July 02/14

Bible Quotation for today/So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

Matthew 18,11-14/What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?
And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

Pope Francis's Tweet For today
To live as true children of God means to love our neighbour and to be close to those who are lonely and in difficulty.
Pape François 
Vivre comme de vrais enfants de Dieu signifie aimer le prochain et se faire proche de celui qui est seul et en difficulté.

Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For July 02/14

The Western ISIS and its Second Rebirth/By: Diana Moukalled/Asharq Alawsat/ July 02/14

Terrorism on Delivery/By: Sawsan Al-Abtah/Asharq Alawsat/July 02/14

Sunnis of Iraq, between reason and fanaticism/By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/July 02/14

Will ISIS grow or is it set to meet its death/By: Jamal Khashoggi /Al Arabiya/July 02/14


Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For July 02/14
Lebanese Related News

Eastern patriarchs deplore regional violence

Bkirki Rejects Constitutional Amendment Ahead of Presidential Elections
Geagea Urges 'Boycotting MPs' to Attend Elections Sessions, Ignore 'Delusional' Proposals

Roadside Bomb Targets Army Patrol in Tripoli
Mashnouq Announces Rehabilitation of Roumieh Prison Next Week
Syndicate Coordination Committee (SCC) Holds Sit-in, Calls for 'Social Alliance' on Wage Scale
Iran's FM, Fathali Expresses Tehran's Readiness to Aid Army, Says Presidential Poll 'Local Affair'
STL Defense Office Appoints Lawyer for al-Amin, Akhbar Beirut S.A.L.
The International Support Group for Lebanon Reaffirms Assistance Commitment, Expresses Concern over Vacuum

Report: Saudi Officials in Beirut to Follow up Probe into Duroy Attack
Saudi delegation in Beirut to follow up terror probe
Tripoli attack raises fears of return to violence

Salam discusses refugee crisis with donor states

Harb: Telecoms losses short-term, necessary

Beirut refugee camp clashes kill 3

Miscellaneous Reports And News For July 02/14

Murdered Israeli teens laid to rest in joint ceremony

Iraq Parliament Session Ends in Chaos as Turmoil Deepens
Judicial Source: Sarkozy Detained for Questioning in French Graft Probe
Amnesty Slams Lebanon Ban on Palestinians Fleeing Syria

Jihadists Seize Key Syria Town on Iraq Border
Barzani: Iraqi Kurds to Vote on Independence in Months

U.N.: More than 2,400 Killed in Iraq in June
Prince Khaled, The Sacked Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Named Spy Chief
Israel air force bombs terrorist bases in Gaza, blasts Palestinian kidnappers' Hebron homes


Eastern patriarchs deplore regional violence
Daily Star/The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The patriarchs of Eastern churches Tuesday deplored raging violence in Iraq and Syria that has caused massive displacement of people, calling to maintain the Christian presence in region’s war-torn countries and preserve their lands. In a statement released at the opening of their Holy Synod in Lady of Balamand Convent in north Lebanon, the prelates also called for safeguarding democratic norms and political freedoms in Lebanon by ensuring the quick election of a new president and reactivating constitutional institutions, especially the Parliament and Cabinet, to enable the country to face the pressing economic, social and security challenges. “The patriarchs prayed for the people of Mosul and north Iraq and urged the world to prevent Iraq’s disintegration and save its people from the scourge of a devastating war,” the statement said. “They also called upon the international community to preserve Iraq’s civilizations, including the deep-rooted Christian civilization, and encouraged their sons to cling on to their land and not give it up under the pressures of current conditions.” Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, Melkite Gregorius III Lahham, Syriarc Catholic Patriarch Ignatius III Younan, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem , Greek Orthodox Patriarch John Yazigi attended the conference. The patriarchs demanded the release and safe return of all kidnap victims, be they civilians, clerics, or nuns, notably bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, who went missing in Syria 14 months ago. In addition to the patriarchs, the synod was attended by more than 40 bishops representing the different churches of Antioch and the Orient.


Bkirki Rejects Constitutional Amendment Ahead of Presidential Elections
Naharnet/Bkirki is engaged in a battle to elect a new head of state only and rejects to interfere in details that impede the poll as the Maronite Patriarch is holding onto his decision that all matters should be postponed until the parliament selects a president. A source close to Bkirki refused to comment on Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun's proposal. The source stressed in comments published in al-Joumhouria on Tuesday that Bkirki is only interested in carrying out the presidential poll. Aoun called on Monday for a constitutional amendment that would allow the people to elect their head of state in an attempt to resolve the presidential deadlock. According to An Nahar newspaper, Bkirki deems any constitutional amendment ahead of the election of a new president as void. Sources told the newspaper that all suggestions will be discussed after the presidential poll is staged as the priority is to fill the vacancy at the Baabda Palace. Aoun's initiative states that the parliament should carry out a “limited constitutional amendment,” allowing Lebanese citizens to elect the head of state in two rounds to avoid the same scenarios that parliamentary sessions are witnessing. Parliament has failed in several rounds to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman, whose six-year term expired on May 25 after the March 8 and 14 alliances failed to agree on a compromise candidate. The majority of the March 8 camp's MPs, including the lawmakers of Aoun's Change and Reform bloc, have boycotted the sessions, leading to a lack of the needed two-thirds quorum. Aoun said that his proposal lies in allowing only Christians to vote for their candidates in the first round that would pave way for both Muslims and Christians to choose the two candidates who received the majority of votes in the first round. Al-Joumhouria newspaper reported that Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi is seeking to hold a wide Christian conference soon, to press parties to carry out their national duty and elect a new president. The FPM chief has refused to announce his candidacy, claiming there should be consensus on him first. But the March 14 alliance, has backed the candidacy of his rival Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea. Both Maronite leaders claim that they represent the majority of the country's Christians. Under the National Pact of 1943, the president should be a Maronite, the speaker a Shiite and the premier a Sunni.

