LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation For Today/The one who
believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be
Mark 16/15-20: "‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it."
Bible Quotation For Today/we speak,
not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts
First Letter to the Thessalonians 02/01-8: "You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children.So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us."
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on
Michel Aoun: On the warpath in Lebanon/Gulf News/Joseph A. Kechichian/June 01/15
Israel reassures Iran, Hezbollah: Mass drill is not cover for attack/Ron Ben-Yishai/Ynetnews/June 01/15
A United Front against the Extremists/Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/June 01/15
Saudi Arabia remains steadfast in the face of terrorism/Salman Aldosary/Asharq Al Awsat/June 01/15
MEMRI/Israeli Druze Intellectual, Dr. Salman Masalha: Arab Spring Passed Over Monarchies Because They Are Better Suited To Nature Of Arab Societies/June 01-02/15
Dr. Sobhi Ghandour: The Arab Ummah Must Build Its Solidarity Around A Common Enemy/MEMRI/June 01/15
Lebanese Related News published on June 01-02/15
Lebanese Cabinet Fails to Agree on Arsal, Appointments after Extensive Debate
Papal envoy to Lebanon former Monsignor Dominique Mamberti Expresses Vatican's Grave Concern over State Institutions
Report: Mossad informed Cyprus of impending Hezbollah attack
Berri Vows to Defend Cabinet amid Differences over Arsal, Appointments
Jumblat Calls for Approving Appointments in 'Single Package', Urges Compromise over Presidency
Report: Term of Basbous to be Extended by Three Months in Attempt to Delay Cabinet Collapse
Shepherd Escapes Kidnapping by Israeli Troops in South
Huge Blaze Rips through Syrian Refugee Encampment
Lovesick Man Shoots 'Girlfriend' before Turning Weapon on Himself
Army receives US missile shipment
Gunmen storm into Ain al-Hilweh UNRWA office
Jumblatt urges Parliament to approve Bisri dam project
Hezbollah backs Aoun on security appointments
Salameh: Banks won’t allow terror financing
Aoun: Army must oust jihadis from Arsal outskirts
Nazarian warns against delay in oil licensing
Cabinet debates Arsal, security appointments
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
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Lebanese Cabinet Fails to Agree on Arsal,
Appointments after Extensive Debate
Naharnet /The cabinet failed Monday to reach an agreement over the thorny issues of Arsal's outskirts and the security appointments, postponing discussions to Thursday's session. “The ministers explained their viewpoints and the stances were thoroughly debated,” Information Minister Ramzi Jreij told reporters after the session. “The discussions will be continued in Thursday's session,” he added. Media reports said the conferees did not discuss the issue of the appointment of top security and military officials during the four-hour session and the debate remained focused on the situation in Arsal. “We cannot disregard national interests and the army is carrying out its duties to the fullest and it will decide what to do in Arsal,” Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi told reporters before the session. According to al-Jadeed television, Rifi warned during the session that “we have become before a four-party equation involving the army, the people, the resistance and 'Hashed al-Shaabi'.” “Let us unite to preserve the land and country and the current period does not allow anyone to disregard the national interest,” Rifi was quoted as saying. The Shiite-led Hashed al-Shaabi militia is a government-sanctioned paramilitary force that has played a key role in Iraq's fight against the Islamic State jihadist group. Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has recently warned that “our people in Baalbek and Hermel” will not tolerate “the presence of a single terrorist in the outskirts of Arsal and the Bekaa,” calling on the state to act against the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front militants who are entrenched in Arsal's peripheries.
On Sunday, a number of Baalbek tribes announced the formation of what they called al-Qalaa Brigade, saying they stand ready to intervene militarily in Arsal's outskirts if Nasrallah gives them the greenlight.“There is a possibility for a technical, political and military solution for Arsal's issue,” Health Minister Wael Abou Faour said during Monday's session, warning that “Arsal might become another Ain al-Rummaneh,” in reference to the infamous incident that sparked Lebanon's 15-year civil war. “Dialogue between Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal movement should address the issue of Arsal,” he added.According to Future TV, Agriculture Minister Akram Shehayyeb -- who like Abou Faour is close to centrist leader MP Walid Jumblat -- was supposed to raise the issue of “demarcating the border in Arsal” during the session. Media reports said should an agreement be reached over Arsal, the Lebanese army would be tasked with devising an appropriate plan. “During the session, Minister Wael Abou Faour tried to raise the issue of a girl who needs urgent medical care, but (Foreign Minister Jebran) Bassil interrupted him and refused that anything other than Arsal and the appointments be discussed,” MTV reported. “The conferees decided to postpone the discussion of the appointments to Thursday after (Prime Minister Tammam) Salam requested that it be separated from the issue of Arsal,” it said. In a statement after the session, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab, who is close to MP Michel Aoun, said “the issue is bigger than Arsal's outskirts and the appointments.” “Failure to approve the two issues is political obstruction and obstruction of the work of cabinet,” he lamented. Aoun has repeatedly warned the government against extending the terms of the army and Internal Security Forces chiefs, deeming it illegal.He allegedly backs the appointment of his son-in-law, Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz, as army commander.Military chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji is set to retire on September 23. The top security posts in Lebanon are suffering due to the months-long presidential vacuum caused by the parliament's failure to elect a successor to Michel Suleiman whose tenure ended in May last year.
