August 15/14

Bible/Faith/Quotation for today/
Children and Parents

Ephesians 0
6/01-04: "Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for this is the right thing to do.  "Respect your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise added:  “so that all may go well with you, and you may live a long time in the land.” Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction."

Pope Francis's Tweet For Today
Saint John Paul II, pray for us and especially for our youth.
Pope Francis
Mary, Queen of Peace, help us to root out hatred and live in harmony.
Pape François
Saint Jean-Paul II, prie pour nous, et spécialement pour nos jeunes.
Pape François
Marie, Reine de la Paix, aide-nous à déraciner la haine et à vivre dans l’harmonie


Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 14 & 15/14

The end of Maliki should be a lesson for Assad/By: Tariq Alhomayed/Asharq AlAwsat/August 15/14

ISIS leader flees to Syria fearing US airstrikes: Kurdish official/By: Dalshad Abdullah/Asharq Alawsat/ August 15/14

Kuwait and revoking citizenship/By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/August 15/14

Iraq's City of Orphans/By:Michael Knights/Washington Institute/August 15/14


Lebanese Related News published on August 14 & 15/14

Cabinet Approves Saudi Grant, Asks Bou Saab to Issue Passing Statements to Students

Report: Al-Rahi Proposed Vatican Meet for Top Christian Leaders over Presidency
Nasrallah: Lebanese Groups Still Supporting Syria Gunmen with Arms and Guidance
Hale: U.S. to Deliver Aid to Lebanese Army within Weeks
Hariri to Continuously Visit Lebanon without Settling in it
Imad Jomaa, 42 Others Charged with Belonging to Terrorist Groups
4 Wounded in Collapse of Under Construction Bridge in Tyre
Army Arrests Syrian Refugees in Minieh Raid
Operator of Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade Twitter Account in ISF Captivity
2,000 Syria Refugees Stranded in Mountains near Arsal
Tripoli Municipality Chief Assures Holding Onto Coexistence: No Religious Motives behind Removing Beer Ads
Al-Hayek Says EDL Not a 'Barn,' Warns Contract Workers
Rage against the regime?
Asiri: Fanaticism a product of Iran revolution
Reports of threats against jewelry sellers denied Construction focus shifts outside Beirut Sudan: A historical destination for Lebanese
Civil servants’ pay to dry up soon
Leading by example

Delays in offshore gas licensing bad for Lebanon

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 14 & 15/14

U.N. Council to Vote Friday on Measure to Weaken Iraq Islamists

UK Suspends Aid Drops in Iraq after Situation Improves

US: Far fewer Iraqi refugees on Sinjar Mountain

Maliki to Concede Defeat, Back Iraq PM Designate

UK-drafted Security Council resolution targets ISIS
EU hopes to build support group for Iraq against ISIS
U.N. chief Ban names Spanish diplomat as new Libya envoy
Governor of Iraq’s Anbar province says U.S. to help against ISIS
U.S.: more airdrops on Iraq’s Sinjar mountain may be unnecessary
Obama says siege at Iraq’s Mount Sinjar broken
Germany to send aid to north Iraq on Friday

Syria Troops Retake Key Town outside Damascus

Germany, France to Send Aid to Iraqi Kurds
10,000 Israelis Demand End to Rocket Attacks

We are seeking ICC probe into Israeli war crimes: Palestinian PM
Palestinians and Israelis agree five-day truce