STL Defense Office Appoints Lawyer for al-Amin, Akhbar Beirut S.A.L.
Naharnet /Head of the international tribunal's defense office Francois Roux assigned a Lebanese lawyer to defend the accused in the case against Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. and its editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin. Al-Akhabr newspaper reported on Tuesday that Lebanese lawyer Antonios F. Abou Kasm will defend the journalist and the media organization, which are charged with contempt for knowingly and willfully interfering with the administration of justice. Al-Amin withdrew on May 29 from the initial appearance in the contempt case filed against him by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The journalist, who chose to represent himself, criticized STL Contempt Judge Nicola Lettieri for interrupting him, saying that it is a sign of the “oppression” practiced by the tribunal. Lettieri said he will interpret Amin's stance as a plea of not guilty. Amin repeated before the STL that he does not recognize it, saying that he cannot trust a U.N. Security Council that disregards the injustice taking place in Palestine. Lettieri ordered the appointment of a defense lawyer to Amin despite Roux's objection. Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. and Amin are charged with “knowingly and willfully interfering with the administration of justice by publishing information on purported confidential witnesses in the Ayyash et al. Case.” New TV S.A.L. and deputy head of news at al-Jadeed television Karma Tahsin al-Khayat have been also accused of the same charges. An initial hearing for the two journalists and their media organizations was held on May 13 at the STL headquarters in The Hague. Al-Jadeed Director General Dmitry Khodr and Khayat entered pleas of not guilty. Amin did not attend the session. In April last year, a list of 167 names of so-called witnesses for the former Premier Rafik Hariri trial was published by a previously unknown group identified as "Journalists for the Truth."The group said it wanted to "unveil the corruption" of the STL. Both al-Akhbar and al-Jadeed published the list.

Geagea Urges 'Boycotting MPs' to Attend Elections Sessions, Ignore 'Delusional' Proposals
Naharnet /Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea urged on Tuesday lawmakers who have been boycotting the presidential elections to attend Wednesday's session and exercise their duties towards the people. He said in an open letter to the “boycotting MPs”: “I call on you to head to parliament instead of wasting time on illusory proposals.” He made his comment in reference to the initiative launched by Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun on Monday aimed at ending the deadlock and which calls for the people to elect a president. The proposal lies in allowing only Christians to vote for their candidates in the first round that would pave way for both Muslims and Christians to choose the two candidates who received the majority of votes in the first round. “The Lebanese people are waiting for you to fulfill your duties towards them and elect a president and not boycott the meetings in the belief that such an approach will lead to the election of a head of state that favors you,” continued Geagea in his address. “Such practices are not democratic or political as no one has the right to place personal interests above national ones, especially in light of the situation Lebanon and the region are passing through,” he noted. “You should therefore listen to your national conscience and elect a president according to your national convictions in order to prevent Lebanon from being plunged into the storms raging in the region,” stated the LF leader. “Dragging Lebanon towards constitutional vacuum contradicts with the jurisdiction granted to you by the people,” he said. Lawmakers are obligated to elect a president and preserve constitutional institutions, “whose absence will threaten the nation's existence.” Seven presidential elections sessions have been held so far, six of which were not staged due to a boycott of March 8 camp lawmakers, mainly those of the Loyalty to the Resistance and Change and Reform blocs. The boycott was prompted by an ongoing dispute with the March 14 alliance over a presidential candidate. Geagea had declared his candidacy, while Aoun has said that he will only run in the polls if there is consensus over his nomination. The term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May. The eighth presidential elections session is scheduled for Wednesday, but it is expected to meet the same fate as its predecessors.

The International Support Group for Lebanon Reaffirms Assistance Commitment, Expresses Concern over Vacuum
Naharnet/The International Support Group for Lebanon reiterated on Tuesday its commitment to provide assistance to Lebanon, U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly said.
“ISG members ... expressed strong solidarity with Lebanon in the light of the terrorist threat, and congratulated the prime minister on the recent successes of the security forces,” said Plumbly after he attended a meeting chaired by PM Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail. During the meeting, which was attended by the ambassadors of ISG members, the diplomats “reaffirmed their commitment to promote international assistance to Lebanon,” Plumbly said. He said the ambassadors also welcomed the “successful meeting” held in Rome last month to explore means to support the Lebanese army.
Plumbly vowed to “actively look for opportunities in the coming period to highlight Lebanon's needs, particularly in respect of assistance and stabilization efforts.” The ambassadors also welcomed the understanding reached by the cabinet to facilitate its work in the absence of a president. Salam said Thursday that the cabinet will put aside any issue that does not win consensus. Plumbly “shared” Salam's “deep concern at the ongoing failure of parliament to elect a president and joined him in stressing the importance of Lebanon's leaders moving to ensure that the election takes place without further delay.” The eighth round of the polls are scheduled to be held on Wednesday. But the parliamentary session aimed at electing a president is expected to meet the same fate of its predecessors.
The differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances have caused lack of quorum in the sessions, leaving the country without a president after the expiry of Michel Suleiman's six-year term on May 25.

Roadside Bomb Targets Army Patrol in Tripoli
Naharnet/The Lebanese army said Tuesday that one of its patrols was targeted overnight with a roadside bomb in the northern city of Tripoli. The homemade bomb, which was made up of around 800 grams of explosives, went off at 3:15 am while soldiers were patrolling the area of Bab al-Ramel, the military said in a communique. The explosives were packed in a metal box, it said. The army cordoned off the area after the attack, which is now being investigated by military police, the communique added. The army and security forces deployed en masse in Tripoli earlier this year as part of a security plan aimed at bringing back calm to the city, which has witnessed several rounds of deadly gunbattles. The fighting mostly took place between the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh, whose residents are Sunnis, and the majority Alawite district of Jabal Mohsen. Scores of gunmen and suspects have been charged with forming armed gangs and participating in the clashes.


Syndicate Coordination Committee (SCC) Holds Sit-in, Calls for 'Social Alliance' on Wage Scale
Naharnet/More than a dozen of public sectors employees held a sit-in near the Value Added Tax building in Beirut on Tuesday, reiterating their demand for the approval of the controversial wage hike. Several Syndicate Coordination Committee activists spoke at the protest, urging the parliament to agree on the salary raise. Head of Public Secondary School Education Teachers Association Hanna Gharib said that “the issue is no longer about the wage scale. It goes beyond that.”“It's a scandal. There is a plan to liquidate what remains of social services,” he said. Gharib urged the SCC, which is a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, to form a “social alliance” to give back the public sector teachers and employees their rights. He also called for unity during an SCC-organized protest scheduled to take place on Thursday. Speaker Nabih Berri has decided to keep legislative sessions on the wage scale open-ended after lawmakers failed to approve the raise.
Parliamentary blocs have expressed their support for the employees' rights but have warned that Lebanon's ailing economy would suffer if the total funding was not reduced from LL2.8 trillion ($1.9 billion) to LL1.8 trillion ($1.2 billion). They have also disagreed on how to raise taxes to fund the scale over fears of inflation and its affect on the poor. Their differences have been exacerbated by the boycott of the March 14 alliance's MPs of the sessions aimed at discussing the draft-law under the excuse that parliament should not legislate in the absence of a president.