Papal envoy to Lebanon former Monsignor Dominique Mamberti Expresses
Vatican's Grave Concern over State Institutions
Naharnet/Papal envoy to Lebanon former Foreign Minister Monsignor Dominique Mamberti stressed Monday that the Vatican is deeply concerned over the crises gripping Lebanon. “We hope that dialogue resolves the current situation and maintains stability of institutions,” Mamberti told reporters after talks with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil at the Bustros Palace. The Vatican's dispatched envoy described Lebanon as a “model in a difficult world conquered by violence.” “It is important to maintain coexistence.”He pointed out that he reiterated Pope Francis' stance regarding the situation in Lebanon, saying: “He is stressing the importance... of cooperation between its factions.”Mamberti said that he is in Lebanon to convey the pope's solidarity with the Lebanese. The Vatican is reportedly concerned over the yearlong presidential vacuum, deeming it a hazard that threatens the existence of Christians in the Middle East. Mamberti is reportedly in Lebanon to highlight the importance of electing a new head of state to safeguard Maronites and Christians. He arrived on Friday in Lebanon on a 7-day official visit as the Vatican is seeking to press forward the election of a new head of state amid the sharp rift among the political arch-foes over a consensual candidate. His visit comes in light of Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi's visit to Paris in May, where he met with French President Francois Hollande. Lebanon has been without a president since May last year when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor. Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate have thwarted the election. Hizbullah's Loyalty to the Resistance and MP Michel Aoun's Change and Reform blocs have been boycotting the polls over the dispute.
Jumblat Calls for Approving Appointments in 'Single Package', Urges Compromise over Presidency
Naharnet /Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat called on Monday for an end to the various crises that have been crippling Lebanon's political and daily life, demanding that a solution be reached on security appointments and the vacuum in the presidency. He said in his weekly editorial in the PSP-affiliated al-Anbaa website: “Consensus must be reached on a complete package of appointments.”The appointments must be completely approved without allowing one side to impose its conditions over another in order to avert ministerial paralysis, he explained. Regarding the presidential vacuum, the MP stressed: “It is time to end futile squabbles over this issue.” All sides must resort to a settlement in order to agree on a compromise candidate to end the crisis, which will consequently restore authority to the constitution and state institutions, added Jumblat. “The current local and regional circumstances have proven that there is difficulty for any of the major candidates to achieve their goal of becoming president,” he noted. “There is therefore no escape from reaching a settlement and agreeing on a compromise candidate” otherwise Lebanon is forever destined to remain at this impasse, argued the PSP chief. Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor.Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate have thwarted the polls.
Berri Vows to Defend Cabinet amid Differences over Arsal, Appointments
Naharnet/Speaker Nabih Berri has pledged to defend the government over fears that it would collapse due to differences between the rival March 8 and 14 alliances on a military solution on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal and the appointment of top security and military officials. “I will defend the cabinet with all my strength,” Berri told his visitors in remarks published in local newspapers on Monday. “I will be at the forefront of those defending it,” he said. “The issue of Arsal is being tackled. The army launched its measures in some of its neighborhoods,” Berri was quoted as saying. “Its case as a town is one thing and its outskirts is another … The army is responsible for its security,” he stated. Referring to militants based on Arsal’s outskirts, Berri said: “It is the right of the state, the army, the people and the resistance to liberate any occupied inch of Lebanese territories in the south, east, or even in the west toward the sea, and not to keep the occupation. I am with the resistance in any occupied place.”Cabinet ministers from Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement, which are members of the March 8 alliance, have been calling for the army to oust al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and Islamic State group jihadists from Arsal's outskirts. But several March 14 coalition ministers have rejected such a move. Asked by his visitors on another dispute on the military and security appointments, Berri reiterated that he backed such measures. “But if these appointments do not take place, then the extension is necessary to avoid vacuum,” he said. The cabinet is set to tackle the issue during a session on Monday. FPM chief MP Michel Aoun has repeatedly warned the government against extending the terms of the army and Internal Security Forces chiefs, deeming it illegal. He allegedly backs the appointment of his son-in-law, Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz, as army commander. Military chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji is set to retire on September 23.
Report: Term of Basbous to be Extended by Three Months in Attempt to Delay Cabinet Collapse
Naharnet/The term of Interior Security Forces chief Major General Ibrahim Basbous could be renewed for three months to end the controversial appointments crisis that is threatening to submerge the state into void, media reports said Monday. As Safir newspaper reported that the political arch-foes are seeking to agree on the extension of Basbous' term by three months to postpone the controversial crisis until September, when the term of Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji ends. The two deadlines then could be discussed as one package, the daily reported.Basbous is set to retire on June 4. Sources close to Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, who eminently rejects the renewal of high-ranking security officials' terms and demands the appointment of new figures, told As Safir that the Change and Reform bloc will not agree on such a proposal. Aoun, according to the sources, had been promised that his son-in-law and Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz would be appointed as army chief if he facilitated the appointment of a new ISF chief. However, the FPM chief also rejects the suggestion as “he doesn't trust their pledges and fears that he might be tricked.”The military posts in Lebanon are suffering as the result of the months-long presidential vacuum in light of the parliament's failure to elect a successor for Michel Suleiman whose tenure ended in May last year. The FPM chief has previously bluntly rejected any attempts to extend the terms of high-ranking security and military officials, threatening to resign from cabinet. Media reports had said that Aoun's main objective is to receive political consensus on the appointment of Roukoz as army chief as part of a package for the appointment of other top security officers. Aoun however denied that he had made such a proposal. Roukoz's tenure ends in October. As Safir reported that Hizbullah, Aoun's staunch ally, will support the FPM in any decision it takes concerning the appointments limbo. “The cabinet will automatically be paralyzed if Hizbullah and FPM ministers boycotted its sessions,” sources close to the March 8 coalition told the daily.
Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, who has been insisting on his right to name the new ISF chief, told As Safir that he has no proposals to resolve the crisis. “I have nothing so far and contacts failed to reach a breakthrough,” Mashnouq stressed, pointing out that he “will take the right decision at the right time.”Information Minister Ramzi Jreij told al-Liwaa newspaper that contacts are ongoing to defuse tension and resolve the crisis, noting the cabinet shouldn't be paralyzed over a matter that could be adjourned.
