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For 06 July/2022
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For today
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.”
Matthew 10/21-26:”Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.”

For English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on July 05-06/2022
Israel PM talks Iran, Lebanon with Macron on first foreign trip
Israeli PM to push France on Iran, warn Hezbollah 'playing with fire'
Lapid: Lebanese govt. must rein in Hezbollah or we will do so
Lapid warns Hezbollah as Macron says Lebanon stability is important
Berri reportedly urges fast govt. formation in talks with Mikati
Report: Lebanon threatened with oil sanctions after Hezbollah's move
Report: Govt. formation not deadlocked despite tensions
Geagea doesn't want to be president of 'inexistent republic'
Bassil: This is the time for diplomatic solutions while using strength points
Lebanese government’s new Hezbollah tack after years of complacency about group’s arsenal
Little to no progress as Mikati proposes changes to Lebanon recovery plan
Lebanese protests erupt as grim economic strain worsens
Here's why Iran and Hezbollah use drone attack as bragging rights - analysis/Seth J. Frantzman/Jerusalem Post/July 05/2022
The Unmanned Drones and the Future of a Decaying Republic/Charles Elias Chartouni/July 05/2022
Who are we?/Jean-Marie Kassab/July 04/2022
The Shebaa Farms, UN Resolution 1559 and the Baathinization of Truth/Elias Bejjani/July 04/2022

Titles For Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on July 05-06/2022
Israel’s Lapid Meets Macron in Paris on First Trip as PM
Israeli PM to push France on Iran, warn Hezbollah 'playing with fire'
Finland, Sweden Sign Protocol to Join NATO but Still Need Ratification
UN: Shutting Syria Aid Crossing Would Spell ‘Catastrophe’
NATO allies sign accession protocols for Sweden, Finland
Iran FM Blames US for Failing to Show 'Political Initiative' at Doha Talks
Erbil Airport Bars Iranian Flight from Landing
Putin Pal Drops Menacing Hint: a ‘Cleansing’ Is Coming for Europe
Tunisia President Defends Proposed Constitution amid Criticism

Titles For LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on July 05-06/2022
Will Biden Seize His Middle East Moment?/John Hannah/The Dispatch/July 05/2022
US is playing risky game with Saudi Arabia and Iran/Lawrence J. Haas/The Hill/July 05/2022
'Authority' from Rousseau to Weber/Dr. Abdullah Faisal Alrabeh/Asharq Al Awsat/July, 05/2022
Nuclear Is The Future. Tiger and Bill Gates Know It/Anjani Trivedi/Bloomberg/July, 05/2022
No, the West Should Not Appease Erdogan/Sinan Ciddi/The National Interest/July 05/2022
Turkey: Erdoğan Fishing for Trouble in the Aegean Sea - Again/Burak Bekdil/Gatestone Institute/July 05/2022
Humiliation piled on humiliation for Iran’s spy agencies/Baria Alamuddin/Arab News/July 05, 2022
All parties appear to want a new Iran nuclear deal/Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Arab News/July 05, 2022

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on July 05-06/2022
Israel PM talks Iran, Lebanon with Macron on first foreign trip
Agence France Presse/July 05/2022
Iran and its influence in the Middle East were high on the agenda of Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday in talks with French President Emmanuel Macron during his first trip abroad in office. Lapid was also expected to ask for backing in a gas dispute with Lebanon that days ago saw Israel shoot down three drones launched by Hezbollah, which it says is largely Iran-financed. Lapid took over the premiership on Friday following the collapse of Israel's coalition government, which will see the country return to the polls in November for its fifth election in less than four years. The new leader was confronted with his first test a day later, when Lebanon's Hezbollah launched three drones towards an offshore gas field in the eastern Mediterranean. "Israel will not sit back given these repeated attacks," Lapid told reporters in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace."Hezbollah is a terrorist organization threatening Israel," he said, adding that Hezbollah was "trying to attack us with Iranian rockets." Lebanon rejects Israel's claim that the Karish gas field lies within its territorial waters. Israel and Lebanon resumed negotiations on their maritime border in 2020, though the Karish site sits outside of the disputed area and is marked as Israeli on previous United Nations maps. The U.S.-backed talks have been stalled by Beirut's demand that the U.N. maps must be modified.
- Make Iran 'see reason' -
"We will ask France to intervene to secure the negotiations that we want to lead until the end of the gas issues," an Israeli official told journalists traveling with the premier before his arrival in Paris. Macron, at the news briefing, said both sides should "avoid any action" that could worsen relations between Israel and Lebanon. Lapid reiterated Israel's firm stance against international efforts to revive a nuclear accord with Tehran. Acknowledging that France disagrees with that view, he said what was beyond dispute was that "Iran is violating the agreement and continues to develop its nuclear program."Israeli officials fear that giving Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program could allow Tehran to boost funding to Hezbollah, as well as the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Macron, meanwhile, deplored that Iran "refuses to seize the opportunity offered to it to conclude a good agreement," but said he would "make every effort" to make Tehran "see reason." Lapid's Paris visit comes days ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden traveling to Israel and the Palestinian territories, before flying to Saudi Arabia for energy talks. Washington is seeking to stabilize the global energy market following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which led Moscow to cut its gas supplies to some European countries. Israel and Egypt signed a deal last month to boost gas exports to the European Union, as the bloc attempts to end its dependency on Russian energy. "The Lebanon issue is essential and Lapid will come back to the Israeli position, according to which Hezbollah is first and foremost a threat to the future of Lebanon," said the Israeli official, who requested anonymity. Israel and Lebanon remain technically at war but agreed to talks aimed at delineating their maritime border to allow both countries to boost gas exploration.

Israeli PM to push France on Iran, warn Hezbollah 'playing with fire'
Dan Williams/AFP/July 05/2022
Foreign minister insists Qatar discussions were ‘positive’; Tehran’s prepared to continue negotiating after US expressed disappointment
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran insisted Thursday that a revived nuclear agreement with major powers remains achievable even as European powers backed Washington in urging Tehran to budge following talks in Qatar. The United States said it was “disappointed” and that there was “no progress made” after two days of indirect talks with Iran brokered by an EU envoy in the Qatari capital Doha. But Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said he believed the talks had been “positive” and a deal could still be reached. “We are determined to continue negotiating until a realistic agreement is reached,” he said, after a phone call with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who hosted the indirect talks. “Our assessment of the recent round of talks in Doha is positive,” he said. The two days of talks, in which the EU mediators shuttled between Iranian and US delegations, were intended to reboot wider negotiations between Iran and major powers in Vienna which have been stalled since March. The talks aim to bring the United States back into a 2015 deal jettisoned by the Donald Trump administration in 2018 by lifting the sweeping economic sanctions he imposed in exchange for Iran’s return to full compliance with the limits set on its nuclear activities. US President Joe Biden’s administration has “made clear our readiness to quickly conclude and implement a deal on mutual return to full compliance,” a US State Department spokesperson said after the talks wrapped up in Qatar. “Yet in Doha, as before, Iran raised issues wholly unrelated to the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) and apparently is not ready to make a fundamental decision on whether it wants to revive the deal or bury it.”Differences between Tehran and Washington have notably included Iran’s demand that its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps be removed from a US terror list, a decision taken by Trump whose Republican Party is certain to denounce any shift by Biden.
European calls on Iran
At the United Nations, Britain, France and Germany — which remain in the nuclear deal — said that Iran should take a deal that had been brokered in March and reverse steps away from compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency. “We call upon Iran to stop and reverse its nuclear escalation, return to full cooperation with the IAEA and seize without further delay the offer on the table, which would benefit the Iranian people and nation,” France’s UN envoy, Nicolas de Riviere, told reporters alongside his British and German counterparts. “Iran’s nuclear program is now more advanced than at any point in the past,” he said. Unfortunately, it is our understanding that at the meeting which ended yesterday in Doha, Iran once again refused to seize the opportunity and, instead, made new extraneous and unrealistic demands.”China and Russia, whose relations with the West have deteriorated over the Ukraine invasion, also support a revival of the nuclear deal. “We must do everything to revive it,” said Russia’s deputy ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, also rejecting any “pressure on Iran.”The talks in Doha came just two weeks before Biden makes his first visit to the region as president, with trips to Iran’s foes Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Lapid: Lebanese govt. must rein in Hezbollah or we will do so
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/Associated Press/July 05/2022
The Lebanese government “needs to rein in Hezbollah” or else Israel “will be forced to do so,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid warned on Tuesday, as he headed to France for an official visit. "Israel will not agree to this kind of attacks on its sovereignty, and anyone who does this needs to know that they are taking an unnecessary risk to their well-being," Lapid added, in reference to Hezbollah's launching of three drones towards the Karish offshore gas field on Saturday. “The Lebanese government must guarantee that Hezbollah will not obstruct the finalizing of the demarcation of the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon,” Lapid said. He added that he will tell French President Emmanuel Macron that “Hezbollah represents a threat to Lebanon’s stability and safety.”Speaking before his departure from Tel Aviv, Lapid said he will raise the issue of Hezbollah's drones with Macron. "We will also discuss of course what has occurred recently off the coast of Lebanon," Lapid said. "There have been repeated attacks on Israeli gas rigs. Israel will not accept this type of attacks on its sovereignty," he added. Lebanon rejects Israel's claim that the Karish gas field lies within its territorial waters. Israel and Lebanon resumed negotiations on their maritime border in 2020 and the Karish site is marked as Israeli on previous United Nations maps. The U.S.-backed talks have been stalled by Lebanon's demand that the U.N. maps must be modified. Hezbollah's backers Iran will also be on the agenda at the bilateral talks in Paris, as Israel stands firmly opposed to international efforts to revive a nuclear accord with Tehran. Israeli officials fear that giving Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program could allow Tehran to boost funding to Hezbollah, as well as the Palestinian militant group Hamas. A senior Israeli official said the Lebanon gas issue will be high on agenda during talks at the Elysee Palace in Paris. "We will ask France to intervene to secure the negotiations that we want to lead until the end of the gas issues," the official told journalists traveling with Lapid. Lapid's Paris visit comes days ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden traveling to Israel and the Palestinian territories, before flying to Saudi Arabia for energy talks. "The Lebanon issue is essential and Lapid will come back to the Israeli position, according to which Hezbollah is first and foremost a threat to the future of Lebanon," said the Israeli official, who requested anonymity.
France is a key supporter of Lebanon, a former French protectorate, and Macron has unsuccessfully tried to broker a solution to Lebanon's political crisis.Israel and Lebanon remain technically at war but agreed to indirect talks aimed at delineating their maritime border to allow both sides to boost gas exploration.

Lapid warns Hezbollah as Macron says Lebanon stability is important
Naharnet/July 05/2022
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday accused Hezbollah of “jeopardizing stability in the region” and warned that Israel “will not stand idly by in the face of any attacks,” three days after the Iran-backed party launched three drones towards the Karish offshore gas field. “We will not turn a blind eye to Iran's arming of Hezbollah with missiles and drones,” Lapid added at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron following talks at the Elysee. "Hezbollah is a terrorist organization threatening Israel," he said, adding that Hezbollah was "trying to attack us with Iranian rockets."
Macron for his part called for “avoiding any activities that jeopardize the negotiations” between Lebanon and Israel over the demarcation of their maritime border. “Lebanon's stability is key to the stability of the region,” Macron stressed. Lebanon rejects Israel's claim that the Karish gas field lies within its territorial waters. Israel and Lebanon resumed indirect negotiations on their maritime border in 2020 and the Karish site is marked as Israeli on previous United Nations maps. The U.S.-backed talks stalled after Lebanon demand said that the U.N. maps must be modified. "We will ask France to intervene to secure the negotiations that we want to lead until the end of the gas issues," an Israeli official told journalists traveling with Lapid. "The Lebanon issue is essential and Lapid will come back to the Israeli position, according to which Hezbollah is first and foremost a threat to the future of Lebanon," said the Israeli official, who requested anonymity. France is a key supporter of Lebanon, a former French protectorate, and Macron has unsuccessfully tried to broker a solution to Lebanon's political crisis. Israel and Lebanon remain technically at war but agreed to indirect talks aimed at delineating their maritime border to allow both sides to boost gas exploration.

Berri reportedly urges fast govt. formation in talks with Mikati
Naharnet/July 05/2022 
Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati held talks Tuesday with Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain el-Tineh. Al-Jadeed television reported that the meeting was aimed at holding consultations over the cabinet formation process.It added that Berri stressed to Mikati “the need to hurry up in the formation of the government.”

Report: Lebanon threatened with oil sanctions after Hezbollah's move
Naharnet/July 05/2022 
In the wake of Hezbollah’s launching of three drones towards the Karish offshore gas field, the United States warned Lebanon that it might face “deterring punitive measures” that might involve “slapping oil sanctions” on the country, media reports said on Tuesday. “U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein openly cautioned Lebanese officials that such a step would torpedo the U.S. efforts and could subject the Lebanese investments in the oil and gas resources to the threat of sanctions, especially that it targeted a maritime area that is outside of Lebanon’s internationally-recognized border under the U.N. records,” diplomatic sources told the Nidaa al-Watan newspaper. The warnings were what prompted Lebanon to hold the Grand Serail meeting that distanced the Lebanese state from Hezbollah’s move and condemned it as “unacceptable,” the daily added. The London-listed Greek energy firm Energean, which has sent vessels to the Karish field, meanwhile held a meeting and described Hezbollah’s step as “blatant violation by Lebanon against the works of the company outside of its border, which necessitates taking decisive measures that prevent such attacks in the future,” Nidaa al-Watan said. “As part of these measures, Energean Power might demand the issuance of a unified European stance encompassing all oil companies operating in the Middle East in order to declare a boycott of any form of cooperation with Lebanon in operations related to exploiting its oil and gas resources at the levels of exploration, extraction and production,” the daily added.

