalil over the rightful taxes but we are rather rejecting taxes on the poor. Ninety percent of what we buy at the supermarket will be targeted by the new taxes,” Gemayel warned, noting that only “bread, milk and vegetable” are exempted from the value added tax (VAT). Gemayel also pointed out that “95% of firms in Lebanon are not banks or financial institutions but the new taxes are targeted at them all.”“As a Lebanese citizen, I reject that the wage scale be funded from citizens' pockets and we cannot accept that. Is there any reasonable person who accepts this? All those pinning the blame on us should shoulder their responsibilities,” Kataeb's chief added. “As long as they are convinced of these taxes, why haven't they ratified them?” he wondered, noting that Speaker Nabih Berri, Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea called for revising the taxes after the popular protests. “We are not sheep and we won't accept arbitrary taxes,” he stressed.

Army Arrests in Hermel, al-Qasr
Naharnet/March 24/17/The Lebanese army arrested on Friday at dawn two wanted suspects in the Hermel district and in the border town of al-Qasr, the State-run National News Agency reported. In collaboration with the Intelligence Directorate, the army staged wide raids on houses of wanted fugitives in several neighborhoods in Hermel and al-Qasr village, NNA said. Two suspects identified with their initials as H.S. and K.G. were detained. The detainees were transported to one of barracks in the area for interrogation. They will be referred to the related judiciary afterward.

Report: State Apparatuses 'Lay Hands' on Security in Hizbullah Strongholds
Naharnet/March 24/17/Lebanon's security apparatuses have launched a wide security operation to hunt down the most wanted fugitives of drug traffickers, kidnap gangs and outlaws in Hizbullah's strongholds in Beirut's southern suburbs (Dahiyeh) and the Bekaa valley, al-Akhbar daily reported on Friday. Security sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said a decision has been taken to “restore the State's standing in the said areas,” said the daily. Hizbullah has come to realize that outspread of chaos in areas under its control are wearing away its social environment. Based on that, a decision has been taken to restore the State's control to Hizbullah's strongholds, where a series of security operations succeeded at seizing some of the most wanted fugitives, it reported. Previous “pre-announced” security plans executed under a “consensual agreement” have failed to achieve the needed results. Today, the operation launched by security apparatuses for more than a month, have intensified recently based on a principle “no security by mutual consent and no cover for anyone,” said al-Akhbar. Security raids in Baalbek's Hay al-Sharawneh last week which targeted a residence of the most wanted fugitive and druglord Nouh Zoaiter, came in that context. Although the raid did not reap an arrest, but the “operation in itself is a clear message that no fugitive will be spared,” said the newspaper. Raid operations, mainly in Dahiyeh and Baalbek, have kicked off a month ago and are carried out almost on a daily basis. The sources confirmed that they were able to break “security squares” controlled by the most wanted fugitives in the areas of al-Laylaki and Hay al-Joura, describing the overall arrests since February as “motivating and include big names.” The most prominent arrests include Aa. Shams, a man accused in a homicide crime against two young men of the Ghandour and Qabalan families back in 2007. More than ten gang leaders who used to compel people into paying sums of money for personal interests in Dahiyeh were arrested, one of them had possessed what was worth four million dollars of heroin. Dozens were also arrested on charges of drug trafficking, shootings, theft at gunpoint, fraud, prostitution, etc. The sources assured saying “many more will be soon detained. The daily raids will not stop in Dahiyeh and all regions in North Bekaa, Hermel, al-Qasr and al-Shawagir,” asserting “positive results of the campaign will be seen in weeks.”

Hariri Sends Letter to May Condemning Terrorist Attack in London
Naharnet/March 24/17/Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Friday sent a letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May in which he condemned the terrorist attack that targeted London on Wednesday, and expressed his condolences.
“It is with deep shock and utter sorrow that we received the news of the terrorist attack that struck the heart of London on Wednesday... On behalf of the Lebanese Government, allow me to offer my sincere condolences and my deepest sympathy to you, to the British Government and people and to the families of the victims,” says Hariri in the letter, according to an English-language statement distributed by his office. “Words are not enough to express our severe condemnation of such horrific crimes, which are incompatible with all religious values and violate the most basic moral and human principles. The assault on Westminster, home of British democracy, is a blatant onslaught on the values cherished by the free and enlightened world,” Hariri added. “That is why we urge all states to establish an effective international cooperation mechanism to meet the challenges of the spread of terrorism, which now crosses the borders of the safest and strongest nations and affects the whole of humanity. At this hour of tragedy, I would like to stress that we stand resolutely by the United Kingdom in its fight against terrorism and convey our solidarity with the victims and injured who fell,” he went on to say.
Four people were killed in the Islamist State-claimed attack outside parliament in London when a British-born assailant rammed his car into pedestrians then stabbed a police officer before being shot dead. At least 50 people were wounded, including tourists from 12 different countries. One person is fighting for their life and two are in critical condition.

Kaag, Lazzarini Hold Meeting with Aoun
Naharnet/March 24/17/United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag and United Nations Deputy Special Coordinator Philippe Lazzarini met with President Michel Aoun on Friday at the Baabda Palace, a U.N. statement said. The meeting took place ahead of President Aoun's anticipated meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the upcoming Summit of the Arab League. Special Coordinator Kaag briefed President Aoun on recent Security Council consultations on the implementation of resolution 1701 – as also reflected in the press elements delivered by the President of the Security Council on 17 March 2017. Discussions also included Lebanon's preparations for the upcoming Brussels conference on 5 April 2017.

Lebanese Authorities Detain Syrian Funding Militant Group
Naharnet/March 24/17/A Syrian national suspected of transferring money to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham militant group in Syria has been arrested in south Lebanon, the National News Agency reported on Friday. Lebanese authorities in the south have detained Ahmed al-Issa in the southern district of Tyre, NNA said. They confiscated sums of money in his possession that he had collected from Syrians residing in Lebanon with plans of transferring them to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, in Syria, NNA said. NNA added that the suspect had confessed to the charges and said he had made several transfers before to the said group. He was referred to the Lebanese Army Intelligence.

Khoury Warns Merchants Against Price Manipulation
Naharnet/March 24/17/Minister of Economy Raed Khoury stressed on Friday that the ministry has started monitoring commercial institutions and prices of commodities, as he urged the Lebanese to report any violation related to manipulation in prices. “The ministry is working to monitor commercial establishments and control violations before any tax is issued in the official gazette,” said Khoury in a press conference. He warned some traders against “unjust increase in prices,” which would "lay additional burden on the Lebanese."“We have asked observers to monitor the prices on a weekly basis so as to prevent manipulation,” he added. "We are fair to traders but, at the same time, keen to prosecute violators," he said, calling on citizens to help out by informing the ministry of any violation therein. After the parliament agreed a series of taxes to provide the needed revenues to fund the long-stalled wage scale, it has been reported that prices of commodities have witnessed an increase although the suggested levies have not been officially put into implementation. In addition to a 1% VAT increase new taxes have been imposed on diesel, traffic fees, travel, bank interests, cement, cigarettes and alcohol in addition to a host of taxes related to financial and real estate transactions. The Syndicate Coordination Committee, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, has been pushing for the approval of the new wage scale for several years now and has organized numerous street protests and strikes to this end.

Bomb Defused in Ain el-Hilweh after Deadly Clash
Naharnet/March 24/17/An explosive device was dismantled Friday at the vegetable market of the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh in south Lebanon, state-run National News Agency reported. The development comes after a deadly overnight clash in the camp. The clash started with a personal dispute between members of the Fatah Movement and and a member of the Islamist Jund al-Sham group before escalating into a gunbattle in which two people were killed and several others were wounded. NNA identified the dead as Mahmoud al-Sayyed and Mohammed al-Jindawi. A cautious calm was on Friday engulfing the camp's al-Briksat and al-Tawaree neighborhoods as the Palestinian factions held an emergency meeting the condemned the violence and agreed to withdraw all gunmen from the streets.
The camp's al-Briksat and al-Tawaree neighborhoods have witnessed several deadly clashes in recent months.

Lebanese Cabinet will convene Monday to review budget draft, electricity plan
Fri 24 Mar 2017/NNA - The Cabinet will convene on Monday afternoon in an extraordinary session to discuss the revision of the state budget bill, as well as a plan for the electricity sector, Minister of Information Melhem Riachy indicated following a session for the ministerial council at the Grand Serail Friday.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri chaired today a Cabinet meeting with 69 items on its agenda. "All items have been approved," Riachy told reporters. "The session was adjourned till Monday afternoon to discuss the revision of the budget and to dwell on the electricity plan," he said, adding that another session will be held on Tuesday after the budget is finalized. "In the beginning of the session, the Prime Minister informed the ministers of his visit to Egypt. He also felicitated the security forces for their efforts in apprehending terror rings," he added.
In response to a question, Riachy confirmed that the Cabinet approved an item on purchasing security equipment for the airport.

EU parliamentary delegation visits Jbeil Municipality head
Fri 24 Mar 2017/NNA - The European parliamentary delegation, which includes deputies of PPE parties, visited on Friday Jbeil Municipality head, Ziad Al-Hawat, at the Municipality headquarters, who briefed them on the situation of the city and its activities in various walks of life. Both sides also dwelt on most recent political developments in Lebanon, notably the impact of the Syrian people's displacement at the security and socio-economic levels. The delegation expressed wish to sign cooperation agreements between the Municipality of Jbeil and some European countries, in order to exchange expertise and promote municipal work.

One dies of wounds following personal dispute in Ain el Hilwe, killer handed over to army
Fri 24 Mar 2017/NNA - Palestinian refugee Ibrahim Hussein died of his wounds following a personal dispute in Jabal-al-Halib area inside Ain-el-Hilwe camp, National News Agency correspondent reported on Friday. Subsequently, Fatah Movement caught the perpetrator, identified as Jihad Abdul Mohti, and handed him over to the Lebanese Army Intelligence.

Ogassapian submits bill seeking gender equality in social security
Fri 24 Mar 2017/NNA - State Minister for Women Affairs, Jean Ogassapian, on Friday referred to the Cabinet a bill seeking the amendment of the social security law, in order to provide gender equality. "The social security law includes provisions that do not guarantee gender equality in terms of the National Social Security Fund's allowances," the draft explained, noting that both sexes remit equal contributions to the fund.

EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn visits Lebanon
Fri 24 Mar 2017/NNA - European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, will be in Lebanon on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 March to reiterate the European Union's strong support to the country's democratic process and socio-economic development. Commissioner Hahn will discuss with the Lebanese authorities Lebanon's accomplishments and ways of addressing the most pressing short-term needs as well as achieving the longer-term objectives for the support and stabilisation of the country, just few days ahead of the follow-up Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region on 5 April. The EU commends the actions that have been taken by Lebanon in support of the refugees since the onset of the Syrian crisis. Commissioner Hahn's visit will take stock of the delivery of the commitments mutually agreed at the London Conference of 2016 and under the recently agreed EU-Lebanon Partnership Priorities. On Monday 27 March, Commissioner Hahn will meet key political officials including President of the Republic Michel Aoun, Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Minister of Education and Higher Education Marwan Hamade, and Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Mouin Merhebi. He will also meet with representatives of civil society. On Tuesday 28 March, Commissioner will visit the Beqaa where EU-funded projects are being implemented in the areas of security, solid waste management, health care and support to refugees. Commissioner Hahn will address the press on Monday 27 March at the Grand Serail at 14.15 pm, and will hold a press conference at the Delegation of the European Union on Tuesday 28 March at 14.15 pm.