Michel Aoun: On the warpath in Lebanon
June 01, 2015/Gulf News
Joseph A. Kechichian Senior Writer
War of words between FPM leader and defence minister as political stalemate continues
Beirut: General Michel Aoun on Sunday predicted the break-up of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) if it did not mobilise against Islamist militants, allegedly entrenched in the northern Sunni stronghold of Arsal and the surrounding Lebanese border towns along the Syrian frontier. Livid at being ignored by senior officials, including Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Defence Minister Samir Moqbel, Aoun unleashed his wrath against the armed forces and anticipated its destruction because its leaders were apparently reticent to deploy it where he wanted the LAF to make its presence felt. “If the Army isn’t used” to subdue Arsal, said, “it will be like a kitchen knife that will eventually rust and deteriorate.” Ironically, he spoke in front of a minuscule audience of Zahle residents who visited him in Rabieh, and said that the military would “lose its role” in Lebanon if it doesn’t “liberate or contribute to liberating” Arsal. Although the citizens of Arsal have consistently backed the LAF and called for its commanders to do what they deem is in the best interests of the state, Aoun played the desk-bound general, as he called on Beirut “to liberate the outskirts [of Arsal] from the clutches of extremists.”Aoun was parroting Hezbollah officials who itched for the LAF to open a new internal front that would mimic the June 2013 Abra attacks in Sidon, even if LAF Commander Jean Qahwaji was adamant not to repeat what was a mere tactical victory that became a second strategic blunder.
Hezbollah fighters deployed in Syria, more precisely in the Qalamoun area that abuts Lebanon’s eastern border, are looking for help as a number have fallen amid bloody clashes. In fact, there is a great fear that extremists from Daesh, Al Nusra Front and similar groups, will sweep through Lebanese Shiite villages along the border, which prompted Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah to declare that his group would try and eliminate the militants if the Lebanese state failed to do so. Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) members picked up the tempo although it was strange for a former commander of the LAF, someone who knew the institution’s strengths and weaknesses, to assail it with such fanaticism. In reality, and in addition to doing Hezbollah’s bidding, Aoun was on the warpath because Defence Minister Moqbel derided him last week stating that he would fulfil his duties without paying too much attention to what the general who deserted his troops in 1990 said.
Infuriated by Moqbel’s audacity, Aoun labelled the minister of being ‘ignorant’ of legal texts, asserting that the sitting minister “commits a lot of mistakes and we hope that he doesn’t go on like this and also that others don’t follow his [lead].” Earlier, Aoun called on Moqbel to resign if he was unable to appoint a replacement for Qahwaji, whose term expires on September 23, 2015. In the absence of a president of the republic, who would usually make security level appointments, the FPM insisted that the terms of senior officers should not be extended, even if the FPM deputies voted to renew their own mandates in parliament… twice.
The Aoun comments upset many Lebanese, many of whom support the LAF leadership. On Saturday, Raymond Eskander, a local engineer, donated a million dollars to a special army fund established to support the children of heroes who fell in Nahr Al Bared and other fronts. That contribution echoed loud and clear among those who mattered while political elites exchanged warped opinions about imaginary threats.
Lebanese Army receives US missile shipment
The Daily Star/Jun. 01, 2015/BEIRUT: A shipment of U.S. weapons pledged to the Lebanese Army arrived Monday at Beirut airport, as Lebanon continues to battle jihadis along its borders. A statement released by the Army said that the shipment included a number of TOW anti-armor missiles, along with their respective launching pads. U.S. weapons are being delivered to the Lebanese Army on a regular basis, though not all shipments are announced. The weapons delivery comes as the Lebanese Army is assessing the possibility of liberating the outskirts of the northeastern town of Arsal from jihadi militants. Hezbollah, currently fighting alongside the Syrian army against Islamist militants in the border region of Qalamoun, has warned that its fighters would expel jihadis from Arsal’s outskirts if the state failed to do so. Militants have been holed up in the mountains surrounding Arsal since spring 2014, when they were driven by Hezbollah and the Syrian army from major Qalamoun cities. While the U.S. has donated more than a billion dollars in aid to the Lebanese Army over the last decade, most previous donations had been non-lethal equipment, including armored personnel carriers, light aircraft and communication systems. Last February, a U.S. weapons shipment included over 70 M198 Howitzers as well as 26 million rounds of ammunition including small, medium and heavy artillery rounds. In January, the U.S. delivered dozens of brand new armored Humvees to help protect Lebanese soldiers.
Report: Mossad informed Cyprus of impending
Liad Osmo/Ynetnews/Published: 06.01.15/Israel News
Kuwaiti newspaper claims Mossad followed suspect for some time, tapped his phone and informed Cyprus authorities of possible attack. The Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida quoted exclusive sources who said that the Mossad passed information to authorities in Cyprus that led to the arrest of a Lebanese-Canadian individual last Friday after two tons of ammonium nitrate was found in his basement and he was accused of planning terror attacks on Israeli sites using the chemically explosive material. The arrested man is also suspected of working with Hezbollah in Lebanon and even being in contact with the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah. Sources cited in the Al Jarida report claimed that the Mossad had closely followed the man's movements for some time after receiving a tip that he was planning an attack. Al Jarida also cited the sources saying that the suspected Hezbollah operative was scouting out Israeli targets in Larnaca and that he was seen just meters from the house of the Israeli ambassador to Cyprus. According to the newspaper, the Mossad informed authorities in Cyprus only after they knew that the man had acquired the massive amounts of ammonium nitrate. Additionally, an Israeli source told Al Jarida that the Mossad was listening in on the suspect's phone conversations, including those of a personal nature made while in Cyprus.
Israel reassures Iran, Hezbollah: Mass drill
is not cover for attack
Ron Ben-Yishai/Ynetnews/Published: 06.01.15/ Israel Opinion
Analysis: Jerusalem sends calming messages to increasingly edgy enemies as it embarks on five-day drill, says measures are purely defensive.