Report: Govt. formation not deadlocked despite tensions
Naharnet/July 05/2022   
The government formation process is not deadlocked despite the latest political tensions, sources close to both Baabda and the Grand Serail have said. President Michel Aoun is “still waiting for the PM-designate’s response to the remarks he voiced over (Najib) Mikati’s line-up in their latest meeting on Friday,” sources close to Aoun told al-Joumhouria newspaper in remarks published Tuesday. Sources close to Mikati also told the daily that the formation process has not reached a dead end and that the PM-designate is keen on forming a government as soon as possible.The sources also stressed that Mikati does not intend to step down.

Geagea doesn't want to be president of 'inexistent republic'
Naharnet/July 05/2022
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has stressed that he does not want to become the president of an “inexistent republic.”“Being an ordinary citizen in a serious and strong state is better than being the president of an inexistent republic,” Geagea said in an interview with Euronews, when asked whether he might stop criticizing Hezbollah’s arms in order to become president. “Why would I accept the presidential post if I would become a president like Michel Aoun and if I would remain under the influence of Hezbollah and its strategies and control of the Lebanese decision? If I am to become president, I will want to practice the president’s full powers as stipulated by the Taef Accord,” Geagea added. Asked whether he would sit around the same table with Hezbollah, the LF leader said: “I will if Hezbollah turns into a party that resembles any other Lebanese party, which means that it stops to usurp the state's strategic, security and military decisions, and if it hands over its arsenal of weapons to the Lebanese Army.”“A state cannot be built if Hezbollah maintains its current status,” he added. As for the possibility of the election of a candidate from the March 8 forces as president, Geagea warned that there is a “real risk” if the opposition does not unite. “Should it unite over a single candidate for the presidency, this approach would protect us from a March 8 president,” the LF leader added. Asked about how he would halt the current collapse and fight corruption should he become president, Geagea said: “If the opposition reaches unanimity over my election as president, everything will change. Our situation is not impossible and it is based on greedy parties and their allies, and by allies I mean Hezbollah.”“Hezbollah has another project that has nothing to do with the interests of the Lebanese people and this is what has plunged Lebanon into the current situation. Should I reach the presidency, certainly everything will change,” the LF leader added.

Bassil: This is the time for diplomatic solutions while using strength points
Naharnet/July 05/2022
Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil announced Tuesday that There is “a big chance for a real solution” in the file of the sea border negotiations with Israel. “The FPM is fully with seizing this chance and the dispute gap is narrowing, but the (Israeli) answers are still unclear,” Bassil said after a meeting for the Strong Lebanon bloc. “The Qana for Karish equation must be established, but what’s more important than demarcation is allowing us to extract (gas). This is the appropriate time for Lebanon to carry out diplomatic solutions that are fair to it while using the points of strength,” Bassil added, while stressing that “we are not weak.” As for the cabinet formation process, the FPM chief emphasized that “the President is a complete partner in the cabinet formation process, regardless of the FPM’s stance.”“He has the right to voice his opinion over all portfolios, regardless of sects, and so does the premier,” Bassil added.

Lebanese government’s new Hezbollah tack after years of complacency about group’s arsenal
The Arab Weekly/July 05/2022
In a change of tone, the Lebanese government has addressed unusual criticism to the militant Shia party Hezbollah for its interference using surveillance drones in the maritime row that pits it against Israel. Lebanese analysts say the criticism reflects the government’s eagerness to ensure the success of the US-mediated maritime border demarcation talks with Israel at a time when cash-strapped Lebanon badly needs new energy resources. But the analysts caution that the Lebanese government will have a hard time making itself heard by Hezbollah after long being complacent about the Shia party’s possession of a weapons arsenal that is more powerful than that wielded by the state. Lebanon’s prime minister on Monday criticised as risky and unacceptable the interference of the Hezbollah movement, which had sent three drones over the weekend towards an Israeli gas rig. The drones were all shot down. Hezbollah launched its operation on Saturday following long-standing but so far fruitless US-mediated efforts to agree on a maritime border between the two countries near an area where Israel has made large natural gas discoveries. “Lebanon considers that any action outside the framework of the state’s responsibility and the diplomatic context in which the negotiations are happening is unacceptable and exposes (Lebanon) to unnecessary risks,” said a statement from the office of Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati. It was issued following a meeting between Mikati and Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib. The statement called for “everyone, without exception” to stand behind the Lebanese state in the negotiation process, which it said had reached “advanced stages.”Lebanon’s foreign minister also said any interference in US-mediated talks to demarcate its maritime border with Israel is “unacceptable”.
He also pointed out: “Any act that falls outside the framework of the state’s responsibility and the diplomatic track within which negotiations are taking place, is unacceptable and exposes (Lebanon) to unnecessary risks,”Hezbollah claimed it had “accomplished” its mission, but Israel’s prime minister said the move undermined chances for a maritime border deal. In a veiled message to Hezbollah, Bou Habib on Monday called on “all parties to show a spirit of supreme national interest and commit to … supporting the state in the negotiation process.”“The ongoing negotiations held with the assistance of the US mediator are in advanced stages,” Bou Habib said, adding that the Hezbollah operation was launched without official state consent. The maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel returned to the fore last month after Israel moved a production vessel into the Karish gas field, parts of which are claimed by Lebanon.
The move forced the Lebanese government to call for the resumption of US-mediated negotiations which hit a wall last year over demarcation disputes.
Hezbollah for its part warned Israel and the company that owns the production vessel against proceeding with extraction, saying it was ready to stand in the way. Lebanon is now waiting for a response from Israel after relaying its maritime border position to US mediator Amos Hochstein who visited Beirut last month at the request of authorities. Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said after the incident that Hezbollah was “preventing the state of Lebanon from reaching an agreement regarding maritime borders.”The Lebanese government also seems intent on avoinding further complications in its tense relations with the Jewish state. Hezbollah’s actions are expected to be part of the agenda of Israel Prime Minister’s Yair Lapid talks in France starting Tuesday. Ahead of Lapid’s arrival in Paris, a senior Israeli official said the Lebanon gas issue will be high on agenda during meetings at the Elysee Palace. “We will ask France to intervene to secure the negotiations that we want to lead until the end of the gas issues,” the official told journalists travelling with the premier.

Little to no progress as Mikati proposes changes to Lebanon recovery plan
The Arab Weekly/July 05/2022
Lebanon’s top finance lawmaker said prime minister designate Najib Mikati had verbally proposed “very serious” changes to a recently-adopted plan to revamp the collapsed financial sector, in a move that could delay progress towards a final IMF deal. Lebanon’s government reached a draft agreement for a $3 billion IMF bailout in April, with a full deal conditional on the passage of pre-conditions such as the 2022 budget, banking secrecy reform and capital controls. Mikati’s last government adopted a financial recovery plan on May 20 that set the broad outlines of how to address a more than $70 billion hole in the financial sector at the core of Lebanon’s crisis. That plan placed the burden of losses on commercial banks and the central bank as well as on depositors via haircuts, but did not adopt a previously proposed fund of state assets or resources to plug the gap. But Mikati last week suggested “very serious” changes to that plan verbally during a meeting with the parliamentary finance and budget committee, said Ibrahim Kanaan, the committee’s chief. “We were told by the prime minister that it has been changed in a way that there is a financial recovery fund that will compensate the depositors or will pay the depositors back totally or partially,” Kanaan said in an interview.“The government keeps sending sometimes changes and amendments. It’s very important to turn this page and go to something definitive and finalize this work,” he said. The fund as proposed would be, among other sources, financed from budget surplus, Kanaan said, adding, “We don’t have a surplus at all since decades.”
Mikati’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lebanese commercial banks have been the main proponent of a fund leveraging state assets or other revenues to plug the gap. Deputy Prime Minister Saade Chami, the architect of Lebanon’s IMF deal, has come out strongly against such a proposal, and the IMF draft agreement called for limiting recourse to public resources. Regarding other IMF pre-conditions, Kanaan said the committee was “90%” done with the 2022 budget but required a government revision of the exchange rate it used as the current numbers “may lead to a fake deficit as well as it may lead to some fake revenues.”
Real revenues could be half or even a third of the figure currently stated, he said. Kanaan said the government’s capital control law as referred to parliament had been rejected by Lebanese civil society across the board, including groups representing depositors, and so the government must either amend it or adopt a version previously drafted by his committee. He said work at his committee on amending Lebanon’s strict banking secrecy regulations would begin this week. “I don’t have a time-frame before receiving the details [from the government], but I would say if the details are finally received in a reasonable amount of time, I would say weeks rather than months,” would be needed to adopt all IMF pre-conditions, he said.

Lebanese protests erupt as grim economic strain worsens
Najia Houssari/Arab News/July 05, 2022
BEIRUT: The Lebanese have once again sporadically taken to the streets of Beirut and other urban areas to protest the continued strain on their living conditions, but no official nationwide movement has erupted to unify their anger. On Tuesday, protesters closed the offices of a mobile phone operator in Tripoli, north Lebanon, and asked employees to leave their offices in protest against the rise in prices. There are growing concerns in Tripoli as thousands of families are unable to provide their basic daily necessities.
Security reports have indicated that nighttime crime is on the rise, punctuated by random shootings in popular neighborhoods. Fears have been compounded after a majority of people in Tripoli have stopped paying their private generator subscriptions, practically living in the dark 24/7, because they can no longer afford the fees.Many Lebanese have also given up another basic service — the internet — after bundles were priced in dollars. Caretaker Minister of Communications Johnny Korm said: “The new cell phone bill is calculated by dividing the previous bill by three and multiplying it by the Central Bank’s Sayrafa exchange rate (25,300 LBP/USD) or multiplying it by 2.5 for the Ogero service.”Korm added: “Indeed, we expect many to stop using cellphones altogether, but it is too early to give accurate figures. Consumption has so far decreased by 8 percent since the beginning of July.”
Protesters blocked roads in Beirut, complaining about the loss of access to the public water network for the third week, and lamenting the regular power cuts that have blighted all areas due to the suspension of production plants.
Just one power station, the Deir Ammar plant, has continued operations amid a scarcity of fuel coming from Iraq, which is less than the expected quantity as Baghdad battles its own power sector struggles.
Although the Ministry of Economy said that there is enough flour to meet Lebanon’s consumption needs, citizens are still queuing at bakeries that are only selling one bundle of bread per customer in an attempt to provide bread to the largest possible number of customers.
Meanwhile, some are selling bread on the black market amid fears that wheat will not be available after Eid Al-Adha since the Central Bank is yet to open credits for wheat imports.
MP Wael Abu Faour reported: “According to the security services, organized gangs are stealing subsidized flour and selling it on the black market.”
The World Bank country classifications by income level on July 1 showed that Lebanon has become a lower-middle-income country.
“For the eleventh consecutive year, Lebanon’s real GDP per capita fell in 2021, and the country also experienced sharp exchange rate depreciation,” the report stated, as the per capita gross national income in 2021 amounted to $3,450, after it was $5,510 in 2020.
Representatives from the General Labor Union, the Forces for Change groups, the private sector and civil society bodies discussed on Tuesday “a mechanism of action to end the government’s policies of starvation and humiliation and its petty decisions to increase prices, through the deliberate killing of the Lebanese people and the financing of corruption that has been rampant for many years.”
They unanimously agreed on “the absolute rejection of any increase in prices, especially telecommunications and the internet, because it is deliberate theft to continue financing the corrupt system and its groups that are holding on to their posts and suffocating citizens.”
They further called on the Lebanese to be ready to participate in the upcoming moves to restore their rights, the most basic of which are telecommunications services and the internet.
While Lebanon’s economic deterioration worsens and politicians fail to form a government that can approve the reforms required by the International Monetary Fund, the EU’s Electoral Observation Mission — which monitored the Lebanese parliamentary elections on May 15 — issued a report that slammed several aspects of how the elections were held. Gyorgy Holvenyi, the head of the EU team, said during a press conference in Beirut: “The conclusion in the mission’s final report is that although preparations were affected by limited financial and human resources, the election authorities delivered the May 15 parliamentary elections in the scheduled time. However, these elections were overshadowed by widespread practices of vote-buying and clientelism, which distorted the level playing field and seriously affected the voters’ choice.”
In its report, the mission noted: “The campaign was vibrant but marred by various instances of intimidation (including on social media) and cases of campaign obstruction. Besides, the legal framework for campaign finance suffers from serious shortcomings concerning transparency and accountability.”
The mission included a series of recommendations to improve the electoral process in the future. “These recommendations are setting a framework for a gradual Lebanese-led reform process,” Holvenyi emphasized, adding: “The EU stands ready to support Lebanon in implementing these recommendations to improve future election processes if deemed necessary, feasible, and useful.”

