May 09/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani


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Bible Quotations
You accepted the word that you heard from us as what it really is, God’s word

First Letter to the Thessalonians 02/13-17: “We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last. As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you in person, not in heart we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face.”

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on May 08-09/18
All Elections in Occupied Lebanon are illegitimate/Elias Bejjani/07 May/18
Lebanon’s Fake and illegitimate Parliamentary Elections/Elias Bejjani/07 May/18
Hizbullah’s Victory in the Lebanese Parliamentary Elections Completes Iran’s Takeover of the Lebanese State/Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs/May 08/18
Hizbullah Arsenal Seen as Safe after Parliamentary Vote/Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/18Lebanon's Winning Women: Six Females Voted into Parliament/Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/18
Outsiders in Lebanon Vote Make a Small Win Look Big/Associated Press/Naharnet/May 08/18
Five New Faces to Follow in New Parliament/Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/18
What Does Hezbollah’s Election Victory Mean for Lebanon/Hanin Ghaddar/The Washington Institute/May 08/18
The Secret to Hezbollah's Electoral Success/David Kenner/The Atlantic/May 08/18
Trump declares US leaving ‘horrible’ Iran nuclear accord
Associated Press/May 08/18
Containing Iran’s Nefarious Influence in the Region/Pascal Emmanuel Gobry/Bloomberg/May 08/18
This is My Country, Oh Hell/Ghassan Charbel/Asharq Al Awsat/May 08/18
Resilience Against Conflicts Key to Ending Hunger/José Graziano da Silva/Asharq Al Awsat/May 08/18
The Earth is not round/Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/May 08/18
Iran’s expansionist project eyes North Africa/Sawsan Al Shaer/Al Arabiya/May 08/18
My vision on the religious diversity in Saudi Arabia/Nathalie Goulet/Al Arabiya/May 08/18
Iran in the US Backyard/Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/May 08/18
Pompeo tries to smooth path for ‘deal of the century’/Maria Dubovikova/Arab News/May 08/18

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on May 08-09/18
All Elections in Occupied Lebanon are illegitimate
Lebanon’s Fake and illegitimate Parliamentary Elections
Hizbullah’s Victory in the Lebanese Parliamentary Elections Completes Iran’s Takeover of the Lebanese State
Aoun Stresses Willingness to Call for National Dialogue
Dispute between young men in Choueifat evolves into shooting
Jumblatt via Twitter: Clashes among family members shameful
Kuwait's ambassador congratulates Hariri on parliamentary elections
Bassil after 'Strong Lebanon' bloc meeting: We are main supportive piers of current tenure
Hizbullah Arsenal Seen as Safe after Parliamentary Vote
Iran Hails Hizbullah 'Victory' in Lebanon Elections
Daryan: Those who Violated Beirut Security Must be Held Accountable
Lebanon's Winning Women: Six Females Voted into Parliament
Bassil Says 'Change' Has Begun in Chouf-Aley after 4 Seats Won
Bassil Says FPM to Have Biggest Bloc in Parliament
Berri, Hariri Slam Beirut 'Security Chaos' as Army Deploys
Outsiders in Lebanon Vote Make a Small Win Look Big
Five New Faces to Follow in New Parliament
U.N. Appeals for Stability in Lebanon after Vote
What Does Hezbollah’s Election Victory Mean for Lebanon
The Secret to Hezbollah's Electoral Success
Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on May 08-09/18
Trump declares US leaving ‘horrible’ Iran nuclear accord
Trump announces US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal
Turkey says US decision on Iran deal will cause instability, new conflicts
US Navy jets begin sorties against ISIS in Syria from Mediterranean
US Navy is Resurrecting a Fleet to Protect the East Coast, North Atlantic from Russia
French defense minister says weakening Iran deal would aggravate region
Iraqi intelligence reveals where ISIS’s Baghdadi believed to be hiding
2 Pilots Killed as Russian Helicopter Crashes in Syria
Tension rises as Bashar al-Assad possibly becomes Israel’s next target
Libya’s Haftar Kicks off Military Offensive to Liberate Derna from Terrorists
Saudi FM: Iran-planned Houthi attacks do not affect kingdom’s stability
Arab coalition strike hits presidential office in Yemen’s Houthi-held capital
Armenian Protest Leader Pashinyan Elected PM by Parliament
Syria Says Downed Two Israeli Missiles near capital

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on May 08-09/18
All Elections in Occupied Lebanon are illegitimate
Elias Bejjani/07 May/18
Lebanon is an occupied country. The Occupier is the Iran terrorist proxy, Hezbollah. According to international laws and regulations all elections that take place under the occupation is totally illegitimate.
Lebanon’s Fake and illegitimate Parliamentary Elections
Elias Bejjani/07 May/18
The parliamentary elections in occupied Lebanon came to end yesterday at 7PM, Beirut local time.
More than 100 nominees were winners before the election process started as designed and orchestrated by the Iranian occupier and its ally the Syrian Assad regime.
No actual surprises took place because Hezbollah occupies the country and did impose its Iranian tailored electoral law.
Meanwhile the whole election charade was mostly pre-set pre-fabricated and most of the successful MP’s were practically appointed.
But in spite of the Iranian occupation, the occupier (Hezbollah) failed to eradicate or marginalise the Lebanese Christians pride and dignity, as well as their values for independence and sovereignty.
In Keserwan- Jbiel district Hezbollah’s nominee Sheik Hassan Zaieter was not a winner despite all the tactics of intimidation that were forced on the district’s residents.
In the same realm in Baalbak the Lebanese Forces Nominee Antoine Habchi won the MP seat in spite of the rhetoric war of terrorism that Hezbollah declared openly against him.
Sadly, this Parliament which Hezbollah controls will be heading to legitimize its armed militia in case the Iranian occupation remains in control of Lebanon.
In conclusion, this election is legally illegitimate due the fact that Lebanon is an occupied country and the Lebanese people are oppressed and not able or even allowed to elect freely.

Hizbullah’s Victory in the Lebanese Parliamentary Elections Completes Iran’s Takeover of the Lebanese State
Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs/May 08/18
Hassan Nasrallah announced a Hizbullah victory in the Lebanese parliamentary elections that took place on May 6, 2018.
The Lebanese constitution, which is based on the National Pact of 1943, divides the government among the country’s religious sects. Therefore, following the elections, the president will continue to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the chairman of Parliament a Shiite. However, with regard to the division between 128 members of Parliament, half of whom are Christians and half Muslims, Hizbullah has increased its parliamentary power through pacts with the Shiite Amal Party and the party of President Michel Aoun. The party of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is the biggest loser.
The necessity for forming a national unity government will apparently obligate all sides to maintain the present formula of power, according to which President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, and Parliamentary Chairman Nabih Berri will continue in their current positions. However, the main significance of a Hizbullah victory is that it strengthens the veto power that the Shiite organization possesses with regard to any Lebanese government decision. Therefore, Hizbullah will continue to lay the foundations of Lebanese policy in the spheres of foreign and internal policy. The most important of these are:
Protecting and maintaining the military power of Hizbullah, which is directly subject to Hassan Nasrallah and through him, to Iranian leader Khamenei.
Using force against Israel – subject to Iran’s decision; dispatching military forces to Syria; and supporting Iran domination in Syria.
Building institutions that are parallel to state institutions to provide civilian services in all aspects of life for Hizbullah and army militia.
Beyond all of the above, Hizbullah’s victory completes Iran’s takeover of the country of Lebanon. Any decisions regarding war and peace in Lebanon will be made in Tehran, not Beirut.
Apparently, the cannon fodder that Hizbullah supplied to Iran in Syria over the past seven years has not harmed Hizbullah’s position in Lebanon. Nasrallah campaigned daily via television, and mobilized all his abilities for the success of his representatives in the parliamentary elections. He has succeeded in presenting Hizbullah as the ultimate protector of the Shiites in Lebanon and the country itself.
For this reason, there must be an impact on any decisions regarding military aid from the Western countries, and primarily the United States, offered to the Lebanese army. Now, more than ever, it must be clear that giving any aid to the Lebanese Army is essentially giving military aid to Hizbullah.
Aoun Stresses Willingness to Call for National Dialogue 08th May 2018/President Michel Aoun on Tuesday announced that he will be calling for a national dialogue to discuss the implementation of the Taef Accord and confer over a defensive strategy for the country. "I will seek, along with both the Parliament Speaker and the Prime Minister, to restore the Parliament's monitoring and legislative role," the President said in his first post-election address to the Lebanese. "I am intending to call for a national dialogue so as to complete the implementation of all of the Taef Accord's stipulations, and to set up a defensive strategy which regulates the defense of the nation and preserves its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Aoun hailed the parliamentary elections as an "achievement", saying that the new electoral system has proved to be fair.

Dispute between young men in Choueifat evolves into shooting
Tue 08 May 2018/NNA - A brawl on electoral backgrounds took place in Choueifat between two young men belonging to two different parties. The clash developed into mutual machine gun shooting, which created tension in the area, the NNA correspondent said. No injuries were reported. Security forces rushed to the clash scene and worked on solving it to prevent further escalation. The joint committees of the two parties also intervened to end the clash.

Jumblatt via Twitter: Clashes among family members shameful
Tue 08 May/2018/NNA - "To our comrades and supporters in Choueifat, and to the Democratic Party we say the elections are over and we must open a new page," said the leader of the Democratic Gathering, Walid Jumblatt, via Twitter.
"It is a shame to witness this absurd fighting between the members of one family," he wrote. "I condemn the rhetoric of incitement in all the regions. The Army is doing carrying out its duties to the fullest," he added.

Kuwait's ambassador congratulates Hariri on parliamentary elections
Tue 08 May 2018/NNA - Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, welcomed on Tuesday afternoon at the "Center House" Kuwaiti Ambassador to Lebanon Abdul-Aal al-Kinai, who congratulated him on his victory in the parliamentary elections held on May 6.

Bassil after 'Strong Lebanon' bloc meeting: We are main supportive piers of current tenure
Tue 08 May 2018/NNA - Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) head, Foreign Minister, Gebran Bassil, on Tuesday said that the "Strong Lebanon" bloc forms the main supportive pier of President Michel Aoun and the current tenure, vowing to implement the oath speech and the bloc's electoral program. Minister Bassil was speaking in the wake of the first meeting of "Strong Lebanon" bloc, which includes the Free Patriotic Movement and friendly and allied parties and dignitaries. Bassil disclosed that the Bloc holds a clear political line with an action plan, sounding determination to work on building the state through abolishing corruption, and achieving prosperity based on a clear economic plan. The Minister also noted that the Bloc forms the largest bloc at the Parliament reaping the highest percent of votes and counts

