May 09/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

The Bulletin's Link on the lccc Site

 News Bulletin Achieves Since 2006
Click Here to go to the LCCC Daily English/Arabic News Buletins Archieves Since 2016

Bible Quotations For Today
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed meto bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 04/14-21/:"Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed meto bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.".

I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame
Letter to the Romans 09/26-33/:"‘And in the very place where it was said to them, "You are not my people", there they shall be called children of the living God.’And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, ‘Though the number of the children of Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved; for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth quickly and decisively.’ And as Isaiah predicted, ‘If the Lord of hosts had not left survivors to us, we would have fared like Sodom and been made like Gomorrah.’What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling-stone, as it is written, ‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on May 08-09/17
The Miseries of the Lebanese Rotten Rulers and Officials/Elias Bejjani/ May 08/17
Baalbek’s Cry/Ahmad El-Assaad May 08, 2017
24 Year Old Sara Sleiman Was Killed In Zahle By Kassem Al Masri, And Her Wish To Donate Her Organs To Save Others Will Be Fulfilled/A Separate State Of Mind/May 08/17
New ISIS mobile tactics against US in Syria, Iraq/DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis May 8, 2017
US Judge Rules Assad Helped Al-Qaeda Kill Americans/Ryan Mauro/Clarion Project/May 08/17
Safe Zones and the Russian Hunter/Ghassan Charbel/ASharq Al Awsat/May 08/17
Palestinians: Abbas's "Culture of Peace"/Bassam Tawil/Gatestone Institute/May 08/17

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published on May 08-09/17
The Miseries of the Lebanese Rotten Rulers and Officials
Dr. Walid Phares: Interview in al Nahar on "Syrian refugees return back home"
Aoun promises nationwide helipads to assist Red Cross
Abi Khalil after Power Tender Opening: Power-Vessel Bids are 'Legal'
Report: Incessant Efforts to Unravel Electoral Law Difficulties
MP. Sami Gemayel: The Electricity File is Not for Political Gains and the Suspicious Deal Shall Not Pass
Berri Says Parties Wasting Law Agreement Chance Will be Sorry Later
Hariri, National Council for Lebanese Economists tackle economic affairs
Caccia meets with Gloria Abu Zeid
Mashnouq: Fighting terrorism should be common goal among Arabs
Riachy at Halim Roumi Studio launch: Nothing shall hinder Radio Liban progress
Hariri congratulates Macron: You will find in me a partner keen to echo our common values
Berri congratulates Macron
Landmine Maims Syrian Boy in Southern Border Town
One Wounded as Bourj al-Barajneh Dispute Escalates into Gunfire
Policeman Assaulted in Tripoli for Trying to Seize Violating Motorbike
Tensions Return to Ain el-Hilweh as Grenade Hurled near Army Troops
A message From Yair Ravid
Baalbek’s Cry
24 Year Old Sara Sleiman Was Killed In Zahle By Kassem Al Masri, And Her Wish To Donate Her Organs To Save Others Will Be Fulfilled

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
May 08-09/17
Tehran Warns Saudi Prince for Bringing 'Battle' to Iran Remark
ISIS Kills Christian in North Sinai, Dashes Migrants’ Hope in Imminent Return
GCC: Ongoing Cooperation with Washington ahead of Trump’s Visit
Kuwait Emir, Egypt President Discuss Arab Cooperation
Russia Tables Draft U.N. Resolution on Syria Safe Zones
U.S. Studying Moscow's Syria Deal, Says Mattis
Syrian ISIS Militant Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Plotting Suicide Attack in Hajj Season
Putin Urges Macron to Shed Mutual Distrust and 'Join Forces'
Jordan: Eight Officers Arrested after Death of Detained Man During Investigation
Netanyahu’s Government Revives Bill on ‘Jewish State’ Status
US Embassy in Saudi Arabia removes Israel from Trump itinerary
Israel Slams 'Rights Violator' Erdogan over Jerusalem Remarks
US-Jordanian Military Exercise with Arab, Foreign Participation
Bahrain Judiciary Postpones Isa Qassim’s Trial to May 21
U.N. Forum in Saudi 'Slap in the Face', Says HRW

Latest Lebanese Related News published on May 08-09/17
The Miseries of the Lebanese Rotten Rulers and Officials
Elias Bejjani/ May 08/17
The rulers of Iranian occupied Lebanon are mere puppets- mercenaries and are completely detached from all that is law and constitution.

Dr. Walid Phares: Interview in al Nahar on "Syrian refugees return back home"
May 08/17/"As of yet, we haven't seen a clear and precise plan coming from Lebanon, asking for practical steps as to how to organize the repatriation of Syrian refugees from Lebanon back home. Such platform should be sent by the Lebanese Government or civil society to the international community, including the US and other actors. Many questions are still unanswered: Where should the refugees be located to be assisted. Who will manage their return to Syria, and to what part of Syria will they return and under what conditions, who will find? Let the discussion start so that the US and Lebanon's friends know exactly where to start and what to support. Here are some modest ideas for a road map for a solution."

Aoun promises nationwide helipads to assist Red Cross
The Daily Star/May 08/17BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun Monday praised the Lebanese Red Cross at their yearly fundraising event, promising new helipads across the country.“By coordinating with the army, you will specify where you want the helipads, and we will execute your demands”, Aoun promised during a ceremony at the Baabda Palace. He said that speed would allow the medics to "save more lives."“Available where there is pain, that is the basis of your humanitarian work,” the president said, addressing the Red Cross’ commitment to the Lebanese people. Aoun took the time to thank and praise the Red Cross for their memorable work, which has been going on ever since the end of World War II, saying “after the election of the Parliament, we will work on considering Red Cross [medics who were killed] as martyrs as we consider the Lebanese Army martyrs.”

Abi Khalil after Power Tender Opening: Power-Vessel Bids are 'Legal'
Naharnet/May 08/17/Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil stressed on Monday the “legality” of the power-generating vessel competitive tenders, in light of accusations voiced by some political parties alleging otherwise. Abi Khalil who spoke at the beginning of the tender opening said: “The tender is perfectly legal and is carried out in accordance with a book of conditions prepared by the government of (former) PM Najib Miqati.”A total of eight interested companies have participated in the bidding process, in addition to the committee that opened the tenders and was composed of the Ministry of Energy, Electricity of Lebanon (EDL), representatives of the Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, Environment and Finance. Opening of the competitive bids for leasing power-generating vessels to improve Lebanon's power supply was limited to "technical tenders," media reports said. A report will be prepared and submitted to the Energy Minister who will in turn present it to the cabinet, they added. “Financial bids" will be opened in the next few days, they added. In March the government approved Abi Khalil's power plan which was based on a previous idea presented by his predecessor Minister Jebran Bassil in 2010 when he was energy minister. His new project plans to lease three power generating Turkish vessels, instead of two already present in Lebanon, to supply the country with needed power before the summer season begins. When Minister Jebran Bassil was energy minister, Lebanon leased two Turkish power generating vessels to make up for the the Electricite du Liban's deficit. Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel submitted an official request over the weekend to form a parliamentary panel of inquiry to probe suspected violations in the file of power generation ships. In the request, Gemayel says the proposed panel should “probe suspicions and violations against the applicable Lebanese laws and public funds that have marred the awarding of contracts and the work of the power ships since 2013 as well as suspicions and violations related to the ships that will be rented for 2017.”A statement issued by Gemayel's press office noted that the MP “had promised in an April 11 press conference to submit a request to form a parliamentary panel of inquiry and to follow up on the file of electricity until the end.”

Report: Incessant Efforts to Unravel Electoral Law Difficulties
Naharnet/May 08/17/Ceaseless coordination between the Center House and Ain el-Tineh are ongoing in order to find a new electoral law to rule Lebanon's parliamentary polls scheduled in May, in light of looming deadlines mainly the end of the parliament's term in June, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday. Prime Minister Saad Hariri has intensified deliberations with various political parties in that regard, said the daily. “PM Saad Hariri stepped up his discussions in several directions in a bid to find a way out for an agreement on an electoral file,” well-informed sources told al-Joumhouria daily. The sources pointed out that incessant coordination between the Center House and Ain el-Tineh (Speaker Nabih Berri) are ongoing. Meanwhile, the AMAL and Hizbullah parties have also coordinated consultations in different directions, taking into consideration all possibilities that will emerge after June 20, when the term of the Parliament ends, added the sources. The country will have an electoral law based on “full proportional representation” before June 20, head of Hizbullah's Loyalty to Resistance bloc MP Mohammed Raad, assured on Sunday. Center House sources said contacts have picked-up momentum on more than one level in the past days, but were not announced to the media. The same circles confirmed that the daily communications recorded "progress", and have narrowed the differences and options between the various parties working on the line of the new law. On Sunday media reports said that Hariri will convene the ministerial panel tasked with devising a new electoral law this week with the aim of “brainstorming consensual ideas.” A decision to reactivate the panel had been taken during Thursday's cabinet session.President Michel Aoun said he would dissolve parliament and force elections under the 1960 electoral law should the parties fail to agree on a new law before June 20.