Muslim Brotherhood incapable of organzing large-scale protests: official

5 Dead in Egypt as pro-Islamists Mark Rabaa Anniversary

U.N. Chief Names New Head of Libya Mission

Living in Australia, longing for jihad

Report: Al-Rahi Proposed Vatican Meet for Top Christian Leaders over Presidency
Naharnet /Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi has suggested to bring together Lebanon's top Christian political leaders in Rome but his proposal was rejected, An Nahar newspaper reported on Thursday.
Al-Rahi wanted to put the officials under “moral pressure to convince them to agree on a candidate for the presidency and agree on holding the elections,” the daily said. But his proposal to hold a meeting at the Vatican was met with large-scale rejection from politicians and candidates for several reasons, it added. The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Anbaa said Sunday that Bkirki will seek during a meeting for top Christian figures to persuade them to assume their responsibilities and agree on the election of the “best candidate.” Lebanon has been without a head of state since May 25. President Michel Suleiman's six-year tenure ended amid parliament's failure to find a successor over differences on a compromise candidate. The main rivalry lies between Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, who hasn't yet officially announced his candidacy. Al-Rahi has repeatedly warned that the vacuum at Baabda Palace would have severe repercussions on the country's top Christian post. Under the country's power-sharing agreement of 1943, the president should be a Maronite Christian, the speaker a Shiite and the prime minister a Sunni. But An Nahar quoted ministers as saying that the presidential elections were no longer a priority after politicians became concerned with the extension of parliament's term, which ends in November. The legislature extended its tenure last year after the rival MPs failed to agree on a new electoral draft-law. Some parliamentary blocs have said they are in favor of an extension while others have refused to back it.

Nasrallah: Lebanese Groups Still Supporting Syria Gunmen with Arms and Guidance
Naharnet/Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared that the “Lebanese support” for gunmen in Syria is still taking place, reiterating that Hizbullah's fighting in the neighboring country's al-Qusayr and al-Qalamunm regions prevented the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant would from reaching Beirut. "If we hadn't fought in Qusayr and al-Qalamoun, ISIL would have reached Beirut and coastal regions,” Nasrallah said in the second excerpts of an interview in al-Akhbar newspaper to be published on Friday. He continued discussion over the presence and power of fighters in Syria: “The Lebanese support for armed groups in Syria is still taking place, and it includes arming and guiding them.” "The fear of danger is growing and people are now more approving of our fight against takfiris,” he considered. The Hizbullah chief went on to say: “Wherever there is support for takfiri ideology, there is a supporting ground that favors ISIL presence.”This is happening in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, he pointed out. Nasrallah added: “Turkey and Qatar support ISIL and I am convinced that Saudi Arabia fears the group.”

Hale: U.S. to Deliver Aid to Lebanese Army within Weeks
Naharnet/U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale announced on Thursday that his country will deliver an urgent aid to the Lebanese army within the upcoming few weeks which will continue in the months to follow. “This assistance will enhance the LAF’s ability to secure Lebanon’s borders, protect Lebanon’s people, and fight these violent extremist groups,” Hale said after talks with Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Defense Minister Samir Moqbel at the Grand Serail. He pointed out that the deal will include munition and ordinance for offensive and defensive combat. Hale revealed that his country was meeting a request by the Lebanese army to attain emergency assistance.  “we are in intensive consultations with the Lebanese government and our partners about how to best respond to additional needs of the Lebanese Armed Forces,” Hale told reporters. The diplomat considered the “deliveries are part of a long-standing U.S.-Lebanese military partnership,” noting that his country's assistance to the army has exceeded $1 billion since 2006. Following the 2006 summer war between Israel and Hizbullah, the army deployed in southern Lebanon — Hizbullah's heartland — for the first time in decades, with the help of U.N. peacekeepers. Since then, the U.S. has stepped up its military assistance to the Lebanese army. Hale expressed satisfaction regarding his country's strong partnership with the LAF.
“We continue to stand with Lebanon and with the LAF and ISF as they protect the country from the spillover of violence from Syria.”The fighting that erupted in the northeastern town of Arsal on August 2 between Islamist gunmen and the Lebanese army has raised new concerns about the effects of the Syrian conflict on Lebanon. Despite officially distancing itself from the war, Lebanon's existing sectarian and political tensions have been worsened by the conflict next door. It is also hosting more than one million Syrian refugees, who have tested its limited resources and the patience of its four million citizens.

2,000 Syria Refugees Stranded in Mountains near Arsal
Naharnet/More than 2,000 Syrian refugees are stranded in mountains overlooking the northeastern border town of Arsal, a nun involved in helping Syrian refugees in the country said on Thursday.
"Between 2,000 and 2,500 Syrians who left Arsal to return to their country now find themselves up above the town and not receiving any help because it is a military zone and NGOs can't reach them," Sister Agnes told Agence France Presse. "They were supposed to leave with a first party of 1,700 refugees but we weren't able to take them. Then Arsal residents barred them from entry and the army won't let them go to (the Bekaa valley town of) Ras Baalbek," she said. A spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR told AFP her team in the Bekaa region had "no information about these 2,000 refugees" but was closely following developments. Mona Monzer added: "The situation in Syria is not suitable for a safe return and that is why (the UNHCR) is neither encouraging nor helping their return."
Arsal, whose residents have been broadly supportive of the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad, is currently playing host to 47,000 Syrian refugees.
Many of them sought refuge there after Syrian government troops ousted rebels from the Qalamun region over the border. From August 2 to 6, Arsal was the scene of fierce clashes between army troops and jihadists who came over from Syria.Agence France Presse