Here's why Iran and Hezbollah use drone attack as bragging rights - analysis
Seth J. Frantzman/Jerusalem Post/July 05/2022
Hezbollah has the drones, to carry out an attack and Iran has a history of “drip drip” of drone threats. This is what gives the two bragging rights.
Hezbollah has displayed awesome power “in the sky of the disputed maritime area,” according to Iranian media. Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, which is close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and thus reflects the regime, has continued bragging about Hezbollah’s use of drones on Saturday to try to threaten Israel’s economic offshore zone. Israel downed three of them.
It now increasingly looks like this propaganda ploy was all designed not necessarily to cause much destruction, but rather, so that Hezbollah could publish doctored and fake videos claiming to be from the drones and also so that Iran could pretend it had done something against Israel.
The context of the Saturday attack was that Iran has been threatening the Jewish state for months now as tensions have been rising. Hezbollah has also threatened Israel due to a maritime dispute that the US is trying to solve between Israel and Lebanon. Taken together, this gives motivation to Iran and Hezbollah to do something.
Iran and Hezbollah — better together
The terrorist group has the means – the drones – to carry out an attack. And it had the opportunity on Saturday in the wake of Syria blaming Israel for airstrikes in Tartus.The whole point is that Hezbollah operationalized drones, but it didn’t use a large number of them. Iran has done this before with a kind of “drip, drip” of drone threats since 2018. But Tehran doesn’t unveil the full drone and missile power it has. The Islamic Republic has done things differently when attacking Erbil, Asad base in Iraq, the UAE, Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia and other sites in the kingdom.
So Iran and Hezbollah prefer bragging rights in the wake of the drone threat. Iran’s media say the drones “penetrated” and “carried strategic messages that the Zionists themselves admit.” Hezbollah said the drones were only doing surveillance and that they “performed the mission correctly and delivered the necessary messages.”
Hezbollah claims to be creating “deterrence” with the drones and creating an “equation.” The goal here is to show it has asymmetric ways to attack.
“This deterrence is not only limited to protecting Lebanon’s marine resources against the aggression of the occupying regime; it is also in the context of dealing with Israeli threats against other resistance groups and Palestinians,” Tasnim reported.
The threat of Hezbollah
Hezbollah says its “air force” capabilities are established. “While most of the Zionists’ attention was initially focused on Hezbollah’s missile capabilities, now the drones of the Lebanese resistance have created a new concern for the occupying regime,” the report said.
This is a big deal. Clearly, Hezbollah and Iran are now seeking to unveil the power of Hezbollah’s drones.
IRANIAN MEDIA said the drones sent a message to “the Americans and Israelis by flying its [Hezbollah] drones over its field of action, which has a dangerous content for the Zionist regime and its plans in the sea borders of Lebanon.”
Hezbollah and Iran again slammed US envoy Amos Hochstein, who has been involved in negotiations regarding the maritime issue. This is not the first time Hezbollah has slammed Hochstein. It has used antisemitic language in the past against him and accuses him of working with Israel.
“While Israel is trying to pretend that its [gas] field, where this regime has been drilling and exploring energy, is not part of the disputed area… by sending its drones to the field, Hezbollah emphasized that this field is not out of the equation and is considered part of Lebanon’s rights in the territorial waters of this country,” the report said.
The terrorist group said it used several types of unarmed drones to fly into the disputed area and that it knows well “the positions where the Israeli air-defense systems are located.”
The overall point is that Iranian media are boasting that a new “equation” now exists. Hezbollah is trying to lift the veil on a new naval threat. It boasts of “highly skilled” naval operations and special forces. “We know that Hezbollah’s capabilities are much more important than what was demonstrated by the flight of these drones, and in fact, the main purpose of this drone operation was to deliver messages to Israel, not exclusively to damage its facilities,” the report said.
Israeli experts have expressed concern about Hezbollah’s threats, the Iranian report said. Hezbollah used a missile during the 2006 war to damage an Israeli ship, it said.
The point that the article, and Iran and Hezbollah, in general, are making is that the Lebanese terrorist group has a serious threat targeting Israel that it can unveil at sea. This may be mostly bragging, but the messaging is important. Hezbollah wants to show it can “deter” Israel, and the goal here is, in a sense, to prevent war, rather than start a conflict.
At least for now, Hezbollah and Iran prefer these bragging rights to actually doing anything that causes major damage and could result in an Israeli response.

The Unmanned Drones and the Future of a Decaying Republic
Charles Elias Chartouni/July 05/2022
The latest Hezbollah’s gamesmanship is quite illustrative of its recklessness and total disregard for Lebanon’s sovereignty, and the best interest of the Lebanese. Its arrogant dismissiveness and irresponsibility reflect its ultimate design, the erosion of Lebanese Statehood and the undermining of national consensuses, as a prelude to full domination. Nonetheless, Statelessness, political delinquency and normlessness must come to a halt, be it internally or at the regional level, Lebanese cannot anymore condone the hijacking of their sovereignty and jeopardizing of their National security, and regional actors, all along the geopolitical spectrum, are unlikely to put up indefinitely with this predicament. The drone ploys have proven shortsighted and reminiscent of bad times which relate to the immediate and remote past, when Lebanon witnessed the dismantling of Statehood, for the sake of open-ended regional and international conflicts and their deleterious consequences.
There is no way to overlook the state of extraterritoriality arrogated by Hezbollah under spurious National Security considerations, stabilize a country that was repeatedly destroyed by the PLO and the Lebanese Left and the foreign interventions they invited, and normalize the state of curtailed Statehood and its aggregate hallmarks. The special status claimed by Hezbollah and its cohort cannot, by any means be conceded, if we are to uphold our National sovereignty and cater to the reformist emergencies mandated by the financial crisis. The Shiite domination strategy cannot reconcile with the imperatives of Statehood under whichever perspective, and that’s something that needs to be said plainly with no complacency.
The drone episode, the deliberate drowning of negotiations with the IMF and the US, the lingering equivocations on a consensual solution to the financial crisis and its ramifications, the intentional obliteration of the Harbor explosion legal course, and the stalemated state of political affairs are quite indicative of a sabotaging strategy which aims at the destruction of Consociational Lebanese Statehood, and paves the way for a blatant domination strategy. The constitutional mandates and regulations are made redundant and ancillaries to the insidious coup d’État, and the incoming Presidential election is a twisted constitutional mandate, and another missed opportunity to rekindle our democracy and initiate the long awaited reformist undertakings.
These facts have to be stated and emphasized unambiguously, if we were to upend the destructive cycles, and deal effectively with the daunting challenges of a ramshackle polity. There are no more pleas to justify stagnation and political apathy, otherwise regional upheavals are going to take over and remodel irreversibly the political and national landscapes. The failure of this ultimate undertaking calls forth, invariably, the internationalization of this fatal crisis.

Who are we?
Jean-Marie Kassab/July 04/2022
We are the majority of the people in Lebanon.
We are the 60 percent of the people if not more. Many of those who voted are part of us but were misled by ill-intentioned power seeking candidates. This addition makes us the vastest majority by far.
We are those who did not vote in the last elections because the country is occupied by the Iranians and that elections in an occupied country are fake.
We are the ones who do not accept the situation as it is : occupation, corruption and dramatic mismanagement. It has been the case for the past decades and exaggerated over the past few years.
The country needs to be liberated, to be cleansed , to be properly managed.
Something has to be done about this. Something will be done.
Be part of it.
Jean-Marie Kassab