MP. Sami Gemayel: The Electricity File is Not for Political Gains and the Suspicious Deal Shall Not Pass
Naharnet/May 08/17/Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel on Monday lashed out anew at the proposed electricity plan, stressing that what he described as a “suspicious deal” shall not pass. “We will not accept that the electricity file be exploited for partisan calculations, and this issue is not for political gains and overbidding,” Gemayel said at a press conference, urging a solution to the power generation crisis. He reminded that Kataeb had “exposed this file and its suspicious deals during the parliament's debriefing of the government.”“We have a problem with the principle of renting ships,” Gemayel said, noting that “the government wants to rent ships for three years for a cost of $1.8 billion while they can be purchased for a cheaper price.”“In the public tender that was held today, it turned out that the firm which I had mentioned in the past is the firm that won on the basis that it conforms to the specifications,” Gemayel added.
“You brought two ships in 2010 and today we are in 2017 and you want to bring new ships after having promised us 24/24 power supply,” he went on to say. Turning to the issue of the stalled electoral law, Gemayel emphasized that “the people have the right to decide their future through a fair electoral law and transparent elections.”“Elections under the 1960 law are equivalent to a four-year extension of parliament's term,” he noted. Gemayel also held the ruling class responsible for possible parliamentary “vacuum” because “it has not managed throughout six months to pass a new electoral law.”

Berri Says Parties Wasting Law Agreement Chance Will be Sorry Later
Naharnet/May 08/17/Speaker Nabih Berri said political parties who adhered to “obstinate” positions as for an agreement on an electoral law, will be “regretful” later, media reports said on Monday. “There are only ten days separating us from the parliament meeting, but after May 15, those who raised the roof of their demands will repent each moment wasted” instead of finding on agreement on a new voting system, Berri was quoted as telling his visitors. Lebanon's political parties are bickering over amending the current 1960 majoritarian election law which divides seats among the different religious sects. The parliament is set to meet mid May with the aim of extending its own mandate if consensus is not reached on a new voting system for the country's parliamentary elections. Early in April, Aoun invoked his constitutional powers and adjourned the parliament for one month paving way for deliberations between political parties for an agreement on a new voting system. Lebanon's deputies were set to vote in Parliament to postpone national elections and extend their term for a third time since 2013. Lebanon's political parties say it is time to scrap the country's 1960 voting law that allocates seats by religious sect, but disagree over what system should replace it.

Hariri, National Council for Lebanese Economists tackle economic affairs
Mon 08 May 2017/NNA - Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday met at the Grand Serail with a delegation of the National Council for Lebanese Economists. led by Council head Salah Osseiran. On emerging, Osseiran described the climate of the delegation's meeting with Hariri as excellent, where they listened to his views on the adopted economic and social principles in the country and their impact on economic growth. The Premier also briefed the delegation on his future plans aimed at encouraging exports, enhancing economic development and upgrading infrastructure.Talks also touched on an array of concerns regarding the work of young people and the mounting immigration issue.

Caccia meets with Gloria Abu Zeid
Mon 08 May 2017/NNA - Papal Ambassador to Lebanon Gabriel Caccia on Monday received at the Embassy's headquarters in Harissa the Director General of Public Cooperatives, Gloria Abu Zeid. Talks reportedly touched on the recent fabrication campaign leveled against the Director General in terms of "Our Lady of Deliverance Housing Cooperatives" file and her commitment to the implementation of the law.

Mashnouq: Fighting terrorism should be common goal among Arabs
Mon 08 May 2017/NNA - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Nohad Mashnouq, on Monday highlighted the necessity to fight terrorism and extremism with the joint efforts of the Arab countries. "Security is no more confined to a given country; yet it has become intertwined among all states, just like social media. Security has become a common [concern]," Mashnouq said at the inauguration of the Arab Police Tactical Shooting Championship, at Wissam Hassan casern. The Minister also maintained that facing "the foreign regional schemes" should not be done "randomly," but "through a permanent policy.""Internal Security Forces in Lebanon managed to achieve what prestigious security agencies failed to," he said. "This made the West, Arabs, and the Interpol, acknowledge that Lebanon has become one of the safest countries in the region," he concluded.

Riachy at Halim Roumi Studio launch: Nothing shall hinder Radio Liban progress
Mon 08 May 2017/NNA - Minister of Information Melhem Riachy on Monday named Radio Lebanon's Studio 5 after the late musician Halim Roumy, in recognition of his great contributions to the Arabic music world, at a special ceremony held at Radio Liban in Sanayeh. The ceremony took place in the presence of Information Ministry Director General Dr Hassan Falha, Lebanese Diva Majida Roumy, National News Agency Director Laure Sleiman Saab, and scores of Radio officials and concerned musical dignitaries. In his delivered word, Minister Riachy lauded the authentic golden pioneers of Lebanon, citing the examples of Halim Roumi, Fairouz, Rahbani Brothers, Said Aql, and other Lebanese idols, saying "We want these people to stay with us to keep the melody and poetry rolling." Riachy underlined that the state-run Radio Liban's progress shall continue, pledging that no one shall stand in the face of its development.

Hariri congratulates Macron: You will find in me a partner keen to echo our common values
Mon 08 May 2017 /NNA - Prime Minister Saad Hariri sent on Monday a letter of congratulations to the French President elect Emanuel Macron. The letter reads as follows: "Mr. President, Allow me to extend to you my warm congratulations for your election as President of the French Republic. I would like to hail this great victory of democracy which honors France and the French people, and which is part of this 'great humanist message addressed to the world', a message of 'fraternity, peace and tolerance.' Relations between Lebanon and France are exceptional. It is a story of friendship and shared fraternity between our two peoples for several centuries, and it is up to us to maintain it and enrich it. I am convinced that we will be able to preserve this precious heritage to which I am deeply attached. France's constant support to the Lebanese institutions, its unwavering support to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and its active participation in the UNIFIL and the Syrian displaced file, are very valuable to us and have always contributed to stability of Lebanon. Rest assured that you would find in me and in my government, a partner determined to work for peace, democracy, moderation, and for the sovereignty of the Lebanese state and its territorial integrity, and keen to echo our common values and principles. While expressing my sincerest wishes for the success of your mission at the service of France and the French people, please accept, Mr. President, the renewed assurances of my highest appreciation".

Berri congratulates Macron
Mon 08 May 2017/NNA - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Monday sent a cable to newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron, hereby congratulating him on his victory.
In the cable, Berri also underlined the necessity to bolster the bilateral relations and cooperation. Separately, Berri welcomed at Ain-el-Tineh Head of National Dialogue Party, Fouad Makhzoumi, with whom he discussed the current situation and latest developments.
He also met with the new Board of Directors of Casino du Liban, headed by Roland Khoury.
The Speaker later received Asharq al-Awast newspaper's chief editor, Ghassan Charbel.
On a different note, Berri cabled Ismail Haniyeh, whom he congratulated upon his election on top of Hamas Movement's politburo.

Landmine Maims Syrian Boy in Southern Border Town
Naharnet/May 08/17/A Syrian boy lost his legs and one of his hands in a landmine explosion Monday in the southern border town of Yaroun, Lebanon's National News Agency reported. The boy was working with his parents in a tobacco field, NNA said. He was taken to the Bint Jbeil state-run hospital where he underwent several surgeries.

One Wounded as Bourj al-Barajneh Dispute Escalates into Gunfire

Naharnet/May 08/17/One person was wounded on Monday when a personal dispute in the southern Beirut suburb of Bourj al-Barajneh escalated into gunfire, the National News Agency said. “A man identified as A. Sh. opened fire at another person during a personal dispute between them, wounding him seriously in the leg,” NNA said. “Some young men then interfered and fired a volley of gunshots at a coffee vending booth owned by A. Sh.,” the agency added.

Policeman Assaulted in Tripoli for Trying to Seize Violating Motorbike
Naharnet/May 08/17/A member of the Internal Security Forces was wounded Monday in the northern city of Tripoli as he was trying to seize a violating motorcycle. The owner of the motorcycle assaulted the policeman and opened fire in his direction at Tripoli's al-Nejmeh Square before fleeing the area, the National News Agency said. The ISM member was wounded in the head from the beating while the assailant is being pursued by the ISF, the agency added.

Tensions Return to Ain el-Hilweh as Grenade Hurled near Army Troops
Naharnet/May 08/17/A man hurled a hand grenade that failed to explode during a personal dispute Monday at a Lebanese army checkpoint at the entrance of the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, the National News Agency said. The man, identified as Saleh Abu Arisha, was immediately arrested by army troops as a bomb technician defused the grenade, NNA added.Separately, the agency said the camp was witnessing tensions sparked by the deployment of the Joint Palestinian Security Force in the al-Youssef Hall on the camp's al-Fawqani street. “Islamist militants refused this deployment, asking the security force to withdraw from the hall,” NNA said. Inter-Palestinian contacts later led to the withdrawal of the joint force from the hall “to prevent any security tensions,” the agency added.