Cabinet Approves Saudi Grant, Asks Bou Saab to Issue Passing Statements to Students

Naharnet /The council of ministers on Thursday approved the one billion dollar Saudi grant to the Lebanese army, as reports said the needs of the military institution and of the Internal Security Forces will be provided soon. The cabinet also tasked Education Minister Elias Bou Saab with issuing passing statements to students who applied for official exams on Saturday at most, after negotiations failed with the Syndicate Coordination Committee. "The cabinet approved officially the one billion dollar Saudi grant to arm the military institution and the Internal Security Forces,” Information Minister Ramzi Jreij announced after a meeting at the Grand Serail. MTV reported that the amount will be deposited in an account at the Central Bank.
NBN television, meanwhile, said the cabinet set the mechanism based on which the grant will be spent. "It will provide the army and the ISF's needs soon,” it added. Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq noted that the mechanism based on which the grant will be spent is “being prepared by legal experts.”
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri had announced last week that Saudi Arabia decided to support the military institution with a one billion dollar grant, following the deadly clashes between troops and extremist militants in the northeastern border town of Arsal. Hariri made a surprise return to Lebanon on Friday, after spending three years abroad, and declared during a security meeting at the Grand Serail that he was tasked bu Saudi King Abdullah with supervising the management of the grant. In a separate matter, Bou Saab assured that he exerted all efforts to rescue the school year and has discussed with different political parties the possibility of holding a parliamentary session."But all parties said no one can guarantee a session to adopt the new wage scale,” Jreij quoted Bou Saab as saying.
Bou Saab communicated this with the SCC and said that he needed to draw an end to the suffering of students and their families, Jreij noted.
Accordingly, the cabinet tasked the Education Minister with issuing passing statements to rescue the students' future. The ministers also approved a draft law to open a credit account worth 450 billion Lebanese pounds to pay the pensions' deficit, and to give al-Iskan a loan of 30 billion Lebanese pounds to pay the pending interests to banks. Also on Thursday, the cabinet approved a decree to establish a second bureau branch of the ministry of labor in Mount Lebanon, to facilitate and speed up the issuing of citizens' transactions.
As well, the government approved Labor Minister Sejaan Qazzi's proposal of temporarily offering scholarships to workers and employees aged between 4 and 25, in the coming academic year 2013-2014.
“Kids of female employees would not benefit from any scholarship, unless the mothers were in charge of all their financial burdens or were married to employees who do not benefit from scholarships,” the state-run National News Agency explained. Only employees who have had spent one entire year working at their company before the start of the school year will benefit from the scholarships, the NNA remarked “And only three children in each family can benefit from these scholarships,” the same source pointed out.

Tripoli Municipality Chief Assures Holding Onto Coexistence: No Religious Motives behind Removing Beer Ads

Naharnet /Tripoli municipality chief Nader Ghazal assured on Thursday that no “religious reasons” were behind removing beer ads in the northern city, explaining that this was instead due to legal violations committed by advertising companies. Ghazal's declaration came during a visit to Kataeb Party MP Sami Gemayel, accompanied by Tripoli MP Samer Saade."I have requested a meeting with Gemayel to explain to him the controversy over the beer ads,” he said. "There are no political or religious reasons behind the decision to remove the advertisements,” he assured, stressing his keenness on religious coexistence in the city. He elaborated: “The municipality's decision was taken against advertisers who violated licenses given to them.” Gemayel, meanwhile, hailed Ghazal's visit and expressed that “dialogue is the only mean to protect Tripoli's religious diversity.”"Tripoli is characterized with pluralism and embraces people of all sects. It is the capital of all communities in northern Lebanon,” he said.
"It is necessary to preserve freedoms and pluralism in Lebanon,” he announced. The decision to remove several beer ads in Tripoli was met with a wave of criticism and condemnation by politicians and activists.Despite the northern city's conservative nature, selling and drinking alcohol is permissible in Tripoli as restaurants and supermarkets continue to sell beer and other alcoholic beverages.