Army chief receives Ibrahim, European Parliament delegation
Fri 24 Mar 2017/NNA - Lebanese Army chief, General Joseph Aoun, met on Friday at his office in Yarze with Director General of Public Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, with talks featuring high on joint cooperation between both institutions. On the other hand, Aoun met with a delegation of the European Parliament, and discussed the situation in Lebanon and the region as well as the European assistance to the Lebanese Army. Aoun also received the German Ambassador to Lebanon, Martin Huth, accompanied by the military attaché, Dietrich Jensch, during which he signed a military donation agreement provided by the German authorities for the benefit of the army.

Hariri receives Hamas delegation, Unicef representative and Kuwaiti fund
Fri 24 Mar 2017/NNA - The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri received today at the "Center House" a delegation from the Hamas movement headed by Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, in the presence of Former Minister Bassem al-Sabeh and head of the Lebanese-Palestinian dialogue committee, Hassan Mneimneh, a statement by the Prime Minister's press office indicated on Friday. After the meeting, Abu Marzook said: "We had the honor to meet with Prime Minister Hariri. We discussed the security situation in the refugee camps in Lebanon and how to come up with a formula to impose security, stability and peaceful coexistence. I believe that there are many issues that have been agreed upon so that we can impose security in the camps and preserve the Lebanese -Palestinian brotherhood, the peaceful coexistence and the rights of all components in this dear country."
He added: "We also discussed the Palestinian situation, the Palestinian reconciliation, and Lebanon's role in this area is major, especially after hosting the Preparatory Committee of the National Council and its readiness to embrace any new national council. Lebanon's role in this field is remarkable and cannot be ignored."He added: "therefore, I say that there is hope to end division and arrange the Palestinian house correctly without ignoring anyone and with the political participation of all.
We also tackled the situation in the region and its reflection on the Palestinian issue."He said: "Everyone knows that everything going on in this region has direct repercussions on the Palestinian cause and its future, especially as we are being subjected to the rejection of the report presented by the Executive Secretary of ESCWA Rima Khalaf concerning the racist discrimination against the Palestinian people. The withdrawal of this report showed the practices of the Israeli occupation against our people and therefore all our tools must be activated for our right, our people and our future".
UNICEF delegation
Hariri met with UNICEF Representative in Lebanon Tanya Chapuisat, at the head of a delegation from the Executive Council of the organization, in the presence of the Minister of Education Marwan Hamade and Hariri's advisor for refugees Affairs Nadim Mounla.
After the meeting, Chapuisat said: "The delegation of the Executive Council of the Organization is in Lebanon for three days and visited Bekaa, Baalbek, Tripoli and Akkar to follow up the programs of UNICEF and their work.
We met with a number of ministers in this regard and today we discussed during our meeting with PM Hariri the organization's performance and how it can help in more areas. The talks were very frank, and the Executive Council renewed UNICEF's support for the Lebanese government."
Kuwaiti Fund
Hariri also met with the Director General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development Abdul Wahab Al-Bader in the presence of the Kuwaiti Ambassador Abdel-Al Al-Kena'i, the chairman of the Council for Development and Reconstruction Nabil Al-Jisr and advisor Mazen Hanna.
After the meeting, Al-Bader said: "I discussed with Prime Minister Hariri the activities of the Fund, especially with regard to the purpose of my visit which is the signing on the water project in Bcharri after being approved today by the Council of Ministers and laying the foundation for the water project in Marjayoun and Khiam."
Question: Did you discuss new projects?
Al-Bader: We did not discuss new projects, but we tackled the exploitation of the available projects and resources, and we confirmed the continued support of the Fund for Lebanon.

Civic engagement at core of new partnership agreement between AUB and CIH

Fri 24 Mar 2017/NNA - In a press release by the American University of Beirut, it said: "A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the Civic Influence Hub with the aim of bridging the gap between universities and the public sector. As part of AUB's recently launched Strategic Partnership Initiative, the signing ceremony was held on March 24, 2017, in the presence of Minister of State for Administrative Reform and AUB alumna, Dr. Inaya Ezzeddine.
The first phase of the Civic Engagement Program will place recent graduates from Lebanese universities-beginning with AUB and the Lebanese American University-in paid internships at Lebanese government ministries: the Chamber of Commerce and the Ministries of Economy, Finance, and Industry. These interns will be introduced to ongoing projects and initiatives at the ministries and will be part of the teams executing the projects. Opening the ceremony was Dr. Dima Jamali, Executive Director of AUB's Strategic Partnership Initiative (SPI) as well as Associate Dean and Professor in the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. She began with a brief description of the SPI, which aims at consolidating and enhancing communication between units within AUB who are involved in community service and civic engagement, as well as building relationships with outside agencies.
"The Strategic Partnership Initiative is about nurturing all kinds of partnerships-with the private sector, with the public sector, and with NGOs-in order to achieve worthwhile outcomes for the students, for the faculty, and for the community," said Dr. Jamali.
AUB President Fadlo R. Khuri, who established the SPI in September 2016, addressed the audience in Maamari Auditorium comprised of AUB faculty, students, and administration; government officials; NGO representatives; and concerned citizens. He spoke not only about the importance of this MOU but also about other initiatives to come, including with the Minister of State for Administrative Reform.
"That's what this symposium is all about: to develop an understanding between AUB and the Civic Influence Hub as a stepping stone to further civic engagement by our students. We hope that this will be followed in short order by collaboration with the Minister and engagement by our faculty and our leadership to look at how we can aid the government in technical aspects and in other areas so that we can move together towards a better, more accomplished, more transparent, and more sustainable society," said President Khuri.
The only female minister in the current cabinet, Dr. Inaya Ezzeddine credited part of her success to the education she received at AUB and noted that their goals at the Ministry should focus on the regaining of public trust.
"Engaging our university students and graduates in public service in Lebanon is one of the necessary tools to improve the public sector since it pumps a needed dose of fresh skills and an energetic pool of talent into the system. This will also contribute to developing a sense of responsible citizenship, belonging, ownership in the process, and civic duty for a just, stable, and democratic society," concluded Minister Ezzeddine.
"This is indeed a historic moment whereby the CIH meets with AUB - a historic edifice known for its contributions on the national as well as regional levels," said Eng. Fahd Saccal, President of the Civic Influence Hub, who spoke about the goals and terms of the agreement. "The signing of this MoU is the fruit of our common initiatives and goals to activate the partnership between civil society, the government, and the private sector toward civic engagement and social responsibility."
In addition, the audience heard from a representative of the UNDP, Mr. Arklan El Seblani, Chief Technical Advisor on Anti-Corruption and Integrity in Arab Countries, who talked about the importance of engaging youth in transforming the public sectors of their countries. From one of AUB's sister institutions, Mr. Fouad Maroun, General Secretary of Saint Joseph University (USJ), detailed the various intra-mural and extra-mural civic engagement efforts ongoing at USJ. The program finished up with a short film about the many projects and initiatives of AUB's Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service (CCECS) accompanied by remarks from its Director, Mr. Rabih Shibli. The Q&A session directly following the program shed light on concrete steps for civic engagement, socio-political dilemmas involved, and the impact of a directed, empowered citizenship in implementing positive change."

Khoury warns against prices increase
Fri 24 Mar 2017/NNA - Minister of Economy and Trade, Raed Khoury, said in a press conference that the ministry is working to monitor commercial establishments and control violations before any tax is issued in the official gazette, warning some traders against unjustly rise in prices and hence additional burden on the Lebanese. "We asked observers to monitor the prices from week to week so as to prevent manipulation," he said. "We are fair to traders but, at the same time, keen to prosecute violators," he said, calling on citizens to help by informing the ministry of any violation or price manipulation.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published On March 24-25/17
Police Make New 'Significant Arrests' over London Attack
Naharnet/Agence France Presse/March 24/17/British police said Friday they had made two further "significant" arrests over the Islamist-inspired terror attack on parliament, as they appealed for information about the homegrown killer who left four people dead. Nine people are now in custody over Wednesday's rampage in Westminster, in which at least 50 people were injured, 31 requiring hospital treatment, counter-terrorism commander Mark Rowley said. Police have searched 16 addresses, with five more raids still underway, mainly in London and the central city of Birmingham, where the attacker reportedly lived and near where he rented the car used in the assault. The police officer also revealed the attacker's birth name as Adrian Russell Ajao, after naming him Thursday as Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old who used "a number of aliases" and had a history of violent offences but no terrorist convictions.
The Islamic State group claimed the assailant behind Britain's deadliest terror attack in 12 years was one of its "soldiers" acting on a call to target countries in the US-led coalition fighting the jihadists. Prime Minister Theresa May has said that Masood was known to intelligence services as a "peripheral" figure some years ago but there was no warning of his intention to mount an attack. Rowley said Friday that police were trying to establish whether Masood acted totally alone "or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him". Masood ran over dozens of pedestrians and tourists on Westminster Bridge on Wednesday afternoon before crashing his car into parliament, where he managed to stab a police officer before being shot dead. Lawmakers returned to work as normal on Thursday morning, even as forensic officers worked at the scene, but a review of parliamentary security is now underway. Hundreds of people gathered in nearby Trafalgar Square late Thursday for a vigil led by Mayor Sadiq Khan who vowed that "Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism."
- Numerous aliases -The death toll rose late Thursday after life support was withdrawn from a 75-year-old man injured in the attack, whom police named as Leslie Rhodes from south London.The other victims were 48-year-old policeman Keith Palmer and, on the bridge, a 43-year-old British woman, Aysha Frade, who was on her way to pick up her two daughters, and an American citizen in his 50s, Kurt Cochran. Police earlier said that five men and three women aged between 21 and 58 were arrested "on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts". One woman was later released on bail.
Rowley gave no details of the new arrests, only to say that they took place in the West Midlands -- the area of the country that includes Birmingham -- and the north-west of England. Born in Kent in southeast England, Masood was a British citizen with convictions for assault and possession of offensive weapons dating from 1983 to 2003.
According to The Sun tabloid, he married a Muslim woman in 2004 and moved the following year to Saudi Arabia to teach, returning in 2009.  Police said he went by numerous aliases, including, reportedly, Adrian Elms, while reports suggest he lived all over England, including in Luton and east London.
He was described as "a nice guy" by Iwona Romek, a former neighbour in Birmingham, who told the Birmingham Mail: "He had a wife, a young Asian woman and a small child who went to school."Rowley said police were "looking at his history" and appealed for any public information about him, adding: "Our investigation focuses on understanding his motivation, preparation and associates."The crowds at Trafalgar Square late Thursday brought messages of defiance, flags and flowers, and offered their condolences to officers who lost a colleague in the attack. Naveed Mirza, a Muslim student, said he had received "overwhelming" support since the attack described by police as "Islamist-related terrorism". "We have come to say how, as Muslims, we unequivocally condemn all the violent actions that took place yesterday," he told AFP.
- First IS claim of British attack -The IS group said it was responsible, according to the Amaq propaganda agency, its first claim of an attack on British soil. The latest attack had echoes of the atrocities in Nice and Berlin when trucks ploughed into crowds of people, killing 86 people in the French Riviera city in July and 12 at a market in the German capital just days before Christmas. The assault on Westminster was the deadliest in Britain since four suicide bombers killed 52 people on the city's transport system in July 2005. A defiant May had told the reopened parliament that Britain's resolve "will never waver in the face of terrorism," as MPs stood heads bowed for a minute's silence in remembrance of the victims. Britain's last terror attack was the 2016 assassination of MP Jo Cox by a pro-Nazi sympathiser shortly before the historic but deeply divisive June vote to leave the EU. In 2013, British soldier Lee Rigby was run down and knifed on a London street to death by two Islamist extremists.