Mashnouq Announces Rehabilitation of Roumieh Prison Next Week
Naharnet /Interior Minister Nouahad al-Mashnouq revealed on Tuesday that the rehabilitation of Roumieh prison will kick start next week, describing it as a first step in the implementation of his reform plan.
“This is the practical stage and we will not begin to construct the new facility now,” Mashnouq told reporters after a meeting with a delegation from the Bankers' Association, headed by its chief Francois Bassil. Mashnouq hailed the association for its financial grant to rehabilitate the facility, praising it for assuming a “national responsibility.” Media reports had said that the interior minister had established a two-stage plan to resolve the situation at Roumieh prison and improve the conditions of the inmates. Roumieh, the oldest and largest of Lebanon's overcrowded prisons, has witnessed sporadic prison breaks in recent years and escalating riots over the past months as inmates living in poor conditions demand better treatment. Corruption, negligence and the maltreatment of inmates are wide spread at Roumieh prison as some inmates have access to cellphone, internet connection and soft arms. During the first stage of the plan set by Mashnouq, the minister seeks to equip a new facility near the prison to accommodate around 700 to 1,000 inmate. The first stage reportedly requires three months to be implemented. The second stage, which needs around a year to be accomplished, will be the establishment of a new facility for dangerous prisoners, who will have a separate court room. The cost of the second stage will reportedly reach 40 million dollars.


Iran's FM, Fathali Expresses Tehran's Readiness to Aid Army, Says Presidential Poll 'Local Affair'
Naharnet/Newly-appointed Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammed Fathali reiterated on Tuesday that his country is ready to provide Lebanese security agencies with all the necessary aid, stressing that the Lebanese presidential poll is a local affair.
“We have announced since day one that we are ready to cooperate with the Lebanese army and all security agencies on high levels,” Fathali said in an interview with As Safir newspaper.
He noted that his country “doesn't place conditions for the cooperation unlike other states that offered the Lebanese army weapons setting a precondition that they wouldn't be used against” Israel.
In January, Saudi Arabia has decided to donate three billion dollars with the aim of purchasing French weapons for the Lebanese army.
The diplomat pointed out that Lebanon is an important country for Iran, considering that the recent security backlash was imposed by the developments in the regions that “entered a critical stage.”Asked if a regional agreement between Tehran and Saudi Arabia would facilitate the Lebanese presidential elections, Fathali described the polls as “a local affair.”
He expressed belief that “no foreign sides should intervene in the process.”
The Lebanese parliament has failed in several rounds to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman, whose six-year term expired on May 25 after the March 8 and 14 alliances failed to agree on a compromise candidate.
On Hizbullah's stance regarding the elections, the Iranian official said that the party “is a Lebanese organization that abides by the resistance, it is also a political party... And it's normal for all political movements to have an opinion on any political matter.”
The majority of the March 8 camp's MPs, including Hizbullah's Loyal to the Resistance bloc, have boycotted the parliamentary sessions, leading to a lack of the needed two-thirds quorum.
“Hizbullah is practicing fair and just policies,” Fathali said.
He expressed his staunch support for Hizbullah, a long-standing ally of both Iran and Syria. Image Credit: As Safir Newspaper

Amnesty Slams Lebanon Ban on Palestinians Fleeing Syria
Naharnet/Lebanon is acting in a "blatantly discriminatory" manner by denying access to Palestinians fleeing the conflict in neighboring Syria, Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday. The watchdog said Lebanon has imposed increasingly onerous entry requirements at the border with Syria and that there was evidence it is trying to prevent Palestinian refugees from entering via Beirut airport. "The Lebanese government's policies and practices towards Palestinian refugees from Syria have led to a range of serious human rights violations," said Amnesty. "The policies -- which treat Palestinian refugees from Syria differently to other refugees -- are also blatantly discriminatory," it added. Lebanon is hosting more than one million refugees from Syria, or about a quarter of its population. Amnesty acknowledged that hosting the refugees put Lebanon under "immense strain" and criticized the international community for failing to provide more support. But, it said, there was "no justification" for the different treatment of Palestinians from Syria, who also represent a small number of the total population that has fled the Syrian conflict. The group said Palestinians seeking to cross the border from Syria were required to meet one of several criteria that were "extremely difficult and costly". And the report documented instances in which Palestinians said they met the criteria laid out, including a residency permit and proof of relatives living legally in Lebanon, but were still denied entry. In one instance, a woman who had returned to Syria to give birth, was denied the right to return to her family staying in Lebanon.
In another, the parents of a 12-year-old returned to Syria to renew their identity documents, leaving their son in Lebanon with his uncle, but were subsequently denied reentry. And, the group said, a document leaked from Beirut's airport advises all airlines to avoid carrying any Palestinian passengers from Syria, regardless of the documents they have. It threatens airlines with a fine and the cost of deporting passengers if they fail to comply. "The policy set out in this document constitutes a clear breach of international law," Amnesty said. Lebanon's government has denied there is any blanket decision preventing the entry of Palestinians from Syria. Amnesty said it received no response from the government to its queries about the letter and incidences of denied entry. There were approximately 500,000 Palestinians in Syria before the conflict, with refugee camps including Yarmuk in Damascus directly afflicted by the fighting.
Agence France Presse


Report: Saudi Officials in Beirut to Follow up Probe into Duroy Attack
Naharnet /Saudi security officials are Beirut to follow up the results of the investigation into the Duroy Hotel blast last week which was carried out by a Saudi suicide bomber, An Nahar daily reported Tuesday. Pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat said Friday that the delegation's visit is aimed at identifying the suicide bomber. But according to An Nahar, the officials would only seek information on the probe.
The bomber detonated his explosives at his room in Duroy Hotel that lies in Beirut's Raouche area during a raid by General Security officers last Wednesday. He died in the blast.
But another accomplice, also a Saudi, was wounded and was being questioned. An Nahar quoted an informed source as saying that the suspect will be tried in Lebanon. The al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the hotel suicide bombing, warning that dozens of more men plan to carry out similar attacks.