Operator of Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade Twitter Account in ISF Captivity
Naharnet /The Internal Security Forces announced on Thursday evening the arrest of the operator of the Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade's Twitter account, revealing that he a 19 years old man who hails from the Bekaa's Baalbek region. "The Intelligence Bureau arrested on Thursday the operator of the Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade's Twitter account,” the ISF said in a tweet on the same social media website. He is Lebanese national H.Sh.H., 19, and has confessed to managing the shadowy group's account, the ISF added. The mysterious Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade had in the past claimed that it is an affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but the ISIL later denied that. The Brigade has claimed responsibility for several rocket and bomb attacks inside Lebanon, the last of which were the suicide blasts in Dahr al-Baydar and Raouche's Duroy Hotel. But what raised suspicions over the seriousness of the vague group's influence was a war of words it engaged in on March 16 with al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, believed to be a local franchise of the Syria-based, Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front. The dispute erupted after both groups claimed responsibility on Twitter for a deadly suicide bombing that rocked the Bekaa town of al-Nabi Othman. On July 24, the account was unreachable on Twitter, despite having many followers. Another account was founded to replace it but could not enjoy the same popularity. The obscure group has threatened to target Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji and Maj. Suzan al-Hajj, chief of the Internal Security Forces' Cyber Crime and Intellectual Property Protection bureau.  It has repeatedly slammed the military institution as the “Crusader Army” and it vowed to task gunmen to attack churches in Lebanon and in the eastern Bekaa valley in particular. Consequently, another Twitter account emerged as a response to the Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade under the name of “Free Crusader Brigade

Imad Jomaa, 42 Others Charged with Belonging to Terrorist Groups
Naharnet/State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr charged on Thursday 43 Syrians for belonging to armed terrorist groups, reported the National News Agency. The suspects include Imad Ahmed Jomaa, whose arrest sparked clashes on August 2 between the army and Islamist gunmen in the northeastern border town of Arsal. Ten of the suspects are in detention, while the rest are at large, added NNA. They include the “emirs” of battle fronts in Syria and commanders of brigades, particularly in the Syrian town of al-Qalamoun. They have also been charged with seeking to carry out terrorist attacks, seizing control of Lebanese territories in order to set up their own emirate, killing soldiers and civilians, sabotaging military vehicles, and damaging public and private property. The suspects may face the death penalty if convicted. Saqr referred their case to First Military Examining Magistrate Judge Abu Ghida. Several soldiers were killed and wounded in the Arsal clashes that ended on August 7.The Islamists withdrew from the town, abducting with them a number of troops and security forces. Negotiations are ongoing with them to ensure their safe release.Media reports have said that the gunmen are seeking to exchange the captives for Islamists detained in Roumieh Prison. LBCI television later reported that the Muslim Scholars Committee delegation, tasked with negotiating the release of the captives, was informed by a mediator that the al-Nusra Front was irritated by Saqr's charges, threatening to halt the talks.

Maliki to Concede Defeat, Back Iraq PM Designate
Naharnet/Nuri al-Maliki was due to drop his bid to remain Iraq's prime minister in a joint televised appearance with his designated successor, his spokesman said Thursday.
"Maliki will withdraw the complaint against the president and will back the prime minister designate," Ali Mussawi told Agence France Presse, referring to a lawsuit the outgoing premier had vowed to file.
President Fuad Masum on Monday tasked Haidar al-Abadi, a member of Maliki's Dawa party, with forming a new government, a move the two-term premier said was a violation of the constitution.
Tehran and Washington, the two main foreign power brokers in Iraq, came out in support of Abadi, and he was dealt another major blow when the office of Iraq's top Shiite cleric released a letter in which he called for Maliki to go.Maliki went from relatively unknown exile to become a powerful premier who has been widely criticised for authoritarian tendencies. His tenure will end with Iraq facing a major crisis to which his policies have contributed. Jihadist-led militants are in control of major areas of five Iraqi provinces, after launching an offensive in June that swept aside security forces, of which he is the commander-in-chief. Agence France Presse