US senators set bipartisan bill to tighten sanctions on Iran
Reuters, Washington Friday, 24 March 2017/Iran would face tighter US sanctions over its ballistic missile launches and other non-nuclear activities under a bill introduced on Thursday by a bipartisan group of US senators including senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The bill, which has 14 Democratic and Republican sponsors, would set mandatory sanctions for anyone involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program and those who trade with them. It also would apply sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and put into law sanctions imposed via presidential executive order on individuals currently sanctioned due to what the bill’s sponsors describe as Iranian support for terrorism. The bill would also require the president to block the property of any person or entity involved in specific activities that violate the UN arms embargo on Iran.

French Defense Minister sees Raqqa battle starting in coming days

Reuters, Paris Friday, 24 March 2017/A battle against ISIS to recapture the Syrian city of Raqqa is likely to start in the coming days, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday. “France has always said that Raqqa was a major objective,” Le Drian told CNews television station. “Today, one can say that Raqqa is encircled, that the battle for Raqqa will start in the coming days.” “It will be a very hard battle, but a battle that is going to be of utmost importance,” he added. Earlier this week, the US Pentagon department had said that the US-led coalition against ISIS had for the first time airdropped local ground forces behind enemy lines near the ISIS-held town of Tabqa in northern Syria, opening up a new front in the campaign to recapture Raqqa.

Final Push on Syria's Raqa to Begin 'in Coming Days'
Naharnet/Agence France Presse/March 24/17/The international coalition battling the Islamic State group in its Syrian stronghold of Raqa will begin a final push on the city in the coming days, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday. "Today, we can say that Raqa is surrounded and the battle will begin in the coming days," he told France's CNEWS television. Raqa is one of two major strongholds of the IS along with the Iraqi city of Mosul, which Iraqi forces in October launched a massive operation to recapture. "This will be a very hard battle but essential," Le Drian said.IS is under pressure from several directions in northern Syria, with Russia supporting its Syrian ally President Bashar Assad on one front and Turkey providing air cover for rebel groups battling the jihadists on another.

Syrian opposition calls for direct negotiations at the Geneva talks
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English Friday, 24 March 2017/After the preliminary talks that took place Thursday, the Geneva talks on Syria are expected to begin on Friday with substantive talks between the participating delegations. In this context, the spokesman of the Supreme Commission for Negotiations Salem al Mosalat expressed the desire of the delegation of Syrian opposition to engage in direct negotiations leading to a political solution to the crisis in Syria. He revealed receiving pledges by UN envoy Staffan de Mistura that the current round will directly address the political transition process, calling on him to fulfill those commitments. Ramzi Ezzidine Ramzi, assistant UN envoy to Syria, said on Thursday that the discussions were objective. “We talked about all the issues that need clarification before we officially start, and in that sense I think it was a positive meeting, so let’s see what happens,” he said. Al Arabiya’s envoy to Geneva said on Thursday that the official opening of the Geneva talks on Syria would be on Friday instead of Thursday as planned, due to the presence of UN envoy Staffan de Mistura in Ankara. She added that all delegations arrived in the capital, Geneva, and that De Mistura’s assistant will meet with the delegation of the High Commission for Negotiations on Thursday afternoon, while she pointed out that Jihad Makdisi, one of the representatives of the so-called the Cairo platform, is the most prominent absentee from this round.

Russians bombing Syrian rebels near Hama

Reuters, Beirut Friday, 24 March 2017/Russian warplanes are taking part in air strikes against insurgents to help repel a major attack on Syrian government-held areas near the city of Hama, a Syrian military source said on Rebel groups spearheaded by extremist insurgents launched the attack on Tuesday and have captured at least 11 villages and towns, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based organization that reports on the war. It marks the biggest attack by rebels in months. While President Bashar al-Assad still holds the military upper hand in the war, the rebel gains have shown the challenge facing the Syrian army and allied militia as they fight on numerous fronts. “Air strikes have now started, and there is concentrated artillery firing against the armed groups and the headquarters of their leaders and supply lines, paving the way for the counter-attack,” the military source told Reuters. “The Russians are, of course, participating in these raids.”Rebel groups were focusing their attack on Friday on the village of Qomhana, some 8 km (5 miles), north of Hama city, Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman said. An account on the instant-message service Telegram that is affiliated with the extremist alliance spearheading the assault, Tahrir al-Sham, said a suicide attack had been carried out there. The military source said the army had destroyed two car bombs that insurgents had tried to drive towards their positions in Qomhaha, and the attack was thwarted. The fighting has underscored the bleak prospects for a new round of UN-led peace talks that are underway in Geneva.

Syrian troops besiege ISIS stronghold

The Associated Press, Beirut Friday, 24 March 2017/Syrian government forces are besieging the last ISIS stronghold in the northern province of Aleppo, weeks after launching an offensive to retake the entire province, state media and an opposition monitoring group reported Thursday. The push on Deir Hafer comes as US aircraft ferried Syrian Kurdish fighters and allies behind ISIS lines to spearhead a major ground assault on the strategic ISIS-held town of Tabqa in Raqqa province, which borders Aleppo. That airlift marked a deepening US involvement in Syria’s conflict ahead of a looming battle for the extremist group’s de facto capital, the city of Raqqa. The airlift was part of what Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon described as a large, high-priority offensive to secure the area around Tabqa and the associated Tabqa Dam. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement Thursday that its fighters, along with military advisers form the US-led coalition, landed Tuesday night in the near Tabqa with their equipment and vehicles, and have already secured a wide area. “It has become a military base to launch our operations on the west bank of the river until eventually liberating all the countryside of Raqqa,” the statement said. Tabqa lies 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Raqqa. ISIS controls the town as well as the Tabqa Dam on the Euphrates River, which supplies electric power to the area and a military airfield nearby. The SDF statement said the aim of the operation is to capture the town, its dam and the power stations. It called on all civilians to stay away from ISIS positions and young men to join the anti-ISIS force. The Syrian Central Military Media says Syrian troops launched the Deir Hafer siege late Wednesday after capturing nearby areas. The opposition’s Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Syrian troops have now cut the road linking Deir Hafer with Raqqa province. The Observatory also reported intense clashes in the central province of Hama, where insurgent groups spearheaded by al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria launched a wide offensive capturing dozens of villages and towns over the past two days.
The al-Qaeda-led Levant Liberation Committee said its fighters captured three more villages Thursday morning. The charity group Save the Children said the Hama fighting has displaced 10,000 people. The offensive coincides with another in the eastern neighborhoods of the capital, Damascus, which was also led by the Levant Liberation Committee. Rebels have made marginal progress around an industrial area between the opposition-held Qaboun and Jobar neighborhoods, but have failed to reach the heart of the city. The sounds of artillery fire and airstrikes have boomed across Damascus since Sunday.

Syrian SDF forces reach Tabqa dam; US, French forces reach Euphrates dam
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English Friday, 24 March 2017/The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have reached the entrance to the Tabqa dam where they are clashing with ISIS, Jihan Sheikh Ahmed, the SDF’s spokeswoman for the campaign to drive the extremist group from Raqqa, said on Friday. The US-led coalition against ISIS air-dropped SDF fighters near Tabqa late on Tuesday on the southern side of the Euphrates, and other militia fighters were already present on the river’s northern bank. Al Arabiya’s sources also revealed that US and French forces have reached the Euphrates dam.(With Reuters)

Iraqi forces prepare new push, tactics in Mosul as civilians flee city
Reuters, Mosul, Iraq Friday, 24 March 2017/Iraqi forces are preparing a fresh push against ISIS using new tactics, but operations to drive the militants out of their last stronghold in the country are on hold, military officials said on Friday. Families streamed out of the northern Iraqi city during the lull in fighting, part of an exodus of people fleeing in their thousands each day, the United Nations says, heading for cold, crowded camps or to stay with relatives. The US-backed operation to drive ISIS out of Mosul, now in its sixth month, has recaptured most of the city. The entire eastern side and around half of the west is under Iraqi control. But advances have stuttered in the last two weeks as fighting enters the narrow-alleyed Old City, and the militants put up fierce resistance using car bombs, snipers and mortar fire against forces and residents. “Today we don’t have operations,” Lieutenant Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammedawi, a spokesman for the elite Rapid Response forces said by phone. Attacks would soon resume, and “new techniques” more suitable to fighting in the Old City would be used, he said, without elaborating. A Federal Police officer told Reuters the new tactics would include deploying additional sniper units against ISIS sharpshooters. The officer asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of discussing military tactics. ISIS militants have stationed themselves in homes belonging to Mosul residents to fire at Iraqi troops, often drawing air or artillery strikes that have killed civilians.
Sniper danger
They have also launched counter-attacks, sometimes pinning down Iraqi forces on the southern edges of the Old City. Cloud cover and rain in recent weeks have prevented effective air support, military officials say. One of the next targets of Iraqi forces inside the Old City is the al-Nuri mosque, whose recapture would be a key symbolic victory. It is where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate spanning large areas of Iraq and Syria in 2014. As the battle continues, more civilians are being killed or displaced. Local officials and residents said on Thursday dozens of people were buried in collapsed buildings after an air raid against ISIS triggered a massive explosion last week. Outside the city on Friday, hundreds of displaced people poured out of Mosul, walking through the mud with suitcases and One man said that ISIS snipers had shot at those fleeing, and some had been killed in explosions. The situation inside the city is worsening with no drinking water or electricity and no food coming in, residents said. Khaled Khalil, a 36-year-old carpenter whose shop was destroyed in fighting, clutched his three-year-old daughter. “We’ve been on the move since yesterday. We’re very tired but now we’re safe. Anybody they (ISIS) catch, they kill. If we have time, we run,” he said.

Iraq's Sadr Threatens Boycott if Election Law Unchanged
Naharnet/Agence France Presse/March 24/17/Populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr told a demonstration in Baghdad on Friday that he would order a boycott of upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections unless the country's electoral law is changed. Polls are to take place next year, and Sadr supporters had previously demonstrated for changes to the law and to the country's electoral committee, which is dominated by affiliates of powerful political parties. If "the law remains... this means that we will order a boycott of the elections," Sadr said in televised remarks made at a demonstration at Baghdad's Tahrir Square.
The cleric did not specify the specific changes he wants to take place, but the current law has been criticised as being biased towards large political parties over smaller ones. The UN has backed demands for electoral reform, urging parliament last month to "finalise the ongoing review" of the election law and the electoral commission. Sadr is the scion of a powerful clerical family who in earlier years raised a rebellion against US-led forces and commanded a feared militia. He had lost some of his political influence in recent years but has brought himself back into relevance by calling for demonstrations to push for reforms.
His supporters broke into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone area, where the government is headquartered, on several occasions last year, and clashes at a Baghdad protest left seven people dead last month. Demonstrations calling for improved services and opposing widespread corruption broke out in the summer of 2015, drawing pledges from authorities that reforms would be made that ultimately led to little in the way of lasting change. The protest movement eventually flagged, but Sadr subsequently revitalized it by calling for his supporters to take part in demonstrations starting last year.

