June 28/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani


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Bible Quotations
We speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts
First Letter to the Thessalonians 02/01-12: "You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us. You remember our labour and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was towards you believers. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you should lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 27-28/18
Is Lebanon on its own, or with Iran/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/June 27/18
Wings of Lebanon blames tight timeframe for EU license suspension/Annahar Staff/June 27/18
Cabinet held up as Aoun hardens stance on LF posts/Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star/ June 27/18
LibanPost Issues Special Stamp Honoring BDL Governor Riad Salameh/Naharnet/June 27/18/
Lieberman asks Iranians: 'Where's your money going/Ynetnews/Yoav Zitun/June 26/18
European Terrorism: The 'Batman Syndrome/Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/June 27/18
Canada Supports, Infantilizes Jihadis/Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/June 27/18
Years after Genocide, Yazidis Urgently Need Help/Uzay Bulut/Gatestone Institute/June 27/18
Women Can Drive … What Has Changed/Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al Awsat/June 27/18
Steering Saudis Toward a Brighter Future/Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/June 27/18
Iran, Turkey and Qatar divide their dubious roles in region/Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi/Al Arabiya/June 27/18

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on June 27-28/18
Aoun Inaugurates 30th Ministerial Session of the UN ESCWA
Syrian war, regional crisis too costly for Lebanon: President Aoun
Machnouk: Security plan in Baalbeck so far successful
Aoun says deputy PM is his right to appoint
Lebanon Cabinet Bid Falters over Presidential Share, Christian Representation
Protesters In Tehran Shout: Our Enemies Are Right Here! America Is Not Our Enemy! No To Gaza, No To Lebanon!
Hariri, Aoun to Hold Talks Thursday on Cabinet Line-Up
Ibrahim Completes Review of Naturalization Decree, 'Decision in Political Authority’s Hands'
Israel and Lebanon refuse to agree on maritime border
Jumblat Slams Int'l Community, Arabs for 'Handing Over Daraa' to Regime
Bukhari Meets Mufti, Says KSA Keen on Lebanon Stability
Kanaan, Riachi Say Maarab Agreement Alive after Bassil Mourns It
Is Lebanon on its own, or with Iran?
Wings of Lebanon blames tight timeframe for EU license suspension
Cabinet held up as Aoun hardens stance on LF posts
LibanPost Issues Special Stamp Honoring BDL Governor Riad Salameh
Gallagher & Moulton Remember 1983 USMC Barracks Bombing

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 27-28/18
Kurdish Government Imposes Discriminatory Regulation on Assyrians in North Iraq
Israel Reaches Understanding with Cyprus on Gaza Port Plan
PA Accuses Hamas of 'Making Deals' in Gaza
Regime, Russian Strikes on Daraa Put 3 Hospitals out of Service
U.S., Russia Agree to Putin-Trump Summit in '3rd Country'
OPCW Granted Power to Lay Blame in Chemical Attacks
Britain, US Urge Expanded Power for OPCW to Lay Blame
North Korea Carrying out Activity near Nuclear Facility, Says Monitor
Over 200 Killed in Central Nigeria Violence
US Judge Orders Separated Families Reunited Within 30 Days
Prince William Meets Palestinian President, Hopes for Lasting Middle East Peace
Egypt Blacklists 187 Muslim Brotherhood Members
Aboul Gheit Stresses Support for Iraq’s Unity, Stability
The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on June 27-28/18
June 26, 2018
Readout of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dunford's Meeting with Commander, Lebanese Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Joseph Awn
Joint Staff Spokesperson Col. Patrick S. Ryder provided the following readout:
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. spoke with the Commander, Lebanese Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Joseph Awn during a meeting today.
The two leaders discussed challenges and security concerns in the region, including combating terrorism. They also discussed continued U.S.-Lebanese military cooperation.
The partnership between the United States and Lebanon is a crucial element to peace and security in the Middle East region.
Aoun Inaugurates 30th Ministerial Session of the UN ESCWA
Annahar Staff/June 27/18/President Michel Aoun inaugurated the 30th Ministerial Session of the UNESCWA at its headquarters in Beirut where he highlighted the crisis of Syrian refugees saying it is “bigger than Lebanon’s ability to tolerate,” and stressed that corruption will no longer be neglected. Lebanon “understands the humanitarian dimension of the suffering of the displaced, but it is a problem that exceeds our financial, economic and social ability to tolerate,” said Aoun. “We are determined to find the necessary solutions and we hope that the Arab and international communities will help us achieve this goal and help the displaced return,” he added. On the other hand, Aoun said although Lebanon is facing several challenges but corruption must be put to an end, he said, “let it be known that the time has come for punishment for corruption. There will be no more negligence regarding achievements made through illegal gains,” he added. Furthermore, he stressed that Lebanon recognizes the importance of technology and its role in economic development. “It is very reliable in the programs that we intend to formulate and implement in the next period of time within the framework of economic and social planning.”
He added that sustainable development aims at saving societies from their current problems of poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease, while at the same time providing a decent life for future generations. Aoun explained that Lebanon is facing challenges that are very similar to the challenges of sustainable development in terms of the need to address the problems of the present and prepare for the future. “We are determined to confront the accumulated crises that began half a century ago and continued over the years and decades and particularly reflected in the chronic gap between the State revenues and expenditures and the growing public debt,” he said stressing the corruption will no longer be tolerated.
Syrian war, regional crisis too costly for Lebanon: President Aoun
Arab News/June 27/18/Lebanese President Michel Aoun spoke of Lebanon's woes during the 30th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said the Syrian war and regional turmoil were forcing his country to pay more than it can afford. President Aoun inaugurated the 30th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) under the slogan “Technology for Sustainable Development in the Arab Region,” in the presence of Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Lebanon Walid Bukhari; Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit; ESCWA Executive Secretary Dr. Mohamed Ali Al-Hakim; Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil; representatives and delegations of the ESCWA member countries; and ambassadors of Arab and foreign countries. In his speech, Aoun noted: “Lebanon is facing difficult and exceptional circumstances. It has been forced to pay a large share of that which exceeds its economic, financial and social capabilities in the human tragedy caused by the Syrian war and the regional turmoil in general. “We understand the human dimension of the suffering of displaced people, but this is a problem that Lebanon cannot afford to bear with its financial, economic and security burdens. We are determined to find the necessary solutions, hoping that the Arab and international communities will help us to achieve this goal and help the displaced persons to return to their homes as soon as possible,” he added.
Machnouk: Security plan in Baalbeck so far successful
The Daily Star/June. 27, 2018/BEIRUT: A wide-scale security operation launched in Baalbeck-Hermel has thus far been successful, Lebanon’s caretaker interior minister announced Tuesday after discussing the area’s security measures with President Michel Aoun. After the meeting at Baabda Palace, Nouhad Machnouk said he “spoke with the president about the success of the security plan in the Bekaa area that was launched.”Earlier in the day, the Lebanese Army chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Hatem Mallak – who is acting Army commander while Gen. Joseph Aoun is in the United States – confirmed that the Army began implementing ramped up security measures in the area Monday. The Army is now heavily patrolling the main roads in northern Bekaa and its surrounding municipalities and carrying out arrests. Measures at checkpoints, both fixed and flexible, have also intensified. Machnouk also announced the suspension of permits for tinted windows in Baalbeck-Hermel, with an exception for officials and security. “This is in keeping with the work of the military and security apparatuses in consolidating the maintenance of security and order in the province,” a statement from Machnouk’s office said. Vehicles without license plates are prevalent in the area, often making it difficult to track down owners. Malak visited Baalbeck and toured its commercial market after meeting with Army officers and personnel stationed in the area.
The meeting reviewed the new security plan for the province. The security situation in Baalbeck-Hermel has been under increased scrutiny in recent weeks, following a series of shootouts and other security incidents between clans that caused an outcry among residents and lawmakers. Malak confirmed the area is like any other part of the country and under the sovereignty of the state and the rule of law. He noted that the Bekaa area, specifically Baalbek-Hermel, “in terms of tribal and family ties, often calls for contact with the concerned parties to find solutions to some of the differences or problems, but this does not mean at all that there is cover for any violation.” Toward the end of his visit, Malak urged the area’s residents to stand by the Army in its mission. During a meeting with Baalbeck-Hermel MPs Monday, President Aoun said the measures taken to strengthen security and stability in the area would be linked to development efforts. “There will be no tolerance for those who cause chaos and worry among the residents and inflict damage to the economic life through their practices,” Aoun told visitors to the presidential palace. Separately, Gen. Aoun Tuesday discussed the Army’s continued efforts to protect the country’s borders and stability. Speaking during an event hosted by Lebanon’s Ambassador to the U.S., Aoun thanked his hosts for their aid to the Army. “The [United States] is a close country for Lebanon, and is concerned about [our] stability,” Aoun said. “[The U.S.] is the main supporter of the Army ... as the sole side capable of ensuring this stability.” He noted that 90 percent of the aid received by the Army comes from the U.S.

Aoun says deputy PM is his right to appoint
The Daily Star/June. 27, 2018/BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun indirectly hit back at the Future Movement and Lebanese Forces Tuesday, saying it is his right to appoint the deputy prime minister and some ministers in order to monitor the work of Cabinet. “President Aoun is dealing with the formation of the Cabinet on the basis of his powers and does not ignore what the Constitution and customs have established since the Taif Accord,” the president’s office said in a statement. Referencing the Taif agreement, the statement added that Aoun is required to “protect national partnership” with the broadest possible government. The president called on all political parties to respect the outcome of the recent parliamentary elections, which determine the size of representation in government. Aoun also fired back at those claiming he is “endangering” the Taif Accord. “Those who are keen on the Taif agreement must stop the falsifications and distorting the facts, because President Aoun is committed to the Taif agreement, which has become constitutional and others must respect it,” the statement said.

Lebanon Cabinet Bid Falters over Presidential Share, Christian Representation

Wednesday, 27 June, 2018//Beirut - Youssef Diab/Asharq Al Awsat/June 27/18/Discussions on the Lebanese government formation were back to square one on Tuesday after PM-designate Saad Hariri faced a new obstacle following attempts to increase the ministerial share of President Michel Aoun. The new demand was fiercely rejected by Hariri, whose close aides said conditions placed by Free Patriotic Movement leader FM Jebran Bassil not to grant the Lebanese Forces more than three portfolios, and the request for adding the president’s share aimed to pressure the PM-designate to offer one-sided concessions.
Other sources said observers would think that the tension is directly linked to cabinet formation, however in reality it is a prelude to the next presidential race. While acknowledging that the government would not see the light in the coming days and even weeks, and pending the return of Speaker Nabih Berri from his private visit abroad, Hariri kicked off a new round of talks with his allies, mainly LF leader Samir Geagea, who visited the Center House in Beirut on Monday night. Sources close to Hariri said the obstacle to the government formation lies in the level of the LF representation. “Bassil insists on rejecting most solutions offered in this regard,” they said. LF sources denied in remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat that cabinet formation efforts are back to square one. Concessions should not be offered by one party, but by all political sides, they said. However, an FPM lawmaker said accusations that his party is trying to exclude the LF or the Progressive Socialist Party are “nothing but an attempt to throw the ball of responsibility in the other team’s court.”The MP told Asharq Al-Awsat that Aoun and Bassil are eager to guarantee the representation of all parties in the next government, but each according to its size. “We will not offer gifts” to anyone, the source said. However, observers believe that the main reason for the stalemate lies in the next presidential elections. Informed sources said that “Bassil is trying to weaken all other Christian parties, particularly the Lebanese Forces, to prove he is the strongest in his sect,” the sources added. Such a move would guarantee that the presidential post is kept by the FPM, which has been founded by Aoun.