Israel has in recent days sent calming messages to Iran and Hezbollah, Ynet has learned, stressing that the drills being held this week across the country are purely to practice emergency situations. The messages aim to prevent a mistaken assessment of Israeli intentions, given the current difficulties experienced by Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria, and the possibility of a nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers at the end of June. The Syrian, Iranian and Hezbollah intelligence agencies have undoubtedly seen the preparations for the exercise, and Israel is concerned that they will interpret it as Israeli preparations for a surprise attack. Western intelligence analysts recently noticed a growing nervousness among the Hezbollah and Tehran leaderships. The nervousness is likely to lead to assessments that Israel could exploit the situation in Syria and Lebanon to "kill two birds with one stone" - torpedoing the nuclear deal and at the same time removing a real threat to the Israeli home front, in the form of the tens of thousands of rockets and missiles that Hezbollah possesses.
It seems these concerns ahead of the start of the largest annual Emergency Exercise of Israel, "Turning Point 15", which begins today. One source of added concern is that this is the first time that a major drill is being conducted simultaneously by the air, land and sea branches of the IDF – including the simulation of a large-scale conflagration in the north of Israel. Iran and Hezbollah have not hidden their concerns about the drill, even going so far as to make them public. For example, last week Rahim Safavi, national security adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared that 80,000 Hezbollah rockets and missiles would destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa if Israel dared to attack Lebanon. In addition, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has made three speeches recently, itself a telling sign of not inconsiderable nervousness among the organization’s leadership. The speeches only mentioned Israel in a footnote, while in it was the main focus in previous speeches to mark the anniversary of Israel's May 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon. This can be interpreted to mean that for now Hezbollah is signaling that it has no intention of attacking Israel and that its main concern is Islamic State. But the speeches do also reveal some fears on Hezbollah’s part that the problems apparently facing the Assad regime and the organization’s members fighting alongside it may give Israel a sense that this is an unmissable opportunity to get rid of the gravest threat to its national security and the physical safety of its people. This is somewhat of a growing mutual concern, given the regional instability; in Israel, too, there are those who fear that Hezbollah, in a desperate move to divert attention from its failures in Syria, could ignite a war with Israel. As such, Israel has transfers open and diplomatic messages to Lebanon - and indirectly to Iran – that the drills being conducted this week are for purely defensive purposes, and are not a "cover story" that disguises Israel's true intentions for an attack. Israeli officials have stressed in background talks and through diplomatic messages that the drill is held every year and that it was planned well in advance, along with the IDF drills being held in parallel. Israel maintains that the decision to hold two parallel drills came in order to take maximum advantage of resources and to maximize budgetary savings. If the exercises were to be conducted separately, Israel says, the total cost resulting would be much higher due to the mobilization of IDF reservists for both exercises.
A United Front against the Extremists
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat
Sunday, 31 May, 2015
It is no coincidence that in some Western countries, whose constitutions clearly stipulate protecting freedom of expression and political affiliation, neo-Nazi groups are banned without exception, both in terms of adherence and practice, and that those who violate this law are punished. Though it may not seem that way to some, this is not in fact a case of hypocrisy or even a retreat from respecting individual freedoms.
Nazism is banned because it is an extremist, fascist, nationalist ideology that represents a direct threat to the nation. Its own bloody history is relatively recent, and its fires still burn under the ashes of the destruction it wrought during the last century. Extremist ideas are present everywhere, but since Nazi extremism is very dangerous, liberal countries that cherish freedoms above all else have decided not to tolerate it.
In the Middle East, our version of nationalist fascism is religious extremism, which is just as dangerous and destructive. Most people who belong to extremist religious movements are misled and naïve, truly believing that extremism elevates the status of their own religion above all others and complements their duties as believers.
Nazis believe in elevating the white race above all others. The madness of Nazism resulted in the complete destruction of large parts of Europe, with 60 million people killed in the process. After this disaster, the majority took it upon itself not to allow this extremist ideology to dominate in their societies ever again. One can be religious, patriotic and nationalistic without being committed to eliminating others.
Right now there is a fear that we in the Middle East are at the beginning of a road to a similar kind of destruction because we have allowed extremists to impose their agendas on our societies, intimidate wise clerics, attract opportunists, and exploit history to seek vengeance against others—not to mention being shamelessly selective regarding religion and choosing whatever suits their interests. Let there be no doubt that we are fully aware of the seriousness of the situation these extremists are dragging us into.
Take the lessons we learned from Al-Qaeda not long ago. In the 1990s and during the first decade of this century, we realized that we could not allow Al-Qaeda and other similar groups to spread their ideas, recruit young people, and attempt to dominate the cultural and political landscapes by using sectarian slogans.
Confronting these groups is everyone’s responsibility. Governments especially have major roles to fulfil here, their core task being to provide protection from the evils of extremist groups that operate across different borders in the region.
What is happening in Syria and Iraq represents achievements for both Sunni and Shi’ite extremists. The current collective murder and displacement we have recently witnessed is unlike anything in our history, and the massive destruction is beyond anyone’s imagination.
We are also aware of the politically motivated attempts by some governments to exploit this situation in order to achieve their own aims, with the extremist groups functioning as proxies across the region. Fighting and rejecting these groups is thus the collective responsibility of both governments and individuals.
Extremists have succeeded at confusing people’s perceptions regarding what is just and what is unjust, who is friend and who is foe. They are also attempting to divide people by categorizing them according to sect, ethnicity, as well as good and evil—to the extent that ideas of alternative identity have sometimes superseded loyalty to one’s country, something that is supposed to take precedence over one’s allegiance to even the tribe or the sect, and ensures everyone has the same rights and responsibilities.
Amid this poisonous atmosphere, it is the concept of patriotism that is most under threat, and not individual groups and minorities as some think. Destroying the civil ladder and dividing societies harms the backbone of the state and its overall structure. However, persecuted groups always survive no matter how besieged, pursued or displaced they become. States have collapsed, but these groups have endured throughout the centuries.