Hizbullah Arsenal Seen as Safe after Parliamentary Vote
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/18
With its rivals weakened and its allies enjoying a stronger position than ever after Lebanon's parliamentary elections, Hizbullah will seek a stamp of state legitimacy for its long-controversial weapons arsenal. Analysts say the results of Sunday's legislative vote, the first in nine years, will give the Shiite armed group which has close ties to both Syria and Iran a powerful voice in the 128-seat parliament. It comes at the expense of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who leads the rival Saudi-backed al-Mustaqbal Movement and will find it increasingly difficult to counter Hizbullah's expanding clout.  "Hizbullah's victory will allow it to impose better conditions, to consolidate its role and its arsenal -- not just in Lebanon but in the region," says Maha Yahya, head of the Carnegie Endowment's Middle East Center. Since its founding with Iranian support in the mid-1980s, Hizbullah has spent years carefully building up its political influence in Lebanon and its foothold abroad. The key to its power? A cache of arms it refused to give up after Lebanon's 15-year civil war ended in 1990 and which has continued to grow to comprise artillery, unmanned drones, and thousands of missiles that can reach Israel.
International efforts to contain the group have largely failed, including several rounds of U.S. and European sanctions and a month-long war with Israel in 2006. Hizbullah is now fighting in Syria on behalf of government forces and in Iraq alongside paramilitary groups, and is accused of backing Huthi rebels in Yemen. Officially, Lebanon has adopted a policy to stay away from regional conflicts, but the newly-formed parliament is unlikely to challenge Hizbullah's interventions.
'Veto power'
Hizbullah kept a comfortable hold on its traditional bastions of power in Lebanon's south and east, but did not gain new seats beyond the 13 it already had. But the rise of allied lawmakers across the country meant its arsenal would not be questioned, said Karim Bitar, expert at the Paris-based Institute of International and Strategic Affairs. "With its network of alliances, Hizbullah has today a majority in Lebanon's parliament, granting it tacit veto power over the most important decisions," said Bitar. "Even the group's rivals, like Saad Hariri, have somewhat accepted the new balance of power," Bitar told AFP.
Hariri's share of seats dropped from 33 to 21. The Free Patriotic Movement, which President Michel Aoun headed for years and which is friendly to Hizbullah, expanded its voting bloc from 21 to 29 members. And the AMAL Movement, Hizbullah's Shiite ally, also gained several seats.
The vote was "a great political and moral victory for the resistance," said Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Monday, using the moniker the group earned after decades fighting Israel. The margins are small, but they could make the difference in a country where decision-making occurs by consensus and little is left to chance. But Hizbullah would have to keep close ranks with both AMAL and the FPM, analysts said. "This depends primarily on Aoun's movement," said Imad Salamey, a political science professor at the Lebanese American University in Beirut.
"If the FPM confirms its alliance with Hizbullah, this coalition could have a crushing majority," he told AFP.
Beyond parliament
Now, President Aoun will begin consultations with lawmakers on who he should appoint as the next premier. Despite his weakened position, Hariri is likely to score another term. "He enjoys the confidence of Arab countries, but also the Europeans and the United States," said Salamey, adding his return would "guarantee economic support for Lebanon."Hariri, already a two-time premier, sent shockwaves across the region last year by resigning from Saudi Arabia and blaming Hizbullah for destabilizing the region. The bizarre announcement triggered a flurry of international interventions that eventually saw Hariri return to his post, adopting a more conciliatory tone towards Hizbullah in general."The question of (Hizbullah's) arms is a regional one," said the premier on Monday, hinting as he has in the past that domestic powers would not challenge the group. The next prime minister elected by parliament will be responsible for forming a new cabinet -- typically a drawn-out process involving horse-trading among Lebanon's competing political forces. Salamey predicted Hizbullah and its allies could stand to gain from that process, too, by snagging key portfolios.
"The essential thing is to secure posts in the government that will protect its political and military activities -- regionally, obviously, and not just in Lebanon," he added.

Iran Hails Hizbullah 'Victory' in Lebanon Elections
Agence France PresseNaharnet/May 08/18/A senior Iranian official on Tuesday hailed the "victory" of Hizbullah in Lebanese elections as a success in the "fight against Israel" and the United States, the state broadcaster reported. "The Lebanese people and their representatives, Hizbullah and the other resistance groups, scored this victory in the fight against Israel and its allies, including the United States," said Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He referred to Hizbullah's military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying the election result reflected the group's "decisive help to Syria against the terrorists.""This victory of the Lebanese people and of the resistance... is a sign of approval for the Lebanese government's policy of preserving Lebanon's independence... against Israel," he added. After Sunday's election -- the first since 2009 -- Hizbullah and its allies look set to secure a large parliamentary bloc. The Shiite movement was created with Iranian support in 1982 to fight against Israel and is listed as a “terrorist organization” by the United States.
It is the key partner in Iran's "resistance front" against Israeli and U.S. interests in the Middle East, along with allies in Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian Territories.
"The strength of the resistance front will be considerably reinforced in the world" after this election and that in Iraq on Saturday, Velayati said.

Daryan: Those who Violated Beirut Security Must be Held Accountable
Naharnet/May 08/18/Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan on Tuesday called for holding accountable “all those who violated Beirut's security,” after a wave of post-electoral security disturbances in the capital. “The security of Lebanon and the Lebanese is the responsibility of the army and security forces, and such acts that insult Beirut and its residents should not be repeated,” Daryan said during a visit to Abu Dhabi. He lamented that the capital's residents had lived “a night of tension and horror.”“Had it not been for the wisdom of the president, the parliament speaker and the prime minister, in addition to the deployment of the Lebanese Army and security forces, Beirut would have been plunged into chaos and strife,” the Mufti cautioned. “All those who violated Beirut's security and its streets with acts that contradict with morals, good neighborliness and the rule of law must be held accountable,” Daryan stressed. The National News Agency reported Monday that “gunmen on motorbikes raised partisan flags on the monument of Martyr Premier Rafik Hariri in the St. Georges area before moving to Aisha Bakkar, where they attacked a number of vehicles and opened fire without causing casualties.”A video circulated on social media showed a fistfight that involved the use of batons near the Aisha Bakkar Mosque. The clash erupts after dozens of young men arrive in the area on motorbikes, carrying Hizbullah and AMAL Movement flags. The video shows them clashing with young men carrying al-Mustaqbal Movement flags. Several other convoys had roamed Beirut's streets over the past two days, celebrating a major victory for Hizbullah, AMAL and their allies in the parliamentary elections.

Lebanon's Winning Women: Six Females Voted into Parliament
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/18
Lebanon's new parliament will include six female lawmakers across the country, up from just four in the 2009-era parliament with several fresh faces. The landmark May 6 election saw a record 86 women run, with virtually every party -- except Hizbullah -- putting forth female candidates.
Here is an overview of the women who scored a spot in Lebanon's 128-member legislative body.
Paula Yacoubian
The high-profile television journalist landed a seat in the capital Beirut after running on a list of outsiders known as Kulluna Watani. "This is the real change, the real opposition," she told the AFP news agency during her campaign. The 42-year-old daughter of an Armenian genocide survivor long hosted a show on Future TV, the channel owned by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, but she stepped down to run for office. Yacoubian is the only candidate from outside the traditional political class to have won a seat.
Roula Tabsh
Lawyer Roula Tabsh is also a first-time victor in the capital, but she ran on Hariri's al-Mustaqbal Movement list which was otherwise dealt a blow at the polls.
Tabsh pledged to advocate for women's rights in parliament, including making sure children with Lebanese mothers and foreign fathers can get Lebanese nationality.
The wins by Tabsh and Yacoubian will usher in the highest female representation in parliament ever for Beirut.
Bahia Hariri
The sister of slain ex-premier Rafik Hariri and aunt of current prime minister Saad Hariri kept the seat she has held in the southern district of Sidon.
At 65, she has served as a member of parliament four times and as education minister, and was awarded a Legion d'Honneur by former French president Jacques Chirac in 2003. She is a member of the prime minister's inner circle.
Her life was turned upside down by her brother's assassination in 2005. She stopped wearing skirt-suits and make-up and began covering her hair with a traditional white headscarf.
Sethrida Geagea
The 50-year-old politician from the northern district of Bsharri will return for another term in parliament. She is married to Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, and is credited with steering the party for 11 years while he was detained during Syria's military occupation of Lebanon, until his release in 2005.
The tall, slender woman is seen as a hardliner within the movement.
Enaya Ezzeddine
A pathologist by training, 57-year-old Ezzeddine has served as minister for administrative reform -- but her rise to parliament is unprecedented.
It will be her first term as a legislator, but also the first time Lebanon's port city of Tyre has a female representative. Ezzeddine hails from the AMAL Movement, a strong Shiite party that is allied to Hizbullah and has never put forward a female candidate. Ezzeddine is divorced and is a mother of two daughters.
Dima Jamali
Jamali is a professor of business management and freshman parliamentarian, who will serve in Lebanon's second city Tripoli after running on al-Mustaqbal Movement's list. Her father was the mayor of the coastal metropolis in the north, but it has never before been represented by a woman. "We have a historic opportunity to bring new faces to Tripoli," she said in a campaign video before the vote.
Women at the vote
Among those that did not win seats are Joumana Haddad, a writer and activist who ran in Beirut, and an all-women's list from the conservative northern area of Akkar.
But Lebanese women flooded the polling stations on Sunday, both as voters and party delegates. Females made up 50.8 percent of registered voters in 2018, according to the United Nations.

Bassil Says 'Change' Has Begun in Chouf-Aley after 4 Seats Won
Naharnet/May 08/18/Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil announced Tuesday that “change” has started in the Mount Lebanon regions of Chouf and Aley, the bastion of Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat, after an FPM-led coalition managed to clinch four seats in the region in the parliamentary elections.
“We will together be in the Strong Lebanon bloc, in order to back the presidency and Mount Lebanon, support the restoration of rights for Christians and Druze in Mt. Lebanon, and revive prosperity and development in Mt. Lebanon,” Bassil said after meeting Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan, with whom the FPM allied in the Chouf-Aley electoral district.Arslan and three Christian FPM candidates have won seats in the district in Sunday's elections. Accusing the rival Reconciliation List of “evoking the rhetoric of war” during electoral campaigning, Bassil emphasized that the FPM will only resort to “the rhetoric of peace, reconciliation and complete return to Mount Lebanon, where our people from all sects and political components can live in peace and reassurance over the future of their sons in Mount Lebanon.” He added: “This is only the beginning. With the four MPs who have won thanks to our common representation with (Arslan) and all those who cooperated with us, and due to our insistence on regaining our rights, we will have a doubled determination to continue these reforms.”“We accept this loss, but what's important is that change has started in Mount Lebanon and its practical and peaceful implementation will take place over the next four years, as we prepare for the next elections,” Bassil went on to say. He also underlined that “no one wants to eliminate anyone” in Chouf and Aley, emphasizing that Mukhtara, Jumblat's hometown, “cannot fall.”“It will remain standing through its people and what it represents in Mount Lebanon and Lebanon,” Bassil added.

Bassil Says FPM to Have Biggest Bloc in Parliament

Associated Press/Naharnet/May 08/18/Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, the head of President Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement, has announced that the FPM won at least 29 seats in parliamentary elections, making it the largest bloc in the assembly. Bassil told reporters that their bloc could end up having 30 seats. The bloc will comprise allied businessmen, the Armenian Tashnag Party and MP Talal Arslan. Bassil said the bloc would maintain its "strategic alliance" with Hizbullah. The FPM was the second largest in the outgoing parliament after Prime Minister Saad Hariri's bloc, which had 32 seats but appears to have lost a third of them in Sunday's elections. Hariri is likely to remain in his post, but Hizbullah and its allies appear to have gained enough seats in the 128-member legislature to veto legislation.

Berri, Hariri Slam Beirut 'Security Chaos' as Army Deploys

Naharnet/May 08/18/The army deployed Monday evening across the capital Beirut, after the Aisha Bakkar area and other neighborhoods witnessed post-elections security incidents. The National News Agency said “gunmen on motorbikes raised partisan flags on the monument of Martyr Premier Rafik Hariri in the St. Georges area before moving to Aisha Bakkar, where they attacked a number of vehicles and opened fire without causing casualties.”A video circulated on social media showed a fistfight that involved the use of batons near the Aisha Bakkar Mosque. The clash erupts after dozens of young men arrive in the area on motorbikes, carrying Hizbullah flags. The video shows them clashing with young men carrying al-Mustaqbal Movement flags.A statement issued by Prime Minister Saad Hariri's office said the premier called Army chief General Joseph Aoun and Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Imad Othman to ask them to “contain the chaos in Beirut and take the necessary measures as soon as possible before things spiral out of control.”Speaker Nabih Berri later issued a statement condemning what he called “the shameful practices that were carried out by some convoys that roamed the capital Beirut's streets and targeted symbols, headquarters and leaders whom we highly respect.”“The dignity of the capital Beirut and the dignity of its sons, dear families and leaders are part of our dignity and any attack on them is an attack on our dignity and the dignity of all Lebanese,” Berri added.
“We condemn in the strongest terms all the appalling practices on some streets in the capital Beirut during which some hooligans harmed the AMAL Movement and Hizbullah and their achievements. These irresponsible practices do not reflect the behavior and ethics of the sons of Imam (Moussa) al-Sadr and Hizbullah,” the Speaker went on to say. He also called on security and judicial authorities to take the legal measures against anyone involved in such practices.
The army deployed across the capital, made arrests and erected checkpoints in the wake of the incidents and the appeals of Hariri and Berri.