Explosion in Cairo suburb kills one, injures three
Reuters, Cairo Friday, 24 March 2017/One man was killed and three others injured in an explosion in the Cairo suburb of Maadi, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Friday. The man who was killed, a building guard who was cleaning the property’s garden, found “an unidentified metallic object.” Upon handling it, it exploded, resulting in his death and the injury of his wife and two children by shrapnel, the statement said. The injured have been moved to the hospital for treatment and the area had been cordoned off and is being combed by security forces, it added. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The government is taking on militants in the Sinai Peninsula, where militants loyal to Islamic State are based, and extremist groups elsewhere in the country who generally target security forces.

Ousted Egypt President Mubarak Freed from Detention
Naharnet/Agence France Presse/March 24/17/Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian autocrat toppled during the 2011 Arab Spring, left a military hospital on Friday where he spent much of the last six years in detention. The release of the 88-year old who ruled Egypt for three decades would have been unthinkable several years ago, but revolutionary fervour gave way to exhaustion and even nostalgia in the uprising's chaotic aftermath. Mubarak had been cleared for release earlier this month after a top court finally acquitted him of involvement in protester deaths during the 2011 revolt that ousted him."Yes," his lawyer Farid al-Deeb told AFP when asked if Mubarak had left the hospital on Friday. He added the Mubarak had gone home to a villa in Cairo's Heliopolis district. Mubarak was accused of inciting the deaths of protesters during the 18-day revolt, in which about 850 people were killed as police clashed with demonstrators.He was sentenced to life in jail in 2012 in the case, but an appeals court ordered a retrial which dismissed the charges two years later. Egypt's top appeals court on March 2 acquitted him of involvement in the killings. Throughout his trial prosecutors had been unable to provide conclusive evidence of Mubarak's complicity -- a result, lawyers said, of having hastily put together the case against him in 2011 following demonstrations. In January 2016, the appeals court upheld a three-year prison sentence for Mubarak and his two sons on corruption charges.
But the sentence took into account time served. Both of his sons, Alaa and Gamal, were freed. On Thursday, a court ordered a renewed corruption investigation into Mubarak for allegedly receiving gifts from the state owned Al-Ahram newspaper.
He is also banned from travel.
- Nostalgia -Meanwhile several key activists in the 2011 uprising are now serving lengthy jail terms, and rights groups say hundreds of others have been forcibly disappeared. The anti-Mubarak revolt ushered in instability that drove away tourists and investors, taking a heavy toll on the economy and leading to nostalgia for his rule. His successor Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist, ruled for only a year after his 2012 election before the military overthrew him, prompted by massive protests against his Muslim Brotherhood group. Morsi's overthrow ushered in a deadly police crackdown that killed hundreds of protesters demanding his reinstatement. The military chief who toppled him, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, won election as president the following year. Morsi's overthrow helped rehabilitate some Mubarak-era politicians, including a former senior member of his National Democratic Party who served as prime minister under Sisi.
Most of Mubarak's associates have been cleared in corruption trials, and police officers charged with violence during the revolt have been acquitted.
"Mubarak's trial lasted six years and public opinion became bored of it," said Mostafa Kamel al-Sayed, an analyst and political science professor in Cairo University. Sisi and the powerful military have not fully embraced the former regime, and continue to praise the January-February revolt that brought it down.
But critics say they have limited freedoms even more than Mubarak. Some who participated in the protests against Mubarak said they felt the uprising was in vain. "Honestly, I found that all of that was useless," said Ahmed Mohamed, 29. Mohamed had been among the thousands of protesters who took to Cairo's Tahrir Square demanding Mubarak's fall. "Mubarak's time was a lot better in all aspects," he said after the prosecution ordered Mubarak's release. In the few years before his overthrow, Mubarak had begun to loosen his grip on political life and the media, allowing for some protests and criticism.
But police abuses and economic grievances remained.

Washington talks end without agreement on Israeli settlements
Reuters/AFP, Washington Friday, 24 March 2017/The Trump administration reiterated its concerns about Israeli settlement activity, the two sides said on Thursday, as a round of talks ended without agreement over limiting future construction on land the Palestinians want for a state. The four days of high-level meetings in Washington marked the latest step by President Donald Trump’s aides aimed at opening the way to renewed peace diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians, despite deep skepticism in the United States and Middle East over the chances for success. Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, who recently returned from a visit to the region, led the US delegation in what were described as “intensive discussions” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff Yoav Horowitz and foreign policy adviser Jonathan Schachter. Despite setting a more positive tone toward Israel than his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump urged Netanyahu during a White House visit last month to “hold back on settlements for a little bit.” The two then agreed that their aides would seek an accommodation on how much Israel can build and where. “The United States delegation reiterated President Trump’s concerns regarding settlement activity in the context of moving towards a peace agreement,” according to a joint statement released by the White House. “The Israeli delegation made clear that Israel’s intent going forward is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes those concerns into consideration,” it said. “The talks were serious and constructive, and they are ongoing.”Trump has expressed some ambivalence about a two-state solution, the mainstay of US policy for the past two decades. But he recently invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to visit. Trump has not publicly detailed what kind of agreement he wants with Israel on settlements. But many supporters of a two-state solution have urged a formula that restricts construction to the large settlement blocs that Israel is expected to retain under any final peace accord. In the talks, officials discussed measures for improving the climate for peace, according to the joint readout. It said a key focus was on steps that “could have a meaningful impact on the economic environment in the West Bank and Gaza,” and specifically a desire to advance efforts toward “self-sustainability” in electricity and water.
Settlement backer approved as Israel envoy
The US Senate on Thursday approved the appointment of President Donald Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyer, a supporter of Israeli settlement building, as Washington’s ambassador to Israel. Trump’s nomination of 58-year-old David Friedman, a man with a history of undiplomatic declarations, had raised concerns about America’s commitment to a two-state Middle East peace deal. But Friedman apologized to lawmakers for his past harsh language at a confirmation hearing last month, and the Senate approved him by a margin of 52 to 46. Two of the chamber’s 52 Republicans did not vote and two of the 48 Democrats voted against their camp to approve Friedman. But the Israel job was seen as a key bellwether of the new administration’s attitude to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Friedman’s nomination was welcomed by the Israeli right. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Twitter that Friedman “will be warmly welcomed as President Trump’s representative and as a close friend of Israel.”Before becoming the ambassadorial nominee, Friedman was known as a vocal supporter of Israeli causes, including the building of settlements on Palestinian land in Jerusalem and the West Bank. He clashed with American Jewish progressive groups, notably dubbing liberals “worse than kapos,” a reference to Jewish collaborators who worked as guards in Nazi prison camps. And he is widely seen as hostile to the two-state solution – the vision of an end to the conflict in which Israel and a future Palestine live side-by-side within agreed borders. Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein voted against Friedman and dubbed him “too divisive to serve in one of our nation’s most sensitive diplomatic positions.”

Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian teen
AFP, Ramallah, Palestinian Territories Friday, 24 March 2017/Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian teenager Thursday in the occupied West Bank and seriously wounded three other Palestinians, the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement. It did not give the circumstances, but said the shooting happened near the Jelazoun Palestinian refugee camp. An Israeli army spokeswoman said soldiers shot a number of Palestinians throwing petrol bombs at Beit El settlement, close to Jelazoun, but she could not confirm the death. “The suspects hurled firebombs towards the community,” and soldiers fired in response, she said. “Hits were confirmed.”Palestinian health officials named the dead youngster as Mahmud Hattab, 16.

Israel arrests hacker linked to threats on US Jewish centers

The Associated Press, Jerusalem Friday, 24 March 2017/A 19-year-old American-Israeli Jew was arrested Thursday as the prime suspect in a wave of bomb threats against US Jewish community centers, a startling turn in a case that had stoked fears of rising anti-Semitism in the United States.
The surprising arrest of the man, a hacker who holds dual Israeli and American citizenship, came after a trans-Atlantic investigation with the FBI and other international law enforcement agencies. US Jewish groups welcomed the breakthrough in the case, which had drawn condemnation from President Donald Trump. Israeli police described the suspect as a hacker, but said his motives were still unclear. “He’s the guy who was behind the JCC threats,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, referring to the scores of anonymous threats phoned in to Jewish community centers in the US over the past two months. Police banned publication of his name, but said he was a dual citizen and would remain in custody until at least March 30. During the arrest raid, they said he tried to grab an officer’s gun but was stopped by another officer. The young man appeared briefly in court in the central Israeli city of Rishon Letzion. He wore khaki pants and a blue sweater that he used to cover his face as he walked past reporters. He made no comment.
‘Very serious medical condition’
His lawyer, Galit Bash, said her client had a “very serious medical condition” that might have affected his behavior. She said the condition had prevented him from attending elementary school, high school or enlisting in the army, which is compulsory for most Jewish men. “That’s why the medical condition can actually affect the investigation,” she said. “This is one of the things the judge told the police to check, to talk to his doctors, to get more documents and to investigate him according to his medical situation.” Channel 10 TV said the condition was a brain tumor. It also showed images of a large antenna outside the suspect’s house in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Police said the suspect’s father was also detained, apparently because of the equipment. Late Thursday, police said the father’s detention had been extended by eight days. In Washington, the FBI confirmed the arrest of the main suspect. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department “will not tolerate the targeting of any community in the country on the basis of their religious beliefs.” He called work by the FBI and Israeli police “outstanding.”
Bomb threats
Since Jan. 9, there have been more than 150 bomb threats against Jewish community centers and day schools in 37 US states and two Canadian provinces, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group that battles anti-Semitism. The threats led to evacuations, sent a chill through local Jewish communities and raised fears of rising anti-Semitism. Acts of vandalism on Jewish targets, including cemeteries, have added to those concerns.
As the number of threats grew, Trump was criticized for not speaking out. Then, late last month, he opened a speech to Congress by denouncing anti-Semitism. There was no immediate reaction from the White House to Thursday’s arrest. The ADL, JCC Association of America and Jewish Federations of North America all welcomed news of the arrest. But Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the ADL, said anti-Semitism in the US remains a “very serious concern.” “JCCs and other institutions should not relax security measures or become less vigilant,” he said. Karen Dombey, whose child attends the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie, Florida, which was evacuated when it received threats Feb. 27 and March 7, said she was surprised that the suspect is an Israeli-American. About 500 students from kindergarten through high school attend classes at the center, where armed guards stood at its entrances on Thursday. “I hope it doesn’t happen again. I hope it stops. But the fact that it happened raises awareness that we are targeted even when we think we are not,” Dombey said. US authorities have also arrested a former journalist from St. Louis, Juan Thompson, for allegedly threatening Jewish organizations and charged him with one count of cyberstalking.
‘Camouflage technologies’
But Israeli police described the local man as the primary suspect in the wave of threats. Police said he used sophisticated “camouflage technologies” to disguise his voice and mask his location. They said a search of the teen’s home uncovered antennas and satellite equipment.
“In sophisticated cyber activity that I cannot detail, we obtained what we obtained and of course exposed him and his equipment,” national police chief Roni Alsheich told reporters. “This does not bring honor to the state of Israel of course. But I think it does bring respect to Israel’s police.” Police said the threats had caused panic, “significant economic damage” and disrupted public order at locations around the world. The man is also suspected of placing threatening phone calls to Australia, New Zealand and within Israel. They also said he had disrupted a Delta Airlines flight at New York’s JFK airport in early 2015.
Not too complicated
Harel Menashri, a former cyber expert with Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency, said it was not “too complicated” for the suspect to do what he did. He said it appeared the suspect had penetrated neighbors’ Wi-Fi systems to create multiple computer addresses. “One of the things that helped him evade capture was he apparently took control over additional computers on the way and created a kind of computer chain,” he said. Nimrod Vax, a co-founder of the US-Israeli cybersecurity firm BigID, said catching the suspect was a more complicated task. He said authorities would have had to sift through “billions, if not trillions” of pieces of data, including phone records, routing logs and IP connections. Ron Hosko, a retired FBI assistant director, said such investigations require massive manpower to solve. Investigating a bomb threat by phone normally means getting a subpoena for a phone company and getting subscriber information to identify the incoming call. But the suspect used computer software, such as Tor, to obfuscate his whereabouts. The software “puts you in a cloud of IP addresses” that link to different computers and make it extremely difficult to trace, he said.