The Shebaa Farms, UN Resolution 1559 and the Baathinization of Truth
Elias Bejjani/July 04/2022
Translated from Arabic by Dr. Joseph Hitti 
This Study was first published in English on July 03/2004 
Under the puppet Lebanese regime in place since 1990 and the hegemony of the Syrian Baathist occupier of Lebanon, the “Shebaa Farms” issue has become a big lie and a pretext to pre-empt the ability of the Lebanese state to assume its responsibilities, an alibi to maintain tensions along the Israeli-Lebanese border, and a justification for maintaining the Syrian Army in control of the lives of the Lebanese people. Through cheap intelligence and moronic political manipulations, including  threats, promises and bribes, the Baathies occupier continues today to try and place sticks in the wheels of resolution 1559, but to no avail. Neither the Lebanese people, nor the international community are buying any of it, and the eviction of the Syrian occupier from all Lebanon’s territories is imminent.
Truths have been falsified, history has been disfigured, and a case has been fabricated from scratch for no other reason but to serve the interests of the Syrian Baathists, and with no import whatsoever to Lebanon or the Palestinian cause. The objective of this document is to shed light on the Shebaa Farms “occupation” fabrication in a chronological overview spanning the period from 1924 to the present. A naive and isolated Baathist Syria stands today against the international will – with the stubbornness of Saddam and the ill-logic of Suhhafi – refusing to implement resolution 1559 and to end its hegemony over Lebanon.
On May 25, 2000 the Israeli Labor government decided to implement UN Resolution 425 issued by the Security Council on March 19, 1978 and withdrew its troops from the “security zone” border strip. At the same time, it also implemented the clauses pertaining to it of UN resolution 426 that was voted by the Security Council on the same date and which represents a mechanism for implementing resolution 425.
It is worth noting that the Israeli withdrawal and its background are no longer a secret since it was carried out as part of a total agreement between Israel, Iran, Syria, the Lebanese regime and Hezbollah under the supervision of the United Nations represented by Terje Rod-Larsen, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General. The agreement stipulated, among many other conditions, the dismantling of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) and the decommissioning of its weapons, the closure of all passage points between the Lebanese border strip and Israel, the facilitation of Hezbollah’s takeover and control of the south and the dispatch of its fighters along the borders instead of the Lebanese Army.
The Lebanese Taef regime did not implement the clauses of Resolution 426 pertaining to it, which calls for handing over security on the international border to the Lebanese Army and spreading the authority of the Lebanese State over the entire South. A combination of Syrian will and international-Israeli complicity granted Hezbollah the exclusivity of controlling the South, thus preventing the Lebanese State from shouldering its responsibilities in the region as it is supposed to do. Hezbollah continues to this day to carry out this highly suspicious mission assigned to it, maintaining in a historically unprecedented and twisted logic that the Lebanese Army is not a police force and will not be deployed to protect the Israeli border. Meanwhile, Damascus and its barkers in Beirut continue to accuse of treason any Lebanese who demands the spread of the authority of the Lebanese State – through its legitimate forces – to the South and along the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Only one week after the Israeli withdrawal, Syria concocted the problem of the Shebaa Farms and made a hot issue out of it, cloaking around it a false cause for a new resistance to replace the resistance pretext that was lost with the Israeli withdrawal. The fact is that the vast majority of the Lebanese people, and first among them the howlers of steadfastness, merchants of liberation, and peddlers of unity of purpose and destiny, and all the Quixotic wielders of swords, butcher’s knives and daggers had never heard of the Farms and had no idea whatsoever if the Farms were in Lebanon or in Timbuktu !!.
The Syrian producer of this tragic comedy had decided to hand over the South to Hezbollah under the pretext of a continued Israeli occupation of the Shebaa Farms. Damascus had from the start tried to play the card of the seven Lebanese villages that were annexed to Palestine in 1924 by mandatory Britain and France when the latter drew the borders between Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. But Syria did not find this issue to be fertile ground for achieving its goal of maintaining tensions on the Lebanese-Israeli border.
It should be noted here that the borders between the three countries were confirmed internationally in 1949 after the creation of the state of Israel. And from that time, the Armistice Agreement between Lebanon and Israel became the working modality for the borderline between the two countries, and the Engineering Corps of the Lebanese Army drew the borderline under the supervision of international observers in the early 1960s.
Since 1924, the Shebaa Farms were treated as Lebanese territory, but Syria refused to recognize this fact, as it refused indeed to recognize the independence of Lebanon as a sovereign country. In the 1950s, Syria seized the Shebaa Farms and kept the territory under its control until Israel occupied the Farms – along with the Golan Heights – in 1967. Syrian control of the Farms was an anomaly because the inhabitants and properties were Lebanese, but the administration and authorities in charge were Syrian.
Lebanon did not accept Syria’s control of the Farms but did not seek redress at the United Nations or with the Arab League out of fear of adding complexity to the issue. Still, the Syrians remained obstinate in maintaining their grip on the territory and never paid much attention to Lebanon’s claims.
In 1961, Lebanon tried to open a police station in the Shebaa Farms, but Syrian forces there killed a number of Lebanese gendarmes and evicted the others by military force. This event si documented in one of the issues of the Lebanese Army Magazine. In a press conference organized by An-Nahar on December 4, 2000, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Adnan Shaaban said that the Shebaa Farms is Lebanese territory under Syrian sovereignty, reminding those who forgot of the document published by the Lebanese Soldier Magazine in 1961, in which it is reported that 4 Lebanese soldiers of various ranks were killed by the Syrian “brothers” because they entered into territory under Syrian sovereignty (according to the Syrian version of events). The photos of their sacrifice are available in the files of the Directorate of Orientation and Information.
The inhabitants of the Farms and land owners there have raised the matter and complained many times to successive Lebanese governments – from the time of Bechara El-Khoury through the presidency of Fuad Shihab. They also raised the issue many times directly to the Syrian authorities with petitions, sit-ins, dispatching delegations and mediators, but unfortunately to no avail. Syria insisted on imposing its authority by force over the Shebaa Farms.
In his book, “Lebanon: Political Absurdity and Unknwon Fate” (Dar An-Nahar Press, pp. 293-294), the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, the late Sami Solh, mentions the Shebaa Farms as follows: “Lebanese-Syrian relations continued to deteriorate during 1956-1958, whereby severe border problems came up when Syrian authorities established a police station and a ‘Mujahideen’ camp in the Shebaa Farms, as reported by Lebanese security sources. The inhabitants of the Shebaa Farms were warned (September 1957) by Syrian authorities that families there should submit statements saying that they accept the Syrian identity instead of the Lebanese. With the recurrence of attacks against Lebanese civilians, a delegation of the notables of Shebaa led by the Mayor of the Farms went to Damascus to talk to senior officials in the Syrian leadership, beginning with Prime Minister Sabri Al-Assali and Speaker of Parliament Akram Al-Hourani, but to no avail. When the same southern delegation came to visit me, and I was informed of the details of developments there, I emphasized to the delegation the necessity of holding on to their Lebanese identity and keeping it, and I promised the southerners to work to solve the issue, support their steadfastness, prevent the attacks, and reduce the pressures on them. After that, I immediately contacted the Egyptian ambassador  in Damascus, Mahmoud Riyad, and explained to him the situation and what the Lebanese citizens have to endure, and that these actions are not in the interest of Egypt, nor are they in the interests of Syria and Lebanon. To the contrary, they hurt relations and the basic interests between the concerned nations and their peoples. I also informed him very emphatically that the issue was having a negative influence  on the Arab and international scenes because the matter was no longer limited to the dispatching  of men and weapons across the border , but has now reached the point of cutting off territories and annexing them along with their inhabitants. At the same time, I issued Decree No. 493, dated December 14, 1957 calling on the Lebanese authorities in the Shebaa Farms to record all events and transgressions, and exert their utmost efforts to protect and preserve the Lebanese identity of the Shebaa Farms (including: Kfar Douma, Marah Malloul, Qafwa, Ramta, Khallit Ghazaleh, Fashkoul, Jourit Al-Aqareb, Al-Rubaa, Beit Dhimmi, Aardata, etc.)
During the Six-Day War on June 6, 1967, Israel invaded and occupied the Golan and with it the Shebaa Farms. UN resolution 242 issued by the Security Council on November 22, 1967 after the war did not mention the Shebaa Farms as Lebanese territory. It did, however, clearly state that all territories occupied by Israel on the Syrian-Israeli front are Syrian territories. Lebanon was not a participant to the war, and did not at the time claim in any official manner that Israel had occupied part of its territory.
In 1972, Israel entered in some portions of the Israeli-Lebanese border fence, but this entry was limited and did not go beyond the southern town of Houla.
When the 1973 war broke out between Israel and the Arabs, Lebanon did not participate either, neither did it consider at the end of the war that Israel occupied any of its territory. Resolution 338 of the Security Council dated November 22, 1973 did not mention anything at all suggesting any occupied Lebanese territory. Not one official in the Lebanese government at the time said anything about Israel occupying a single inch of its territory, and Lebanon remained officially bound by the 1949 Armistice Agreement.
In 1978, Israel entered the south of Lebanon on its “Operation Litani” campaign, and on March 9, 1978, the Security Council issued resolution 425 and its implementation mechanism in resolution 426. That resolution did not mention the Shebaa Farms, and official Lebanon again never said anything in any Lebanese, Arab, international or regional venue that Israel occupied the Shebaa Farms. In fact, the concerned countries, namely Syria and Lebanon, all the Arab countries and Israel did not consider that resolutions 242 and 338 pertain in any way to Lebanese territory. Similarly, resolutions 425 and 426 did not mention the Shebaa Farms and did not consider them as Lebanese territory that is occupied by Israel.
In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon and reached the capital Beirut. It then withdrew to the south and remained there until May 2000. The Security Council had issued on September 17, 1982, resolution 520 that demands the withdrawal of all foreign forces from all Lebanon, the respect for Lebanon’s sovereignty and internationally-recognized borders, and the spread of the authority of the Lebanese State with its own national forces over its entire territory. This resolution did not mention the Shebaa Farms since the UN believes the Farms belong to Syrian territory covered by resolutions 425 and 338 which globally apply to the Golan heights.
It is important to remember here that a resolution was adopted by the Lebanese Parliament in 1991, which “requested that the government attend the Madrid Conference on the basis of several principles, including the principle that resolutions 242 and 338 do not pertain to Lebanon”, but that the governments that were formed after that parliament was dissolved and three non-representative parliaments were set up officially linked the Lebanese cause with the implementation of those two resolutions, thereby nullifying the Taef Accord. In October 1991, and after the Gulf War, all Arab countries, as well as Israel and Lebanon, participated at the Madrid Conference under American-Russian sponsorship. Then the completely Syrian-occupied Lebanon of the Taef regime said that resolutions 242 and 338 were immaterial to Lebanon and instead focused on resolutions 425 and 426, demanding a return to a commitment to the Armistice Agreement signed with Israel in 1949. Not one Arab country, and neither Israel nor Syria pointed then to the Shebaa Farms as occupied Lebanese territory. The same position was also adopted by Taef Lebanon and Baathist Syria in their negotiations with Israel that took place in the US over several periods of time between 1994 and 1996 during the Clinton administration. Nowhere in the minutes and proceedings  of these negotiations were the Shebaa Famrs mentioned, while Lebanon called for a return to the implementation of the Armistice Agreement with Israel. The Lebanese Foreign Minister again reiterated that it was not concerned by resolutions 242 and 338, but only by resolution 425.
Ever since Israel occupied the Golan in 1967, and since the international observers have been watching the Syrian-Israeli border, the Shebaa Farmd have always been considered as Syrian territories by the international community. Several international maps place the Farms inside Syrian territory that is occupied by Israel. Former Syrian president Amin Hafez mentions in his memoirs (available on the Al-Jazeerah web site) that the regime of Hafez Assad had delivered the Golan to Israel in exchange for maintaining him and his band safely in power.
From all the preceding, it is clear that the Shebaa Farms question landed on the Lebanese in a Syrian Baathist parachute, a poisoned gift such as all the gifts the Baath offered the Lebanese. The Baath fabricated this story to maintain its occupation of Lebanon and create an anomalous situation at the Lebanese border with Israel that prevents the rise of the Lebanese State, and to keep its control of the Lebanese scene, directly through its intelligence and soldiers, and indirectly through Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and the rest of the Lebanese and Palestinian organizations that are completely in its grip.
Following the Israeli withdrawal of May 2000, the United Nations tasked its delegates, with Lebanese and Israeli participation, with the mission of delineating the border between Lebanon and Israel. The Blue Line was thus drawn with the stipulation that the Shebaa Farms were located inside Syrian territories. Lebanon and Syria, as well as Israel and all Arab countries recognized the Blue Line as the official border.
Lebanon’s recognition was double-sided. General Emile Lahoud, the Lebanese President, sent a secret letter to the Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan without the knowledge of his Primie Minister Salim Hoss, in which he accepted the Blue Line. Yet, publicly and in the media, the matter was presented as though Lebanon refused to recognize the Blue Line before an Israeli withdrawal from the Shebaa Farms.
The Lebanese media, towing the Syrian line, then began a campaign of inciting the people in order to justify keeping weapons in the hands of Hezbollah and preventing the Lebanese Army from deploying along the border with Israel and entering the Palestinian camps, and basically prevent the Lebanese government from spreading and exercising its authority over its entire territory.
The Lebanese South was to remain a time-bomb in the hands of the Syrian and Iranian rulers through under upside-down argument that the Lebanese Army ought not to be deployed to the Lebanese border with Israel so as not protect the Israeli border! A sick and tragic logic that made Lebanon and those in its government the laughing stock of the international community.
The UN tried to peacefully dismantle the Shebaa Farms time bomb through the modalities of international law. It requested both the Lebanese and Syrian governments to submit official documents signed by both countries clearly stating Syria’s recognition of the Shebaa Farms as Lebanese land. However, Syria refused to comply with this request, and instead had its Foreign Minister Farouq Sharaa place an unofficial telephone call to the UN Secretary General Annan.
Annan reiterated his demand several times, but Syria ignored the request while the rulers of the Lebanese puppet regime did not dare raise the issue with the Syrians. Instead, they persisted in their lies, their incitements and their faithful execution of the Syrian dictates, all of this against the background of the Baathist slogan of “one-path, one-destiny”.
In an interview with a French magazine, the Maronite Patriarch Sfeir said:”Some tell us that Shebaa is Lebanese, and some tell us it is Syrian, and to this date we have no information about any official Syrian document presented to the UN that certifies Syria’s recognition of the Lebanese identity of the Shebaa Farms. We do not see how the Farms can be liberated by throwing stones across the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon, but by negotiating through the UN, especially since the Secretary General, Washington, and the European countries have acknowledged that Israel has implemented Resolution 425. The Farms, which were under Syrian control when Israel occupied the Golan in 1967, are covered under Resolution 242, and not Resolution 425.”
To those who are concerned and have an open mind to understand the facts, we simply say…Yes, the Shebaa Farms are 100% Lebanese land, but Syria seized them by force and took control of them administratively and militarily from the early 1960s. In the process, it killed Lebanese gendarmes and shut down the Lebanese police station there, which was tantamount to evicting the Lebanese authorities from the Farms.
If the Syrian Baath regime indeed wanted to help recover the Shebaa Farms and rid it of the Israeli occupation, it would have presented the official documentation required by the UN and officially recognized the Lebanese identity of the Farms. The UN in turn would guarantee the return of the Farms to Lebanon without firing a single bullet. Israel has in fact expressed its readiness to withdraw from the Farms the moment Syria formally recognizes Lebanon’s sovereignty over the Farms and the Lebanese Army deploys on the border.
Syria never recognized Lebanon’s right to exist as an independent country since the borders of the State of Greater Lebanon were drawn in 1920, even as it continued to speak about brotherhood, geography and history. Syria always and categorically rejected the idea of establishing diplomatic relations with Lebanon and it also refrained from undertaking any official assessment of the borders between the two countries, consistent with its hidden ambition under the slogans of “one people in two states”, “the unity of geography and history”, “Lebanon is the ‘soft flank’ of Syria, “the unity of path and destiny”, and others.
And here is Syrian today refusing to implement UN resolution 1559, linking it to the implementation of 1,300 UN resolutions pertaining to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including resolution 194 that calls for a return of Palestinian refugees.
If the “Baathinized” Lebanese regime really wanted to liberate the Farms, it would have asked Syria for the official document requested by the UN, and if Hezbollah genuinely wanted to liberate the Farms as it claims, it would have surrendered its weapons to the Lebanese State after Israel implemented Resolution 425 by withdrawing from the border strip, and would have allowed the Lebanese Army to deploy along the border and spread the State’s authority over all Lebanese land. It also would have facilitated the implementation by the State of its obligations under Resolution 426.
And if Syria were truly in Lebanon to defend it against Israeli attacks, it would have fired at least one bullet on one Israeli soldier through the hundreds of Israeli attacks against Lebanese soil, the Lebanese people and their institutions, by land, air and by sea. Syria, after all, has been militarily present in Lebanon since 1976 under that pretext. And if Syria really wanted to protect Lebanon, it should have begun by protecting itself and its own occupied and annexed Golan, it would not have abandoned the territory of Iskenderun (Alexandretta) to Turkey with whom it has signed agreements. Fact is, Syria cannot offer what it has lost.
To the rulers of Syria and their followers we say: “You can fool only some people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. You have ceased to demand “All of Palestine” back, you have recognized Israel the day you agreed to participate in the Madrid Conference, and like all other Arab League countries you did not mention the Lebanese identity of the Shebaa Farms, which defeats all of your resistance and liberation pretenses. The silence of the Golan Heights front since their occupation by Israel exposes your hypocrisy.
Enough lying to your people and to our people. The presence of the Syrian Army in Lebanon has nothing to do with the strategic wars against Israel because all those wars are doomed to failure and are gone for no return. The presence of the repressive Baathist Syrian Army in Lebanon is entirely tied to your Baathist plans aiming at eliminating Lebanon, uprooting its history, erasing its identity, displacing its people, killing its distinct culture and reduce it to a Syrian province.
It would better for the Baath Party in Syria to convince the Syrian people that the fate of the Golan will not be different from the fate of Iskenderun after the Baath abandoned its claims to it and signed joint security and water agreements with Ankara!
Let the Baath rulers of Damascus drop the lie of the Shebaa Farms and concern themselves with the Golan and Iskenderun, and the Lebanese are capable – after implementing resolution 1559 and ridding themselves of the hegemony of the Syrian Army and Intelligence Services – of recovering the Shebaa Farms peacefully through the United Nations and without firing a single bullet.
Will the rulers of Damascus finally live and let live, and let us, the Lebanese people live and recover our freedom and independence?

The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on July 05-06/2022
Israel’s Lapid Meets Macron in Paris on First Trip as PM
Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 5 July, 2022
Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday used his first trip abroad since taking office to urge world powers to step up pressure on Iran over its nuclear activities, calling Tehran a threat to regional stability. Lapid met in Paris on Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron, who called on Lapid to revive talks toward peace with the Palestinians and said Israelis are "lucky" to have him in charge. Lapid, who took office Friday, focused on Israel's concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions and the stalled global deal aimed at curbing them. Israel accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons - a charge Iran denies - and says the tattered nuclear deal doesn't include sufficient safeguards to halt Iran’s progress toward making a bomb. "The current situation cannot continue as it is. It will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which would threaten world peace. We must all work together to stop that from happening," Lapid told reporters.He and Macron, both centrists, called each other friends, but disagreed over the Iran nuclear deal. The 2015 deal offered Iran relief from economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities. In 2018, then President Donald Trump, with strong Israeli backing, withdrew from the deal, causing it to unravel. Since then, Iran has stepped up key nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment, well beyond the contours of the original agreement.
Macron called for a return to the 2015 deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but acknowledged that it "will not be enough." France helped negotiate the deal and is one of the parties in talks aimed at trying to revive it.
Israel says that if the agreement is restored, it should include tighter restrictions and address Iran’s non-nuclear military activities across the region. Lapid called the JCPOA a "dangerous deal," saying it isn't tough or far-reaching enough. He said Israel and France "may have disagreements about what the content of the agreement should be, but we do not disagree on the facts: Iran continues to violate the agreement and develop its program, enriching uranium beyond the level it is allowed to and removing cameras from nuclear sites." He heads the centrist Yesh Atid party, and was one of the architects of the historic alliance of eight diverse factions that found common ground in opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu, the first governing coalition to include an Arab party. Lapid will stay in office until a November election and perhaps beyond if no clear winner emerges. Making his first trip abroad as prime minister, Lapid may try to use the meeting with Macron to bolster his credentials as a statesman and alternative to Netanyahu with the Israeli electorate. Macron used their meeting to urge efforts by Israel toward long-term peace with the Palestinians. "There is no alternative to a return to political dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians," he said, to revive "a process that’s been broken for too long."Lapid didn’t address Macron’s appeal in their public remarks. Lapid, unlike Netanyahu, supports a two-state solution with the Palestinians. But as a caretaker leader, he isn't in a position to pursue any major diplomatic initiatives. He and Macron were also expected to discuss Lebanon, days after Israel said it downed three unmanned aircraft launched by the Lebanese Iran-backed Hezbollah party that were heading toward an area where Israel recently installed an offshore gas platform. Hezbollah, which fought a monthlong war against Israel in 2006, has confirmed sending the unarmed drones in a reconnaissance mission. Israel and Lebanon don't have formal diplomatic relations, but have been engaged in indirect US-brokered talks to delineate their maritime border. France is a key supporter of Lebanon, a former French protectorate, and Macron has unsuccessfully tried to broker a solution to Lebanon's political crisis. "Hezbollah has more than 100,000 rockets in Lebanon, aimed at Israel. It tries to attack us with Iranian rockets and UAVs," Lapid said, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles. "Israel will not sit back and do nothing, given these repeated attacks."