10,000 Israelis Demand End to Rocket Attacks

Naharnet /Around 10,000 Israelis poured into downtown Tel Aviv late Thursday, calling on the government and the army to end Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza once and for all.
It was the first major demonstration in Israel since the country went to war against Hamas on July 8, launching a punishing air campaign followed by a ground offensive designed to stop rocket attacks and destroy attack tunnels. Organizers said the rally united people across Israel's often bitter divides of left and right-wing, as well as religious and secular Jewish communities. Alon Davidi, mayor of the southern town of Sderot, told the rally there must be a solution -- be it political or military -- to what he called 14 years of rocket attacks. "I have full confidence in the government and in the army, but at the same time I ask as mayor of Sderot that they put an end to this situation once and for all," Davidi said. "Finish the job!" he said. "This is a universal principle. We want to live in peace," he added.
Police told Agence France Presse that around 10,000 people attended the rally in Rabin Square. Members of the crowd waved Israeli flags and held up banners calling for peace with the Palestinians and others scrawled with the words: "Occupy Gaza now!" "We all came here to send the message that rocket fire on the south is not only a problem for the south but a problem for the rest of the country," said Haim Yelin, head of the Eshkol regional council. He thanked the military for launching the offensive. "I hope they will transform the military victory into a political victory that will bring quiet to the whole country," he said. The army says Palestinian militants in Gaza have launched more than 3,500 rockets since July 8. More than 2,790 have slammed into Israel and around 600 have been shot down.
The attacks have killed two Israelis and a Thai agricultural worker since the fighting began. At least 1,962 Palestinians, of whom the United Nations says 72 percent were civilians, have also died alongside 64 Israeli soldiers. Negotiators in Cairo brokered an 11th-hour extension to an existing truce by another five days, starting Thursday, to allow for continued negotiations on a long-term ceasefire.
Israel's security cabinet was on Thursday meeting to discuss the ongoing Egyptian mediation process.Agence France Presse

The end of Maliki should be a lesson for Assad
Tariq Alhomayed/Asharq AlAwsat
Friday, 15 Aug, 2014
Despite all Nuri Al-Maliki’s attempts to cling to power, which are still ongoing, it is clear that the man is on the way out. Everything that Maliki is doing now is nothing more than an attempt to ensure that he leaves in the best possible position following his expulsion, while his own closest allies have abandoned him. This represents a lesson to Bashar Al-Assad and others in the region.
What is striking in Iraq is the speed with which the regional powers—Saudi Arabia and Iran—rushed to welcome the new Iraqi leadership—President Fuad Massuom, Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi and Speaker of Parliament Salim Al-Jabouri—despite the fact that Maliki, technically, remains in power. This means that both Riyadh and Tehran have acknowledged that the game is up for Maliki, and the that time for change has come. Saudi Arabia has wisely welcomed this change, opening a new page in relations with post-Maliki Iraq. Iran welcomed the change as one swallows a bitter pill and tries to save what can be saved, even though Maliki was their man in Iraq. We saw how Maliki attacked Washington for its congratulation and welcome of Abadi, while he did not utter a word about the Iranian position. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also welcomed Abadi’s appointment, so it is increasingly clear that Maliki is on the way out.
The question that must be asked now is: How could both Saudi Arabia and Iran reach the same position on the importance of change in Iraq? And, more importantly, what lesson can be learnt from this?
Simply put, the answer is that what is happening on the ground—which has led to an unprecedented state of Iraqi division—has resulted in consensus regarding the need to get rid of Maliki, whose failed policies represent a threat to the continued existence of Iraq as a whole. Iran has taken the decision to swallow the bitter pill once more in Iraq and abandon its ally Maliki. As for the Saudis, their biggest concern is ensuring that Iraq returns to its rightful place in the Arab world. Iraq must be an independent state that protects all of its population. All that Saudi Arabia has done with regards to Iraq is to wait by the river long enough to see its enemies float by, as the famous Sun Tzu quote goes. So here we see Iran abandoning Maliki, after backing him for so long.
Very well, but what has Assad got to do with all this?
The only person that should be worried in the region today is Assad, for just as Iran abandoned Maliki today, Tehran will abandon him tomorrow. Iran’s own self-interest is more important than supporting any figure or leader. In fact, Iran would already have abandoned Assad if there was an acceptable figure to replace him. This means that it is up to the influential powers in the region—most prominently Saudi Arabia—to realize an important truth, namely the need to make a difference on the ground in Syria.
While it is true that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been checked by the current US intervention in Iraq, this is not the whole story. There are also the Sunni tribes, and the Kurds, and even the Shi’ites. This means that we must see new developments in the Syrian political scene and on the ground. Ultimately, Hezbollah’s intervention, as well as the involvement of Iran and its Shi’ite militias, are not important given that they could not protect Maliki. This is the lesson, and it is important that we understand this, and take action to oust Assad, who Maliki tried to protect. Although Assad has outlasted Maliki, it is important to note that Maliki went with Iran’s blessing.

ISIS leader flees to Syria fearing US airstrikes: Kurdish official
Dalshad Abdullah/15/08/14
Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—Leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and self-proclaimed caliph Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi fled the northern city of Mosul to return to Syrian territory after the US authorized airstrikes on ISIS positions in Iraq, a Kurdish official said. In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) spokesman Saeed Mamo Zinni said: “Caliph of the Islamic State Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi left Mosul for Syria a few days ago.” “According to our intelligence sources, Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi traveled to Syria as part of a convoy of 30 Hummer vehicles after fearing being targeted by US airstrikes,” Zinni said. He added that Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been able to kill a number of ISIS senior leaders. Zinni, a media official for the KDP regional office in Nineveh, went on to claim that Kurdish Peshmerga fighters had repelled an ISIS attack in the Zammar district of Diyala province. ISIS continued its attack on Iraqi Yazidis on Wednesday despite US airstrikes.
An informed source in Mosul, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, said that ISIS had killed all Yazidi men in the villages it had besieged around Sinjar after a deadline for them to convert to Islam expired. “[ISIS fighters also] raped the women and girls, and took the children to Mosul,” he added.
The source claimed that ISIS had recruited several young men from Mosul, and that many of the new recruits were sent to fight in the arid Jazeera region in Syria.
The source said: “Whoever has authorization from ISIS is transferred to areas near Mosul. Others are sent to the fighting in Syria after three days of military training at the Kindi training camp.”
The source added that ISIS have taken over an entire floor of Mosul Hospital, after suffering a large number of casualties in recent battles with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and had also launched a drive for local residents to donate blood to the wounded. Meanwhile, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Peshmerga Ministry announced on Wednesday the arrival of French military aid.
Brig. Gen. Halgurd Hikmat, the official spokesman of the Peshmerga Ministry, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Many countries expressed willingness to help the Peshmerga forces militarily, including the US, Britain, France, Finland, Italy and Canada.”  “The French military aid arrived over the past few days. Aid from the US and other countries also arrived, but I do not want to name those other countries now . . .We are still waiting for more arms from our allies,” he added. Hikmat said the new arms were a mixture of light and heavy weapons, and that 130 additional US military advisors had also arrived in the region to assist Peshmerga with advice and planning. He added that a number of foreign countries had also offered to train Kurdish troops in the use of their new weapons.

Kuwait and revoking citizenship
Thursday, 14 August 2014
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
When the UAE government revoked the citizenship of six individuals end of last year, a barrage of criticism was stirred because many considered the decision to be an arbitrary act with political aims. However the shock was compounded with the Kuwaiti interior minister’s recent announcement that the country would revoke the citizenship of 10 people, of whom the most prominent is extremist preacher Nabil al-Awadhi. Extremist groups have realized that the silence of governments has enabled them to act freely, ensuring them protection and free movement especially if they are unarmed. These groups have now lost. Over the past few years, extremists succeeded in building mutually-reinforcing networks across borders, including with in the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Britain, France and other countries. Some were bold enough to threaten different factions of society, thus benefiting from the spread of terrorism. However, this network is collapsing after governments decided to besiege it via different means. Political authorities found that targeting leaderss is better than pursuing followers and that revoking citizenship will stop individuals who act as figure heads. This would send a strong message that the government will not be content with security checks and lawsuits but will resort to exerting its maximum power to bring down figures whom it considers dangerous to its national security.
“Perhaps the most famous incident of revoking citizenship is the case of Osama bin Laden, whose citizenship was revoked by the Saudi government in the 1990s”Revoking a person’s citizenship is an extremely harsh punishment because it may lead to expulsion from the country and loss of privileges related to employment and housing benefits. It may also lead to revoking the citizenship of others who are dependent on him, for example family members who attained citizenship after the person in question. Perhaps the most famous incident of revoking citizenship is the case of Osama bin Laden, whose citizenship was revoked by the Saudi government in the 1990s, before he established the al-Qaeda organization. The Egyptian government had complained that Osama bin Laden was linked to terrorist operations on its soil and that he was conspiring against the state. This pushed Saudi Arabia to give a warning to Bin Laden, who had already fled to Sudan. However, Bin Laden was not deterred so the Saudi government revoked his citizenship. It was later proven that this move helped Saudi Arabia repudiate Bin Laden’s crimes across the world.
Not limited to the Arab world
Revoking a person’s citizenship is not limited to Arab countries who suffer from grave threats due to extremism. It is also practiced by Western countries whose governments objected to such decisions in the past. In Britain, the House of Lords agreed to revoke the nationality of citizens born in the country and that of naturalized citizens if they are proven to have links with terrorism or if they have been linked to any act that threatens the state’s national security.
British authorities revoked the nationality of 20 people after an arduous legal battle. However, after the House of Lords approved the legislation on revoking the nationality of anyone who poses a threat to national security, Britain’s extremists became afraid. They became afraid of being found guilty on terrorism charges, having their citizenship revoked and facing the possibility of being expelled from the country.Just as extremists and terrorists benefitted from collective cooperation across borders, governments have also begun to collectively act to contain this risk which threatens everyone. The recent Kuwaiti move of revoking the citizenship of 10 people - due to reasons that include the threat of extremism - has cornered the few Arab countries who embrace such extremists. Such countries will eventually find themselves cornered, and an easy target for this consensus against terrorists and extremists.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on August 14, 2014.