Foreign Policy Expert: Iranian Election Irrelevant to the Threat From Tehran
IRAN NEWS/Friday, 24 March 2017/A senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council has said that the threats from an already dangerous Iran are multiplying and will continue regardless of the outcome of the forthcoming election there. Writing for US News, Lawrence Haas outlined the new threats: continued cheating on the nuclear deal negotiated with the West in 2015; expansion of Iranian naval activities in the Gulf; conventional arms and missile proliferation; and increased arms supply to proxies in Yemen and Lebanon. With the upcoming election in Iran, Haas warned Western Governments not to be fooled by the propaganda which Iran has successfully peddled for decades: that firm responses to provocations by the regime only empower the more extreme faction in Tehran. Such propaganda sidesteps a key fact: it is the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who, as Haas put it, 'runs the show'. As such, it matters not who is President in Iran, and, in any case, as the list of threats outlined by Haas demonstrates, Rouhani has proved either an ineffectual reformer or simply as wedded to extremism as Khamenei. In short, the May election will be, as its predecessors, a sham, with only approved candidates allowed to stand. Haas concluded: 'no matter what happens with Iran's upcoming presidential election, the regime is, and will remain, just as dangerous as it's ever been.'

Maryam Rajavi: Wished the Looming of the Spring of Freedom and National Sovereignty, the Failure of the Mullahs’ Belligerence in the Region
IRAN NEWS/Friday, 24 March 2017/
In a grand gathering in Tirana, Albania, on the occasion of the Persian New Year, the Iranian Resistance’s President-elect Maryam Rajavi wished that the New Year would be the year of breaking the chains of the religious fascism ruling Iran. Today marked the beginning of the Iranian New Year or Nowrouz that starts with the arrival of spring. Mrs. Rajavi wished the looming of the spring of freedom and national sovereignty, the failure of the mullahs’ belligerence in the region, and the year of emancipation of the defenseless people of Syria from the clutches of the clerical regime ruling Iran. ‘EU Reporter’ correspondent stated in an article which continues as follows:
Thousands of members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) took part in the grand event. John Bolton, former US Ambassador to UN; Robert Torricelli, former member of the US Senate; David Muniz, deputy US Ambassador in Albania, Jean-Pierre Muller, Mayor of Magny en Vexin and member of Val d’Oise Provincial Council; and Bruno Macé, Mayor of Villiers Adam from France, took part in the gathering. A considerable number of political personalities from Albania including Elona Gjebrea, Deputy Minister of Interior; Pandeli Majko, former Prime Minister; Fatmir Mediu, former Defense Minister and leader of the Republican Party; and Archbishop of Tirana Rev. George Frendo took part in the gathering.
Elaborating on the crises entangling the Iranian regime particularly in the impasse of its upcoming elections, Maryam Rajavi pointed out, “Today, Khamenei faces three major predicaments in determining the fate of the regime’s election sham: First, fearing the Iranian People’s Resistance and uprising; second, the US policy in the region which has seriously alarmed the regime; and third, the dilemma over Khamenei’s succession which has led to a deep crisis within the regime. The people of Iran do not heed the regime’s sham elections and will boycott it as they always have. Based on the acknowledgements made by the regime’s officials, various strata of the people of Iran staged some 7 to 11 thousand protests last year against the regime’s policies. Beyond any protest, this is a daily drill for uprooting the regime’s injustice and oppression. Therefore, Western governments must not fall for the regime’s hoaxes and farcical elections and victimize the people of Iran. The policy of overlooking the Iranian people’s human rights, freedom and Resistance can no longer be continued.”
She said, “The people of Iran and other countries in the region expect that the US would consider a fundamental revision of its policy of the past 16 years. Nothing has been more helpful to the regime in Iran than US appeasement. Every policy on Iran and the Middle East which does not respect the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom and does not endorse the urgent demand of the peoples of the region to expel the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is doomed to fail. The overthrow of the mullahs’ religious tyranny is the responsibility of the Iranian people and Resistance. But we expect an end to the concessions and assistances which have contributed to the continued rule of the regime for years. To this end, all commercial and diplomatic relations must be made contingent on an end to executions and torture, the regime’s criminal and invasive forces must be expelled from the region, the IRGC must be placed on the list of terrorist organizations, and the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom must be recognized.”
John Bolton while thanking the Albanian government for accepting members of the PMOI said: “The golden era of the mullahs’ relations with the U.S. is over. It is vitally important that the whole world know that the US policy on Iran and its sponsored terrorism has fundamentally changed.” He said the Iranian regime is a rogue regime and its life expectancy is very short indeed and added “the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps should be put on the U.S. terror list as early as possible.” Ambassador Bolton stressed: “The declared policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran, the sooner the better.”
Senator Torricelli praised the perseverance of the PMOI members in Iraq over the years in the face of the regime’s deadly attacks and continued pressures and said “one woman, Maryam Rajavi, made the decision to save 3000 lives, a movement and the hope and aspiration for Iran’s future…It has been the honor of my life to be a soldier of your movement in the darkest days of your country.”
Pandeli Majko, former Prime Minister of Albania, pointed out: “It is a great pleasure to see all of you gather here together after all the years of danger…For you there is only the language of heart without any political divisions. You are welcome here and you are part of our family. You must consider Albania as your second home.”According to Fatmir Mediu, former Minister of Defense and leader of the Republic Party of Albania, “This is a day of reflection and responsibility to continue our struggle for liberty and freedom. The only thing necessary for the triumph of good is for people to be united. What God has given cannot be taken by evil…Mrs. Rajavi is an aspiration not only for you, but for many others around the world.” Maryam Rajavi pointed out, “The Iranian people’s Nowruz comes the day when all sectors of Iranian society including the Fars, Baluchis, Kurds, Arabs, Azeris, Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Jews, and followers of other religions and creeds could live together in peace in a society based on separation of religion and state. This would be a society where everyone can freely think and express their opinions, elect and promote their political traditions, endeavor to change any government they deem is against the people’s interests, and a society where people can choose their clothing, and no compulsions are sanctioned.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published On March 24-25/17
Canada: Bring on the Islamization!
Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/March 23/17
The mayor of Brampton, Ontario, Linda Jeffrey, was also seemingly unconcerned about the calls in Toronto to murder Jews.
The political establishment also does not seem concerned that imams are saying that the Islamic ruling allowing slaves is still in force. Meanwhile, statistics show that when it comes to hate crimes, Jews are by far the most targeted group.
No one -- neither media, nor politicians -- even bothered to ask whether there is a significant connection between the virulent Jew-hatred being preached in mosques and the disproportionately high occurrence of hate crimes against Jews. Instead, the entire Canadian parliament is preoccupied with banning "Islamophobia".
Imams in Canadian mosques have been inciting the killing of "infidels", primarily Jews, for years. This agitation appears to have had no visible impact on Canadian parliamentarians, evidently too busy with petitions and motions banning alleged "Islamophobia".
In 2009, for example, Toronto-area imam Said Rageah, at the Abu Huraira Centre, called on Allah to "destroy" the enemies of Islam from within and "damn" the "infidel" Jews and Christians.
"Allah protect us from the fitna [sedition, affliction] of these people; Allah protect us from the evil agenda of these people; Allah destroy them from within themselves, and do not allow them to raise their heads" prayed the imam.
In 2012, Sheikh Abdulqani Mursal, imam at Masjid Al Hikma mosque in Toronto, explained that Jews are destined to be killed by the Muslims. Citing text from a hadith, he said:
"You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them... Muslims [will] kill them until the Jews [will] hide themselves... and a stone or a tree [will] say: Muslim... there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him...."
In 2014, imam Sayed AlGhitawi, at Al Andalous Islamic Center in Montreal, prayed for success in jihad and the total destruction of the Jews:
"O Allah, give victory to our brothers who engage in jihad... destroy the accursed Jews... make their children orphans and their women widows... kill them one by one... do not leave any of them [alive]".
During the Muslim holiday of Ramadan in 2016, Imam Ayman Elkasrawy, of the Masjid Toronto mosque, said the following:
"...O Allah! Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them... Give us victory over the disbelieving people... Give victory to Islam... humiliate the ...polytheists... Destroy anyone who displaced the sons of the Muslims...Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them... Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews!"
Another imam in Toronto, Shaykh Abdool Hamid, recited similar prayers on at least eight occasions in 2015 and 2016.
In February 2017, after being exposed as an extremist by CIJ News, imam Ayman Elkasrawy apologized for his words, which, despite being posted on YouTube, were apparently not meant to reach non-Arabic speaking Canadians:
"Neither I, Masjid Toronto or the congregation harbour any form of hate towards Jews. And so I wish to apologize unreservedly for misspeaking during prayer last Ramadan... "
The head of the mosque, Dr. El-Tantawy Attia, assured the Toronto Sun that his mosque was not a radical mosque:
"It was a mistake. It was not authorized. It should not have happened and we have apologized and I have personally reached out to my Jewish friends... I was so upset. I was surprised. In 45 years here, I had never heard anything like that."
He also assured the Toronto Sun that he and the mosque would "get to the bottom of this through their own investigation". He also said that, pending the probe, the imam had been "suspended". The head of the mosque, however, then said that he doubts if Ayman Elkasrawy "really meant it". "We are about peace", he added.
Of course they are.
Even more astonishing than the disingenuous, mock-shock apology from the imam, was the staggering willingness on the part of the public to believe it. Instead of waiting for the police investigation, the Toronto Sun reported that, "People of all walks of life, and faiths, formed a 'ring around' the mosque to protect it from 'Islamophobia'".
Ayman Elkasrawy, imam of the Masjid Toronto mosque (front row, wearing white), said on video: "... slay them one by one and spare not one of them... Give us victory over the disbelieving people... Give victory to Islam... Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews!" (Image source: Video screenshot from Masjid Toronto via The Rebel)
The mayor of Brampton, Ontario, Linda Jeffrey, was also seemingly unconcerned about the calls in Toronto to murder Jews. Instead, she found time to criticize parents who were protesting Muslim Friday prayer sessions -- taking place on public school grounds, on school time and including prayers and sermons, usually in Arabic -- as "purveyors of misinformation and hateful speech."
While the political establishment is busy vilifying those who have legitimate reservations about the potential Islamization of the public school system, the University of Toronto at Mississauga employs a Muslim convert, Dr. Katherine Bullock, as a lecturer in the Department of Political Science. In November 2014, Bullock participated in a panel discussion organized by the Muslim Law Students Association at York University on counter-radicalization in Canada.
In her presentation, Bullock said that the West has it all wrong when it comes to the definition of Muslim radicals:
"So if you're an Iraqi nationalist who doesn't believe that the United States should be occupying your country and you fight against them, and you believe in the Caliphate, and you believe in Sharia, you are a radical, you've been radicalized. But from an Islamic point of view [there is] absolutely nothing radical about wanting Caliphate or wanting Sharia. These are completely normal traditional points of view".
At least Bullock is being honest.
The political establishment also does not seem concerned that imams are saying that the Islamic ruling allowing slaves is still in force. Dr. Ewis El Nagar, head of the Islamic Edicts Committee of the Quebec Council of Imams and leader of dawah (outreach, "call to Islam") at the Canadian Islamic Centre in Montreal, says that the Islamic ruling on marrying slave girls[1] was not abrogated and is applicable when "legitimate jihad" is launched against unbelievers.
Canada's political establishment also does not seem concerned with prominent imams who advocate wife-beating. The Muslim chaplain of the Canadian army, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Masood Al-Nadvi - who is also the Chairperson of the Canadian Council of Imams and the President of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Canada, a nation-wide organization with close ties to the terrorist group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood -- explained the Quranic verse on wife-beating[2] in February 2015: "This is the point where for example Quran says... and Hadith says, if you are doing this thing, you can beat or can leave [avoid sleeping with the wife]... Just keep the issue among each other". In other words, it is fine to beat your wife, just keep it behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, statistics show that when it comes to hate crimes, Jews are by far the most targeted group in Canada. According to the Toronto Police Service Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report for 2015:
"The three most targeted groups since 2006 have been the Jewish community, the Black community and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. In 2015, the Jewish community, followed by the LGBTQ community and the Muslim community were the most victimized groups. The three most reported criminal offences motivated by hate/bias in 2015 were mischief to property, assault and criminal harassment. The Jewish community was the most victimized group for mischief to property occurrences, while the LGBTQ community was the most victimized group for assault occurrences. The Muslim community was the most victimized group for criminal harassment occurrences".
According to the most recently available national data, between 2011 and 2013 Canadian Muslims suffered 15.1 hate crime incidents per 100,000 people. Canadian Jews, on the other hand, were the victims of 185.4 incidents per 100,000 people. That means, Jews were 12 times more likely to be targeted in hate crimes than Muslims.
Not only are Canadian politicians evidently unconcerned about this, despite the longevity of the problem, but no one -- neither media, nor politicians -- even bothered to ask whether there is a significant connection between the virulent Jew-hatred being preached in mosques, such as those mentioned above, and the disproportionately high occurrence of hate crimes against Jews. Instead, the entire Canadian parliament is preoccupied with banning "Islamophobia".
Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.
[1] "O Prophet, We have made lawful for you your wives whose bridal dues you have paid, and the slave-girls you possess from among the prisoners of war..." — Quran 33:50.
[2] "Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them..." — Qur'an 4:34.
© 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.