Israeli PM to push France on Iran, warn Hezbollah 'playing with fire'
JERUSALEM, July 5 (Reuters)
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Tuesday that he will press French President Emmanuel Macron on the Iranian nuclear negotiations and urge a tougher Lebanese stance against Tehran-backed Hezbollah. Lapid's visit to France, his first abroad since becoming caretaker premier last week, is also a chance to flex diplomatic muscles as Israelis gear up for a snap election in November. France is among world powers trying to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that the previous U.S. administration quit and which Israel opposed, deeming its caps insufficient.
"It is important our voice be heard at this time against this dangerous deal," Lapid told reporters before boarding the plane to Paris where he was set to meet Macron. A senior aide to Lapid said that while Israel opposes a return to the JCPOA 2015 nuclear deal, it could accept a tougher accord.
"We do not oppose a deal. We seek a very strong deal," the aide said. "We want an end to the unending talks," the aide added, calling for "coordinated pressure" on Iran and offering help on "drafting an appropriate framework" for that. Since the U.S. walkout, Iran has itself been in breach of the deal, ramping up projects with bomb-making potential - though it denies having such designs. Its technical advancements have set a ticking clock on the so-far fruitless negotiations. Israel is not a party to the nuclear negotiations. But its worries about its arch-enemy and veiled threats to take preemptive military action if it deems diplomacy a dead end keep Western capitals attentive. It has a de facto front with Iran in Lebanon, home to Hezbollah. As Lebanon's former colonial administrator, France has additional clout in Beirut - whose economic crisis-hit leaders were jarred on Saturday when Israel shot down three Hezbollah drones launched toward one of its Mediterranean gas rigs. "Lebanon’s government must curb such attacks by Hezbollah - or else we shall be forced to do so," Lapid said. His aide said Hezbollah was "playing with fire".The Karish rig near Lebanon's coast will produce gas not only for Israel, but eventually also for the European Union, the official said, tapping into EU countries' quest to replace Russia as an energy supplier since it invaded Ukraine.*Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by David Gregorio and Ed Osmond
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Finland, Sweden Sign Protocol to Join NATO but Still Need Ratification
Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 5 July, 2022
The 30 NATO allies signed off on the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland on Tuesday, sending the membership bids of the two nations to the alliance capitals for legislative approvals. The move further increases Russia's strategic isolation in the wake of its invasion of neighboring Ukraine in February and military struggles there since. "This is truly a historic moment for Finland, for Sweden and for NATO," said alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.The 30 ambassadors and permanent representatives formally approved the decisions of last week’s NATO summit when the alliance made the historic decision to invite Russia’s neighbor Finland and Scandinavian partner Sweden to join the military club. Despite the agreement in the alliance, parliamentary approval in member state Turkey could still pose problems for their final inclusion as members. Last week, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Ankara could still block the process if the two countries fail to fully meet Turkey’s demand to extradite terror suspects with links to outlawed Kurdish groups or the network of an exiled cleric accused of a failed 2016 coup in Turkey.
He said Turkey’s Parliament could refuse to ratify the deal. It is a potent threat since NATO accession must be formally approved by all 30 member states, which gives each a blocking right. Stoltenberg said he expected no change of heart. "There were security concerns that needed to be addressed. And we did what we always do at NATO. We found common ground." Every alliance nation has different legislative challenges and procedures to deal with, and it could take several more months for the two to become official members. "I look forward to a swift ratification process," said Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has given the process added urgency. It will ensconce the two nations in the Western military alliance and give NATO more clout, especially in the face of Moscow’s military threat. "We will be even stronger and our people will be even safer as we face the biggest security crisis in decades," said Stoltenberg. Tuesday’s signing-off does bring both nations deeper into NATO’s fold already. As close partners, they already attended some meetings that involved issues that immediately affected them. As official invitees, they can attend all meetings of the ambassadors even if they do not yet have any voting rights.

UN: Shutting Syria Aid Crossing Would Spell ‘Catastrophe’
Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 5 July, 2022
A closure of the last aid corridor from Turkey into northwest Syria's opposition-held areas would spell "catastrophe" for millions of people, a UN aid official has warned. "This is one of the most vulnerable populations anywhere in the world," said Mark Cutts, UN deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis. "It is absolutely essential that we keep this lifeline going."Cutts spoke ahead of a UN Security Council vote to renew the world body's authorization to deliver assistance through the Bab al-Hawa crossing before its mandate expires on July 10. More than 4,600 aid trucks, carrying mostly food, have crossed it so far this year, helping some 2.4 million people, says the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Russia, an ally of Damascus, has threatened to veto the proposal to extend the aid mechanism having already forced a reduction in the number of crossings, arguing that it violates Syria's sovereignty. "We know things this year are even more politicized than in previous years," Cutts told AFP. "The tensions are very high with the war Ukraine." But he warned that a "failure to renew this resolution will be a catastrophe. There is no alternative currently available that can replace the scale or scope of what the UN is currently doing."Syria's humanitarian needs have reached their highest levels since the 2011 onset of a bloody conflict, that has killed nearly half a million people and forced more than half of the country's pre-war population from their homes. About 13.4 million people across Syria were in need of assistance last year, up from 11.1 million in 2020, OCHA says. The UN resolution permitting aid deliveries across the Syrian-Turkish border at Bab al-Hawa has been in effect since 2014. Syria's opposition-held northwest is home to more than four million people, most of whom are displaced and live in poverty. Aid groups are considering alternatives in the event of a Russian veto, relief officials told AFP on condition of anonymity. They include stepping up deliveries via Damascus and continuing cross-border deliveries through a consortium of international aid groups.
Cutts declined to speak about the UN's contingency plans, but said that they could not substitute the cross-border operation that is heavily involved in risk mitigation, monitoring and reporting. "Our focus is always on ensuring that the aid reaches the people who need it, and that it is not diverted to armed group," Cutts said. "Without the UN role there will be less accountability and less transparency in the overall response... It's hard to guarantee what the situation will be." Russia argues that aid can reach needy populations through government-held areas within Syria, but Cutts said the UN has only managed to arrange for five such deliveries so far. "We are trying to have as much access as possible from different routes," Cutts said. "But it remains a war zone and the cross-line access is always dependent on cooperation between parties to the conflict."Amnesty International on Tuesday accused the Syrian government of deliberately leaving displaced Syrians in areas outside of its control entirely dependent on international aid. "Since losing control of the northwest part of the country, the Syrian government has cut off electricity and water supplies, obstructed aid and attacked camps, medical facilities and schools, putting the onus on humanitarian organizations to provide services," the rights group said in a statement. "There is no effective solution for providing adequate humanitarian aid in northwest Syria except by renewing the existing cross-border mechanism."

NATO allies sign accession protocols for Sweden, Finland
Niamh Cavanagh/Yahoo News/July 5, 2022
LONDON — In what has been called a “historic” moment, NATO’s 30 members have signed off on the accession protocols for Finland and Sweden. The applications for the Nordic countries will now be sent to the parliaments of each member state for approval. It could take up to a year before Finland’s and Sweden’s membership bids are ratified. The two countries’ potential membership in the powerful military alliance represents a major blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Part of the Kremlin’s stated rationale for its invasion of neighboring Ukraine was to halt NATO’s eastward expansion, but that expansion is exactly what it may get. Finland shares a long border with Russia, and the two Nordic countries — once famously neutral — have advanced militaries and strategic ports throughout the Baltic Sea. “This is truly an historic moment. For Finland, for Sweden, for NATO, and for our shared security,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday. The protocol means the two applicants have greater access to NATO’s intelligence and can participate in assemblies. But neither country will be protected by the alliance’s defense clause until it obtains full membership, which mandates that an attack on one country is viewed as aggression against the full alliance. “With 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger and our people will be even safer as we face the biggest security crisis in decades,” Stoltenberg said in a joint statement with Finland’s and Sweden’s foreign ministers.
Tuesday’s breakthrough followed a deal made at last week’s NATO summit in Madrid. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dropped his veto threat, stating that he had received “full cooperation” from both Sweden and Finland against the Kurdish militant group PKK and its allies.
The two countries, in turn, agreed to drop their restrictions on selling munitions to Turkey, and they offered to help in extraditing suspected militants back. This came after more than three hours of deliberation during the Madrid summit.
Both Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in the wake of Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Russia issued vague threats of retaliation in response to their applications.Last Monday, Stoltenberg said the alliance would put 300,000 soldiers on high alert in response to Russia’s war. It would be “the biggest overhaul of our collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War,” he said.

Iran FM Blames US for Failing to Show 'Political Initiative' at Doha Talks
London, Tehran - Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 5 July, 2022
Iran’s foreign minister blamed the US for the failure of indirect talks sponsored by the EU in the Qatari capital, Doha. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also accused Washington of failing to present a “political initiative” that would have given stagnant negotiations a much-needed push. He made the remarks in a phone conversation with his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna. Though describing the Tuesday and Wednesday talks in Doha as positive, he said: “We should wait and see how the American side would seek to use the opportunity of diplomacy.”“We maintain that reiterating previous positions should not replace a political initiative,” he added. Amir-Abdollahian stressed that Iran is serious about reaching a “good and lasting” agreement and has always presented its proposals and ideas in the negotiations. The foreign minister also said that the American side attended the Doha talks without a progress and initiative-oriented approach. He remarked that Iran believes that repetition of the past stances should not take the place of political initiatives. The two-day indirect talks between Iran and the US in Doha last week failed to result in any agreement to settle remaining differences amid international efforts to restore the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran signed the JCPOA with the world's major powers in July 2015, agreeing to curb its nuclear program in return for removing sanctions on the country. However, former US president Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the deal in May 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran, prompting the latter to drop some of its commitments under the pact. Talks to revive the deal began in April 2021 in Vienna but were suspended in March this year because of political differences between Tehran and Washington. Iran's deputy foreign minister and top negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said on Sunday that the time and place of the next negotiations are being finalized. Bagheri Kani had paid an unannounced visit to Russia after Tehran-Washington proximity talks in Doha ended with no results.

Erbil Airport Bars Iranian Flight from Landing
Erbil - Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 5 July, 2022
Erbil International Airport (EIA) prevented an Iranian aircraft from landing on Monday over lack of prior coordination, according to authorities in the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). According to Rudaw, EIA Director Ahmed Hoshyar said that the airport was not informed of the plane’s landing beforehand. “A plane arrived at Erbil’s sky from Urmia, but since we were not informed beforehand and they have no official permit or representative, we did not allow it to land,” said Hoshyar. Erbil was scheduled to have its first two-way flight between Urmia and the Kurdish capital on Monday. However, Hoshyar said that the airport management had previously expressed to Tehran the need to have an Iranian airline representative at Erbil airport before the flight could arrive in the Kurdish capital. Iranian authorities seem to have ignored the calls and the plane was kept in the sky. “We do not know what happened to the plane and where it is headed, but we have told the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority and they will decide if the plane will return to Urmia or land somewhere else,” Hoshyar said. Kurdistan 24 reported that EIA authorities had requested from Pouya Air, the Iranian cargo airline operating the barred flight, to present information about the plane, its passengers and cargo four days ago. However, Pouya Air failed to fulfill the protocols and was eventually banned from landing at EIA. According to Rudaw, the Iranian consulate attributed the problem to a “lack of coordination,” indicating that it is a “temporary issue” between the two airports, and that flights will resume starting next Monday. Tensions broke out between the KRG and Iran in recent months, especially after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards attacked Erbil last March with about 10 ballistic missiles. The unprecedented attack was apparently targeting the US and its allies. Other attacks have targeted oil refineries in Erbil, but no party has claimed responsibility.

Putin Pal Drops Menacing Hint: a ‘Cleansing’ Is Coming for Europe
Shannon Vavra/The Daily Beast/July 5, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s key ally Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has started hinting at what may be next in Russia’s war, and it doesn’t sound pretty. Lukashenko claimed this weekend that he thinks it’s time for Europe to face a “moral cleansing.”“The time has come for the forgetful Europe to give itself a moral cleansing,” Lukashenko said, without going into further detail about what that would entail, according to BelTA. Lukashenko mentioned that efforts to fight Nazis from World War II, or what Russia calls the “Great Patriotic War,” are not over yet—echoing erroneous Russian claims that they are waging war in Ukraine in order to “denazify” or fight Nazis in Ukraine. It is “a war to destroy the Slavic ethnos, cultures and entire nations. Today we often say that this war is not over yet,” Lukashenko said. “It is not over yet because not everyone who was involved in the monstrous facts of that war… has been punished. That war is not over yet because once again, as at the frontline, we are defending our historical memory.”
A Dire Warning: Putin Could Invade Europe Within a Year
His plans for a “cleansing” in Europe coincide with Lukashenko’s claims that Ukraine is escalating tensions with Belarus; Lukashenko claimed Sunday that Ukrainian forces fired missiles at Belarus, which he says the Belarusian military successfully shot down. “We are being provoked,” he said, without providing evidence that the missiles had indeed targeted Belarusian military posts. “They are still trying to drag us into the war in Ukraine. The goal is to get rid of both Russia and Belarus at one fling.”His alarming remarks come just weeks after Belarusian authorities announced the government would be forming a new military unit on the border with Ukraine, form a people’s militia, and launch new exercises to prepare for war—moves that raised concerns among U.S. officials that Putin might be leaning on Lukashenko to act in Ukraine. Lukashenko warned this weekend that the military forces of Belarus and Russia are united and that they have formed a single army. “We are the only country that supports the Russians in this struggle. Those who reproach us, did you not know that we have the closest alliance with the Russian Federation? With a state with which we are building a single, powerful, independent state,” Lukashenko said, adding that he had long ago determined that Belarus would participate in the war. “We were and will continue to be together with fraternal Russia.”The uptick in bellicose statements coming from Belarus comes just days after Lukashenko and Putin met at Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg, where Putin suggested the two countries are becoming closer than ever before.
Putin’s Favorite Copycat Gears Up in Panicked Wartime Frenzy
Lukashenko, though, has worked to walk back some of his statements and tried to convey that he doesn’t have intentions for Belarus to attack Ukraine or go to war with Ukraine, though. “We do not need this war,” he said. Ukrainian intelligence officials sought to downplay Russian efforts to use Belarus, like it did early in the war, as a staging ground to further attack Ukraine as well. “The number [of Russian troops in Belarus] is insignificant, absolutely tiny,” Ukraine’s top military intelligence official, Kyrylo Budanov, said, according to Pravda. Budanov suggested there is no immediate concern that Belarus would invade Ukraine. Read more at The Daily Beast. Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now. Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.