A message From Yair Ravid
Face Book/May 08/17
Dear friends.
Yesterday was held the cornerstone laying ceremony of the monument, commemorating SLA casualties.
The event took place in Metula, in a spot overlooking Lebanon.
The ceremony was attended by the Director General of the Ministry of Defense, Deputy Chief of Staff, General Golan, the families of the fallen, and residents of Metula.
The ceremony was solemn and dignified.
The monument will be built on state-owned land, and will be financed by the Ministry of Defense.
In addition to being a memorial site, the site will also include a cultural center for the preservation of the legacy of SLA.
Attached are photographs taken at the ceremony.
Below see explain of some of the photos
Photo No. 3 – Myself with the Deputy Chief of Staff of the IDF.
Photo No.6 – Myself with Abu Samir and his son Samir.{ Abu Samir was one of the first founders of the connection with Israel, and the first commander of the militia of the villge of Kleyah.}
Photo No. 9 – A chorus of mourning .
Photo No.10 and No. 11– General photography of the participants.
Photo o. 15 – Speech by the Director General of the Ministry of Defense.
Photo No.17 – A female soldier singer, accompanied by two musicians soldiers.
Photo No. 18 – Speech by Helen Naser Asaad { The sister of Nabil, Marun and Asad Naser from the village of Al- Aeychiya, Who were killed during their service as battalion commander in the SLA }
Photo No. 19 – Speech by Nicolas Hadad, Head of the SLA Soldiers Association.
Photo No. 26 – Speech by Deputy Chief of Staff. {General Yair Golan.
Photo No.28 – The village of Kleyah {In the background are Israeli flags.
Photo No. 31 – A picture of a Lebanese priest who took part in the ceremony.
Special request – please Do not give publicity to photographs in which Lebanese people appear, for fear of harming their family members living in Lebanon
Yair Ravid

Baalbek’s Cry
Ahmad El-Assaad May 08, 2017
The people of Baalbek and the vicinity can no longer bear the security chaos in their region, where the law of the jungle prevails, making it a refuge for all the gangs, the wanted and the outlaws.
Yesterday, those people organized protests, and in a sit-in in front of the police department there, demanded the relevant authorities to out an end to the violations, murders, robberies, mugging, kidnapping and drug trafficking. The city and the nearby towns observed a general strike, imploring the government to take control of the security situation and assume this exclusive responsibility.
Baalbek’s cry for help mustn’t go to deaf ears, it should take the importance it deserves, and be the catalyst for immediate action aiming to strengthen the government’s authority in this region. The people need a government that’s a source of comfort, protection and law enforcement. They realize that the lack thereof made their region a lair for crime of all sorts.
What is more, Hezbollah – which has the last word in that region, as well as control of the status quo, weapons, and military and security decisions – went on to blame the government for its shortcomings. It even went as far as accusing it of letting some gangs and criminals roam freely, and dared say that the responsibility of maintaining security falls on the law enforcement agencies and the government alone!
We are not here to defend the government, but truth of the matter is that Hezbollah acts as though the government didn’t exist, only to go on and urge it to do its job!
The government is unable to fulfill its role as long as some other authority is also carrying weapons.
The government is unable to fulfill its role as long as Hezbollah, in that region or anywhere else, has a military and security presence in parallel.
In such an environment, where weapons are circulating and criminals are finding refuge with the Forces of the Status Quo, the government cannot be blamed nor accused of failure.
It is simply illogical to ask the government to catch a car thief, while those who robbed it from its authority and sovereignty are running free in the region.
The government cannot catch the wanted individuals, while fighters are coming and going to Syria right under its nose.
The people’s cry is just, but it should be addressed to those keeping the government from doing its job. The people’s anger is righteous, but it should be aimed at those building parallel statelets, and provided an incubator for the criminals, before deciding to disavow them.
The government’s return to Baalbek and the region needs to put an end to the Statelet first; that’s when most criminals will dwindle on their own, having lost their protective cover.

24 Year Old Sara Sleiman Was Killed In Zahle By Kassem Al Masri, And Her Wish To Donate Her Organs To Save Others Will Be Fulfilled
A Separate State Of Mind/May 08/17
Over the weekend, a tragedy took place in Zahle that took the life of 24 year old Sara Sleiman whose only fault, like many before her, was being at the wrong place at the wrong time in a country that allows pests and disgusting abominations like her killer prosper unchecked.
Outside the local pub “Blue Bar,” a car accident took place that prompted Kassem El Masri to deal with the situation the only way his primordial brain knew how: fire a few rounds from his gun, one of which hit Sara and took her life soon after. This is Sara’s killer. He’s the kind of brainless Lebanese men whose entire existence can be summarized with how they can express their manliness better, which is why you see him pose with guns and bazookas, because he can.
Kassem El Masri is also known as Tah El Masri (in Arabic: طه المصري). He’s a known drug dealer and criminal in the area. Despite his infamous status, authorities never bothered to apprehend him before, even though the aforementioned pictures were entities during which he boasted of the kind of arsenal he possessed.
Authorities have issued arrest warrants for the Kassem El Masri, but haven’t apprehended him yet. It’s not far-fetched to presume that such a man, who has been a criminal for such a long time without repercussions, to be protected by one of the many politicians that make sure our country remains a lawless land. I hope that whoever is protecting Kassem El Masri today gives him up so he’d get what he truly deserves: justice for all his previous crimes and for what he did to Sara Sleiman, whose life was brought to a premature halt on what should have been a fun evening out for her and her friends. Today, though, one of Sara Sleiman’s wishes is coming true. A few years back, in a Facebook message to one of her friends, Sara expressed how, through the words of another, when she would pass away, she wanted to be as helpful as possible to those who were still alive by donating her organs:
The message translates to:
“There will come a day when my body is laying on a carefully made bed in a hospital whose smell is that of life and death. At some moment, the doctor will announce I’m brain dead and that my life has ended. When that happens, don’t try to pump artificial life into my veins and use machines on me. Let my death bed be one of life so that others may have it better.
Give my eyes to who’s never seen a sunrise or the face of a child or the love in a woman’s eyes.
Give my heart to those whose hearts have only received pain.
Give my blood to a teenager who was pulled out of his car wreck, so he’d see his grandchildren grow up one day.
Give my kidney to that who needs a machine to keep him going from one day to the next.
Take my bones and every muscle and tissue and find a way to help a paralyzed child walk.
Take every cell of my brain and let them help a mute boy to shout, a deaf girl to hear the sound of the rain against her windowsill.
Burn what’s left of me, and if there’s anything you need to bury, bury away my sins and weaknesses. Bury my hate and give my soul to God.
And if you ever needed to remember me, do so with kindness onto others.
If you do all of this, I live on forever.”
Sara’s family will be doing just that, so she can live in others for years to come. Her family will be donating her corneas, kidneys, liver and heart to help the people that Sara wanted to help.
In death, Sara Sleiman therefore becomes a source of life for others who wouldn’t have had this chance if it weren’t for the person that she is, and the generosity of her family and the will for life that she has, even in death.
Organ donation in Lebanon is still a topic that many would rather brush aside and not talk about. Our laws are very restrictive in this regard and religion plays a detrimental role in trying to propagate the practice further. Sara Sleiman, therefore, becomes a rebel – in death – in a country that saw her die before her time, as she gives life to others after her.
Sara Sleiman, may you rest in peace as your heart beats in the body of another forevermore.
You too can sign up to become an organ donor. Click on this link.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on May 08-09/17
Tehran Warns Saudi Prince for Bringing 'Battle' to Iran Remark
Associated Press/Naharnet/May 08/17/Iran's defense minister on Monday lashed back at Saudi Arabia, slamming the kingdom's deputy crown prince over belligerent comments last week that underscored the deep rivalries between the Sunni and Shiite powers. In a wide-ranging interview, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman said there was no space for dialogue with rival Iran due to its Shiite ambitions "to control the Islamic world." Framing the tensions with Iran in sectarian terms, the prince said the Saudis would not sit and wait for war but would "work so that it becomes a battle for them in Iran and not in Saudi Arabia." On Monday, Iran's defense minister Gen. Hossein Dehghan was quoted as saying that Iran would advise against "such a stupidity" because in that case, nothing would be "left in Saudi Arabia except Mecca and Medina," the two holy cities.Dehghan spoke to Al-Manar TV, owned by Lebanon's Hizbullah. The remarks were published on Iranian state television's website. Referring to a possible Saudi attack or invasion of Iran, he said he doesn't "understand how they would attempt to do something like that ... they must imagine they have a powerful air force to do so."Ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been strained since Iran's 1979 revolution, and significantly escalated last year after Riyadh executed a leading Shiite cleric in the kingdom. This sparked the ransacking of the Saudi Embassy in Iran by protesters, after which the two countries severed diplomatic and trade ties. The two nations' rivalry has played out in proxy wars across the region. They back opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen and they support political rivals in Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq. The conflicts have deepened Sunni-Shiite enmity between hard-liners on both sides. Dehghan expressed suspicions over what he described as Riyadh's close ties with the United States and also Israel, suggesting such ties go against "interests of Muslim nations." The Saudis seek to "please" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the "purpose of provoking Netanyahu's action against us."Dehghan also urged Saudi Arabia to withdraw from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition of mostly Arab states has been fighting Iran-backed Shiite rebels known as Houthis. The conflict has worsened an already dramatic humanitarian crisis in Yemen and killed thousands of civilians, mostly by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.