Iraq Parliament Session Ends in Chaos as Turmoil Deepens
Naharnet/Iraq's new parliament, charged with approving a new government and facing a blistering offensive by Sunni militants, descended into chaos Tuesday, with some lawmakers threatening each other and others walking out. Despite calls from world leaders and senior clerics for Iraq's fractious politicians to unite, deputies failed to fulfill the constitutional requirement of electing a speaker and the first session of the parliament elected in April ended in disarray. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's bid for a third term has been battered by the militant offensive which has seen large chunks of five provinces fall out of government control, on top of persistent allegations of sectarianism and consolidation of power. The weeks-long crisis has alarmed world leaders, displaced hundreds of thousands of people and polarized Iraq's Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish populations. The disunity quickly manifested itself in the parliament session, which included walkouts, verbal threats and widespread confusion over the country's constitution.
Kurdish lawmaker Najiba Najib initially interrupted efforts to select a new parliament speaker, calling on the central government to "end the blockade" and send withheld budget funds to the autonomous Kurdish region. Kadhim al-Sayadi, a lawmaker in Maliki's bloc, responded by threatening to "crush the heads" of Iraq's Kurds.
Several Sunni MPs also walked out of the chamber when mention was made of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, which is spearheading the militant offensive. After a brief recess called to restore order, several lawmakers did not return, leaving the session no longer quorate. Eventually, Mahdi Hafez, the MP presiding over the session, said parliament would reconvene on July 8 if political leaders are able to reach a deal on senior posts. As part of a de facto agreement in place following previous elections, the prime minister is a Shiite Arab, the speaker a Sunni Arab and the president a Kurd. All three posts are typically chosen in tandem. Maliki increasingly looks to be on the way out, facing criticism from senior leaders in all three major communities over allegations of sectarianism, sidelining partners and a marked deterioration in security which culminated in the launch on June 9 of the militant offensive.
But the incumbent nevertheless retains a chance, having won by far the most seats in April 30 parliamentary elections. "This has become a much more competitive race for the premiership position," said Ayham Kamel, Middle East and North Africa director for the Eurasia Group consultancy. "The broad direction here is to be more inclusive, at least when it comes to the Sunni community, and figure out a power-sharing deal."Though the vast majority of Iraq's Sunni Arab minority do not actively support militants, analysts say their anger over alleged mistreatment by the Shiite-led authorities means they are less likely to cooperate with the security forces, fostering an environment in which militancy can flourish. Kamel noted that any military successes on the ground could boost Maliki's chances, with thousands of troops taking part in an ambitious operation aimed at retaking executed dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, which fell on June 11.
Iraqi forces initially wilted in the face of the onslaught but have since performed more capably, with security officials touting apparent progress in recapturing the city.
They have nevertheless suffered heavy casualties in the past few weeks, with nearly 900 security personnel among the 2,400 people who died in June, the highest such figure in years, according to the U.N.
The security forces are battling militants led by the IS jihadist group, which on Sunday declared a "caliphate", an Islamic form of government last seen under the Ottoman Empire, and ordered Muslims worldwide to pledge allegiance to their chief. Though the move may not have immediate significant impact on the ground, it is an indicator of the group's confidence and marks a move against Al-Qaida, from which it broke away, in particular. Iraq has appealed for the U.S. to carry out air strikes against the jihadists, but Washington, which further bolstered security at its embassy on Monday, has so far not acceded, and has said that planned deliveries of F-16 fighter jets could even be delayed. Baghdad has meanwhile recently purchased more than a dozen Russian warplanes to bolster its fledgling air force as it takes the fight to militants holding a string of towns and cities. Agence France Presse


Judicial Source: Sarkozy Detained for Questioning in French Graft Probe
Naharnet/Nicolas Sarkozy was on Tuesday detained for questioning in a widening corruption probe, a judicial source told Agence France Presse, in an unprecedented move against a former French president. Anti-corruption investigators can hold Sarkozy for questioning for up to 24 hours, with a possible extension of another day. Sarkozy had turned himself in for questioning a day after investigators detained his lawyer Thierry Herzog and two magistrates. The investigators are seeking to establish if the former president, with the help of Herzog, attempted to pervert the course of justice.
They suspect Sarkozy, 59, sought to obtain inside information from one of the magistrates about the progress of another probe and that he was tipped off that his mobile phone had been tapped by judges looking into the alleged financing of his 2007 election campaign by former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The case could be devastating for Sarkozy's hopes of a political comeback in time for the next presidential campaign in 2017. Agence France Presse


Jihadists Seize Key Syria Town on Iraq Border
Naharnet/The jihadist Islamic State (IS) took control of the key Syrian border town of Albu Kamal on Tuesday after a fierce three-day battle with rival fighters, a monitor said.
A spokesman for rebels fighting IS as well as President Bashar Assad's regime said the jihadists took over the town after pouring in reinforcements from neighboring Iraq, where they have seized chunks of territory in a swift offensive. The takeover comes two days after IS declared a "caliphate" in territory they seized in both Syria and Iraq, and ordered the world's Muslims to obey its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. "The Islamic State took total control of Albu Kamal in (the oil-rich province of) Deir Ezzor, after fierce fighting pitting it against rebels backed by Al-Qaida affiliate Al-Nusra Front," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Omar Abu Leyla, the official rebel spokesman for Deir Ezzor province, told AFP "the battle was fierce... But IS has won this round."
He said the jihadists won "after deploying major reinforcements from Iraq into Syria on Monday night". Fighting has raged for months in Deir Ezzor between the jihadists, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, against rebels backed by Al-Nusra Front. The rebels held their ground for most of that time but the jihadists were bolstered "mainly because of the heavy weapons" captured from fleeing Iraqi troops during the lightening offensive, said Abu Leyla.
Hundreds of families fled Albu Kamal as IS took over, he said.
Meanwhile regime warplanes carried out four air strikes on Albu Kamal after IS seized the town, said the Observatory.
The Britain-based monitor also reported fighting in Shheil, an Al-Nusra Front bastion some 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Albu Kamal. Syria's war began as a peaceful revolt demanding Assad's ouster, but morphed into a conflict after the regime unleashed a massive crackdown on dissent.
Many months into the fighting, jihadists started streaming into Syria, and analysts have long warned of the conflict leading to a regional conflagration.
Agence France Presse/Associated Press