Outsiders in Lebanon Vote Make a Small Win Look Big
Associated Press/Naharnet/May 08/18
They won just one seat in Lebanon's 128-seat national assembly, but they celebrated like they'd won 20. A grassroots movement of activists, journalists and other political newcomers said any presence in parliament was a landmark victory for its campaign against patronage in an era when politics is run as a family business. Candidates and volunteers gathered at a Beirut shisha cafe erupted in cheers Sunday night when the first positive forecasts came in for the largest outsider campaign in recent memory — waged under the banner, "We are all Patriots," or "Kollouna Watani" in Arabic. "I'm proud of all the volunteers and candidates who said 'no' to the face of the corrupt political class and to this vacuous political play we've been stuck in for years," said Joumana Haddad, a novelist who campaigned on a platform of reforming Lebanon's personal status laws that govern everything from marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody. Initial results on Sunday had shown that Haddad and another candidate, journalist Paula Yacoubian, were projected to take two seats for Watani. But official results announced late Monday showed Haddad had been edged out by another candidate and Watani won just one seat. Haddad's supporters, gathered outside the Interior Ministry before the official results were released, protested what they maintained were clear signs of fraud to deny her victory. "The people in power didn't like this result, so they proceeded with rigging the result at the last minute," said Lucien Bourjeily, a writer and director who ran as a Watani candidate. It had been a long struggle for those running under the Watani banner, many involved in anti-establishment politics for years before Sunday's vote.
They helped organize the protests that filled the capital in 2015 when a waste management scandal left trash uncollected in the streets for weeks. Environmental activists have accused politicians at the highest levels of arranging lucrative deals to bury trash without treatment or recycling. "We learned we can succeed when we persevere," said Bourjeily, who helped organize the 2015 protests.
Watani's single-seat victory came in a district of Beirut, breaking a monopoly traditionally held by established political parties in the capital. On Sunday, the activists allowed themselves an evening of relief, laughing and wiping away tears as they watched the projected results on TV.
"We changed the way people talk about politics in this country," said Michelle Keserwany, half of a sister musical duo that has satirized Lebanon's moribund political scene through their snappy lyrics and expertly produced videos. "Candidates are now publishing programs to run on. It may sound obvious in other countries, but it's these things we are demanding here," Keserwany said.
In Lebanon, politics is about jobs and kickbacks more than it is about platforms. Since the end of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war political bosses have held onto their seats through networks of patronage that supported the middle class with steady work that kept families above the poverty line but without avenues for self-advancement. In exchange, communities gave their patrons their votes and looked the other way as infrastructure crumbled and services decayed. Their staying power was reinforced by a winner-takes-all voting system that worked against independents. Politicians bequeathed their seats to their sons and, less commonly, wives and daughters. To date many of the country's top politicians are the warlords or heirs of the warlords of the civil war three decades ago. That law was replaced this year with one awarding seats by proportional representation, but other complications worked to keep outsiders from taking a larger share. Watani had fielded 66 candidates across nine of the country's 15 districts. The new national assembly largely reproduces the one it replaces; leading politicians looked set to stay in their posts, while many newcomers hailed from decades-old family dynasties in Lebanese politics. To Watani volunteers, the struggle for political reform is much larger than one election. They say they will run again in the next national race and win more seats as voters get acquainted with the alternative.
"We started this election with having no seats in parliament, so every seat is a win for us," Bourjeily said.

Five New Faces to Follow in New Parliament
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/18
Lebanon's first general election this decade has yielded its crop of new faces -- not necessarily new names -- entering parliament for the first time. Here are brief profiles of some of them:
Taymour Jumblat
The reluctant heir. At 36, he was guaranteed to enter parliament when his father, Druze leader Walid Jumblat, made him the "lord" of the minority that lives mostly in the Chouf mountains.
In interviews, he makes no secret of his distaste for politics, especially the feudal Lebanese brand that brought him there, but explains he has no choice but to keep a centuries-old dynasty alive.
Paula Yacoubian
The communicator. The 42-year-old activist and daughter of an Armenian genocide survivor long hosted a show on the channel owned by Prime Minister Saad Hariri but won her seat on an unprecedented civil society list.
She interviewed Hariri in a dramatic live broadcast from Riyadh after he unexpectedly announced his resignation last year and was apparently being held against his will by the Saudi royal family.
- Jamil al-Sayyed -
The spymaster. The 68-year-old feared former head of the General Security agency was, and still is, considered by many as the Syrian regime's man in Lebanon.
Sayyed was jailed for four years over former premier Rafik Hariri's 2005 assassination and released without charge. Bizarrely, he was nearly made Marshall Islands UNESCO envoy in 2014. He won his seat Sunday as an independent.
- Fouad Makhzoumi -
The billionaire. Makhzoumi, 66, is a Sunni businessman from Beirut who made his fortune selling pipelines. One of the election campaign's biggest spenders, he was ubiquitous on TV channels and his posters well all over the capital.
Makhzoumi has a residence in London's exclusive Kensington area and has had ties to Britain's Conservatives. Last year, he was controversially reported to have paid France's presidential candidate Francois Fillon to introduce him to Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015.
Enaya Ezzeddine
The trailblazer. The veiled 57-year-old trained pathologist from the Tyre region, who has served as minister for administrative reform, hails from the Shiite AMAL Movement, allied to Hizbullah.
It was the first time AMAL put forward a female candidate. Her appeal crosses party lines and the savvy, divorced mother is fast becoming a folk hero among Shiite women in Lebanon's conservative south.

U.N. Appeals for Stability in Lebanon after Vote
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/18/The United Nations on Monday urged Lebanon's politicians to act responsibly to protect Lebanon's stability following elections that saw Hizbullah and its allies make gains. "We hope that all Lebanese political stakeholders will continue to act responsibly in the days following polling to protect Lebanon's stability, which should include the swift formation of a government," said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Hizbullah is set to cement its dominance in Lebanon after the party of its main rival, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, suffered heavy losses. Formed in the 1980s to fight against Israel, Hizbullah currently battles in Syria alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces. It is listed as a "terror organization" by the United States. Five Hizbullah members have been accused by the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon over the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father Rafik, a charismatic former prime minister.

What Does Hezbollah’s Election Victory Mean for Lebanon?
هذا ما يعنيه انتصار حزب الله في الانتخابات النيابية اللبنانية