Dangerous extremism is expanding, and it requires serious restraints. It is not acceptable for a university teacher, mosque preacher, or government employee to incite against certain social categories, and the government bears the ultimate responsibility for such acts because they employ these people.
Meanwhile, governments themselves refuse any hint of betrayal and punish whoever violates their laws. The extremists, on the other hand, whether they know it or not, are destroying the state’s overall structure from its very base. They are more dangerous to society than foreign enemies, who fail when people are united and succeed only when there are domestic disputes and divisions.
What necessitates a law that criminalizes racism and sectarianism is the collective stance of the religious clerics, intellectuals and social leaders who voiced support for unity and considered the recent suicide bombings at Shi’ite mosques in Saudi Arabia as attacks against all of them. Dozens of writers, thinkers and people of conscience wrote, protested and spoke out in condemnation of the attacks.
This was the biggest solidarity campaign Saudi Arabia has ever known. And, certainly, the Saudi King’s laudable statement against extremism last week encouraged this strong collective voice of condemnation. These examples of vociferous rejection of extremism have effectively rubbished the extremists’ claims about their popularity and influence, and confirmed that the state can lead a project to eliminate extremism before it begins to spread its rot through society’s strongest and most crucial pillar: its youth.
Saudi Arabia remains steadfast in the face of terrorism
Salman Aldosary/Asharq Al Awsat
Monday, 1 Jun, 2015
After one week of targeting innocent worshippers at the Imam Ali mosque in the city of Qatif in Saudi Arabia, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) carried out another attack in the Kingdom, this time on the Al-Anoud mosque in Dammam, the capital of its Eastern Province. But the difference between the two incidents is much more enormous than the 15 miles (25 kilometers) separating the two bomb sites. This time, a consensus, as overwhelming as the shock and pain felt over the loss of lives, is emerging that ISIS has failed to achieve its aim of killing as many civilians as possible. ISIS, along with its supporters and masterminds inside and outside the Kingdom, has failed to even partially achieve its aim of creating a sectarian sedition in Saudi Arabia. The group has been shocked by the confidence the Saudis have shown in the Kingdom’s ability to avert disasters no matter how terrible they are.
Ever since it was targeted by terrorists, Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of countries warning against and countering this phenomenon. And it was among the first countries to criminalize taking part in violent activities or joining extremist and terrorist groups. Saudi Arabia realizes that fighting terrorism is no longer a domestic affair but rather an issue of concern to the entire international community. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recently warned of the growing flow of foreign fighters into a number of hot spots. A UN committee monitoring sanctions on terrorist groups estimates that more than 25,000 foreign fighters from more than 100 countries have traveled to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Libya. After all those revelations some still insist that no state intelligence agencies are standing behind ISIS, or that a simple person, like Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is capable of building up and running such an unprecedented organized global terror network in a short period of time.
National crises are a natural reflection of the situation in surrounding countries. When ISIS settles near your northeastern borders, Houthis fight you from the south, and chaos spreads across several Arab states not too far from home, while your neighbor from across the Arabian Gulf tries to interfere in your internal affairs, and despite all that you are still one of the few major Arab countries that have escaped turmoil, a price, albeit a hefty one sometimes, must be paid. However, major Arab countries that follow wise and reasonable policies, such as Saudi Arabia, are capable of absorbing those tremors and emerging from them as powerful with the least losses.
Throughout its history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has gone through several acute crises, whether domestic or regional ones. Yet the Kingdom has emerged as powerful as before no matter how severe those crises were. Every time, Saudi Arabia has managed to move steadfastly in a turbulent sea, showing an extraordinary ability to contain and keep regional chaos at bay.
**Salman Aldosary is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
Obama and Saudi Arabia's Secret $49-Trillion Deal with
By MONEY MORNING STAFF REPORTS - 6/1/2015
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's bank has begun quietly accumulating trillions of dollars in one of Wall Street's most complex, unsecured financial instruments. In a shocking move, the Obama administration pushed through key legislation which includes a taxpayer-funded "insurance policy" or "bailout" covering the Saudi Prince's $49-trillion gamble.Should the rise of Saudi influence and ongoing conflicts across Ukraine and the Middle East serve as a warning sign that something much more dangerous is approaching? According to Jim Rickards, the CIA's Asymmetric Warfare Advisor, the answer is yes. In a startling interview he reveals that all 16 U.S. Intelligence Agencies have begun to prepare for World War III. Making matters worse, his colleagues believe it could begin within the next 6 months.
However, the ground zero location for this global conflict is what makes his interview a must-see for every American. Take a few moments to watch it below and decide for yourself.
Liberman: Netanyahu is the world champion of zigzags
Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman./J.Post
Speaking to Likud central committee members Sunday night about difficulties in forming a government, Netanyahu said: "An error happened here, and that error is simple: Six seats that were supposed to be part of the nationalist camp's coalition went from one side to the other. "I don't think even one percent of Yisrael Beytenu voters would have voted for that party if they knew they would unite with the Left to bring down a Likud government," he added, referring to the party going to the opposition.
Netanyahu said "it was pretty clear early on [in coalition talks] that we didn't have Yisrael Beytenu," implying that party chairman Avigdor Liberman's tactic was to stay in talks as long as possible in order to increase other parties' demands and weaken the Likud.
On Monday, Liberman said Netanyahu forgot the real reasons Yisrael Beytenu refused to sit in the coalition, which is because "Netanyahu abandoned the nationalist camp and he is no longer part of the Israeli Right." Liberman pointed out that Netanyahu did not agree to all his demands, like writing in the coalition guidelines that the government will eradicate Hamas and committing to passing death penalty for terrorists. In addition, he recounted that Netanyahu voted in favor of the 2005 Gaza disengagement and that the prime minister apologized for his warning on election day that Arabs are flowing to voting booths en masse.
