May 27/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
We suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him
Letter to the Romans 08/12-18: "We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us."
Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on May 26-27/18
The Majority Of Lebanese Politicians have Succumbed to The Iranian occupation/Elias Bejjani/May 24/18
Hezbollah’s bogus Liberation & Resistance Day/Elias Bejjani/May 25/18
Israeli security and the consolidation of Hezbollah's influence in Lebanon/Ali Al-Amin/Al Arabiya/May 26/18
Canada: A "Different" Kind of Antisemitism?/Philip Carl Salzman/Gatestone Institute/May 26/18
EU: How to Stop Mass-migration from Africa? Bring Everyone to Europe!/Judith Bergman//Gatestone Institute/May 26/18
In the European Appeasement Olympics, Who Wins?/Bruce Bawer/Gatestone Institute/May 26/18
Swallowing a lie for fear of an imaginary war/Amir Taheri/Al Arabiya/May 26/18
Muqtada Al Sadr’s plea for help/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/May 26/18

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on May 26-27/18
The Majority Of LebanSee Two New Portfolios Added
Berri, Nasrallah Discuss Elections’ Outcome, Other Files
US Warns Syria of 'Firese Politicians have Succumbed to The Iranian occupation
Hezbollah’s bogus Liberation & Resistance Day
Lebanon Voices Concern over New Syrian Redevelopment Law
Report: Cabinet Might m' Action over Southern Offensive
Report: Govt. Policy Statement Under ‘International Scrutiny’
Bassil Tells Muallem, Gutteres: Lebanon Concerned about New Syria Land Law
PLO factions congratulate Hariri on his renewed mandate: We hope the ministerial statement will note the civil rights of Palestinians
Hariri says upcoming government shall do its utmost to ensure sports sector rise
Mossa: National unity government of consensus most important gift on Liberation Day
Bsharre Municipality thanks all sides for their effort in recovering the body of Sa'ib
Lebanese Forces says it has no connection with Marjayoun incident, calls on security apparatuses to prosecute the culprits
Riachi expresses surprise how a nonlocal tweet can embody local nuances
Berri meets with Ambassadors of Qatar and China
Army Chief, General Joseph AounAoun windsup Australia visit, emphasizes good security conditions in Lebanon
Mario Aoun calls for speedingup cabinet formation
Berri, Nasrallah discuss internal files, election results
Israeli security and the consolidation of Hezbollah's influence in Lebanon

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on May 26-27/18
US-Turkey Agree 'Roadmap' on Kurd-Held Manbij in Syria
Trump Says Kim Summit Could Still Go Ahead on June 12
Five White Helmets Rescuers Killed in Gunmen Attack in Syria
South, North Korean Leaders Meet for Second Time
Arab Coalition Thwarts Houthi Drone Attack against Saudi Abha Airport
Not Enough to Follow Instincts
Mekunu Lashes Yemen, Oman after Being Downgraded to Tropical Storm
American-Yemeni Man Pleads Guilty of Joining ISIS
China in Another Victory in Campaign to Isolate Taiwan
Pressure Mounts for OPEC Exit from Production Cut Deal
Egyptian Female Preachers Confront Extremist Thought

Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on May 26-27/18
The Majority Of Lebanese Politicians have Succumbed to The Iranian occupation
Elias Bejjani/May 24/18
Lebanon is an occupied country by all means and standards.
Almost 90% of the Lebanese active and practising politicians who are involved currently in politics on all levels and in all domains did overtly or covertly succumb to the occupation and practice under its umbrella and in line with all its enforced red lines and taboos.
The priority of the majority of the Lebanese politicians and political parties is their own and individual interests and gains, and not in any way the fate of the oppressed and impoverished Lebanese people, or independence, sovereignty or the implementation of both the country's constitution or the UN Resolutions 1559 and 1701.
Sadly, our beloved country, The Holy Lebanon, is totally occupied by Iran through its Hezbollah terrorist proxy.
In reality, the majority of the Lebanese politicians from all denominational factions, and in a bid to remain in power, maintain their own personal interests, protect their own businesses and financial investments, they evilly keep a blind eye on the Iranian occupation and camouflage all their political activities with shameful non patriotic approaches and stances.
Meanwhile almost 90% of the top notch politician, parties, clergymen and officials and with very few exceptions are cowardly subservient to the occupier and work under its Faramens (dictated orders and decrees) with a 100% Dhimmitude education and mentality.
Therefore any changes that might take place under the Iranian occupation like a new Federal System or any other constitutional amendments will be completely dictated and forced by Iran to serve its denominational Persian scheme of expansionism and dictatorship.
Within the realm of this occupational enforced reality of succumbing and Dhimmitude emerged the results of the Iranian orchestrated recent Lebanese parliamentary elections that gave the occupier, Hezbollah and its Iranian masters the upper hand in the parliament.
In conclusion, at the present time, sadly there is no hope what so ever from the majority of the current Lebanese politicians, political parties or officials due to the actual unfortunate fact that they all did succumb to the occupier.

Hezbollah’s bogus Liberation & Resistance Day
Elias Bejjani/May 25/18
Believe it or not, on May 25 each year since 2000 Lebanon has been celebrating a so-called “Liberation & Resistance Day.” Sadly, this celebration commemorates a bogus event, and a phony heroism that did not actually take place.
On May 22, 2000 the Israeli Army unilaterally and for solely Israeli domestic reasons withdrew from the security zone of South Lebanon in accordance with UN Resolution 425. The withdrawal was a fatal Israeli decision that has inspired the Hamas terrorism acts and the on-going havoc in the Palestinian Gaza strip.
During the last 13 years many Israeli officials and politicians form all parties openly and harshly criticized Barak’s Government (Barak was PM at that time) hasty and unwise decision through which Israel’ abandoned its ally the South Lebanon Army (SLA) and gave Hezbollah all south Lebanon on a plate of sliver.
The unilateral Israeli withdrawal created a security vacuum in south Lebanon. The Syrians who were occupying Lebanon at that time and fully controlling its government, did not allow the Lebanese Army to deploy in the south and fill this vacuum after the Israeli withdrawal. Instead Syria helped the Hezbollah militia to militarily control the whole southern region, and even patrol the Israeli-Lebanese border.
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli army’s withdrawal was executed without any military battles, or even minor skirmishes with Hezbollah, or the Lebanese and Syrian armies. The Syrian regime, in a bid to justify both its on going occupation of Lebanon and the avoidance of disarming Hezbollah, came up with the “Shabaa Farms occupation big lie” and declared Hezbollah a Liberator, alleging it had forced Israel to withdrawal from South Lebanon.
Syria, in the same camouflaging and devious context, dictated to both the Lebanese parliament and government to declare May 25th a National Day under the tag of “Liberation & Resistance Day”.
In reality Hezbollah did not force the Israeli withdrawal, and did not play any role in the Liberation of the southern Lebanese region. In fact both Hezbollah and Syria deliberately hindered and delayed the Israeli withdrawal for more than 14 years.
Every time the Israelis called on the Lebanese government to engage in a joint, serious effort under the United Nations umbrella to ensure a safe and mutually organized withdrawal of its army from South Lebanon, the Lebanese government refused to cooperate, did not agree to deploy its army in the south, and accused the Israelis of plotting to divide and split the Syrian-Lebanese joint track. This approach to the Israeli calls was an official Syrian decision dictated to all the Lebanese puppet governments during the Syrian occupation era.
Since then, Hezbollah has been hijacking Lebanon and its people, refusing to disarm and advocating for the annihilation of Israel. This Iranian mullahs’ terrorist army stationed in Lebanon, is viciously hiding behind labels of resistance, liberation and religion. Hezbollah has recklessly jeopardized the Lebanese peoples’ lives, safety, security and livelihood. It has been growing bolder and bolder in the last four years and mercilessly taking the Lebanese state and the Lebanese people hostage through terrorism, force and organized crime.
Sadly, Hezbollah is systematically devouring Lebanon day after day, and piece by piece, while at the same time marginalizing all its governmental institutions in a bid to topple the Lebanese state and erect in its place a Shiite Muslim regime, a replica of the Iranian Shiite mullahs’ fundamentalist republic. Meanwhile the free world and Arabic countries are totally silent, indifferent, and idly watching from far away the horrible crime unfolding without taking any practical or tangible measures to put an end to this anti-Lebanese Syria-Iranian scheme that is executed through their spearhead, the Hezbollah armed militia.
Who is to be blamed for Hezbollah’s current odd and bizarre status? Definitely the Syrians who have occupied Lebanon for more than 28 years (1976-2005). During their bloody and criminal occupation, Syria helped the Iranian Hezbollah militia build a state within Lebanon and fully control the Lebanese Shiite community.
But also the majority of the Lebanese politicians, leaders, officials and clergymen share the responsibility because they were subservient and acted in a dire Dhimmitude, selfish and cowardly manner. If these so-called Lebanese leaders had been courageous and patriotic and had not appeased Hezbollah and turned a blind eye to all its vicious and human rights atrocities, intimidation tactics, crimes and expansionism schemes, this Iranian Shiite fundamentalist militia would not have been able to erect its own mini-state in the southern suburb of Beirut, and its numerous mini-cantons in the Bekaa Valley and the South; nor would Hezbollah have been able to build its mighty military power, with 70 thousand militiamen, or stockpile more than 50 thousand missiles and force the Iranian “Wilayat Al-Faqih” religious doctrine on the Lebanese Shiite community and confiscate its decision making process and freedoms.
Since Hezbollah’s emergence in 1982, these politicians have been serving their own selfish interests and not the interests of the Lebanese people and the nation. They went along with Hezbollah’s schemes, deluding themselves that its militia and weaponry would remain in South Lebanon and would not turn against them.
This failure to serve the people of Lebanon allowed Hezbollah to make many Lebanese and most of the Arab-Muslim countries through its terrorism propaganda to blindly swallow its big lie of theatrical, faked resistance and Liberation.
Hezbollah would not have been able refuse to disarm in 1991, like all the other Lebanese militias in accordance to the “Taef Accord,” which called for the disarmament of all militias. Hezbollah would not have become a state inside the Lebanese state, and a world-wide terrorism Iranian-Syrian tool which turned against them all after its war with Israel in year 2006 and after the UN troops were deployed on the Lebanese – Israeli borders in accordance with the UN Resolution 1701.
On May 7, 2008 Hezbollah invaded Sunni Western Beirut killing and injuring in cold blood hundreds of its civilian citizens, and attempted to take over by force Mount Lebanon.
Hezbollah’s General Secretary Sheik Hassan Nasrallah called that day (May 7, 2008) a great and glorious victory for his resistance, and keeps on threatening the Lebanese that a replicate of that day will take place if they do not succumb and obey his Iranian orders.
Hezbollah is a deadly dragon that the Lebanese politicians have been allowing him to feed on sacrifices from the southern Lebanese citizens, especially on those who were living in the “Security Zone” and who fled to Israel in May 2000 after the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon. This dragon who enjoyed devouring his southern sacrifices has now turned on all the Lebanese and if they do not stand for their rights and dignity, he will keep on devouring them all one after the other.
We call on the Lebanese government, the Lebanese Parliament and on all the free and patriotic Lebanese politicians and leaders to cancel the May 25 National Day, because it is not national at all, and also to stop calling Hezbollah a resistance, put an end for its mini-state, cantons and weaponry, and secure a dignified, honorable and safe return for all the Lebanese citizens who have been taking refuge in Israel since May 2000.
N.B: This article was first published in 2010
Lebanon Voices Concern over New Syrian Redevelopment Law
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 26 May, 2018/Lebanese Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil voiced on Saturday his country’s concern over a new Syrian law aimed at redeveloping areas devastated by seven years of war, saying it could impede the return of Syrian refugees to their homes. "Law 10" of the legislation allows people to prove they own property in the areas chosen for redevelopment, and to claim compensation. But aid groups say the chaos of war means few will be able to do so in the time specified. The law has yet to be applied and the legislation came into effect last month.
In a letter to Syrian regime FM Walid al-Muallem, Bassil said “Law 10” could make it difficult for refugees to prove property ownership, and in turn discourage some from returning. Lebanon hosts more than a million Syrian refugees and Bassil expressed concern over the limited time frame given for refugees to prove possession of their properties. "The inability of the refugees to practically present what proves their possession (of their properties) during the given time limit might lead to them losing their properties and their sense of national identity," Bassil said in the letter, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. "This would deprive them of one of the main incentives for their come return to Syria," he added, echoing comments earlier this week by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. Hariri said the law "tells thousands of Syrian families to stay in Lebanon" by threatening them with property confiscation. Moreover, Bassil voiced concern that the law would pave the way for the naturalization of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. He stressed that Lebanon is “committed to its constitutional right to prevent naturalization,” reiterating that the only way to resolve the refugee crisis is for them to return to their homes, if they are located in safe areas. He stated that Lebanon would not forcibly deport the Syrians or link their return to any issue, such as the political solution. Bassil sent a similar letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, calling for action to protect the rights of Syrian refugees in maintaining their properties. He urged it to assume its full responsibilities in informing all Syrians in Lebanon of the law and urge them to take the necessary measures to prove their ownership of property and return home. Lebanon, said Bassil, faces many challenges that prevent it from informing all Syrians of the law, blaming this problem on the “negative policy” and “lack of transparency” adopted by UN agencies in failing to disclose information about refugees to the Lebanese government.