Hanin Ghaddar/The Washington Institute/May 08/18
The group has made further strides toward remaking state institutions in its image, but the international community can still slow the group’s momentum by pressuring its domestic political enablers.
On May 6, Hezbollah and its political allies won more than half the seats in Lebanon's first parliamentary elections in nine years. While the group’s own tally did not change much (13 seats out of 128 total), gains by the Amal Party, Free Patriotic Movement, and other allies mean that Hezbollah will play a bigger role in the next government. Leading a coalition that holds a simple majority in parliament will boost the group politically and strengthen its chances of legitimizing its arms without any considerable challenge.
When Bashar al-Assad withdrew his troops from Lebanon in 2005, several prominent players in the Syrian-dominated political and security establishment left Lebanese political life. Yet Hezbollah’s electoral momentum has given them an opportunity to return to the stage.
At least five figures who held office during the nearly two-decade Syrian occupation won seats in the new parliament, including Jamil al-Sayyed, a retired Shia general and former intelligence chief who was one of the country’s most powerful men at the time. He will enter the legislature despite being sentenced to prison briefly for his involvement in the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, an act that international authorities have linked to Hezbollah. Faisal Karami, son of the late pro-Syrian prime minister Omar Karami, also won a seat for the first time.
These figures will undoubtedly leverage their connections with the Assad regime to further empower Hezbollah, especially given Iran’s growing role in Syria and continual reliance on the group as its top proxy. They will also try to bring Lebanon’s state institutions closer to Syria’s on key issues such as refugees and security.
Only 49.2 percent of 3.6 million eligible voters turned up at the polls, compared to 54 percent in 2009. The low turnout was partly a product of a complicated new electoral law that required citizens to vote for whole party lists at a time of new and somewhat odd electoral alliances. For example, in some districts Sunnis were forced to vote for the Free Patriotic Movement—a Christian party and traditional electoral rival—if they wanted Sunni leader Saad Hariri to win another term as prime minister, since Hariri’s Future Movement was paired with the FPM on the ballot.
Moreover, many voters did not seem to believe that elections would lead to positive change. In the past, the Hariri-led “March 14” coalition represented a pro-West, anti-Hezbollah perspective, but the bloc has been compromising with its adversaries more often of late and cynically preserving the status quo.
This may help explain why Hariri’s party suffered the election’s biggest blow, dropping around a third of its seats for a final tally of twenty-one. Hezbollah-backed Sunnis did much better, mainly in Beirut, Tripoli, and Sidon, securing ten of the twenty-seven Sunni-allocated seats. Tripoli Sunnis likewise rejected Ashraf Rifi, an outspoken Sunni detractor of Hezbollah who had won the city’s 2017 municipal elections. The overall results suggest that Lebanon’s Sunni community is deeply fractured due to weak leadership and Hezbollah’s skilled political maneuvering.
In the end, this development could prove to be Hezbollah’s biggest victory. It is no secret that the group has been recruiting Sunnis to its parallel domestic militia, the Resistance Brigades. As Hariri’s political and financial fortunes have waned, many Lebanese Sunnis have aligned with this affiliate, perhaps as an alternative source of income. Hezbollah also appears to have benefitted from Iran’s growing regional influence and the associated spike in Shia sectarian identity.
Hezbollah and Amal managed to secure twenty-six of the parliament’s twenty-seven Shia-apportioned seats, easily defeating their most prominent opponents in the south and the Baalbek-Hermel region. Yet the low turnout suggests that many Shia stayed home—an unsurprising outcome despite their growing discontent with Hezbollah’s costly war in Syria. No unified anti-Hezbollah coalition emerged with a clear message to mobilize disaffected Shia. Opposition candidates in the south focused on traditional political messages, while Beqa-area candidates focused on development issues; none of them had the temerity to criticize Hezbollah’s “resistance” agenda.
Worse, none of these rivals presented a serious economic and social alternative to Hezbollah. This was a major missed opportunity because the group’s regional military operations have eaten up some of the funds it usually devotes to social services and economic projects for its Shia constituents.
Perhaps the most important factor in Hezbollah’s victory, though, was growing sectarian rhetoric. Although many Shia criticized the group’s foreign adventurism in past years, these detractors became less vocal once the Assad coalition scored a string of major victories in Syria, which resulted in fewer Lebanese returning home in body bags, a steadily solidifying “land bridge” to Iran, and a heightened emphasis on Shia identity throughout the region. As the war in Syria draws down, Hezbollah has reemerged as the protector of the Shia.
Despite its reduced seat tally, Hariri’s party still represents the biggest Sunni bloc in the parliament, so he may yet return as prime minister if he secures a majority via coalition-building. This seems likely given his seemingly excellent relations with the FPM and the promises he has reportedly received from Amal leader Nabih Berri and other Hezbollah allies.
Yet the key question is whether he can form a politically balanced government that is willing and able to limit Hezbollah’s prerogatives. With a smaller party seat tally and no opposition allies, Hariri will be a much weaker prime minister this time around. The Christian party “Lebanese Forces” is the only faction that managed to increase its seats (from eight to fifteen) while preserving its anti-Hezbollah rhetoric, but Hariri alienated party leader Samir Geagea by accusing him of supporting the resignation/retraction debacle reportedly orchestrated by Saudi Arabia last year.
Currently, Hariri appears more inclined to nurture his new alliance with Gebran Bassil of the FPM, the son-in-law of President Michel Aoun. Some in Washington believe this team-up will prove beneficial, creating a new parliamentary bloc and political movement that could challenge Hezbollah. Yet this seems unlikely because Aoun and other FPM leaders have been consistently loyal to Hezbollah since he became president in 2016.
On May 7, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared the elections “a great moral and political victory for the resistance choice that protects the country.” He added that the group needed larger representation in the parliament “to ensure security protection for the resistance” and achieve its “electoral program.” Although it did not get the two-thirds majority needed to refashion constitutional pillars such as sectarian power-sharing, the simple majority will allow it to make other important decisions on security appointments and government formation.
Yet Hezbollah was only able to reach this position of political strength by partnering with allies who have never been punished for associating with a designated terrorist group and its supposed political “wing.” In fact, the international community has rewarded these allies—Aoun became president with Europe and Washington’s blessing, and the electoral law that facilitated this weekend’s results passed without international pressure.
To minimize the damage in the coming weeks and help contain an ascendant Hezbollah, the international community should try to foster political balance in Lebanon. The March 14 alliance is dead and its leadership seems resigned to continual compromises, but other channels of opposition can still be cultivated—provided they offer a real economic and social alternative to the Lebanese people, including the Shia community.
At the same time, foreign actors need to impose a price on Hezbollah’s domestic political allies. The group no longer has to use its arms to enforce its agenda at home; instead, it can rely on its allies to make favorable decisions within state institutions. These allies, including Berri and Aoun, should be pressured, particularly if they allow Hezbollah and Iran to have their way in Lebanon. If they act as enablers to internationally designated entities, then they should be treated as such.
*Hanin Ghaddar, a veteran Lebanese journalist and researcher, is the Friedmann Visiting Fellow at The Washington Institute.
The Secret to Hezbollah's Electoral Success
David Kenner/The Atlantic/May 08/18
Hezbollah’s yellow flags stretched for miles along the highway to Baalbek, a Lebanese city near the frontier with Syria. They hung from every light post, interspersed with images of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the party. In some, he smiled; in others, he wore a grave expression and saluted. The message to voters on the party’s banners was simple: We protect, and we build.
Ghaleb Yaghi, a former mayor of Baalbek who ran in Lebanon’s parliamentary elections this past weekend, its first in nine years, took issue with both claims. (The current parliament twice extended its term, citing security fears related to the war in neighboring Syria.) Hezbollah, he said while leaning back on a sofa in his campaign headquarters, had been a “political failure,” too consumed with fighting wars across the Middle East to develop a strategy for improving the lives of citizens. Its fighters trained Shia insurgents to fight against American soldiers in Iraq, and are now major backers of Syria's Assad regime; the U.S. government considers it a terrorist group. Meanwhile at home, the district, known as Baalbek-Hermel, is plagued by a lack of security—at least one recent election-related clash devolved into an exchange of mortar fire—which has deterred tourism and investment. It is also one of Lebanon’s most impoverished areas, where roughly 40 percent of residents live below the poverty line and more
than half are unemployed.
Lebanon’s political system is based on a power-sharing arrangement between the country’s diverse sects, with a set number of the 128 parliament seats reserved for each community. The country’s politics mirror the larger conflicts in the Middle East, at home pitting the Iran-backed Hezbollah against Sunni parties supported by Saudi Arabia; and internationally, deepening the confrontation between Iran and Israel, which Hezbollah has said it seeks to eliminate. The right-wing Israeli minister Naftali Bennett reacted to the results by saying that Lebanon equals Hezbollah. He said that Israel would not distinguish between them, despite Hezbollah's slim share of the overall number of seats.
It may seem simple for a candidate to attract votes by harping on the ruling party’s failure to improve such a dire economic situation. But not in Baalbek: Yaghi went down in defeat, as did every other Shia candidate there running against Hezbollah. While his list did secure a Sunni and a Christian seat in the district, Hezbollah and its allies swept 26 out of 27 seats reserved for Shiites across Lebanon. “There’s a saying: ‘If you starve your dog, he’ll follow you,’” he said. “Unemployment has become very high in Baalbek, and the young people can’t find work. So the alternative to finding work is to join Hezbollah for $400 a month, and go off and fight somewhere. … And then he comes back in a box, as a martyr.”
As the election results came in, it became clear that voters had punished the largest party within the Sunni bloc for years of perceived mismanagement. It was a different story, however, within the predominantly Shia parts of the country. Hezbollah not only won the election in Lebanon’s south—it dominated. Even if all the lists running against the party combined their votes in the region, they still wouldn’t have won enough to pick up a single seat.
Hezbollah and its allies now control a majority in Lebanon’s parliament—a victory that they will use as evidence of popular support for the party’s intervention in Syria, its stance toward Israel, and broader regional alliance with Iran.
Hezbollah is, of course, genuinely popular within the Shia community. Its message that it has protected the country against threats, both from Israel and from Syrian jihadists alike, rings true for many of its voters, who also see Nasrallah as devoid of corruption, unlike the rest of the crooked political establishment. But the political resources at Hezbollah’s disposal, which include a construction arm and a foundation to support families whose sons have been killed fighting under its flag, dwarf those of the other parties. The weakness of the Lebanese state also provides Hezbollah with a trump card, allowing it to portray itself as the only power that can protect its supporters from internal and external enemies. These accumulated advantages have left those running against the party to question whether there is any governance failure large enough to cause Hezbollah to lose an election. “They’re using the sectarian card, they’re trying to bring all the Shia together to follow them,” Yaghi said. “They’re taking people who are hungry and paying them, and they have weapons and money that nobody else has.”
Yaghi is accustomed to fighting for a losing cause. He served one term as Baalbek’s mayor, during which he said he focused on developing the economy and promoting tourism to the city’s exquisite Roman ruins. Lebanon was under Syrian occupation at the time, and when it came time for Yaghi to run for re-election in 2004, he said, the Syrian intelligence officer in charge of the area told him not to run. Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, the officer said, wanted to give the municipality to Hezbollah in order to show the Americans that the party was not a terrorist organization, but a political party with grassroots support. He defied the order and ran anyway, losing in what he called a rigged election.
Like all Shia candidates running against Hezbollah in the parliamentary elections, Yaghi steered clear of criticizing Hezbollah’s role as a military force. Its fighters have fought in Syria and Iraq, trained Iran-backed groups in both those countries, and likely provided some support to Tehran’s allies in Yemen as well. The group’s original sin, he said, was entering politics in 1992—it should have simply left the messy business of governance to others. “We’re not against Hezbollah as a resistance, so long as it resists in the right way,” he said. “Our quarrel with them is development. We want development for the city, and they want to wait until they’ve liberated everything and then look toward development.”
There is no question that Yaghi is right about the region’s need for economic development. Syrian refugees have poured into the region in recent years and now comprise one-third of the area’s population, according to Rami Lakkis, the founder of the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training, a Baalbek-based development organization. They are competing with low-income Lebanese for jobs and putting a strain on the area’s weak institutions, he said, particularly its water supply—a crucial component of its agriculture sector. Lakkis said that his organization receives thousands of applications for work. “We are operating a kitchen to provide food for poor families,” he said. “We thought that it would be mainly for Syrians and we could not get Lebanese to come, but now we found that the Lebanese also need to come to get the food to feed their families.”
Hezbollah’s campaign rhetoric seemed to acknowledge economic grievances as a potential political weakness. In a shift from past campaigns, party officials focused on development and anti-corruption as major themes, instead of emphasizing its struggle against Israel or in Syria. “Hezbollah and their allies will address serious shortcomings and make up for mistakes made in the past,” Nasrallah vowed in his final pre-election speech.
For Hezbollah’s supporters, however, such mistakes pale in significance to its powerful security role. The party successfully convinced the vast majority of Shia voters in Baalbek that casting a vote for its candidates was akin to voicing their support for the party’s role in protecting them from what they see as threats in Israel and Syria. At the same time, Nasrallah lashed out at those running against the party: These figures, he said, “conspired with armed groups to occupy your towns,” reiterating his previous claim that opposition politicians are allies of the Islamic State and other Sunni jihadists.
Such rhetoric placed Shia politicians hoping to defeat Hezbollah at the ballot box in an impossible position. They wanted to divorce Hezbollah’s powerful military force from the campaign, fighting the election only on local issues, while Nasrallah made the case that you’re either with Hezbollah or against it. Again and again, opposition Shia figures voiced the same point: Nasrallah didn’t just want to beat them in an election—he wanted to silence them entirely.
“Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah wants to prove that he and his alliance are the holders of the Shia decision-making in Lebanon,” Yehya Chams, a former member of parliament who ran against Hezbollah in Baalbek, told me. “But there are others in Baalbek-Hermel that are partners. They can’t monopolize the decision and erase the space for others.”
The election results may do little to change how Lebanon is actually governed. Even parties that received a drubbing at the ballot box could very well retain their positions after the lengthy negotiations to form a governing coalition. The measures to which political elites have gone to entrench their rule led one politician to opine that Lebanon was not a democracy but a “plutocratic oligarchy.”
For Shia politicians who tried to oppose Hezbollah, it is particularly difficult to justify the result as a reflection of the popular will.
“Lebanon is supposed to be a democratic country,” Yaghi told me as I was leaving. “Everybody has the freedom to vote for who they want to vote for. But really, in fact, it’s not. You cannot vote for who you want to vote for. There are pressures in certain ways, people rely on various parties for their livelihood. So we have this statelet within a state, but in fact the statelet is much stronger than the state.”