Barzani: Iraqi Kurds to Vote on Independence in Months
Naharnet /Iraq's Kurds will hold an independence referendum within months, their leader Massud Barzani said on Tuesday, as the region reels under a brutal offensive by Sunni jihadists who have declared an Islamic caliphate. Barzani said the time was right for a vote as Iraq was already effectively partitioned following the lightning gains by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). "We will hold a referendum in Kurdistan and we will respect and be bound by the decision of our people and hope that others will do likewise," he told the BBC.
Asked whether the vote would take place soon, Barzani added: "I can't fix a date right now but definitely it's a question of months. But of course it must be decided by parliament."
The region would need to establish an independent electoral authority before a vote could take place, Barzani noted. More than 2,000 people have died so far in the push by IS, which Iraq's security forces have struggled to combat. Regional power Turkey has already said it would be opposed to independence for Iraq's Kurds.
Agence France Presse

U.N.: More than 2,400 Killed in Iraq in June
Naharnet /Violence has claimed the lives of 2,417 Iraqis in June, making it the deadliest month so far this year, the United Nations said on Tuesday, underlining the daunting challenge the government faces as it struggles to confront Islamic extremists who have seized large swaths of territory in the north and west. In recent weeks, fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have spearheaded a lightning offensive across Iraq, plunging it into its deepest crisis since the last U.S. troops left in 2011. The al-Qaida breakaway group now controls territory stretching from northern Syria as far as the outskirts of Baghdad in central Iraq. The figures issued by the U.N. mission to Iraq put last month's civilian death toll at 1,531, with 886 security forces killed. UNAMI added that 2,287 Iraqis, including 1,763 civilians, were wounded. The figures exclude deaths in embattled Anbar province, which is largely controlled by Sunni militants. The second deadliest month this year was May, with 799 Iraqis killed, including 603 civilians. April's death toll was 750. The latest casualty figures exceed even last year's peak. The U.N. reported that last July at least 1,057 Iraqis were killed and another 2,326 were wounded.
"The staggering number of civilian casualties in one month points to the urgent need for all to ensure that civilians are protected," the U.N. Special Representative in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said in the statement. Mladenov called on Iraqi political rivals to "work together to foil attempts to destroy the social fabric of Iraqi society." Through brute force and meticulous planning, the Sunni extremist group — which said it was changing its name to simply the Islamic State, dropping the reference to Iraq and the Levant — has managed to effectively erase the Syria-Iraq border and lay the foundations of its proto-state. Along the way, it has battled Syrian rebels, Kurdish militias and the Syrian and Iraqi militaries.
SourceAssociated Press


Prince Khaled, The Sacked Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Named Spy Chief
Naharnet/Saudi King Abdullah appointed a new spy chief, giving the job to the former deputy defense minister days after sacking him from that post, SPA state news agency reported Tuesday. Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz had been unexpectedly removed from his post on Saturday at the request of his boss the defense minister, after only 45 days on the job. There was no reason for his sacking but early Tuesday the SPA said that Prince Khaled had been appointed "head of the General Intelligence with a minister rank" by royal decree. The announcement comes after jihadists spearheading a Sunni militant offensive in Iraq have declared on Sunday an "Islamic caliphate", ordering Muslims around the world to pledge allegiance to their chief. Last week Abdullah slammed the jihadists, who are also active in Syria, and instructed authorities to take "necessary measures" to defend his oil-rich kingdom amid fears the Iraq offensive could spill over into Saudi Arabia. Prince Khaled will take over from Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the kingdom's former pointman on the Syrian conflict who headed the intelligence service for two years until April. A separate royal decree reported by SPA named Prince Bandar as an "advisor to the king and his special envoy." Prince Bandar, a former ambassador to the United States, is widely regarded as among the most influential powerbrokers in the Middle East and was appointed intelligence chief in 2012. Diplomats said in February that Prince Bandar was sidelined in Saudi efforts to support rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. They said his management of the Syrian file had triggered American criticism and the matter was discussed during U.S. officials' visits to the kingdom. The prince himself reproached Washington for its decision not to intervene militarily in Syria, and for preventing its allies from providing rebels with much-needed weapons, according to diplomats. Saudi Arabia has been strongly supportive of the rebels battling Assad. Agence France Presse