ISIS Kills Christian in North Sinai, Dashes Migrants’ Hope in Imminent Return
Mohamed Abdu Hassanein/REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/ASharq Al Awsat/May 08/17/Cairo- ISIS militants shot dead an Egyptian Christian in North Sinai, local sources and parliamentary deputies said on Sunday – the first attack of its kind after a collective migration of the city’s Christians two months ago. The incident killed hopes of dozens of Christian households to soon return to their homes, especially after ISIS threatened to target them. However, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the scene in Sinai should not be restricted to violence against Christians,” revealing that there are 30,000 citizens who were displaced from Sinai due to worsening security conditions. The Egyptian army – in cooperation with the police – has been involved in a fierce war against ISIS and pro-groups in North Sinai since years. The incident took place on Saturday in the city of El-Arish, one day after ISIS warned to escalate its attacks against Christians. Security sources reported that armed individuals shot dead a Christian citizen called Nabil Saber, who departed from El-Arish in February and settled with his family in Port Said but then decided to return to the city to check on his house and store. Nabil, 40, returned to El-Arish one week ago to check if he can reopen his store and return to work. Yet, he was surprised by militants attacking his store and shooting him dead. Hussam Rifai, a parliament member representing El-Arish, said that the security condition in the majority of North Sinai is unstable and unsafe for the return of migrants in the current time. He added to Asharq Al-Awsat: “The state is working hard to impose its control over the region. The confrontations are causing huge losses among the group members who then resort to ignoble operations such as intimidating citizens.” Egypt has recently witnessed a number of terrorist operations against Christians – the last one was the bursts in two churches that killed around 50 in April and pushed the Egyptian authorities to declare the emergency state for three months.

GCC: Ongoing Cooperation with Washington ahead of Trump’s Visit
ASharq Al Awsat/May 08/17/Riyadh – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary General Abdullatif Al-Zayani said that cooperation and collaboration was maintained with the US administration within the framework of strategic partnership forged between Gulf leaders and former US President Barack Obama. In comments to reporters, Al-Zayani said the two sides were actively working to promote cooperation and consolidate bilateral ties. US President Donald Trump announced last week that he would head to Saudi Arabia on May 23, on his first foreign official visit, to hold a Saudi-US summit and another meeting with GCC leaders. He will also meet with a number of Muslim and Arab leaders. Following a Saudi-US summit last year, Al-Zayani said that American and GCC leaders have agreed to promote military cooperation. He noted in this regard that Riyadh and Washington were still implementing decisions taken during two previous summits, which have focused on military cooperation among other fields. During last year’s summit, which was held in April upon the invitation of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, leaders reaffirmed the need to remain vigilant about addressing Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region, including its ballistic missile program and support for terrorist groups in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and other countries. According to the GCC secretary general, the summit saw an agreement on the implementation of an initiative to train specially-designated Special Operations Forces (SOF) units from each GCC country in order to strengthen counterterrorism capabilities. GCC countries also supported expanded cooperation on cyber security, endorsing cyber norms codified by Saudi Arabia, the United States and other G20 countries. Al-Zayani noted that military cooperation would also include training military medical personnel and countering, through joint military operations, illegal Iranian naval activities and arms smuggling into Yemen. Last March, Kuwait hosted the Eagle Resolve 2017 military exercises with the participation of Saudi armed forces, as well as those of other GCC countries and US military personnel, within the GCC-US strategic partnership.

Kuwait Emir, Egypt President Discuss Arab Cooperation
ASharq Al Awsat/May 08/17/Kuwait- Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at Bayan Palace on Sunday. The two sides discussed boosting bilateral ties and cooperation on all levels as well as developing joint-Arab work, said Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah al-Sabah in a statement. Sheikh Sabah also held a luncheon in honor of the Egyptian President. Egyptian presidency spokesman Alaa Youssef said that the emir of Kuwait underlined the uniqueness of Egyptian-Kuwaiti ties, their mutual history and unified destiny. Youssef said Sisi stressed that Egypt would not allow shaking the stability of the Gulf, emphasizing that Cairo stands beside Kuwait and the Gulf in confronting any regional or foreign threats. Sisi and Sabah agreed the two countries should join efforts to encounter terrorism, and that the international community should work harder to reach political settlements to the region’s crises in a way that preserves the institutions of these countries, Youssef added. The Egyptian president and his accompanying delegation arrived on Sunday to Kuwait on a two-day visit. Sisi’s visit to Kuwait comes days after his return from UAE, and from Saudi Arabia last month where he showcased some of the crises taking place in Syria, Yemen and Libya in addition to the terrorism threat.

Russia Tables Draft U.N. Resolution on Syria Safe Zones
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/17/Russia said Monday it had tabled a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council to back up a deal on establishing safe zones in Syria. "We confirm that a draft resolution has been introduced," Russian news agencies cited the country's U.N. mission spokesman Fyodor Strzhizhovsky as saying in New York, without giving details. A source at the U.N. told Russia's Interfax news agency that "a vote on the draft will take place possibly this week."Syrian regime backers Russia and Iran and rebel supporter Turkey last week inked a deal to set up four "de-escalation zones" in the war-torn country. The agreement, which came into force from Saturday, is aimed at shoring up a fragile ceasefire seen as a key step to unwinding over six years of violence that has cost some 320,000 lives. Moscow said Monday that the situation inside the safe zones was "stable". Under the deal, Russia, Iran and Turkey have until June 4 to agree on the exact boundaries of the four zones, where fighting between rebels and government forces is meant to stop. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Monday his country would reject any U.N. role in monitoring the implementation of four "de-escalation" zones.

U.S. Studying Moscow's Syria Deal, Says Mattis
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/17/The United States is closely examining whether a Russia-brokered deal to establish safe zones in Syria can work in the long term, Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said. "All wars eventually come to an end and we have been looking for a long time how to bring this one to an end," Mattis told reporters ahead of his arrival in Denmark on Monday. "So we will look at the proposal, see if it can work," Mattis added. Experts are skeptical about Thursday's deal because neither the Syrian government nor the rebels were direct signatories and the opposition offered only a lukewarm reaction.
Washington has given the deal an extremely cautious welcome, citing concerns about Iran's role as a guarantor even as it expressed hope the agreement could set the stage for a later settlement. "Does this proposal have a hope for ending this war? We'll have to look at it. The devil is always in the details, so we are going to have to look at the details, see if we can work them out, see if we think they are going to be effective," Mattis said. Mattis is in Copenhagen for a meeting of the main members of the coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. He added that "we owe it" to the people of Syria to carefully study the proposals. The United States was not part of the deal by government backers Russia and Iran, and rebel supporter Turkey. However, a U.S. assistant secretary of state monitored the talks in the Kazakh capital Astana, Mattis said. The United States takes part in separate peace talks under a U.N. mandate in Geneva, where the rivals have been deadlocked on key issues. Several ceasefires have been agreed since Syria's conflict broke out in 2011, but they have failed to permanently stem the fighting. The new deal would initially last six months but could be extended by the guarantors. It does not specify that the safe zones take effect immediately, but gives the three guarantor states two weeks to form working groups to delineate them and then until June 4 to come up with definitive boundaries. The deal also calls for a continued fight against IS and former al-Qaida affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front, which could pose challenges.In Idlib province in particular, Fateh al-Sham is a major component of the rebel forces that control the area.

Syrian ISIS Militant Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Plotting Suicide Attack in Hajj Season
ASharq Al Awsat/May 08/17/Riyadh- The Special Criminal Court in Riyadh issued on Sunday a preliminary sentence of 12 years in prison for a Syrian resident on charges of planning a suicide attack targeting the Saudi security forces participating in the Hajj season. The convict admitted his support for the terrorist organization and for his adoption of the Takfiri approach, which is contrary to the Qur’an and the Sunnis. The court found him guilty of posting several tweets asking his social media followers to pray for him to carry out the suicide attack successfully. He was also convicted of several other charges, including pledging allegiance to ISIS’ leadership, embracing deviant ideology, disobeying rulers, spreading deviant ideologies through social media and posting tweets offensive to rulers and the security personnel. The court ruled to seize his flash drive memories containing ISIS logos and other offensive materials, and banned him from using Twitter and other social networking sites. The Syrian man will be deported after serving his jail term. In last year’s Hajj season, security forces were equipped with the most developed weapons for quick response. They carried out intensive training under different climatic conditions.This year, security agencies are working to serve the pilgrims – from the first day of their arrival to Saudi Arabia right until they perform the Hajj and return to their countries safely – through a unified work plan aimed at achieving the desired objectives in serving the pilgrims.