Tunisia President Defends Proposed Constitution amid Criticism
Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 5 July, 2022
Tunisia's president said on Tuesday his proposed constitution would not restore authoritarian rule, hitting back at criticism from across the political spectrum and urging people to support it in this month's referendum. Saied, who ousted the elected parliament last summer to rule by decree in a step his foes call a coup, has published a draft of a new constitution that would greatly expand his powers while weakening checks on his actions. The president's supporters say he is standing up to elite forces whose bungling and corruption have condemned Tunisia to a decade of political paralysis and economic stagnation. In a letter published online he said there was no danger to Tunisians' rights and freedoms. "Everyone knows what Tunisia has suffered for decades, especially the last decade. They emptied state coffers. The poor got poorer, the corrupt got richer," Said said, accusing critics of his constitution of "slanders, far from reality".Most political parties and civil society groups oppose his constitution, saying it was drawn up unilaterally and will lack legitimacy as Tunisians have less than four weeks to decide on it and there is no minimum rate of participation for it to pass. The main journalists union joined the opponents of the constitution and said statement on Tuesday: "We warn of its danger. It does not respond to the principles of freedom of the press and expression". Freedom of speech and press has been a key gain for Tunisians following the 2011 revolution that toppled the late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Even the head of the committee Saied convened to prepare the first draft of his constitution, which he then rewrote, said this weekend that the president's version was "dangerous and paves the way for a disgraceful dictatorial regime". Sadok Belaid, the committee head, said the version Saied had presented did not resemble the draft the committee had prepared.

The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on July 05-06/2022
Will Biden Seize His Middle East Moment?
John Hannah/The Dispatch/July 05/2022
His upcoming trip provides an opportunity to establish unprecedented Arab-Israeli cooperation against the Iranian threat.
In the case of President Joe Biden’s Middle East policy, it turns out that it is better to be lucky than good. Despite the fact that his major policy initiatives in the region have largely come to naught, the geopolitical stars have nevertheless aligned to give Biden what may be an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen collective security when he travels to the Middle East next month—one that his predecessors could have only dreamed of.
Whether Biden can take advantage is an open question. His instincts toward the region have been off from the start. He pursued a policy of open-ended negotiations and accommodation with the anti-American regime in Iran to try to entice it back into the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran repaid Biden’s goodwill by using the talks as cover to further escalate its nuclear program and regional aggression, putting it closer to developing a nuclear bomb than at any point in its history.
Meanwhile, with pro-American Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main counterweight in the Persian Gulf, Biden openly sought to downgrade relations to punish the Arab world’s most influential state and its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS), for his multitude of sins—from his engagement in the civil war in Yemen to the horrific murder of U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, all no doubt made infinitely worse for Biden and his Democratic base by MBS’s excessively cozy relationship with the much-despised Trump administration.
Operation Ostracize MBS turned out to be no more productive for advancing U.S. interests than Biden’s Iran policy, culminating in the shocking spectacle of a Saudi leader refusing to even take Biden’s phone call in the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In the face of the greatest challenge to the U.S.-led rules-based international order since World War II, a country whose security has been totally reliant on U.S. power for eight decades felt so aggrieved that it answered an American president’s desperate plea for help in calming global energy markets by effectively telling him to go pound sand.
To his credit, Biden seems to have realized that both of his original lines of strategic action in the Middle East—appeasing Tehran and alienating Riyadh—have reached a dead end and require serious adjustment. Thus, his decision to travel to Israel and Saudi Arabia later this month, with the apparent goal of not only repairing relations with MBS, but of rallying Washington’s traditional regional partners behind what could be a new U.S.-led alliance system grounded in unprecedented Arab-Israeli cooperation against the Iranian threat.
That historic opportunity exists, of course, because of the Abraham Accords, the process of regional normalization supercharged by the series of peace deals that Donald Trump brokered in the final months of 2020 between Israel and four Arab states. While members of Biden’s senior team have regularly paid lip service to the accords, the administration’s actual level of investment in their advancement has been relatively paltry. There’s no sign whatsoever that Biden himself has expended any significant presidential capital on the effort to deepen and expand the accords during his first 16 months in office. For anyone who knows anything about the history of Middle East peacemaking, that’s hardly a recipe for getting big things done.
Indeed, if anything, Biden’s Saudi and Iran policies have been an impediment to progress. The Saudis are the big prize in the normalization sweepstakes, and MBS has made clear that he sees enormous benefits from making peace with Israel, the region’s dominant military and technological power. But such a game-changing move would also carry significant risks for the kingdom—with religious extremists both at home and abroad only too eager to wield the incendiary charge of “betrayer of Islam” against the House of Saud. The chances that MBS will be prepared to take on the radicals by making significant steps toward Israel are inversely correlated to his belief that Saudi Arabia’s most important security partner, the United States, not only doesn’t have his back, but is working to empower his greatest enemy in Iran.
If Biden can begin correcting that perception during his upcoming trip (which will include not only bilateral discussions with Israel and Saudi Arabia, but a summit in Jeddah with leaders from the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq), the table is now being set for a major breakthrough in regional military cooperation, specifically on the issue of building an integrated air defense network to combat Iran’s increasingly lethal arsenal of missiles and drones, the largest in the Middle East.
The Wall Street Journal reported on June 26 that, in March the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East secretly convened his counterparts from Israel and six Arab states to discuss expanding air defense cooperation against the growing Iranian threat. Despite their lack of formal diplomatic relations, the top generals from both Israel and Saudi Arabia attended.
It's not hard to figure out why. Thanks to the Yemen war, no country on earth has endured more attacks from Iranian-supplied missiles and drones than Saudi Arabia. No country stands to benefit more from gaining access to Israel’s unparalleled experience in building the world’s most successful missile defense system. It’s a match ready to be made, waiting only for a president prepared to put the full weight of America’s power and leadership behind it.
It would be a major victory for Biden, the cornerstone of a new American-led security order that would pay huge dividends not only in containing the escalating threat from Iran, but in stemming the dangerous rise of Chinese and Russian influence in the region. Better yet, Biden would be certain to have broad support in Congress, where earlier this month a bipartisan group of legislators from both chambers introduced the DEFEND Act, urging the administration to move rapidly to help build an integrated air defense system between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Despite all Biden’s missteps, history is calling him in the Middle East. The opportunity to transform the region in ways overwhelmingly favorable to America’s interests lies within his grasp—if he’s prepared to seize it. Going to the region is an important first step. But reversing his failed policies of the past year will be the key.
*John Hannah, former national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, is the Randi and Charles Wax senior fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America.. He was the lead author of the Institute’s recent report, “A Stronger and Wider Peace: A U.S. Strategy for Advancing the Abraham Accords.”

US is playing risky game with Saudi Arabia and Iran
Lawrence J. Haas/The Hill/July 05/2022
“This summit,” Khaled Al-Suleiman, a Saudi Arabian columnist, wrote of President Biden’s upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia, “may be a golden opportunity for the American president to restore the [regional countries’] faith in America as a trustworthy historical ally with a solid policy that can be relied upon.
“For the alternative,” he warned, “is that these countries will actually change the map of their international alliances in order to safeguard their interests and enhance their ability to overcome the miscalculations of some of their traditional Western allies regarding the need to defend them from the threat of Iran, whose aggression is known to all and which never stops threatening and igniting fires and wars in the region!”
As Riyadh was planning to seek Biden’s assurances that Washington remains a reliable partner in confronting Iran’s regional expansionism, U.S. and Iranian officials met in Doha in hopes of reviving the 2015 global nuclear deal with Iran — the very deal that Riyadh opposes because it won’t prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons over the long term and because it would do nothing to curb Tehran’s terror sponsorship and other destabilizing regional activities.
For Washington, the question is whether it can have its cake and eat it too — reassure a leader of Sunni Arab nations that seek to contain Shia Iran and reach a nuclear modus vivendi with the latter. The risk, of course, is that Washington will lose on both fronts — fail to revive the nuclear deal and feed more concerns among Saudi officials that Riyadh may need to reconsider its heavy reliance on Washington for regional security.
To be sure, Biden faces an unusually complicated global landscape that has forced him to backtrack on his campaign promise to make Riyadh a “pariah” over human rights, particularly over the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi that the U.S. intelligence community believes was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
The unprecedented sanctions that Washington and its allies have imposed on Russia, along with the growing military arsenal they have sent to Ukraine, have not forced Vladimir Putin to re-think the aggression that has shaken the post-war order. After stalling elsewhere on the ground, Russia’s military is making progress in capturing territory in Ukraine’s eastern region while shelling civilian sites in hopes of demoralizing Ukrainians and prompting Kyiv to surrender.
Moreover, sanctions on Russia’s oil sector have sent global oil prices much higher. That, and decisions by China and India to buy more Russian oil, have enabled Moscow to make more money from oil sales than before it invaded Ukraine. At the same time, U.S. consumers are paying much more at the pump, helping to drive inflationary pressures that prompted the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates dramatically. That move, in turn, is threatening to spark a U.S. recession.
Not surprisingly, Biden hopes to convince Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to increase oil production in hopes of lowering prices and, with mid-term congressional elections looming, to give himself a political boost.
Riyadh, however, seems emboldened by Biden’s decision to scrap the “pariah” talk and visit the kingdom.
“[T]he Biden administration must prove that its renewed interest in the Gulf states is not [just] circumstantial and is not just a constraint imposed by the need for oil,” the pro-government Al-Riyadh newspaper wrote in an editorial. “Moreover, it must prove with deeds, not just with words, that it is still committed to the security of the Gulf and [recognizes that] the Gulf [states] have urgent needs that must be considered.”
Biden’s hopes of strengthening U.S.-Saudi relations is just one more reason to wonder why the administration still wants to revive a nuclear deal that, at best, would constrain Iran’s nuclear pursuits only until the deal expired in the coming years.
As the Saudis, other Gulf nations, and Israel have complained relentlessly, a revived deal would do nothing to constrain Iran’s nuclear-related ballistic missile program or force Tehran to change its regional behavior.
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Nor would it force Iranian officials to cooperate with nuclear inspectors any more than they did before President Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018. After the International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution in early June to urge Tehran to fully cooperate with inspectors who were probing suspected nuclear activity at three undeclared sites, Tehran responded that it would disconnect 27 cameras at nuclear-related sites that were designed to monitor its compliance with the nuclear deal.
All in all, Biden’s commitment to reviving the nuclear deal is not only problematic in terms of curbing Iranian nuclear activity, but it also threatens to undercut his effort to restore relations with Riyadh that have become increasingly important to U.S. strategic interests.
*Lawrence J. Haas, senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, is the author of “The Kennedys in the World: How Jack, Bobby, and Ted Remade America’s Empire,” from Potomac Books.

'Authority' from Rousseau to Weber
Dr. Abdullah Faisal Alrabeh/Asharq Al Awsat/July, 05/2022
Since the dawn of man, human beings have been organizing themselves into groups. Human beings have always been careful to manage their affairs within the community and manage their community’s relations with others.
Before the concept of a modern state emerged, the concept of authority was used to refer to the body governing the affairs of individuals within a community, ensuring their protection from the threats posed by other groups. Philosophy and human relationships evolved in parallel - sometimes at a greater pace - with societies’ evolution.
One cannot discuss authority and managing society’s affairs without mentioning France's Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778), who introduced a new way of looking into and understanding the ties between rulers and their subjects.
He believed that this matter could not be summed up to the dynamic and relationship between an elite that is powerful and another weaker one under its control. Everyone yields to a higher power in one way or another. Thus, Rousseau asserts in the introduction of his renowned book "The Social Contract" that "man is born free and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they." With his social contract, each member of society gives up some "natural rights" to integrate into civilized society.
In the European cultural context of his time, "natural rights" referred to the capacity to act and do. Individuals let go of the capacity to undertake certain actions that their strength allows in favor of communal peace, which protects them from those stronger than them. This is the spirit of the social contract; the strong refrain from aggressing those weaker than them in return for guaranteed protection from those who are stronger than them.
The century after the one Rousseau lived in saw the most important social change in Europe’s history as it industrialized. This economic shift was accompanied by major social changes to the way in which families were structured, urban centers were developed, and individuals engaged in politics.
Over the two centuries that followed Rousseau’s "The Social Contract", the concept and the structure of the modern state began to develop both philosophically and materially. Nonetheless, many of the philosophers who tried to find the foundations of legitimacy as such continued to obsess over the question of authority as an abstract concept. Here, we must discuss the work of German sociologist Max Weber (1864 - 1920) and his famous three types of authority.
Each of these authorities’ legitimacy ensues from the ideal type that suits the culture of the population; it rules through the type of authority associated with that ideal type. They are:
- Traditional authority: The members of the community (or society) accept the legitimacy of a particular elite’s authority based on precedent (historical right) or sacred (religion). This elite could be a ruling family governing in the name of its historical right to do so, which is inherited across the family’s generations, or it could be a group of religious clerics who are considered the reference point of a particular belief.
Here, only this elite is involved in determining the ruler, who becomes the leader of its political or religious authority. Just as the ruling family determines the king and his crown prince, so too do religious institutions like the Vatican, whose cardinals name the pope.
- Charismatic authority: An authority is considered charismatic when it is led by an inspiring leader whose distinct qualities mesmerize the masses who see his virtues as the basis of the authority’s legitimacy, regardless of his family background or other merits. However, this more consequential problem for this type’s sustainability is the issue of succession, as the question of who will succeed the inspiring leader in the event of his sudden death is not an easy one to resolve.
- Legal rational authority: The responsibilities of every position and the requisite merits for occupying it are clearly laid out. Here, citizens elect the elites to their positions. This style is also known as the bureaucratic type, whereby a person’s qualities, qualifications, and the limits of their power are publicly available in detail, allowing the community to elect him based on those criteria.
Weber believes that the first two types are irrational, as access to power is limited to a particular group as in the first type and to a specific individual as in the second type. Weber believes that the third type is the most suitable for modern society, as it is the foundation on which advanced industrial societies are built. It is important to take note of an achievement of Weber’s; he succeeded in standardizing authority into three categories, and it is difficult to imagine any authority in history that could not be labeled as one of these three. No matter how divergent the cases, we will find that ultimately, any authority derives its legitimacy from one of these. Weber’s preference for the third type that legitimizes democracy is inseparable from the environment in which he lived. European industrial society is founded on a capitalist economy that gives priority to the individual. Just as the individual is free economically, he must also be free in his private social life; in order to guarantee his economic and social freedom, a sustainable authority whose members are assigned through regular elections, which are also held to ensure that the authority keeps pace with shifts in public opinion with through limiting their time in office.
For societies that are not founded primarily on industrial capitalism, the third type is not necessarily the best.
Countries with a rentier economy or whose citizens ask their rulers to intervene directly in economic and social affairs by subsidizing goods or providing free services, specifically in the fields of health and education, cannot guarantee this to their citizens if the authority is completely renewable. The ideal democratic system deals with governance exactly like a company’s board of directors deals with shareholders.
The legal-rational type that Weber introduces does not allow for much flexibility. These political systems are based on material written with such detail that Weber calls it "irrationality of rationality." And it is on the basis of this material that laws that have unfair outcomes are passed, and in order to avoid its negative ramifications, polities must circumvent the system - or its interpretations - by employing clever lawyers. This is what democratic countries are witnessing today from the flourishing market of lawyers who are trying to find legal-rational ways out for those who had not been justly treated.
This paradox brings us back to the Rousseau quote we began with: "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they."
The freedom advocated by legal-rational authority applies in theory but restricts people’s freedom in practice. And thus, the three types put forward by Weber apply to all societies, regardless of culture and the knowledge structures that decide what is an acceptable foundation for the legitimacy of the authority tasked with managing the people’s affairs.
What Weber saw as valid for Europe and was successfully applied in other countries did not function properly in several countries around the world in which a traditional communal mentality or the sanctity of religion dominate. The imposition of democracy on Iraq is a model for how to bring down democracy in a space where clans and religious figures are sanctified.