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on May 08-09/18
رزمة من التقارير (عربية وانكليزية وفيديو) تغطي قرار الرئيس الأميركي ترامب الإنسحاب من الإتفاق النووي
Trump declares US leaving ‘horrible’ Iran nuclear accord
Trump declares US leaving ‘horrible’ Iran nuclear accord
Associated Press CATHERINE LUCEY and JOSH LEDERMAN,Associated Press/May 08/18
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the landmark nuclear accord with Iran Tuesday, declaring he was making the world safer in restoring harsh sanctions. But he also dealt a profound blow to allies, deepened his isolation on the world stage and revived doubts about American credibility in the most consequential foreign policy action of his presidency. The leaders of Germany, France and Britain, co-signers of the agreement, expressed regret and said they would try to salvage the accord with Iran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he was sending his foreign minister to work with those remaining countries but warned there was only a short time to negotiate with them and his country could soon “start enriching uranium more than before.”The 2015 accord, which lifted major economic sanctions against Iran, was specifically aimed at preventing that result. But Trump said, “The Iran deal is defective at its core.””If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons,” Trump said in a televised address from the White House. He said the United States “will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction.” Trump’s decision means Iran’s government must now decide whether to follow the U.S. and withdraw or try to salvage what’s left of the deal. The leaders of Britain, Germany and France immediately urged the U.S. not to take any actions that could prevent them and Iran from continuing to implement the agreement. The statement from Prime Minister Theresa May, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron also urged Iran to “show restraint” and continue fulfilling its own obligations such as cooperating with inspections.
In Washington, the Trump administration said it would re-impose sanctions on Iran immediately but allow grace periods for businesses to wind down activity. The Treasury Department said there would be “certain 90-day and 180-day wind-down periods” but didn’t specify which sanctions would fall under which timelines. Treasury said that at the end of those periods, the sanctions will be in “full effect.”National Security Adviser John Bolton said nobody should sign contracts for new business with Iran. If the deal collapses entirely, Iran would be free to resume prohibited enrichment activities. Meanwhile, businesses and banks doing business with Iran will have to scramble to extricate themselves or run afoul of the U.S.
For nations contemplating striking their own sensitive deals with Trump, such as North Korea, the withdrawal will increase suspicions that they cannot expect lasting U.S. fidelity to international agreements it signs. Yet nations like Israel and Saudi Arabia that loathed the deal are likely to see it as a sign the United States is returning to a more skeptical, less trusting approach to dealing with adversaries. Former President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the deal, called the Trump decision “misguided.” He added that “the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.”Trump, who repeatedly criticized the accord during his presidential campaign, said Tuesday that documents recently released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed Iran had attempted to develop a nuclear bomb in the previous decade, especially before 2003. Although Trump gave no explicit evidence that Iran violated the deal, he said Iran had clearly lied in the past and could not be trusted.
Iran has denied ever pursuing nuclear arms.
Netanyahu welcomed Trump’s announcement, calling it a “historic move.”
There was a predictably mixed reaction from Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said the Iran deal “was flawed from the beginning,” and he looked forward to working with Trump on next steps. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, slammed Trump in a statement, saying this “rash decision isolates America, not Iran.”
The 2015 agreement had lifted most U.S. and international sanctions against Iran. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program that would make it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.
In a burst of last-minute diplomacy, punctuated by a visit by Britain’s top diplomat, the deal’s European members gave in to many of Trump’s demands, according to officials, diplomats and others briefed on the negotiations. Yet the Europeans realized he was unpersuaded to back off.
Trump spoke with French President Macron and Chinese leader Xi Jinping about his decision Tuesday. The British foreign secretary traveled to Washington this week to make a last-minute pitch to the U.S. to remain in the deal, according to a senior British diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Hours before the announcement, European countries met in Brussels with Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, Abbas Araghchi.
In Iran, many are deeply concerned about how Trump’s decision could affect the already struggling economy. In Tehran, Rouhani sought to calm nerves, smiling as he appeared at a petroleum expo. He didn’t name Trump directly, but emphasized that Iran continued to seek “engagement with the world.”
The first 15 months of Trump’s presidency have been filled with many “last chances” for the Iran deal in which he’s punted the decision for another few months, and then another. As he left his announcement Tuesday, he predicted that Iranians would someday “want to make a new and lasting deal” and that “when they do, I am ready, willing and able.”
Even Trump’s secretary of state and the U.N. agency that monitors nuclear compliance agree that Iran, so far, has lived up to its side of the deal. But the deal’s critics, such as Israel, the Gulf Arab states and many Republicans, say it’s a giveaway to Tehran that ultimately would pave the way to a nuclear-armed Iran.
For the Europeans, Trump’s withdrawal constitutes dispiriting proof that trying to appease him is futile.
Although the U.S. and Europeans made progress on ballistic missiles and inspections, there were disagreements over extending the life of the deal and how to trigger additional penalties if Iran were found in violation, U.S. officials and European diplomats have said.
**Associated Press writers Matthew Lee, Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller and Ken Thomas in Washington and Amir Vahdat and Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.
Trump announces US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal
Al Arabiya and agencies/Tuesday, 8 May 2018/US President Donald Trump announced Tuesday the Washington will pull out of the landmark nuclear accord with Iran. "The United States does not make empty threats," he said in a televised address. Trump's decision means Iran's government must now decide whether to follow the US and withdraw or try to salvage what's left of the deal. Iran has offered conflicting statements about what it may do - and the answer may depend on exactly how Trump exits the agreement. Trump said he would move to re-impose all sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 deal, not just the ones facing an immediate deadline. This had become known informally as the "nuclear option" because of the near-certainty that such a move would scuttle the deal. The agreement, struck in 2015 by the United States, other world powers and Iran, lifted most US and international sanctions against the country. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program making it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections. In a burst of last-minute diplomacy, punctuated by a visit by Britain's top diplomat, the deal's European members gave in to many of Trump's demands, according to officials, diplomats and others briefed on the negotiations. Yet they still left convinced he was likely to re-impose sanctions. Macron was to have a conference call with British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel about half an hour before Trump's announcement.

Turkey says US decision on Iran deal will cause instability, new conflicts
Reuters/Wednesday, 9 May 2018/A spokesman for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the decision by the United States to unilaterally withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will cause instability and new conflicts.
In a tweet, Ibrahim Kalin also said the multilateral agreement would continue with the other nations, and added that Turkey would continue to oppose all forms of nuclear weapons. President Donald Trump on Tuesday pulled the US out of an international nuclear deal with Iran in a step that will raise the risk of conflict in the Middle East, upset America’s European allies and bring uncertainty to global oil supplies. Trump, speaking in a televised address from the White House, said he would reimpose economic sanctions on Iran. “This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Trump said. “It didn’t bring calm. It didn’t bring peace. And it never will.”

US Navy jets begin sorties against ISIS in Syria from Mediterranean
Karolina Tagaris, Reuters/Tuesday, 8 May 2018
A US naval strike force led by aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman began sorties on May 3 against Islamic State in Syria, continuing missions by a US-led coalition against the militants. The force joined the US Sixth Fleet on April 18, nearly a week after the United States, Britain and France launched air strikes targeting what Western powers said were Syrian chemical weapons installations. The Navy said it was a scheduled deployment to support coalition partners, NATO allies and US national security interests. “We commenced combat operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve,” Truman’s commanding officer Captain Nicholas Dienna said, referring to the coalition operation launched in 2014 against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “That operation demonstrates ... our resolve to our partners and allies in the region and our continuing fight to eliminate ISIS and their impact to the region,” he said.
An F/A-18 fighter jet lands on the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier. (Reuters). Strike fighter squadrons commenced sorties over Syria from the eastern Mediterranean on May 3, the Navy said in a statement. The most recent aircraft carrier strike group to operate in the sixth fleet was the USS George H.W. Bush which last conducted combat operations from the eastern Mediterranean Sea in July 2017. The Truman is capable of carrying 90 aircraft, including F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets. It currently has “60 or so” aircraft on board, Truman’s air department officer Commander Steven Djunaedi said. Several fighter jets were catapulted in sequence on Friday and Saturday from the Truman’s 4.5-acre flight deck and thundered into the sky, a Reuters witness said. The strike group includes the cruiser USS Normandy and the destroyers Arleigh Burke, Farragut, Forrest Sherman and Bulkeley. “Our fundamental job, by our presence even alone, is to increase the security and stability here in this part of the world,” Dienna said. The Nimitz-class carrier was at the center of the US Navy’s strikes against ISIS in 2016. It returned to its homeport in Norfolk, Virginia, after an extended eight-month deployment.
Officials on board would not say how long its latest deployment was expected to last. “We’ll be here as long as they need us and we’ll move on when they decide we need to go do something else,” the strike group’s commander Rear Admiral Gene Black said. The United States, Britain and France have all participated in the Syrian conflict, arming rebels, bombing Islamic State fighters and deploying troops on the ground to fight the group. April’s intervention was the biggest by Western countries against President Bashar Assad and his ally Russia. The countries said the strikes were limited to Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities and not aimed at toppling Assad or intervening in the civil war. On Friday, the US Navy said it was re-establishing its Second Fleet, responsible for the northern Atlantic Ocean, amid heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow.Asked to comment on relations with the Russian navy in the Mediterranean, Dienna said: “We’ve had numerous interactions thus far with the Russians across the Mediterranean. “I have been involved in virtually all of them and every single one of those has been professional, it’s been courteous and it’s been in accordance with international law.”

US Navy is Resurrecting a Fleet to Protect the East Coast, North Atlantic from Russia
Washington - Alex Horton/The Washington Post /May 08/18
The US Navy has reactivated a fleet responsible for overseeing the East Coast and North Atlantic — an escalation of the Pentagon’s focus on a resurgent Russia and its expanding military presence. The 2nd Fleet, deactivated in 2011 to preserve funds for new ships, will resume operations in Norfolk on July 1, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told reporters Friday. “This is a dynamic response to the dynamic security environment,” Richardson said onboard the carrier USS George H.W. Bush. “So as we’ve seen this great-power competition emerge, the Atlantic Ocean is as dynamic a theater as any and particular the North Atlantic, so as we consider high-end naval warfare, fighting in the Atlantic, that will be the 2nd Fleet’s responsibility.” Navy officials had previously recommended reactivating the fleet as part of broader reviews following last year’s row of deadly collisions among ships in the Japan-based 7th Fleet. In a separate statement, Richardson invoked Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s national-defense strategy as key guidance to reestablish the fleet, which will extend halfway across the Atlantic until it meets the area of responsibility for the Italy-based 6th Fleet. Mattis’s framework, released in January, said “long-term strategic competitions” with Russia and China are the top Defense Department priorities as the Pentagon seeks to pivot away from counterinsurgencies that have consumed funding and exhausted resources since Sept. 11, 2001. Defense officials and analysts have said those operations took attention away from modernizing the military, allowing Russia and China to close the technological gap with newer and deadlier weaponry.
In that time, Russia has occupied Crimea and Ukraine and provoked a host of hostilities against the West, including cyberattacks and interference in elections in Europe and the United States. That also includes an uptick of Russian submarines prowling for undersea telecommunications cables used by NATO. The reactivation of the 2nd Fleet signals the Navy’s desire to “operate more powerfully and credibly in the North Atlantic,” Bryan McGrath, a former destroyer commander and deputy director of the Center of American Seapower at the Hudson Institute, said Saturday. One concern the 2nd Fleet will immediately address: the threat from a now-modest number of Russian nuclear attack submarines capable of cruising in the depths off the East Coast, McGrath told The Washington Post. Submarines like the nuclear-powered Yasen-class fleet are equipped with hypersonic anti-ship missiles and nuclear-capable missiles that can reach any city on the Eastern Seaboard within range, he said. Russian submarines can also create a hazard of mines and anti-submarine missiles that would complicate a deployment in support of NATO allies, risking an escalation of tension with US cities in range, he said. Patrols will likely start soon after and involve manned and unmanned surface ships, attack submarines and air surveillance by P-8 Poseidon aircraft, a sub-hunting warplane. McGrath also said having a likely three-star vice admiral at the fleet will improve coordination with NATO allies, particularly with Northern Europe and the United Kingdom. The 2nd Fleet’s reactivation will free up the Navy’s Fleet Forces for its original mission to train and provide forces to commanders worldwide. It had previously assumed responsibility for the fleet’s mission after the 2011 disestablishment. The move also arrives alongside broader NATO strategies to counter Russia. In a separate announcement Friday, the Pentagon said it proposed a NATO Joint Force Command for the Atlantic in Norfolk.

French defense minister says weakening Iran deal would aggravate region
By Reuters, Paris Tuesday, 8 May 2018/France's defense minister said weakening the Iran deal would aggravate an eruptive region, as world powers waited to see if U.S. President Donald Trump would pull out of the accord on Tuesday. Florence Parly told French radio RTL the deal was not perfect but had successfully suspended Iran's nuclear military programme and the Iranians had respected the agreement. Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the deal, which eased economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program, unless France, Germany and Britain - which also signed the agreement - fix what he has called its flaws. A U.S. official said on Monday it was unclear if efforts by European allies to address Trump's concerns over the pact would be enough to save it."The 2015 Vienna agreement is not perfect but allowed the suspension of the Iranian nuclear power programme and weakening it would be a factor of aggravation in a very eruptive region," Parly said.