The Origin of "Fake News" in Holocaust Denial
Alan M. Dershowitz/Gatestone Institute/March 23/17
"Fake news" has become a subject of real news. But there's nothing new about "fake news." Holocaust deniers have generated fake news for decades. The deniers have funded "research" "institutes," "journals," books, magazines, videos, websites, newsflashes – all designed to provide a patina of academic respectability to demonstrable falsehoods.
This entire enterprise is devoted to proving that the holocaust – the systematic murder of more than six million Jews in gas chambers, mass shootings, mobile killing units and other means of implementing the carefully planned genocide – simply did not occur. It was made up whole cloth out of "The Jews" for financial and political gain.
No reasonable person with a modicum of intelligence can actually believe that Hitler and his Nazis co-conspirators did not plan the mass extermination of Jews at the Wannsse Conference, and that they did not carry it out at death camps, such as Treblinka, Sorbibor, Majdanek and Auschwitz, Birkenau, as well as by SS mobile killing units that gathered Jews in such places as Babi Yar and the Ponary Woods.
Yet, thousands of people, many with academic degrees, and some with professorial positions, persist in denying the undeniable. These professional liars are given legitimacy by some reputable scholars such as Noam Chomsky, who not only champions the right of these fake historians to
perpetrate their malicious lies, but who actually lend their names to the quality of the "research" that produce the lies of denial. In a widely circulated petition signed by numerous scholars, Chomsky and the other signatories actually described the false history of the notorious denier, Robert Faurisson, as "findings" based on "extensive historical research," thus giving them an academic imprimatur.
I, too, support the right of falsifiers of history to submit their lies to the open marketplace of ideas, where all reasonable people will reject them. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution does not distinguish between truth and lies, at least when it comes to historical events. Just as I defended the rights of Nazis to march through Skokie, and the right of KKK racists to burn crosses on the own property, I defend the right of mendacious holocaust deniers to spin their hateful web of lies. But, unlike Chomsky, I would never dream of supporting the false content of these lies or the phony methodology employed by these liars. Chomsky should be praised for defending the right of Holocaust deniers, but he should be condemned for his complicity in lending substantive and methodological credibility to their false history.
The marketplace is one thing, but let me be clear that I do not believe that any university should tolerate, in the name of academic freedom these falsehoods being taught in the classroom. There is not and should not be academic freedom to commit educational malpractice by presenting provable lies as acceptable facts. Universities must and do have standards: no credible university would tolerate a professor teaching that slavery did not exist, or that the Earth is flat. Holocaust denial does not meet any reasonable standard deserving the protection of academic freedom.
This is not to say that outside the classroom, academics should be limited in their research output, or prevented from publishing improbable claims.
But the difficult questions remain: Where should the line be drawn between demonstrably false facts and controversial matters of opinion that may turn out to contain grains of truth? Should professors be allowed to teach that there are genetic differences between blacks and whites that explain disparities in outcomes? (A Nobel winning Stanford professor of Engineering tried to teach such a course on what he called "dysgenics.") Should the president of a university be allowed to speculate in public about possible genetic differences between men and women regarding the capacity to do ground-breaking work in math and science? (Harvard's former President Lawrence Summers lost his job over that.) How should the media deal with obviously false facts put forward by elected public officials?
I have no problem with courses being taught about the phenomenon of Holocaust denial -- it is after all a widespread concern – just as I would have no problem with courses being taught about the phenomenon of false history, false facts and conspiracy theories. But the classroom, with its captive audience of students being graded by professors, is never an appropriate place to espouse the view that the Holocaust did not take place. The classroom is not a free and open marketplace of ideas. The monopolistic professor controls what can and cannot be said in his or her closed shop. Accordingly, the classroom must have more rigorous standards of truth than the book market, or the internet.
The responsible media should behave in a similar fashion to the professor in the classroom. They should report on the phenomenon of Holocaust denial but not themselves publish unsubstantiated claims that the Holocaust did not occur. There is no way to impose such standards on the free-wheeling internet, where Holocaust denial is rampant. It isn't clear whether the apparent recent surge in online Holocaust denial has been caused by an increase in deniers, or whether closet deniers now have public platforms or social media that they previously lacked.
How then does this all relate to the current phenomenon of false political news and facts? How should the media, academics and the general public deal with politically motivated accusations that the "news" or "facts" they publish are false? Should they report on news and facts asserted by politicians that they have fact-checked and found to lack credibility? Who, in a free and open democratic society, is to judge of whether news, facts, history or other forms of expression are false, true – or somewhere in
between? Do we really want governmental (or university) "truth squads" empowered to shut down stalls that are purveying false goods in the marketplace of ideas? And if not, what are the alternatives?
Censorship is, of course, a matter of degree. There is, moreover, a hierarchy of censorship, with the worst being governmental prior restraint, or criminalization of dissent. Following that would be university denial of academic freedom to express unpopular views outside the classroom. (I do not regard it as impermissible censorship for universities to impose reasonable standards of scholarship in the classroom and for hiring and retention decisions.) Then there is refusal by the media to report on events or issues out of fear of losing readership or advertising revenue. Finally there is self-censorship, based on fear of violating community norms.
The government -- particularly the executive and legislative branches --must be kept away from the daunting task of striking the appropriate balance between speech and the dangers it may pose, because dissent against the state must remain the paradigm of protected speech. The courts will inevitably have to play a role in striking that balance, but should invoke a heavy presumption in favor of speech. The university administration should maintain reasonable standards. In the classroom and hiring decisions, but it must not interfere with the right of faculty and students to express unpopular or even "false" ideas outside the classroom. And the media should articulate and enforce reasonable journalistic standards in reporting and fact-checking on information that some claim is false. In the unregulated world of the internet and social media, there will neither be universal standards nor all- encompassing censorship. There are no "publishers' or censors in the cyber world. In the end, the people will decide what to believe, what to doubt and what to disbelieve. And they will not always make wise determinations in a world where lies spread with far greater speed than when Winston Churchill reportedly observed that a lie makes it halfway around the world before the truth can "get its pants on."
There is no perfect solution to this dilemma. There never has been, and I venture to predict there never will be.
Freedom of speech and the open marketplace of ideas are not a guarantee that truth, justice or morality will prevail. The most that can be said is that freedom of expression is less worse than its alternatives such as governmental censorship, official truth squads or shutting down the marketplace of ideas. Like democracy itself, untrammeled freedom to express hateful and dangerous lies may be the "worst" policy – except for all the others that have been tried over time.
So let the purveyors of fake news – from Holocaust denial to current fake information – try to spread their falsehoods. And let truth tellers respond with facts and evidence.
Facebook: @AlanMDershowitz
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© 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.