"Netanyahu is not Right and not Left, he is Mr. Zig-Zag, the world champion of zig-zagging," Liberman quipped. "Yisrael Beytenu has no problem with the Likud, we have a big problem with Netanyahu." Liberman also said Netanyahu is wrong in saying Yisrael Beytenu voters are not happy that he is in the opposition, saying that polling on Russian-language news sites shows 80% of voters support that decision and 80% of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union who voted Likud would vote Yisrael Beytenu if an election were to take place today.
"So I think everyone, including the prime minister, should stick to facts and what is really happening and not say baseless things," he suggested.
Liberman expressed support for one thing Netanyahu did: Appointed Ze'ev Elkin as Jerusalem Affairs Minister, despite Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's anger. The Yisrael Beytenu chairman, who backed Moshe Lion in the last Jerusalem mayoral election, said "Barkat does not deal with developing the city, he only deals with public relations for himself at the expense of Jerusalem residents."The Jerusalem Post annual NY conference- save your seat now with early bird tickets
Aoun: Army must oust jihadis from Arsal outskirts
Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star/Jun. 01, 2015
BEIRUT: Declaring that Islamist militants occupying a large swath of territory on the outskirts of the northeastern town of Arsal posed a danger to Lebanon, MP Michel Aoun warned Sunday that the Army would lose if it did not act to oust jihadis threatening to destabilize the country.
The warning by the Free Patriotic Movement leader was the latest in an escalating campaign aimed at forcing the government to give the Army a free hand to crack down on ISIS and Nusra Front militants holed up in rugged mountainous caves on Arsal’s outskirts.
Meanwhile, Syrian warplanes bombarded militants’ hideouts on Arsal’s outskirts Sunday morning, Lebanese security sources said. There was no immediate word on casualties. Syrian jets had in the past pounded rebels’ positions in the Qalamoun mountain range that straddles the Lebanese eastern border.
The Lebanese Army Sunday shelled with heavy artillery fire militants’ positions in Wadi Ajram and Zamarani on the outskirts of Arsal, destroying a number of vehicles, the National News Agency reported.
Addressing a large crowd of Zahle residents at his Rabieh residence, Aoun renewed his call for government action to liberate 450 square kilometers occupied by militants on Arsal’s outskirts.
“The government today is still watching and refuses to grant the Army the mandate to liberate [Arsal’s] outskirts from militants,” Aoun said. “But until when will it continue to refuse this, while the Army is waiting there? The Army that does not act will be defeated in war because it is not doing anything to win.”
“Therefore, if the Army is not utilized, it will become like a rusty and eroding kitchen knife due to a lack of use,” he added.
Aoun noted that the threat to Lebanon did not come from Arsal’s residents, but from the large territory occupied by the militants on the town’s outskirts.
“Everyone knows that those takfiri gunmen have become well-known for their actions throughout the world. They don’t respect rules of war or rules of peace. They always resort to killings and slaughtering and imposing certain measures on the people,” Aoun said.
“We call on the government today with all its ministers and all military officials to take a firm decision to liberate 450 square kilometers on the outskirts of Arsal because there is a possibility to set up a large military base on the outskirts,” he added.
Aoun’s remarks come on the eve of a crucial Cabinet session that is scheduled to discuss the contentious issues of security appointments and how to deal with the jihadis based on Arsal’s rugged terrain.
In previous Cabinet sessions, ministers from Hezbollah and the FPM have demanded that the Lebanese Army should take action to expel ISIS and Nusra Front militants from Arsal’s outskirts. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has also pledged to liberate Arsal’s outskirts from the militants if the Lebanese state failed to do so.
The two militant groups are still holding hostage 25 Lebanese soldiers and policemen captured during fierce fighting with the Lebanese Army in Arsal last August.
But former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Future Movement ministers and officials have warned Hezbollah against attacking Arsal, saying that protection of the town is the responsibility of the Lebanese state and Army.
Aoun criticized the government for failing to deal with the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, saying this crisis posed a security and economic threat to the country.
“Lebanon’s economic and geographic capacity cannot accommodate 1.5 million Syrians on our land.”
Apparently in response to Hezbollah’s repeated warnings to liberate the town’s outskirts, Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said that only the Lebanese Army could enter Arsal.
“Arsal is a cherished part of this nation and not an isolated island as some have tried to portray it,” Rifi told a news conference at his residence in the northern city of Tripoli Saturday. “It is delusional to think we will accept any attack on the town. ... Arsal is a red line.”
He added that his bet is on the Lebanese Army, noting that “only legitimacy” can enter the Lebanese border town.
Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, the deputy head of Hezbollah’s executive council, said Saturday that the party is ready to liberate the outskirts of Arsal from militants and accused the March 14 coalition of supporting terrorism and inciting sectarian strife.
Qaouk said that while Hezbollah welcomed the Army’s intervention in Arsal, it would not allow the town’s outskirts to be a sanctuary for “takfiri gangs.”
“Hezbollah has no problem with the residents or the town of Arsal,” Qaouk said during a Hezbollah memorial ceremony in the south Sunday. “The party welcomes the Lebanese Army’s entrance into the town and looks toward its reinforced presence there and to extending the state authority over all Lebanese territories, up to the international border east of the town of Arsal.”
Referring to Hezbollah’s military successes during the party’s nearly one-month-long offensive against jihadis in the Qalamoun region, Qaouk said: “The resistance and honorable people in this country will not allow, following the Qalamoun battle, for the outskirts of Arsal to become a haven or a conduit for takfiri gangs.”
He stressed that the “nation’s dignity” would not stand for Arsal’s outskirts to be used for the continued captivity of the 25 Lebanese servicemen, nor would it allow for the area to be used as a passageway for explosive-rigged vehicles to enter Lebanon.