First Evacuations Begin from Damascus Rebel District
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/17/Syrian rebels and their families begin evacuating from a district of the capital Damascus for the first time on Monday, bringing the government closer to recapturing all of the city. The deal to evacuate Barzeh district mirrors similar agreements for opposition-held territory elsewhere in the country, allowing fighters safe passage in exchange for surrender. It comes days after the start of a deal brokered by regime backers Russia and Iran and rebel supporter Turkey to put in place "de-escalation zones" where the government and opposition will halt hostilities. "Armed men and some of their families have begun leaving Barzeh on 40 buses heading towards northern Syria," state television said. It added that the evacuation would continue for five days, but that rebel fighters who chose to stay could do so if they register with the government.  The channel did not specify how many people were expected to leave, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said up to 1,500 people -- mostly rebels -- would leave Barzeh today and head to the northwest province of Idlib. The evacuation deal was struck late Sunday night, and dozens of people had gathered in Barzeh from the morning. An AFP photographer saw rebel fighters carrying light weapons looking on as children and women in brightly-coloured headscarves pulled shabby suitcases and duffel bags. A source from the pro-government National Defence Forces said rebel fighters would be allowed to take their "personal weapons" with them. Negotiations were ongoing for a similar deal in the district of Qabun, in Damascus's northeast, which forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been shelling heavily for weeks. Speaking at a press conference in the capital, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem confirmed that the "reconciliation in Barzeh has begun.""We are working on Qabun and there is the Yarmuk camp, where talks are underway for the evacuation of armed groups," he added.
- 'De-escalation' zones -Assad's government controls all but six districts of Damascus: Barzeh, Qabun, Jobar, Tishrin, Tadamun, and Yarmuk camp. The evacuation is the first time that rebels and their families have left a district of the capital. But the Barzeh deal follows a model of "reconciliation deals" that have been implemented across the country. The government touts such deals as the best way to end the six-year conflict, which erupted in March 2011 with anti-regime protests and has killed over 320,000 people. But the opposition says it is forced into them by heavy government bombardment and siege tactics. Monday's evacuation began as fighting subsided across the country after a deal signed by Russia, Iran and Turkey to implement four "de-escalation zones". The agreement, inked in the Kazakh capital Astana, does not include Damascus city, and also excludes Sweida and Tartus, two provinces fully under government control. It mandates an end to hostilities, including air strikes, in specified zones for six months. The deal came into effect on midnight Friday, with fighting subsiding, but the co-sponsors have until June 4 to submit maps finalising the borders of the zones. It calls for continued fighting against the Islamic State group, which is largely absent from the areas where the zones will be implemented, as well as former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front.
Fateh al-Sham has a powerful presence particularly in Idlib province, which is included in the zones, where it is allied with other opposition groups.

Putin Urges Macron to Shed Mutual Distrust and 'Join Forces'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/17/Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday urged French election winner Emmanuel Macron to bridge deep rifts and work together in the face of the "growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism". "The citizens of France entrusted you to lead the country in a difficult period for Europe and for the entire world community. The growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism is accompanied by an escalation of local conflicts and the destabilisation of entire regions," Putin said in a congratulatory telegram released by the Kremlin. "In these conditions it is especially important to overcome mutual distrust and join forces to ensure international stability and security," it said. The Kremlin statement said Putin "confirmed his readiness for constructive joint work on current bilateral, regional and global issues, expressing certainty that this would be in the fundamental interests of the Russian and French people.""Putin also wished Macron strong health, prosperity and success in such a responsible position at the head of state," it said. The Kremlin was widely seen as backing Macron's far-right opponent Marine Le Pen, with Putin hosting her during a surprise visit to Moscow in the run-up to the vote. Adding to the tensions, alleged cyberattacks on Macron's campaign were linked to Moscow and his supporters accused Russian state media of trying to smear the candidate. Ties between Russia and France are currently strained as Paris has helped spearhead the West's punitive response to Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine. The EU has imposed tough economic sanctions on Russia over its 2014 seizure of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine and backing for eastern insurgents in a three-year conflict that has killed some 10,000 people. France and Germany have led mediation efforts to end the conflict but a 2015 peace plan they brokered has hit a brick wall. Russia and France are also at odds over the war in Syria where Moscow is flying a bombing campaign in support of leader Bashar al-Assad, who Paris insists must leave power.

Jordan: Eight Officers Arrested after Death of Detained Man During Investigation
Mohamed Al-Daameh/ASharq Al Awsat/May 08/17/Amman- Eight police officers were charged on Sunday with beating to death a young man in custody on Tuesday in Jiza, south of Amman, official sources said. Raed Amar, 18, was being held at Jiza police station for an alleged theft last week when he died in Badia police custody, allegedly as a result of torture and abuse. Various charges have reportedly been brought against the eight officers, in addition to the main one, including extracting confessions under pressure, abuse of power and causing intentional harm, said Government’s Human Rights Coordinator Basil Tarawneh. “We are very content with the outcome of the probe and the charges leveled against the suspects. This is clear proof that no one is above the law and that the state will not tolerate any incidents that involve torture or abuse of detainees,” Tarawneh said in a press statement.
“It also indicates that Jordan is a country which respects the rule of law and protects the dignity and safety of its citizens,” Tarawneh told the press. Following the teenager’s death, Public Security Department (PSD) Director Maj. Gen. Ahmad Sarhan Faqih ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the incident and identify the officers involved in the questioning and alleged abuse. “A team of government pathologists had indicated that the victim suffered from several bruises on different parts of his body.”“We are following up closely on this case and will inform the public about its outcome once we receive the results from the committee that was formed,” Tarawneh stressed.

Netanyahu’s Government Revives Bill on ‘Jewish State’ Status
ASharq Al Awsat/May 08/17/Tel Aviv- The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived on Sunday hopes on declaring Israel a Jewish State after a ministerial committee approved the revised version of a bill pushed by right-wingers. The draft law still has to be presented to the Knesset for a vote in a preliminary reading then sent again to the ministerial committee for discussion. The new version of the bill stipulates the “State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people,” and that the “right to self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”The text, written by Avi Dichter of Netanyahu’s Likud party, also declares Hebrew as the country’s only official language. Therefore, it downgrades the status of the Arabic language from an official second language to “a special status in the state, allowing its speakers the right to language-accessible state services.” The bill created a wide opposition within the ranks of the democratic forces in Israel, as well as the ranks of the Palestinian people of 1948. The Israel Democracy Institute described the new bill as “violating the sensitive balance between the Jewish and democratic liners.”The Joint List parliamentary faction also rejected it. Jamal Zahalka, an Israeli Arab member of the Knesset representing the Balad party, said on Sunday the bill was a copy of previous sectarian laws placed in South Africa, and is therefore an “apartheid law.” Zahalka added that the bill proves the nature of the Israeli regime, which certainly belongs to the family of the apartheid regimes. The Israeli government coalition had tried in the previous parliament to push for two proposals of the “nation-state bill.” The first was proposed by the Jewish House and the Hawks branch of the Likud party, while the second proposal was made by Netanyahu.

US Embassy in Saudi Arabia removes Israel from Trump itinerary
Michael Wilner/Jerusalem Post/May 08/17/WASHINGTON -- A prominent congressman accused the US State Department on Monday of conforming to Saudi Arabia's "rejectionist" public approach to Israel, after the US embassy in Riyadh appeared to edit out of a promotional video mention of US President Donald Trump's visit to both nations this month. Trump announced last week that Riyadh, Jerusalem and Rome would be his first stops abroad as president— an homage to the world's three major monotheistic religions. The State Department produced a video promoting the trip, but the embassy in Riyadh released a version that makes no mention of his stop in Israel. "This video plays into a rejectionist narrative and thus has no place in any social media— or any other form of communication— associated with the United States government," Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York, wrote US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The shorter video has since been removed from the embassy website. The full version remains available online.

Israel Slams 'Rights Violator' Erdogan over Jerusalem Remarks
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/17/Israel lashed out at "serial human rights violator" Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Turkish president on Monday accused it of apartheid practices in seeking to infringe Muslim practices. "Whoever systematically violates human rights in their own country should not preach morality to the only true democracy in the region," said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon. "Israel consistently protects total freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians -- and will continue to do so despite the baseless smears launched against it," he said in a statement. Earlier on Monday, Erdogan had vowed to prevent a draft bill being advanced in Israel that would prevent the use of speakers mounted on minarets to summon Muslims for prayer overnight. The bill, which was approved by ministers in February but has yet to be adopted by parliament, would apply to mosques in Israel as well as annexed Arab east Jerusalem, but not to the highly sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site. "God willing, we will never allow the silencing of azan (call to prayers) in the skies of Jerusalem," Erdogan said at the International Jerusalem Foundations Forum in Istanbul. Erdogan accused Israel of keeping Jerusalem "without the Muslims.""What's the difference of Israel's current practices from the racist and discriminatory policies implemented towards the blacks in America in the past, and in South Africa more recently?" he asked. The Turkish president also spoke out against the possibility of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, warning that even "relocating a stone" in the Holy City could have serious implications. "The debates over the possibility of U.S. moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem are extremely wrong and should certainly drop from the agenda," he said. U.S. President Donald Trump had promised during his campaign to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, whose status is one of the thorniest issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community. Israel supports the U.S. moving its embassy. Erdogan, a fervent supporter of Palestinians, normalized relations with Israel in June last year after bilateral ties deteriorated over the 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship that killed 10 Turkish activists.