Will the West Please Stop Siding with Criminals?
Khadija Khan/Gatestone Institute/March 23/17
What is agonizing is that people either enjoyed or criticized the joyful act of a teenager, but no one seems to be noticing that this public trial and her forced apologies only mean further isolation for the young Muslim women.
Most horrifying is that it seems that even the West has started to buy into the version of "modesty" that these extremists in the Middle East have been forcing on women.
Why has no one -- especially politicized, self-absorbed women's groups -- come to help? Instead, as in the recent Women's March, they have been advocating for more women's imprisonment.
It is important for as many people as possible, both in Britain and world-wide, to say how much they love her beautiful spirit and that they totally stand by her right to dance, sing, play or have fun.
The growth in systematic abuse of women, especially by Islamists in the West, requires democratic governments to introduce strong measures to stop this abuse, before abusive mullahs start harassing women of all faiths, to force them to submit to their wishes.
The recent threats and harassment of a British "Hijabi girl" by Islamists in Birmingham, England, merely for a video showing her dance, have re-exposed the ugly face of this autocratic mindset that owes its existence to extremist states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Enslaving women in general and inflicting repressive agendas -- such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, segregation, allowing no say in choosing a partner, education or profession, with abysmal living standards often part of the abuse -- is just a small measure of the jihad that the Islamists have managed to unleash across the globe.
The video of "Hijabi girl" (her name is not known), happily dancing in public, was recorded and uploaded to the internet by bystanders.
The video led to aggressive shaming and harassment of the girl by the local Islamist "morality police": men who ranted against her "impious" act and reportedly made her apologize publicly online.
Sobbing, she admitted how supposedly evil and shameless she was to have brought such dishonor to her family and religion.
It is important for as many people as possible, both in Great Britain and world-wide, to say how much they love her beautiful spirit and that they totally standby her right to dance, sing, play or have fun. These are very normal human activities.
Have things come to such a pass that now. even in Britain, only the most courageous can spontaneously express feelings of fun?
What is agonizing is that people either enjoyed or criticized the joyful act of a teenager, but no one seems to be noticing that this public trial and her forced apologies only mean further isolation for the young Muslim women.
To accept this coercion would be just a call on young Muslim girls to be quiet and submit, rather than ever even to think about showing their normal, lighter side. Most horrifying is that it seems that even the West has started to buy into the version of "modesty" that for centuries these extremists in the Middle East have been forcing on women.
The human rights groups seem to have become so apologetic towards the extremist abusers that they now turn their backs on the victims of these abuses -- the people who need human rights groups the most. Perhaps they believe that supporting the poor girl would mean offending Muslims or the "symbol of Islam" (hijab) -- which means they endorse the extremist version of Islam and the abuses that come with it.
The poor girl was shown no solidarity by any supposed champions of liberal causes. Instead, she was thrown to the hounds and left to face her torment alone.
It is also sad that the girl's family has probably also given up, possibly due to the threats, and possibly out of fear of these extremists.
The massively destructive, wrong-headed political policies of Western governments -- such as keeping silent on the abuses of women by Muslim extremists involving, for example, underage and forced marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), sharia courts in the UK and accepting the existence of no-go zones where the extremists enjoy impunity and thrive -- are also to be blamed for the increase in violations of women's rights. Politicians and the policy-makers are apparently too scared of being accused of committing some fabricated "Islamophobia" or "infringing on the rights of Muslim citizens", so they choose to keep their eyes shut to the plight of these women.
An image from the video "Right to choose: Spotting the signs of forced marriage - Nayana", produced by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. In 2013, 1,302 victims of forced marriage sought help from the British government's Forced Marriage Unit.
This is not an isolated incident in which a young Muslim girl was victimized by the extremists just for innocently being herself. In Canada, famous video blogger named Froggy, of Pakistani origin, suffered similar harassment. She was also vilified by puritanical extremists for wearing a hijab but living a Western lifestyle by hanging out with young men and uploading videos of teenage fun.
In Darmstadt, Germany, 19-year-old Lareeb Khan was killed in 2015 by her parents when she decided to take off her hijab and pursue a normal life. Her father, Asadullah Khan, claimed that he had killed his daughter to save the honour of his family. He alleged -- whether it is true or not we do not know -- that the girl was having sexual relations with a boy of whom her family disapproved.
Her mother admitted to being present at the time of Lareeb's murder, but claimed she could not rescue her due to both fear and illness. Lareeb's sister, Nida, however, stated that her mother was an accomplice to the crime, and used to thrash her.
In a pathetic attempt at exculpation, Lareeb's parents claimed that they were victims of the extremist Pakistani state and society. However, they chose, when they were given refuge and protection by a Western state, to impose similar abuses.
Extremists use shaming and harassment as punishment and deterrence for any woman in their communities who tries to break a barrier to regain her life.
This double edged-sword not only silences the victims of the abuse but also sends a message to the other women also not to try to escape their imprisonment.
Why has no one -- especially politicized, self-absorbed women's groups -- come to help? Instead, as in the recent Women's March, they have been advocating for more women's imprisonment.
The notion that a hijab or a conservative lifestyle is a matter of choice for Muslim women might sound sympathetic to Westerners. It is not. In reality, there is no choice. The supposed choice is, in fact, a one-way street from which trying to exit can cost a woman her life.
These extremist Muslims need to be taught by society itself that they must respect individual freedoms and equality -- by law.
Many liberal women, doubtlessly well-intended, seem love to wearing hijabs supposedly "in solidarity"; what they do not understand is that for millions and millions of Muslim women, who dare not say so, it is not a symbol of freedom and "protection" -- like a slave-owner "protecting" his property -- but of repression and imprisonment. It is forced upon women, now even in the West, and, worse, with the wholehearted complicity of the West.
It is also a time for governments purportedly in favour of human rights no longer to sweep these mafia tactics under the carpet.
It is time for politicians, governments, policy-makers, clerics, human rights groups and "liberals" to stop siding with criminals who commit assault, battery, and even murder, and to start protecting their citizens.
**Khadija Khan is a Pakistan-based journalist and commentator.
© 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.

Canada: House of Commons passes anti-Islamophobia motion/42% of Canadians would vote against, survey suggests

CBC/March 24/17
The House of Commons has passed M-103, a non-binding motion condemning Islamophobia and religious discrimination.
All NDP and nearly all Liberal MPs supported the motion, which passed 201-91. The majority of Conservative MPs voted against, with leadership candidate Michael Chong and Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton voting in favour. Mississauga Liberal MP Gagan Sikand and Barrie Conservative MP Alex Nuttall both abstained.
The vote follows months of bitter debate and a series of protests and counter-protests across the country over whether the private member's motion would limit free speech or single out Islam for special treatment in Canadian law.
It had additional symbolic significance in the emotional aftermath of the Jan. 29 mosque shooting in Quebec City, where six Muslim men were killed.
The motion was tabled by Mississauga-Erin Mills Liberal MP Iqra Khalid on Dec. 5, 2016. She spoke to reporters after the motion passed Thursday.
"I'm really happy that the vote today has shown positive support for this motion and I'm really looking forward to the committee taking on this study," she said.
Khalid's motion calls on the government to do three things:
- Condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.
- Quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear.
- Compel the Commons heritage committee to develop a government-wide approach for reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia.
The latter would require the heritage committee to collect data on hate crime reports, conduct needs assessments for affected communities and present findings within eight months.
Liberals rejected an attempt by Saskatchewan Conservative MP David Anderson to remove the word "Islamophobia​" from the motion and change the wording to "condemn all forms of systemic racism, religious intolerance and discrimination of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and other religious communities.
Anderson argued Islamophobia was not defined in Khalid's motion, and that its inclusion contributed to widespread confusion and fears about the effect on freedom of speech.
Khalid told reporters she didn't think changing the wording of her motion was the result of broad consultation and changing it wouldn't have led to Conservative support.
"It was a really collaborative effort amongst all Canadians and amongst all parliamentarians and I was not able to find consensus," Khalid said.
"Really, changing the wording of the motion would have watered it down and I think the committee can really look into this if it is an issue."
Anderson, the Conservative who tried to amend the motion, said he didn't see much difference between himself and Khalid on the issue after the vote.
"I think that many of us have wanted to have a mature discussion about this for a long time, and I think actually Ms. Khalid and I would be on the exact same wavelength on that issue," Anderson said.
"The committee can do a good job and we can have a discussion about what this means for Canada, the role of Islam in Canada, and it's time we had that discussion and did it on a different level than we have over the last month."
M-103 generated controversy on social media and through online petitions, with some incorrectly suggesting it is a "law" or a "bill" rather than a non-binding motion. Some have raised concerns it would lead to some form of Shariah law in Canada.
The NDP caucus voted in favour of both versions of the motion.
Liberal MP abstains
Gagan Sikand, the Liberal MP who abstained from the vote, said he made the decision based on correspondence with his constituents.
"Since the residents of Mississauga-Streetsville were fairly evenly split, I was of the opinion that abstaining best reflected everyone," he wrote in a Facebook post.
Sikand said he will "always" condemn Islamophobia and all forms of discrimination.
Some MPs, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, were not in the House for the vote.
42% of Canadians would vote against, survey suggests
A survey published Thursday by the Angus Reid Institute suggests that 42 per cent of Canadians would vote against the motion, while just 29 per cent would vote in favour of it. About two-thirds of Conservative voters were against M-103, while opinion was more divided among Liberals and New Democrats.
The poll suggests that Canadians have doubts the motion will accomplish anything. A majority of respondents said that the motion would have no real impact. Another 31 per cent felt it was a threat to freedom of speech, while 12 per cent believed it would help "reduce anti-Muslim attitudes and discrimination."
The survey was conducted between March 13 and 17, interviewing 1,511 Canadians adults who were members of an online panel. A probabilistic sample of this size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Syria: Six years of an orphaned revolt
Eyad Abu Shakra /Al Arabiya/March 24/17
Marine Le Pen, the French extreme right’s presidential candidate, clearly summed up how the West regards the Syrian Revolt, which erupted six years ago. In an interview with Al-Arabiya TV channel, she replied to a question about her view of Bashar al-Assad by saying: “If I were to choose between al-Assad and ISIS I shall choose al-Assad”. This is a fact well-known to the sponsors and defenders of the Syrian regime. Thus, in order to save the regime it was necessary to derail the popular uprising, destroy its moderate armed and unarmed elements, and deprive the true ‘revolutionaries’ of all kinds of support and protection. This is how we have reached the current ‘ideal’ scenario. The Syrian people are now out of the equation. What has been unfolding for the last six years is being depicted before the world as a straight ‘choice’ between a regime that is willing to concede to all but its own people and a dubious extremist terror most of which is foreign.It was necessary to defend the regime that since its founding, in 1970, has been providing valuable ‘services’ to several powers. Letting this regime fall has never been an option. Even after resorting to excessive violence in confronting the children of Daraa and Hama’s massive peaceful demonstration during the summer of 2011, it became obvious that the international community was intent on trivializing its crimes while undermining the credibility of its opponents.
In a chat I had four years ago with Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, the British Politician – who was a diligent campaigner on behalf of the victims of former Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein – she suggested Syrian refugees should return home; adding “Assad is not another Saddam Hussein… they will be fine under his regime!”.
In the same vein, one cannot forget former US president Barack Obama and his advisors, such as Philip Gordon, Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, Denis McDonough and Jake Sullivan. Obama played the major role in ‘redefining’ Washington’s practical priorities in Syria.
Committed to a nuclear and strategic deal with Iran, Obama, like Le Pen, believed that the top priority in Syria was to confront ISIS; despite the fact that the terrorist group, in its current form, appeared on the scene no less two years after the peaceful popular uprising and the regime’s bloody attempts to crush it. Indeed, Obama made fun of the moderate opposition, and dismissed its constituents while repeatedly refusing to protect Syrian civilians through imposing ‘no-fly zones’ and “safe havens”.The regime has always looked for the ‘content’ rather than the ‘form’ in setting the priorities of maintaining power. All loud slogans of Arabism, Secularism and Socialism have been proven meaningless
‘Hemorrhage’ continues
Israel too has chosen – at least on face value – to look ‘neutral’ between Assad and the Revolt. However, in reality, as one could deduce from the comments of its senior intelligence and security figures, it has been happy that Syrian ‘hemorrhage’ continues; and on the other hand, regards Assad as ‘the lesser of two evils’ compared with ISIS and fellow extremist ‘Jabhat Al-Nusra’.In fact, it is understandable and quite logical that Israel should actively – albeit tacitly – strive to keep an Arab regime which has since 1973 proven to be most capable to defend its borders and eliminate it enemies while claiming on every occasion to be its ‘steadfast’ adversary. As for Assad regime, it has understood from the very beginning that, regardless of the individual position towards its policies and actions, it would continue to be accepted by many major regional and global powers. It would be preferred by these powers to any democratic alternative representing the lively forces in Syria.
The Assad regime has realized, first, that it is a much needed tool in maintaining the state of weakness and division in the Middle East; hence, it would be impossible that those who have ‘used’ it for decades would let it fall. Secondly, the regime has always looked for the ‘content’ rather than the ‘form’ in setting the priorities of maintaining power. All loud slogans of Arabism, Secularism and Socialism have been proven meaningless.
Arabism means nothing when intersecting regional calculations of Iran, Israel, Turkey and Russia are based on and benefit from ethnic and sectarian fault lines. Secularism too means nothing when sectarian identity defines the scale of influence, and when religious, sectarian and ethnic cleansing becomes a strategy for survival. And last but not least, Socialism, too, means nothing in a country controlled by monopolistic clan-based ‘mafias’ serving local and regional interests; and where trade unions and peasant federations metamorphose into mercenary gangs and cheering ‘crowds’.
This is the image of the besieged and ‘orphaned’ Syrian Revolt six years after the demonstrations in the Damascus market and Daraa’s children anti-regime graffiti.
Psychological damage
Having said this, however, Syria’s opposition groups have not been blameless. Some of their mistakes may be understandable keeping in mind the huge psychological damage a lengthy dictatorship has caused to the Syrian psyche, but other mistakes deserve blame if not condemnation.
In the first case several opposition groups paid a heavy price for being ‘penetrated’ by regime agents posing as opposition activists. The latter carried out exactly what they had been instructed to do politically and militarily. Some of the regime’s agents actually even appeared in pictures as fighters with extremist militias. Others took part as opposition figures in political conferences where they caused confusion and wreaked havoc, then returned to the bosom of the regime in Damascus, after carrying out their ‘dirty job’.
However, in the second case, individualism, opportunism and spite have plagued genuine opposition groups and weakened their credibility. Thus, regional as well as international powers have managed to impose their own agendas on these groups; and even create their own groups that reflect the interest of the foreign powers rather than that of the Syrian people. This dangerous development has led many armed opposition groups to the trap of extreme sectarian fragmentation; consequently serving the interests of Russia and Iran.
Furthermore it had provided dubious elements which had claimed to be ‘non-sectarian’ to tour Western countries inciting against the Revolt. On the other hand, well-meaning opposition elements naively trusted and defended extremist groups that later began fratricidal ‘gang wars’; thus, allowing extremism and bigotry to alienate and dishearten many people.
It is not too late to save Syria’s Revolt, nor is it too late to uncover those conspiring against it. But it is now the right time to begin a candid and serious review before the situation deteriorates further, and the Revolt loses all those who are qualified to rebuild the country the moment destruction stops.