Alluding to the Future Movement, Qaouk said that some political parties want to keep Arsal as a “dagger stuck in the back of the resistance, the Army and the people.”
For his part, Arsal’s Mayor Ali Hujeiri said it was the Army’s task to secure the town’s outskirts, rejecting any Hezbollah role.
“The Army is responsible for the situation on Arsal’s outskirts,” Hujeiri said in remarks published by the Saudi daily Asharq al-Awsat Sunday. “The decision is taken by the [military] and not the clans, or Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.”
Hujeiri said a delegation from Arsal visited Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk to demand that the Lebanese Army be given an exclusive mandate over decisions concerning Arsal and the protection of its citizens.
Dr. Sobhi Ghandour: The Arab Ummah Must Build Its Solidarity Around A Common Enemy
MEMRI/June 1, 2015 Special Dispatch No.6062
Lebanese political commentator Dr. Sobhi Ghandour, who has resided in Washington, D.C. since 1987 and is editor of the Washington-based Arabic- and English-language magazine Al-Hewar, addressed the Arab countries in an op-ed titled "Who Is the Enemy Now?" in the UAE daily Al-Bayan. In it, he called on them to set aside their differences, formulate a joint strategy, and define the Arab ummah's main common enemy, in order to achieve the same unity that it had enjoyed in the 1967 and 1973 wars against Israel. Ghandour attributed the blurring of the Arab ummah's identity to the 1978 Camp David Accords, the ramifications of Iran's Islamic Revolution, and the fall of the Soviet Union. He argued that the rest of the world also experienced a similar confusion after the end of the Cold War, but that the West has since then defined its new enemy as "Islamic terrorism," whereas the Arabs are still divided over who their main enemy is – Israel, Iran, or terrorist organizations.
Dr. Sobhi Ghandour. Source: Alriyadh.com
The following are excerpts from his article:
"The question 'who is the enemy now?' is always an important one for any ummah or country. The answer to this question sets the priorities for action, distinguishes friends from rivals or enemies, and also sets the norms for dealing with events and the modes of operation required for the strategy of dealing with 'the primary enemy'...
"The main problem of the Arab ummah lies not just in the Arab inability to agree on the question of 'who is the enemy now?' but primarily in the absence of Arab solidarity, which expresses [the position] of the entire Arab ummah. It is true that the Arabs constitute a single ummah – but this ummah is based on multiple countries that share neither outlooks nor any measure of effective coordination that will unite them at this time. On the contrary – some of them are [even] fighting each other.
"The proliferation of Arab governments and states does not constitute any obstacle to building a joint Arab strategy. The problem lies in the lack of political will for coordination and solidarity [among Arab countries], as well as in the fact that Egypt's role in the Arab world ended with [its] signing of a peace accord with Israel... The formulation of a joint strategy for a number of governments requires a leadership that spearheads joint activity among the many governments. This happened in the last century, when in World War II the U.S. headed a global alliance against 'a common enemy' – the alliance of Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy. This Washington-led alliance was based not on ideological considerations or on harmony in the nature of its various regimes, but solely on the joint interest of facing a common enemy and putting differences aside for dealing with later. Indeed, the Allies won WWII due to the pact between Communist Russia and Capitalist America aimed at liberating Europe from Nazism and Fascism.
"The Arab ummah also had a similar experience after the 1967 war, when Nasser's Egypt called for an emergency Arab League Summit in Khartoum. At that summit, it was decided to formulate a joint Arab strategy to remove the Israeli aggression and to end all secondary Arab struggles – including the war that was ongoing in Yemen at that time, in which the Egyptian army was involved and which caused many disagreements between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. As a result of the Khartoum summit, the Arab 'oil and weapons' alliance was formed; under it, most of the Arab oil nations provided substantial financial aid to Egypt and Syria for them to rebuild their armies in preparation for the 1973 war. Additionally, for the first time, oil was used as a weapon to apply economic pressure, and exports to countries that supported Israel ceased.
"It appears, therefore, that the Arab situation in the previous century was much more clear than in the present one. The enemy of the Arabs in the first half of the 20th century was European imperialism, which occupied some countries in the region and extended its authority to the others. Back then, it was no problem to define the enemy. The third quarter of the 20th century was also characterized by clarity regarding the identity of the Arabs' 'common enemy' – 'the Zionist enemy' and its supporters.
"The Arab ambiguity with regard to defining 'the enemy' began in the last quarter of the 20th century, following the signing of the Camp David Accords and Egypt's withdrawal from the Arab conflict with Israel. [This ambiguity continued] after Iran's Revolution and its ramifications for its neighboring Arab countries and for the Palestinian issue, and after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, which impacted all the Arab issues.
"[In fact], the entire world entered the new century with no clear understanding of the nature of 'the enemy,' because at that time many [old] perceptions were shattered – [for example,] Communism is no longer the enemy of the Capitalist West... Therefore, ideas about the West's 'new enemy' were circulated; that enemy comprises the extremist organizations operating in the name of Islam. The Zionist groups even labored around the globe to create a connection between terrorism and the organizations resisting Israel, in order to portray the entire Islamic world as 'the new enemy' of the West.
"In light of all of the above, September 11, 2001 is considered an important date in defining 'the new enemy,' which the West found in what it termed 'Islamic terrorism.' But the East is still pondering [the question of] the identity of its current enemy.
"The Arabs today are lacking in many things, but the most prominent of these is knowing who [their] 'main enemy' is. Moreover, what they primarily lack is an Arab consensus regarding a joint strategy with criteria for defining 'enemies' and 'friends.' Some Arabs argue that the enemy today is terrorist organizations, while others still see Israel as the 'main enemy', and some Arab elements have come out in recent years to call Iran 'the enemy'...
"The Arab region faces important changes during this year. These changes are connected to the three elements that are in dispute among the Arabs – that is, how to categorize Israel, Iran, and the extremist and terrorist organizations. We find that even the U.S. is currently troubled in [formulating] its future position on these three elements."