Nuclear Is The Future. Tiger and Bill Gates Know It
Anjani Trivedi/Bloomberg/July, 05/2022
As energy security becomes a growing source of angst, it’s clear that large-scale, reliable use of renewable resources remain a distant reality in many countries. That’s allowed a more controversial — and almost perfect — alternative to make a comeback: nuclear. Trouble is, nobody wants a reactor in their backyard and the memories of past accidents remains a serious concern.
But with costs rising and few solutions at hand, both governments and companies are turning to nuclear power as a cleaner and cheaper source to help them reach their ambitious climate goals.
Even if a few years away, the development of, and investment in, nuclear energy sources and storage methods could ensure industrial operations highly dependent on pre-heating processes for raw materials and high temperatures are able to function as the world navigates its way through this energy crisis. With all the supply chain snarls over the past year, a power shortage is the last thing consumers and businesses need.
In Japan, the median levelized cost of energy 1 is far lower than utility scale solar and offshore wind. A recent survey showed that more than 80% of Japanese companies are in favor of restarting nuclear reactors to meet power needs. Electric utility Kansai Electric Power Co. is resuming work at one its idled reactors earlier than planned to manage energy demand. Bringing the Mihama No. 3 reactor online will lower need for liquefied natural gas, and the firm’s nuclear generation could grow 76% by 2023 as it brings back more reactors, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
In India and China, it’s proving competitive, too, where dirtier options like coal are now more expensive. South Korea is focused on reviving nuclear power, which contributes to about 27% of the nation’s energy mix.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration issued a notice of intent for the implementation of a $6 billion nuclear credit program that supports the operation of reactors — “the nation’s largest source of clean power” — across the country. Last week, the US Department of Energy awarded over $60 million for 74 nuclear projects. British jet engine maker Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd., backed by the UK government and other investors, said late last year it was going to begin building smaller and cheaper reactors. Some of its compact modular reactors are expected to come online by 2029 and the regulatory processes are already underway.
The return to nuclear makes sense: The cost of extending the lifetime of power plants and building reactors in countries that have stuck by the energy form is cheaper and competitive. Those that haven’t are now struggling with their aging fleet of reactors and lack of other sources.
The biggest stumbling block, though, is the deep-seated anxieties around safety and waste disposal. Memories of nuclear accidents like Three Mile Island in 1979, Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima Daiichi in 2011 continue to loom large in both public and corporate memory. Yet what’s often forgotten is that on a deaths-per-unit of electricity basis, nuclear remains at the bottom of the list, while coal is at the top. The progress that’s been made on alleviating issues around nuclear power is underappreciated. For instance, safety in reactors is typically based on an assessment of the core melting. To address these concerns, 14 countries have come up with lower-risk designs and development of a new generation of reactors. These systems will use different coolants, like molten salts or liquid metal, and methods that ultimately make nuclear power production cleaner, secure and more efficient. Reactors that use such materials seek to reduce or cut the production of dangerous gases that explode under pressure.
A host of startups are working on making nuclear power more acceptable. NuScale Power LLC is building small modular reactors that could eventually power 60,000 homes per unit. The firm, which has received more than $450 million of support from Washington, is working with the US and Romanian governments to build a plant in the eastern European country. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Seaborg Technologies has teamed up with Samsung Heavy Industries Co. to build a floating, compact molten salt reactor that could change energy use in logistics. Bill Gates-backed TerraPower — also focused on small reactors — has partnered with South Korea’s industrial conglomerate SK Group to build these plants.
Nuclear power stands to be the solution, or at least fill major energy gaps, in the coming years. In addition to the existing nuclear fission used in commercial reactors, startups are now pushing towards nuclear fusion technologies and have raised billions of dollars from the likes of Tiger Global LP and Bill Gates. Rejecting the power source out of fear isn’t going to get us too far, and nor will scare-mongering. Companies and countries shouldn’t be shying away from openly discussing nuclear energy and raising awareness. Public acceptance is key. Without it, we’ll be breathing dirty air and living through outages.

No, the West Should Not Appease Erdogan
Sinan Ciddi/The National Interest/July 05/2022
Overlooking the severity of Erdogan’s acts of governance in order to find a way to work with Turkey fundamentally undermines the objectives the West is seeking to achieve and uphold.
Arecent piece by Maximillian Hess in Foreign Policy magazine stumped many Turkey watchers, including myself, in stating that Turkish president Recep Tayyip “Erdogan is an unsavory character and will likely remain one. But it is in the West’s interest that he be on its side—not Russia’s—in order to weaken Putin and ensure Ukraine’s survival. The opportunity is there, and it would be unwise of the West not to try.” The article’s logic, as can be inferred by the quote, rests on the premise, that, yes, Erdogan is a bad actor, but given everything that is going on, we should find a way to work with him. This attempt to appease a malevolent actor should not be the standard that the West aspires to in trying to achieve its objectives for one very simple reason: it will not work.
From time to time, analyses surface that advocate for finding ways to work with Erdogan’s Turkey—despite Erdogan. As in the Hess piece, they follow a simplistic yet flawed assumption that Turkey is too important of a partner—even ally—to ignore. Such analyses have ramped up once more in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, arguing that we need to leave no stone unturned to spoil Vladimir Putin’s revisionist aspirations that threaten the very essence of the liberal international order, in addition to the security of our European allies. I do not quibble with this rationale, however, the way to achieve this goal is not by appeasing Erdogan. Finding a way to address Erdogan’s goals and then chart a joint course forward that will pull Turkey away from Russia and back into the Western fold is simply not realistic. Indeed, while I would like Turkey to be resituated as a reliable and responsible partner within the Western security architecture, it is not achievable under Erdogan. Put simply, when it comes to dealing with Erdogan’s Turkey, there is no stone that has yet to be turned over, and no “new thing” that has yet to be thought of. Finding a way to accommodate Erdogan’s interests would not only require the West to compromise on its values, but it would endanger the security and stability of the Western alliance.
The reasoning behind my indignant view is based on a long list of deplorable acts by Erdogan, which cannot and should not be overlooked and forgotten. Among the notable examples that help underscore this point is the Syrian conflict. This is the theater in which Erdogan worked tirelessly to undermine the international community’s security goals. In his obsessive quest to topple the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus, which as a pursuit had no discernable strategic gain for Turkey or for the West, Erdogan enabled scores of foreign fighters to join the ranks of the Islamic State (ISIS), provided logistical and medical support to the organization, and sold and transferred weapons to an entity which arguably presented the single biggest security threat to the region since Al Qaeda. At the time (2012-2015), imbedded journalists in the region described Turkey akin to being a “jihadi highway” that witnessed scores of unchecked terrorists flow through its borders. Should this be forgotten? Should the West assume that it can work with Turkey against Russia? Not really.
In addition to his dangerous exploits, Erdogan has succeeded in seriously threatening NATO’s cohesivity by directly purchasing the S-400 Russian-made missile defense system, resulting in Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program, which it was a producing consortium member of. The S-400s, while remaining warehoused since 2019, have the potential—if deployed—to cause serious damage to alliance security, owing to their ability to collect significant targeting information on allied aircraft which can be shared with the Russians.
On the subject of Russia, while Turkey is seemingly aiding Ukrainian forces through the sale of Bayraktar drones, it refuses to participate in the sanctions regime against Russia. On the contrary, Erdogan is actively undermining Western sanctions by allowing the transfer and deposit of Russian financial assets into Turkish state banks. This concern resulted in the U.S. deputy secretary of the treasury visiting Turkey and warning it against continuing. Meanwhile, in return for Erdogan’s willingness to accommodate Russia’s need to access international financial markets, Putin is rewarding Turkey by allowing the shipment of stolen Ukrainian grain to Turkey—goods, that is, that were stolen from the Ukrainian people and are now being peddled on the international market for appropriate buyers.
But Erdogan has also taken further action against Western security: military escalation by Turkish naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean that directly challenge established territorial waters and exclusive economic zones of countries such as Cyprus and Greece; Turkey’s continued insistence on hosting representative of Hamas members inside of its borders and conferring legitimacy on them; not to mention daily assaults on democratic governance within Turkey itself. Within the last week, a judge appointed by Erdogan’s ministry of justice reduced the sentence of a woman’s murderer, whom he had raped, burned, and then tossed away in an oil drum. This is in addition to the unjust incarceration of scores of political dissidents inside the country, as represented in headline cases such as the human rights activist Osman Kavala as well as U.S. embassy personnel such as Metin Topuz.
Overlooking the severity of Erdogan’s acts of governance in order to find a way to work with Turkey fundamentally undermines the objectives the West is seeking to achieve and uphold. Erdogan’s only recent positive outreach toward the West is removing his objections to allowing Finland and Sweden to join NATO. However, this single move does not address any of the other and ongoing concerns listed above and beyond. It is imperative for the West to understand that it does not need Turkey to realize its security interests. For NATO, the United States, and the European Union, there is clear path for how to approach Erdogan: offer him the opportunity to do the right thing: this may involve offering an off-ramp to rid Turkey of its S-400s. In the case of NATO expansion, NATO members could have offered all the security guarantees to Finland and Sweden under Article V short of membership. In terms of supporting Turkey as a democracy, the EU and the United States should unequivocally encourage the rule of law and free and fair elections and call out Turkey’s frequent transgressions. The Western alliance is without doubt facing numerous challenges that threaten the core pillars of Western security. But this does not mean that the West should work with malign actors, who only stand to further harm it.
*Sinan Ciddi is a non-resident senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), where he contributes to FDD’s Turkey Program and Center on Military and Political Power (CMPP). He is also an Associate Professor of Security Studies at the Command and Staff College-Marine Corps University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He tweets @sinanciddi​.