Iraqi intelligence reveals where ISIS’s Baghdadi believed to be hiding

Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishTuesday, 8 May 2018/Iraqi officials speaking to Fox News on Sunday said that ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still at large, and is being actively hunted. “The last information we have is he is in Al-Hajin in Syria, 18 miles from the border in Deir ez-Zor province,” Abu Ali al-Basri, director-general of the intelligence and counter-terrorism office at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, told Fox News. According to Basri, reports of Baghdadi’s whereabouts are new, and being used to carry out a “multi-force raid” involving Russian, Syrian and Iranian forces. Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool confirmed to Fox that Baghdadi is thought to be alive, and that he may be located in the border area east of the Euphrates River, possibly in the town of al-Shadaddah in al-Hasakah province in northeast Syria. “It’s not difficult for him to hide in the Syrian desert,” the officer said. The Iraqi air force has stepped up its attacks against ISIS targets in Syria in recent days.

2 Pilots Killed as Russian Helicopter Crashes in Syria
Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 8 May, 2018/A Russian attack helicopter crashed in Syria late on Monday killing both pilots, Moscow's defense ministry said in a statement. A Russian Ka-52 helicopter crashed while on a routine flight over Syria’s eastern regions. “Both pilots were killed," the statement said. It added that the incident "may have been due to a technical malfunction" and that a rescue team recovered the bodies. It did not give further details. The incident is the Russian army's second deadly crash in Syria in less than a week. On May 3, a Russian Su-300 fighter jet crashed into the Mediterranean Sea after taking off from the Hmeimim airbase, killing both pilots. The most recent large military loss acknowledged by Russia came when a transport plane crashed on landing at the airbase in March, killing all 39 people on board.
Tension rises as Bashar al-Assad possibly becomes Israel’s next target
Al Arabiya English/Tuesday, 8 May 2018 /Iranian military intervention in Syria may cost Syrian President Bashar al-Assad his life after an Israeli minister hinted at a possible assassination attempt. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday demanded that Syria should turn into an Iranian military base to wage attacks against Israel. “If Assad allows Iran to turn Syria into a military vanguard against us, to attack us from Syrian territory, he should know that would be the end of him, the end of his regime,” Steinitz told the Ynet news site. Al Arabiya's Shadaan Hammam reports.

Libya’s Haftar Kicks off Military Offensive to Liberate Derna from Terrorists
Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 8 May, 2018/Commander of the Libyan National Army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced on Monday the launch of military operations to liberate the eastern city of Derna from terrorists “after peace efforts there reached a dead end.”"The zero hour has struck for the liberation of Derna," said Haftar, declaring his troops had already started to crush the "bastions of terrorists" in the city. “We have given instructions to avoid civilians,” he added during a speech at a military parade in Benghazi. Derna is the last major bastion of opposition to the LNA in eastern Libya. The LNA has surrounded the city, on the coastal highway between Benghazi and Egypt, and has long threatened to begin ground operations there. However, its campaign has so far been limited to encirclement along with occasional air strikes and bombardments. Derna is controlled by a coalition of extremists and rebel veterans known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC). Egypt, which backs the LNA, has also carried out air strikes in Derna on what it said were training camps sending militants into Egypt. Late on Sunday there were air strikes southeast of Derna, followed by clashes on Monday morning around a flour factory east of Derna. In recent weeks the LNA has deployed new units in the Derna area and at the end of last month Haftar made a rare visit to forces stationed outside the city, following his return from medical treatment in France. The United Nations is leading efforts to stabilize Libya and prepare it for elections before the end of the year. These efforts were met last week with an ISIS-claimed bombing of the electoral commission in the capital Tripoli. Another flashpoint is the southern city of Sabha, where fighting between communal groups that is linked to the wider conflict has escalated in recent weeks. On Sunday, three children in Sabha were killed and five people including their parents were wounded by shelling, the manager of Sabha Medical Center said. Before that, at least 18 people had been killed and 86 wounded in fighting since February, he said.

Saudi FM: Iran-planned Houthi attacks do not affect kingdom’s stability
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English/Tuesday, 8 May 2018/Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Monday that Houthi attacks planned by Iran do not affect the kingdom’s stability. "The Iranian-planned Houthi attacks, which are strongly denounced by the international community, reveal their terrorism and never affects our stability and development," Jubeir said on Twitter. The spokesman of the Arab coalition forces in Yemen, Col. Turki Al-Malki, said earlier on Monday that the Houthi militia was violating international and humanitarian law by exploiting educational, diplomatic and religious institutions in the war. He also played a video showing Houthi gunmen enter a mosque and ascend to its minaret to position their snipers and target people. Malki also said that 107 posts for Houthi militias’ gatherings were destroyed in Yemen, adding that Houthi terrorists were killed in Yemen across the Saudi borders and a number of Houthi commanders at Al Bayda front were also killed.

Arab coalition strike hits presidential office in Yemen’s Houthi-held capital
Agencies Monday, 7 May 2018/An air strike targeted the office of the presidency in Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa on Monday. The strike came hours after Saudi Arabia's air defenses intercepted two ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis that targeted the south of the kingdom, coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said. He said the rockets were launched from northern Yemen toward "populated areas" of Saudi Arabia, but were intercepted overnight without any casualties or damage. "This hostile act... proves the continued involvement of the Iranian regime in supporting the Huthi militia with qualitative capabilities," Malki added. Since November of last year, the Iran-backed insurgents have intensified missile attacks into neighboring Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition launched a military intervention in Yemen in 2015 with the goal of rolling back the Houthis and restoring the internationally-recognized government to power.(With AFP)

Armenian Protest Leader Pashinyan Elected PM by Parliament

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/18/Armenia's parliament on Tuesday elected opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister after he spearheaded weeks of mass protests against the ruling party, transforming the country's political landscape. Lawmakers voted 59 to 42 to approve Pashinyan's candidacy to the nation's top job with the ruling Republican Party backing the opposition leader's premiership bid on his second attempt after it narrowly voting him down last week, plunging the Caucasus nation into its most serious political crisis in years.

Syria Says Downed Two Israeli Missiles near capital
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 08/18/The Syrian army on Tuesday night intercepted two Israeli missiles fired towards a district near Damascus, the official SANA news agency said. According to SANA, "anti-aircraft defenses intercepted two Israeli missiles launched against (the district of) Kissweh and destroyed them."Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP that missiles targeted an "arms depot belonging to Hizbullah and the Iranians."

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on May 08-09/18
Containing Iran’s Nefarious Influence in the Region
Pascal Emmanuel Gobry/Bloomberg/May 08/18
French President Emmanuel Macron wants to rescue the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as JCPOA. His office made a joint announcement with the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the two leaders would work together on preserving the deal, in the wake of Macron's state visit to the United States, where he tried to convince his American counterpart to give the deal a chance. Macron has put forward a proposal that could, indeed, improve the situation and enable everyone to claim victory.  Trump should take up Macron’s suggestion: to treat the existing deal, known by its acronym JCPOA, which covers Iran’s nuclear program, as one leg in a broader accord that would cover nuclear activities beyond JCPOA’s 10-year deadline, ballistic missile technology, and, especially, Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism in the region.
This is clever diplomacy. It would enable Trump to claim victory by pursuing an even bigger deal (“the biggest deal ever,” perhaps?). Trying to improve the situation in one area by opening other areas for discussion is a good negotiating tactic, which the author of “The Art of the Deal” might appreciate.
It might potentially address Iranian concerns: The economic windfall from the deal never materialized, because while it lifted nuclear proliferation-related sanctions, it did not lift terrorism sponsorship-related sanctions, and so deterred many companies from investing in Iran due to the regulatory complexity. Given that, as Eli Lake points out, the regime is embattled by economic under-performance and public bitterness about its overseas adventures, it might jump at the chance to have further sanctions lifted.
This is the right approach. One can see JCPOA as intensely flawed and yet still believe that, now that it is signed, scuttling it would be worse than staying in and trying to improve the situation from there. (This is, for example, the position of Jim Mattis, US defense chief and Iran hawk.)
It is also good to make this case because France has successfully managed to walk a tight line between engagement and toughness. Germany, mostly seeing Iran as a potential export market, has at times seemed eager to get Iran sanctions lifted at any cost. The US veers wildly in its Iran approach depending on the party occupying the White House.
France has maintained business, scientific and cultural ties with Iran, as well as diplomatic dialogue, and has eschewed the sort of saber-rattling that is too often the hallmark of US foreign policy. Famously, in the 1990s, France openly flouted the American D’Amato-Kennedy Act, which inflicted US sanctions on companies investing in the hydrocarbon sector in Iran and Libya, encouraging Total to invest in the country (EU companies ended up getting an exemption). And yet, France has been unfailingly uncompromising when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program. There is an intrinsic motive: As a nuclear-armed country, France has always made nonproliferation a priority, as a WikiLeaks-leaked US embassy cable on France’s Iran policy pointed out. The French government has made serious investments in intelligence and expertise in the area of nuclear proliferation for decades.
But there are more pragmatic geopolitical concerns as well — the two countries have a long history, with the earliest diplomatic contacts dating back to the 13th century. Nowadays, France supports efforts to contain Iran-backed “Hezbollah” in Lebanon, a former colony with close ties.
In 2013, when Iran’s secret enrichment site at Fordow was discovered, it was France that took the lead on crippling sanctions, including an oil embargo and a freeze on Iranian central bank assets abroad. During the negotiations over JCPOA in Geneva, with the Obama administration eager to accommodate Iran, France was frequently more hawkish. If Trump does pull out of JCPOA, France’s more balanced Iran policy might point the way forward. The idea aims to fold nuclear nonproliferation into a broader effort to curtail Iran’s nefarious influence in the region, particularly when it comes to terrorism and Syria. Whether the aggrieved Iranian regime will go along, and whether such a multilateral containment framework can work without American engagement, remains to be seen.

This is My Country, Oh Hell!