US-Jordanian Military Exercise with Arab, Foreign Participation
Mohamed Al-Daameh/ASharq Al Awsat/May 08/17/Amman – The Jordanian Armed Forces announced on Sunday the launching of the 7th Eager Lion military drill, which is being held with the participation of the United States and more than 20 other Arab and foreign countries.
In a news conference on Sunday, Director of joint training in the Jordanian Army, Maj. Gen. Khaled Sharaa said Eager Lion, which first began in 2011, would be held in its seventh edition at the Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army’s training fields, with the participation of around 7,200 land, air and naval troops, representing the Jordan Armed Forces and NATO. He noted that security agencies, ministries, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as the National Centere for Security and Crisis Management would also take part in the drills. Countries participating in the annual exercise would include, in addition to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Lebanon, as well as the US, Japan, Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Greece, Poland, Pakistan, Australia and Kenya.
Sharaa told reporters that the 11-day exercise was aimed at “boosting the capacity for planning and implementing international joint operations, setting the relationship between military forces and agencies, organizations and ministries in a non-conventional environment, exchanging military expertise and enhancing operational harmony among participating nations.” He also said that the exercises seek to raise capabilities in combatting terrorism, border security, evacuations and humanitarian operations, crisis management, strategic communications, search and rescue operations, protection of vital installations and combatting cyber terrorism and logistical support among other objectives. Deputy Commanding General of the US Army, Maj. Gen. William Hickman, described the Eager Lion exercise as “an excellent event that allows us to continue working with Jordanian and international forces to better confront common threats to regional security at the operational level”.

Bahrain Judiciary Postpones Isa Qassim’s Trial to May 21
Obaid Al-Suhaymi/ASharq Al Awsat/May 08/17/Manama – A high criminal court in Bahrain decided on Sunday to postpone the verdict issuance in the case of Isa Qassim and two of his assistants until May 21. This is the second time the court postpones issuing the verdict, as on March 14 the court had postponed its issuance date until May 7, 2017. Qassim and members of his office, Hussein al-Mahrous and Mirza al-Dirazi, are tried for “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism.” Collecting money in Bahrain requires the issuance of a permit from authorities. Based on a previous statement, the public persecutor based his accusations on records that Qassim collected money without a permit against the laws and traditions, which prompted the money laundry charges. Bahraini authorities stripped Qassim of his citizenship on June 20, 2016. They later dissolved the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by him, in addition to the opposing al-Risala Islamic Association.

U.N. Forum in Saudi 'Slap in the Face', Says HRW
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/17/A U.N. forum held in Riyadh last week amounted to a "slap in the face" for Saudis jailed in a country which does not allow independent NGOs, a rights group said Monday. Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), was commenting on a two-day UNESCO NGO Forum staged in the Saudi capital. "To host a prestigious NGO event in Saudi Arabia is a slap in the face to the more than a dozen Saudis languishing in prison merely for trying to set up independent organizations, and an unearned reward to the government officials who put them there," Coogle wrote. He said Saudi Arabia took an important step in November 2015 when it approved a law which, for the first time, allows non-governmental organizations engaged in activities other than charity. That law has "serious flaws", including a bar on NGOs collaborating with foreign organizations without government approval, said Coogle of the New York-based watchdog. "And this law appears to provide protection when the Saudi authorities continue to vigorously prosecute and imprison independent human rights activists for setting up 'unlicensed organizations'," he said. The forum was organized with the MiSK Foundation founded by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is pushing economic and social change in the kingdom. The Riyadh event marked the first time the forum had been held in the Arab region, Irina Bokova, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said in a video address opening the event. Aiming to empower youth, it featured speakers from the Arab world and beyond. In January, a Saudi counter-terrorism court upheld an eight-year prison sentence for Abdulaziz al-Shubaily, a leading member of the Association for Civil and Political Rights which was dissolved by a Saudi court in 2013. He was the last of the group's founders to be locked up, London-based Amnesty International has said. On a visit to Saudi Arabia last Thursday, a United Nations special rapporteur said the kingdom should urgently review its definition of terrorism under a law used to prosecute non-violent journalists, human rights defenders and others. Ben Emmerson said he presented the Saudi government with a list of nine "priority cases," individuals who a U.N. group in 2015 said had been arbitrarily detained for exercising their rights to free speech and peaceful association.

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on May 08-09/17
New ISIS mobile tactics against US in Syria, Iraq
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis May 8, 2017
It is important to get the spate of reported successes by US-backed forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in proper proportion - in particular, the impression that ISIS is falling back from its strongholds in Mosul and Raqqa and that its certain defeat is just around the corner.
On Monday, May 8, it was disclosed that Sheikh Abdul Hasib, Islamic State commander in the Afghan province of Khorasan was killed in a raid on April 27 by US and Afghan special operations forces, in which two US Army Rangers lost their lives.
All these reports are accurate as far as they go, but they don’t take into account the upbeat sense prevailing in the ISIS command. The Islamic organization’s strategists, former officers of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein regime and Baath party, are confident they have found a convincing tactical answer to the American push for crushing them in Mosul. They don’t believe they are close to defeat or that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s caliphate is anywhere near collapse.
debkafile’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources offer six reasons for the jihadists’ confidence, which the Mosul battle has if anything solidified:
1. The numbers of ISIS fighters still fighting in the Old City of Mosul is seriously underestimated as 300-400 by American and Iraqi military sources. The true figure is ten times larger – 3,000-4,000.
2. The American and the Iraqi commands have not worked out how to counter the ISIS forces’ device of connecting tunnels running under buildings, which are accessed through holes blown through the walls of attached buildings. The jihadists can therefore move around between battles unobserved.
3. The only force able to combat ISIS tactics is the Iraqi Gold Division, the one elite force available to the US-Iraqi command. It is not however large enough to fight in more than one arena at once and is, moreover, too slow-moving to overwhelm the swift, invisible ISIS fighters. Most other Iraqi army units have been withdrawn from the Mosul front after being decimated.
4. ISIS has given up the strategy of defending large urban areas, pursued early in its campaign of conquest in such places as Ramadi, Tikrit and Fallujah – and the start of its defense of Mosul. Instead, their commanders have split them up into small detachments of no more than 10-15 fighters each for commando and suicide raids against their adversaries. These detachments are supported by a large group well behind the front lines which is running assembly lines of booby-trapped cars for delivery to the commando detachments.
Each is provided with more than a dozen explosive cars for release against Iraqi and US troops for maximum losses, as well plenty of exposive vests for multiple suicide attacks.
5. The effect of this tactic has been disastrous. Capable of penetrating as far as 10 km inside Iraqi lines, the deadly vehicles and suiciders have managed to slow the US-Iraqi advance and, in some places, brought it to a halt. The method has won the title of “crust mobile defense” from American commanders in Syria and Iraq
In short, the Mosul offensive, estimated to last a couple of months, is going into its eighth month with no end in sight.
A live example of this method was seen in Iraq Sunday, May 7, when at least five ISIS suicide bombers detonated their explosives vests against Kurdish Peshmerga forces outside the K1 base near the northern oil city of Kirkuk where US instructors are deployed. At least two Kurdish servicemen were killed.
6. High on the success of their tactics in Iraq, ISIS chiefs are duplicating it at the Raqqa battlefield in Syria. They have begun relocating their northern Syrian command centers to the eastern Deir ez-Zor region and Euphrates Valley, which straddles the Syrian-Iraqi border. The terrorist organization has selected the small desert town of Al-Mayadin east of Deir ez-Zor as the next seat for its central command, mainly because of its isolation. Only five roads access the town, most of them not fit for vehicular traffic and so any approaching enemy is quickly exposed.
ISIS is now planning to post its “crust mobile defense system” squads along the 170km of road linking Al Mayadin to Raqqa.

قاضي أميركي يحكم بأن الأسد عاون القاعدة على قتل أميركيين
US Judge Rules Assad Helped Al-Qaeda Kill Americans
Ryan Mauro/Clarion Project/May 08/17'
A district court judge ruled the Syrian regime — and specifically its ruler, President Bashar al-Assad — are liable for the murders of three Americans by al-Qaeda because of the regime’s massive support for the terrorist group’s branch in Iraq.
In addition to those three Americans, tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers, Iraqis and others have been killed or injured due to Assad’s sponsorship of al-Qaeda and other jihadists.
The lawsuit was filed by the families of Laurence Michael Foley, a U.S. diplomat in Jordan assassinated by al-Qaeda in 2002; Staff Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, killed in Iraq in 2004 and Pvt. Kristian Menchacha, who was killed in Iraq in 2006.
The evidence blaming Assad for the death of Foley is particularly strong. Foley was assassinated by al-Qaeda terrorists operating under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, then-leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. While in his safe haven in Syria, Zarqawi met with the perpetrators to plan the attack and equip them with weaponry and money.
After killing Foley in Jordan, one of the perpetrators escaped back into Syria. Jordan demanded his extradition. Assad refused to comply and told the world that the terrorist was imprisoned. Then, an Arab newspaper discovered that he wasn’t in jail at all. He was running an al-Qaeda training camp in Syria.
As explained in the ruling, the Assad regime’s support was critical to the development of al-Qaeda in Iraq under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It states, “individuals associated with the Syrian regime played more direct roles in providing resources to, and even helping to create, the Zarqawi Terrorist Organization” (my emphasis).
The assistance was authorized by the highest levels of the regime, including Assad. Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda established an “operational and logistical supply network” in Syria, where the Assad regime actively helped finance, protect and transport Al-Qaeda’s jihadist recruits. Training camps were even permitted to open on Syrian soil.
Zarqawi and his top officials operated inside Syria with “apparent impunity.” The regime’s senior officials had “direct ties” to al-Qaeda. For example, the person who Assad appointed as the leader of the Syrian wing of the Baath Party immediately began sending money and suicide bombers to Zarqawi. When he died, his successor did the same.
Assad didn’t even feel the need to do much to hide his regime’s support of al-Qaeda and killing Americans. An office opened up right across from the U.S. embassy in Damascus to register terrorists and book them a seat on a bus to Baghdad to “wage the jihad against Americans.” When they came to Syrian border guards, they were let through and their passports were stamped with phrases like “volunteer for jihad” or “join the Arab volunteers.”
“Without Syria, there would not have been a developed foreign fighter transit pipeline and an advanced funding network underwriting terrorist operations in Iraq and Jordan,” the ruling states, quoting expert testimony.
Syria has been designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the State Department since 1979. In its latest report on state sponsors published in 2015, the State Department confirms:
“Over the past decade, the Syrian government has played an important role in the growth of terrorist networks in Syria through the Assad regime’s permissive attitude towards al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups’ foreign fighter facilitation efforts during the Iraq conflict. Syria has served for years as a hub for foreign terrorist fighters; the Syrian government’s awareness and encouragement for many years of violent extremists’ transit through Syria to enter Iraq, for the purpose of fighting Coalition troops, is well-documented.”
One indicator of how much responsibility rested with Assad comes in the form of the “Sinjar records;” a stockpile of terrorist documents captured by U.S. forces in October 2007. The U.S. discovered that the Islamist terrorists in Iraq were much more dependent upon Assad than previously understood.
Approximately 90 percent of the foreign jihadists who arrived in Iraq between 2006 and 2007 crossed over from the Syrian border. And these jihadists were responsible for 90 percent of the suicide bombings.
The case only reviewed the relationship between the Assad regime and al-Qaeda in Iraq from 2002 to 2006 because that’s when the three Americans were killed. It undoubtedly continued after that. The ideological differences, back-and-forth condemnations and even clashes did not sever the relationship.
For example, in 2008, the Treasury Department sanctioned an anti-American TV station based in Syria. The Treasury Department pointed out that the station was “publicly critical” of al-Qaeda in Iraq, even as it was secretly working with the group. Assad also used al-Qaeda affiliates to terrorize Lebanon.
In 2009, the Iraqi government confronted Assad over his support of al-Qaeda and other terrorists wreaking havoc in Iraq. The interference was of such a magnitude that the Iraqi government began publicly releasing evidence, including confessions of terrorists, to show how deeply involved Assad was. The Iraqis called out Assad for harboring Iraqi Baathists who then joined al-Qaeda’s network.
The Iraqis even tried to have a U.N. tribunal established to indict Syrian officials. When the Iraqis began trying to rally U.S. support for a tribunal, terrorism in Iraq fell by three-fourths, showing just how instrumental the Assad regime was in sustaining the violence.
The Obama Administration took a neutral stance, and the effort failed as President Obama was insistent on reaching out to Iran and Syria. In fact, the Iraqis withdrew their ambassador to Syria as the U.S. was sending one over.
While Assad and Iran were playing an instrumental role in creating the mayhem in Iraq that killed about 4,500 U.S. troops and wounded about 32,000, they used that very same mayhem to argue that the U.S. needed its cooperation for the sake of stability.
In 2009, a political adviser to the Syrian ambassador essentially admitted that Assad saw the killing and wounding of U.S. troops as a means of making America kiss his feet.
“A previous administration did not want to cooperate, even if it cost American lives. This administration is realizing you have to cooperate in order to save lives, in order to advance U.S. interests, and that’s what we’re looking forward into the future,” said an aide to the Syrian ambassador.
Assad and his Iranian puppeteers continued to use al-Qaeda and other Sunni jihadists, even in recent years. The clearest proof that Iran views al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria as beneficial to Assad is the fact that Iran still supports al-Qaeda’s operations, specifically including the group’s activities in Syria.
There are few people on earth who have done more to kill and maim American soldiers than Assad and his regime. Don’t let his regime sanitize its image by pointing to the jihadists he previously strengthened and used to shed limitless blood and tears of American military and diplomatic personnel and their families.
*Ryan Mauro is’s Shillman Fellow and national security analyst and an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. To invite Ryan to speak, please contact us.