Israel air force bombs terrorist bases in Gaza, blasts Palestinian kidnappers' Hebron homes
DEBKAfile Special Report July 1, 2014/Monday night, June 30, the Israeli Air Force bombed 34 Hamas and Jihad Islami facilities in the Gaza Strip while, in the West Bank town of Hebron, soldiers demolished sections of buildings inhabited by the kidnappers who murdered the three Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel.
Their bodies were found during the day abandoned in the field of a Palestinian village after a nerve-wracking 18-day hunt. The Israeli cabinet went into emergency session Monday night after the discovery and will continue sitting Tuesday to decide on fitting punishment for this shocking crime. Meanwhile, air force planes and drones struck 34 empty Hamas and Jihad Islami facilities in the Gaza Strip, from which the terrorists had fled to safety in good time.
debkafile: The ministers and army chiefs knew that the enemy, which kidnapped and murdered the three teens in cold blood, would again escape harm and, worst still, lose none of their capacity to continue harassing southern Israel with a rocket blitz.
And indeed, the Israeli air bombardment was followed immediately by three rockets launched from the Gaza Strip against the Eshkol District. They damaged buildings. There were no Israeli casualties.
The two Palestinian terrorist groups were making it clear that should Israel intensify its punishment for the boys’ murders, they too were fully capable of answering back with heavier and more precise guided rocket strikes against the Israeli population.
debkafile’s military sources: Both the IDF and Hamas-Gaza have evidently opted for a controlled confrontation until one of the two adversaries determines how to proceed next. Israel’s deliberations continue Tuesday amid pressing demands by Israelis, stunned by the tragedy, for action to hurt the terrorists where it counts and deter them from ever again abducting an Israeli.
The statement Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued from the cabinet meeting Monday night was a clear vow: “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.”
On the West Bank, Israeli soldiers early Tuesday razed sections of the Hebron homes of the two Hamas activists, Marwan Qawasmeh, 37, and Omar Abu Aysha, 33, who are held guilty of the kidnap and murder of the three Israeli boys. The attorney general who was first consulted ruled that the demolition of the large dwellings must be confined to the sections inhabited by the two men.
The half a million population of the Hebron district, where the kidnaps and murders took place, has been placed under lockdown for the hunt for the perpetrators, who have not been seen since the kidnapping occurred on June 10.
According to Israeli intelligence, they are still holed up somewhere in this district. At some points, Palestinian youths stormed the soldiers who opened fire to repel them.
Near Jerusalem, an Israeli woman of 21 was rescued from a house in Beit Jallah, which adjoins the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo, claiming she had been snatched by Palestinians. Heavy army and policy forces, moved into this Palestinian location to retrieve her. Her claim is being investigated..
In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers on a counter-terror operation in the Jenin refugee camp further north came under attack. A Palestinian mob hurling firebombs, rocks, explosives and iron bars was broken up when the Israeli soldiers began shooting. One of the assailants was shot dead.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was on the phone to world leaders Monday night and early Tuesday to plead with them to hold Israel, driven to retaliate for the teenagers’ murders, in check. No decisions were reached in Ramallah about the future of the unity government Abbas sealed with Hamas last month.
In his message of condolences to the Israeli nation, US President Barack Obama urged “all parties to “refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation” and encouraged Israel and the Palestinians “to work together to find those responsible for the crime with US support.”

The Western ISIS and its Second Rebirth
Diana Moukalled/Asharq Alawsat
Tuesday, 1 Jul, 2014
“We will go to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon; wherever Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi wants us to go, we will go . . . the hope of the nation is in your hands, Sheikh.” The person who uttered these words is not an Iraqi, Syrian or even an Arab jihadist. He is a young Briton of Yemeni origins, born and bred in Britain and who studied there and was successful in his work.
His father, who is stricken by the sight of his son fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), explains that four British universities offered his son places in which to read medicine; but Abu Muthana Al-Yemeni, as the son now calls himself, chose to go to fight for ISIS in Syria, and persuaded his 17-year-old brother to join him.
Here he is now declaring his readiness to give his life on the command of the Iraqi leader of ISIS, the mysterious and bloody figure, Baghdadi.
Yemeni appeared with a group of other young men from the UK and Australia in a promotional video for ISIS, speaking in English and calling on other Western youth to join the “mother of all battles,” which they believe is raging in the Levant.
This video, in addition to other videos, websites and pictures of fighters arriving from Europe to fight for ISIS, have shocked the Western world.
We are not looking at the youth from our own countries, who are forced through a feeling of political and social hopelessness to embrace extremism and fight; we are looking at a steady wave of Western recruits being attracted to fight alongside this group.
According to security information, we are talking about 3,000 fighters from Belgium, France, the UK and Australia, with the British jihadists making up the largest force among them.
These facts take us back to the situation that concerned Western societies following the New York and Washington attacks in 2001, which formed the birth of the globalized generation of Al-Qaeda, including those members who studied and lived in the West.
The concern doubled with the group’s rebirth, which was represented by Westerners joining Salafist jihadist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi in Iraq. And now the second rebirth has come, represented by ISIS.
Here we are witnessing a greater influx of fighters from the West to an organization that is possibly the cruelest and most violent in the name of religion and the nation in their fighting and actions.
The same question arises again: what drives youths to leave their societies and relatively stable lives, some even successful, to put their lives in jeopardy? Is it a crisis of identity and inability to integrate in Western societies, or an attraction to a belief, religion and greater affiliation?
What is the lure of a jihadist culture in its ISIS incarnation that drives the youth to leave their previous lives and join a way of life that could easily end in ghastly death?
There are many explanations for the frustration these youths feel for their communities in the West, their eagerness to follow an extremist discourse and their adoption of a cause which rejects their lifestyles and the lifestyles of their families, leading them to see the fighting they are about to take part in as an exciting adventure, which is what seems to be expressed in their videos and testimonies on social media.
French philosopher Jean Baudrillard blamed media portrayal, which he saw as an ally to globalization and Western hegemony, for most of the consequences of terrorism, from a philosophical and psychological point of view, that sees that every dominant power bears within it the seeds of self-destruction, and even its desire and its peoples’ will to die.
Baudrillard then depicted the events of September 11 as if they were a collective Western dream that came true—due to the intensification of the violence shown in pictures and broadcast around the clock.
Now, following the great eruption of violence in our region, it seems that the world is revolving around a frightening vacuum, where no one, neither in the West nor here, has the slightest idea about the outcome of these phenomena.