Protesters In Tehran Shout: Our Enemies Are Right Here! America Is Not Our Enemy! No To Gaza, No To Lebanon!
MEMRI/June 27/18/Footage posted on social media on June 25 showed protesters in various locations in Tehran marching and shouting slogans like “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon! I will give my life to Iran!" and "Death to the dictator." In one demonstration, the protesters shouted "Our enemy is here! It is a lie that America is our enemy!"Protesters: "No to Gaza, no to Lebanon! I will give my life to Iran! No to Gaza, no to Lebanon! I will give my life to Iran! "No to Gaza, no to Lebanon! I will give my life to Iran! No to Gaza, no to Lebanon! I will give my life to Iran! Death to the dictator! Death to the dictator! Death to the dictator! Death to the dictator! Death to the dictator! Death to the dictator!"Palestine and Syria make us miserable! Palestine and Syria make us miserable! Palestine and Syria make us miserable! "Our enemy is here! It is a lie that America is our enemy! Our enemy is here! It is a lie that America is our enemy! Our enemy is here! It is a lie that America is our enemy!"

Hariri, Aoun to Hold Talks Thursday on Cabinet Line-Up

Naharnet/June 27/18/Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and President Michel agreed to meet on Thursday to discuss the Cabinet formation process, the National News Agency reported on Wednesday. Hariri made a phone call this morning to Aoun, during which he agreed on a visit to the presidential palace on Thursday to follow up consultations on the formation of the government, NNA said. Later on Wednesday, Aoun held talks in Baabda with caretaker Information Minister Melhem Riachi, who was delegated by Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea. The Presidency said talks tackled "the Cabinet formation process." Riachi for his part described the meeting as "very positive." Hariri on Friday submitted a Cabinet line-up format which Speaker Nabih Berri agreed to and Aoun reportedly rejected. According to reports, the line-up included three ministers for Aoun including a Christian loyal to MP Talal Arslan and a Sunni from outside Hariri’s al-Mustaqbal Movement. It also allocated the three Druze seats to Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat. The line-up also reportedly involved giving the defense portfolio to the Lebanese Forces. All these formulas were however rejected by Baabda and the parties were informed of this on Sunday evening.

Ibrahim Completes Review of Naturalization Decree, 'Decision in Political Authority’s Hands'
Naharnet/June 27/18/18/General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim said the Directorate has completed the task entrusted to it regarding a controversial naturalization decree review, as he noted that a new batch of Syrian refugees will be returning to Syria on Thursday. “We have completed the task entrusted to us regarding the citizenship decree,” he said pointing out that the political authority will have to decide on the next step. “I don’t think the report will be submitted to the State Shura Council,” added Ibrahim. He refused to tell the names included the report and upon which reservations were made as for a right to be granted the Lebanese nationality. Early in June, President Michel Aoun’s office submitted the names of individuals included in a controversial naturalization decree to the General Security agency to verify they all have "the right" to become Lebanese. The decree was reportedly issued on May 11 after being signed by Aoun, but news of its existence only emerged late after that when dozens of names allegedly included in the edict were leaked to the media. Lebanese media reported it has included as many as 300 people, including businessmen known to be close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It prompted a wave of public outrage, with Lebanese officials scrambling to defend themselves or defect blame. On the crisis of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Ibrahim noted that around “400 displaced will leave the northeastern town of Arsal and head back to Syria on Thursday.”

Israel and Lebanon refuse to agree on maritime border
By Staff reporter/27 June 2018/Israel has refused to agree a final maritime border with Lebanon, according to Lebanese President Michel Aoun. The two countries were seeking a solution to their long-running dispute, and were using the United States as an intermediary. Lebanon had awarded a contract to explore Block 9, which includes part of the disputed maritime area, to a group of companies including Novatek.
Jumblat Slams Int'l Community, Arabs for 'Handing Over Daraa' to Regime
Naharnet/June 27/18/Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat on Wednesday accused the international community and the Arab League of “handing over” the southern Syrian province of Daraa to the Syrian regime. “What a sad and tragic coincidence. After the peaceful uprising that Daraa's children staged seven years ago, and after legendary resilience in the face of the regime of brutality, the so-called international community and the futile Arab League are handing over Daraa to the jailer of torture, arrests, disappearances and murder,” Jumblat tweeted. “Long live the resilience of Daraa's children,” he added. Deadly air strikes pounded rebel-held towns across southern Syria on Wednesday, as relief groups sounded the alarm over a Russian-backed push for the region and its main city Daraa. The south is meant to be protected by a ceasefire put in place last year by Russia, Jordan, and the United States, but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has set his sights on retaking the area. After a week of air strikes and artillery fire on rebel towns across Daraa province, his troops turned to the opposition-held half of the provincial capital on Tuesday. The bombing continued into Wednesday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.Rebels hold a horseshoe-shaped band of territory in the south, and government troops have already isolated one end of it by capturing two strategic villages. In that encircled zone, around 1,000 people have "regularized" their status with the government, according to state news agency SANA, including several hundred rebels who laid down their arms.But in the nearby town of al-Nahta, captured Wednesday by the regime, rebels appeared to be resisting. A car bomb killed 12 regime forces there Wednesday afternoon, the Observatory said.
The U.N. has warned that more than 750,000 lives are at risk in the south, with more than 45,000 people already displaced.

Bukhari Meets Mufti, Says KSA Keen on Lebanon Stability
Naharnet/June 27/18/Saudi charge d'affaires in Lebanon Walid al-Bukhari held talks Wednesday with Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan and stressed that Saudi Arabia is “keen on Lebanon's stability.”“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's leadership and people support Lebanon and the Lebanese,” Bukhari said. “There are ongoing and firm efforts to strengthen the relations between the two countries and we hope Lebanon will witness a breakthrough at all the political, economic and developmental levels,” the envoy added. Emphasizing that Riyadh is “keen on Lebanon's stability, sovereignty, security and prosperity,” Bukhari said the kingdom wishes success for efforts to achieve “Lebanon's rise” and “reinforce its national and Arab role.”Daryan for his part lauded “KSA's pioneering role and its support for the government in Lebanon and the welfare of all Lebanese.”

Kanaan, Riachi Say Maarab Agreement Alive after Bassil Mourns It
Naharnet/June 27/18/Strong Lebanon bloc secretary MP Ibrahim Kanaan and caretaker Information Minister Melhem Riachi of the Lebanese Forces insisted Wednesday that the landmark Maarab Agreement is still alive, after Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil hinted that the agreement is dead. “The Christian reconciliation was not born on a certain day, it rather belongs to history and to the coming generations,” Kanaan tweeted. “In light of its symbolism and depth, it cannot be erased by a political or governmental dispute, after we achieved an influential Christian presence in state institutions,” he added.
Riachi meanwhile told al-Jadeed television that the Maarab Agreement was “an agreement between three parties: President (Michel) Aoun, LF leader (Samir) Geagea and Christians, from the last hut in Lebanon's mountains to the last home in the diaspora.”“These three parties are holding onto the Maarab Agreement and the reconciliation, that's why it (the agreement) has not and will not fall,” Riachi added. Bassil had hinted Tuesday that the Maarab Agreement “no longer exists.” The distribution of shares in the new government “should be proportional in order to form a national unity cabinet and if a party wants to voluntarily give up seats they are free to do so,” said Bassil after the weekly meeting of the Strong Lebanon bloc.“But if there is a party that does not want to give up seats because a political agreement no longer exists, no one can force it to do so,” Bassil added.
Jarrah’s’s speech was followed by the unveiling of a [commemorative plaque] engraving the Governor’s stamp. Upon receiving his plaque, Salameh expressed his gratitude for this honoring reception, considering this recognition as significant “because honoring someone in his homeland is always something important, this is why we thank H.E Minister Jarrah for attending and representing Prime Minister Hariri, as well as LibanPost and Khalil Daoud for their initiative”. Salameh also said that “the Central Bank always look at the situation calmly, because during times like those we are currently experiencing, the monetary situation becomes the center of opinions and analysis from all sides, but with all due respect to all, we have to state that Lebanon is not bankrupt and has the ability to evolve because the main economic and financial criteria remains the trust that is based on experience. We have overcome wars and crisis, and we have always been confident and able to protect our stability by which I mean our national currency value and our credit capacity. The Central Bank confirms that our monetary stability is ongoing, this is proven, without counting the gold value, by a currency reserve of 45 billion dollars, as well as a 5% deposits increase in our banking system. All this data means that there is still confidence in Lebanon and that money has not stopped flowing into our system, and this is again demonstrated through our latest Eurobonds issuance for the value of 3 billion dollars that have all been subscribed into, a value covers our financial needs for 2018”. “We have to be aware of everything said and written” concluded Salameh who also stressed the “necessity to draw conclusions based on realistic facts and data, as for the political controversies, this is something both we and the markets are now used to”..
The ceremony was followed by a cocktail reception held on the Banque du Liban’s steps.

Is Lebanon on its own, or with Iran?
Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/June 27/18
Among the promises which the venerable Lebanese government and presidency made was guarantee that Lebanon will “dissociate itself” from the region’s wars, and of course including Yemen’s war. However all these promises are “like a mirage in a lowland which a thirsty one thinks is water.”We all know that fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah group are an organic part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and that Hassan Nasrallah is a soldier in Velayat-e Faqih and a follower of “the ruler of Muslims”, all Muslims, Ayatollah Khamenei.We all know about the role, which Lebanese fighters from the South, Baalbeck and Hermel are playing in Aleppo and its countryside and in Damascus’ countryside, Sayyida Zaynab neighborhood, the Qalamoun mountains and Wadi Barada and its villages.Even in Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, you will always find a role for the trainers of this Khomeini party. The coalition in support of legitimacy in Yemen recently announced it killed eight Hezbollah members, including a field commander, during a military operation that targeted Houthi militias in Maran in the Houthis’ stronghold in Saada. AFP quoted spokesman for the Arab coalition Colonel Turki al-Malki as saying that this is “not the first time” Hezbollah members are killed in Yemen. In a press conference in Riyadh, Malki said the killed Hezbollah fighters were with a group “heading to (an area) near the Saudi borders, and their (activity) was detected by surveillance of intelligence systems.” How does Lebanon want to be a normal state with a secure banking and financial system when there is this terrorist organization within its core?
‘Most honorable war’
What’s the Lebanese government’s position from this incident which is only one example of Hezbollah’s involvement in terrorism and war on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries – a war which Nasrallah said it was the most honorable war he’s fought in his life? I do not know the secret of this coldness or this approach of turning a deaf ear adopted by the Lebanese state towards this so-called Hezbollah, which is involved in international terrorism. How does Lebanon want to be a normal state with a secure banking and financial system when there is this terrorist organization within its core? The US administration led by Trump is very serious about confronting Iran’s activities and those who follow Iran, unlike the policy of the former “kind and nice” Barack Obama. The issue is very serious, and the tender mother the Khomeini republic itself is “ahead of difficult and dangerous days” as Ali Khoram, the advisor of Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, told the Iranian Aram daily on Sunday. The Lebanese state must choose between the interest of Lebanon and its people and the interest of Iran and its affiliate in Lebanon, Hezbollah. It’s not possible to combine the two. There is a proverb that says: You cannot eat your cake and have it, too!