Safe Zones and the Russian Hunter
Ghassan Charbel/ASharq Al Awsat/May 08/17
Vladimir Putin was outstandingly smart when he managed to turn the Syrian crisis into a Russian opportunity by acting like a skilled hunter. You might miss if you try to aim too soon or too late. One must aim at the right moment.
We can also say that FM Sergei Lavrov cleverly interpreted the options of Kremlin’s master. Let’s not discuss the hundreds of thousands of dead civilians and millions of refugees and displaced. Policymakers do not shed tears and are not armed with napkins.
Using the Syrian fire, Putin prepped his battle of regaining dignity. He used all weapons without exceptions. He stated, suggested and hinted. He even used the strategy of advancing and retreating, which is not strange given that delusion is part of such complicated confrontations.
Using the Syrian battleground, Putin stated his objection to the superpowers. He then tried to convert his protest to a coup. He fully invested the presence of a US president who would retreat under the pressure of “Iraq’s complex.” He waited until the regime was close on falling to save it through direct military intervention, and since then, no solution can be achieved without having Putin’s fingerprints on it.
What was possible during Barack Obama’s presidency is no longer applicable under Donald Trump, or at least for now.
So, Putin seized the opportunity and searched for an issue that would attract the administration of Trump, neighboring states, regional players, and the international community. His choice landed on the “safe zones” or de-escalation zones, as the name suggested during the Astana talks.
The establishment of safe zones is requested by most concerned parties, even if they differ on their borders, their nature, and what should come after such a process.
Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon will benefit from the establishment of such zones, which would pave way for the return of Syrian refugees to their homes, or what was left of them. These countries will feel that Syrian refugees are not a permanent burden.
The Trump Administration has also discussed the importance of having such safe zones to alleviate people’s suffering and enable the international coalition to escalate its war on terrorism. In addition, the administration hinted to its willingness to accept the Russian vision on Syria if it would gradually come at the expense of Iran’s plan in the war-torn country.
The UN also welcomed the establishment of these areas to reduce the refugee crisis and enable humanitarian relief, especially in besieged areas.
The opposition too wants safe zones, seen as an opportunity to catch its breath following the series of tough strikes it received from the regime and its allies. It is natural for the opposition to raise the issue of Iran’s ability on being simultaneously the guarantor and the fighter, and the link between safe zones and a political solution based on UN resolutions.
It is worth mentioning that the general acceptance of safe zones does not resolve differences on how their borders will be set and what role observers will play, in addition to the comprehensive solution.
Turkey, for instance, wants safe zones without armed Kurds and the Kurds want these areas to be free of Turkish bombardment.
Most likely Iran would rather plan more arrangements around Damascus and al-Ghouta prior to the establishment of the areas in question. But, being the guarantor probably compelled Tehran to accept the plan.
As for the regime, it preferred to achieve a comprehensive victory because it is aware that an incomplete triumph would have repercussions on the Geneva talks.
The idea of safe zones can be interpreted differently and it reflects Lavrov’s wittiness. The organization for the establishment of such areas will put the issue of Bashar al-Assad’s fate on the back burner after it had been upfront for weeks.
The truth is Russia hasn’t changed its position on the issue. Moscow had always said that those who want to combat terrorism, allow Iranian militias to retreat from Syria, and request a secure Golan Heights should request so from the party capable of doing that, which in this case is the Syrian Army given that it is granted the needed support.
The Syrian Army referred to by Russia is the army with Assad in the picture whom the Trump Administration conditions his presence for a transitional phase.
A new reality prevails which is that the Trump administration hinted during its first 100 days in office on reestablishing old alliances in the region following a shaky situation caused by Barack Obama’s “academic policies.”
We are faced with a new US reading of the importance of the alliance with Riyadh. This was confirmed with a decision by Trump to begin his first foreign tour from Saudi Arabia.
There is also the US reading of the role of Egypt in the region, in addition to the alliance with Israel.
Putin had to anticipate this whole scenario by presenting himself as the person capable of establishing a temporary solution in Syria by setting the safe zones and deciding on their guarantors.
Putin’s success in making the safe zones the center of attention of all concerned parties and fortifying them by relaunching the Geneva initiative means that the Russian hunter is still capable of shooting the target at the right moment.
Of course, we must keep in mind that rules of dealing with Trump are different than that of his predecessor, which makes excessive cleverness as dangerous as lack of it.
**Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Palestinians: Abbas's "Culture of Peace"
Bassam Tawil/Gatestone Institute/May 08/17
Thanks to Abbas's falsehoods, his media continues to this day dishonestly to talk about "Jewish invaders and settlers storming" Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. This and this alone is the source of the knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.
Perhaps by a "culture of peace" Abbas means calling -- as he and his top officials regularly do -- Israel an apartheid and racist state. Or maybe "culture of peace" means calling all Jews "occupiers" and "colonists" -- or denouncing and threatening Palestinian children who play soccer with Israeli kids. Or naming schools and electoral lists after convicted murderers?
Under Abbas, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination is a business that has expanded exponentially. It has, in fact, grown to the point that a new generation has been raised on the glorification of jihadists -- a generation impatient to draw yet more Jewish blood. If this is Abbas's "culture of peace," one has to wonder what he would consider a culture of war?
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas may soon be known for his sense of humor. Like many Palestinians, Abbas believes that Westerners will swallow his lies wholesale. Abbas, for instance, ended his May 3 meeting with US President Donald Trump with the following whopper: "We are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace."
Abbas did not provide further details about the "culture of peace" upon which Palestinian children are being raised. Nor did anyone bother to ask Abbas or any member of his entourage to provide examples of the "culture of peace" in Palestinian society. Yet major Western media outlets were quick to publish Abbas's unmistakable lie.
US President Donald Trump meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the White House, on May 3, 2016. (Image source: White House video screenshot)
Apparently, like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, Abbas is convinced that Palestinians can fool "all of the people, all of the time" about their true goals and intentions. Arafat lied to Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when he told them that he and the Palestinian Authority were promoting peace and coexistence with Israel. Under Arafat, anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media, schools and mosques intensified until Palestinians waged the Second Intifada in September 2000. This intifada was the result of seven years of vicious incitement and indoctrination that came after the inception of the PA. In a truly ironic turn of events, the Oslo Accords, signed between Israel and the PLO in 1993, gave the Palestinians media outlets, including television and radio stations, which were then used to amplify hatred against Israel and Jews on a daily basis.
Arafat used these media outlets to tell his people -- when then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in September 2000 -- that Israel was planning to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque. It was precisely this incitement that triggered the Second Intifada, in which Palestinians wage a massive and ruthless campaign of suicide bombings and drive-by shootings that caused the death of hundreds of Israelis.
Under Arafat, it was anything but a "culture of peace." His message to the Palestinians was: "We will march towards Jerusalem and we will sacrifice millions of martyrs on the way!"
Unlike many Israelis who were murdered by Palestinians at Arafat's incitement, Arafat's famous battle cry is still alive and well. Currently, it is being echoed by many Palestinians, including children, during rallies and demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This call-to-arms openly encourages Palestinian youths to "march towards Jerusalem" and become "martyrs."
Only one week before the Abbas's meeting with Trump, the PA president's Fatah faction called on Palestinians to take to the streets and clash with Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers. The call was made in "solidarity" with Palestinian prisoners who went on a "hunger strike" in Israeli prisons. The hunger strike was not about Israel's prisons, well-known for being among the most comfortable in the world; the hunger strike was actually a political move to compete for which terrorist would be Abbas's successor. The prisoners are terrorists, most of them with blood on their hands; the more blood, the higher the promotion.
In the fight for Palestinian leadership, being a "graduate" of an Israeli prison is far more important than being a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. The Palestinians' former prime minister, Salam Fayyad. Fayyad, an economist and reformer adored in the West, received only 2% of the Palestinian vote.
By calling for clashes with Israelis, Fatah is inciting Palestinian youths to carry out violent attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers. This is the same Fatah led by Abbas -- the same Abbas mouthing lies about a "culture of peace." By voicing solidarity with convicted murderers and praising them as role models and heroes of Palestinians, Abbas's Fatah pushes Palestinian youths to follow in their footsteps and engage in violence.
One day after the Abbas-Trump meeting, the current Palestinian Authority prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, participated in a rally in Ramallah, in solidarity with the hunger-striking terrorists. At the rally, Hamdallah affirmed the PA's full support for the terrorists, by saying he was working to bring their case to the attention of the international community.
Like Arafat, Abbas continues to use alleged but non-existent threats the al-Aqsa Mosque to incite Palestinian youths against Israel. For the past 50 years, non-Muslims, including Jews, have been permitted to visit the Temple Mount as tourists. The visits were suspended when the Second Intifada began in 2000. But since the tourist visits resumed a few years ago, the Muslims have been trying to keep Jews away from the holy site. The Muslims claim that Jews are seeking to "destroy" and "desecrate" the al-Aqsa Mosque (on the Temple Mount) -- a false claim that is added to the long list of lies and blood libels spread by Abbas and many Muslims. Abbas's statement came in response not to any incidents at al-Aqsa Mosque, as Abbas and other Palestinians claimed: Tours of Jews to the Temple Mount are routine and peaceful.
In September 2015, Abbas stated that he "welcomed every drop of blood that is spilled in Jerusalem."
Shortly after this statement, Palestinians began waging a campaign of knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis, in a violent insurgency known as the "Knife Intifada". "We will protect Jerusalem and we will not allow them [Jews] to defile al-Aqsa (Mosque) and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher with their filthy feet," Abbas deceitfully announced.
It is still unclear why he decided to bring the church into the controversy surrounding Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. What is clear is that Abbas was lying: Jews had not entered either the church or al-Aqsa Mosque.
Ever since Abbas's inciting statement, however, dozens of Palestinian youths have heeded his call by going out to stab or run over the first Jew they see. Their blood is on Abbas's hands. He is the one who sent out the youths to "protect" al-Aqsa Mosque against the fictitious Jewish "invaders." He is the one who continues falsely to talk about "herds of settlers storming al-Aqsa Mosque" -- in reality, peaceful routine visits by Jews to the Temple Mount. Thanks, however, to Abbas's falsehoods, his media continues to this day dishonestly to talk about "Jewish invaders and settlers storming" Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. This and this alone is the source of the knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.
This, evidently, is the "culture of peace" to which Abbas is referring. How can he utter such a staggering lie when his media and top officials continue to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews on a daily basis? How precisely is Abbas promoting peace when his Palestinian Authority names schools and public squares after Palestinian terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands? Earlier this year, for example, Abbas's Fatah named a youth camp in Jericho after Dalal al-Mughrabi, a female terrorist who killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded more than 70, in 1978.
By honoring the murderers of Jews, Abbas is, instead, solely promoting a culture of hate and violence. His message to Palestinian youths is, straightforwardly: the more Jews you kill, the more honor and respect you will receive from your people.
Abbas talks about a "culture of peace" at a time when he and his Palestinian Authority are even combating all forms of "normalization" with Israel. The anti-normalization campaign, in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities, targets any Palestinian who dares to meet with Jews (even "pro-Palestinian" Jews). It operates solely under the auspices of the PA government. This campaign also promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Its goal is to intimidate Palestinians who work towards peace and coexistence with Israel and to ban any business with Jews. Can any Palestinian invite Jews to a meeting in Ramallah without being targeted by the "anti-normalization" thugs, many of whom are affiliated with Abbas's Fatah?
Perhaps by a "culture of peace," Abbas means calling -- as he and his top officials regularly do -- Israel an apartheid and racist state. Or maybe "culture of peace" means calling all Jews "occupiers" and "colonists" -- or denouncing and threatening Palestinian children who play soccer with Israeli kids. Or naming schools and electoral lists after convicted murderers? Those seem like debatable ways to advance his "culture of peace."
Under Abbas, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination is a business that has expanded exponentially. It has, in fact, grown to the point that a new generation has been raised on the glorification of jihadists, a generation impatient to draw yet more Jewish blood. If this is Abbas's "culture of peace," what, one wonders, would he consider a culture of war?
*Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.