After London, where do we go from here?
Mamdouh AlMuhaini /Al Arabiya/March 24/17
The recent terrorist attack in London is an addition to the tragic list of violent acts that have claimed lives of innocent people who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite the tight security measures – latest being ban on electronic devices – criminal minds of terrorists continue to turn kitchen knives and cars into mass murder tools.
Terrorists live in an illusionary world that differs from ours. Juhayman al-Otaybi occupied the Grand Mosque in Makkah and tried to wreak havoc chaos all around. Osama bin Laden attacked the twin towers thinking that he would undermine the US.
Bin Laden’s men thought that terror attacks in Riyadh and Jeddah would spread chaos and devastation in Saudi Arabia. Al-Baghdadi believed that his so-called “Caliphate” would bring back the time of the slaves. None of this will happen and terrorists will certainly not win over the civilized world. However, they will cause a lot of bloodshed.
The question that the world is asking today is who is responsible for all this and how can we stop this nightmare? Many prefer to say that Western countries are responsible for the rise of terrorism. This may be true but in just one aspect of it. Authorities in the West may have been tolerating extremist groups in their countries and are protecting them in the name of human rights and freedom of expression.
This is a major misconception because even act of incitement in western culture could come under the premise of freedom of expression. However, in the context of Muslim and Arabs, it may amount to an explicit permission to kill. In other words, what is seen permissible in London and Paris could be construed as motivation for terrorism in the Islamic and Arab countries.
The Western world has realized the extent of threat terror poses only after experiencing it in recent years. Protecting fanatics in the name of freedom of expression is developing a culture of hatred and turning those who got affected over the time into human bombs not only in the East but also in the West.
Protecting fanatics in the name of freedom of expression is developing a culture of hatred and turning those who get affected into human bombs not only in the East but also in the West
Tight leash
Therefore, steps taken by some governments in the West to keep extremists on a tight leash is correct and serves the cause of Muslims more than any other. These steps are not against Muslims as they are made out to be. Muslims are most negatively affected by these acts and ideas. They either get influenced by them or get their reputation smeared. Moreover, victims of terrorism are primarily Muslims themselves. That is why crushing extremists will protect their children from this menace and will serve them before serving western societies whose citizens are not vulnerable to ISIS recruitment.
This spirit of tolerance goes back to the western mentality that has overcome intolerance for centuries. It has undergone different stages of religious reform and a comprehensive intellectual and industrial renaissance until Christian extremists became a misfit in societies that had progressed. These clergymen lost popular influence and only became subjects of historical studies. Even if they call for murder dozens of times, no one would listen to them. Western universities became secular long time ago and religious studies come only in a historical or comparative context. They do not seek to sow extremist ideologies that would imbue students with hatred.
Medieval mentality
When extremist Christian Pat Robertson said that the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010 was because of their ancestors’ deal with the devil writers and commentators ridiculed him for having superstitions, and not a modern, mentality. This is the only area in which West can probably be blamed. However, this is not what some writers say when they place the entire responsibility on their shoulders. They make endless arguments that begin with marginalization and persecution of Muslim minorities to provoking them. One of the strangest arguments is that progress in the West has made them feel alienated in this new industrial world and they have tried to wage a revolution against it. This is a strange excuse that seems to be asking humanity to stop progress so as not to frighten those who are already scared. The simplest solution is to ask them to change their ideas and keep up with the new reality.
It is indeed not easy to end this nightmare that has caused the death of innocent people. A terrorist is automatically an extremist. No child, raised with values of tolerance and co-existence, can blow himself up even if he has been tutored by the worst of instigators.
Since extremism has become pervasive and its foot soldiers are spreading everywhere we are confronted with a frustrating question as soon as we knew of the latest attack. Now London is hit, which city is it going to be next?

Arabs and the threat of polarization
Radwan al Sayed /Al Arabiya/March 24/17
The Astana meeting which the Syrian political and military opposition boycotted because of the inclusion of Iran, in addition to Russia and Turkey, to guarantee the ceasefire has concluded its work. The opposition had stated that by including Iran, this meeting had come to an end. Parties which can guarantee a ceasefire must be capable of influencing the regime or the opposition and this influence must be manifested via forces on the ground. Iran is of course biased in favor of the Syrian regime, and it has lost thousands while defending it in the past three years. Russia is also fighting alongside the Assad regime and despite that it is also one of the countries guaranteeing a ceasefire. If they say Iran is not concerned over a ceasefire, then the same applies to Russia. The Astana negotiations, and before that the Geneva 4 conference, aims to eliminate the opposition or armed opposition groups operating under ISIS and al-Nusra banners and political opposition under the excuse of the Cairo and Moscow platforms. There is no hope of achieving any political results from the regime in Syria – unless Saudi Arabia succeeds in forming an Islamic military alliance to intervene against ISIS in Raqqah and Deir az-Zour. This depends on the ability to assemble this and also on the willingness of the US and Russia to curb the Kurds’ rebellion and restrain Tehran.
Iraqi realities
Meanwhile in Iraq, emerging victorious against ISIS has become possible, though the losses may be great. However, a political settlement does not seem near. Saudi Arabia has improved its relations with Iraq following the Saudi foreign minister’s recent visit to Baghdad. However, the realities on the ground are still the same. Iran’s supporters seem to dominate in terms of politics and military power. Just like Syria, Iraq has two problems: Iran’s domination and the Kurdish problem. Iran and Turkey have their involvements in both, Iraq and Syria. The sweeping Sunni majority in Syria has not woken up to the fact that it is great in number or benefited from taking up arms. audi Arabia has improved its relations with Iraq following the Saudi foreign minister’s recent visit to Baghdad. However, realities on the ground continue to be the same. In Iraq, the strong Sunni minority which took up arms did not benefit from its power or arms. Therefore, it is probable that the situation will not stabilize in both Iraq and Syria. Domination neither achieves satisfaction nor stability! I am about to say that developments in Lebanon are heading in the same direction as Syria and Iraq. Michel Aoun publicly declared his loyalty to Hezbollah after he was elected president. He even alleged that Lebanon still needs the Hezbollah militia in South Litani where the Lebanese army and UN international troops are stationed.
Lebanon was thus punished for violating UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and the international community will decrease the number of international peace troops and its expenditure on them. This alienation regarding international resolutions is about to repeat during the upcoming Amman Summit. Aoun will not be able to support any decision that condemns Iranian intervention in Arab countries and he will not be able to support any decision that views Hezbollah as a terrorist organization or that considers its weapons as illegitimate.
What is happening in Libya is not that different from what I have described. There are three governments, two official armies, dozens of militias which control certain areas, in addition to ISIS and Ansar al-Sharia. Al-Sarraj government, which was formed following the Skhirat agreement in Morocco, enjoys international support. It is confronted by a government in East Libya – a government that has its parliament, army and strongman Khalifa Haftar. The third government is headed by Khalifa al-Ghawil and it hangs on to the vestiges of its power which had ended with the emergence of the Sarraj government.
Decisiveness needed
And last but not least, there is Yemen. Gulf countries and mainly Saudi Arabia intervened to defend itself and its borders and to defend the legitimate government in Yemen and the Arab naval security. Many, mainly Iran, tampered with this to weaken the Gulf countries. The US and Britain have not been far from this. For more than two years now, they have been seeking political solutions and America and Britain have adjusted their stances.
I have been saying this since 2012: Unless there is military decisiveness somewhere, Iran will not accept to engage in political negotiations in terms of relations. I still hope something of the sort will happen in Yemen. By polarization, I mean that the weakness of some Arab parties has led them to either intentionally or unintentionally work against their own people and in favor of regional and international powers. They think that by working for others, they will save their money and their weak authority. Such mentality and interests cannot be sustained unless wars rage on.