Wings of Lebanon blames tight timeframe for EU license suspension
Annahar Staff/June 27/18
The airline was given six days to implement "immediate mitigating measures and corrective action plans," and were "considered insufficient" by the European civil aviation agency.
BEIRUT: Following the uproar in the wake of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspending Wings of Lebanon's EU license for a lack of "compliance with the applicable requirements" of the European agency's standards, the private airline issued a statement Wednesday blaming the discrepancies on "the tight timeframe" afforded to it to address the numerous violations.
EASA suspended Wings of Lebanon's Third Country Operator (TCO) Authorization on June 14 for "seven level (1) findings and nine level (2) findings," concluding that the charter airline failed to "ensure that all of its aircraft and flights operated under their TCO Authorization."
The airline was given six days to implement "immediate mitigating measures and corrective action plans," but were "considered insufficient" by the European civil aviation agency.
Instead, EASA reclassified two of the level (2) findings to level (1) findings, which pertain to the "Minimum Equipment List and Approved Maintenance Programme," given that Wings of Lebanon "did not propose a corrective action plan but offered additional explanations."
The statement released by Wings of Lebanon maintains that it possesses since 2007 the "Air Operator Certificate by the Lebanese Directorate General of Civil Aviation," while arguing that it "underwent a check by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) some time ago," which showed that everything was in order.
Yet, the letter sent to Wings of Lebanon by EASA clearly states that the airline failed to address the "Maintance of Aircraft" violation, given that the "operator did not provide all maintance records requested for review by EASA in the ambit of assessing compliance with applicable ICAO Standards."
The letter also states that the "Approved Maintanace Program" vioaltion, which was upped to a level (1) finding, "is not in compliance with corresponding ICAO Standards."
Wings of Lebanon's TCO Authorization is now suspended for a maximum period of six months before possibly being revoked if it fails to implement "successful corrective actions." The airline can submit its appeal within two months.
The TCO Authorization is required for any third-country operator intending to perform commercial air transport operations into, within, or out of the 28 member states of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, as well as Gibraltar, Åland Islands, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Saint-Martin, Mayotte.

Cabinet held up as Aoun hardens stance on LF posts
Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star/ June 27/18
/BEIRUT: The monthlong Cabinet formation standoff hit a serious impasse Tuesday when President Michel Aoun toughened his position on the Lebanese Forces’ demand for key ministerial posts in the new government, by declaring that it is his constitutional right to choose the deputy prime minister and some ministers in order to monitor the Cabinet’s performance. Aoun’s hard-line stance on the LF’s Cabinet share, also seen as targeting Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri for reportedly supporting the LF’s push for a significant representation in the new government based on the results of last month’s parliamentary elections, was bound to further complicate Hariri’s attempts to form an all-embracing national unity Cabinet. “The Cabinet formation efforts have been put on hold for a couple of weeks as a result of remaining complications over the Lebanese Forces and Druze representation,” a ministerial source familiar with the government formation process The Daily Star Tuesday night.
Aoun entered the fray over the Cabinet formation crisis with an unprecedented statement released by his media office.
“The president is dealing with the issue of the formation of a new Cabinet on the basis of his powers stipulated in the Constitution ... in addition to laws in force. Although the president does not interfere in the formation mechanism, he will not ignore the powers granted to him by the Constitution and the norms adopted since the [1989] Taif Accord, particularly with regard to the president’s right to choose the deputy prime minister and a number of ministers through whom he monitors the Cabinet’s work and performance in general, based on his constitutional oath to safeguard laws,” the statement said.Aoun urged those seeking to deprive the president from “this consecrated right to review their calculations, correct their bets and revive their memories.”The president is required by the Constitution to “protect national partnership with a government reflecting the broadest possible national representation based on the results of parliamentary elections conducted under a proportional law,” the statement said. “These elections determined the sizes of [representation] of political forces. Therefore, these forces must respect these sizes in order to facilitate the Cabinet formation process,” it added.
Aoun’s position came amid a fierce struggle between the Free Patriotic Movement and the LF over Christian representation in the new government casting gloom over the entire Cabinet formation process. It came a day after LF chief Samir Geagea insisted following a meeting with Hariri that his party be represented in the new government based on the results of the May 6 elections in which the LF boosted its parliamentary representation from eight to 15 MPs.
A ministerial source sounded pessimistic about an early solution to the Cabinet crisis.
“The main problem stems from the LF representation. During last night’s meeting, the LF accepted four ministers, including the position of the deputy prime minister,” the source told The Daily Star, referring to Geagea’s meeting with Hariri at the latter’s Downtown Beirut residence Monday night. “But Aoun is insisting on allotting the deputy prime minister’s post to a minister loyal to him. The dispute is over the deputy prime minister’s post rather than over the number of ministers the LF should get,” he added. “Once the problem of the deputy prime minister’s position is solved, there remains the problem of the Druze representation,” the source said: “The obstacles facing the Cabinet formation are internal ... We are facing two difficult, but not insurmountable problems. This will take time to be solved.”Walid Joumblatt, the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, has insisted that the PSP’s parliamentary Democratic Gathering bloc be allocated the three ministerial posts reserved for the Druze in a 30-member Cabinet. Joumblatt’s demand was apparently aimed at preventing his Druze rival, MP Talal Arslan, from being named as a minister. Earlier in the day, Hariri said he will visit Aoun in the next couple of days to discuss the formation of a new government. Hariri was quoted as saying by news outlet LBCI that progress would not be impeded by the absence of Speaker Nabih Berri, who left Tuesday for Italy with his family on vacation.
Hariri Tuesday also chaired the weekly meeting of the Future Movement’s parliamentary bloc, which called on political parties to facilitate the Cabinet formation.
“The bloc stresses that the task of forming the government is among the constitutional responsibilities entrusted exclusively to the prime minister-designate, in full cooperation and coordination with the president of the republic,” the bloc said in a statement after the meeting. “The ongoing consultations with parliamentary blocs fall within these responsibilities, which are supposed to take into account in this stage of the history of Lebanon, the necessity of reaching a national entente government whose all its political components cooperate to achieve the required reforms and address the economic, financial and administrative challenges that cannot wait to be solved.” The bloc called on Aoun to play a “pivotal role” in moving away from the circle of waiting and acting with Hariri toward shaping the final formula of the government’s components. Reaffirming its confidence in Hariri’s ability to overcome the obstacles hindering the Cabinet formation, the bloc noted that the prime minister-designate considers that “monetary stability in Lebanon is preserved and that the economic situation will witness a definite start immediately after the formation of the government, which will put CEDRE reforms and its consultative program at the top of its priorities.”Responding to the LF’s demand for key ministerial posts, Bassil said each party would be represented in the new government according to its parliamentary size. “The distribution of rights among groups that will participate in the government is clear. According to the results of elections held under a proportional law, representation in the national unity government will be proportional. This means that each party will be represented in the government according to its size in Parliament,” Bassil told a news conference after chairing the weekly meeting of the FPM’s parliamentary Strong Lebanon bloc.
LibanPost Issues Special Stamp Honoring BDL Governor Riad Salameh
Naharnet/June 27/18/
Under the High Patronage of President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri represented by Minister of Communications Jamal Jarrah, LibanPost honored the Governor of the Banque du Liban Riad Salameh with a special stamp unveiled during a ceremony that took place at the Banque du Liban Museum, and attended by a crowd of business leaders as well as government officials, international and local media, and public figures, a press release said.
This leading initiative by LibanPost comes as a Lebanese tribute to the Governor whose actions, efforts and dedication have preserved the economic and financial stability in Lebanon despite a highly critical local and regional context.
The unveiling of the special stamp honoring Governor Salameh also follows the edition by LibanPost of a series of collectable stamps paying tribute to the Lebanese international businessman Carlos Ghosn and most recently the Lebanese international fashion designer Elie Saab.Following the Lebanese anthem and a welcome note by Rony Alfa, LibanPost’s Chairman Khalil Daoud started his speech saying that “a stamp and a celebration are never enough to honor Riad Salameh. For the last 25 years, the Governor’s focus was and is still is Lebanon’s financial stability, the support of SMEs and the liberal professions, the productive economy and all kind of initiatives targeting and encouraging the Lebanese youth. This has been achieved during times of high risks and tremendous challenges. Salameh’s excellence has been remarkable and he succeeded in his missions through working silently, with humility, armed with an extraordinary strong will and a great ability to plan and achieve”.
Daoud concluded addressing Salameh saying: “During difficult times, you have always been the synonym of the needed stability for Lebanon, and here you are as always, showing the way that leads the country towards more security”.
Minister of Telecommunications Jamal Jarrah congratulated Salameh “on behalf of his (Salameh’s) friend Prime Minister Hariri for all the efforts made by the Governor”. Jarrah also mentioned that “Salameh’s decision to leave very high international spheres and come back to Lebanon to walk the path of reconstruction by the side of assassinated Prime Minister Rafic Hariri has brought the country to life”.
“We all know the impact of the local and international crisis that have affected Lebanon and the world, and without your wisdom, your will, your patriotism and all your great efforts, Lebanon would have never been able to overcome all those challenges”, said Jarrah who concluded by emphasizing the role played by the Governor “during times of crisis where a simple statement from Salameh would bring back the confidence of the Lebanese in their savings and their currency despite all the financial and monetary complications”, this is why, Jarrah said, “we thank Riad Salameh for preserving the Lebanese banking sector and for the great efforts made to maintain the country’s stability”.