Turkey: Erdoğan Fishing for Trouble in the Aegean Sea - Again
Burak Bekdil/Gatestone Institute/July 05/2022
Various opinion polls put [Erdoğan's] popularity at less than 30%, compared to the 52% with which he won re-election in 2018.
Many Turks, although starving, are nevertheless proud that they have a leader who can confront the "infidel West" -- including their traditional rival and neighbor, Greece. It is precisely this feeling that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose popularity has been plummeting in recent months, sees as a national weakness to stoke.
What should Erdoğan do, therefore, as former loyalists of his powerful Justice and Development Party (AKP) seem to be deserting en masse?
Erdoğan has already set the stage for the new episode of his theatrical extravaganza. His coalition partner, ultranationalist leader Devlet Bahçeli, claimed that U.S. military bases in Greece pose a "direct threat" to Turkish security... How could a peaceable NATO ally, Greece, pose a direct threat to another NATO member, Turkey, home to US military bases? Are US bases in Turkey a direct threat to Turkey?
Erdoğan did not mention that the same treaties also ban the militarization of Turkey's islands in the Aegean Sea and Turkey's Dardanelles and Bosporus straits.
Fortunately, all these theatrics are about barking, not biting. Turkey does not have the political, military or economic might to invade a member of the EU... Turkey invading Greece is not Russia invading Ukraine. Erdoğan is a gambler who has used the same tactic for domestic consumption many times before. The ruse never ended up in a war across the Aegean. This one is no exception: Erdoğan, whatever he is, is not suicidal.
Many Turks, although starving, are nevertheless proud that they have a leader who can confront the "infidel West." President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sees this feeling as a national weakness to stoke. Warmongering, the Islamist strongman evidently calculates, may convince Turks to support revisionist bullying and ignore their misery. Pictured: Erdoğan addresses the media representatives at the NATO summit in Madrid, on June 30, 2022.
Turkey is a year away from presidential and parliamentary elections. Many Turks are starving. Literally. Their per capita GDP of around $9,500 has crushed many of them under a triple-digit inflation rate and a fast-depreciating national currency, while independent economists warn that this may be only the beginning of worse torment in a country of 84 million people, excluding 9 million refugees and migrants.
Many Turks, although starving, are nevertheless proud that they have a leader who can confront the "infidel West" -- including their traditional rival and neighbor, Greece. It is precisely this feeling that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose popularity has been plummeting in recent months, sees as a national weakness to stoke. Warmongering, the Islamist strongman evidently calculates, may convince the Turks to support revisionist bullying and ignore their misery.
Erdoğan, in this latest gamble, appears both right and wrong. He is right that his warmongering consolidates his grassroots supporters -- conservative Muslim and nationalist Turks, an unquestioning 20% of voters. But he is wrong that playing the regional neo-Ottoman bully will suffice to earn him a third term as president. Various opinion polls put his popularity at less than 30%, compared to the 52% with which he won re-election in 2018.
What should Erdoğan do, therefore, as former loyalists of his powerful Justice and Development Party (AKP) seem to be deserting en masse? Revisit the same pre-election political recipe that has worked numerous times before:
Provoke tensions in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean Seas;
Pray that Greek politicians feel compelled to reciprocate;
Raise the stakes through inflammatory rhetoric;
Provoke the Turks' anti-Hellenic sentiment, get national applause;
Play the neo-Ottoman hero fighting the infidels;
Pray that the US and EU join his theatrical production on Greece's side;
Turn the whole play into a drama of Turks vs. infidel Westerners;
Add some military fuel into the plot to provoke Turks' nationalist, militaristic feelings;
Tell the Turks, "We are at near war with the infidel Westerners";
In the final act, tell the Turks that their poverty is the result of Turkey's confrontation with the West and that "we all must pay this price for our independence."
Erdoğan has already set the stage for the new episode of his theatrical extravaganza. His coalition partner, ultranationalist leader Devlet Bahçeli, claimed that U.S. military bases in Greece pose a "direct threat" to Turkish security. That is nonsense. But more nonsensical than Bahçeli's comment was the universal silence. How could a peaceable NATO ally, Greece, pose a direct threat to another NATO member, Turkey, home to US military bases? Are US bases in Turkey a direct threat to Turkey?
In a June 9 speech, Erdoğan said that Greece should stop posting military personnel on its Aegean islands that have a demilitarized status under the 1923 Lausanne Treaty and 1947 Paris Treaty. He called on Athens to "avoid dreams, acts and statements that will result in regret, as it did a century ago, and to return to its senses," and invoked Turkey's war of independence in the early 1920s, when Turks defeated occupying powers, including Greece. Erdoğan did not mention that the same treaties also ban the militarization of Turkey's islands in the Aegean Sea and Turkey's Dardanelles and Bosporus straits.
Escalation was on the way. Earlier, Erdoğan announced that Turkey was halting all bilateral talks with Greece over a row with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on what Ankara calls "airspace violations."
In this crescendo of Turkey's inflammatory rhetoric, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu played his part. He repeatedly said that if Athens persisted in militarizing its islands, Turkey would start questioning Greek sovereignty over them. Now we have casus belli in the plot.
The AKP's spokesman, Ömer Çelik, has also joined in the "we'll-soon-invade-the-islands" chorus as he threatened Greece with the "Turks suddenly coming one night."
Now it is time for the extras to play their parts. The Erdoğan-controlled media are running campaigns saying that 22 Greek islands in the Aegean Sea can be claimed by Turkey, and that Turkey has sovereignty over nine of them, including Samos, Lesbos, Chios, Limnos, Rhodes and Ikaria.
Fortunately, all these theatrics are about barking, not biting. Turkey does not have the political, military or economic might to invade a member of the EU, with the West watching. Turkey invading Greece is not Russia invading Ukraine. Erdoğan is a gambler who has used the same tactic for domestic consumption many times before. The ruse never ended up in a war across the Aegean. This one is no exception: Erdoğan, whatever he is, is not suicidal.
*Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was recently fired from the country's most noted newspaper after 29 years, for writing in Gatestone what is taking place in Turkey. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
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بارعة علم الدين: تواجه أجهزة التجسس الإيرانية ازدياداً كبيراً في فشلها وفي تراكم الخيبات والإذلال
Humiliation piled on humiliation for Iran’s spy agencies
Baria Alamuddin/Arab News/July 05, 2022
It turns out Iran’s intelligence services aren’t so intelligent after all. After a series of mortifying failures, Hossein Taeb — Iran’s “untouchable” spy chief, with close ties to the supreme leader — has been summarily thrown overboard.
This was a man who enjoyed immense power and unimaginable resources, and was responsible for crushing domestic dissent and eliminating threats and irritants overseas.
Taeb climbed to the top of Iran’s greasy pole in 2009 through playing a prominent role in the mass killing and torture of protesters. In recent days the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps lauded such atrocities as great accomplishments.
Taeb was exposed as comically incompetent when Israeli agents assassinated at least seven nuclear scientists and intelligence officials in the past two months. Attackers struck deep inside some of Iran’s most secret locations; they came out of nowhere then simply melted away, giving rise to confused reports in the Iranian media about killer robots, suicide drones, masked assassins and self-firing machineguns. Some of these sabotage operations were overseen from neighboring Azerbaijan and Iraqi Kurdistan. Those coordinating the strikes succeeded in recruiting significant numbers of Iranians with the necessary skills and connections, probably including employees at these sites, and even carried out two attacks on the flagship Natanz nuclear plant.
The rot goes all the way to the top: Gen Ali Nasiri, a senior Guards commander, was arrested for spying for Israel, and several dozen employees from the Ministry of Defense’s missile development program are thought to have been detained on suspicion of leaking classified military information, including missile blueprints, to Israel. Ayoob Entezari, an aerospace engineer, was fatally poisoned at a dinner party. The event’s host hasn’t been seen since. Entezari’s “martyrdom” was first denounced as an act of “biological terror,” before the Iranian media suddenly changed its story — denying foul play, or even that Entezari held a sensitive role, in a transparent attempt to hide how badly the intelligence agencies had bungled. Again! Hardly a week goes by without reports of mysterious explosions, assassinations, and hacking of critical infrastructure. Last week three Iranian steel factories, major suppliers to the Guards, were hit by a cyberattack.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gloated about his “octopus doctrine” — instead of focusing on the tentacles, he goes “straight for the head.” Unfortunately, although these attacks are shattering the regime’s morale, they are mere pinpricks. If Israel wants to halt Iran’s nuclear program and its transnational paramilitary armies, full-on decapitation is required.
In the meantime, this demented octopus has flailed about, wildly threatening revenge but rarely delivering. Remember all the promises to unleash “divine vengeance” for the 2020 killing of Qassim Soleimani and Abu-Mahdi Al-Muhandis? Or to avenge the assassination of nuclear chief Mohsen Fakhrizadeh?
The Islamic Republic is a time bomb waiting to implode through the accumulation of its own failures. Never has there been a better time for regional powers to light the fuse and put an end to this evil once and for all.
Taeb sought retribution for the killing of Col. Sayad Khodaei, deputy commander of a covert Guards assassinations unit, by sending his goons to Turkey to kill Israeli diplomats and tourists. However, Israel tipped off Ankara and the conspiracy was thwarted. Similar operations appear to have been planned in Egypt. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu declared that Ankara would not tolerate terror attacks on its soil, an indication of how such botched operations are pulling Turkey closer into the coalescing alliance of anti-Iran states.
Entrenched Iranian positions and outlandish new demands are derailing the revival of the Iran nuclear deal. Neither side holds out much hope for success, but they fear the consequences of admitting that talks have failed.
Nevertheless, American officials asserted that Iran had been severely discountenanced by prospects of a regional defense pact. Israel has acquiesced to the supply of sophisticated air defense systems, radars, and cyber technology to new allies, the US is encouraging Egypt and Jordan to deepen security ties with Israel, and there is the game-changing prospect that Israel and Saudi Arabia could be part of such an alliance.
Such nervousness is certainly motivating Tehran’s recent outreach to Riyadh. Saudi officials are right to not trust a word they hear, stressing that they need to see de-escalatory actions, not empty words. Perhaps the Iranian president’s recent voicing of support for a ceasefire in Yemen is a move in this direction.
Lack of progress is spurring Iran to apply pressure elsewhere, including efforts to take over the government in Iraq, and an incident in which Israel shot down three Hezbollah drones near an Israeli gas rig in an area of sea claimed by Lebanon.
“The region is changing, alliances are changing… These are serious threats that need to be thwarted,” one senior Iranian official nervously told Reuters. However, another one commented: “Our nuclear program is advancing every day. Time is on our side.”The Revolutionary Guards probably don’t want a revived nuclear deal. The paradoxical impact of sanctions has been that most oil is smuggled out via their vast economic conglomerates, and as the price soars they are making a killing. Their revenues now mostly come from outside the official government budget, something that wouldn’t be tenable if the deal were revived — hence the deliberately obstructive demand that sanctions be lifted from the the Guards’ economic empire, Khatam Al-Anbiya.
Iran meanwhile is disintegrating from the inside. Last month there were major anti-government protests and strikes throughout the country. Pensioners have been demonstrating over the wiping out of their pensions by runaway inflation, the result of incompetent regime policies. The currency plunged 25 percent in four months.
The Islamic Republic is its own worst enemy. The most likely prospect for slaying this dragon is collapse from within: Iranians hate this regime and much of the country is a patchwork of oppressed minorities who sooner or later will unite to oust the detested ayatollahs. Regional powers are right to put their energies into a defensive alliance to counter Iranian expansionism; the only regret is that this didn’t happen 40 years ago. However, the most fertile avenue for ending such maleficence is for a focused campaign within Iran itself, capitalizing on the ayatollahs’ incompetence, misgovernance and unpopularity.
The Islamic Republic is a time bomb waiting to implode through the accumulation of its own failures. Never has there been a better time for regional powers to light the fuse and put an end to this evil once and for all.
• Baria Alamuddin is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East and the UK. She is editor of the Media Services Syndicate and has interviewed numerous heads of state.

د.ماجد رفي زاده: يبدو أن جميع الأطراف تريد اتفاقًا نوويًا جديدًا مع إيران
All parties appear to want a new Iran nuclear deal
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Arab News/July 05, 2022
The latest developments indicate there is a high probability that the P5+1 world powers (the UK, Russia, China, the US, France and Germany) and the Iranian regime will ultimately strike a new nuclear deal. This is due to the fact that the Europeans, the US and Iran are all desperate to reach an agreement for different reasons.
The EU appears determined to finalize a new deal with Iran in spite of Tehran’s increasing nuclear defiance, the rapid advancement of its nuclear program and its unnecessary and irrational demands. After the talks in Vienna were stalled, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell traveled to Tehran in order to “reverse current tensions” and seal the nuclear deal. He succeeded in securing a resumption of discussions as his efforts led to last week’s indirect talks between the US and Iran in Qatar.
European countries do not want to lose their economic relationships and trade with Iran. They continue to trade with Tehran in spite of the existing US sanctions. The Tehran Times reported in February: “The value of trade between Iran and the European Union reached €4.863 billion ($5.07 billion) in 2021, registering a 9 percent growth compared to the previous year… According to data released by the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Iran exported €554 million-worth of commodities to the union during the first nine months of 2021, while importing goods valued at €2.7 billion.” According to the Financial Tribune, Germany is Iran’s top European trading partner, followed by Italy.
Meanwhile, as the Europeans are cutting down on their gas and oil imports from Russia, they seem to be looking for Iran to make up the deficit. Borrell in May told The Financial Times: “We Europeans will be very much beneficiaries from this (nuclear) deal, the situation has changed now. For us it was something… ‘well, we don’t need it (Iranian crude).’ Now it would be very much interesting for us to have another supplier.”
When it comes to the US, the Biden administration has invested all its political capital in a renewed nuclear deal and it seems reluctant to pursue any alternatives. The White House may fear that, if a deal is not reached with the Iranian government, a military conflict would be inevitable in order to stop the regime from obtaining nuclear weapons.
By reaching a deal, the Biden administration could claim a foreign policy accomplishment and a political victory.
Being involved in another war in the Middle East might be another negative for the Biden administration’s approval rating in the US. Currently, a majority of the American people disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign affairs, according to a Gallup poll. But by reaching a nuclear deal, the Biden administration could claim a foreign policy accomplishment and a political victory by arguing that it has curbed Iran’s nuclear program, prevented Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, avoided another war in the Middle East and stopped a nuclear arms race in the region.
The other key player is the Iranian regime. Does Iran want a nuclear deal and, if so, why is it throwing down obstacles that are preventing an agreement? The Iranian leaders clearly want a deal because it would help them increase their oil and gas exports and boost their revenues. Iran is currently facing high inflation, a budget crisis, the devaluation of its currency and rising dissent.
More than 60 domestic economists last month warned the Iranian government that it needs to act immediately to address the economy. They suggested that Tehran must reach an agreement with the P5+1 in order to have sanctions lifted and it must meet the demands issued by the Financial Action Task Force, which has blacklisted Iran. They added: “The country’s situation is extremely fragile… People’s patience will run out and will place the government and the regime face to face with the people.”
But the regime is playing hardball to obtain as many concessions as it can before agreeing to a deal with the world powers. The two concessions that Iran is requesting are the removal of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from America’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and a guarantee that Washington will not abandon the nuclear deal, as it previously did under Donald Trump. However, the Iranian authorities appear willing to abandon their demands, since they recently proposed a new plan without the IRGC request.
Like the US and the EU, the Iranian regime wants to get the nuclear deal done, but it is playing its classic game to obtain as many concessions as it can before signing up.
• Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist.
Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh