English LCCC Newsbulletin For Lebanese, Lebanese Related, Global News & Editorials
For June 23/2022
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For today
Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 16/20-24/:”Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labour, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”

Titels For English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on June 22-23/2022
President Aoun tackles current issues with MPs Traboulsi and Pakradouni, discusses existing cooperation between Lebanese and Nepalese military forces...
KSA, Jordan stress keenness on Lebanon stability, urge reforms
Jumblat hopes to see words supporting army, security forces 'translated into actions'
Bread sold on black market in Nabatiyeh, queues in Sidon
Lebanon FX Reserves Down $2.2 Bln in 2022, $11 Bln Left, Says Central Bank Governor
State Security enters Salameh's home accompanied by Judge Aoun
Mouawad, Rifi, Makhzoumi, Abdel Massih say seeking unity against Mikati’s candidacy
Geagea says LF won't nominate anyone for PM-designate post
Corona - MoPH: 861 new coronavirus infections, one death
Nepalese Army Chief visits President Aoun, Speaker Berri, Caretaker PM Mikati, Caretaker Defense Minister, Army Commander
Geagea says "Strong Republic" bloc will not nominate anyone during tomorrow’s binding consultations
Al-Makary in interview with ‘Voice of Lebanon’ Radio program: We support Mikati's position regarding displaced dossier
“Liberation and Development” parliamentary bloc to announce name of its premiership candidate tomorrow after meeting the..
Mufti Derian discusses developments with Hamas’ political bureau head, meets UK Ambassador on farewell visit
"Strong Republic" bloc meets under Geagea's chairmanship
Lebanon’s parliamentary blocs divided over PM designation
A Lebanese-Israeli border deal could be an example for all/Maria Maalouf/Arab News/June 22/2022
Some Lebanon banks disagree with ABL letter objecting IMF plan
The road to Lebanon’s resurgence/Makram Rabah/Now Lebanon/June 22/2022
40 Years of Hezbollah: People’s Resistance and Communal Resistance Movements/Hazem Saghieh/Asharq Al Awsat/June 22/2022

Titles For Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 22-23/2022
Russia's Lavrov in Iran to discuss nuclear deal, cooperation
Saudi Arabia and Turkey hail new era of cooperation after Crown Prince visit
Saudi crown prince arrives in Turkey for first visit since Khashoggi murder
Israel lawmakers take 1st step toward dissolving parliament
EU Voices Concern Over Iran’s Non-Compliance with Nuclear Commitments
Katyusha Rocket Lands in Iraq’s Khor Mor Gas Field, Causes No Damage
France’s Macron says opposition ready to work with him on ‘major topics’
At least 1,000 killed in Afghan quake as rescuers scramble for survivors
Kuwait's crown prince dissolves parliament, calls elections
UK plans to rewrite human rights law; critics cry foul
Russian troops ‘executed’ photographer in Ukraine, press group says

Titles For LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 22-23/2022
The 'Christian East' Is Bigger Than You Know (And Worth Helping)
Alberto M. Fernandez/MEMRI Daily Brief No. 392/June 22/2022
The Crisis of Living in the Past/Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/June 22/2022
Westerners, too, are waging a ‘War on the West’/Clifford D. May/Washington Times./June 22/2022
Five Blunt Truths About the War in Ukraine/Bret Stephens/Asharq Al Awsat/June 22/2022
End of Trump but not Trumpism/Robert Ford/Asharq Al Awsat/June 22/2022
Nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile: Badly Needed for Deterrence/Peter Vincent Pry/Gatestone Institute/June 22, 2022
Arabs to Biden: Shut Down Iran's 'Expansionist Project'/Khaled Abu Toameh/Gatestone Institute./June 22/2022
Pushback against Iran needed irrespective of Vienna talks/Dr. Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg//Arab News/June 22/2022

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on June 22-23/2022
President Aoun tackles current issues with MPs Traboulsi and Pakradouni, discusses existing cooperation between Lebanese and Nepalese military forces...
NNA/June 22/2022
President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, will hold binding parliamentary consultations, tomorrow at 10:00am, to nominate a premier to form the new government, according to the program broadcast by the General Directorate of the Presidency of the Republic yesterday.
Consultations end according to the program at 4:45pm.  The General Directorate of the Presidency of the Republic has taken the necessary measures to conplete these consultations, which are supposed to end with calling the PM chosen by the deputies to Baabda Palace to assign him to form the future government.
MP Traboulsi:
President Aoun met MP, Edgar Traboulsi, today at Baabda Palace, and deliberated with him current issues.
Tomorrow’s parliamentary consultations, the economic situation and the need to expedite treatments were addressed, in addition to forensic audit into BDL accounts, and the future of indirect negotiations to demarcate the southern maritime borders.
MP Traboulsi indicated that the conditions of the Lebanese University and school fees have taken up a large area of ​​discussion with the President, who is following up on this file and working to find quick solutions to it.
Former Minister Pakradouni:
The President received former Minister Karim Pakradouni, and discussed with him current issues, recent political developments and the stage after the formation of a new government.
Nepalese Army Chief:
President Aoun met Nepalese Army Commander, General Prabhu Ram Sharma, who is in Lebanon, is on a visit to inspect the Nepalese force working with the "UNIFIL" forces in the south.
President Aoun welcomed General Sharma and noted the role played by the Nepalese force in the south in maintaining security and stability in the region.
The Nepalese army is the fifth largest international force in the "UNIFIL", which includes 872 personnel, and has been participating in peacekeeping operations since 1978.
President Aoun also saluted the sacrifices given by the Nepalese soldiers, especially since 30 of them were martyred in the south, appreciating the existing cooperation between the Nepalese military and the Lebanese army, the social services provided by the Nepalese force to the people and the southern population, as well as the environmental activities and the fight against the “Corona” epidemic.
Moreover, President Aoun affirmed Lebanon's keenness to strengthen relations with Nepal and develop them in all fields, especially trade, tourism and economics.
For his part, General Sharma had expressed his happiness for his presence in Lebanon and his meeting with President Aoun and his inspection of his country's forces operating in the south, pointing out that the Nepalese participation in UNIFIL constitutes a translation of the diplomatic relations established between the two countries in 1963 and which have developed over the past years in a positive manner.
General Sharma also pointed out that there are common denominators between the Nepalese and Lebanese peoples, and a firm desire to enhance cooperation in several fields. Sharma indicated that the military courses are continuing between the Lebanese and Nepalese armed forces, and they will increase successively.
On the other hand, General Sharma conveyed the greetings of Nepalese President, Bidya Devi Bhandari, and her wishes for Lebanon progress and stability and an exit from the difficult circumstances it is currently going through.
​The delegation accompanying General Sharma included: Defense Ministry Secretary, Kiran Raj Sharma, Nepalese Permanent Mission to the United Nations Ambassador Amrit Bahadur Rai, General Nirmal Kumar Thapa, General ShantoshBallave Poudyal and Consul Honorary Minister of Nepal in Lebanon Muhammad Wissam Ghazel.
Former Minister Salim Jreissati, Director-General of the Presidency of the Republic, Dr. Antoine Choucair, and the advisors, Brigadier General Paul Matar, Rafic Shelala and Osama Khashab also attended. -- Presidency Press office

KSA, Jordan stress keenness on Lebanon stability, urge reforms

Naharnet/June 22/2022
Saudi Arabia and Jordan stressed Wednesday in a joint statement “the importance of preserving Lebanon’s security and stability.”They also called for “carrying out comprehensive reforms so that it can overcome its current crisis.”The statement was issued following talks in Amman between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Jordanian King Abdullah II.

Jumblat hopes to see words supporting army, security forces 'translated into actions'

Naharnet/June 22/2022
Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat said Wednesday he hopes to see the statements supporting Lebanon translated into actions. "As we wait for the new government to be formed and the reforms in the main sectors to be made, we hear many statements supporting Lebanon," Jumblat said. "I wish to see these statements translated into actions, especially in terms of financial support to the Lebanese army and the security forces" he added, as he stressed the dire living conditions they are facing.

Bread sold on black market in Nabatiyeh, queues in Sidon

Naharnet/June 22/2022
A number of bakeries stopped working in Sidon on Wednesday as they were running out of flour, media reports said, which caused citizens to queue in front of the open bakeries to obtain bread. Meanwhile in Nabatiyeh, a bundle of bread was sold for LBP 25,000 - instead of 15,000 - on the black market, as companies could not deliver bread to the shops. Nabatiyeh citizens were obliged to head to Sidon or Khaldeh to buy their bread, the reports added. Lebanon is heavily reliant on wheat, corn and sunflower oil from Ukraine and Russia. Bakeries that used to have many types of flat bread now only sell basic white pita bread to conserve flour. A bread crisis has repeatedly threatened the Lebanese as the Central Bank failed to pay for wheat ships on time. The delay caused shortages and queues. Although the bread is still subsidized, its price keeps on increasing due to the surge of the dollar exchange rate on the black market. Wheat prices worldwide were also up 45% in the first three months of 2022 compared with the previous year, according to the FAO's wheat price index. World production of wheat, rice and other grains is expected to reach 2.78 billion tons this year, down 16 million tons from the previous year — the first decline in four years, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said. The increases are fueling faster inflation worldwide.

Lebanon FX Reserves Down $2.2 Bln in 2022, $11 Bln Left, Says Central Bank Governor
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 22 June, 2022
Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salameh said Tuesday the bank's foreign currency reserves had dropped by $2.2 billion so far in 2022 to about $11 billion, about a third of the level three years ago. Salameh made the comments during a recorded interview with Lebanon's LBCI TV. As the interview aired, state security forces were raiding a home he owns northeast of Beirut as part of a judge's probe into alleged misconduct and corruption. Once celebrated as a financial wizard, Salameh has been on the defensive since 2019, when Lebanon slipped into an economic meltdown that has seen the currency lose more than 90% of its value. Lebanon had more than $30 billion in foreign currency reserves when that crisis began, but Salameh said the amount was now a third of that. "The Central Bank (reserves) have shrunk by a net of 2.2 billion dollars since the end of the year," he said on Tuesday. "We will have more than 11 billion that we can use." He said that the central bank would propose to a newly-formed cabinet a law to issue bills in larger denominations to make the pound easier to use given the devaluation. Lebanon is set to name a new prime minister on Thursday, who would then be tasked with forming a new government. The process is often drawn out and can take months of horse-trading before a consensus is reached. Salameh also said in the interview he was in favor of maintaining banking secrecy in Lebanon, where banks have severely restricted access to hard currency for most depositors. The statement contradicts the position of Lebanon's deputy prime minister Saade Chami, who told Reuters he was "not seeing any benefits to keeping" banking secrecy in the country. The International Monetary Fund had also set a "reformed banking secrecy law to bring it in line with international standards" as a precondition for access to relief funds for Lebanon.

State Security enters Salameh's home accompanied by Judge Aoun
Naharnet/June 22/2022
A State Security patrol on Wednesday entered into Central Bank chief Riad Salameh's residence in Rabieh without managing to find him, TV networks said. “Judge Ghadan Aoun is personally overseeing the search of the villa and counting its assets,” LBCI TV reported. Another State Security patrol had overnight arrived outside Salameh’s residence to enforce a subpoena issued by Judge Aoun. The patrol arrived overnight as Salameh was on a live interview on LBCI television. Al-Jadeed TV meanwhile reported overnight that Salameh has not visited his Rabieh residence for a “long time” and has been instead residing at another location for the past few months. Judge Aoun had pledged in February that she "will continue to pursue Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh until he is brought to justice," after State Security agents raided his residences in Safra and Rabieh and the bank's headquarters in Beirut without managing to find him. Salameh had failed to show up at several interrogation sessions. In February, Salameh’s guards in each of Safra and Rabieh initially tried to prevent the State Security agents from entering the properties before letting them in after insistence. The judge had issued the subpoena against Salameh on February 1 after he failed to show up for a third interrogation session in the lawsuit filed by the People Want to Reform the System group. The judge has also issued a travel ban and an assets freeze against Salameh. The lawsuit accuses the governor of "illicit enrichment, money laundering and squandering public funds on personal benefits."Salameh, one of the world's longest-serving central bank governors, is also facing judicial investigations in France, Switzerland and other European countries on suspicion of money laundering and illicit enrichment, among other allegations. Salameh has dismissed the cases against him as unfounded and lacking in evidence, claiming they were opened based on complaints filed by Lebanese citizens "for reasons that could be political... or tied to certain interests."He said that a top-tier financial audit firm had scrutinized his accounts at his request and presented him with a report that he then submitted to officials and judges. "I am ready to cooperate with all investigations," he said, claiming they were based on "fabricated evidence" that made it seem as though he "took all of Lebanon's money and pocketed it."