Articles & Op-Eds

Iraq's City of Orphans
Michael Knights/Washington Institute
August 14, 2014
The world came to the rescue of the refugees on Mount Sinjar, so why does it continue to ignore thousands more Iraqi minorities who face imminent threat of extermination by jihadists?
In northern Iraq, fighters from the Islamic State (IS) have besieged thousands of men, women, and children. For eight weeks, these people have been under daily attack and are now running dangerously short of food and water. They cannot get their elderly, sick, or wounded past the jihadist blockade -- and those that try to escape are often never heard from again. It is only a matter of time before they are overrun and massacred.
The world's attention has been focused on the plight of the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar, where the international community has mobilized to extract around 5,000 civilians under attack by Islamic State fighters, and President Barack Obama's administration has authorized airstrikes to rescue them.
But the plight I'm describing is in Amerli, a hardscrabble town of wheat and barley farmers located 200 miles southeast of Mount Sinjar, just outside of the city of Tuz Khurmatu. While the assistance from the international community and Iraq's Kurds has been largely successful in lifting the siege on the refugees on Mount Sinjar, nobody is providing assistance to the 12,000 Shiite Turkmen trapped behind IS lines.
This is Iraq's other humanitarian crisis, the one no one seems to care about.
Amerli lacks the drama of the Yazidi exodus to Mount Sinjar, but it is a bona fide humanitarian disaster. Its residents, 70 percent of whom are Shiite of Turkmen ethnicity, were persecuted by Saddam Hussein's regime for their Shiite identity -- and then attacked by the jihadist forerunners of IS, al Qaeda in Iraq, for the same reason. On July 7, 2007, al Qaeda attacked Amerli with 4.5 tons of explosives buried in a truck under a load of watermelons, killing 159 civilians and wounding over 350. Virtually everyone in the close-knit, multi-ethnic town lost a relative that day, making Amerli a city of orphans.
Now the latest incarnation of murderous jihadists is back to finish the job.
My connection to Amerli began with visits to the Tuz area before U.S. forces departed in 2011. I have been going back ever since, and have stayed in contact with people in the area, who are reaching out with ever greater desperation to tell their stories by cell phone, radio, and messengers coming and going by helicopter.
On June 20, 10 days after the fall of Mosul, IS fighters started to overrun Turkmen villages surrounding Amerli. By July 15, only Amerli was left unconquered -- the last bastion out of 31 Shiite villages in the area, cut off from an escape route to either the Shiite south or the Kurdish north. Since July 17, the densely-populated town has received daily rocket attacks. The town's defenders, around 400 local men armed solely with AK-47s, have beaten off many IS attacks, including a day-long assault that nearly succeeded on Aug. 3.
Accounts of the suffering in Amerli are shocking. The jihadists cut power to the town on July 22, and the water aqueduct from the IS-held town of Suleiman Beg was shut down two days later. Sweltering in 120 degree heat with only a trickle of hand-drawn well water to sustain them, the town's old, sick, and young began to die. The sole junior physician and handful of nurses are operating under nightmarish conditions. The town has also begun to starve, both for lack of food and the depletion of cooking gas bottles.
The only way to get supplies into Amerli or to get the sick out is by Iraqi military helicopter, which comes twice a week. The single helicopter makes a 220-mile round-trip from Baghdad, and can only bring enough food to provide a daily ration of less than one pound per family. To an even greater extent than Mount Sinjar, the flights into Amerli are hazardous: The small landing zone is under observation from IS positions just a mile away. Incoming helicopters are rocketed, sparking a mad dash each time one arrives. One Turkmen doctor recently told the story of how the 88-year-old father of a friend made it onto a helicopter, but was too frail to survive the flight and died en route to a hospital in Baghdad. Turkmen in Amerli also told me that a child -- one of around 7,400 in the enclave -- recently died on the landing zone waiting for her ride out.
Aside from these Iraqi helicopter airlifts, outside help has been minimal. Iraqi airstrikes have peppered IS-held villages in the area to little apparent effect; they only seem to be successful in prompting the jihadists to intensify rocket attacks on Amerli, apparently in revenge. The anemic Iraqi Army is stalled around 20 miles to the south at the town of Udaim -- only a half hour's drive away on a good day -- but have not made any headway in almost six weeks of inconclusive skirmishes. Shiite Turkmen militias from the city of Tuz Khurmatu, just 12 miles to the north, tried to relieve Amerli on Aug. 8, but were massacred when their untrained pickup truck-mounted fighters stumbled into an IS T-55 tank just four miles short of the town's perimeter defences, a fatal mismatch that resulted in 15 men killed and 59 wounded out of a force of 250 fighters.
The people of Amerli are reaching the end of their strength, and the Islamic State's jackals are waiting for their chance to overrun the town. Everybody there knows the fate of nearby Turkmen villages captured by the jihadists: When IS overran the Shiite Turkmen parts of towns like Tal Afar and Bashir it separated families, killed many of the men and boys, and took women and girls away to an unknown fate. In one compelling dispatch from the town of Tuz Khurmatu, a man called Qassem Ibrahim Ali recounted how he sent his son, wife, two teenage daughters, and their three-year-old to escape in their car. His daughters were returned amid a heap of decomposing corpses, and the others were not seen again. On Aug. 7, IS sought out survivors from these massacres at a Kirkuk refugee camp and hit them again with two car bombs, killing six and wounding 37.
These Turkmen ask why their traditional benefactor, Turkey, has apparently disowned them, why the Yazidis leap-frogged over them in the queue for urgent international relief, and why they are any less deserving of life than the other minorities that U.S. aircraft are currently protecting with daily airstrikes.
The reality is that U.S. airpower and Kurdish forces, working with local Turkmen volunteers, could relieve Amerli in a day. The distance between Amerli and safety in the Kurdistan region is currently the same as the drive from the White House to the Pentagon. For U.S. protection of the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar to be more than a stunt, Washington must extend its support to other minorities, especially if only a minimal amount of military support would be decisive, as is the case at Amerli.
On Aug. 13, in preparation for expanded U.S. military support to the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar, Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes emphasized that expanded intervention was necessary because "we don't believe it's sustainable to have permanent airdrops" of humanitarian aid.
If this is true in Sinjar, where around 5,000 people are waiting for U.S. and Kurdish forces to open up a humanitarian corridor or airlift, it is doubly true in Amerli, a hellish cauldron where 12,000 people are being starved and bombed by ISIS.
Michael Knights is a Boston-based Lafer Fellow with The Washington Institute.