Gallagher & Moulton Remember 1983 USMC Barracks Bombing
June 26, 2018 Press Release
Introduce Resolution Calling for National Day of Remembrance
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced a House resolution calling for a national day of remembrance for service members killed or injured by the terrorist attack on the United States Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon on October 23, 1983. The bombing killed 241 American service members, including 220 Marines. "Hezbollah’s bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks was the deadliest day for the Marine Corps since Iwo Jima. Yet 35 years later, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations remain a threat to our national security," said Rep. Mike Gallagher. "The service and sacrifices of those lost or injured on this day should never be forgotten. I hope that with this resolution we can honor their memory by renewing our commitment to eliminating terrorist organizations that threaten our way of life."
“I always found inspiration and solace in the quote on the walls of The Memorial Church in Cambridge that reads, ‘While a bright future beckoned, they freely gave their lives and fondest hopes for us and our allies that we might learn from them courage in peace to spend our lives making a better world for others,’” said Rep. Seth Moulton. “The Marines who died at the Beirut Barracks bombing in 1983 lost lives full of hope and potential. Establishing a National Day of Remembrance allows us to commemorate their lives, honor the sacrifice they made, and reflect on how we can answer the call to serve in our own ways.”Reps. Gallagher and Moulton previously worked together to enact into law bipartisan legislation allowing for the establishment of the National Global War on Terrorism Memorial in Washington D.C.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 27-28/18
Kurdish Government Imposes Discriminatory Regulation on Assyrians in North Iraq
Assyrian International News Agency/June 27/18/The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has imposed a discriminatory new regulation requiring all business owners from the Assyrian-majority city of Ankawa, located in the Erbil Province, to renew their business licenses with the Director of the Erbil Center District for a fee. This new regulation applies exclusively to Ankawa, despite the fact that a total of ten districts are under the Erbil Center District's jurisdiction. Previously, business owners from Ankawa were able to renew their licenses free of charge at the mayor's office in Ankawa. The new order was issued on January 23, 2018, yet those interviewed by API representatives claim that locals only became aware of its existence earlier today. "People didn't know about it until someone went to the mayor's office to renew his license, and then he was told to go to the Erbil Center District," a resident of Ankawa said to the API. "The application process is now much longer and unnecessary," a local business owner explained. "Usually, attorneys handle these renewals. I spoke to my attorney this morning and he said he's already heard that the officials at the Erbil Center District expect bribes in exchange for processing."
Ankawa, also known as Ainkawa, is a predominantly Assyrian-populated suburb of Erbil. Its population is now estimated to be approximately 60,000. Roughly 80% of the town's population is Christian; the majority of its Christian residents are adherents to the Chaldean Catholic Church. Located just outside Erbil, the town is considered to be the last Christian Assyrian stronghold in the Kurdistan Region.
The new order targeting Assyrian shop owners is the latest form of discrimination targeting Assyrians in Ankawa. January 2018 order requiring business owners in Ankawa to renew licenses with the Erbil Center District. Ankawa's capital gains tax on property sales are the highest in the Kurdistan Region. KRG officials justify the tax difference by pointing to Ankawa's growing tourism, as many foreigners elect to stay in Ankawa when visiting the region. An unlawful tax amount is collected from Ankawa residents when they sell their property. According to residents and representatives, this tax rate for Ankawa is ten percent of the sale, whereas in all other parts of the KRI, the tax is only six percent. Complaints have been filed with KRG officials about the excess taxes. One Assyrian politician interviewed by the API was told by a KRG official that this was a form of jizya tax, justified because Ankawa is a Christian town. Business owners in Ankawa also expressed fears and frustrations regarding various discriminatory practices, including denial of permits based on political affiliation, required display of KRG/KDP memorabilia, and harassment from the KDP political police, the Asayish. In October of 2015, thousands of Ankawa residents took to the streets to protest discriminatory laws and practices, including the preferential tax rate, and demanded the resignation of the city's KDP mayor Jalal Habib, appointed to office by the Governor of Erbil. The official protest statement read: "We demand that unjust tax rates in Ankawa be reduced to match the tax rates in other regions." Read the full statement here. The protest statement was delivered to the Governor of Erbil and the KRG Minister of Interior, as well as the U.S. Consulate. Residents say all of their demands went unanswered, and Habib remains the city's mayor.
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Israel Reaches Understanding with Cyprus on Gaza Port Plan
Tel Aviv - Nazir Majli/Asharq Al Awsat/Wednesday, 27 June, 2018/Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has reached an understanding with the Cypriot government on the establishment of a special pier for the Gaza Strip in Cyprus.
Lieberman struck the agreement with Cypriot officials during his visit to the island, but stressed that the project’s implementation requires “Hamas” to hand over Israel’s soldiers, who have been held by the Qassam Brigades, the group's military wing, a source close to Lieberman said.
The source noted that the Israeli defense minister has received a preliminary approval from the Cypriot president, whom he met two days ago. Under the plan, a special pier would be constructed for cargo ships carrying goods bound for Gaza, around 400 kilometers from Cyprus. Any Cyprus idea would involve an Israeli monitoring system to ensure that weapons were not smuggled into Gaza. On the other hand, Israel has approved a plan to build a solar field in Israel to pump power into the Gaza Strip and ease the electricity crisis in the Palestinian enclave. The panels would be set up near the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel as a unilateral measure, without the involvement of “Hamas”, according to unnamed sources in Israel’s defense ministry. The step could change the situation in the power-starved territory, the sources said, adding that it was discussed this week with visiting US envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, who toured the Middle East ahead of the unveiling of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan. The original plan was to put the field in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, but Cairo rejected the initiative. Officials in Israel and elsewhere have been scrambling to find ways to ease the humanitarian situation in the Strip and possibly fund new infrastructure projects, seen as a key to reducing violence in the beleaguered enclave. Another reported plan to ease Gaza economic woes was to allow 6,000 residents to work in Israeli communities near the enclave. However, that plan was said to have been shot down by Shin Bet security agency, which regards workers exiting Gaza as a security threat. It said such a measure could provide “Hamas” with intelligence and be used to smuggle money into the Strip for “terror” purposes.
PA Accuses Hamas of 'Making Deals' in Gaza
Ramallah - Kifah Ziboun/Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 27 June, 2018/The Palestinian presidency accused Washington of scrapping its peace plan known as the “deal of the century” by concluding a deal in Gaza based on turning the Palestinian cause into a humanitarian matter. Nabil Abou Rudeineh, the Palestinian president’s official spokesperson, said that the US administration believed that removing Jerusalem from the peace talks and withdrawing from Iran’s nuclear agreement would allow it to make a deal with Gaza that is rejected at the Palestinian, regional and international levels. Abou Rudeineh reiterated President Mahmoud Abbas’ stance on the need to establish an international and multilateral mechanism to manage the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, instead of the US monopoly that perpetuates the Israeli occupation. “The Palestinians’ steadfast position and their adherence to their national principles as well as the Arab rejection to override the issue of Jerusalem and Arab legitimacy have aborted the so-called deal of the century because it was originally based on the idea of a deal for Gaza to turning the Palestinian cause into a humanitarian issue,” the spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday. He also called for “courageous national positions to preserve Jerusalem, the identity and the land, not through contacts or messages that give up our right to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.” Abu Rudeineh was hinting at a Hamas-led approach to a long-term truce in Gaza that would strengthen the US plan to separate the Strip from the Palestinian file, but Hamas responded by reiterating its firm position towards the century deal. “There is no change in the position of Hamas that rejects the deal of the century,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the movement. “The responsibility for the US exploitation of Gaza’s conditions lies in the PA sanctions that are no less horrifying than the Israeli siege.”

Regime, Russian Strikes on Daraa Put 3 Hospitals out of Service
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 27 June, 2018/Overnight strikes on the southern province of Daraa have left three hospitals out of service, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday. The bombing raids, including by Russian warplanes, had damaged medical centers in the opposition-controlled towns of Saida, al-Mseifra and al-Jiza in Daraa, said the Britain-based monitor. The regime has defied American warnings and pressed ahead, with Russian backing, with an offensive to recapture the southern Daraa province that neighbors Jordan and Israel. The area is part of a de-escalation ceasefire deal agreed between Jordan, Russia and the US. "The Saida hospital was put out of service after midnight, because of unidentified air strikes near the facility," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman. Air strikes by planes identified as Russian then hit near the medical center in al-Mseifra, damaging it and forcing it to close, he said. "The hospital in al-Jiza was damaged this morning. There were Russian air strikes close to the hospital, which damaged it and put it out of service," Abdel Rahman added. He had no immediate information on the fate of medical staff or the patients inside the facilities. Ahmad al-Dbis, safety and security manager at UOSSM, a medical charity that works in opposition parts of Syria, said the bombardment had caused "material damage" to the three hospitals on Wednesday. "In addition, a civil defense center in al-Mseifra was struck and damaged," added Dbis, who is based in northern Syria. The recent closures bring to five the number of hospitals that have been put out of service by the Syrian regime’s week-long military push on the South. The regime has previously denied targeting medical facilities in the seven-year-long war. Troops began ramping up air strikes, rocket fire and the dropping of barrel bombs on opposition territory in Daraa and neighboring Quneitra province on June 19. Some 47 civilians have been killed since then, said the Observatory. Russian warplanes then began striking, and troops launched an assault on the opposition-held half of Daraa city on Tuesday.  The Observatory said heavy Russian and Syrian raids, rockets and barrel bombs were still hitting opposition-held neighborhoods on Wednesday morning. The United Nations said the offensive has so far forced up to 50,000 people to flee towards the Jordanian border. Jordan, which already hosts some 650,000 Syrian refugees, has said it will not open the border.
U.S., Russia Agree to Putin-Trump Summit in '3rd Country'
Agence France Presse/June 27/18/Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to hold a summit with Donald Trump in a third country at talks on Wednesday with the US leader's hawkish national security advisor, voicing hope for an easing of tensions between the two nations. Adviser John Bolton was received in Moscow with top honours: a lunch hosted by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov followed by a markedly courteous meeting with Putin at the Kremlin. U.S.-Russian relations have been strained by disagreement over the Syrian conflict, Russia's annexation of Crimea, its involvement in eastern Ukraine and allegations of political meddling. The Kremlin's top foreign policy aide said Putin and Bolton agreed that the two presidents would meet at a place and time to be announced on Thursday. "Your visit to Moscow gives us hope that we can at least take the first step to reviving full-blown ties between our states," Putin told Bolton at the Kremlin after the two smiled and shook hands for the cameras. "We never sought confrontation," Putin said, adding he regretted that the Russia-U.S. ties were not "on top form". Bolton, known for his hawkish reputation and tough stance on Moscow, said it was important to keep talking and complimented Putin on his handling of the football World Cup, currently taking place in Russia. "Even in earlier days when our countries had differences our leaders and their advisors met and I think that was good for both countries, good for stability in the world and President Trump feels very strongly on that subject," he said.
U.S.-Russian disagreements
Recently ties have been strained by a probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and suspected collusion with the Trump campaign, as well as by the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. "A lot of people have said or implied over time that a meeting between President Trump and President Putin would somehow prove some nexus between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, which is complete nonsense," Bolton told a news conference later. "What must guide his (Trump's) conduct of American foreign policy is the pursuit of American national interests... He will do this regardless of political criticism at home."Putin's foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said the two presidents would focus on relations between their two countries, Syria and nuclear arms control and could adopt a joint statement to help improve ties as well as global security. "I think (Trump) is going to raise the full range of issues between the two countries," Bolton said. He added there were areas for cooperation despite the major points of disagreement.
Reaching out to Russia
Since coming to power last year, Trump has sought to improve relations with Putin amid tensions between Moscow and the West. Trump said this month that Russia should be re-admitted to the G7 group of industrialised democracies, from which it was suspended for its annexation of Crimea in 2014. That comment came at a summit which ended in sharp disagreement between Trump and his G7 allies. The last, brief meeting between Putin and Trump took place in November 2017 in Vietnam during an APEC summit. Trump is due to participate in the July 11-12 NATO summit in Brussels before heading to Britain to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II on July 13. U.S.-based news website Politico reported this week that Trump and Putin could meet in the Finnish capital Helsinki. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said Helsinki is "always ready to offer its good services if asked." He did not provide further details. Kremlin-connected analyst Fyodor Lukyanov said the summit would be a milestone of sorts given the dismal state of ties but stressed that any breakthroughs would be unlikely. "The question is about finding some new approaches because the old ones no longer work," he told AFP. Putin is unlikely to make any major concessions on the Ukraine crisis or other sensitive issues, giving Washington little incentive to review its sanctions, observers say. "A Trump-Putin meeting would temporarily ease US-Russia tensions, but new U.S. sanctions are still likely later this year," said the Eurasia Group think tank.

OPCW Granted Power to Lay Blame in Chemical Attacks
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 27 June, 2018/World powers voted on Wednesday to grant the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) the authority to assign blame in chemical attacks in Syria. After two days of tense talks, the British delegation to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) rejoiced on Twitter that its proposal "has passed with votes 82 in favor. 24 No."The office of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who traveled to OPCW headquarters in The Hague on Tuesday to push for the proposal, said the organization "will immediately start work to help identify those responsible for chemical attacks in Syria." "It fills a crucial gap left when the United Nations Security Council was prevented from renewing its own investigation in November," a statement from Johnson's office said, referring to objections Russia raised last fall to the OPCW work in Syria.
Other delegates said applause broke out at the rare special session of the OPCW's top policy-making body, held in The Hague which had been addressed by Johnson on Tuesday. "It's passed! Australia proud to cosponsor with @UK_OPCW decision to attribute chemical weapons attack," Canberra's ambassador Brett Mason said in a tweet. Norway tweeted that the British-led proposal had been "overwhelmingly" adopted, with ambassador Martin Soerby praising OPCW members for taking "a decisive and necessary decision to expose the perpetrators of chemical attacks."
According to the text, seen by AFP, the OPCW's secretariat "shall put in place arrangements to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic."British ambassador to The Hague, Peter Wilson hailed "an important day" saying the move was "a critical step forward in ensuring the chemical weapons abuse stops." OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu and his successor, who takes over in July, were also mandated to draw up proposals to give the body broader powers to identify those unleashing chemical weapons in any other country, if governments ask for help.
Those proposals will go to the next meeting of state parties in November for a vote, Wilson told reporters. "The principle has been established that there should be a general attribution arrangement as well as a clear flick of the switch which allows the director general to proceed with attribution in Syria," he said.
Both Moscow, the main ally of Syrian regime chief Bashar Assad, and Damascus, had vehemently opposed the move. They stand accused by the international community of using chemical weapons in recent months. Moscow accused Britain of manipulating its allies, saying earlier Wednesday that "deception is perhaps the word of the day". Britain had failed to provide any evidence that Moscow was behind the nerve agent attack on Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March, the Russian embassy said in a tweet. The vote comes as the OPCW is also due to publish a highly-anticipated report into a chlorine and sarin gas attack in the Syrian town of Douma. Wilson confirmed the OPCW now had the power to identify who could be behind the April attack in Douma in which medics and rescuers said 40 people were killed. Late last year, Russia had wielded its veto power at the UN Security Council to effectively kill off a joint UN-OPCW panel aimed at identifying those behind suspected chemical attacks in Syria.

Britain, US Urge Expanded Power for OPCW to Lay Blame
Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 27 June, 2018/Britain and the United States urged on Tuesday for expanding the powers of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to ensure that blame is pinned on perpetrators of chemical attacks. "We all hoped that these terrible instruments of death would never be used again," British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told a special session of the OPCW's top policy-making body in The Hague. "But the tragic reality is that chemical weapons have been used and are being used all over again." In the absence of any mechanism to identify who is behind any such attacks, Britain supported by its allies has put forward a proposal that the OPCW should be mandated to "attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks". Both Moscow and Damascus have vehemently denied using poison gases and a rare nerve agent in recent months and years, and argued there should be no change to the mandate of the OPCW. The talks called by London come as the OPCW is expected to unveil soon its report into a sarin and chlorine gas attack in April in the Syrian town of Douma. Medics and rescuers say 40 people were killed, blaming the attack on the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Johnson also highlighted the "appalling" nerve agent attack in March on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, blamed by London on Moscow, saying areas in the town were still being decontaminated. In 2017, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother was assassinated with a nerve agent in an attack in Kuala Lumpur airport. "We in the international community cannot ignore these breaches of the Chemical Weapons Convention," Johnson said. "None of us wants our children to grow up in a world where the use of chemical weapons becomes normalized. And I think today we all have the responsibility to act." US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan agreed, saying "state and non-state actors are challenging the international norm against chemical weapons use". "Allowing chemical weapons use to continue with impunity threatens our rules-based order and all nations around the world."But Moscow hit back that changing the OPCW's mandate was a "destructive idea" which would undermine the body's legal basis.Late last year, Russia wielded its veto power at the UN Security Council to effectively kill off a joint UN-OPCW panel aimed at identifying those behind attacks in Syria. Tensions ran high from the start at the London meeting. It took three hours of a heated debate just to adopt the agenda. And there was no early consensus on the British draft, meaning delegates have to wait 24 hours before voting on it behind closed doors on Wednesday. "If accountability is avoided the potential re-emergence and acceptance of chemicals as weapons of war and terror will not be deterred," outgoing OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu warned, saying his body was ready and able to carry out a new mission. Speaking for the EU, Judit Koromi said: "The question of attribution can and should be addressed by the OPCW." "There can be no impunity and those responsible for such acts must be held accountable," she added. A two-thirds majority, minus any abstentions, is needed for Britain's draft to pass. Before its mandate expired in December, the panel known as the JIM (Joint Investigative Mechanism) had determined that the Syrian regime used chlorine or sarin gas at least four times against its own civilians.

North Korea Carrying out Activity near Nuclear Facility, Says Monitor

Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 27 June, 2018/Satellite imagery revealed that North Korea was still operating its main nuclear site, despite pledges to denuclearize, a monitor said on Wednesday. Pyongyang is carrying out rapid improvements to its Yongbyon nuclear site and infrastructure works, said the respected 38 North website. During a historic Singapore summit with US President Donald Trump earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared a commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Kim promised to "work toward" the goal, but the Singapore meeting failed to clearly define denuclearization or produce a specific timeline towards dismantling the North's atomic weapons arsenal. Trump claimed the process would start quickly, saying last week that "it will be a total denuclearization, which is already taking place". The satellite imagery revealed on Wednesday contradict these pledges. "Commercial satellite imagery from June 21 indicates that improvements to the infrastructure at... Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center are continuing at a rapid pace," it said.  It noted "continued operations" at the North's uranium enrichment plant and several new installations at the site -- including an engineering office and a driveway to a building housing a nuclear reactor. But continued operations at the site "should not be seen as having any relationship with North Korea's pledge to denuclearize", it added.  Nuclear officials could be "expected to proceed with business as usual until specific orders are issued from Pyongyang", it said. The North last month blew up its aged but only nuclear test site at Punggye-ri -- where it had staged six atomic tests -- in a show of goodwill before the summit. But Pyongyang has kept its counsel on the denuclearization issue since the meeting, although state media have dialed down propaganda against the US, long dubbed the "imperialist enemy".North Korea was addressed during talks held between US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Beijing on Wednesday. The two officials tackled the thorny issue of how to get North Korea to fulfill its vow to abandon its nuclear program. Mattis is set to travel to Seoul on Thursday and later Japan as part of an Asian tour.

Over 200 Killed in Central Nigeria Violence
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 27 June, 2018/More than 200 people were killed in violence against farming communities last weekend in Plateau state, central Nigeria, the state governor has said. Simon Lalong said after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the state capital Jos on Tuesday night that the clashes had left "the painful loss of over 200 people". The police, who blame suspected cattle herders, have said 86 people were killed. However, multiple local sources from the communities affected maintained more than 100 people died. The main association representing the largely nomadic herders has denied its community had any involvement in the killings. The violence is the latest bout in months of bloodletting in Nigeria's so-called "Middle Belt". The clashes are rooted in tensions over access to land between pastoral herders and sedentary farmers, but have generated sectarian friction. Lalong suggested "criminal elements" were exacerbating tensions, including "conflict merchants" involved in "cattle rustling, theft, banditry, gun running" and other crimes. Buhari came to power in 2015 on a promise to curb insecurity across the country, in particular Boko Haram, whose insurgency has killed at least 20,000 since 2009. But a resurgence of violence in the long-running conflict between herders and farmers has put that under scrutiny as elections approach in February next year. Lalong said the latest attacks in Plateau were carried out with "sophisticated weapons" that were "reflective of a terrorist invasion". "It (the bloodshed) therefore demands a justified response like that which was undertaken to address the Boko Haram insurgency," he added. Lawmakers earlier this month threatened Buhari with impeachment because his security chiefs had repeatedly failed to protect lives and property.

US Judge Orders Separated Families Reunited Within 30 Days
Asharq Al-Awsat/A US federal judge ordered that immigrant parents and children separated at the border with Mexico under President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy be reunited within 30 days. For children under five, reunification must take place within two weeks of the order, issued Tuesday by US District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego. Sabraw issued the ruling in response to a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a seven-year-old girl who was separated from her Congolese mother and a 14-year-old boy who was separated from his Brazilian mother. The judge also issued an injunction against any more family separations. US federal authorities have 10 days to allow parents to call their children if they are not already in touch with them. Trump signed an executive order last week halting his government's practice of taking children away from parents who cross the border without papers, even to seek asylum. Many are fleeing violence in Central America. But the order made no specific provisions for families already separated under the policy, which drew scorn as inhumane and even a form of child abuse in heated criticism in America and around the world. More than 2,000 children taken from their families remain under the care of federal authorities. The judge was scathing in his criticism of the Trump policy of taking kids away from their parents. "The facts set forth before the court portray reactive governance -- responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the government's own making," Sabraw wrote in the 24-page ruling. "They belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our Constitution," the judge added. Before the preliminary injunction ruling, the US government urged Sabraw not to require that it stop separating and quickly reunite migrant families after they illegally cross the US-Mexico border, saying Trump's executive order last week "largely" addressed those goals. Sabraw, who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, had on June 6 rejected the government's bid to dismiss the case, saying forced separations could "shock the conscience" and amount to a violation of constitutional due process.

Prince William Meets Palestinian President, Hopes for Lasting Middle East Peace
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 27 June, 2018/Britain's Prince William met on Wednesday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, hoping for “lasting peace” to be achieved in the Middle East. The British royal is on a four-day tour of the region that has taken him to Jordan and Israel. His talks in the West Bank made him the first official British royal to visit the Palestinian territories. William, second in line to the throne, received a red-carpet welcome to the Muqata, the Palestinian government headquarters in the city of Ramallah, that included an honor guard and band. “I’m very glad our two countries work so closely together and have had success stories with education and relief work in the past, so, long may that continue,” William told Abbas at the start of their meeting. “My sentiments are the same as yours in hoping that there is a lasting peace in the region,” the prince said. “The Palestinian side is committed to the peace process with the Israelis, so both states could live peacefully together within the borders of 1967,” Abbas said in his public remarks at his meeting with William. Though the trip is being billed as non-political, the prince is meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and visiting sites at the heart of the century-old conflict. The Palestinians have been eager to welcome the prince, hoping his visit will give them a boost as they struggle with an American administration that is biased in favor of Israel. On Tuesday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin publicly asked the prince to bring Abbas “a message of peace” and tell him it is time to find a way to “build confidence” between Israel and the Palestinians. Rivlin’s position is largely ceremonial and in remarks released to the media after his own meeting with William earlier that day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no such request.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014 and a divide has widened since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and moved the US Embassy to the city. Palestinians want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war, as the capital of a state they seek to establish in the two territories. After meeting Abbas, William was scheduled to meet Palestinian youngsters. Until now it had been British policy not to make an official royal visit to Israel and the occupied territories until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was resolved. “It’s not a time when he can come and celebrate success in the Middle East peace process or anything of that sort, but it is a time when we can show our interest in the region,” Philip Hall, Britain’s consul-general in Jerusalem, told Reuters before William flew to the Middle East. William’s tour, which ends on Thursday with a visit to holy sites, also marks the first time a member of the British royal family has paid an official visit to Israel. On Tuesday, he had focused in his first engagements in Israel on honoring the memory of victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

Egypt Blacklists 187 Muslim Brotherhood Members
Cairo/Asharq Al Awsat/Wednesday, 27 June, 2018/The Cairo Criminal Court blacklisted 187 members and supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group for five years, including hardline cleric Wagdy Ghunaim Wagdy Ghoneim, TV hosts Moataz Matar, and Mohamed Nasser who fled Egypt to Qatar and Turkey. The court also ordered to put the Brotherhood and its affiliate “Hasm Vanguards” militant group on the list of terrorist entities. According to Egypt’s regulations on terror activities issued in 2015, blacklisting any group or person for terror activities is automatically followed by freezing belonging assets and funds and a travel ban. Persons listed by criminal courts on the list of terrorists are entitled to challenge the decision before the Court of Cassation, the country's highest civil court. On the other hand, the Criminal Court of Cairo decided yesterday to postpone the trial of 213 defendants accused of belonging to terror organizations. The defendants face charges of over 54 terrorist crimes, including the killing of police officers, an assassination attempt on the former Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Moustafa, and bombing security installations in a number of provinces, particularly the buildings of the directorates of security Cairo, Dakahlia and South Sinai. The decision to postpone came in order to hold further hearing and testimonial sessions. Egyptian prosecution explained that the blacklisted figures and entities were involved in plans for toppling the regime through anti-state campaigns, blasts and assassinations as well as attacks against policemen, soldiers and vital institutions inside the country. Morsi was removed by the army in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule. Later, a security crackdown on his supporters left hundreds dead and thousands arrested. Since Morsi's ouster and detention, Egypt has faced a wave of terror activities that left hundreds of policemen, soldiers and civilians dead. A Sinai-based group affiliated with ISIS claimed responsibility for most of the terror attacks in Egypt. Meanwhile, the Egyptian military and police killed hundreds of militants and arrested thousands of suspects as part of the country's anti-terror war declared by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, following Morsi's removal.

Aboul Gheit Stresses Support for Iraq’s Unity, Stability
Cairo - Sawsan Abu Hussein/Asharq Al Awsat/Wednesday, 27 June, 2018/Secretary-General of the Arab League (AL) Ahmed Aboul Gheit stressed Tuesday his support for all efforts to achieve unity and stability in Iraq, maintain Iraqi territorial integrity and reject any foreign intervention in its internal affairs. His remarks were made during his meeting with Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi at the AL headquarters in Cairo. The meeting tackled the most important developments in Iraq, especially with regard to the repercussions of the recent parliamentary elections and the dimensions of ongoing contacts to form a new Iraqi government, according to a statement issued by AL spokesman Mahmoud Afifi. Both parties also discussed ongoing efforts to completely eliminate all forms of terrorism and extremism in Iraq, ending all the years of sufferings of the Iraqi people from terrorism and violence. Afifi stressed that Aboul Gheit was keen to ensure that the elements of the democratic political process were complemented, the unity of the Iraqi people in all its communities was upheld and that the interests of all groups and sects were respected without distinction or discrimination. The AL secretary general also emphasized, according to Afifi, the great importance of Iraq within the framework of the joint Arab action system based on the positive contributions of Iraqis in the various fields of work in this system, “bearing in mind that Iraq is one of the founding countries of the Arab League, and it represents the eastern gateway to the Arab world.”For his part, the Iraqi vice president expressed keenness on regular consultation with the AL chief "whether on the ongoing developments in Iraq or the Arab scene in general."Allawi described the AL as "the mother institution for the Arab world that expresses the collective Arab will," Afifi said. Allawi also pointed out to his full support for Aboul Gheit’s efforts to revitalize the role of the AL in addressing various Arab priorities in the political, economic and social fields. On Monday, Allawi met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Cairo and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. He also met with Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El Tayyeb, who affirmed Al-Azhar's support for the unity of Iraq and its support in facing terrorism and division. He said al-Azhar is ready to provide all what would achieve unity and stability of the Iraqi people.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 27-28/18
Lieberman asks Iranians: 'Where's your money going?'
Ynetnews/Yoav Zitun/June 26/18
Capitalizing on Iranian displays of frustration as demonstrators protest outside parliament over economic downturn, defense minister seeks to galvanize public into more action as he accuses the regime in Tehran, in a Farsi post on his Facebook page, of diverting millions of dollars for terror activities.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman addressed the Iranian people in Farsi on Tuesday, asking them “where your money is going” while accusing the regime in Tehran of diverting badly-needed funds for terror activities.
“Where is your money going? To this day, despite the economic difficulties at home, the Iranian regime continues to invest billions in Syria, in Hezbollah, in Islamic Jihad, in Houthis in Yemen, in Shi’ite militias in Iraq,” the defense minister wrote on his Facebook in Farsi
In 2018, Iran committed to paying each organization $2.5 million. Until the present day, Iran has invested $14 million in Syria alone,” the message continued, a day after Iranians took to the streets and protested outside parliament against the economic downturn caused by looming US sanctions since President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal.
“Even last month, when you were fighting for your bread in the streets of Tehran, (Iranian senior officer) Qasem Soleimani took a series of measures, including logistical operations intended for Syria at the cost of $70 million,” Lieberman added.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that against the background of the rare wave of protest in Iran, the regime banned imports of more than 1,300 products and prepared its economy for the return of US sanctions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised his citizens on Tuesday that the government would be able to handle the economic pressure of new US sanctions, a day after traders massed outside parliament, protesting against a sharp fall in the value of the national currency
Rouhani said the fresh US sanctions were part of a "psychological, economic and political war", adding that Washington would pay a high price for its actions.
"Withdrawal was the worst decision he (Trump) could make. It was appalling. It hurt America's global reputation," he said.
His country, he added, is in a "fight" with the US. In a televised speech, Rouhani blamed the US for Iran's woes.
"The US cannot defeat our nation, our enemies are not able to get us to their knees," he said.
Iran's judiciary chief warned on Tuesday that the "economic saboteurs", who he said were behind the fall of rial, would face severe punishment, including execution or 20 years in jail.
"The enemy is now trying to disrupt our economy through a psychological operation. In recent days some tried to shut down the Bazaar, but their plot was thwarted by the police," Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
Tehran's prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said some protesters near the bazaar were arrested on Monday and would not be released before going to trial.
The Iranian government is implementing new plans to control rising prices, including banning, as mentioned, imports of over 1,300 products, preparing its economy to resist threatened US sanctions.
In late December, demonstrations which began over economic hardship spread to more than 80 Iranian cities and towns. At least 25 people died in the ensuing unrest, the biggest expression of public discontent in almost a decade
Demonstrators initially vented their anger over high prices and alleged corruption, but the protests took on a rare political dimension, with a growing number of people calling on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down.
Reuters contributed to this report.

European Terrorism: The 'Batman Syndrome'

Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/June 27, 2018/
"It is the 'Batman syndrome': the hero refuses to kill, he systematically saves his enemy who escapes and kills new victims until the hero catches up with him, and so on". — Causeur magazine.
"These crimes will continue so long as the Republic leaves the enemy in peace". — Ivan Riofoul, Le Figaro.
In the end, there might be still a region called "Europe", but it may no longer enfold European culture.
The European Union lost €180 billion (USD $210 billion) in GDP due to terrorism between 2004 and 2016. The United Kingdom (€43.7 billion) and France (€43 billion) suffered the highest losses, followed by Spain (€40.8 billion) and Germany (€19.2 billion), according to a Rand Corporation study.
"Beyond those who have been directly physically affected by terrorist attacks, the extensive coverage of terrorist attacks through multiple media and social media channels has substantially increased the amount of people and companies that could be psychologically affected. This subsequently affects their economic behaviour".
New statistics have also come from the Britain's anti-terrorism office. 441 people have been arrested in the UK for terrorism in the last year alone, and 4,182 since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The threat of terrorism is exhausting Europe.
According to the Spanish "black book" of terrorism, 658 Europeans have been murdered in terror attacks on European soil, while 1,029 Europeans have been killed by them abroad. Half of the French army has been deployed within the French Republic to protect the civilian targets, such as schools, monuments, and religious sites. Europe's armies are exhausted from patrolling the streets, to the point that NATO planners now fear that, over time, European armies "may get better at guarding railway stations and airports than fighting wars". An officer who recently returned from Afghanistan for guard duty in Belgium said: "We are standing around like flowers pots, just waiting to be smashed". Germany also sent troops into the streets for the first time since the Second World War.
One has to ask: Is Europe really serious about its war on terror? The French magazine Causeur just called it "the Batman Syndrome":
"How can we respect a society that is too cowardly to fight those who threaten its citizens, and that demonstrates its weakness by systematically seeking appeasement at the price of the most unreasonable accommodations? It is the 'Batman syndrome': the hero refuses to kill, he systematically saves his enemy who escapes and kills new victims until the hero catches up with him, and so on."
France is now close to freeing at least 50 terrorists from prison. The UK is also due to free 80 Islamic fundamentalists from prison. According to a new French report, nearly 10% of the 512 prisoners incarcerated for terrorism are likely to be released by the end of 2018. Their release may well pose a major threat. Khamzat Azimov, a terrorist who stabbed a man to death and injured four other people with a knife in central Paris, was known to counter-terrorism forces. Belgium released from prison a terrorist who had gone on a "bloody rampage" in the city of Liege two days before he killed two policewomen and a passerby.
Unless it gets serious about arresting not only the terrorists but also their deadly ideology, Europe will not see the end of the jihadist siege. A few days after the attacks in Liege, France thwarted another jihadist plot "with either explosives or ricin, this very powerful poison". After that, there was another terror attempt to strike the French gay community.
"France is the priority target of the terrorism unleashed in Europe by conquering Islam" wrote Ivan Rioufol in Le Figaro.
"Since 2015, 247 people have been killed in France in attacks by Islamists. The 'knife intifada' is no longer reserved just for Israel. In Magnanville, a couple of policemen, Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and Jessica Schneider, were stabbed in front of their three-year-old child. Father Jacques Hamel was slaughtered in his church. In Marseille, Laura and Maurane had their throats slashed. These crimes will continue so long as the Republic leaves the enemy in peace".
The level of threat in France remains alarmingly high. "9,157 people were subjected to at least one surveillance measure by the intelligence services in 2017 in the name of the prevention of terrorism", an official French report recently revealed. In 2017, 20 major terror attacks in France were foiled.
Regarding the West's current "war on terror," American historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote:
"The result is the present age of serial Punic conflict, perhaps intolerable to the psyche, but in amoral terms tolerable as long as casualties are kept to a minimum and defeat is redefined as acceptable strategic wisdom. In the past, such periods of enervating war have gone on for a century and more. Ultimately, they too end — and with consequences."
In the end, there might be still a region called "Europe", but it may no longer enfold European culture.
*Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.
© 2018 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 Supports, Infantilizes Jihadis
Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/June 27, 2018/
The Canadian government is willing to go to great (and presumably costly) lengths to "facilitate" the return of Canadian jihadists, unlike the UK, for example, which has revoked the citizenship of ISIS fighters so they cannot return.
Attempts at deradicalization elsewhere have frequently turned out to be ineffective. In the UK, for example, a new government report shows that the vast majority of deradicalization programs are not only ineffective, but even counterproductive, and that those tasked with executing the programs "...would refuse to engage in topics over fears of bringing up matters of race and religion without appearing discriminatory"
In France, the country's first and only deradicalization center closed in September 2017 after just one year, without having "deradicalized" a single individual. On the contrary, three participants reportedly behaved as if the center were a "Jihad academy".
Canadians who go abroad to commit terrorism – predominantly jihadists, in other words – have a "right to return" according to government documents obtained by Global News. They not only have a right of return, but "... even if a Canadian engaged in terrorist activity abroad, the government must facilitate their return to Canada," as one document says.
According to the government, there are still around 190 Canadian citizens volunteering as terrorists abroad. The majority are in Syria and Iraq, and 60 have returned. Police are reportedly expecting a new influx of returnees over the next couple of months.
The Canadian government is willing to go to great (and presumably costly) lengths to "facilitate" the return of Canadian jihadists, unlike the UK, for example, which has revoked the citizenship of ISIS fighters so they cannot return. The Canadian government has established a taskforce, the High Risk Returnee Interdepartmental Taskforce, that, according to government documents:
"... allows us to collectively identify what measures can mitigate the threat these individuals may pose during their return to Canada. This could include sending officers overseas to collect evidence before they depart, or their detention by police upon arrival in Canada."
Undercover officers may also be used "to engage with the HRT [High Risk Traveler] to collect evidence, or monitor them during their flight home."
In the sanitizing Orwellian newspeak employed by the Canadian government, the terrorists are not jihadis who left Canada to commit the most heinous crimes, such as torture, rape and murder, while fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but "High Risk Travelers" and "High Risk Returnees".
The government is fully aware of the security risk to which it is subjecting Canadians: According to the documents, "HRRs [High Risk Returnees] can pose a significant threat to the national security of Canada". This fact raises the question of why the government of Canada is keen to facilitate these people's "right of return" -- when presumably the primary obligation of the government is to safeguard the security of law-abiding Canadian citizens.
The government also does not appear hopeful that the returning terrorists will face criminal charges. By the end of 2017, the Trudeau government had only charged two returned ISIS fighters, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said at the time, "This is an issue that is bedeviling countries around the world in terms of how you actually... move from intelligence to evidence and make a case stick".
The documents describe terrorism cases as "complex and resource intensive," citing the difficulties of terrorism investigations and caution that "there may not be sufficient evidence for charges", and that, therefore, the government will have to "mitigate the threat through efforts outside the criminal justice system."
Such efforts might include sending an "intervention team" that can "engage with the returnee and the returnee's family to open up dialogue with the individual and to help support the returnee's disengagement from their radical ideology and past behavior... While they may have engaged in terrorism abroad and broken the law, not all returnees continue to post [sic] a threat — they may now be disillusioned with the cause" or "...may no longer be interested in violence."
How comforting for Canadians that their government is pandering to terrorists while pretending that there is a chance that returning jihadis will suddenly change their ways.
Attempts at deradicalization elsewhere have frequently turned out to be ineffective. In the UK, for example, a new government report shows that the vast majority of deradicalization programs are not only ineffective, but even counterproductive, and that those tasked with executing the programs "...would refuse to engage in topics over fears of bringing up matters of race and religion without appearing discriminatory". In France, the country's first and only deradicalization center closed in September 2017 after just one year, without having "deradicalized" a single individual. On the contrary, three participants reportedly behaved as if the center were a "Jihad academy".
The Canadian government is willing to go to great lengths to "facilitate" the return of Canadian jihadists. But attempts at deradicalization in Western countries have frequently turned out to be ineffective. In France, the country's first and only deradicalization center (pictured) closed in September 2017 without having "deradicalized" a single individual. (Image source: 28 minutes - ARTE video screenshot)
Some members of the Canadian government are evidently aware of the near-futility of such deradicalization efforts. In November 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said "You have to prevent the problem before it exists. Once a person has been in a war zone, once they've been actively engaged in terrorist-related activities, the capacity to turn them around is pretty remote."
These facts, however, are unlikely to bother Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who appears to compare returning ISIS fighters to Italian and Greek immigrants who settled in Montreal in the post war years. Trudeau has said, "We know that actually someone who has engaged and turned away from ... hateful ideology can be an extraordinarily powerful voice for preventing radicalization" -- but he appears to disregard the evidence that few actually turn away from jihadism.
Perhaps the Trudeau government simply cares more for jihadists and Islamists than for Canada. In early May, the Toronto Sun revealed that the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), which has ties to terrorist organizations, would receive 10 grants from the government's Canada Summer Jobs Grant[1] to fund its activities across Ontario.
According to the Toronto Sun, "MAC provided $296,514 between 2001 and 2010" to IRFAN-Canada. Within that period, from 2005 and 2009, "IRFAN-Canada transferred approximately $14.6 million worth of resources to various organizations associated with Hamas". Both MAC and IRFAN-Canada are considered linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2014, Canada's government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper designated IRFAN-Canada a terrorist entity.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government is facilitating the return of ISIS terrorists and granting government funds to Islamist organizations who end up funding banned terrorist groups. So, whose interests is the Canadian government really looking out for?
*Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.
[1] Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ), according to the government website, provides wage subsidies to employers to create employment for secondary and post-secondary students. It welcomes applications from small businesses, not-for-profit employers, public sector and faith-based organizations that provide quality summer jobs for students.
© 2018 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.