Ghassan Charbel/Asharq Al Awsat/May 08/18
Whenever an Iraqi, Libyan or Lebanese told me that he had returned to his country so as not to die in exile, I had strange feelings. Is the tomb the only service that troubled maps can offer to those who once tried to avoid engaging in their massacres?
Is it conceivable that the homeland becomes a mere grave project for the returning expatriate and for the suffering resident? And does the map become a large tomb when people are addicted to living under partisanship, militias and failure, and away from the State of laws and institutions and its guarantees? And who deserves to be cried over, those who have come back and saved some of their lives while abroad, or the residents who completely squandered their lives inside their country?
He was sitting alone in a coffee shop with a cup of coffee and his computer, surfing websites and sometimes smiling sarcastically. He did not look around, giving the impression that he was waiting for no one. His presence in that place was strange. Today, he is expected to be in his village to assume his duty. The parliamentary elections are a national wedding. The screens say so. They also say that it is an opportunity for the citizen to speak. To choose. And to decide. To participate in making his future and the future of the country to which he belongs.
The journalist quickly spots a person who has a story to tell. This man wants nothing from his country. His age does no longer entitle him to enter the race for the search of a future. He neither wants a job nor a role. He wants to spend the time that is left for him in a natural place. These are the basic rights of a citizen when he has a homeland.
The man packed his bag and returned home. He has been spoiled in his readings abroad. He was convinced that the Lebanese had learned from bitter experiences… From the destructive internal battle and its consequences… from foreign tutelage and its sorrows. He was almost certain that those who were born during successive wars would not repeat the sins of their fathers; and that they would not fall into the traps of sorcerers, charlatans and sellers of fanaticism and hatred and the squandering of public money and the confiscation of the state.
He said the new generation would inject new blood into the country’s veins. He believed that those coming from schools and universities would not hide the daggers under their clothes, waiting for the moment of clash with their colleagues and co-citizens.
The man returned and stayed. He had the illusion that his country was a warm and welcoming place, and that the Lebanese have learned the lesson. He soon discovered that the ordinary Lebanese people are despised every day… in the streets, in public institutions, and on screens. He found out that his country is losing its meaning, its spirit and its role. He discovered that the decline is speeding up…
He discovered that his country has exhausted all its characteristics; that the capital has not ceased to deteriorate for decades. The capital, which was a window and an opportunity, has become a prisoner of past wars. The country has grown old with its books, its members and groups. Its blood is shed by the corrupt, the helpless and the adventurous. Even those who were believed to be a promise . have swooped down on the feast with an old hunger. Disappointment with their behavior will add to the deterioration of institutions and will root out the remaining immunity of the country and the people.
He skims through newspapers and screens and becomes more anxious. Why is the country so arid? You find no sparkle, no idea of progress. It is a country that expels its children and continues its path towards defeat.
Others head towards development and progress, while the country follows the swamps of failed ideas, while enjoying same faults committed by the same people. It’s a situation of awful aridity... Electoral lists that carry a fair number of corrupt, shameless and perpetrators. The audience applauds. Old and small wars in a turbulent region full of dead, interventions and waves of refugees. As if the election season is the period of announcing national bankruptcy. Here is Lebanon shrinking and waning.
Arrogant boys are lacking experience and moral and national immunity. Boys, who ignore their history to an extent that they spoil their present and their future. Their voracity knows no limits. They do not hesitate to open the wounds and add salt out of their ambitions in a handful of votes and a seat in Parliament, the corruption of which is well known to the Lebanese. There is no use to grieve the old Lebanon because it wouldn’t have gone with the wind should it had the capacity to survive. But the alternative is really awful. While others move towards building a state and consolidating security and stability, the Lebanese people remain prisoners of those who have killed their sons, their dignity and their state.
There is no dignity for a map without a state… A map that is nurtured by young politicians’ tricks and their ability to deceive people and seize what remains of the looted resources without mercy. The war has killed some of the spirit of Lebanon, and here is the fake peace which assassinates the rest of it. Truce, which is held in the absence of a state and over its ruins, is in fact an assassination. Dignity, in the absence of a state, does not deserve to be named as such. The absence of the state means handing over the keys to the dark old caves. The absence of the state means that groups will always have their daggers and prepare new graves for their children. How difficult are democratic elections when they stress the insistence on the decline. When some politicians pounce the elections, like pirates attack a ship carrying gold. One can see sharp fingernails, eyes full of greed and consciences that were lost due to the excess of their wrongdoings. These are criminal maps that punish the citizen once when he leaves, and once he makes the mistake of surrendering to his nostalgia. However, he will not return to France. He has run out of adventure and wasted years. He will spend his seventies aboard the broken ship. This sick map will not spare him a grave. He opens his hands, wondering: This is my country, but Oh Hell!

Resilience Against Conflicts Key to Ending Hunger
José Graziano da Silva/Asharq Al Awsat/May 08/18
Many countries in the Near East and North Africa deserve praise for keeping food security high on their agenda. As a result of this perseverance, 14 Arab countries achieved the target set by UN Millennium Development Goal 1 to halve the proportion of individuals suffering from hunger during the period 1990 to 2015. But today the NENA region faces challenges that threaten its ability to achieve zero hunger by 2030 and other Sustainable Development Goals. These challenges include primarily conflict situations, but also the impacts of climate change, scarce and mismanaged natural resources, distress migration, and persistent poverty. This week, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization is convening at its headquarters in Rome the NENA regional conference. The event provides an opportunity for the 30 countries in the region to discuss the way forward for achieving sustainable development.
The challenge is substantial. Some countries, mired in conflict, risk being left behind. In fact, the costs of conflict are immense. In 2016 alone, the number of deaths in the region due to conflict has been estimated at 82,000. As of mid-2016, the total number of displaced persons in the world registered by the UNHCR reached an all-time high of 67.6 million, nearly 25 million of which originated from only five countries in the NENA region: Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Sudan.
The violence associated with much of the conflict has also eroded the ability of people to feed themselves. Since 2013, the number of hungry people in the NENA region has increased by 15 percent. In the period 2015 to 2017, 48 million people faced hunger in the region, an increase of 5.8 million on 2011 to 13. Three-quarters of those who fell into hunger came from the previously mentioned five countries. Peace is a fundamental element to ending the protracted crises in the region, but the international community cannot wait for peace to take action. Even in conflict situations, much can be done to fight hunger and give hope to those affected that a better future is possible. Social protection programs are, for instance, an invaluable tool in this regard. These include cash transfers, seed rations, support for vegetable production, as well as livestock treatment and vaccination. In the Dohuk and Irbil governorates of Iraq, for example, the FAO is supporting internally displaced persons and vulnerable host households to improve their livelihoods, nutrition and food security through vegetable production using greenhouses, backyard poultry, cottage industries and honey production. In Yemen, the FAO supports beekeeping and dairy value chains to improve livelihoods among conflict-stricken communities while adding value to agriculture. And in Jordan and Lebanon, the FAO is working to improve the livelihoods and food security of vulnerable agriculture-based communities hosting Syrian refugees. Investing in local food production is essential to giving affected people the conditions for them to live on their own, for them to get back to their normal work, to do what they know. To save lives, we have to save their livelihoods.
The Earth is not round
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/May 08/18
Amid much ridicule, a conference was recently held in Britain to prove that Earth is flat. This conference was held last year too and attended by some people who claim to be scientists and by some who base their views on religion. Their theories violate everything that scientists have proven following a long historical conflict that was settled by technology. Those who cited the conference and considered it a reference are like those who repeatedly cite conspiracy theories to prove that Earth is flat; man did not land on the moon, NASA is a mere tool of propaganda which the Americans invented to use against the Soviets, the Earth does not rotate, AIDS is a lie and cancer is a man-made diseased for commercial purposes. Those who echo such theories are a petty minority in the West, and the majority of people poke fun at them and is entertained by them. Meanwhile, projects to discover and invade space are still ongoing. In our current materialistic world, science has the upper hand. Science is what divides the world into winners and losers, the capable and the incapable, the donors and the donor recipients and the militarily strong and the vulnerable. No matter how opulent a society is, like our case was during the previous phase of oil wealth, it cannot progress without a comprehensive scientific project. Our scientific incapability is a major reason in our backwardness no matter how big our airports, cities and highways are and how many laborers and servants we bring from across the world. All these are unfortunately imported cultural and developmental projects that did not establish for a developmental scientific project that handles developing and teaching intensive sciences as they were based on securing easy welfare.
Brave measures
There are skeptics and people who refuse scientific advancement and they will continue to be a part of our lives but they are not an obstacle today like they were until a recent phase when they fought teaching science because they feared from it over religion and faith. The real challenge is in spreading science and developing it and transitioning into a society that relies on it. No matter how opulent a society is, like our case was during the previous phase of oil wealth, it cannot progress without a comprehensive scientific project. We need to reconsider the old approach, the concept of education and its role in the society. We need other brave measures that focus on exact sciences and make them the core of our developmental project and that adopt advanced global standards as our standards for progress. Scientific minds in South Korea are what make the country at the forefront today, like the case is with all major industrial countries. The crucial difference is in scientific advancement which can save time and fulfill the ambitions of developmental plans. Singapore did not only succeed because it’s a strict government with a modern administrative system but also because it focused on education, specifically on sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The successful results achieved by this small country are amazing compared with countries that have more capabilities and natural resources and that are in its geographic and political surrounding. We are before a great opportunity for change by benefitting from the positive atmosphere brought by Vision 2030 and thanks to the clear desire to achieve change not just in the higher roles of the state but also in the street and not just in the Gulf but also in the entire region.

Iran’s expansionist project eyes North Africa
Sawsan Al Shaer/Al Arabiya/May 08/18
We should know that Iran is not an ordinary state in the conventional sense of the term. We must not be deceived if some of its cabinet members speak English or if Iran has a wing described as “moderate,” as the regime does not acknowledge international agreements and conventions and does not acknowledge the sovereign borders between it and others. The Iranian regime pursues a “settlement” project that it believes is supported by God. It is based on exporting its revolution against regimes that do not support it. This policy relies on a doctrine on which the constitution is based, and is not just a minor element in its political framework. Thus any diplomatic activity, be it cultural, religious or military, between Iran and any other state only serves Iran’s expansionist project and is in agreement with its constitution. Any country that has any kind of relation with Iran, whether diplomatic, cultural or commercial, must not think that it is dealing with Tehran upon any agreed international norms, but it must expect Iran to use any activity outside its borders with any state to serve its colonial project. Iran only uses the states it signs any agreements with or exchanges any kind of relations with, as a step and a bridge for its expansionist Persian project.
Iran targets Morocco
When Morocco severed its relations with Iran in 2009, in the wake of several crimes the Iranian regime committed when it interfered in Bahrain’s internal affairs, King Mohammed VI sent a message to King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and said: “Out of the strong bonds of sincere brotherhood, active solidarity and a firm belief of a shared destiny between our two sister kingdoms, we express to Your Highness our deep concern regarding the suspicious and serious statements issued recently and which stipulated that some Iranian circles tried to undermine the sanctity and sovereignty of the sister Kingdom of Bahrain and the sanctity of its regional and territorial safety.”In this message which was broadcast by the Maghreb Arabe Press news agency , King Mohammed VI considered that the “absurd Iranian statements contradict with the principles and rules of international law, as well as with the tranquility and good neighborly values which our tolerant Islamic faith urges us to follow.”
In May 2011, Morocco’s then-foreign minister Taieb Fassi Fihri clarified that they severed ties with Tehran to show solidarity with Bahrain and also because the former tried to interfere in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco. He said: “We severed ties with Iran almost two years ago after it attempted to interfere in our affairs. Morocco is a religiously and popularly unified country. We do not have Shiites.” In his response to a question on whether Iran was a “burden” for regional security, Fihri said: “Without any doubt. We do not support dialogue with any neighbor no matter how important it is, if there were no pre-conditions to non-interference in internal affairs.”
This is the truth about Iran. It does not recognize any country’s sovereignty as the world will remain a public common for the Persian doctrine as long as the principle of “exporting the revolution” is part of the regime. However, Iranian-Moroccan relations normalized in 2016 and the two sides exchanged ambassadors. Morocco hoped that Iran had learnt its lesson and will not think of interfering in Moroccan affairs or meddling in Moroccan-Algerian differences or supporting Algeria in its stance in the Western Sahara against it. However, as stated above Iran is not a normal state as it has an expansionist project and has well thought out plans pushing in that direction. All its alliances are based on serving this plan. Whether it establishes diplomatic ties or not, it has the same position over any territory as it considers it a common land to export its revolution to.
Influence in North Africa
Two years have passed since relations were restored. Iran continued with its project which was suspended for two years. As if there was no lesson learnt for seven years. None of Iran’s actions are out of love for Algeria or for the people of the Sahara but it’s all about serving the project that aims to overthrow Arab regimes one by one including Algeria, to which Iran delivered weapons to terrorist organizations. Its relation with Algeria or some parties in Tunisia or Morocco is based on the extent to which these parties serve Iranian agenda to extend its power in North Africa. It reached its peak in Egypt during Mohammed Mursi’s era which has opened the doors to it. Thus, the only thing left for it was to extend its power to the Atlantic Ocean. Iran seeks to infiltrate Morocco and it’s working hard to do so either by opening new centers for Shiism or through making alliances with political parties in the Arab Maghreb countries. It delivered weapons to the center of Algeria and provided weapons, including Iranian ballistic missiles, to banned groups in Morocco through its Lebanese agent.
Therefore, any country that believes it’s dealing with Iran upon well-known international norms and traditions is wrong, and it will soon regret this.

My vision on the religious diversity in Saudi Arabia

Nathalie Goulet/Al Arabiya/May 08/18
Worst than the blind are those who refuse to acknowledge the major changes sweeping through Saudi Arabia in a short span of time. Today, news is heard about the activities of the Muslim World League’s officials and among them its leader Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa.
Recently, he met President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. Their discussions are considered a major breakthrough. I have already spoken about what I have concluded about an invitation extended to Christian leaders to visit Saudi Arabia, and among them the Pope himself. That was during my trip to in Paris in June 2016, during which I have had the pleasure speak with the Crown Prince about Saudi Arabia and its movements toward the change.
Broken taboos
I believe that many taboos have been broken and only warped minds would perceive it as a kind of tactics. Many signs had predicted this change and no one could have imagined it occurring at such speed. It is possible that we are at the cusp of a true cultural revolution in Saudi Arabia. More than ever, we must support all the efforts being made. The visit of the Secretary General of the World Arab League to the Grand Synagogue of Paris during his visit last November was dubbed by many as a minor anecdote. Prince Mohammed bin Salman's meetings with multifaith leaders in New York was also treated as a public relations stunt. The visit of the highest advisor of the Pope to Saudi Arabia was barely talked about. Today, conditions are quite different and the 2030 vision is no longer a tool since it impacts the deepest segments of Saudi society which is confined and closed on its own.
For more than two years, clear and indisputable acts of tolerance and broad-mindedness have been taken showing the leadership’s accommodation of cultural and religious diversity. Prince Mohammed bin Salman had demonstrated this fact. This tolerance to religious diversity is a giant step forward for modernity which will silence many critics. I have always maintained and written that it is important to follow reforms and Saudi Vision 2030. It is possible that we are at the cusp of a true cultural revolution in Saudi Arabia. More than ever, we must support all the efforts being made.
For some, the surprise comes from the fact that a politician has fulfilled his promises. They certainly should get used to it. Saudi Arabia has just given a strong signal towards tolerance to the world and all extremists on the eve of Ramadan. Everyone is about to witness new stages in the opening up of the country. There still remain some issues and taboos, but today is the time to salute these historic decisions.

Iran in the US Backyard
Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/May 08/18
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif went on a tour of six Latin American nations in 2016. Iran's diplomatic efforts resulted in, among other things, access to the use of Venezuelan territory to advance Iran's solid rocket-fuel production.
Culturally, Iran has helped Hezbollah establish itself as the dominant force among Shia Muslim communities throughout Latin America, and has taken control of their mosques, schools and cultural institutions.
In 2012, there were 32 Iranian cultural centers across Latin America, to facilitate the spread of the Iranian Islamic revolution; today, less than a decade later, the number of centers has grown to more than 100.
Iran and Hezbollah have been operating in Latin America since the 1980s, effectively undisturbed. During this time, Iran and its proxy, the terrorist organization Hezbollah, have been Islamizing Latin America, seemingly to create a forward base of operations for the Islamic Republic in the backyard of the United States.
No Latin American country has designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization: Hezbollah can operate with relative impunity there. In April 2017, a Hezbollah operative, Mohamad Hamdar, arrested in Peru, was acquitted of all terrorism-related charges. The Peruvian court found that Hamdar's role within Hezbollah was in itself insufficient to consider him a terrorist[1]. This legal vacuum regarding Hezbollah might also be why Islamic terrorism, drug-trafficking and organized crime in the region is frequently underestimated.
According to testimony at a United States House of Representatives panel hearing on Iran's global terrorism network on April 17, 2018, Iran and Hezbollah have converted and radicalized thousands of Latin Americans to Shia Islam. In some Latin American countries, such as Venezuela, Iran's and Hezbollah's efforts have even been promoted by local political elites. Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami -- of Lebanese and Syrian origins and with ties to both cocaine trafficking and Hezbollah -- oversaw the illicit sale and distribution of at least 10,000 Venezuelan passports and other documents to persons from Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. These reportedly included Hezbollah terrorists and members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. More than a decade ago, a US congressional report warned that Venezuela was providing support to radical Islamic groups, including the supply of identity documents. El Aissami could, in the foreseeable future, become president of Venezuela.
Not only has Latin America's passive acceptance of Iranian infiltration also allowed the Islamic Republic to create large networks of mosques and cultural centers across the region; in addition, Iran and Hezbollah operate in multiple areas and across multiple sectors, both licit and illicit, apparently to strengthen and expand their influence in Latin America and to enrich Hezbollah as a way to finance its growing terrorist and paramilitary activities.
These areas of operation encompass diplomacy, commercial enterprise, religious dominance, and perhaps most significantly, substantial criminal activity. Iran has employed diplomacy to evade sanctions imposed on it before the Iran "nuclear deal." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then president of Iran, visited Latin America six times during 2005-2012, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif went on a tour of six Latin American nations in 2016. These diplomatic efforts resulted in, among other things, access to the use of Venezuelan territory to advance Iran's solid rocket-fuel production.
Culturally, Iran has helped Hezbollah establish itself as the dominant force among Shia Muslim communities throughout the region, and has taken control of their mosques, schools and cultural institutions. In 2012, there were 32 Iranian cultural centers across Latin America the purpose of which is to facilitate the spread of the Iranian Islamic revolution; today, less than a decade later, the number of centers has grown to more than 100. Among other ways of presumably spreading its influence, Iran also runs a Spanish-language 24-hour news broadcast, HispanTV -- operated by IRIB, Iran's state-owned public broadcasting corporation -- which broadcasts across Latin America.
Hezbollah has become a substantial international crime syndicate, which utilizes its position in Latin America to deal in drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, human trafficking, trade in counterfeit goods and money laundering, the proceeds of which it uses to finance its activities.
Drugs, such as cocaine, are funneled into the United States to be sold there. Some investigators believe that Hezbollah amasses $ 1 billion a year from its criminal activities, which involve close cooperation with Latin American drug cartels and criminal syndicates. Together, these create havoc in Latin America and contribute to driving immigration into the United States. One expert recently described Hezbollah as "the gold standard" of the crime-terror convergence.
In 2008, the US began a secret law enforcement project, Operation Cassandra, to stop Hezbollah's activities in Latin America. According to an exposé in Politico, however, the Obama administration obstructed that operation:
"In practice, the administration's willingness to envision a new role for Hezbollah in the Middle East, combined with its desire for a negotiated settlement to Iran's nuclear program, translated into a reluctance to move aggressively against the top Hezbollah operatives, according to Project Cassandra members and others."
After Israel's revelations on April 30, 2018, that the Iran deal was based on Iranian lies, it is probably safe to conclude that the Obama administration empowered Iran and its proxy in Latin America to ensure the Iran deal, which has apparently turned out to be nothing but a smokescreen for Iran's nuclear plans.
Having a seasoned and generously state-funded terrorist organization such as Hezbollah in the US's backyard unsurprisingly poses a genuine threat to the US homeland. According to Emmanuel Ottolenghi, speaking at the April hearing on Iran's global terrorism networks:
"A survey of cases prosecuted against Hezbollah operatives in the past two decades shows that the terror group remains a threat to the security of the U.S. homeland and the integrity of its financial system. Iran and Hezbollah sought to carry out high casualty attacks against U.S. targets multiple times. Additionally, they built networks they used to procure weapons, sell drugs, and conduct illicit financial activities inside the United States.
"operatives blend in; they nestle within existing expatriate communities; they find spouses; and set up seemingly legitimate businesses, acquiring permanent residency and citizenship in the process – all attributes that are part of their cover story".
One recent example of Hezbollah operatives in action in the United States was the arrest of Samer El Debek and Ali Mohammad in New York. Both held US citizenship and had been trained by Hezbollah -- including in the use of weapons such as rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine guns -- and acted on its behalf in the US. The two were charged with serious terrorism charges, such as conducting surveillance of potential targets in America[2].
The question is, whether the US government will adopt a comprehensive strategy to counter the ongoing efforts of Iran and Hezbollah to solidify their base of operations in Latin America against the United States and US interests. Such a strategy, as pointed out by several experts at the April 17 hearing, does not currently appear to be in place.
*Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.
[1] The prosecution appealed and Hamdar will be tried again this year on the same terrorism charges in the Peruvian Supreme Court. If convicted he will be the first Hezbollah operative to be sentenced in Latin America, amounting to a de facto designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist group in Peru.
[2] These included military and law enforcement facilities in New York City, as well as conducting missions in Panama to locate the U.S. and Israeli Embassies and to assess the vulnerabilities of the Panama Canal and ships in the Canal.
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Pompeo tries to smooth path for ‘deal of the century’
Maria Dubovikova/Arab News/May 08/18
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week visited the Middle East, taking in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan. His first trip to the region since being approved by Congress aimed to strengthen ties with key allies, coordinate positions on various issues,such as Iran’s nuclear deal, and maintain US influence over key issues in the Middle East, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Russia believes that the visit of Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi to Sochi last week and his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov implies that Jordan has been approached by the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel to act on their behalf with regards to asking Moscow to pressurize Iran over the nuclear deal.
Pompeo’s tour represented an opportunity for further mobilization in favor of the so-called “deal of the century” on Israel and Palestine, and against Iran and the nuclear agreement.
Trump is working on a comprehensive strategy that focuses on Iran’s nuclear file and “confronts a wide range of non-nuclear threats, such as Iranian missile systems, support for Hezbollah, the export of thousands of proxy fighters to Syria and its aid to the rebels in Yemen, working closely with allies in the face of threats and retreating from the full scope of the malignant Iranian influence,” according to Pompeo.
During his joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir, Pompeo added: “Unlike the previous administration, we do not ignore Iran’s widespread terrorism.”
Tehran is not prepared to end its military presence in various countries in the region regardless of the threats waged by the US and Israel.
Pompeo’s tour showed the American administration’s determination to deal firmly with Iran. This was also confirmed during Trump’s meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The White House believes the only way out of this stalemate is a full Iranian concession to the international will to denuclearize and end itsballistic missile program.
However, Tehran is not prepared to end its military presence in various countries in the region regardless of the threats waged by the US and Israel.
Russia has not yet commented on the escalating situation. However, both Russia and Iran believe Trump will be forced to get rid of the nuclear deal, which US officials see as an obstacle for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and as leeway for convincing North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. Senior aides to Trump believe that, as long as the agreement allows Iran to maintain its nuclear program and enable it to enrich uranium later on, there will be no room for an agreement with Pyongyang, under which the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can take place.
Since Pompeo’s visit was limited to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, this means that the US administration wanted to gauge Arab and Israeli opinion on the nuclear deal and the movement of itsembassy, and how to absorb the anger of Arabs and Muslims.
Washington and Riyadh now have a common language regarding Tehran because Iran has supplied the Houthis with weapons, intervened militarily in Syria and Iraq, and has threatened the security and stability of the whole region. The Americans would prefer to amend the deal as a first step before ripping it up; however, Gulf countries wanted the deal to include Iran’s ballistic missiles. Conversely, Iran responded that it would never abandon its development of ballistic missiles. Russia, of course,supports Iran in this perspective.
It looks like the "deal of the century” cannot be reached without ending the nuclear deal with Iran. This cannot be cancelled by the Americans alone, but requires EU, Russian and Chinese approval as well. Consequently, this would likely result in launching limited strikes against Iranian targets in Lebanon and Syria and on their allies in Yemen in order to put more pressure on Iran to approve the American conditions vis-a-vis the deal.
**Maria Dubovikova is a prominent political commentator, researcher and expert on Middle East affairs. She is president of the Moscow-based International Middle Eastern Studies Club (IMESClub). Twitter: @politblogme

Lebanon’s Winning Women: Six Females Voted into Parliament

Outsiders in Lebanon Vote Make a Small Win Look Big
النساء في الجدد في المجلس النيابي والتأثير الرمزي والمحدود لأصوات المنتشرين
Associated Press/AP/Naharnet/May 08/18

The West Betrays the Kurds/الغرب يخون الأكراد

Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/May 07/18

رزمة من التقارير (عربية وانكليزية وفيديو) تغطي قرار الرئيس الأميركي ترامب الإنسحاب من الإتفاق النووي
Trump declares US leaving ‘horrible’ Iran nuclear accord