Report: Cabinet Might See Two New Portfolios Added
Naharnet/May 26/18/Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is set to begin lining up his government starting next week amid reports that the future Cabinet will see two new ministries added to the already 30-member assembly, the Kuwaiti al-Anbaa daily reported Saturday. “Monday will see another day in the path of the Prime Minister in charge of forming an expanded government of national unity, as described by Speaker Nabih Berri, and it will be comprised of 32 ministers to include for the first time, minority Alawite and Christian ministers,” said the daily. In 2016, Lebanon added two new portfolios, an anti-corruption post and a minister for women’s affairs, forming a 30-member Cabinet. Hariri was designated Thursday for a third term as Lebanon's prime minister.

Berri, Nasrallah Discuss Elections’ Outcome, Other Files
Naharnet/May 26/18/Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah met with re-elected Speaker Nabih Berri on Friday evening where they “discussed the general situation in Lebanon and the latest developments on the Palestinian arena,” the National News Agency reported on Saturday. The meeting was held in the presence of caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil (senior political aide to Berri) and senior Hizbullah official Hussein Khalil. The two parties expressed their "satisfaction” with the results of the May 6 parliamentary elections, and the “broad popular participation that confirmed the commitment to the resistance and the political project carried by Hizbullah, AMAL Movement and their allies."They voiced contentment with the “re-election of Speaker Nabih Berri and the re-appointment of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.""A national unity government that reflects the correct representation,” should soon be formed, they said. Discussions have also touched on economic, financial and administrative files, in which hard work was emphasized to fight corruption, concluded NNA. The two men discussed the general situation in the region, mainly in Palestine, affirming “solidarity” with the Palestinian people in their national struggle.

US Warns Syria of 'Firm' Action over Southern Offensive
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 26/18/The US has warned Damascus it will take "firm" action if the regime of Bashar al-Assad violates a ceasefire deal, after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province ahead of an expected offensive. Residents of Daraa told AFP Friday that several different leaflets were scattered across the province, which has borders with Israel and Jordan and is expected to be among the next targets in the resurgent regime's reconquest. One of them, seen by a journalist contributing to AFP in the city of Daraa, includes a picture showing lined up bodies, presumably of anti-government fighters. "This is the inevitable fate of anyone who insists on carrying arms," reads the leaflet. The US State Department issued a statement late Friday saying it was "concerned" by the reports and that the area in question was within the boundaries of a de-escalation zone it had negotiated with Russia and Jordan last year. "We also caution the Syrian regime against any actions that risk broadening the conflict or jeopardize the ceasefire," said spokeswoman Heather Nauert, adding that the ceasefire had been re-affirmed by President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Vietnam in November. "As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations," she added. Syrian regime and allied forces on Monday retook the Yarmuk area in southern Damascus, giving President Bashar al-Assad full control of the capital and its surroundings for the first time since 2012. Daraa's location makes any broad operation there very sensitive, with Israel suspecting Damascus' Iranian allies of seeking to establish a military footprint closer to its borders. Government and allied forces control about 30 percent of Daraa, the rest of which is held by various factions, including a small contingent of fighters from the Islamic State jihadist group.

Report: Govt. Policy Statement Under ‘International Scrutiny’
Naharnet/May 26/18/Lebanon’s upcoming new government to be lined up under Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri “may adopt the format of the previous government's policy statement regarding a clause on Hizbullah’s resistance,” the pan-Arab al-Hayat daily reported on Saturday. Quoting political sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, they said the government may adhere to the same clauses on Hizbullah’s resistance as the ones mentioned in the policy statement back in 2016. The statement had stressed Lebanon’s determined will to liberate parts of land occupied by Israel, stressing the Lebanese right to “resist” the Israeli occupation. “In the conflict with the Israeli enemy, we will spare no effort or resistance in order to liberate the remaining occupied Lebanese territories and protect our homeland from an enemy that continues to covet our land, water and natural resources, based on the responsibility of the state and its role in maintaining the sovereignty of Lebanon, its independence and unity and the safety of its citizens,” the former policy statement had read. It added that “the government affirms the duty of the State and its efforts to liberate the Shebaa Farms, Kfarshouba hills and the Lebanese part of the Ghajar village by various legitimate means, while reaffirming the right of Lebanese citizens to resist the Israeli occupation.”According to the sources, the new policy and the statement made by UN Chief Antonio Guterres early this week are subject to “international monitoring,” mainly after the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks. Pompeo said “his government would review its aid program to Lebanon, including military assistance in light of the election results and Hizbullah’s growing role in Lebanon and Syria.”He also said that “Hizbullah is not only a problem in Lebanon, but it has also become a problem in Syria.”On the other hand, in his Monday report Guterres strongly criticized Hizbullah for operating as the most heavily armed militia and a political party in Lebanon and urged the militant group to halt military activities inside and outside the country, including in Syria.

Bassil Tells Muallem, Gutteres: Lebanon Concerned about New Syria Land Law
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 26/18/Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil sent a message to his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem and UN Chief Antonio Guterres in which he expressed Lebanon's concern about the “negative repercussions” that could results of a property law issued recently in Syria, the National News Agency reported on Saturday. Bassil stressed the significance of that Decree No. 10 in encouraging many displaced Syrians to return to their regions, but emphasized that “Lebanon fears that the conditions of implementation would make only quite a few of the displaced return to their areas.” The Urban Renewal Law, commonly known as Decree 10, allows the government to take private property to create zoned developments, compensating owners with shares of the new projects. Under Decree 10, once Syria's government designates a development zone, authorities have one month to publicly notify landowners of the shares option. Those with deeds in government registries automatically receive shares, but those without must prove ownership within 30 days. Bassil explained in his letter that the thirty-day time limit given to real estate owners to prove ownership is not sufficient. “The procedures of advertising and publication relating to Decree 10 and the thirty-day deadline for owners to prove their ownership is insufficient to inform the displaced persons in a timely manner,” said Bassil. “Inability of the displaced to practically prove their ownership within the given period of time may cause them to lose their property and sense of national identity which deprives them of one of the main incentives for their return to Syria,” he warned. He expressed his hope the "issue will receive the necessary attention by the Syrian government based on keenness of the two countries on the return of the displaced to their homes as soon as possible." He reiterated “Lebanon's adherence to its constitutional right to prevent settlement and its principled stance that the only sustainable solution for the Syrian displacement crisis is the safe return of displaced persons to safe areas inside Syria, while respecting non-forced return or linking the return to anything, such as a political solution.”

PLO factions congratulate Hariri on his renewed mandate: We hope the ministerial statement will note the civil rights of Palestinians
Sat 26 May 2018/NNA - The Palestinian Liberation Organization factions and activists in Lebanon congratulated Saturday Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, the Lebanese people and all national and Islamic forces on re-naming Hariri to form the next Lebanese government. The statement hoped that the upcoming ministerial statement "will accord attention to the civil rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and work to endorse them in the new Parliament so as to alleviate their suffering and improve their living conditions...which falls within the interest of both the Lebanese and Palestinian people, who remain attached to their national constants and their right to return to their homeland." "This great political confidence in PM Hariri by the majority of parliamentary blocs in the Lebanese Parliament and his re-appointment to form the next government is highly admired and respected by our Palestinian people," the statement added. The PLO factions praised Hariri's renewed mandate "so he can pursue his accomplishments at the national level, through his policy of moderation and consensuses manifested in the recent constitutional achievements, namely the election of President Michel Aoun as President of the Republic and the successful parliamentary elections." The PLO factions statement also commended the PM-designate "for his continuous efforts to strengthen the Lebanese-Palestinian relations, the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and their just cause, and his strong support for the cause of Jerusalem and the Palestinian national constants in all Arab and international forums."

Hariri says upcoming government shall do its utmost to ensure sports sector rise
Sat 26 May 2018/NNA - Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri vowed Saturday that the next government will do all it can to ensure the advancement of the sports sector in Lebanon. Speaking before a Nejmeh-Riyadi Sports Club delegation who visited him at the "House of Center" today, Hariri emphasized his interest in "supporting and activating sports work and initiatives in the country." The Nejmeh-Riyadi team thanked the Prime Minister-designate for his continuous encouragement and relentless support.
In turn, Hariri wished them all success and victory in representing Lebanon in competitions abroad.

Mossa: National unity government of consensus most important gift on Liberation Day
Sat 26 May 2018/NNA - MP Michel Moussa deemed Saturday that "the most important gift to the Lebanese marking 'Resistance and Liberation Day' is to strengthen the consensus between various political parties through a national unity government that translates citizens' aspirations in ensuring reform, eliminating corruption and providing basic services to them." Moussa considered that the Lebanese people's support to the army and security institutions, and their adherence to the "people, army, resistance" equation would boost the internal front in the face of the Israeli threats and greedy ambitions in our land and natural resources. "The South, which has paid a heavy price in wake of the Israeli attacks since the Nakba of Palestine, continues to commit to coexistence and to supporting the army, resistance and the strong capable state, as well as defending the Palestinian cause and the right of Palestinians to return to their homeland."

Bsharre Municipality thanks all sides for their effort in recovering the body of Sa'ib
Sat 26 May 2018/NNA - In an issued statement on Saturday, the Municipality of Bsharre thanked all parties involved in recovering the body of Lebanese citizen, Raymond Sa'ib, who fell yesterday in the valley of Qannoubine, especially the Army Command, Civil Defense teams and the Red Cross. The Municipality statement greatly valued the immediate intervention and relentless efforts by the concerned sides in attempting to rescue Sa'ib, hoping that this regretful incident would be the end of sorrows.

Lebanese Forces says it has no connection with Marjayoun incident, calls on security apparatuses to prosecute the culprits
Sat 26 May 2018/NNA - The Lebanese Forces Party's Marjayoun-Hasbaya office confirmed in an issued statement Saturday that it had nothing to do with the attack on the Arab Baath Socialist Party's office in Marjayoun. The statement categorically denied recent circulated news about a clash in Marjayoun between LF and the Future Movement on one hand, and the Arab Baath Socialist Party on the other hand," stressing that the "fabricated news was groundless," and "the publishers of such false news shall be sued." The statement urged the official apparatuses to unveil the incident details and prosecute its perpetrators.

Riachi expresses surprise how a nonlocal tweet can embody local nuances

Sat 26 May 2018 /NNA - Information Minister Melhem Riachi expressed surprise via his Twitter account on Saturday how a "non-local tweet can have many local connotations," deeming it "really strange!" Inspired by the holy month of Ramadan's fasting, Riachi had earlier tweeted: "Nimrod thought that he could do whatever he wished, get whatever he desired, and monopolize everything to himself, without sharing bread with his brethrens...and he began to spoil the earth and thought that he could strike God with his arrow...So, the Almighty allowed him to reach the highest tower of Babylon and then dropped him from top to bottom, so he died crushed!" In a responding tweet, Justice Minister Selim Jreissati said, "To the Minister of Information, with all sincerity: Look for Nimrod and you will find him under your rooftop (inspired by ancient history and the recent present)!" In another response to Minister Riachi's tweet, Free Patriotic Movement Head, Caretaker Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil, said, "Isolation has become a means to which they resort for additional political gains...There is no isolation whatsoever, but the fact is that each and every one should be content with their size of representation...and no contacts or meetings shall be of benefit to them, nor complaining on the inside nor seeking power from the outside." In turn, "Strong Republic" Parliamentary Bloc Secretary Fadi Karam responded to Bassil through his Twitter account, saying, "Minister Bassil, hope you don't consider yourself the owner of the Republic! Your falsified statements are no longer beneficial to you, most evidently through the recent elections outcome in which you were forced to seek a large group of independents to cover your weaknesses...You tried to isolate us and when you were defeated, you retreated as if nothing had happened." "Stop accusing others of what you are committing...No one would have heard of you, had you not been a cover and a weapon for the outside!" exclaimed Karam.

Berri meets with Ambassadors of Qatar and China
Sat 26 May 2018/NNA - House Speaker Nabih Berri met this afternoon with Qatari Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali bin Hamad Al Marri, who said on emerging that he conveyed the greetings of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Speaker Berri upon his re-election. "Qatar always stands by Lebanon and its people," emphasized Al Marri, wishing Lebanon continuous security and safety. Berri later met with Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon, Wang Kejian , who handed him a letter from the Standing Chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC), Li Zhanshu, congratulating him on his re-election. The Chinese Ambassador expressed "high appreciation for the role played by Speaker Berri in promoting relations between Lebanon and China and developing parliamentary cooperation between both countries."Among the Speaker's interlocutors for today was also UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary, Mohamed Ali Hakim, who congratulated Berri on his re-election and briefed him on the role of the Organization.

Army Chief, General Joseph AounAoun windsup Australia visit, emphasizes good security conditions in Lebanon
Sat 26 May 2018/NNA /NNA - Army Chief, General Joseph Aoun, and his accompanying delegation concluded Saturday their visit to Australia, stressing in their meetings with Australian officials on Lebanon's stable security conditions. "The security situation is good and political affairs are stable, in wake of the election of a president and the holding of the parliamentary elections," Aoun reassured. "Terrorism is one of the most important challenges facing the world, and the army is cooperating with all friendly countries to fight it," the Army Chief asserted. Aoun and his accompanying delegation ended their visit by touring the Martyrs' Museum in Melbourne, where the Army Chief laid a wreath on the tomb of the "Unknown Soldier" in the presence of Lebanese Ambassador Miled Raad, Lebanese Consul in Victoria Ziad Itani and Head of Melbourne's Chamber of Industry and Commerce Fadi Zouki. The Army Chief also received an invitation to visit the Parliament of Victoria, where he met with Cabinet Minister Marilyn Keyrouz and MPs César Melhem and Nazih Asmar, all of Lebanese origin. Legislative Council Speaker Bruce Atkinson also joined the meeting, during which discussions touched on ways of strengthening Lebanese-Australian relations and extending support to the Lebanese army. General Aoun also met with members of the Lebanese Physicians Association in Australia, headed by Dr. Walid al-Ahmar, who expressed the Association's readiness to support the Lebanese Military Hospital with medical equipments.

Mario Aoun calls for speedingup cabinet formation
Sat 26 May 2018/NNA - Member of the Parliament, Mario Aoun, called Saturday on all Lebanese counterparts to speed-up the formation of a new government in order to find solutions for pending files. Aoun, whose words came during an interview with "Al-Jadeed" Television Station, said that representation in the new cabinet would be according to the size of parliamentary blocs. Commenting on Hezbollah-FPM relationship, the lawmaker deemed that "nothing can destabilize the relationship with Hezbollah, which has been actively involved in the state-building and anti-corruption project." Aoun concluded by emphasizing that "a strong state needs a free and strong judiciary."

Berri, Nasrallah discuss internal files, election results
Sat 26 May 2018/NNA - Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah met yesterday with House Speaker Nabih Berri, in the presence of Caretaking Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and Hezbollah Secretary-General's Political Aid, Hussein Khalil, with talks dwelling on internal files and the parliamentary elections outcome. The general situation in the region and the ongoing incidents in Palestine also featured high in their discussions, whereby both men stressed full support to the Palestinian people in their national struggle. The meeting was a chance to agree on "the positive assessment of the parliamentary elections results and the broad popular participation that confirmed citizens' commitment to the option of resistance, the building of the state and its institutions and the political project supported by Hezbollah, Amal Movement and their allies."Additionally, both sides expressed "great satisfaction towards the election of the House Speaker and the appointment of the Prime Minister-designate," hoping "to complete these steps by rapidly forming a national unity government that reflects correct representation."The two sides tackled as well the pending economic, financial and administrative dossiers, emphasizing the need for hard work in combating corruption

Israeli security and the consolidation of Hezbollah's influence in Lebanon
Ali Al-Amin/Al Arabiya/May 26/18
Stability on the northern borders of Israel is the key objective of Israeli policy on Lebanon and Syria. Israel is enjoying economic prosperity and an exceptional level of development with a growth rate as high as 8%. Its tourism sector is flourishing at a time when Arab countries are facing major challenges, especially those close to the Hebrew state. Most of them are suffering from disasters, as well as political, economic and developmental crises.
Israel rules the roost
It’s enough to point to the war that Syria has been suffering from as it has witnessed displacement, slaughter and devastation. This is in addition to the terrorism that has afflicted Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan in the backdrop of the Syrian crisis. By contrast, Israel has been achieving political advancement and has secured US support, which is proven by the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. The Israeli government has once again imposed its vision of the peace with the Palestinians by eliminating the terms and conditions of the settlement amid the international community’s silence, if we are not to say “acceptance” or “support,” towards this approach.
Israel has not faced any security or strategic threat during the course of the Syrian crisis. At the same time, Syrian and Iranian military positions, as well as Hezbollah targets in Syria, have for many years until today suffered many Israeli attacks, which have not been met with any serious retaliation. In fact, there is coordination between the Israeli government and the Russian forces in this context, as such Israel can target what it considers is a threat to its security in coordination with Russian forces to dodge any clash between them.
All the countries surrounding Israel were and still are subject to tensions, war and terrorism. On the other hand, the state of Israel seems immune to all these problems. Conflicts and clashes have swept across the Syrian landscape, while borders with the Occupied Golan have maintained peace and stability. The missiles of the Syrian regime and its allies, whether Iran or loyal Shiite militias, neither spared any city or town in Syria nor the lives of thousands of civilians. Nevertheless, they have remained orderly and calm in their response to all Israeli assaults against them.
This is what Israel has today: an enemy devoted to guarding its borders so much that it cannot make the mistake of permitting the entry of guerrilla groups to Israel or to launch missiles deep into Israel. This enemy thus settles with making verbal threats which is a condition to protect the status quo. Israel understands this as an essential factor to maintain the current formula which suits its leaders.
On this basis of Israeli calculations, we can deduce the future steps that Israel can take or defer from on matters related to its northern border. As long as Iran and Hezbollah are committed to the terms of stability on its borders as Israel sees fit, both countries’ presence and influence, whether in Lebanon and in Syria, will remain secure against any Israeli threat. Israel thus has no problem if Iran and its militias fight to protect the regime of Bashar al-Assad with all the legitimate and illegitimate weapons and if Hezbollah controls the Lebanese state with its security, military and political institutions as long as this does not threaten its security.
No Iranian reprisal to Israeli strikes
What matters most to Israel is the compliance of both parties to the rules and conditions of Israeli security on the border and protecting stability on both its sides. This explains why Israel, which has presumed there is a potential threat from some Iranian bases in Syria, has launched multiple and deadly missile strikes to destroy these bases. Israel will keep striking these locations as long as Iran keeps bolstering its military presence in areas considered vital to Israeli strategic security. Iran, whom confronting Israel is not among its priorities, will not make any military reactions to retaliate the attacks on its forces or militias in Syria.
The Iranian command is overwhelmed today in other wars and other priorities that have to do with the Arab map on the one hand and the protection of the nuclear agreement, which precludes that it needs to maintain a certain extent of its relations with Europe and Russia, on the other. This of course can’t be achieved if Iran responds to any Israeli strikes on Syria, particularly as long as European countries consider these strikes as Israel’s legitimate right to maintain its security.
As such, Lebanon is not outside this equation. Israel is imposing the security equation on its borders and implementing its strategic conditions which revolve around the fact that it has absolute power in executing whatever it wants towards Jerusalem and the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s rockets are safe in their storage units not ready to be launched and the way to Jerusalem remains far.
Furthermore, Lebanon is arranging the return of the Hezbollah fighters from Syria in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call to withdraw all militias from Syrian territory. This call will be probably accepted by Hezbollah, if not in the near future then in the long run. The return of these fighters to Lebanon will not be in the context of completing the liberation of Jerusalem, but to preserve the dominance and role of Hezbollah, which will be implemented on the idea of detaching Lebanon from its Arab environment. This power’s military task will not be defending Lebanon in the face of “Arab conspiracies” but it is a task which in the future will allow Hezbollah to justify keeping its weapons.
Iran’s hidden agenda
Israel, which is aware that the guarantees for its security are not only decided by international resolutions or understandings, knows that its security is solidified through the cracks that have permeated the Arab front, particularly in Lebanon and Syria. It is also aware that the priority of Hezbollah today is to control Lebanon, and the long road to attain full control is linked to respecting Israeli security.
The purpose of Hezbollah is no longer liberating Jerusalem or fighting the colonial powers or establishing an Islamic Republic in Lebanon or in Syria and Iraq. Its goal is to protect Iranian influence. This is its plan and it is clear as daylight. This approach leads to controlling the decision centers in the state. Hezbollah is thus taking this path in Lebanon by controlling decision-making, hiding behind the Lebanese state and its institutions, and by, most importantly, reminding Israel and anyone concerned that it is the source of stability in southern Lebanon and northern Israel, and to proclaim that it, i.e. Hezbollah, and no one else, can provide this stability.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published
on May 26-27/18
US-Turkey Agree 'Roadmap' on Kurd-Held Manbij in Syria
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 26/18/Turkish and US officials on Friday agreed on a "roadmap" for further cooperation to ensure the security of a Kurdish-held city which became a major headache between the NATO allies, according to a joint statement. The northern city of Manbij is held by the People's Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia, a group which Ankara says is the "terrorist" offshoot of Kurdish hardliners in Turkey. The US has a military presence in Manbij and has provided military support to the YPG in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, causing anger among Turkish officials. After Turkey launched a cross-border operation against the YPG in the western enclave of Afrin in January, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to take the offensive to Manbij. The prospect raised fears of a confrontation between Turkish and American troops. The offensive also caused tension between the allies because Washington urged Turkey to show "restraint" and said it could harm the fight against IS extremists. US officials were in Ankara on Friday as part of a working group on Syria. After talks with Turkish counterparts, the statement was issued by the Turkish foreign ministry and the US embassy in Ankara. "The two sides outlined the main contours of a roadmap for their further cooperation in ensuring security and stability in Manbij," the statement said, giving no further detail. The working group was established to try to resolve the Manbij issue and coordinate US-Turkey efforts in Syria after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met in February. Turkish officials were in Washington in March as part of the working group, set up after the threats by Ankara and repeated calls for the YPG to leave the city. Cavusoglu is due to meet the new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on June 4. According to the joint statement, the two men will "consider the recommendations" of the working group during their meeting. Ankara says the YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Ankara, the US and the European Union. The PKK has waged an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984. Erdogan has repeatedly urged the US to halt support for the YPG.
His ruling Justice and Development Party published a manifesto on Thursday calling for "concrete steps" by the US to end its backing of the YPG and provide "concrete support" to Turkey in its fight against the PKK.
Erdogan vowed Turkey would "continue its operations in Syria until the last terrorist is cleared".

Trump Says Kim Summit Could Still Go Ahead on June 12
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/May 26/18/U.S. President Donald Trump, a day after his cancellation of a high-stakes summit with North Korea, said Friday that the meeting with Kim Jong Un could still go ahead. "We're going to see what happens," Trump told reporters at the White House, after welcoming Pyongyang's latest statement on the talks as "very good news." "It could even be the 12th," he said in a reference to the original June 12 date set for the meeting in Singapore. "We're talking to them now," Trump said of the North Koreans. "They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it. We'll see what happens." North Korea, responding to Trump's abrupt cancellation of the meeting over "hostility" from Pyongyang, said Friday that it is willing to talk to the United States "at any time." Trump welcomed the statement as "warm and productive.""We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!" the US president said in a tweet. In a letter to Kim, Trump said Thursday he would not go ahead with the summit in Singapore, following what the White House called a "trail of broken promises" by the North. Trump blamed "open hostility" from Kim's regime for his decision to call off the talks, and warned North Korea against committing any "foolish or reckless acts."But Pyongyang's reaction to the sudden U-turn has so far been conciliatory.  First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan called Trump's decision "unexpected" and "regrettable." But he left the door open for talks, saying officials were willing "to sit face-to-face at any time."Just before Trump announced the cancellation of the meeting, North Korea declared it had "completely" dismantled its nuclear test site in the country's far northeast, in a carefully choreographed goodwill gesture ahead of the summit.
But the chances of success for the unprecedented face-to-face had recently been thrown into doubt as threats were traded by both sides.
The U.S. summit cancellation blindsided treaty ally South Korea, which until now had brokered a remarkable detente between Washington and Pyongyang, with President Moon Jae-in calling the move "shocking and very regrettable."Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said however he respected and supported the U.S. president's move. China, Pyongyang's sole major ally, urged the two foes to "show goodwill," while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the parties to keep talking, as did host Singapore, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin held out hope the talks would eventually take place. Trump's announcement came a day after Pyongyang hardened its rhetoric, calling comments by Vice President Mike Pence "ignorant and stupid.""Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting," read Trump's letter to Kim. But he said talks could still go ahead "at a later date." Politically, Trump had invested heavily in the success of the planned summit. As the date drew nearer, however, the gulf in expectations between the two sides became apparent. Washington has made it clear it wants to see the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" of the North. But Pyongyang has vowed it will never give up its nuclear deterrent until it feels safe from what it terms U.S. aggression.
U.S. aides stood up
A senior White House official said Pyongyang had demonstrated a "profound lack of good faith" in the run-up to the summit -- including standing up the White House's deputy chief of staff, who had traveled to Singapore for preparatory talks. The White House viewed North Korea's objections to the latest US-South Korean joint military exercise -- and its recent cancellation of a meeting with the South Koreans -- as a breach of its commitments leading up to the summit. It also was unhappy about the North's failure to allow international observers to verify the dismantling of the Punggye-ri test site, the staging ground for all six of its nuclear tests which was buried inside a mountain near the border with China. But the North's Kim Kye Gwan countered that Pyongyang's angry statements were "just a backlash in response to harsh words from the US side that has been pushing for a unilateral denuclearization." Both Pence and Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton had raised the specter of Libyan leader Moamer Khadafi, who gave up atomic weapons only to die years later at the hands of US-backed rebels. Experts warned that cancelling the meeting could have knock-on effects, especially among allies already rattled by Trump's unpredictability.  "In a contest of who can be the most erratic leader, President Trump beats Kim Jong Un hands-down," Joel Wit, founder of the respected 38 North website which monitors North Korea, wrote on Twitter. "His unsteady hand has left everyone scratching their heads, including our ROK (South Korean) allies."But others said Trump's willingness to walk away could extract further concessions from Pyongyang. "North Korea will have to propose more detailed plans for denuclearization if it wants to talk in the future," said Go Myong-hyun, an analyst at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies.

Five White Helmets Rescuers Killed in Gunmen Attack in Syria
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 26 May, 2018/Five Syrian White Helmets rescuers were killed on Saturday in an attack by masked gunmen in the northern province of Aleppo, the volunteer network said. The rescue force said armed men stormed its Al-Hader center in a pre-dawn attack and fired on the first responders inside. Four volunteers were killed on the spot and a fifth died later in hospital, it wrote on Twitter. "At around 2:00 am, an armed group stormed the Al-Hader center, blindfolded the staff members who were on the night shift, and killed five of them," said Ahmad al-Hamish, who heads the center. "Two others were wounded and another two were able to flee. The attackers were masked and escaped after stealing some equipment and generators," he said. It was unclear whether the attack was a robbery-gone-wrong or if the center and its crew had been specifically targeted. Founded in 2013, the White Helmets are a network of first responders who rescue wounded in the aftermath of air strikes, shelling or blasts in rebel-held territory. More than 200 White Helmets rescuers have been killed in Syria's seven-year war, usually in bombing raids or shelling on their centers. While attacks like the one on Saturday are rare, they have happened before. In August, seven White Helmets members were killed in a similar assault in the town of Sarmin, in neighboring Idlib province. On Saturday, five people were killed in a blast in the urban capital of the province, also called Idlib, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "Two were civilians, including a child. There was also one Uzbek fighter and two unidentified people," said Abdel Rahman. The explosion hit a wide street in Idlib lined by tall cement apartment blocks. Several cars parked outside had been burned by the explosion. White Helmets rescuers could be seen carrying several wounded out of the building, including a crying infant and a wounded man on a stretcher, to ambulances parked nearby. The killings come as the White Helmets are facing a "freeze" on funding from the United States, which is still reviewing over $200 million earmarked for stabilization in Syria.

South, North Korean Leaders Meet for Second Time
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 26 May, 2018/South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the second time in less than a month. Their historic second meeting on Saturday was held in wake of US President Donald Trump’s cancellation of a much-anticipated summit with Kim that was set for next month. "They exchanged views and discussed ways to implement the Panmunjom Declaration and to ensure a successful US North Korea summit," Seoul's presidential Blue House said in a statement, adding Moon would make a personal statement on Sunday morning. The leaders held talks for two hours in the same Panmunjom truce village where they had met on April 27, making a declaration vowing to improve ties. Pictures showed them shaking hands and embracing on the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two nations. The meeting is the latest remarkable diplomatic chapter in a roller coaster of developments on the Korean peninsula. Trump had rattled the region on Thursday by cancelling his meeting with Kim which had been due to take place in Singapore on June 12 citing "open hostility" from Pyongyang. But within 24 hours he reversed course saying it could still go ahead after productive talks were held with North Korean officials. Moon met with Kim in an effort to ensure the landmark meeting between Trump and the North Korean leader goes ahead.
Trump's original decision to abandon the historic summit blindsided South Korea which had been brokering a remarkable detente between Washington and Pyongyang. However, there was a further signal from the US Saturday the June 12 summit may yet go ahead as the White House said it would send a team to Singapore to prepare for the meeting. "The White House pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. Moon, a longtime advocate of engagement with the North, won election last year partly by vowing to be open to dialogue with Pyongyang and finding a solution to a Cold War-era sore that continues to blight the region. But the flurry of diplomatic backslapping and bonhomie disappeared in recent weeks as the summit was thrown into doubt by increasingly bellicose rhetoric from both top US administration officials and Pyongyang. Trump eventually pulled the plug on talks in a personal letter to Kim on Thursday. But he left the door open to future meetings and Pyongyang responded by saying it was willing to sit down "at any time", prompting Trump to reply that the Singapore summit could still take place. Saturday's meeting between Moon and Kim took place in a grand building on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, a heavily fortified village that lies between the two countries and marks the spot where the armistice ending the Korean War in 1953 was signed. Koh Yu-hwan, an expert on Korean relations at Dongguk University, said Saturday's meeting between Moon and Kim increased the likelihood of the Singapore summit taking place as originally intended. "Today's summit is aimed at resolving the misunderstanding caused by communication glitches between Washington and Pyongyang and lay the groundwork for the US-North Korea summit," he told AFP. Unlike last month's summit, which was held in front of live TV cameras, Saturday's meeting was much more low-key, taking place in utmost secrecy, with reporters only being told later that the face-to-face had taken place. Footage released by the Blue House on Twitter, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral score, showed Moon arriving in a convoy of cars and first shaking hands with Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong, who has played a major public role in recent talks with the South, including leading a delegation across the border during February's Winter Olympics. Saturday's talks are only the fourth time serving leaders of the two Koreas, who remain technically at war, have ever met.

Arab Coalition Thwarts Houthi Drone Attack against Saudi Abha Airport
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 26 May, 2018/The Arab Coalition announced on Saturday that it foiled a Houthi drone attack against Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport. Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said that the Air Defense unit assigned to the airport detected the drone and destroyed it according to the Rules of Engagement, reported the Saudi Press Agency. Coalition experts inspected the wreckage of the drone and determined that it was a terrorist Iranian-Houthi militia UAV. It was identified as an Iranian UAV Ababil. Maliki said that the aircraft was launched from Yemen’s Saada region. The drone was attempting to launch an attack on Abha airport, in violation of International Humanitarian Law. Maliki revealed that there was minimal damage caused by the drone. No one was injured in the incident. Maliki stressed: “The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition will strike with an iron fist all those who are involved in terrorist activities that threaten the safety and security of Saudi nationals, residents, economy and critical capabilities.”

Not Enough to Follow Instincts
Joe Scarborough/Asharq Al Awsat/May 26/18/American presidents' strategic miscalculations in the bloody years following Osama bin Laden's attacks on New York and Washington have had a catastrophic impact on the Middle East. In response to those attacks by al-Qaeda, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama spent the next 15 years committing foreign policy sins of omission or commission that unleashed chaos upon an already troubled region. The fallout from those grave missteps empowered our enemies and undermined the noble causes for which too many Americans fought and died. If Afghanistan is truly the graveyard of empires, then today's Middle East is where rigid ideologies go to die. Bush's addiction to the schemes of neocons led to Iraq's unraveling, just as Obama's obsessive retreat from the region left Syria in ruins, ISIS on the rise and Iran marching westward. Both of these well-meaning commanders in chief made historic miscalculations because they were captive to ideological assumptions. Obama's belief that the United States could escape history in an area undone by his predecessor's policies proved to be as misguided as Bush's call for "ending tyranny in our world."Now it is President Donald Trump who has been motivated by his political instincts to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem while abandoning the Iran nuclear deal. Both geopolitical decisions appeal to many conservatives like myself in the way that liberating Iraq from the reign of Saddam Hussein once did. Today, few remember that 76 percent of Americans once supported the Iraq War, while 77 US senators — and a majority of Democrats — voted for the resolution backing the invasion. Proving once again that failure is an orphan, Iraq's most tragic lessons are too often lost on the politicians, press and public who blithely supported a war whose tragic consequences few fully considered. Put me at the top of that list. Unlike Bush's momentous missteps in 2003, however, Trump's policy shifts on Israel and Iran are opposed by a majority of Americans and viewed skeptically by most of our allies. Support for both policies is mainly limited to conservatives who support a stronger Israel and a diminished Iran. If the 21st century has taught Americans anything, it is that Middle East policy decisions demand that our presidents question their assumptions and challenge their ideological instincts. Following their "gut" always ends in disaster. That is a tall order for a politician such as Trump, who lives in the eternal now and brushes aside the complexities of history and the consequences of his actions. Were he more introspective, Trump might conclude that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem at this moment in history only helps the terrorist group “Hamas,” which had been back on its heels for failing miserably to deliver for its followers. More troubling, but just as predictable, is the burden Trump's decision places on our closest regional allies. Egypt last Thursday opened its border with Gaza for the longest time in five years to "ease the burdens on the brothers in the Gaza Strip."Meanwhile, Trump's decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal will further strain relations with our closest European allies, undermining long-term US interests. I opposed the 2015 agreement, but unilateral US withdrawal from it just three years later will further strengthen Iran and isolate the United States. While Iran has been the epicenter of international terrorism for 40 years, its leaders have usually proved themselves to be shrewder than the US presidents they have opposed. Expect Iran to remain in the nuclear deal and to give our European allies no reason to answer Trump's call for banking or oil sanctions on a country that Europe believes to be adhering to the agreement's terms. Without those secondary sanctions imposed by Europe or China, the United States will lose most of its leverage over Iran's economic future — and also have far less power shaping Iran's nuclear program than it did when the United States was part of the international deal. As we learned from George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq and Barack Obama's speedy retreat, following one's ideological instincts in places such as Israel and Iran usually ends in disaster. We can only hope that those advising this president will take great care navigating America's course across the Middle East in the coming years.

Mekunu Lashes Yemen, Oman after Being Downgraded to Tropical Storm
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 26 May, 2018 /Cyclone Mekunu was downgraded to a tropical storm on Saturday after lashing eastern Yemen and southern Oman, leaving several people dead in its wake. In Yemen, officials said on Friday that winds blew down houses and took out communication lines and water services in the country’s easternmost province on the border with Oman. Rageh Bakrit, the governor of al-Mahra province, said on his official Twitter account that the Hawf district was worst affected. Emergency aid, including drinking water and fuel, was sent to province. He did not say whether there were any casualties. Bakrit later said that communication lines in some areas, including Hawf, have been partially fixed, promising full restoration in the coming hours. Cyclone Mekunu also hit the Yemeni island of Socotra, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Yemeni security officials said rescuers have recovered two bodies from the island, with more than 30 people still missing. The officials stated four Indians were rescued from a ship that ran aground during the storm, and that another two Yemenis were found alive.
SABA news agency quoted Socotra Governor Ramzy Mahrous as confirming that four sailors were found alive. Five Yemenis and two Indian sailors were confirmed dead when Mekunu hit Socotra on Thursday, causing heavy damage, Yemen's fisheries minister Fahad Kafin said.
In Oman, at least two people were killed after the storm pummeled its southern coast. Mekunu had intensified to a category two cyclone as it hit Oman's Dhofar and Al-Wusta provinces on the Arabian Sea on Friday, battering the coast with torrential rains, strong winds and massive waves. The national civil defense committee said on Saturday the cyclone had subsided to a tropical storm but was still lashing the country with heavy rain and winds at some 90 kilometers (56 miles) an hour. Oman's directorate general of meteorology said the cyclone had gone inland and was heading northwest into Saudi Arabia, but that heavy rains would likely continue into Sunday. Oman police reported that a man died after floods swept him away with his car near Salalah, a day after a 12-year old girl died when a gust of wind smashed her into a wall. Three wounded Asians were rescued and civil defense teams said they had saved hundreds of people including 260 foreign sailors trapped at sea. In Salalah, rains had almost stopped on Saturday, an AFP photographer said, but many streets were still under water and nearby valleys were flooded.
Material damage was mostly limited to agriculture, with many farms swept by winds at up to 170 kilometers (105 miles), he added. Mekunu is now heading towards southern Saudi Arabia and is expected to hit parts of the Empty Quarter, one of the world's most arid deserts, late Saturday.

American-Yemeni Man Pleads Guilty of Joining ISIS
Washington – Mohammad Ali Salih/Saturday, 26 May, 2018/An American youth, of Yemeni origins, confessed to belonging to the ISIS terrorist group and now faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Akram Musleh had been under surveillance by the FBI for five years, when he was still 15 years, after it was alerted to his pro-ISIS activity on the internet. The Indianapolis Star reported Friday that the 20-year-old pleaded guilty before federal court on Wednesday of trying to join ISIS. Musleh was born and raised in Brownsburg, Indiana. His involvement with the terror group began on social media in 2013, according to court documents, when he posted videos of terrorist leaders. FBI agents spoke with Musleh at the time, hoping to prevent him from heading down the extremist path. The teen told investigators he posted those videos “simply to understand Islam's history.” In 2016, Musleh read a news article about an Indiana Department of Homeland Security list of 8,500 potential terror targets in the state. Around that time, he had researched explosive materials online. He also was seen by an FBI agent shopping for pressure cookers at a Wal-Mart near Brownsburg, Indiana. Pressure cookers are used as a component in some improvised explosive devices. A Google Plus account connected to a YouTube account, highlighted by investigators as belonging to Musleh, showed posts and comments on YouTube videos, at least one of which included a reference to ISIS. In 2013, he commented on a video that referenced Adolf Hitler, writing: “Gays are going to hell.” On another video shared on his Google Plus account in 2014, he wrote: “Someone Should Of Shot All Those Cops And Then Burn There [sic] Bodies.”

China in Another Victory in Campaign to Isolate Taiwan

Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 26 May, 2018/China and Burkina Faso signed an agreement to formally establish diplomatic relations on Saturday, days after the West African nation cut ties with self-ruled Taiwan, handing Beijing yet another victory in its campaign to isolate the island. A communique on establishing relations was signed at a state guest house in Beijing by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart Alpha Barry. Burkina Faso broke off ties with Taiwan on Thursday, becoming the second country to do so within a month and leaving the democratically ruled island with only 18 diplomatic allies around the world, including the kingdom of Swaziland, the only African state. "Now Africa has only one country with which we have not yet established (relations)," Wang said in a speech afterward. "We hope this country can join the big China-Africa family of friendship as soon as possible," he said about Swaziland. China and Taiwan split in 1949 after a civil war won by the Chinese communists. The two sides often use economic support and other aid as bargaining chips for diplomatic recognition. Beijing still considers Taiwan to be a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary. China's hostility to Taiwan has grown since President Tsai Ing-wen took over in Taipei in 2016.

Pressure Mounts for OPEC Exit from Production Cut Deal
Kuwait - Wael Mahdi/Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 26 May, 2018/The decision anticipated to be taken by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its Russian-led allies at their next Vienna meeting, scheduled for late June, will not be easy. OPEC and non-OPEC countries partaking in the production cut deal were supposed to decide on extending the cuts until the end of 2018, but pressure has been on the rise by consumers, especially the United States, for easing production restrictions and manage price hikes. Under current conditions of improving fundamentals of supply and demand, met with a decline in OPEC production and a potential US embargo, oil prices experienced a 75 percent rise since last summer's rate. This has alarmed US politicians and their Beijing, New Delhi and Seoul counterparts. Pressure has been on the rise since the International Energy Agency published its monthly report acknowledging that the oil market was now balanced and that commercial glut in major industrial countries fell by about 1 million barrels. Strangely enough, consumers do not alone want to see the end of the agreement and more supply on the market, but Russian oil companies also expressed a similar desire. On Friday, many statements by OPEC officials and Russia came to reflect a change in the general trend, which until a few days ago had been backing an extension of the agreement till 2018 ends. Energy ministers of Russia and Saudi Arabia said their countries were ready to ease oil production cuts to calm consumer fears and reassure the international markets that sufficient supplies are available. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the easing of restrictions would be gradual so as to not shock the market, noting that producing countries would soon have the capacity to liberalize supply and that this could probably happen in the second half of 2018. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said current cuts were in reality 2.7 million bpd due to a drop in Venezuelan production - somewhere around 1 million bpd higher than the initially agreed reductions. Novak did not say whether OPEC and Russia would decide to boost output by 1 million bpd at their June meeting. But he said an agreement of a gradual easing was the likely outcome. “Different options will be put forward. But, it is likely that this will be a gradual easing,” Novak said in comments published on the Russian energy ministry website. Initial talks are being led by the energy ministers of OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and Russia at St. Petersburg this week along with their counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, which holds the OPEC presidency this year, sources said.

Egyptian Female Preachers Confront Extremist Thought
Cairo - Waleed Abdul Rahman//Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 26 May, 2018/Female Egyptian preachers are countering extremist ideologies by holding meetings and seminars at mosques and gathering places. Observers believe that their preaching helps fight extremism advocated by terrorist groups on the social media, especially after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has made a call to counter this phenomenon. Sisi has wondered why religious sects don’t coexist. The Egyptian Ministry of Endowments has placed 300 female preachers in huge mosques during the month of Ramadan to lecture women following prayers. The ministry, which is responsible for mosques, decided for the first time in February 2017, to appoint 144 women as preachers to work in huge mosques. Observers say that appointing female preachers falls within the framework of implementing Sisi’s call to correct wrong concepts, especially among women who are a target of extremist groups. Egyptian Minister of Endowments Mohammed Mokhtar Jomaa affirmed that the participation of female preachers contributed to spreading the true concept of the religion and to raise awareness on community topics. Subsequently, this would correct misconceptions and spread the culture of Islam as well as support coexistence. Female preacher Nivine Mokhtar stated that Muslim women should be able to enhance the moral behavior of their children and to stop them from following extremist ideology. Mokhtar added that women should teach their children that terrorism has no religion and no country. She shed light on some of the current problems such as spreading false information and misconceptions on the internet.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on May 26-27/18
Canada: A "Different" Kind of Antisemitism?
Philip Carl Salzman/Gatestone Institute/May 26/18
"I have a confession to make. If you are Jewish... I used to hate you. I hated you because I thought you were responsible for the [Somali civil] war which took my father from me for so long... When we had no water, I thought you closed the tap. ... If my mother was unkind to me, I knew you were definitely behind it. If and when I failed an exam, I knew it was your fault. You are by nature evil, you had evil powers and you used them to evil ends. Learning to hate you was easy. Unlearning it was difficult." — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, quoted in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History, by Andrew G. Bostom.
In Canada, Wael al-Ghitawi, the imam of Al-Andalous Islamic Centre, and Sayed al-Ghitawi "both called for the death of Jews. The sermons came to public attention in February 2017, when YouTube videos of the talks were translated into English."
Let us be frank: as is all too clear from the recent European experience, importing large numbers of Muslims means importing Islamic antisemitism. Hate crimes against Canadian Jews are already on an upward trajectory. Is it the Canadian Government's policy to encourage an increase in antisemitic hate crimes?
In Berlin, on evening of the May 17, 2018, two men wearing Jewish skull caps were attacked by three Arabic speaking men, who repeatedly cursed at them and called them "yahudi," Jew, in Arabic. One of the Arabs knifed one of the men, Adam Armoush, with his belt. The attack was recorded, and the video widely seen.
Ironically, Adam is not a Jew. He is an Israeli Arab, who was wearing the skull cap to test whether it was unsafe to show oneself as a Jew in Berlin. He was skeptical; he has now reconsidered.
One of the assailants, a 19 year old refugee, claiming he was from Syria, later turned himself into the police.
In response to the attack, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she was saddened, and that it was depressing that antisemitism had not been destroyed for good in Germany. There were, in fact, more than 1,000 antisemitic incidents in Berlin last year alone. Merkel pointed out that, in addition to some traditional German antisemitism remaining, "We have a new phenomenon of refugees or people of Arab origin who bring another form of anti-Semitism into the country."
Germany's first Antisemitism Commissioner, Felix Klein, pointed out that "We've observed that Salafist and Islamist extremists seek to approach refugees in Germany and try to incite anti-Semitism and hatred." Muslim Arabs speakers as well as Iranians Pakistanis, Afghans, Muslim Africans and Turkic speakers from Turkey and Central Asia, would be vulnerable to such influences.
Throughout Europe during the past decade, there have been many attacks on Jews.[1]
Christian antisemitism used to be based on Jews not accepting Jesus as the Messiah, and the belief that the Jews were responsible for Jesus's death. Little consideration was given to the facts that both One God and the Messiah were Jewish ideas, that the Ten Commandments were given to the Jews, or that Jesus and his Apostles were themselves Orthodox Jews. Christian antisemitism frequently broke out in violence, as with Western European Crusaders slaughtering Jews in the cities they passed through on the way to the Holy Land, where they also murdered Jews, and as with the regular Pogrom attacks in Eastern Europe that were a beloved feature of Easter. Then there were the expulsions of Jews from England, Spain, Austria, Hungary, and Germany, among 109 mostly European locations that expelled them, and, in Spain, the torture and execution of converted Jews during the Holy Inquisition. Fortunately, in recent times, many Christian churches have distanced themselves from this kind of antisemitism.
Meanwhile, Islamic antisemitism arose in reaction to the frustration of Mohammed's fond hopes that the Arabian Jewish tribes would accept him as the final Prophet of the line of Jewish prophets. Mohammed had drawn much from Judaism: One God, the Prophets, repeated daily prayer, circumcision, and food prohibitions. When the Jewish tribes declined to accept Mohammed's offer, that he was their final Prophet, Mohammed declared war on them, executed all of the men in one Jewish tribe, and distributed the women and children among his followers, and exiled another tribe from their traditional territory.
The foundational documents of Islam also reflect total rejection of the Jews and all "disbelievers". In the hadith (sayings and deeds of Mohammad), there is a verse, still quoted in Article 7 of Hamas's charter:
In Saheeh Muslim (2922), it is narrated from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "The Hour will not begin until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them, until a Jew hides behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will say: O Muslim, O slave of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Except the gharqad (a thorny tree), for it is one of the trees of the Jews."
In the Quran, surahs referring to Jews, as well as all "disbelievers, and recommend:
And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. [Quran 2:191-193; Sahih International translation]
Islam further claims that all Jewish Prophets -- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, and all -- were Muslims:
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists. [Quran 3:67; Sahih International translation]
Jesus and Mary were also added to this list of Muslim Prophets. Islamic antisemitism is reflected in the vast holy literature of Islamic texts, and in the almost uncountable incidents in the 1,400-year history of Islam.
What can be offered here are a few short statements that will have to suffice to illustrate Islamic antisemitism. In the Islamic Holy Book, the Quran, believed by Muslims to be the direct words of God, is the following:
Have you not seen those who have received a portion of the Scripture? They purchase error, and they want you to go astray from the path. But Allah know[s] best who your enemies are ... Some of the Jews pervert words from their meanings, and say 'We hear and we disobey,' ...twisting with their tongues and slandering religion. ... But Allah had cured them for their disbelief, so they believe not, except for a few. (Quran 4:44-46, seventh century a.d.)
The famous Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, in Epistle to the Jews of Yemen, 1172, reports that:
The nation of Ishmael [Muslims]...persecute[s] us severely and devise ways to harm us and to debase us. ... None has matched it in debasing and humiliating us. ... We listen, but remain silent ... In spite of all this, we are not spared from the ferocity of their wickedness, and their outbursts [of violence] at any time. On the contrary, the more we suffer and choose to conciliate them, the more they choose to act belligerently toward us.
According to al-Maghili, a prominent theologian in Morocco, late fifteenth century, "Love of the Prophet requires hatred of the Jews." In a 2002 sermon at the Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, the most important shrine in Islam, the imam and preacher Saudi Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, claimed the following:
Read history and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil fathers of the Jews of today, who are evil offspring, infidels, distorters of [God's] words, calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers, ... the scum of the human race whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs. ... These are the Jews, an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption.
The Somali-American human rights advocate, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, describes (May 4, 2006) what she learned as a Muslim:
I have a confession to make. If you are Jewish ... I used to hate you. I hated you because I thought you were responsible for the [Somali civil] war which took my father from me for so long... When we had no water, I thought you closed the tap. ... If my mother was unkind to me, I knew you were definitely behind it. If and when I failed an exam, I knew it was your fault. You are by nature evil, you had evil powers and you used them to evil ends. Learning to hate you was easy. Unlearning it was difficult.
The evidence is overwhelming that the sentiments expressed here by Muslims against Jews are, unfortunately, typical in the Islamic world.
Does Islamic antisemitism exist in Canada? We know that Jews are the most targeted religious group, with 221 antisemitic hate crimes in 2016. There were 139 hate crimes directed against Muslims. With a Canadian Jewish population of 329,500, and a Canadian Muslim population of 1,053,945, there was an antisemitic hate crime for every 1491 Canadian Jews, and an anti-Muslim hate crime for every 7582 Muslims. On a per capita basis, Jews were by far the most targeted religious group.
While the authors of many hate crimes are unknown, some cases stand out. Muslim Sleiman Elmerhebi firebombed the United Talmud Torahs Jewish elementary school in Montreal. He was convicted and jailed, and his mother given probation as an accessory after the fact.
While Muslim attackers of Jews often keep a low profile and are not found by police, Muslim religious and political figures, whose job it is to speak out, have been frank about their views of Jews:
In Canada, at the Al-Andalous Islamic Centre in the St-Laurent borough of Montreal, Wael al-Ghitawi, the center's imam, in November 2014, and Sayed al-Ghitawi, who was visiting from the Middle East, in August 2014, both called for the death of Jews. The sermons came to public attention in February 2017, when YouTube videos of the talks were translated into English. In February 2017, two Jewish groups filed complaints against the imams with the Montreal police. Quebec's prosecutors, however, chose not to proceed, arguing that that too much time had elapsed.
Later, in July 2017, a Quebec judge issued an arrest warrant for an imam who had made several violent anti-Semitic statements at another Montreal mosque in December 2016. Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa al-Nasr, a Palestinian-Jordanian, while visiting Canada had said in the video that Allah has ordained that Jews should be killed by Muslims "at the end of time." He was apparently drawing on the same Jew-killing hadith (Sahih al-Bukhari Book Number 56 Hadith Number 791 - Muflihun) invoked by the U.S. imams. After an investigation by the Montreal police hate crimes unit, he was charged under Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code with the willful promotion of hatred.
Canadian campuses are home to the organizations Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association which actively campaign against Israel in such events as "Israel Apartheid Week," and which sponsor boycotts of Israel and a wide array of anti-Israel speakers. Although these anti-Israel advocates, many of them Middle Eastern and Muslim in origin, claim not to be antisemitic even while denying Jews a 3,000 year history in their historical homeland, their animosity toward Jews repeatedly breaks out. For example, a Facebook post celebrating an anti-Israel event at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology asserted that "Jews are rodents." Other media posts advised Jewish students to "Go back to Palestine." At Toronto's Ryerson University, Holocaust education was opposed with a staged walkout.
At McMaster University, numerous incidents have been documented of students writing antisemitic social media posts. Nadera Masad, a member of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, tweeted "hitler should have took you all."
[Rawan] Qaddoura — a political science and economics major who unsuccessfully ran for the SPHR presidency in 2016 — tweeted in September 2012, "i just don't like jews lol #sorrynotsorry"
On August 2013, she wrote, "'@judeZAdude: The whole world is controlled by Zionist Jews and until you understand that, life will never make sense.'"
Qaddoura also repeatedly praised Hitler, tweeting in January 2012, "I honestly wish I was born at the time of the second world war just to see the genius, Hitler, at work."
She doubled down on these sentiments in June 2013, writing, "everytime I read about Hitler, I fall in love all over again."
On July 2015, [McMaster student Esra] Bengizi tweeted a photo of Hitler — captioned with heart emojis — alongside the fake quote, "The only Religion I respect is Islam. The only prophet I admire is the Prophet Muhammad."
A year earlier, she wrote, "'@KMKurd: Where is hitler when u need one?' I literally ask this every day." On the same Twitter thread, she added, "hitler did more than just kill. He was also a great leader & role model to many..."
Bengizi's admiration of Hitler sometimes accompanied tweets that were explicitly antagonistic towards Jews. 'I'm actually going to the rule the world and get rid of anyone who doesn't have basic common sense or if youre yahoodi [Jewish]' #QueenE, she tweeted on May 2014. Bengizi praised Hitler as 'so intelligent' later on the same thread.
Do not worry about Jew-hatred at McMaster, however. The McMaster administration is on the case. Its "Equity and Inclusion" committee is promoting an anti-Islamophobia campaign, seeking out instances of possible hostility toward Muslims, and publicizing them widely.
At McMaster University in Canada, numerous incidents have been documented of students writing antisemitic social media posts. (Image source: Mathew Ingram/Wikimedia Commons)
Undoubtedly there are Canadian Muslims who do not share the antisemitic views quoted above, and others whose prejudice is more on the mild side. But strong antisemitic views are apparently as prevalent in the Canadian Muslim community, as in the international Muslim community.
When antisemitism is integral to orthodox Islam, how could it be otherwise?
Islamic antisemitism raises serious questions about the exuberant and thoughtless support for multiculturalism and open-borders immigration celebrated among some Canadian political parties and the Canadian media commentariat. Let us be frank: as is all too clear from the recent European experience, importing large numbers of Muslims means importing Islamic antisemitism. Hate crimes against Canadian Jews are already on an upward trajectory. Is it the Canadian Government's policy to encourage an increase in antisemitic hate crimes?
*Philip Carl Salzman is Professor of Anthropology at McGill University, Senior Fellow of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, and Fellow of the Middle East Forum. [1] In France, a gang of African and North African immigrants led by Youssouf Fofana kidnapped, severely tortured, and eventually abandoned Ilan Halimi, whose body was 80% covered by burns, and who died on the way to the hospital. An Islamist gunman, Mohammed Merah, murdered three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Four Jews were murdered in the Jewish grocery store Hyper Casher by a Muslim Tunisian immigrant, in an explicitly antisemitic attack. Dr. Sarah Halimi was a 65 year old Jewish woman, a retired physician, who was tortured by a Muslim neighbour shouting Allahu akbar, Allah is the Greatest, and then thrown out her third floor window to her death. The reluctant authorities finally acknowledged antisemitism as motive. Mirelle Knoll, an 85 year old holocaust survivor, was stabbed and set afire by a Muslim neighbour who she had known, and was on good terms with, since he was a boy.
© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

EU: How to Stop Mass-migration from Africa? Bring Everyone to Europe!
Judith Bergman//Gatestone Institute/May 26/18
While the focus on illegal migration remains, the original goal of stopping African citizens from migrating into Europe appears to have been lost entirely. Instead, the declaration pronounces African legal migration to be a positive thing, even stressing the beneficial idea of migration of certain groups, such as researchers and business people.
No one seems to ask how draining Africa of skilled labor, such as businessmen and researchers, is going to help the continent develop and thus stem the trend of migration?
The Hungarian government appears to be the only government that considers whether the citizens it was elected to serve would support the declaration. Other European governments appear to think that asking their electorates what they think about African migration into Europe is irrelevant.
"Migration is a priority for all of us here" said EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, at the recent Fifth Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Marrakesh at the beginning of May. The conference is a part of the Euro-African Ministerial Dialogue on Migration and Development (also known as the Rabat Process[1]).
The Euro-African Ministerial Dialogue on Migration and Development was founded in 2006 to contain migration from Africa into Europe, specifically, at the time, the increase of migrants crossing the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco into Spain and from there into the rest of Europe.
Dimitris Avramopoulos (center), the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, at the Fifth Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Marrakesh on May 2, 2018. (Image source: EU)
The 2006 Rabat Declaration established that the purpose of the process was to
"offer a ... response to the fundamental issue of controlling migratory flows ... the management of migration between Africa and Europe must be carried out within the context of a partnership to combat poverty and promote sustainable development and co-development".
In other words, Europe would fund development and anti-poverty measures in Africa, so that Africans would stop looking for a better future in Europe. Almost 60 European and African countries, as well as the European Commission (EC) and the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are involved in the Rabat Process.
The founding document from 2006 also mentioned, as a brief addendum:
"...this partnership will also address the migratory phenomenon from all points of view deemed relevant by the partner countries, such as making better use of the potential of legal migration and its beneficial effects on the development of countries of origin and host countries".
It did not take long for the brief addendum on legal migration to take center stage. The Second Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Paris (2008) decided that "organised labour migration ... represents a source of cultural and social enrichment through the human and economic exchanges it generates" and that dialogue should be centered around the following priorities: Organizing legal migration, fighting against illegal migration and focusing on the synergies between migration and development.
"Legal migration...makes it possible for labour markets to work better in destination countries and contributes, through both remittances and the acquisition of professional skills by migrants, to the development of countries of origin. In addition, it can serve as an important deterrent to irregular migration... It is therefore advisable to promote legal migration...according to the needs and capacities of each national economy, without prejudice to other forms of legal migration, including family reunification, while respecting national competences".
At the Third Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Dakar (2011), legal migration was described as representing
" opportunity for the economic and social development of the countries of origin and destination, and an opportunity for the migrant in terms of human development, and the acquisition of resources and skills... The partners reaffirm their wish to boost the creation of opportunities for legal migration..."
At the fourth Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Rome in 2014, a fourth "pillar" was added, "promoting international protection".
At the Fifth and most recent Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development, the participants went even further. They declared:
"... the Rabat Process partners recognise the need to encourage and to strengthen the pathways to regular migration... and to promote the mobility of certain categories of travellers (in particular, businessmen and businesswomen, young professionals or researchers) between European and North, West and Central African countries".
They also decided to "Promote regular migration and mobility, especially of young people and women, between Europe and North, West and Central Africa, and within these regions... Encourage the establishment of exchange networks between vocational training institutes and employment agencies in Europe and Africa, in order to draw full benefit from the skills of young migrants... ".
There are now five priorities of the Rabat Process which are, in the words of EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos,
"Address the root causes of irregular migration, better organization of the legal channels of migration and mobility, giving protection to those who need it, fight in a more effective way against the networks of traffickers... improvement of... cooperation in the field of the repatriation of illegal immigrants".
While the focus on illegal migration remains, the original goal of stopping African citizens from migrating into Europe appears to have been lost entirely. Instead, the declaration pronounces African legal migration to be a positive thing, even stressing as beneficial the idea of migration of certain groups, such as researchers and business people.
No one seems to ask how draining Africa of skilled labor, such as businessmen and researchers, is going to help the continent develop and thus stem the trend of migration?
Hungary appears to be the only European country to discover the discrepancy between the original intent of the Rabat Process and the positive view of legal migration from Africa that it advocates today. As a result, Hungary refused to sign the declaration of the Fifth Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development. "The statement adopted in Marrakech within the framework of the Rabat Process could lead to a fresh wave of migration, and for this reason Hungary did not join the political declaration", Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Hungarian television. "The declaration adopted at the meeting [says] that migration is a positive process that must be encouraged, and accordingly new migration channels must be opened and migrants cannot be differentiated based on their legal status", he continued.
"According to the statement, which Hungary was alone in refusing to support, the countries of Europe are supporting the position of the African countries. And this is totally at odds with the Rabat Process that began ten years ago, the original goal of which was precisely to use European funding to realize development projects in Africa in the interests of reducing emigration.
"Based on the mandate that the Hungarian Government has received from the electorate, it is its explicit duty to put forward its anti-immigration standpoint at every opportunity".
The Hungarian government appears to be the only government that considers whether the citizens it was elected to serve would support the declaration. Other European governments appear to think that asking their electorates what they think about African migration into Europe is irrelevant. Indeed, the Rabat Process, including the latest conference in Marrakesh, has gone largely unreported in the European press and is not the subject of debate, because most Europeans will have never heard of it.
In the meantime, Europeans may have noticed that whatever their politicians were telling them about stemming African migration to the continent, migration has only grown. According to the World Migration Report 2018 -- published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM):
"Since 1990, the number of African migrants living outside of the region has more than doubled, with the growth to Europe most pronounced. In 2015, most African-born migrants living outside the region were residing in Europe (9 million), Asia (4 million) and Northern America (2 million)".
According to the IOM, "The African countries with the largest number of emigrants tend to be in the north of the region... In 2015, Egypt had the largest number of people living abroad, followed by Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Algeria".
The growing migration of Africans, however, is not limited to the north of Africa. According to a February 2018 Pew Research Center analysis:
"International migration from countries in sub-Saharan Africa has grown dramatically over the past decade, including to Europe and the United States. Indeed, most years since 2010 have witnessed a rising inflow of sub-Saharan asylum applicants in Europe... In the case of Europe, the population of sub-Saharan migrants has been boosted by the influx of nearly 1 million asylum applicants (970,000) between 2010 and 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from Eurostat, Europe's statistical agency. Sub-Saharan Africans also moved to European Union countries, Norway and Switzerland as international students and resettled refugees, through family reunification and by other means".
According to EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, the recent Euro-African conference was "Excellent... [and] Committed to strengthen our cooperation to address root causes, reduce irregular migration and enhance protection and legal channels. Europe and Africa need each other more than ever". They have already tried to do that for 12 years. It is unlikely to lead to anything but more migration.
Then again, Avramopoulos does not consider his job to stop migration. "We cannot and will never be able to stop migration", he wrote in late 2017. "At the end of the day, we all need to be ready to accept migration, mobility and diversity as the new norm and tailor our policies accordingly".
*Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.
[1] There is also a Khartoum process, which mirrors the Rabat Process but is meant as a platform for political cooperation among the countries along the migration route between the Horn of Africa and Europe.
© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

In the European Appeasement Olympics, Who Wins?
Bruce Bawer/Gatestone Institute/May 26/18
The difference [between what Tommy Robinson did and any reporter] is that the BBC and other mainstream media are determined to give as little coverage as possible to the mass Muslim rape of infidel girls.
These same cops arrested Tommy Robinson on Friday not because he did anything wrong, but because he was drawing attention to Muslim crimes that they would rather see ignored – and drawing attention, too, by extension, to their own genuinely criminal failure to defend innocent children from what was essentially jihadist torture.
Within hours, according to some sources, Robinson was tried and sentenced to thirteen months in prison. Even in Islam-appeasing Britain, this seems inconceivable. It sounds like Soviet or Nazi "justice," not like British jurisprudence.
However Tommy Robinson may have strayed from the straight and narrow over the years, he is a champion of those victimized children, a voice for freedom, and a living rebuke to the cowardice of the British media, police, social workers, and other officials and public figures who knew what was going on in flats in Rotherham, Newcastle, and elsewhere, but stayed silent.
All right, the competition is over. Britain wins.
For years I thought that Britain's long tradition of open debate and individual liberty would enable it to stand up more firmly to the encroachments of Islam than other Western European countries. I worried more about the Netherlands, where Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh were murdered, Ayaan Hirsi Ali was hounded into exile, and Geert Wilders, a member of parliament, was put on trial -- and still is on trial this week -- for criticizing Islam in public. I worried more about Denmark, where Lars Hedegaard, a serious historian, was tried for criticizing Islam in the privacy of his own home, and where the Jyllands-Posten cartoon crisis caused riots. I worried about Norway, where people at the highest levels of government conspired to force an apology out of the editor of a tiny Christian periodical who had dared to reprint the Danish cartoons. I worried about France, where the suburbs of major cities were increasingly becoming sharia enclaves, and Sweden, where a cordon sanitaire was put around the one party that dared criticize that country's own steady Islamization.
But I was wrong. It is Britain that is falling fastest to Islam. It is Britain, our mother country, home of the Magna Carta, that is most firmly betraying its own history and values. It has already banned Robert Spencer, a serious and cogent American critic of Islam, from its shores, even as it lets in the looniest of sharia preachers. More recently, three other critics of Islam – American Brittany Pettibone, Austrian Martin Sellner, and Canadian Lauren Southern – were turned away by British border authorities.
Now, Tommy Robinson has been arrested – not for the first time. Born Stephen Bellon, he is a lifelong resident of Luton who helped found the English Defence League, which he left in 2013 because he disapproved of its focus on race rather than ideology; since then, he been involved with Quilliam, a reformist Muslim think tank; with the Canadian alternative-media group Rebel Media; and with Pegida UK, the British chapter of a German anti-Islam organization. Robinson has been an outspoken critic of Islam, and has been imprisoned several times, sometimes for relatively minor physical disturbances and other misdemeanors – he has admitted that he is no saint – and sometimes simply for speaking his mind. I have never met the man, but I have watched hours of interviews with him and other videos in which he does speak his mind, interviews others, and covers various events, and I must say that he comes off consistently as a decent man who is free of prejudice but legitimately concerned about Islam.
Tommy Robinson. His concern about Islam has made him a target of British authorities. Photo:
It is his concern about Islam that has made Robinson a target of British authorities. A few years ago, knowing his public profile as a critic of Islam, they put him into a penal institution, Woodhill Prison, where they knew he would be surrounded by Muslim convicts and vulnerable to physical abuse if not jailhouse murder. Indeed, he was assaulted there, and it was apparently only thanks to intervention by Maajid Nawaz, the founder of Quilliam and a prominent Liberal Democratic Party politician, that he was moved to a safer lockup. Since his release, he has been repeatedly harassed by British police. In May of last year, after he was hired as a Rebel Media correspondent, he was arrested while reporting from outside a court in Canterbury where a Muslim rape trial was underway.
Just a few weeks ago, Robinson was the headliner at a "Day of Freedom" free-speech rally in London. Other speakers included UKIP leader Gerard Batten, YouTube celebrities Gavin McInnes and Carl Benjamin (who goes by the name "Sargon of Akkad"), Anne Marie Waters of the political party For Britain, and Milo Yiannopoulos. I watched it on YouTube. It was impressive. It gave me a bit of hope for that scepter'd (but battered) isle.
Now Robinson has been arrested again. On Friday, while livestreaming on Facebook from outside a court in Leeds, where yet another trial of Muslim child rapists was underway, he was taken into custody by a phalanx of police officers. The charge? "Breaching the peace." In fact, anyone who watches the video of his arrest can see quite clearly that he was only doing what any reporter for the BBC would have done – standing in front of a courtroom, talking into a microphone, and being filmed by a camera. The difference is that the BBC and other mainstream media are determined to give as little coverage as possible to the mass Muslim rape of infidel girls. As for the police, they knew about these "grooming gangs" for many years (as did armies of social workers) but did nothing for fear of being labeled racist or sparking Islamic uprisings. These same cops arrested Tommy Robinson on Friday not because he did anything wrong, but because he was drawing attention to Muslim crimes that they would rather see ignored – and drawing attention, too, by extension, to their own genuinely criminal failure to defend innocent children from what was essentially jihadist torture.
It gets worse. Within hours, according to some sources, Robinson was tried and sentenced to thirteen months in prison. To send him to a British prison, where a very high percentage of inmates are likely to be Muslim, is to condemn him to a life of brutal harassment and, very possibly, a violent death. Even in Islam-appeasing Britain, this seems inconceivable. It sounds like Soviet or Nazi "justice," not like British jurisprudence.
Make no mistake: however Tommy Robinson may have strayed from the straight and narrow over the years, he is a champion of those victimized children, a voice for freedom, and a living rebuke to the cowardice of the British media, police, social workers, and other officials and public figures who knew what was going on in flats in Rotherham, Newcastle, and elsewhere, but stayed silent. Anyone in the United Kingdom who believes in freedom, recognizes the danger of Islam, and has any self-respect should rally to Robinson's cause.
**Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. His other books include A Place at the Table (1993), Stealing Jesus (1997), Surrender (2009), and The Victims' Revolution (2012). A native New Yorker, he has lived in Europe since 1998.
© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Swallowing a lie for fear of an imaginary war
Amir Taheri/Al Arabiya/May 26/18
Listen to the so-called “moderate faction” in Tehran and you are likely to hear a litany of woes, echoed by some European circles, about alleged attempts by the Trump administration to push the Middle East towards a new war. The leitmotiv is the claim that the so-called “nuke deal”, also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an almost sacred text that should be neither amended nor improved.
“We shall not accept an iota of change in this text,” says Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.“There is no alternative to JCPOA,” echoes Federica Mogherini, foreign policy spokeswoman for European Union. As for Alistair Burt, the man in charge of the Middle East in the British Foreign Office, the so-called “nuke deal” is an “unalterable text” that cannot be renegotiated let alone revised.
But how could this be?
What is so special about JCPOA that we should treat it as a sacred text with one single unalterable version? After all, even synoptic gospels, not to mention Saint John’s Gospel, offer different narratives of the same body of memory, doctrine and belief.
In a secular context, all national constitutions are open to revision and amendment. For example, the US Constitution has been amended no fewer than 27 times. Sometimes a whole national constitution is consigned to the dustbin and replaced by a new one, as has been the case in France five times in a century. Mogherini’s native Italy, created as a nation-state in 1861, has had no fewer than six constitutions in its short life. Burt’s United Kingdom has never had a constitution, plodding along with tradition and compromise.
Compared to the documents mentioned above, JCPOA has a lesser claim to sacredness. To start with, it lacks a universally recognized version, coming in three different versions, two in Persian and one in English with significant differences in each. Next, it was negotiated between Iran and the so-called P5+1, a group with no legal status, no mission statement and no accountability to anyone. Thirdly, it was not signed by anyone and no Cabinet and no legislature ever debated let alone legally approved it.
Finally, as we have shown in several articles, both Iran and P5+1 have repeatedly violated key aspects of it.
Iran is still subject to heavy sanctions while, among other violations, it has failed to send all its stock of enriched uranium outside the country and shelved the re-design of its plutonium plant with the excuse that it finds no partner to help it do so.
Rouhani complains that the P5+1 have not honored their part of the bargain. Mogherini forgets the fact that ENI, the oil giant in her native Italy, has reneged on an energy deal with Iran while Danieli, Italy’s steel giant, has jettisoned a $5 billion contract to the dustbin, in direct violation of the JCPOA. As for Burt, his government is still unwilling to allow Iran in London the right to open a bank account so that it doesn’t have to pay its employees in cash. Last week the British Petroleum dropped a joint venture with Iran. The UK still refuses to unfreeze upwards of $2 billion in Iranian assets while China, a P5+1 member, is sitting on $22 billion worth of frozen Iranian money.
False peace
The JCPOA fan club, which still includes former US President Barack Obama and his sidekick John Kerry, pretends that the only alternative to the fudge they market is an invasion of Iran by the United States.
“The choice is between the deal and war,” Kerry muses as he tours the world to lobby for Iran.
But why should we reduce our choice to swallowing a lie for fear of an imaginary war?
To be sure, the Iranian nuclear problem should be solved so that Iran can resume some kind of normal existence while the rest of the world is reassured that it won’t face a nuclear-armed rogue state.
The existing JCPOA does not deliver on either of those accounts. However, a new, revised and improved JCPOA may just do that. But that would require jettisoning the Obama “lie” and renegotiating a new text.
Any future negotiations should be done within the transparent system of international law that is to say between the UN Security Council and Iran as a member of the United Nations. If the UNSC so wishes, it could appoint the same P5+1 as its negotiating side with a clear mission statement and transparent accountability. The P5+1 would no longer be a posse chasing a fugitive, i.e. Iran; it would be a legally appointed sheriff seeking to bring a suspect to justice.
Next, the new negotiations would have to take place within the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), both of which Obama circumvented, and the framework of seven unanimously passed UNSC resolutions, and, again, haughtily ignored by the precautious Nobel laureate.
Fresh negotiations would establish a single new text, part of which borrowed from segments of the existing JCPOA, in all the official languages of the UN with the exactitude that the JCPOA lacks.
Once a clear text is established, it should be submitted to relevant parliaments, including the US Congress and the Islamic Republic Majlis, for ratification giving it the force of a treaty, something that the JCPOA lacks. Provided she is still in her European chair, Mogherini could invite the European Union Council to ratify the new treaty.
A legally binding treaty, backed by international and national law, would not permit a la carte implementation as is the case for JCPOA that allows the Trump administration to “walk out” of something into which it had not walked. It would also make violation by individual companies, such as British Petroleum, the French Total, the Italian Danieli and many others a crime under national and international law. More importantly, it would block Iran’s path to playing games with implementation with 1001 excuses, some valid mostly not. Whether one likes Trump or not the fact is that when he says that the Emperor is naked he is telling the truth. It is quite possible that he says that to vilify Obama. But that does not change the fact that the witches’ brew that Obama cooked is laced with poison. Let’s not use the excuse of an imaginary war to market a false peace. Let’s prepare for a true settlement of the Iranian nuclear dispute. Let’s get serious.

Muqtada Al Sadr’s plea for help
Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/May 26/18
Will Iran allow the man who’s now become the most important player in Iraq’s political life to experiment with the possibilities of rapprochement between Iraqi blocs and create a moment of national political consensus away from the influence of Iran and other foreign powers?
Muqtada Al Sadr, the popular Shiite leader, is unlike other Iraqi leaders which Iran has gotten used to dealing with, especially after Muqtada’s alliance Sairoon won the largest number of seats in the recent parliamentary elections.
Muqtada, the descendant of the religious and political Sadr family in Iraq and son of the most popular branch of the Sadr family, that of Sayyid Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, has inherited the popular base that his father had gained among non-partisan popular categories. This is evident in the capital Baghdad, especially in highly-populated neighborhoods like the Sadr City or Al-Shu'ala.
Iran will use its proxies to intimidate Muqtada Al-Sadr and his bloc in order to keep Iraq under its influence
Speaking of Al-Shu'ala, there have recently been terror attacks which I think have been carried out by Muqtada’s foes. It’s expected that Iran will use its allies and proxies, like the Popular Mobilization led by Hadi al-Amiri or Nouri al-Maliki, to intimidate Sadr and his bloc into accepting an Iranian solution in order to keep Iraq under Iran’s influence.
Few days ago while meeting with Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq Jan Kubis, Muqtada said: “Our vision for the next phase is for decisions to be purely Iraqi national decisions. This stems from people’s desires and the phase also necessitates this because the Iraqi people have suffered a lot from corruption and poor governance.” He added: “It’s important that the international community and the UN increase their support for Iraq to get out of the tunnel of abominable sectarianism and quotas and stop regional interferences in the election file.”
Will Iraq’s popular leader Muqtada al-Sadr succeed in bringing Iraq out of the tunnel of sectarianism, corruption and quotas? This is the question.