Years after Genocide, Yazidis Urgently Need Help
Uzay Bulut/Gatestone Institute/June 27, 2018/
There are two types of aid urgently needed by Yazidis at Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in northern Iraq, according to Saad Babir, media director of Yazda: psychological support for the victims of genocide, and basic services such as healthcare, food, water, electricity, heat, new tents -- and even firetrucks and ambulances. Many Yazidis have died in IDP camps due to a lack of the latter two.
"When I was in the camps, I noticed that when UN officials came in to do an assessment, the Yazidi people were not able to tell them the truth about what was happening for fear of retaliation from the country's leaders." — Dawood Saleh, Yazidi author and activist.
"We wrote many reports to the UN, for it to consider Yazidis in the camps refugees, due to their dangerous situation, but our pleas were rejected. The UN has not reported on the situation accurately and sufficiently to enable Western countries to help Yazidis more." — Dawood Saleh.
On June 13, Mark Green, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), finally offered some good news for the persecuted Christians and Yazidis in Iraq. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled: "Help Is on the Way for Middle Eastern Christians," he wrote: "Every day of delay brings persecuted communities that much closer to extinction. In Iraq alone, nearly 90% of Christians have fled in the past 15 years, emptying entire villages that had stood for more than a thousand years. The Yazidi population has been similarly decimated. Without immediate additional support, these groups may be forced to continue their unprecedented exodus, perhaps never to return to their ancient homes.
"The time to act is now. Christians, Yazidis and other persecuted religious communities in the Middle East have suffered unspeakable harm for too long. Their plight has touched the hearts of the American people and stirred this nation to step up with compassion and conviction. President Trump promised to provide them with the help they need to rebuild their communities and restore their hope, and we will work tirelessly to break down any barrier that stands in the way."
The 2014 invasion of the region of Sinjar (or Shingal) in Iraq by the Islamic State (ISIS) brought a mostly forgotten community to the attention of the world: the Yazidis, one of the world's most persecuted ethno-religious groups. A peaceful, non-Muslim people who oppose bloodshed, Yazidis have for centuries been targeted for their faith. Their native lands contain parts of Iraq, Turkey and Syria. Yazidis say that they have been subjected to 74 genocidal campaigns and severe oppression throughout their history at the hands of Islamists.
When ISIS invaded Sinjar in August 2014, hundreds of defenseless Yazidi men and elderly women were murdered. Yazidi girls and women became the victims of widespread abduction and slavery. ISIS "deliberately tormented the relatives of Yazidis who were forced to witness or listen over the phone as their daughters and sisters were abused," according to a 2017 report by Yazda, a Yazidi advocacy organization. The report also reveals that Yazidi boys were kidnapped and recruited to undergo forced conversion and military training:
"In these camps, young Yazidi children are taught IS's extremist ideology and Quranic interpretations, and brainwashed to hate Yazidism, their own families and their community. They are trained to use weapons, including firearms and knives, and made to watch videos depicting decapitations of hostages and to practice this over dummies, or even human beings."
Since the genocide, according to the Yazda report,
"Women and girls have suffered ongoing sexual violence and trafficking. They have been dehumanized and sold in slave markers (souk sabaya) organized by IS's Committee for the Buying and Selling of Slaves or traded among militants through online auctions. In addition to sex trafficking, some Yazidi women and girls have been forcibly married to ISIS fighters, and subjected to forced pregnancy in some cases, and forced contraception or abortion in other cases. All of these tactics were accompanied by forced conversion, the forced abandonment of Yazidi customs, and name changes. Yazidi women and girls in captivity are subjected to constant verbal and psychological abuse, with severe punishments for speaking their own language or practicing Yazidi traditions. Insults are particularly directed at their faith – captives are accused of being 'devil worshippers' and referred to derogatorily as 'kuffar' [infidels] and told to forget their families and their God."
Speaking with Gatestone about the situation of Yazidis, Saad Babir, Yazda's media director, said that there are two types of aid urgently needed by Yazidis at Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in northern Iraq: psychological support for the victims of genocide, and basic services such as healthcare, food, water, electricity, heat, new tents -- and even firetrucks and ambulances. Babir explained that many Yazidis have died in IDP camps due to a lack of the latter two. On May 25, for example, a 17-year-old Yazidi girl burned to death, while three of her siblings were severely injured, when the family's tent caught fire in one of the camps.
Dawood Saleh, a Yazidi author and activist who fled, was in Sinjar when ISIS launched the genocide there in 2014. "Yazidis have lived in the camps in Iraq for four years now," he told Gatestone. "Most of the tents they live in are temporary and could not last for more than one or two seasons. These tents could be fully burned in 30 seconds," he said.
He prioritized the need for psychological support and post-trauma care:
"War and genocide, which Yazidis have recently experienced once again, cause the destruction of the human soul. Yazidis in general suffer from an unprecedented psychological crisis. They have lost hope of living a decent life. I call for providing healthcare and psychological treatment facilities to help all Yazidis, especially women and children survivors, who have managed to escape from the ISIS slavery."
Both Babir and Saleh emphasized that Yazidi camps are not getting sufficient support. "To the best of our knowledge," said Babir, "although the UN Refugee Agency and some other international NGOs are providing some funding, the camps are not receiving any financial support from the Iraqi or Kurdistan regional governments, except in rare cases."
According to Saleh: "When I was in the camps, I noticed that when UN officials came in to do an assessment, the Yazidi people were not able to tell them the truth about what was happening for fear of retaliation from the country's leaders. I personally know many friends who were taken to prison by Kurdish authorities for speaking the truth. Also, we wrote many reports to the UN, for it to consider Yazidis in the camps refugees, due to their dangerous situation, but our pleas were rejected. The UN has not reported on the situation accurately and sufficiently to enable Western countries to help Yazidis more."
Pari Ibrahim, founder and executive director of the Free Yezidi Foundation, also noted that not enough Yazidis have been recommended by the UN for resettlement in Western countries.
Babir suggested that the US help Yazidi victims through resettlement programs similar to those undertaken by Canada, Australia and Germany. He also stressed the service Yazidis have loyally provided for the American military:
"The US government should help Yazidis because many Yazidis have been kidnapped and murdered by ISIS because of their work for the US army as interpreters. We think that it is time for the US to help us now, when we need it the most."
"They are all in need of urgent psychological treatment," Saleh added. "The US should help Yazidi families to get out of Iraq. For them to have to live in Iraq is like suicide."
As one Yazidi displaced person from Iraq said in an interview with the Ezidi Press in 2015: "No matter what we do, this country is our grave."
A Yazda report states: "Survivors of the genocide, including those who were able to flee before being captured, yearn to return to their homeland with assurances of security, peace and stability... However, there are still serious obstacles to return, including the lack of inhabitable homes and suitable infrastructure, with entire villages and towns having been flattened... According to the Mayor of Sinjar, Mahama Khalil, about 80-85% of Sinjar District has been destroyed by ISIS and rebuilding the district will require significant investment... a dedicated fund, which would be administered and supervised efficiently and transparently."
Ibrahim told Gatestone:
"It is not clear that the US will be capable of ensuring that Shingal will be a safe and secure place for Yazidis to live. If not, the US should not pressure Yazidis to return there, but rather it should support the Yazidi community through providing skills, training, and opportunities for them to improve their lives."
As for the Iraqi parliamentary elections that were held on May 12, Saleh said to Gatestone that Yazidis' "votes were burned or stolen. None of the Yazidi parties were able to enter the Iraqi parliament, although the Yazidi votes amounted to more than 100,000. The Yazidis in the camps are still being marginalized, even after the genocide."
Saleh's comments are supported by the Yazda report, which says:
"The discrimination against Yazidis in every aspect of life is exacerbated by the fact that Yazidis are underrepresented in all key institutions in both Iraq and the KRI [Kurdistan Region of Iraq], as they have little opportunity to make changes to government policy or programs."
For a long-term solution, Yazda's Babir proposes a protected enclave for Yazidis in Sinjar and the recognition of the Yazidi right to self-rule. "We suggest international protection for the Yazidi and other vulnerable minorities in Iraq, because both the Iraqi and Kurdish governments have failed to protect us," he concluded. "Also, Yazidis need self-administration in our territories and security to be provided by our own armed forces. To be able to survive and live in safety as honorable people, we need to have the right to self-rule."
Uzay Bulut, a journalist from Turkey, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute. She is currently based in Washington D.C.
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Women Can Drive … What Has Changed?
Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al Awsat/June 27/18
When the clock struck midnight on June 24, the Saudi woman put her hand on the car steering wheeling, marking a landmark moment in the Kingdom’s history. Saudis woke up the next morning to a day similar to any other. They headed to work and went about their daily lives very normally. The same streets that have been driven on by men for decades are now being driven on by women and nothing has changed.
The drivers quickly grew accustomed to the situation, exceeding expectations. Observers would be led to believe that women have been driving for years, not a mere number of days or hours. Women got behind the wheel and drove themselves to work and went about their daily lives. It is as if the day that preceded the end of the driving ban was the same as the one after it. Matters progressed very smoothly and the Saudis proved that they are able to accept landmark decisions, whether on the social or economic levels, should the timing be right.
The Saudi government was always a step ahead of the society. It knows its needs and demands. It waits a long time, but in the end, it meets those demands according to critical balances and equations. The secret always lay in the timing.
Of course, there will always be someone who will claim that since women’s introduction to driving took place so smoothly, why wasn’t this decision taken two or ten years ago? The answer will be: Who said that had such a decision been taken in the past, it would have been so positively received as it is now? Of course, no one can make such a guarantee and we reiterate that the secret lies in the timing.
Certainly, women being allowed to drive is not an insignificant development for them in a country such as Saudi Arabia. It is not so much a luxury as it is a deep need that was confirmed by the submission of over 120,000 driver’s license requests when the announcement was made that the ban would end.
The majority of Saudi society proved that it was open to change and that the current phase was the right time for it. At this point, we must not overlook the fact that women being able to drive is only a part of a grander project that falls within Vision 2030 that aims to increase the number of women in the workforce from 22 to 30 percent in 2030. The same plans hopes to ensure that women contribute to 30 percent of the income in their families. The economic diversification that Saudi Arabia is working on and the national transformation program both rely on the full participation of women. All those programs and plans could not be executed if they are not allowed to drive.
Sunday was a historic day for the entire Saudi society, not just its women. When the government allowed them to drive, it gave them a choice and did not dictate an order. Nearly half of Saudi society is comprised of women, who now have the complete right to drive. Women have the choice to either get behind the wheel or not. We should point out that all the historic decisions issued by King Salman bin Abdulaziz over the past three-and-a-half years, and which have been closely followed up on by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, are part of a package of a greater project. They are not small plans that are separate from one another and perhaps what sets them apart, besides their historic significance, is that after their implementation, they were positively received by society in a way that no one predicted. This is an equation that rarely succeeds in the world and Saudi Arabia set itself apart when it achieved this feat.

Steering Saudis Toward a Brighter Future

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/June 27/18
To say that the Kingdom is a nation of a million Saudi drivers is not far from the truth. Add to that the number of drivers along with domestic helpers employed by Saudis and the number exceeds 1.5 million, with most of them working for families and draining their income. With the end of the ban on women driving, however, there are no compelling reasons to continue employing them.
As soon as the driving ban was lifted, 120,000 women applied for a driver’s license. This number suggests a high level of popular support, something nobody was sure of before given that the issue of allowing women to drive was a religious and social problem.
Reforming the social and economic situation of Saudi families is in the interests of the local economy, since the financial wastage that results from a lack of such reforms is huge. Due to the ban on celebrations, parties and cinema, for example, hundreds of thousands of families were forced to travel abroad in search of entertainment. Meanwhile, due to strict government regulations on the employment of women, tens of thousands of qualified women have been sitting without jobs and no source of income.
All of this is changing gradually. Two years ago, only a few shops in the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah allowed women to work there. Today, female employees are the majority at the mall and men are the minority. Their employment was often at the expense of foreign workers.
This year, female employment featured in a wide range of governmental jobs, including the police, traffic, insurance and accident companies, and passport offices, as well as those Saudi women who can now work driving private taxis and so forth.
In recent months, we have also seen Saudi women working for the first time in airports, hotels and restaurants, although their numbers are still limited. The government’s Social Development Bank offered women cheap loans to buy private cars for use with hire companies such as Uber and Careem, while auto dealerships have been competing to offer similar deals, and have started hiring women in their showrooms.
We can see that this government's valor in deciding to break social taboos, which is rare in the history of Saudi Arabia, has been achieving quick and amazing results and leading society, in general, toward change.
Everything we have seen so far, as a result, has been positive, peaceful and smoothly accomplished.
Saudi authorities must have taken into account many possibilities and taken many precautions in anticipation of the potential for negative reactions and rejection of the reforms; and have undoubtedly deployed thousands of uniformed and undercover policemen across the country to maintain peace and ensure the respect of law and order.
In the event, change has passed peacefully. Moreover, it was preceded by the introduction, under the guidance of King Salman, of a harassment law that protects everyone, women in particular, and punishes violators harshly.
“We were waiting for any harassment violations to apply the immediate punishment, in order to make the perpetrator an example to others, but we did not observe even a single case,” said one police official.
As for those who have been observing the ongoing change with cynicism, aside from their ignorance of the historical circumstances and local traditions of inherited wrong practices, they do not actually realize that it is not easy to confront these issues.
This is similar to what US authorities faced after they had allowed racial discrimination, which for a long time prevented non-whites from studying, traveling, working and even eating in the same places as white people.
As a civilized country, America suffered from a bad social legacy in terms of racial discrimination; and this somehow has also been the case in Saudi Arabia in regards to women.
However, the difference remains huge. There still are significant pockets of Saudi citizens who continue to reject the idea of hiring women to work in mixed public places, and denounce the idea of women driving, but despite these deep feelings we have seen those who hold them dealing respectfully with royal decisions on reform in the past two years.
This reminds us of the widespread social protests organized by conservatives against women’s education in Saudi Arabia in the late 1960s. When they met King Faisal, he replied with a statement that has lingered until today: “You are not forced to send your daughters to schools, but we will open schools anyway.” Within a few years, women were fully integrated into the education system, and now there are more female students in Saudi universities than males.
The progress of positive social change stopped with the rise of the religious ‘awakening’ movement in Saudi Arabia during the early 1980s, and the extremist and conservative groups were not confronted until recently.
Finally, in addition to correcting social malformations and strengthening the local economy, these changes also end the suffering of women.

Iran, Turkey and Qatar divide their dubious roles in region
Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi/Al Arabiya/June 27/18
Humanity has gone through different stages, had different centers of power and produced various scientific innovations and breakthroughs.
The rise and fall of these development, crises, big conflicts, clashes and revolutions have had a crucial impact in molding the world today.
Deriving right lessons
Complexities have been present in all stages of history. The realistic assessment of all these dimensions has had an important role to play in providing the right lessons that have helped the victorious and the wrong interpretations that have disappointed the defeated.
Regarding the conflict with Iran, the right characterization helps countries, leaders and researchers reach facts based on accurate information and analysis and to take stances and make decisions accordingly.
Some information can be false and some interpretations can be unsound due to certain political orientations or wrong visions or personal opinions thus making the characterizations flawed and imperfect. As such, certain stands, policies and decisions would be built on an unrealistic basis, which results in their failure.
Al-Banna and his group established strong ties with Iranian religious groups opposed to the Shah’s regime, and this was the moment of their convergence in contemporary history
Terrorism in its contemporary understanding covers a wide range of ideologies — including a diversity of theories and ideas, religious political groups, and paramilitary organizations characterized by hierarchy, secrecy and obedience. It’s one of the most important challenges facing the world since the end of the 1970s as a result of its wide range of repercussions.
Nevertheless many Western researchers, officials or politicians prefer to present a superficial reading of what is going on in the Middle East — from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the east, to the Arab Maghreb in the west — pointing to conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites.
Some of these researchers and politicians have been influenced by the western model represented in the conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants and said the Sunnis represent the majority while the Shiites represent the minority.
Thus they make false conclusions because they’re seeking an easy way to build their perceptions instead of basing the latter on accuracy, knowledge and reason.
Origins of terror
To explain this misperception it is important to understand the past. Contemporary groups of political Islam that started with Hassan al-Banna when he established the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 and which began to proliferate, multiply and diversify are an idea that was originally derived from the political opposition groups in Islamic history like the Shiites and Khawarij and the likes of these two groups.
This also led to different branches such as Isma’ilism and others, or in the highly organized Sufi schools or through the influence of some European movements, groups and parties such as Nazism and Fascism or others. However, in this it is important to clarify how the ideas developed within Sunnism and Shiism alike.
Banna and his group established strong ties with Iranian religious groups opposed to the Shah’s regime at the time, and this was a moment of their convergence in contemporary history.
Banna and his group leaders had to take some elements of Shiism as did their mullahs counterparts who opposed the Shah regime at the time and adopted some parts of Sunnism. This attempt to harmonize and exchange experiences is what governs the entire contemporary terrorist scene today.
US’ right assessment
In brief, the Shiite version evolved from Abol-Ghasem Kashani and Fada’iyan-e Islam to Khomeini and later manifested in the form of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Houthi militia in Yemen and Shiite terrorist militias in Iraq as well as in Syria.
The Sunni path developed from the secret Muslim Brotherhood organization to Sayyad Qutb’s organization in the 1950s and 1960s, to the violent religious group of the 1970s and 1980s in Egypt and Syria, and then to al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya in the 1990s, Al-Qaeda and then finally ISIS.
The greatest international power, the United States, has risen to the threat posed by Iran and has decided to confront it, instead of making concessions to it, as Obama did. This is in addition to the great influence the US has on European countries that are still hesitant to confront this Iranian threat. During this historical moment, it is important to rebuild the right perspective again and display the right characterization with the seriousness it deserves.
The biggest heirs of this history of contemporary terrorism are two countries in the region, Iran and Qatar. Turkey has also become involved. In fact, these three countries have started dividing roles and they are working to manipulate the world’s perceptions and distort any deep and accurate descriptions.
The supporter of Shiite militias and parties is Iran, and sometimes Qatar, while the supporter of terrorist groups and organizations are Qatar and Turkey which coordinate their supporting roles as after the so-called Arab Spring, they (Qatar and Turkey) became the centers of fundamentalism in the region and the world.
We must take into consideration that all information, facts and documents prove an organic relation between the Sunni organization Al Qaeda and the Iranian Khamenei regime, and the same can be said about the relation between ISIS and Iran on one hand and ISIS and Turkey on another.
The clearest examples of this close harmonization of roles can be witnessed in the ongoing rapprochement in Yemen between the Muslim Brotherhood there.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been cunningly waiting and lurking ever since Operation Decisive Storm was launched and has started to take sides with the Houthi militia, after the great advances of the Yemeni army and resistance in the western coast and in the Battle of Hodeidah and the battles towards Saada, towards the east and west of Taiz and in the direction of Sanaa.
Ben Rhodes, a former aide of Barack Obama and an advisor on the nuclear deal during Obama’s term, presents an example of the dysfunctional characterization, perception and the personal bias of Obama.
In his book The World As it Is, Rhodes said Obama “blindly adored Iran and its civilization” and despised Arabs in such a strange way. The writer recounts various details, information, figures and decisions about Obama’s submission to Iranian blackmail and providing huge financial aid to the country and allowing Tehran to expand and gain influence while overlooking its relations with ISIS. These are some of the facts that narrate important details of Obama’s eight lean years.
At last, though, thanks to the efforts of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the world has become more familiar with Iran’s destructive roles.