Terrorism on Delivery

Sawsan Al-Abtah/Asharq Alawsat
Tuesday, 1 Jul, 2014
The actions of the terrorists who have launched a new wave of attacks on Lebanon via bombings in the Dahieh suburbs south of Beirut have gone beyond being simply a response to Hezbollah for its intervention in the fighting in Syria and a bid to deter its leaders.
The success achieved at lightning speed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq has raised the militant group’s spirits and encouraged it to spread to new Arab regions, with different tactics and even wider objectives.
The terrorists’ desire is to ignite Sunni-Shi’ite unrest in Lebanon, sparing no one, and at any cost. Reports have been confirmed about a plan to bomb a large hospital full of patients in the Dahieh, which if implemented would cause families of victims to react in a ruthless sectarian manner. Senior figures, political and military, are also the targets of the terrorists, whose aim is to fuel further anger and unrest among the population. However, intentions to cause this kind of sedition through assassinations and attacks on populated areas may backfire on ISIS and its affiliates this time—Lebanon is not Western Iraq, and Beirut is not Mosul. The terrorists partially succeeded, in the last wave of violence that arrived in Lebanon by land from the Syrian border, championed by Syrians and Lebanese, to persuade some that their target was Hezbollah.
However, the new wave of terrorists of various nationalities who arrived at Beirut airport with the aim of attacking hotels in the city, hitherto immune to such threats, shows that Lebanon as a whole is now the target, as it is its economy that is being hit through the targeting of the tourism industry. Every citizen must be vigilant to the point of sacrificing themselves in order to stop these criminals.
The terrorists’ hysteria and their movement—which seems to have no particular aim or direction except to terrorize people—is spreading a state of confusion in Beirut and igniting enormous hatred for the murderers. How can any Lebanese citizen believe that Hezbollah is the only target when reports mention that a lorry laden with three tons of explosives is roaming about undetected, while no one knows where it could explode, and cars, equally equipped to kill, are also cruising among the people, biding their time to find their victims?
Everyone is affected when the tourist season is hit for the fourth year running, and Beirut hotels become hideouts for terrorists, their rooms scenes of criminal investigations and their entrances an arena of military operations that are broadcast on satellite channels.
The terrorists’ hysteria also increased when it was discovered that their organizations were being infiltrated to their very core by intelligence; that their members arrived in Lebanon only to find that their names and photos, their list of targets and the places they intended to visit, arrived before them.
Lebanese intelligence with US and other Western help, gives the impression that they can find a needle in a haystack. And indeed, four preemptive security operations within one week is something to be reckoned with. Members of a terrorist cell in northern Lebanon planning to assassinate a senior officer were arrested. A planned bombing in Dahr El-Baydar was uncovered before the driver reached his target. The suicide bomber of El-Tayyouneh in the Dahieh was arrested before he reached his objective, and part of the plans of the terrorists targeting hotels were thwarted, and the search is now on for the rest of them.
This does not mean that Lebanon is saved, but it does indicate that the earth-shattering victory by “ISIS and its affiliates” in Iraq has given it self-confidence, which could in fact be fatal. Not only because it has rushed its acts of destruction and its bid to control areas where it has no actual support among the population, but also because it continues to antagonize the public and at the same time give itself a terrible image—one that implies that those arrested are not human, but vampires from old legends.
The real names of the suicide bombers are forgotten, but they themselves call to mind the names Lilith, Omachto and Gallo, mentioned in the legends of Mesopotamia, and their evil souls that threaten all forms of life.
The terrorist at the “Napoleon Hotel” said during his interrogation that he was just a delivery man. The young Frenchman, who originates from the Comoros Islands, had no idea what he was going to blow up or how. He said he landed in Beirut awaiting a call to go to the destination he was instructed to go to, as though he were a delivery man in a fast-food restaurant.
It seems that the position of the suicide bomber is that of being a cog in a huge machine. He gives his soul to his employers in order to ignite fires wherever they tell him to. The big and so far elusive question is what are the Lebanese parts in this evil machine—which so far seem insignificant.
Those few people who carried out the terrorist operations to date were trained in Syria, and their role was secondary. The new arrivals are foreign suicide bombers—and foreign to the Lebanese environment. The question which no one has answered is: who are the Lebanese who are receiving, supporting and coordinating this satanic band that has suddenly arrived in Beirut and settled in the heart of the capital? How are the terrorists moving around in the bustling heart of the city without having a solid base in the city from which to carry out their criminal acts?
For a terrorist to be only the “delivery man” may be true, but it is hard to believe that Al-Qaeda has not opened a branch in Lebanon—even a small modest one— in order to arrange for such “orders” to be delivered. This situation needs a high level of security alertness, as well as comprehensive and uncompromising political support.

Sunnis of Iraq, between reason and fanaticism
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
In Iraq, one can hear all sorts of voices, from extreme views of reason to extreme fanaticism. There are also those who call for reconciliation and those who call for dividing the country. This is because Iraq is in a state of war and on the verge of a larger war that we can only hope will not erupt.
We all blame Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki because he’s the one behind this chaos and strife and is pushing the country into an abyss that it may not be able to climb back out of for the next 20 years. Maliki is also pushing his government to fail, like those of Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan.
“Most of the countries in the region will not accept that Iraq be governed by extremist or terrorist groups”
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Wise politicians and religious and social leaders in the country realize the danger of this terrifying fate. However, some people cannot understand the dimensions of the problem and its impact on the future. These people include some Arab Iraqi Sunnis who have suddenly appeared on television channels laying out their conditions, making threats and rejecting the preliminary ideas of reconciliation. They resemble extremist Shiites in their ignorance of the depth and gravity of the crisis. Also, they don’t represent the large majority of Iraqis who want a country that represents them all and grants them what they’ve been deprived of for 30 years due to wars and bad governance. During Maliki’s eight years in power, most Shiites got nothing but poverty and only a few became very rich.
Raising demands
Meanwhile among the Sunnis, the people of reason raise demands that serve the interests of all Iraqis and form the basis for reconciliation and for establishing a fair state. Most of their demands seek a new beginning that would be marked by releasing detainees, abolishing the law of “Uprooting the Baath,” and respecting the right of all Iraqi political parties to participate in a government. These were most of the demands of the protesters in Anbar six months ago, protesters which Maliki pursued and tried to eliminate under the false accusation of terrorism.
The Sunnis who are making statements outside of this context are like their extremist Shiite counterparts. They aim to sabotage the reconciliation process and spark chaos in a bid to take over the country. One of them has said that all Arab Sunnis who were engaged in the political process such as former ministers, members of parliament and provincial governors do not represent Sunni rebels today! It’s clear he wants to eliminate Sunni representatives to fulfill personal aims. Those who boycotted the political process over the past eight years are to blame for neglecting the rights of their people. The absence of Arab Sunnis’ participation is the reason behind the weakness of the state and the domination of Maliki and his comrades, and not the other way around.
Chaos and destruction
When extremists threaten chaos and destruction, they are harming their people in Sunni provinces who are suffering more than others. Sunni extremists, as well as Shiite extremists, must see beyond the end of their noses and realize the political fact that they will not find one Sunni state - or any other state - that will support them if they decide to sabotage reconciliation, or if they push towards toppling the political regime instead of reforming it, or if they decide to divide the country. Most of the countries in the region reject the division of Iraq despite their disagreements over what is happening and they will not accept that the country be governed by extremist or terrorist groups.
Those defending the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria must be aware that they are confronting the entire world; mainly Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, the United States, Europe and Russia. It’s impossible for extremists to defeat this international consensus.
What Anbar protesters called for last December was mostly fair and deserves to be supported. Their demands have been widely supported by Iraqi Shiites, the Kurds and Sunni leaders and have put Maliki in a difficult position. The people of Anbar drove Iraqi and international public opinion against Maliki’s failed government, which was willing to sabotage Iraq in order to survive. This is why Sunnis must not let extremists hijack their revolution, their demands or their minds, now that they’ve come close to achieving the justice they have long demanded.