 Al-Bayan (UAE), March 19, 2015.
 The Khartoum Summit, convened in late August 1967 and attended by eight Arab states, issued a declaration that guided Arab policy towards Israel until the 1973 war.
Israeli Druze Intellectual, Dr. Salman Masalha,: Arab
Spring Passed Over Monarchies Because They Are Better Suited To Nature Of Arab
MEMRI/On March 1, 2015,
Israeli Druze poet, writer, essayist and translator Dr. Salman Masalha, wrote on the liberal Arab website Middle East Transparent that the Arab Spring had impacted Arab republics but had passed over monarchies and emirates. He said that this is because the republics had not fulfilled their own lofty slogans on socialism, democracy, and freedom but had oppressed and tyrannized their people, while the monarchies, with all their flaws, are better suited to the nature of Arab societies, since they are "the natural continuation of this ingrained social structure in which tribal loyalty comes before all else."Dr. Salman Masalha (Image: library.osu.edu)The following is the translation of his article:
"Here we are, approaching the end of the fourth year of the uprisings that erupted in more than one country across the Arab world, from East to West. I intentionally say 'uprisings,' since what happened in recent years in all these countries cannot in any way be termed 'revolution' in the political science sense of the word.
"A look at the political systems in the Arab countries where the people rose up challenges us with fundamental questions that we must answer honestly and unequivocally, without sentimental slogans that paralyze reason. The questions that we must inevitably pose to the public are: Why have these outbreaks and uprisings taken place in some Arab countries and not in others? How do these countries differ from each other? What caused some countries to emerge from these uprisings without bloodshed, while bloodshed is still the defining characteristic in others?
"Four years on, the observer can discern several aspects of the coalescing picture concerning the type of political systems common in the [Arab] world. The Arab world appears to be divided into two parts [in terms of regimes]. The interesting thing is that these popular Arab uprisings mainly struck countries with republican regimes, while the monarchies and emirates remained outside this [cycle] of uprisings. This phenomenon should be deeply discussed, and we Arabs should ponder its circumstances. We [cannot] bury our heads in the sand or ignore it as if it did not exist.
"To understand this phenomenon, we must look at the nature of Arab societies, far away from slogans that arouse emotions but are unhelpful and do not pave the way to a thorough examination of the events around us in order to emerge from our Arab crises. When I say 'the nature of societies,' I mean the social heritage that has continued for hundreds of years, passed down from the pre-Islamic period to Islam, and to the present day.
"Since Arab societies are tribal in nature, the various forms of monarchies and emirates are the natural continuation of this ingrained social structure in which tribal loyalty comes before all else. Therefore, once colonialism was gone from Arab countries, the monarchies and emirates took its place, in a natural way that is in line with the nature of tribal society.
"But the global struggle between the two main power blocs following World War II shook the Arab world, and as a result, there were several military coups that toppled several monarchies. These were not 'revolutions,' though that is what they were called, but mere military revolts that grabbed power while hiding behind lofty slogans such as socialism, liberty and democracy, and other empty rhetoric. In effect, all these coups were nothing more than a usurpation of Arab societies. None of these regimes [that spouted] the rhetoric of Arabism actualized a single one of the slogans they had touted – on the contrary, they appropriated and squandered these peoples' sources of income. Furthermore, they provided no freedom or socialism whatsoever. But above all else, they ruled with an iron fist, tyrannizing everyone.
"Yes, these lands of false Arabism are the very ones in which the Arab peoples rose up – while the Arab monarchies and emirates were spared this calamity and bloodshed. This is not because of their petrodollars, which is what some ignoramuses on the left try to say – since some Arab monarchies, such as Jordan, are not at all wealthy but have also escaped [regime] destabilization. The answer is simple: In addition to what I said above, we must compare the monarchies' relationship with their people to that between the republican regimes of deception and their people. A simple comparison will clearly tip the scales in favor of the monarchies.
"Crushing tyranny, enslavement, and impoverishment of the people have become the attributes of the regimes of false slogans, while over the years the monarchies have become more sympathetic towards their peoples, despite the justifiable criticism that could be levelled at the failures of these monarchic regimes. However, if we strive for the truth about ourselves and about those around us, we must recognize reality as it is, for better or for worse.
"The tribal nature of Arab societies is deeply embedded in the past, and its roots date back through Arab history to the pre-Islamic era. Statements attributed to the new Saudi king Salman bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz, as cited in an article by Talal Salman, [editor of the Lebanese newspaper] Al-Safir, may clarify this matter. Talal Salman, who met the Emir Salman some four decades ago, said: 'The emir Salman (now king) summarized the issue to me in simple sentences: 'We are the sons of this land. We are not foreign messengers or occupiers. We are not Albanians like the family of Muhammad 'Ali [Pasha] that ruled Egypt for 150 years. We are the sons of the sand and the palm, sons of the sun and the moon. [Salman] was quiet for a moment and then added with a smile: 'It is enough to tell you that one of our ancestors is Musaylimah the Liar.' (Al-Safir, January 26, 2015).
"In other words, the tribal roots that stretch throughout history are authentic Arab roots, not just Islamic ones. It is true that [these tribal roots] – as the shrewd king candidly stated – stretch as far back as Musaylimah the Liar himself, for better or for worse. His revelation indicates the depth of [these] roots."
 Metransparent.com, March 1, 2015.
 Muhammad 'Ali Pasha (1769-1849), considered the founder of modern Egypt, was an Albanian Muslim who served as an officer in the Ottoman Army. He was appointed Ottoman governor of Egypt in 1805, after thwarting the advances of Napoleon's army.
 Musaylimah bin Habib Al-Hanafi was a contemporary of Muhammad who also claimed to be a prophet. He is considered a false prophet in Islam, and therefore is referred to as Musaylimah the Liar.