Will ISIS grow or is it set to meet its death?
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Jamal Khashoggi /Al Arabiya
American President Barack Obama is betting that over time, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will be eliminated. He clearly said so during a televised interview last Sunday. Obama said: “Local residents in Iraq will eventually reject extremists due to their violence and extremism.” Now, unless the ISIS surprises us with a new policy, slyness and wisdom, this is an acceptable and possible theory especially when considering the history of similar salafist jihadist groups who exhausted themselves by their extremism, hastiness and confidence in their own power.
So, there’s no American military operation against the ISIS. Last Wednesday, the Americans were quick to deny a state-run Iraqi television’s news report alleging that American jets shelled ISIS posts. The Americans denied this report just minutes after it was released. This confirms their concern to avoid the confrontation with the organization - until now. It’s an American military and political analysis that’s even considered acceptable and proper by America’s allies who are worried about the expansion of the ISIS - allies like Saudi Arabia. In an article published in The Telegraph, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, Mohammad bin Nawaf, clearly called for not intervening and said Iraqis must sort out their crisis by themselves. He was also more specific as he clearly voiced his rejection of air strikes against extremists. “An airstrike will not just eliminate extremists – who we do not support – but will effectively sign the death warrant of many Iraqi citizens,” he said.
“There are six million people who now live under ISIS, who will pay their wages? Who will provide for their needs? ”
Jamal Kashoggi
It’s an accurate description of the current situation. The only one who wants American airstrikes against ISIS - where they are stationed in Sunni Iraqi areas - is Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who’s supposed to be the protector of all Iraq. When yesterday’s allies told him they will not be the air force of sectarian Shiite militias, he ordered his jets to shell rebel areas and allowed his other sectarian ally Bashar al-Assad to shell targets inside what is supposedly his country. This resulted in more victims and saw Assad’s barrel bomb tactic being used in Iraq. It also resulted in more Iraqi Sunni hatred of Maliki, his regime and sect and further welcoming of the ISIS.
A bigger dream
Therefore, it’s possible to say that the ISIS will last but will not “expand,” knowing that the slogan “lasting and expanding” is the ISIS’ most popular slogan on social media networks. These angry youths have a bigger dream than the mere state of Iraq and Syria. Another reason it is possible to say ISIS is “lasting” is that ISIS, as Kurdish politician Barham Salih put it, “has grown through the gaps which Iraqi politicians created among them.” Mr. Maliki is steadily creating more gaps. It’s as if he intentionally wants to grant ISIS more reasons to be powerful. He strongly opposes ceding power and he still deals with the constitution - which he violated more than once - like it still means something, even after the notion of “one country” collapsed. Unless active American and British pressures on Baghdad, Riyadh, Tehran and Arbil succeed and unless a government that can confront ISIS is installed, the group will last.
It’s clear that the outburst of Mosul’s victory and what followed of the Iraqi army’s collapse and ISIS’ entrance to several cities and towns and its seizure of military bases have decreased as if it’s reached its peak. It’s now possible to draw an approximate map of ISIS’ territory: It’s most of Sunni Iraq and central Iraq. It’s also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Kurdistan as it also began to draw the borders it wants for itself and has established a buffer zone between ISIS and Iran. In the east and south, ISIS has reached its extent. Although Samraa is Sunni, ISIS did not enter it due to the government’s power there and due to the strong presence of the Islamic party there. Instead, ISIS attacked the Brotherhood there and accused them of treason. As for Baghdad, it’s still unattainable for ISIS as Maliki and those before him altered its demographics. Its Sunnis have decreased by 13 percent and therefore ISIS has lost possible supporters in the city. When it comes to its victories, ISIS does not depend on its military power - which experts disagree over and which certainly doubled after seizing Mosul - and it does not depend on the policy of intimidation and horror which it spreads. It depends on dismantling the political and social infrastructure of cities and regions it targets through sleeper cells and through recruiting men and terrorizing people. It also targets this infrastructure by exploiting the mistakes of politicians like Maliki and others who resemble him. It then sweeps these cities and towns like a torrent sweeps a low-lying land. Perhaps the aforementioned also answers the question of whether ISIS will not just last, but also expand.
Black banners and flags
No ceasefire will be announced but black banners and flags of the Islamic state have begun to flutter on the Kurdish-ISIS borders - so to speak. Then it’s only a matter of time and borders will be drawn with Shiite Iraq (maybe this is what Maliki and Iran want), and then some sort of secret agreement will be reached to cease shelling in exchange for ending suicide bombing operations in the Shiite heartland of Iraq. Then , time will go on and the outcome will completely depend on the performance of ISIS which will confront three challenges. The first one is specifying its relations with other factions and tribes. Its problem is that it does not see itself as an organization. It views itself as the “Islamic state” and believes everyone must listen to it and obey it. Success brings victories and so does intimidation, but it could also lead to rejection as occurred in 2008 when local tribes turned against al-Qaeda and its leader Zarqawi in Anbar. ISIS hasn’t forgiven them for this until now but it seems it’s learnt from that mistake.
The second challenge is its relations with the residents. There are six million people who now live under ISIS, who will pay their wages? Who will provide for their needs? How will they export their oil? Will the world besiege their state? The Kurds will certainly not. Will they interfere in residents’ lives and restructure them according to their extremist salafist convictions? Will this be a reason to revolt? Only time will tell. The third and most dangerous challenge is the carefree hours in Anbar when ISIS leaders relax following a heavy meal and gather around a calm fire sipping tea, and when someone asks their emir what their next move will be and whether it’s a terrorist operation in New York, London or Riyadh as time and distance are no longer a problem. In this case, even Obama will turn into a George Bush.
There’s no need to worry as there’s still time to take action and there is time until a massive and all-inclusive battle in Syria. But until then, I hope our countries stay safe.