Mouawad, Rifi, Makhzoumi, Abdel Massih say seeking unity against Mikati’s candidacy
Naharnet/June 22/2022
MPs Michel Mouawad, Ashraf Rifi, Fouad Makhzoumi and Adib Abdel Massih said Wednesday that they will "exert strenuous efforts to create a substantial front" in the face of Najib Mikati's nomination for the PM-designate post. The four MPs also announced having formed a new bloc, called the Independent Sovereign Bloc. "We will not nominate any candidate from the political establishment, especially caretaker PM Mikati," Mouawad said. He added that "the hegemony of an armed militia over the constitutional decisions in Lebanon is leading to isolating Lebanon and to political instability."Mouawad went on to say that the different oppositions must be united under one program and that "a scattered opposition would harm our ability to make a change." "This is what happened during the election of the Speaker and the committees' members and this is what is also happening today when it comes to naming a PM," he said. Makhzoumi, for his part, said that the PM must be a person "who has lived and felt our plight and pain" and that the PM must have economic solutions and expert knowledge in economic files.

Geagea says LF won't nominate anyone for PM-designate post

Naharnet/June 22/2022
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea announced Wednesday that the LF-led Strong Republic bloc will not nominate any figure in Thursday’s binding parliamentary consultations to name a PM-designate. Speaking after a meeting for the bloc, Geagea said Strong Republic will not nominate Najib Mikati nor Nawaf Salam for the post, seeing as they do not meet the “characteristics” that the LF wants the new PM to enjoy. “We were the first to name Judge Nawaf Salam” in the previous consultations, “but ever since I have not sensed that he has a serious intention to assume responsibility, seeing as he is outside Lebanon,” Geagea said. “How can a major bloc name a certain figure and fight its battle for the premiership if it does not know whether he has the will and desire,” the LF leader added. “We only hear about Judge Salam but we have never heard from him in person and we have no idea about his approach towards things and his stances,” Geagea went on to say. “We have no idea about what he wants to achieve and there is no communication between us,” the LF leader added. He also said that his party has not seen “consensus among the opposition camp over Nawaf Salam’s nomination.” “As long as President (Michel) Aoun is in the Baabda Palace, no one will be able to work, that’s why based on all of these factors we will not nominate Nawaf Salam,” Geagea added. Turning to Mikati’s candidacy, the LF leader acknowledged that Mikati “exerted great efforts” to organize the parliamentary elections on time, but added that he does not enjoy the “characteristics” that the LF wants to see in the country’s next premier. “He is seeking to form a national unity government, and based on this we cannot name Mikati,” Geagea added. As for the possibility of nominating other candidates, the LF leader said: “We can find many names and there are a lot of competent figures in the Sunni community, but what is the use from naming a figure that does not enjoy a majority of votes? We don’t want showoffs.”Asked whether the LF will take part in the new government, Geagea said he believes that no government will be formed during the remaining months in Aoun’s tenure. He added that the LF will also not take part in any “flawed government.”

Corona - MoPH: 861 new coronavirus infections, one death

NNA/June 22/2022
Lebanon has recorded 861 new coronavirus cases and one death in the last 24 hours, as reported by the Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday.

Nepalese Army Chief visits President Aoun, Speaker Berri, Caretaker PM Mikati, Caretaker Defense Minister, Army Commander

NNA/June 22/2022
The Honorary Consulate of Nepal in Lebanon on Wednesday announced in a statement: "The Chief of the Nepalese Army, General Prabhu Raj Sharma, at the head of a high-ranking military delegation, with the participation of the Honorary Consul General of the Federal Republic of Nepal, Elcheikh Mohamed Wissam Ghouzayel, visited His Excellency the President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Aoun, His Excellency Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Nabih Berri, His Excellency the Caretaker Prime Minister, Mr. Najib Mikati, His Excellency the Minister of Defense, General Maurice Sleem, and the Commander of the Lebanese Army General Joseph Aoun.His Excellency the President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Aoun, expressed his gratitude to the Nepalese army, and praised its constructive role in the peacekeeping operation in southern Lebanon, and the integration of the Nepalese battalion with the people of the regions in southern Lebanon. He also stressed the strengthening of industrial and economic relations, and inviting Nepalese businessmen to visit Lebanon. . For his part, the Commander of the Nepalese Army, General Prabhu Raj Sharma, expressed his thanks to the President for receiving the delegation, and informed the President that the Lebanese-Nepalese relations have existed since 1958 and there is cooperation between the Lebanese Army and the Nepalese Army through carrying out a staff course for some officers of the Lebanese Army in Nepal, and that the State of Nepal is represented in the Nepalese diplomatic corps through its Honorary Consul General Elcheikh Mohamed Wissam Ghouzayel. At the conclusion of the presidential meeting, the Chief of the Nepalese army presented the President of the Republic with a commemorative shield as a token of love and friendship.
In the next meeting with the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Nabih Berri, the Speaker expressed his special love for the state and people of Nepal, and his gratitude to the Nepalese battalion operating in southern Lebanon, which offered many martyrs in defense of the innocent in southern Lebanon, as he asked in particular the Consul Ghouzayel for direction in order to pave the way for a memorandum of cooperation between the Lebanese Parliament and the Nepalese Parliament, and to invite some Nepalese parliamentarians to visit Lebanon, He assigned advisor, Mr. Ali Hamdan, to follow up on the affairs of this file with Consul Ghouzayel. Then the delegation continued its visit to the caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, where Premier Mikati called for enabling economic, commercial and industrial relations and signing bilateral agreements between the two countries. He expressed his agreement in principle to allow Nepalese citizens who have European, American or Gulf visas to obtain a direct entry visa from Rafic Hariri International Airport, and asked Consul Ghouzayel to submit a request to the Lebanese General Security in this regard. In turn, the commander of the Nepalese army welcomed Premier Mikati's proposals, thanked him for the warm reception and presented him with a souvenir. The delegation continued its visit with a meeting with the Minister of Defense, General Maurice Selim. The Chief of the Nepalese Army praised the existing military cooperation within the framework of the strong relations between the two countries, which date back to the early 1960s. In turn, the Minister of Defense thanked Nepal's participation in the international force since 1978 and the efforts and sacrifices made by the Nepalese battalion.
In conclusion, the Chief of the Nepalese Army and his accompanying delegation met the Commander of the Lebanese Army, General Joseph Aoun, in his office in Yarzeh, and they discussed cooperation relations between the two armies, then the two sides exchanged gifts and took a number of memorial photos." -- Honorary Consulate of Nepal in Beirut

Geagea says "Strong Republic" bloc will not nominate anyone during tomorrow’s binding consultations
NNA/June 22/2022
"Lebanese Forces" party leader, Samir Geagea, on Wednesday announced in the wake of the “Strong Republic" Parliamentary bloc meeting in Maarab, that the "bloc will not nominate anyone to the premiership post because the two proposed candidates do not meet the criteria presented by the bloc."The "Strong Republic" Parliamentary bloc held a meeting in Maarab, headed by LF leader Geagea, ahead of tomorrow’s binding parliamentary consultations to nominate a prime minister designate.

Al-Makary in interview with ‘Voice of Lebanon’ Radio program: We support Mikati's position regarding displaced dossier

NNA/June 22/2022
Caretaker Information Minister, Ziad Makary, on Wednesday said in an interview with Voice of Lebanon Radio station program, that “Premier Mikati's government has made a satisfactory performance, accomplishing the parliamentary elections amid difficult circumstances, despite all the skepticism regarding their occurrence."Minister Makary also considered that "there is no solution to the crisis except through negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, which requires carrying out reforms."Al-Makary said that the Marada Movement will nominate Premier Najib Mikati to the premiership post, pointing out that “the nomination of former Minister Sleiman Franjieh for the presidency is serious," citing Franjieh’s ability for carrying out dialogue and communication with everyone. Al-Makary also stressed, "The page of the dispute with the Kataeb Party has been turned forever, and the hatred is behind us following the Bkerke reconciliation between Minister Sleiman Franjieh and Dr. Samir Geagea.” The Caretaker Minister also supported the position taken by Caretaker Premier Mikati on the issue of the return of the displaced Syrians to their country.

“Liberation and Development” parliamentary bloc to announce name of its premiership candidate tomorrow after meeting the..
NNA/June 22/2022
The "Liberation and Development" Parliamentary bloc on Wednesday held its periodic meeting, headed by House Speaker, Nabih Berri, during which they discussed the bloc’s position in regards to tomorrow’s binding parliamentary consultations to nominate a prime minister designate. The meeting also broached the current general daily living, economic and health conditions in the country. In a statement issued by the Bloc in the wake of the meeting and read out by MP Qassem Hashem, it said, “in reference to tomorrow's binding parliamentary consultations, the bloc affirms its adherence to and respect for the constitutional rules and principles in the premiership designation and cabinet formation process, and accordingly the bloc will announce the name of its premiership candidate following its set meeting with the President of the Republic tomorrow afternoon.”
The bloc also hoped that the consultations will lead to the formation of a national unity government capable of facing the challenges that impact the Lebanese, especially at the economic, health and financial levels. The bloc also called for a government that takes into account the national and spiritual balance in the country.

Mufti Derian discusses developments with Hamas’ political bureau head, meets UK Ambassador on farewell visit
NNA/June 22/2022
Grand Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, on Wednesday received at Dar Al-Fatwa, the Head of the Political Bureau of "Hamas" Movement, Ismail Haniyeh, at the head of a delegation from the movement. On emerging, Haniyeh said that they briefed the Mufti on the developments of the Palestine cause, in general, and Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Mosque, in particular, adding that discussions also touched on the current developments in the region and Lebanon, and the situation of the Palestinian people and Palestinian camps. Haniyeh added that the delegation congratulated His Eminence and the Lebanese people on the completion of the parliamentary elections, wishing Lebanon political, security and social stability in the coming stage, indicating that Lebanon's stability, strength and unity is a source of strength for Palestine and the resistance. On the other hand, Mufti Derian welcomed at Dar Al-Fatwa British Ambassador to Lebanon, Dr. Ian Collard, who came on a farewell visit upon the end of his diplomatic mission in the country. nDiscussions reportedly touched on the latest developments on the local arena, and the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.

"Strong Republic" bloc meets under Geagea's chairmanship
NNA/June 22/2022
The "Strong Republic" Parliamentary bloc is currently holding a meeting in Maarab, headed by "Lebanese Forces" party leader, Samir Geagea, ahead of tomorrow’s parliamentary consultations to nominate a prime minister designate and agree on an appropriate position by the LF.
Geagea will deliver a speech after the meeting.

Lebanon’s parliamentary blocs divided over PM designation
Najia Houssari/Arab News/June 22/2022
Najib Mikati, caretaker premier, enjoys the support of the traditional parliamentary blocs that will rename him to head a four-month government
BEIRUT: Lebanon’s political class was squabbling on Wednesday to agree on a Sunni figure to designate as the future prime minister, ahead of binding parliamentary consultations with President Michel Aoun on Thursday.
Parliamentary blocs attempted to communicate with each other but failed to agree on a name.
Najib Mikati, caretaker premier, enjoys the support of the traditional parliamentary blocs that will rename him to head a four-month government. Its term will conclude when Aoun’s term ends in October and a new president is elected. Meanwhile, many have been discussing designating Nawaf Salam, a former ambassador and judge on the International Court of Justice.
Hezbollah and its allies are seeking to establish a parliamentary majority for its political side and to secure the votes of 65 MPs for its candidate, with the head of the Hezbollah parliamentary bloc saying it must “realize the importance of resistance.”
Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s Christian ally the Free Patriotic Movement refused to designate Mikati and is setting impossible conditions, such as requesting sovereign ministries, and most importantly, keeping control of the Energy Ministry.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said the party’s MPs will not designate anyone “because the proposed candidates do not meet our criteria.”
The Progressive Socialist Party and the Kataeb Party have decided to designate Salam.
The Takaddom party’s MP Mark Daou and MP Najat Saliba have voiced their decision to designate Salam, while other independent and reformist MPs have refrained from announcing their decisions.
However, independent MP Nabil Badr said that he and 13 other MPs will designate Mikati, which will increase the latter’s chances with the support he will receive from the MPs of Hezbollah, the Amal Movement, and others.
It remains uncertain whether or not Mikati will be able to form a government that is acceptable to the ruling parties within a short time, especially after some recent governments took a year to form.
This new political confusion wreaked havoc on the management of the country’s affairs. Bakeries and shops ran out of bread on Wednesday, with the owners of mills and bakeries blaming the Economy Ministry.
Similar to gasoline and medicine, Arab bread made from subsidized wheat is now being sold on the black market at a very high price.
On Wednesday, Economy Minister Amin Salam referred the issue to the Financial Public Prosecution, in which he mentioned “the greed of those monopolizing people’s sustenance.”
The minister’s office said: “Some bakery owners sold subsidized flour for Arab bread on the black market at double prices. They have also been using it to make sweets, cakes and French bread, generating double profits. They are thus wasting public money.”
Riad Salameh, Lebanon’s central bank governor, said in an interview that when he accepted to “lend the Lebanese state, it was because there were laws allowing it to borrow from the Banque du Liban, and depositors believe that the money they put in the banks was taken by the BDL, and this is not true.”
He added: “The wrong political decisions that were taken have led to the local currency’s depreciation. Those responsible are blaming BDL and me. I never imagined some would default or try to shut down banks and turn the economy into a cash economy.
“The secret for the BDL standing on its feet lies in our commitment to not implement any reckless policy and we were thus able to secure financing for the country. Without the BDL, the government would not have been able to purchase wheat and medicines. We devised plans that introduced dollars to the BDL, which allowed it to use its reserves to secure subsidies. We only used $2.2 billion from the end of 2021, until June 15. We still have $11 billion."
Salameh stressed: “Lebanon needs between $15 billion and $20 billion to get back on its feet. The BDL was not late in providing dollars to importers of medicines for chronic illnesses, including cancer medicines. Subsidized medicines were cut off and medicines sold in dollars are available. It is not my job to go after these dealers.”
Speaking about Lebanon’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund, he said: “An amount of $3 billion from the IMF is not enough. Lebanon needs $400 million every month to secure diesel and gasoline alone, in addition to $35 million to secure medicines, as well as it needs $300 million annually to secure wheat. However, Lebanon needs the IMF, through which it will regain trust.”
He added: “Mafias are taking over the pharmaceutical, wheat, and gasoline sectors, and the state feeds the mafias’ profits. Some are trying to blame the BDL, and I have confronted such attempts. I cannot give names, but it is clear who these parties are.”
Speaking about the politicians who transferred their money abroad, he said: “The banks provided us with information, not names, because they do not have the right to give out people’s names, but we can review the banks’ documents to see if these regulations were done properly.
“Political pressure is being exerted on me by my political opponents, who tell some judges what they should do. Those who want my head say so publicly.”

A Lebanese-Israeli border deal could be an example for all
Maria Maalouf/Arab News/June 22/2022
Upon his arrival in Lebanon last week, US envoy Amos Hochstein, who is mediating the maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel, expressed hope that new proposals by the Lebanese government could help solve the issue. “I think that it will enable negotiations to go forward,” he told Al-Hurra TV.
What is new in these negotiations is the focus on the gas field known as Karish. While Israel states that Karish is located entirely in its exclusive economic zone, Lebanon claims that part of the field is in contested waters. As a result, it must not be utilized until after the two nations have finalized the negotiations to delineate their maritime boundaries.
After he met the president of Lebanon, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament and the head of the caretaker government, the senior American diplomat said: “We’re in a delicate place to try to get the sides to narrow the gaps and get to a place where they can reach an agreement.” He added: “I think that’s crucial for Lebanon and, quite frankly, crucial for Israel.”
This could entail a shift in the Lebanese position. The negotiations faced a huge hurdle last year, when Lebanon expanded its sovereignty claim further south, extending it from a boundary identified as “Line 23” to what is known as “Line 29.” This meant the addition of about 1,400 sq km to its territorial claim, including part of the Karish oil field.
Hochstein sketched a different boundary that would commence from Line 23. Instead of being a straight line, it would take the shape of an “S.” This would move Lebanon’s water rights further north, but Beirut did not consent to such a suggestion. The progress reported in the talks between the two countries could suggest a degree of Lebanese acceptance of the American proposal.
Despite the lack of political clarity on the final status of the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon, it is obvious that the two countries want to enlist the direct involvement of the US in administering the negotiations. This way, they can shoulder Washington with as much responsibility as they can muster. In addition, both Israel and Lebanon are worried about Iran’s meddling in the issue.
They are both justified in their attitude on this latter point. Any Iranian intrusion into the question of the Israeli-Lebanese maritime problem would give Tehran the ability to exploit Lebanon even more and steal its wealth. It would also be an encroachment on Lebanon’s sovereignty. Iran, through Hezbollah, is preparing to explore for hydrocarbons in the territorial waters between Lebanon and Israel. This will be with the aim of shipping free Lebanese oil and gas to Iran.
This is the embodiment of Tehran’s policy of the theft of nations, which it pursues in all the countries it deals with. Iran is working to seize as much as it can of the 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas estimated to be in the Levant Basin Province by the US Geological Survey in 2010. This is why Iran will cast doubt on any agreement between Israel and Lebanon over their maritime boundary.
There are several suggestions that ought to be put on the negotiating table between Lebanon and Israel. Firstly, if a deal is agreed, it has to include a precise deadline or schedule for its completion. Secondly, it has to be presented to the world as a good example of how nations can end their maritime border disputes. Thirdly, US President Joe Biden has to refer to the subject during his visit to the Middle East next month, since it would give international legitimacy to any agreement.
Any agreement can be presented to the world as a good example of how nations can end their maritime border disputes.
The language of the accord has to be simple so that it can be understood by everyone. And there has to be a clause in which Lebanon and Israel commit themselves to taking possible joint action to repel any armed violation of their maritime borders. The final agreement also has to be approved by the Arab League.
Finally, the importance of the Israeli-Lebanese maritime border issue lies in how countries can build the structures and foundations of respectful coexistence even if they do not recognize each other diplomatically or officially.
*Maria Maalouf is a Lebanese journalist, broadcaster, publisher and writer. She has a master’s degree in political sociology from the University of Lyon. Twitter: @bilarakib

Some Lebanon banks disagree with ABL letter objecting IMF plan
Reuters, Beirut/22 June ,2022
Lebanon’s Bank Audi and al-Mawarid Bank said on Wednesday they disagreed with a letter sent on behalf of the country’s banking association that branded a staff-level agreement (SLA) with the International Monetary Fund “unlawful.”
The SLA pledges $3 billion in financing over four years to help Lebanon recover from a financial meltdown that has seen the currency lose more than 90 percent of its value.
The two banks, as well as bankers from two other members of the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) who asked to speak anonymously due to the sensitivity of the matter, said they were not aware the letter was being sent on ABL’s behalf.
Their objection to the letter’s contents reveals growing fissures in the association, which counts more than 50 banks as members. In a statement, the ABL said it “does not fully oppose” the April agreement and views an IMF deal as one of the main ways to exit Lebanon’s crisis, but called for further consultations on how some $70 billion in financial sector losses are dealt with. A full agreement is conditional on Lebanon implementing a series of measures, including starting to restructure its zombie banking sector. In the letter to the IMF dated June 21, the DecisionBoundaries financial advisory firm said its client, the ABL, “holds very serious reservations on the recent SLA,” parts of which it said were “likely to further harm Lebanon’s economy, probably in an irreparable manner.”It said implementing the SLA would be “unlawful.”
An ABL spokesperson confirmed the letter had been sent on behalf of the association but did not immediately respond to questions on how the decision to send it was taken. Carlos Abadi, managing director at New York-based DecisionBoundaries and the adviser who signed the June 21 letter, had no comment.
Audi, Lebanon’s top bank, was “not made aware or approved the contents of the letter addressed to the IMF from a consultant of the ABL dated June 21, 2022,” it said in a statement to Reuters. “In fact, they acknowledge that the only way out of Lebanon’s acute crisis is an IMF program, which should be enacted imminently to avoid further irreversible value destruction,” the bank statement said. It noted the bank “has important reservations to ensure the plan is actionable, fair and sustainable. The proposed amendments, which still respect the IMF principles, are being channeled to the concerned parties.”
‘Behind closed doors’
Al-Mawarid Bank was “not aware” of the letter and had not been invited to any meetings to discuss it, chairman Marwan Kheireddine told Reuters. “It’s ridiculous that this happens behind closed doors,” Kheireddine said, adding that the letter made it sound like banks were “in denial” about having to “be part of the solution and accept to bear certain losses.”“The letter was done without consultation from any other ABL member. It’s a bloody scandal,” one of the bankers said. “We are quite upset about it,” another said. The SLA and Lebanon’s May 20 financial recovery plan had called for limiting recourse to public resources to resolve financial sector losses. The ABL letter instead called for the Lebanese state to plug the gap by using state assets, turning tens of billions in hard-currency deposits into Lebanese pounds and also using Lebanon’s roughly $15 billion in gold reserves. “I hear voices - including some within ABL - suggesting using our gold to pay depositors... Don’t touch the gold, whether to sell it, to pledge it, or to financial engineer it. Don’t. Touch. The. Gold,” Bankmed CEO Michel Accad said in a tweet on Wednesday.

The road to Lebanon’s resurgence
Makram Rabah/Now Lebanon/June 22/2022
Justice in the case of Rafik Hariri and tens of other political assassinations, as well as the Beirut Port blast, may not be sufficient, but it is a necessary condition for Lebanon’s comeback. Last week the Special Tribunal for Lebanon-STL, set up to bring justice for the murder of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon and 21 others killed on February 14, 2005, sentenced in absentia two Hezbollah members to life imprisonment. Hassan Habib Merhi and Hussein Hassan Oneissi joined another senior Hezbollah operative Salim Ayash, who was sentenced back in December 2022.
Naturally, no one is under the delusion that these three killers, or their overlords, will serve their five concurrent life sentences. But what is perhaps disappointing is the lack of any reaction on the matter by the Lebanese at large, who simply decided that the ruling of the international tribunal, which Lebanon contributes 49 percent of its annual budget (over € 800 million over 15 years), should be left to oblivion. The fact that the STL reconfirmed the obvious is no simple matter, nor something that should be ignored locally or by the international community. Hezbollah’s crack assassination unit commanded by the infamous Mustafa Badreddine, who later perished while fighting in Syria, plotted and carried out one of the biggest political assassinations in modern Lebanese history. Almost all the Lebanese, including those who support Hezbollah, are well aware of this fact. Hezbollah’s insolence went as far as to name a street after Hariri’s killer, Badreddine, and to accuse anyone who demands justice as an Israeli collaborator deserving of death.
The STL mandate, due to imprudent and unethical concessions by the Lebanese political elite, precludes holding any legal entity or group accountable for the crime, yet the real demand for justice should not only center on Badreddine and his band of murders. Rather, accountability should be demanded from the entire militia which masquerades as a Lebanese political party, while in fact it merely pushes the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps world view and expansionist project. Since it carried out the Hariri murder, Hezbollah, in unison with the Free Patriotic Movement and other allies, has systematically deconstructed the Lebanese state and maliciously drove the country into political and economic collapse. After 2016, the election of Michael Aoun, Hezbollah’s political fig leaf, to president made possible by the consensus of the corrupt political establishment, drove the final nail in what remained of the Lebanese state. Since then, the pursuit of justice was no longer a public demand but rather a family affair left to Hariri’s son Saad, who proved extreme incompetence in its pursuit, as well as in partaking in governance.
Unless justice becomes part of its culture, Lebanon will never rise again, and this is hugely reliant on a local capable judiciary that will put an end to impunity. It is quite understandable why the recent verdicts did not resonate with the Lebanese, who are busy trying to figure out a way to withdraw what remains of their bank deposits, squandered by the Lebanese government which, in complicity with the Lebanese banking sector, robbed them of their savings. For many, their silence is a way to get back at Rafik al-Hariri who they blame for setting up the Lebanese economic model which collapsed and left some begging for bread and medicine and others unable to live their past lavish lifestyle, which they could never afford. In reality, this narrative has been endorsed by the entire political establishment which, rather than taking responsibility for their own decades of corruption and political incompetence, found it fit to blame the dead Hariri and place all the burden on his liberal economic project, a project which coincidently they all benefited from and directed towards growing their clientelist networks.
Hezbollah and the rest of the Lebanese political “elite” were wickedly able to bury the recent Hariri verdict by prioritizing the ongoing debate on the maritime demarcation and the conflict with Israel over the two disputed gas blocks as well as the formation of the next cabinet, which the ruling establishment claims are a first step towards economic recovery. Unfortunately, the Lebanese were quick to take this bait and to accept this deceitful narrative and, in the process, assured that their predicament will only become worse.
Regardless of what transpires over the next few months, it is certain that the current political and economic collapse started with the assassination of Hariri, and continued with the failure to deliver justice for his murder and the tens of other political assassinations, last of which was the killing of Lokman Slim.
Consequently, unless justice becomes part of its culture, Lebanon will never rise again, and this is hugely reliant on a local capable judiciary that will put an end to impunity. Until then, the blood of Hariri and the hundreds that perished in the Beirut Port explosion will haunt the Lebanese and remind them that justice and its pursuit is the pillar of statehood, something which Lebanon is lightyears from achieving.
*Makram Rabah is the managing editor of NOW and a lecturer at the American University of Beirut, Department of History. His book Conflict on Mount Lebanon: The Druze, the Maronites and Collective Memory (Edinburgh University Press) cover collective identities and the Lebanese Civil War. He is on Twitter and on Instagram.

40 Years of Hezbollah: People’s Resistance and Communal Resistance Movements
Hazem Saghieh/Asharq Al Awsat/June 22/2022
In celebration of its anniversary, Hezbollah called the forty years of its existence (1982- 2022) “the forty springs.” A “series of festive activities” will be held to mark the occasion, as the ad promoting them says.
The fact is that anyone looking at Lebanon’s conditions today would struggle to find anything to compare to spring or anything to celebrate. Even those most sensitive of us have come to put their birthday celebrations on hold.
This bleak view is not dictated by the country’s economic collapse alone, but also security fears: the Lebanese are living under the daily weight of the question of whether Israel will launch a military attack, a prospect that some believe to be likely and others do not believe to be far-fetched.
What are the roots of the misunderstanding with Hezbollah as it celebrates while the Lebanese are accepting condolences?
When the party was founded in the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Lebanon had just been occupied by Israel, and we know that the laws, morality, and self-interest, as well as national dignity, all enshrine peoples’ right to resist occupation and occupiers. Nevertheless, communities’ right to resist occupations is a more contentious and less evident question.
One thing bridges the gap between these two rights: that the community behave like it represents the people, thus the faction of the people with the geographical misfortune of confronting the occupier.
Raising the national flag or poetics about “defending Lebanon” do not mean that a group is behaving on behalf of the people. Representing the people means a few other things, perhaps the most important of which are:
First - that the community’s focus on its sub-identity decrease in favor of a greater focus on the things the nation’s communities share, i.e., exactly the opposite of what Hezbollah is doing and has always done in terms of bolstering its sub-identity, an identity distinct from the country’s other sub-identities.
Second - that the leadership of the resisting party have some kind of awareness of the importance of moving from the negative phase of resistance (liberation from the occupier) to its positive phase (liberation to build a nation and a state).
Stopping at the negative phase hinders linking the liberated area to its country and its central authority, thereby replacing the foreign occupation with a kind of internal occupation, justified under the pretext of the privilege of resistance and its sole right to bear arms.
Third - that the resistance’s role in resisting the occupier does not reinforce an outsized political influence gained after achieving liberation. If this kind of influence is hard to swallow in a religiously and sectarian homogeneous society, a society whose differences stem from political and ideological reasons, tolerating it in a society founded on religious and sectarian pluralism is impossible.
Fourth - that the resistance have a known endpoint, just as it has a known beginning. When the beginning is known, but there is no explicit endpoint at which specific goals are considered to have been achieved, the resistance’s raison d’etre of liberating land is negated. This resistance thereby becomes more like a tyrannical and salvationist regime that calls itself immortal, a regime that justifies getting implicated in aggressive misadventures like the war in Syria or interventions in other countries.
Fifth - that its ties to foreign powers are alliances amenable or breakable in principle, rather than the resistance melting in these powers, which leaves no distinction between the larger body and the smaller body within that alliance. The principle of dissolving into something bigger is tempting to communities who are not confident in their people and use foreign powers to intimidate other communities, while the principle of malleable alliances defines those that peoples build through their states.
Such factors, if they apply in principle, are more pertinent in a fragile and difficult country like Lebanon... This is, if the goal is for it to remain a single nation that unites citizens who have equal access to sources of power and an equal say.
As for continuing along the current path, which is, of course, more likely, it is a recipe for reinforcing a domestic tyranny accompanied by threats of civil war and subordination to foreign powers in anticipation of the disintegration of the Lebanese nation, which would be deemed an unviable experiment. The resistance bringing about such a state of affairs is enough to revoke the preference for resistance over occupation: occupation does not cause this much harm.
The past few years were bitter enough. They were made more bitter, and their bitterness’s lifespan was extended to reach forty years by popular culture in the region’s exaggerated exaltation of resistance, any and all forms of resistance.
The wisdom that has been adopted emphasizes what resistance “represents,” not what it does. This dichotomy of glorious representation that blows things out of proportion on the one hand and bad behavior receiving almost no attention on the other, is among the reasons for our many catastrophes, including this one. This wisdom tells us: resist Israel and do what you like. Those who resisted did indeed, and continue to do, what they like.

The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 22-23/2022
Russia's Lavrov in Iran to discuss nuclear deal, cooperation
DUBAI (Reuters)//June 22/2022
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Iran on Wednesday, Iranian state TV reported, as world powers and Tehran are struggling to revive their 2015 nuclear pact and negotiations are stalled. Russia's foreign ministry posted a clip of Lavrov's opening remarks during a meeting with Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi in which he said Moscow was adapting to what he called the West's aggressive policies. "In all the countries experiencing the negative influence of the selfish line taken by the United States and its satellites, there arises the objective need to reconfigure their economic relations so they can avoid relying on the whims and vagaries of our Western partners," Lavrov said. Last month Moscow said Russia and Iran, which are both under Western sanctions and sit on some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves, had discussed swapping supplies for oil and gas as well as establishing a logistics hub. While Moscow is challenging Western sanctions over Ukraine, Tehran's clerical rulers have been struggling to keep Iran's economy afloat because of U.S. sanctions that were reimposed after Washington exited Tehran's nuclear deal in 2018. "During Lavrov's visit, Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, boosting bilateral and energy cooperation, as well as international and regional issues will be discussed," Iranian state media reported. Iranian State TV showed Lavrov meeting Raisi, but gave no details. The Iranian foreign ministry said on Monday that Lavrov's visit was aimed at "expanding cooperation with the Eurasian region and the Caucasus". Indirect talks between Tehran and U.S. President Joe Biden's administration to reinstate the pact have been on hold since March, chiefly over Tehran's insistence that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the U.S. list of designated terrorist organisations. Iran's state news agency IRNA said Lavrov would meet his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, on Thursday.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi and David Ljunggren; Editing by Nick Macfie and Grant McCool)

Saudi Arabia and Turkey hail new era of cooperation after Crown Prince visit
Al Arabiya English/23 June ,2022
Saudi Arabia and Turkey declared on Wednesday their determination to launch a “new era of cooperation” at the end of a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Crown Prince agreed with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to work toward closer ties in several fields including economy, energy and defense, state news agency SPA reported citing a joint statement. The two leaders discussed in Ankara “their common determination to enhance cooperation in the bilateral relations between the two countries including in the political, economic, military, security and cultural fields.” “The two sides also expressed their aspiration to cooperate in the fields of energy, including petroleum, refining and petrochemicals, energy efficiency, electricity, renewable energy, innovation and clean technologies for hydrocarbon resources, low-carbon fuels and hydrogen, and to work on localizing energy sector products and associated supply chains, and developing projects related to these fields,” SPA reported. “The two parties affirmed their endeavour to intensify cooperation, coordination and exchanging of views on important issues in the regional and international arenas, in a way that contributes to supporting and strengthening security and stability in the region and support for political solutions to all crises in the countries of the region.”The Crown Prince left Ankara on Wednesday heading back to the Kingdom ending his tour which took him to Egypt and Jordan.

Saudi crown prince arrives in Turkey for first visit since Khashoggi murder
Associated Press/June 22/2022
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday arrived in Turkey, a Turkish official said, making his first visit since the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate. The oil-rich kingdom's de facto leader is due to hold a private meeting and dinner with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, marking a crucial rapprochement between the Sunni Muslim powers after a decade of hostile relations. The meeting with Erdogan, on the last leg of a Middle East tour that also took him to Egypt and Jordan, comes before U.S. President Joe Biden's trip to the region next month. Erdogan said talks with the prince, who is commonly referred to by his initials MBS, would focus on advancing Turkish-Saudi relations to a "much higher degree." Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia in April, paying his first visit to the kingdom since 2017, a year before the gruesome killing of Khashoggi by Saudi agents in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. Turkey's efforts to improve ties with Saudi Arabia comes as Turkey faces its worst economic crisis in two decades and is trying to draw investments from wealthy Gulf Arab states. Turkey has also taken steps to improve relations with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel. Talks with the UAE's Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan late last year led to investment deals worth $10 billion after years of regional rivalry. Saudi Arabia for its part, has been trying to broaden its alliances at a time when relations between Riyadh and Washington are strained. The crown prince also seeks to put an end to the scandal over Khashoggi's killing that damaged his reputation. Turkey had opened a trial in absentia against 26 Saudis suspected in Khashoggi's killing, but the court earlier this year ruled to halt the proceedings and transfer the case to Saudi Arabia, paving the way for the countries' rapprochement. The killing of Khashoggi had sparked global outrage and put pressure on the prince, who was said to have approved the operation to kill or capture Khashoggi, according to a U.S. intelligence assessment. The prince has denied any knowledge of the operation that was carried out by agents who worked directly for him.While never naming Prince Mohammed, Erdogan said the operation that killed Khashoggi was ordered by the "highest levels" of the Saudi government. Khashoggi had entered the consulate in October 2018 by appointment to obtain papers to allow him to wed his Turkish fiancée, who waited for him outside. He never emerged and his body was never found.

Israel lawmakers take 1st step toward dissolving parliament
Associated Press/June 22/2022
Israeli lawmakers voted in favor of dissolving parliament in a preliminary vote on Wednesday, setting the wheels in motion to send the country to its fifth national election in just over three years. The motion was the first step in a series of votes before the formal disbanding of the government. It came two days after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced he was disbanding his unraveling governing coalition of eight ideologically diverse parties just over a year after he took office. The historic coalition, which unseated longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu, was wracked by infighting and defections in recent months. It included dovish parties committed to a two-state solution with the Palestinians, hawkish ultranationalists who oppose a Palestinian state, and a small Islamist faction, the first Arab party to join a government. A series of proposals for dissolving parliament were passed by a vast majority of the 120 members of Knesset, the Israeli parliament. But a final vote on at least one of the motions is still required in order to dissolve parliament, and that is expected to be held next week. Once it passes, Bennett will step down as prime minister and hand over the reins to his ally, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. New elections are expected to be held in October. Bennett and Lapid formed their coalition of parties united solely in their opposition to Netanyahu last year after four inconclusive elections in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Parliament was deadlocked between those who supported a Netanyahu-led government and those who refused to join forces with him while he was under indictment for corruption. Netanyahu is on trial and faces charges of fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes in three high profile cases. He has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly dismissed the accusations as part of a witch-hunt to oust him from office.
Early opinion polls published Tuesday project that Netanyahu's Likud party will remain the largest in parliament, but a path toward forming a majority coalition remains unclear.

EU Voices Concern Over Iran’s Non-Compliance with Nuclear Commitments
London - Tehran - Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 22 June, 2022
The European Union has expressed concern over Iran’s non-compliance with its nuclear commitments. Talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal are ongoing, EU spokesman for foreign affairs and security policy Peter Stano told a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday. “We are very close to reach a final agreement, but we are not there yet,” he added, stressing that this requires diplomatic effort, without providing more details on outstanding issues. He affirmed that the EU is responsible for coordinating among negotiating parties and can’t comment on the talks, AFP reported. The nuclear pact seemed near revival in March, but talks were thrown into disarray partly over whether the United States might remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which controls elite armed and intelligence forces that Washington accuses of a global terrorist campaign, from its Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. In 2018 then-US President Donald Trump reneged on the deal, under which Iran restrained its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions, prompting Iran to begin violating its core nuclear limits about a year later. The US and Iran blame each other for the stalled talks. Iran said on Monday that Tehran is ready to reach a “good deal” with world powers, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh told a televised news conference, blaming the US for stalling talks to revive the nuclear pact. “Even today, we are ready to return to Vienna to reach a good deal if Washington fulfils its commitments,” Khatibzadeh said. Meanwhile, Iran is escalating its uranium enrichment further by preparing to use advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its underground Fordow site that can more easily switch between enrichment levels, a United Nations nuclear watchdog report seen by Reuters on Monday showed.
The move is the latest of several steps Iran had long threatened to take but held off carrying out until 30 of the 35 countries on the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors backed a resolution this month criticizing it for failing to explain uranium traces found at undeclared sites. The IAEA’s inspectors verified on Saturday that Iran was ready to feed uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas, the material centrifuges enrich, into the second of two cascades, or clusters, of IR-6 centrifuges installed at Fordow, a site dug into mountain, the confidential IAEA report to member states said.
Iran informed the IAEA on Monday that passivation of the cascade, a process that precedes enrichment and also involves feeding UF6 into the machines, had begun on Sunday. Importantly, the 166-machine cascade is the only one to have so-called “modified sub-headers,” which make it easier to switch to enriching to other purity levels. Western diplomats have long pointed to that equipment as a source of concern since it could enable Iran to quickly enrich to higher levels.
Iran has also not told the agency clearly what purity the cascade will enrich to after passivation. Iran had previously informed the IAEA that the two IR-6 cascades could be used to enrich to 5% or 20% purity. “The Agency has yet to receive clarification from Iran as to which mode of production it intends to implement for the aforementioned cascade, following the completion of passivation,” the report said, which the IAEA confirmed. At a different site, Iran is already enriching to up to 60%, close to the roughly 90% of weapons-grade and far above the 2015 deal's cap of 3.67%. Iran has breached many of the deal’s limits in response to the US withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and its reimposition of sanctions. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons. In response to the Board of Governors' resolution, Iran has ordered the removal of IAEA cameras installed under the 2015 deal and pressed ahead with the installation of IR-6 centrifuges at an underground plant at Natanz, where the deal lets it enrich but only with far less efficient IR-1 machines. The 2015 deal does not allow uranium enrichment at Fordow.

Katyusha Rocket Lands in Iraq’s Khor Mor Gas Field, Causes No Damage
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 22 June, 2022
A Katyusha rocket landed inside the Khor Mor gas field in Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq on Wednesday but caused no damage, the city's counter-terrorism service said. The Pearl Consortium, United Arab Emirates energy firm Dana Gas and its affiliate, Crescent Petroleum, have the rights to exploit Khor Mor and Chemchemal, two of the biggest gas fields in Iraq. No group claimed responsibility, but armed groups that some Iraqi officials say are backed by Iran have claimed similar attacks in the past. A source with knowledge of the matter also said there was no damage or impact on operations as a result of the attack. Three people were injured, two security sources said. The security sources told Reuters earlier that a Katyusha rocket hit the headquarters of Dana Gas in the Iraqi province of Kirkuk.

France’s Macron says opposition ready to work with him on ‘major topics’
AFP/22 June ,2022
French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that opposition groups have signaled their readiness to work with his government on “major topics,” after his party lost its parliamentary majority. “They are available to advance on major topics” such as the cost of living, jobs, energy, climate and health, Macron said in a televised address. Macron ruled out any attempt to create a “government of national unity” after his Together party on Sunday fell short of the majority needed to legislate without others, saying such a move was “not justified” at this stage. Macron acknowledged that the parliamentary elections had highlighted social problems in France, but he called on the opposition parties to “leave in-fighting behind” and move “beyond politics.”This, Macron said, meant that “together we will have to learn a new way to govern and to legislate.” He said urgent draft laws, especially to alleviate the impact of inflation and rising energy prices, would be submitted to parliament over the summer. Macron called on the opposition parties to “clarify in all transparency, in the coming days, how far they are willing to go” in their support of such measures which he said would not be financed by higher taxes. He added that he himself had been re-elected in April on a platform of “ambitious reform” which he expected to carry out.The parliamentary impasse should not lead to “stagnation,” Macron said, but to “dialogue and the willingness to listen to each other.”

At least 1,000 killed in Afghan quake as rescuers scramble for survivors
Agence France Presse/June 22/2022
A powerful earthquake struck a remote border region of Afghanistan overnight killing at least 1,000 people and injuring hundreds more, officials said Wednesday, with the toll expected to rise as desperate rescuers dig through collapsed dwellings.
The 5.9 magnitude quake struck hardest in the rugged east, where people already lead hardscrabble lives in a country in the grip of a humanitarian disaster made worse by the Taliban takeover in August. "People are digging grave after grave," said Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, head of the Information and Culture Department in hard-hit Paktika, adding that at least 1,000 people had died in that province alone. "It is raining also, and all houses are destroyed. People are still trapped under the rubble," he told journalists. The death toll climbed steadily all day as news of casualties filtered in from hard-to-reach areas in the mountains, and the country's supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, warned it would likely rise further. Earlier, a tribal leader from Paktika said survivors and rescuers were scrambling to help those affected. "The local markets are closed and all the people have rushed to the affected areas," Yaqub Manzor told AFP by telephone. Photographs and video clips posted on social media showed scores of badly damaged mud houses in remote rural areas. Some footage showed local residents loading victims into a military helicopter.
Offers of help
Even before the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan's emergency response teams were stretched to deal with the natural disasters that frequently struck the country. But with only a handful of airworthy planes and helicopters left since the hardline Islamists returned to power, any immediate response to the latest catastrophe is further limited. "The government is working within its capabilities," tweeted Anas Haqqani, a senior Taliban official. "We hope that the International Community & aid agencies will also help our people in this dire situation."The United Nations and European Union were quick to offer assistance. "Inter-agency assessment teams have already been deployed to a number of affected areas," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Afghanistan tweeted. Tomas Niklasson, EU special envoy for Afghanistan, tweeted: "The EU is monitoring the situation and stands ready to coordinate and provide EU emergency assistance to people and communities affected." Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes -- especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. Scores of people were killed and injured in January when two quakes struck rural areas in the western province of Badghis, damaging hundreds of buildings. In 2015, more than 380 people were killed in Pakistan and Afghanistan when a 7.5-magnitude earthquake ripped across the two countries, with the bulk of the deaths in Pakistan. From the Vatican City, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of the latest quake. "I express my closeness with the injured and those who were affected," the 85-year-old pontiff said at the end of his weekly audience. Aid agencies and the United Nations say Afghanistan needs billions of dollars this year to tackle its ongoing humanitarian crisis. Aid agencies have particularly stressed the need for greater disaster preparedness in Afghanistan, which remains extremely susceptible to recurring earthquakes, floods and landslides. The quake was felt as far away as Lahore in Pakistan, 480 kilometers (300 miles) from the epicenter, according to responses posted on the USGS and European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) websites.

Kuwait's crown prince dissolves parliament, calls elections
Associated Press/June 22/2022
Kuwait's crown prince on Wednesday dissolved Parliament and called for early elections, a move to ease government gridlock that has bred popular opposition and paralyzed the tiny country for months. In his televised national address, the 81-year-old Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmed Al Jaber said that while the ruling family respected Kuwait's constitution that grants the country's rowdy parliament more power than elsewhere in the autocratic region of Persian Gulf sheikhdoms, popular dissatisfaction over the deepening dysfunction compelled the emir to intervene.
"Our goal with this constitutional solution is the firm and sincere desire for the people themselves to have the final say in the process of correcting the political course anew by choosing who represents the right choice," said Sheikh Meshal, who assumed most of the emir's responsibilities last year. A date for legislative elections was not immediately announced. The country's Cabinet resigned over two months ago over disputes with Parliament, resulting in a prolonged paralysis. Over a dozen Kuwaiti lawmakers began a sit-in last week inside the parliamentary chamber to press for a new government and voice their opposition to the worsening political crisis that has blocked economic and social progress in the country. The wrangling has left many Kuwaitis deeply disenchanted with their 50-member elected legislature. Parliament is empowered to pass and block laws, question ministers and submit no-confidence votes against senior officials. However, final authority rests with the ruling emir. Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, appeared briefly on state TV on Wednesday to say he authorized his heir to give the national address, effectively blessing the step.

UK plans to rewrite human rights law; critics cry foul
Associated Press/June 22/2022
The British government on Wednesday unveiled plans for a Bill of Rights it says will strengthen free speech and the power of Parliament — but that critics argue will rip up human rights protections for ordinary people. The government published the bill days after courts in the U.K. and Europe, on human rights grounds, stopped Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative administration deporting people seeking asylum in Britain to Rwanda. If approved by Parliament — where it faces a battle — the legislation will raise the bar for bringing human rights legal claims. It will reduce the ability of foreign nationals convicted of a crime in Britain to challenge deportation on the basis of their human rights. The government says the goal is to reduce "trivial" and "frivolous" claims. The law will also give British courts the power to ignore rulings by the European Court of Human Rights, currently the ultimate arbiter of rights law for dozens of countries, including the U.K. It was an ECHR judge who ruled last week that an Iraqi man shouldn't be sent to Rwanda under the government's controversial deportation plan, a judgment that led to the flight being grounded. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said the bill, which would replace the U.K.'s Human Rights Act, would "curb abuses of the system and inject a bit more common sense" into human rights law. He told lawmakers that the law was designed to rein in "elastic interpretations" of human rights that have developed through court rulings without "meaningful democratic oversight" by the House of Commons. Raab said Britain would retain its "fundamental commitment" to the European Convention on Human Rights, but its move could set it on a collision course with the Council of Europe, which oversees the Strasbourg-based rights court. The government depicted the Bill of Rights as an assertion of British sovereignty in the wake of the country's departure from the European Union. However, the European Court of Human Rights is unconnected to the EU; it is an international tribunal supported by 46 countries. Rights groups said the government's move would remove some of the main tools the public has to hold the powerful to account, by raising the bar for human rights claims and weakening an obligation on public bodies to actively protect human rights. Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of Amnesty International U.K., said "the public is being stripped of its most powerful tool to challenge wrongdoing by the government and other public bodies." Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said the Bill of Rights was "a lurch backwards for British justice.""Authorities may begin to consider some rights violations as acceptable, because these could no longer be challenged under the bill of rights despite being against the law," she said.

Russian troops ‘executed’ photographer in Ukraine, press group says
Reuters/22 June ,2022
Ukrainian photographer Maksim Levin was “executed in cold blood” alongside his friend Oleksiy Chernyshov by Russian forces north of Kyiv on March 13, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a 16-page report on Wednesday. “The evidence against the Russian forces is overwhelming,” the press freedom group said in an introduction to the report on its website. Reuters could not independently verify the report's conclusions. Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Born in 1981, Levin was a documentary filmmaker and had occasionally contributed to Reuters coverage of the country since 2013. He went missing on March 13, the day RSF says he was executed. John Pullman, Reuters global managing editor for visuals, said of Levin in April: “His death is a huge loss to the world of journalism. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”RSF said it examined evidence at the scene which included bullets and Levin's burnt-out car, as well as photos taken of Levin and Chernyshov's bodies when they were discovered on April 1. The report said the position of Chernyshov's body and other evidence indicated he may have been burned alive and Levin was likely killed by one or two gunshots from close range. It said a photo of his corpse showed three visible bullet impacts. RSF gathered evidence from May 24 to June 3.Ukrainian prosecutors say Levin was killed by two shots from small arms by members of Russia’s armed forces. Reuters was unable to independently verify this information.

The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 22-23/2022
The 'Christian East' Is Bigger Than You Know (And Worth Helping)
Alberto M. Fernandez/MEMRI Daily Brief No. 392/June 22/2022
Where does "the East" begin? The question is as much political as historical. For some the divide is that Europe is the West and Asia is the East. But borders and people move. British adventurer Sir Samuel Baker rescued the teenage girl who was to become his wife from a Turkish slave market in 1859. That was at Vidin, on the southern banks of the Danube in what is today northern Bulgaria. The papal agency known as the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) was established with that name in 1924 to initially help persecuted Christians in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The focus was more on Slavic and Greek Christians rather than what we associate today with the terms Near East or Middle East.
We see a similar, expansive and holistic, vision of the East in a recent effort launched by the American nonprofit the Philos Project called the Abraham’s Missing Child Initiative, seeking to "leverage recent developments in the Near East to strengthen and protect indigenous Christians by promoting religious pluralism" (fair warning: I am involved with this initiative and support its goals).[1]
One of the unique and most welcomed features of the Philos initiative has been to include Greece, Cyprus and Armenia in the broader discussion. There is little doubt that the Christians of the Middle East have experienced a bitter century of violence, displacement and repression. Much of the world’s focus – such as it is – has been, for example, on the depredations of extremist groups like ISIS against religious minorities in Syria, Iraq and Egypt. Those who follow the region more closely would be aware of Iranian inspired violence and repression against Christians, inside Iran, of course, but also in Iraq and Lebanon, perpetrated by Iranian directed death squads. The struggle for survival of Christian communities in the Arabic and Farsi speaking Middle East continues, these communities under tremendous pressure, with the outcome very much in doubt.
But Greece is a NATO and EU member. Cyprus is a member of the European Union as well. And Armenia was for decades a part of the Soviet Union, smothered and oppressed by Soviet Power but certainly not at risk of elimination. Their situation is, on the surface, different from the plight of Christian minorities in Muslim majority countries of the Middle East. And yet today all three of these majority-Christian "European" countries (confusingly, the South Caucasus is seen as an extension of Europe) are very much threatened, on the frontlines of an aggressive ideological and security challenge in the form of Islamist Turkey. Turkey, also a NATO member and European country, has under Erdogan’s AKP embraced an increasingly intolerant and belligerent political Islam dismissive of non-Muslims internally and non-Muslim states regionally. Kemalist nationalist Turkey was not exactly a good neighbor. The horrific 1955 Istanbul pogrom orchestrated by the government against the city’s remaining Greek population and the 1974 invasion of Cyprus that divided the island was carried out by nationalists rather than Islamists. But today Islamism and nationalism in Turkey combine in an even more ambitious form. Erdogan’s Islamists are allied in government with the neo-fascist MHP of Devlet Bahçeli.
Beset by economic problems of his own making, President Erdogan and his regime make constant threats directed against all three of these neighbors. On Cyprus, Turkey not only supports the permanent division of the country and has ethnically cleansed the northern part of the island it occupies militarily, it even seeks to prevent Cyprus from exploiting natural gas reserves in its own territorial waters. Cyprus – long before the war in Ukraine – was the only European country whose territory is still occupied by a foreign army.[2]
As for Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan orchestrated a bloody war of conquest over the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) in 2020, but the aggression didn’t end there. Azerbaijan, with Turkey’s blessing has repeatedly sought to landgrab every exposed meter of the Republic of Armenia’s own territory – cutting roads, moving borders, seizing lakes and high points, sniping at soldiers and civilians, engaging in a constant, low-grade campaign of aggression and intimidation. Meanwhile Baku’s dictator, Turkey’s closest ally, threatens to take whatever else he wants of Armenia by force, "whether Armenia wants to or not."[3]
Meanwhile Armenia seems almost paralyzed as demonstrators seek to bring down a Prime Minister blamed for disastrous leadership in war and peace and for wanting to surrender still more Armenian territory to Azerbaijan.[4] Prime Minister Pashinyan, elected as a pro-Western reformer in 2018, Pashinyan is caught between aggressive adversaries Turkey and Azerbaijan and a dependence on Putin’s Russia, the only country strong enough and close enough to even minimally deter Ankara’s and Baku’s ferocious ambitions against their despised Armenian enemy.[5] Azerbaijan’s publicists in the West make much of the charge that Armenia is a Russian satellite but the Armenians have little choice in the matter given such a perilous neighborhood.
While Greece is the strongest of these three frontline Christian states, it too has felt the lash of constant Turkish incitement and threats. Turkey has recently blustered about Greece needing to "demilitarize" Greek islands (that is sovereign Greek territory) close to Turkey.[6] But Turkish incitement is much deeper and longer, with Turkey’s "Blue Homeland" (Mavi Vatan) doctrine, originally promoted by Turkish admirals in 2006 and now more openly embraced by Ankara, calling for expanded Turkish hegemony in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, including in Greek and Cypriot territorial waters.[7] Turkey has also unsuccessfully attempted to use migration flows of desperate people trying to get to Europe as a weapon against Greece.[8]
Turkey’s constant threats and incendiary rhetoric against its neighbors backfired in the Middle East and, coupled with Ankara’s own economic problems, has caused Turkey to give in to Arab adversaries in Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia and to Israel.[9] Only time will tell how sincere and lasting is this latest Erdogan policy shift. The same softening of policy and rhetoric has not yet happened when it comes to Greece, Cyprus and Armenia. Those that care about the Christians of the East but also those concerned about the sovereignty and survival of small nations threatened by a bully should watch closely what is said and what happens in the Eastern Med and the Southern Caucasus.
*Alberto M. Fernandez is Vice President of MEMRI.
[1] Prnewswire.com/news-releases/philos-project-unveils-abrahams-missing-child-initiative-301554223.html, May 24, 2022.
[2] Washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/henry-kissinger-should-apologize-for-serving-turkish-imperialism, June 16, 2022.
[3] Asbarez.com/aliyev-again-threatens-to-forcibly-open-zangezur-corridor, December 7, 2021.
[4] Armenianweekly.com/2022/06/08/violence-escalates-at-protests-calling-for-pashinyans-resignation, June 8, 2022.
[5] Nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/armenias-protests-mask-reality-russian-influence-202845, June 6, 2022.
[6] Msn.com/en-gb/news/world/greek-pm-mitsotakis-says-turkeys-position-over-greek-islands-sovereignty-absurd/ar-AAYsJO2?ocid=uxbndlbing, June 15, 2022.
[7] Ifri.org/en/publications/etudes-de-lifri/mavi-vatan-blue-homeland-origins-influences-and-limits-ambitious, April 29, 2021.
[8] Ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/politics/2022/06/06/greece-say-turkey-can-no-longer-instrumentalize-migration_5481b4dc-8bfb-40de-944e-3b5951d9a03c.html, June 6, 2022.
[9] Agsiw.org/turkeys-ties-with-saudi-arabia-and-the-uae-walking-back-ten-years-of-tensions, January 28, 2022.

The Crisis of Living in the Past
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/June 22/2022
We still encounter those people who intend to censor Netflix and ban Japanese manga magazines and some series screened on MBC channels. Since they still live in the near past, they cannot handle the fact that the world provides enough space for all ideas and human beings. Hence, they persist on harassing others, never tiring of attempting to mobilize the society and deny the others their freedoms.
We live in a time where cave dwellers and city dwellers have the same life or, rather, face the same challenges, and where almost everything one wishes to experience is available, regardless of the social status, ideological position, or purchasing power of the population at large. Some find it difficult to live with those whose choices have a different taste, be it in the films they like to watch, the books they like to read, the music they like to hear, the lectures they like to attend, or the destinations they like to travel to. It is not easy for those to coexist with others who are different.
Meanwhile, the global scene is shifting even further, with new realities emerging nearly each decade. Several reasons drive this shift, including how the new generation is taking over instead of the older one, and bringing its own ideas which has always been the course of life. Another reason for this shift is modern technology that has been a game changer for fall of humanity.
Recently I visited the city of Jeddah, and there I passed by a bookstore which I know quite well. I noticed how it has been filled with electronic devices containing books that, up until a few years ago, were banned, but now they are available as e-books. It is quite wise to offer them either as e-books or hardcopy, and it was pleasant to see them displayed without arousing anyone’s concern or condemnation.
On a related issue, the number of printed books at that bookstore shrunk, and this is another global phenomenon, as in the US alone half of the 11,000 commercial bookstores have shut down. However, and contrary to the implication this might give, the numbers of readers and book sales spiked, thanks to the availability of digital and audio books, as in the US alone, 191 million e-books existed in 2019.
Through such tools the world is at an abundance of choices that seem hard to pick from, and amid such a situation it becomes even harder for those who still live in the past to block these historical transformations, except if they wish to perceive themselves reminiscent of that Dutch boy who saved his country from drowning by closing the small hole in a dam with his finger.
We might not be always able to sense it, but the process of globalization is steadily ongoing, and anyone who wishes to stop it is out of touch with reality. Likewise, this process is shaping the modern mindset in a manner that urges each civilization to present the best it has in order to contribute to the global endeavor, rather than shut down its windows to the world.
I finished watching Babylon Berlin, a subtitled German series on the story of the German capital in 1929, when the Fascists managed to sneak and grab power there. Somehow the series resembles the events of the Arab region in 1979, when a defeated nation opted to embrace extremist ideologies and organizations that offer nothing but the one and only direction and mindset they represent.
Nowadays, however, it is difficult for these ideologies to keep imposing their ways with the endless abundance of various literary and intellectually creative works that are no longer restricted to an elite minority that had managed to expensively travel and study abroad.
As a rule of thumb in our modern world, if someone dislikes a particular platform, they do not have to deal with it, since it is their right and the right of each sane person to decide what is the best for themselves. Amid the conflict of evolving ideas, society went through several phases of attempts to isolate it and dictate the likes and dislikes of its generations.
At any rate, the cycle of life will go on with new emerging generations, whose ideas are likely to be rejected by the older ones. However, we still have some people who wish to see the world dance to their old tune.

Westerners, too, are waging a ‘War on the West’
Clifford D. May/Washington Times./June 22/2022
Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Xi Jinping’s China. Ali Khamenei’s Iran. Al-Qaida. The Islamic State. These and other actors are waging a war on the West, a war against Western power and values. Some Westerners are mounting a vigorous defense. Others are arguing — vehemently and incessantly — that the West is morally inferior to the rest of the world and therefore indefensible.
Douglas Murray’s new book, “The War on the West,” looks at the Westerners who denigrate the West. No greater threat exists, he writes, “than that which comes from people inside the West intent on pulling apart the fabric of our societies piece by piece.”
It’s a topic that Mr. Murray, a rather dashing young Brit with an Eton and Oxford education, a posh accent and a switchblade-sharp tongue, has approached from other angles, provoking the predictable howls from the predictable quarters.
For example, a reviewer in The New York Times dismissed his “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam” as “a handy digest of far-right cliches.” (On the other hand, a reviewer in The Sunday Times of London called that 2017 book “brilliant.”)
In “The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity,” he questioned the wisdom of valorizing select victim groups. The Guardian (U.K.) called that 2019 book “the bizarre fantasies of a rightwing provocateur, blind to oppression.” (By contrast, The Daily Telegraph (U.K.), praised Mr. Murray as “a superbly perceptive guide through the age of the social justice warrior.”)
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Anti-Westernism has been taken up energetically on American and European campuses and in much of the elite media. Mr. Murray points out that it has become common for bien-pensant academics to dismiss such Enlightenment philosophers as John Locke and David Hume as racists based on scant evidence. At the same time, Karl Marx, whose racism was both virulent and consistent, gets a pass because he was, well … a Marxist.
The New York Times’ 1619 Project asserts that America’s “true founding” was not 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by decolonized Americans but the year a privateer ship brought slaves from a Portuguese colony in Africa to a British colony in Virginia.
This assertion is supported by neither reporting nor serious scholarship. It is intended, Mr. Murray writes, to establish that “the American story was rooted in a crime that could apparently never be alleviated.”
Anti-Westerners determinedly ignore progress. Mr. Murray notes that author Robin DiAngelo, coiner of the term “White Fragility,” maintains that “the younger generation” of Americans is no “less racist than the older ones.”
What’s more, she and many other commentators are either ignorant of or uninterested in racism elsewhere in the world. Mr. Murray writes about one exception, “a late colleague of mine, Clarissa Tan” who attempted to call attention to the prevalence of racial bias in Asia. She noted, for example, that people like her, ethnically Chinese but with Western values, are derided as “bananas,” that is to say, “yellow on the outside but white on the inside.”
In Asia, too, “Racism against black people remains ingrained and commonplace,” Mr. Murray writes. This has become especially egregious in the growing number of African countries now dominated by “new Chinese masters” ostensibly engaged in economic development but, in reality, draining the continent’s natural resources.
In much of the Arab Middle East today, Mr. Murray points out, “black people are referred to as Abid’ (plural Abeed’), which literally translates as ‘slave.’” That is likely a legacy of the 13 centuries during which there was a flourishing Arab slave trade from sub-Saharan Africa.
He adds: “There are estimated to be over forty million people living in slavery around the world today” — which is more than in the 19th century. Anti-Westerners don’t give a fig.
Another contention of the anti-Western crowd, Mr. Murray observes, is that “nobody in the world can do anything wrong unless the West has made them do it.”
I learned that as a newspaper correspondent in Africa years ago when several of my editors discouraged me from focusing on such issues as corruption, ethnic/tribal conflicts and the failure of the “socialist path to development.” Their preferred macro-narrative was that the new nations of Africa were doing just fine, and whatever problems remained were “the legacy of colonialism.”
Mr. Murray contends: “Although the age of empire lingers over” many countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, “in few does it remain the salient factor in whether a country has been able to succeed or fail.”
Western “self-hatred and self-distrust,” Mr. Murray observes, are being used by the West’s enemies “for their own ends.”
It is “enormously helpful to China today, as it was to the Soviets in the past, to encourage the perception of America as uniquely racist and China as uniquely virtuous,” he writes. “It allows Beijing to get away with grotesque rights abuses of its own. It distracts Western attention. It suggests that the West has no moral legitimacy to act anywhere. And it runs off the claim that the West has not merely done things that every other civilization in history has done, but rather has always been worse than any other civilization, meaning that the West is uniquely unqualified to pass moral judgment today.”In other words, denigrators of the West — and let’s not confuse denigration with serious criticism or research-based revisionism — are strategic partners of those seeking to diminish, defeat and perhaps destroy the West.
They constitute a formidable coalition. Those of us who believe that the West, for all its faults, is preferable to the available alternatives, have our work cut out for us.
• Clifford D. May is the founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a columnist for the Washington Times.
Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC

Five Blunt Truths About the War in Ukraine
Bret Stephens/Asharq Al Awsat/June 22/2022
Five sentences sum up the war in Ukraine as it stands now.
The Russians are running out of precision-guided weapons. The Ukrainians are running out of Soviet-era munitions. The world is running out of patience for the war. The Biden administration is running out of ideas for how to wage it. And the Chinese are watching.
Moscow’s shortfalls with its arsenal, which have been obvious on the battlefield for weeks, are cause for long-term relief and short-term horror. Relief, because the Russian war machine, on whose modernization Vladimir Putin spent heavily, has been exposed as a paper tiger that could not seriously challenge NATO in a conventional conflict.
Horror, because an army that cannot wage a high-tech war, relatively low on collateral damage, will wage a low-tech war, appallingly high on such damage. Ukraine, by its own estimates, is suffering 20,000 casualties a month. By contrast, the US suffered about 36,000 casualties in Iraq over seven years of war. For all its bravery and resolve, Kyiv can hold off — but not defeat — a neighbor more than three times its size in a war of attrition.
That means Ukraine needs to do more than slow down the Russian Army. It needs to break its spine as quickly as possible.
But that can’t happen in an artillery war when Russia can fire some 60,000 shells per day against the roughly 5,000 that the Ukrainians have said they can get off. Quantity, as the saying goes, has a quality all its own. The Biden administration is providing Ukraine with advanced howitzers, rocket launchers and munitions, but they aren’t arriving fast enough.
Now is the moment for Joe Biden to tell his national security team what Richard Nixon told his when Israel was reeling from its losses in the Yom Kippur War: After asking what weapons Jerusalem was asking for, the 37th president ordered his staff to “double it,” adding, “Now get the hell out of here and get the job done.”
The urgency of winning soon — or at least of putting Russian forces into retreat across a broad front, so that it’s Moscow, not Kyiv, that sues for peace — is compounded by the fact that time isn’t necessarily on the West’s side.
Sanctions on Russia may do long-term damage to its capacity to grow. But sanctions can do only so much in the short term to dent Russia’s capacity to destroy. Those same sanctions also exact a toll on the rest of the world, and the toll the world is prepared to pay for solidarity with Ukraine isn’t unlimited. Critical shortages of food, energy and fertilizer, along with the supply disruptions and price increases that inevitably follow, can’t be sustained forever in democratic societies with limited tolerance for pain.
Meanwhile, Putin appears to be paying no great price, whether in energy revenues (which are up, thanks to price increases) or in public support (also up, thanks to some combination of nationalism, propaganda and fear), for his war. Hoping he might die soon of whatever disease might be ailing him — Is it Parkinson’s? A “blood cancer”? Or just a Napoleon complex? — isn’t a strategy.
What more can the Biden administration do? It needs to take two calculated risks, based on one conceptual breakthrough.
The calculated risks: First, as retired Adm. James Stavridis has proposed, the US should be prepared to challenge the Russian maritime blockade of Odesa by escorting cargo ships to and from the port.
That will first mean getting Turkey to allow NATO warships to transit the Turkish straits to the Black Sea, which could entail some uncomfortable diplomatic concessions to Ankara. More dangerously, it could result in close encounters between NATO and Russian warships. But Russia has no legal right to blockade Ukraine’s last major port, no moral right to keep Ukrainian farm products from reaching global markets, and not enough maritime might to take on the US Navy.
Second, the US should seize the estimated $300 billion in Russian central bank assets held abroad to fund Ukraine’s military and reconstruction needs.
I first proposed this in early April, and Harvard’s Laurence Tribe and Jeremy Lewin laid out a convincing legal case several days later in a Times guest essay. The administration has cold feet on grounds that it could violate US law and set a bad financial precedent — which would be good arguments in less dire circumstances. Right now, what’s urgently needed is the kind of financial wallop to Russia that other sanctions have failed to inflict.
Which brings us to the conceptual breakthrough: The fight in Ukraine will have a greater effect in Asia than it will in Europe. The administration may reassure itself that it has sufficiently bloodied the Russian military that it won’t soon be invading anyone else. That’s true as far as it goes.
But if the war ends with Putin comfortably in power and Russia in possession of a fifth of Ukraine, then Beijing will draw the lesson that aggression works. And we will have a fight over Taiwan — with its overwhelming human and economic toll — much sooner than we think.
The bottom line: The war in Ukraine is either a prelude or a finale. President Biden needs to do even more than he already has to ensure it’s the latter.

End of Trump but not Trumpism
Robert Ford/Asharq Al Awsat/June 22/2022
Here in America, we are following the investigation by the American congress into the attack on the Capitol building in Washington on January 6, 2021 when an armed mob tried to block the certification of Joseph Biden’s election victory. After the first two weeks of hearings, the purpose of the investigation is clear: the investigation committee members, both Democrats and two Republicans, aim to destroy Donald Trump politically even if they cannot destroy Trumpism as a political movement.
In its hearings on television, the investigation confirmed three key facts from acknowledgements by Trump’s family and close advisors. First, White House lawyers and then Attorney General (Justice Minister) William Barr warned Trump that blocking the vote certification in states and in the Congress is illegal. Second, President Trump and his lawyers ignored the law and made one last attempt to stop the certification by pressuring Vice President Pence to stop the certification session in Congress on January 6. Finally, we learned that when Vice President Pence decided to obey the law, Trump called Pence a coward and encouraged an armed mob to attack the Capitol building. Trump refused to order the Pentagon or the Department of Homeland Security to send forces to stop the attack on the Capitol. And all this information came from Republican political figures, not Democratic Party critics of Trump.
The political impact was big and maybe the legal impact also. Only the American Department of Justice, not Congress, can raise a legal case against Donald Trump in a courtroom. So far, the head of the Justice Department, Attorney General Merrick Garland, has abstained from saying if his department will bring charges against Trump, but investigators from the Department asked for the files from the Congress committee, and those files should start arriving this week. It is worth noting that a federal judge in California looked at much of the evidence from the Congress investigating committee last March and ordered Trump’s lawyer in the White House to share his emails with the committee because the evidence in March already indicated Trump probably did commit the crime of trying “to block the work of Congress” and also conspired to “commit acts of fraud against the United States” in the words of that judge.
I do not mean that Trump is sure to face conviction if there is a trial. The Justice Department would have to prove Trump knew his actions were illegal and he will deny that he understood the legal issues. Trump’s personal effort to convince election officials in Georgia to change the vote count in that vital state will make his winning more difficult. In any case if there is a trial it will be a huge media event. Trump would be the first American president ever to face a trial. Probably the one quarter of Americans who totally love him will never criticize him. That quarter is not enough to win the 2024 presidential election, however. The Republicans have to win the votes of independents and unhappy Democratic Party voters.
Candidate Trump, especially if he is on trial, will not convince independent voters to support him. Even if Trump escapes a trial, television broadcasts of the Congress committee watched by millions of Americans during the past two weeks have hurt Trump’s credibility. Republican Party activists understand this very well. Notably a May 2022 public opinion survey by NBC News showed that 58 percent of Republican voters think the Republican Party is more important than Trump himself; only 39 percent of Republican voters want Trump to run in 2024. Such opinion polls will convince other Republican Party candidates to challenge Trump in the 2024 election. In particular, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is preparing a campaign and he has a large political base without Trump’s legal and credibility problems.
Trump’s influence is diminishing but Trumpism is still very powerful. At the conference of the Texas Republican Party last weekend, party militants harassed conservative Congressman Dan Crenshaw who is a hero from the war in Afghanistan. These militants accused Crenshaw of supporting globalism instead of promoting America-first policies.
At the conference the Texas Republicans called President Biden illegitimate and demanded the abolition of the American Federal Reserve Bank and income taxes. The Trumpist agenda doubts the utility of international trade and intervention in foreign wars. It promotes Christianity and pledges to fight leftists in America’s ongoing culture war. And it doubts institutions. In this season of primary elections across America, several successful candidates for governor and senator in important states still insist the 2020 presidential election was corrupted. The political indicators here predict a Republican Party tsunami in November 2022 elections, and many of these candidates will win and strengthen the Trumpist influence in American politics.

Nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile: Badly Needed for Deterrence
Peter Vincent Pry/Gatestone Institute/June 22, 2022
U.S. President Joe Biden, overruling his top generals and military advisors in the Pentagon, has defunded development of the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile-Nuclear (SLCM-N). They warn, correctly, that SLCM-N is vitally necessary for nuclear deterrence.
Throughout the Cold War, and today, in order to prevent nuclear war, it is foundational to the concept of deterrence that the U.S. should allow no nuclear adversary to achieve significant advantages in the balance of nuclear power.
Indeed, the U.S. under President Biden is not willing to risk nuclear escalation on behalf of Ukraine, which is why Russian nuclear blackmail is succeeding.
The U.S. under President Biden is not willing to risk nuclear escalation on behalf of Ukraine, which is why Russian nuclear blackmail is succeeding. Throughout the Cold War, and today, in order to prevent nuclear war, it is foundational to the concept of deterrence that the U.S. should allow no nuclear adversary to achieve significant advantages in the balance of nuclear power. Pictured: The test-launch of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska off the coast of California. (Image source: U.S. Navy/Ronald Gutridge/Released)
U.S. President Joe Biden, overruling his top generals and military advisors in the Pentagon, has defunded development of the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile-Nuclear (SLCM-N). They warn, correctly, that SLCM-N is vitally necessary for nuclear deterrence.
Throughout the Cold War, and today, in order to prevent nuclear war, it is foundational to the concept of deterrence that the U.S. should allow no nuclear adversary to achieve significant advantages in the balance of nuclear power.
SLCM-N, if developed and deployed, would be a long-range (2,500 km) cruise missile, stealthy because it can fly under radar, highly accurate, armed with a warhead of variable yield (5-150 kilotons), and launchable from U.S. Navy tactical platforms, submarines and surface ships, including nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), guided missile cruisers, and destroyers.
SLCM-N was the best hope to mitigate Russia's enormous advantage in tactical nuclear weapons. Currently, the U.S. is credited with 100-200 tactical nuclear weapons, mostly aged gravity bombs bunkered in European NATO countries and Turkey (at Incirlik), versus an estimated 2,000-8,000 Russian tactical nuclear weapons — giving Moscow an at least ten-to-one decided advantage that Russia may exploit by waging nonstrategic nuclear warfare in land, sea, and air battles.
SLCM-N defunding appears to show that the Biden Administration to genuinely believes its mantra that "Nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," so U.S. gross inferiority in tactical nuclear weapons matters not — Minimum Deterrence will suffice.
The Problem with U.S.-NATO Tactical Nuclear Weapons
While the U.S. credits itself with 100-200 tactical nuclear weapons, from the perspective of our nuclear adversaries, we are probably giving ourselves too much credit.
Most U.S. tactical nuclear weapons are aged, arguably obsolete, gravity bombs that would have to be delivered through increasingly formidable Russian air defenses. Nor can the U.S. unilaterally employ these weapons. The U.S. must consult with other NATO governments and have the approval of at least the host government — which would deliver the bombs on behalf of NATO.
Would Germany, Italy or Turkey really be willing to risk a nuclear war with Russia, or to widen a tactical nuclear war started by Russia to include themselves as targets, on behalf of Latvia, Poland or Ukraine? Indeed, the U.S. under President Biden is not willing to risk nuclear escalation on behalf of Ukraine, which is why Russian nuclear blackmail is succeeding. Moreover, generating NATO's tactical nuclear weapons for employment would be a "noisy" process that might well provoke a Russian preemptive nuclear strike.
The Problem with the W-76
The U.S. has a very small number of tactical nuclear warheads aboard the SSBN Tennessee, a ballistic missile submarine armed with mostly high-yield strategic warheads. Some of the Tennessee's Trident SLBMs are armed with the W76-2, a low-yield (5 kilotons) tactical warhead.
Critics warn that the Trident missile lacks the necessary accuracy to usefully deliver 5 kilotons to a battlefield; that delivering a tactical nuclear strike from a strategic platform risks escalating a limited nuclear war into an all-out nuclear war; and that as soon as the submarine fires one or more missiles, the vessel exposes its location and could be destroyed, along with all its strategic warheads needed to deter attacks on U.S. cities.
Moreover, the Tennessee (the only submarine armed with W76-2 warheads) cannot always be at sea or in the theater where it is needed. If at port, the SSBN would have to be generated -- a potentially escalatory act.
Why Deterrence is Needed
Chief of U.S. Strategic Command, Admiral Charles Richard, who also sits on the Nuclear Weapons Council in addition to commanding all U.S. nuclear forces, wants SLCM-N because, in addition to its accuracy and stealth, if widely deployed SLCM-N would not have to be generated: "I support reestablishing SLCM-N as necessary to enhance deterrence and assurance [because] a low-yield, non-ballistic capability that can be made available without visible generation" is needed.
Richard also warns that the disparity in U.S. and adversary nuclear capabilities increases the risk of limited nuclear war:
"We are facing a crisis deterrence dynamic right now that we have seen only a few times in our nation's history...The war in Ukraine and China's nuclear trajectory—their strategic breakout—demonstrates that we have a deterrence and assurance gap based on the threat of limited nuclear employment."
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Robert Peters, Chief of the Strategic Trends and Effects Department, concurs:
"China and Russia are incentivized to escalate the level of violence above the conventional threshold, but below a general nuclear exchange—and should that happen, those states are postured to defeat us."
Peters assesses that limited nuclear use by Russia or China could strain U.S. alliance relationships beyond the breaking point — and that Moscow and Beijing know this:
"The political effect of responding either with conventional weapons or with high-yield nuclear weapons would create serious alliance cohesion issues within any U.S.-led coalition...Some allies might demand a nuclear response (even one that was high-yield) to a low-yield nuclear attack, while others would almost certainly blanche at the prospect of a limited nuclear war... The political crisis would be severe, immediate, and perhaps devastating to coalition cohesion. This is a prospect our enemies count on and is part of the reason why a low-yield nuclear strike would nonetheless have strategic political impacts...
"And they are not problems which would confront China or Russia, non-democracies who do not have to worry about offending allies...
"We must examine the strategic and operational and tactical warfighting challenges. And we must re-examine our force posture as well as our declaratory policy...
"If we do not, we will lose the war."
SLCM-N could close the enormous gap between U.S. and adversary capabilities to wage tactical nuclear warfare, plugging one of the biggest holes in the eroding nuclear deterrence dike. But President Biden is ignoring pleas for SLCM-N even from his own top military experts.
*Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, served as Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, Chief of Staff of the Congressional EMP Commission, and on the staffs of the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of the books Will America Be Protected?, Blackout Warfare, and The Power And The Light.
© 2022 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Arabs to Biden: Shut Down Iran's 'Expansionist Project'
Khaled Abu Toameh/Gatestone Institute./June 22/2022
Ahead of Biden's visit, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, in a clear message to the US administration and other Western powers, affirmed that any nuclear agreement or future negotiations with Iran must address the Iranians' "destabilizing behavior in the region, their support for terrorist militias, and their missile program."
"Western countries prefer to talk about upcoming measures, preparing us for their failure to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions, but the truth is that we are in a race against time, and it is still possible to force Iran to abandon its secret plans to acquire nuclear weapons. The problem is that the entire international community does not seem serious and resolute in dealing with this issue and deterring Iran." — Dr. Abdulaziz Sager, founder and chairman of the Gulf Research Center, alanba.com.kw, June 14, 2022.
Iran thinks with the "mentality of an empire" and that is why it is continuing its efforts to extend its control to several Arab countries. — Dr. Abdulaziz Sager, alanba.com.kw, June 14, 2022
Washington's Arab allies have repeatedly warned that the US against complacency with the Iranian threat, "specifically after the instructions of the administration of former President Barack Obama to build a partnership with the Tehran regime under the roof of the nuclear agreement that contributed to Iran's pervasiveness, and gave it free rein, allowing it to increase its hostile activities against the countries of the region without being held accountable for the consequences of its reckless policies." — Khaled Al-Yemany, former foreign minister of Yemen, independentarabia.com, January 26, 2022.
[T]he Arab countries have always preferred dialogue with Iran, but this was seen by the mullahs as a sign of weakness. — Khaled Al-Yemany, independentarabia.com, January 26, 2022.
Tehran is using negotiation diplomacy to achieve more military gains and develop its arsenal in the nuclear and missile fields and missile technology," he said. "The reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency confirm that Iran is far from the commitments it made in the nuclear agreement, and it is progressing to build a nuclear bomb. A nuclear Iran, its expansionist project that destabilizes regional and international security and stability will be more ferocious and its ambitions will transcend all borders, and it must be deterred before it is too late." — Khaled Al-Yemany, independentarabia.com, January 26, 2022.
[T]he Arab and Western media have remained silent about the Iranian people's protests against the corruption of the regime, which spent its wealth to destroy four Arab countries (Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq). — Abdul Jalil Al-Saeid, Syrian author, al-ain.com, June 7, 2022.
The Arabs are saying that they expect the Biden administration to reverse its stance on the mullahs and act in accordance with reality: that Tehran poses a catastrophic threat to America's allies – all of its allies, Arab and Israeli alike – in the Middle East.
Ahead of President Joe Biden's visit to the Middle East, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, in a clear message to the US administration and other Western powers, affirmed that any nuclear agreement or future negotiations with Iran must address the Iranians' "destabilizing behavior in the region, their support for terrorist militias, and their missile program." Pictured: Foreign ministers of Gulf states at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 1, 2022.
As US President Joe Biden prepares to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel in mid-July, Arabs are sending him a number of messages regarding the need to deal with the threat that Iran's mullahs pose to their security and stability.
The Arabs, especially those living in the Gulf states, continue to express deep concern over the Iranian regime's ongoing efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.
The Arabs also say they are worried about Tehran's intervention in the internal affairs of some Arab countries, as well as its financial and military aid to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis, and Iraqi militias.
Some Arabs are repeating their appeal to the Biden administration to stop the policy of appeasement towards the mullahs and to take into consideration the concerns of Washington's long-time Arab allies and friends in the Middle East.
Ahead of Biden's visit, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, in a clear message to the US administration and other Western powers, affirmed that any nuclear agreement or future negotiations with Iran must address the Iranians' "destabilizing behavior in the region, their support for terrorist militias, and their missile program."
The Gulf states also demanded that they be included in any future negotiations with the mullahs concerning the Iranian nuclear issue. The request was included in the final statement issued after a meeting of the Gulf Ministerial Council in the Saudi capital of Riyadh earlier this month.
"The GCC states," the document read, "are committed to establishing relations with Iran in accordance with international laws in a manner that guarantees good neighborliness, respect for the [Gulf] states' sovereignty, non-interference in their internal affairs, peaceful resolution of differences, and avoidance of the use of force or threats."
Dr. Abdulaziz Sager, founder and chairman of the Gulf Research Center, a global think tank based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, warned that leaving Iran without effective and binding measures to stop its nuclear program will lead to a "surprise": that one day the Gulf states and the international community will wake up to the impact of Iran's possession of a nuclear bomb. Sager wrote:
"We, as the Gulf states, must refuse to deal with Iran as a nuclear power, and focus on the need to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons first and foremost, and time is still available to take preventive measures, not measures to address a situation based on accepting the emergence of Iran as a nuclear power. Western countries prefer to talk about upcoming measures, preparing us for their failure to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions, but the truth is that we are in a race against time, and it is still possible to force Iran to abandon its secret plans to acquire nuclear weapons. The problem is that the entire international community does not seem serious and resolute in dealing with this issue and deterring Iran."
Sager pointed out that Iran thinks with the "mentality of an empire" and that is why it is continuing its efforts to extend its control to several Arab countries.
"If we look at the map of Iranian geographical expansion in the Arab world, we will find that there is a philosophy behind this expansion, which is the establishment of Iranian influence from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arabian Gulf, an attempt to impose a siege on the Gulf states from North and South Arabia [Yemen and Iraq], and an attempt to control the sea straits that control maritime navigation in the region [the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab Strait]."
Saudi author Ibrahim Ali Naseeb said that he, too, was worried about Iran's expansionist schemes and ambitions in the Arab world, as well as the naivety of the international community. "With just one look at the actions and behaviors practiced by Iran, one feels anxious and nauseated," Naseen wrote.
"The truth is that I have written a lot about the evil actions of Iran in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and everyplace where Iran killed people through starvation, war, and fatigue. Iran's blatant violation of international law has become a daily provocation, but the world lives with Iran, which believes that it is capable of harming whomever it wants without repercussions. The actions of Iran are evil; the Iranians scatter evil in all directions, sowing death, murder and destruction... Iran will only be a thorn in the eyes of the world."
Naseeb went on to say that the fault was not that of Iran's mullahs so much as the world that still believes them and gives them more time with the nuclear agreement.
Khaled Al-Yemany, the former foreign minister of Yemen, noted that Washington's Arab allies have repeatedly warned that the US against complacency with the Iranian threat, "specifically after the instructions of the administration of former President Barack Obama to build a partnership with the Tehran regime under the roof of the nuclear agreement that contributed to Iran's pervasiveness, and gave it free rein, allowing it to increase its hostile activities against the countries of the region without being held accountable for the consequences of its reckless policies."
Al-Yemany pointed out that the Arab countries have always preferred dialogue with Iran, but this was seen by the mullahs as a sign of weakness.
Referring to Biden's upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, Al-Yemany said that the issue of restoring the strategic partnership between the countries of the region and America is of paramount importance, especially in light of the White House's statements about the leadership role that Saudi Arabia plays, its great efforts to bring peace to Yemen, and its prominent position in the global economy.
"Today, after the nuclear agreement with Iran has reached a near-clinical death, Washington must listen to the concerns of its allies in the region, and jointly search for a different approach to dealing with the destabilizing Iranian threats to regional security and stability... Recent developments have demonstrated the weakness and fragility of the Iranian regime from within. Over the past years, Iran has used its agents in the region to target Israeli interests, and there is a long list of attempts by Iranian intelligence and its proxies in Hezbollah to target the Israelis in Azerbaijan, Thailand, India, Argentina, Bulgaria, and finally in Turkey."
According to Al-Yemany, when Biden arrives in the region, he will have to draw up a joint strategy with his Arab allies to deal with all the threats posed by Iran in a way that ensures a non-nuclear Iran that does not pose any harm to its neighbors.
"America and its allies in the West are becoming increasingly convinced of what their allies in the region have been saying -- that betting on the rationality of the Iranian regime's behavior is out of the question, and that Tehran is using negotiation diplomacy to achieve more military gains and develop its arsenal in the nuclear and missile fields and missile technology... The reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency confirm that Iran is far from the commitments it made in the nuclear agreement, and it is progressing to build a nuclear bomb. A nuclear Iran, its expansionist project that destabilizes regional and international security and stability will be more ferocious and its ambitions will transcend all borders, and it must be deterred before it is too late."
Prominent Saudi writer and newspaper editor Tareq Al-Hamid, warned that Iran was continuing its expansion in the region "without a moment of political rationality."
"In fact, Tehran has continued, since 2003, to escalate and play the policy of brinkmanship without fear of any repercussions. [Slain Commander of the Quds Force, a division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] Qassem Soleimani, for example, before his assassination, acted as if he was the leader of the region, not a militia leader."
Al-Hamid also noted that Iran has not committed itself to any agreement in the past, thereby bringing it closer to a military confrontation with Israel.
"It is natural for us to reach the expected moment of confrontation, which was caused by Iran itself... Our region previously told the Obama administration that there is no solution except by cutting off the head of the snake, not in defense of Israel, but because of Iran's destruction of our Arab countries and its continued targeting of our security. We are closer than ever to an Israeli-Iranian military confrontation. What is required now is to anticipate the consequences, because Iran, as usual, does not respond to Israel directly. And whenever Israel targets Iran anywhere, Tehran responds in Iraq, or by igniting Gaza and Lebanon, or targeting the Gulf, and therefore this requires preparation and vigilance."
Sawsan Al-Sha'er, one of Bahrain's most influential journalists, said that the only way to deal with Iran was by demanding that the mullahs abandon their expansionist project completely, their terrorist militias and their ballistic missile program.
"Iranian procrastination has become a threat to international security, especially if its regime gets a nuclear bomb," Al-Sha'er warned.
"If the Iranian regime thought a little, it would have found that its biggest ally in the region could be the Gulf states. The two sides have much in common and can form an alliance that achieves security for all, without the need for Iran's expansionist ideology that dominates Iranian leaders. Unfortunately, the Iranian regime is unwilling to do so."
The Iranian regime, she wrote, spent billions of dollars on expansion, control and domination, even if that was at the expense of the welfare of its people.
"Doesn't this regime see that it has spent a lot on its dreams for half a century without any benefit to the Iranians?... The Iranian regime is expanding and penetrating four Arab capitals. What is the benefit to it or to the Iranian people? The Iranian people revolt time and time again, poverty is increasing, and international sanctions are stifling them. What did Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen or Syria offer the Iranian people? The Iranian people are now shouting that they do not want to die for any of these four countries, yet the regime clings to its illusions. The Iranian regime keeps telling its people to be patient. Half a century has passed, and the people are eating garbage."
Referring to the recent anti-regime protests in Iran, Syrian author Abdul Jalil Al-Saeid said that the Iranians' hunger will not be satisfied by the mullahs' investment in missiles that threaten the security of the region.
Al-Saeid pointed out that the Arab and Western media has remained silent about the Iranian people's protests against the corruption of the regime, which spent its wealth to destroy four Arab countries (Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq).
"The protests in Iran are not a conspiracy [by enemies of Iran]," he emphasized. "The people are raising their voice to say that they are suffering. But the regime does not take into account the interests of its own people."
The message that Arabs are sending to Biden before he heads to the Middle East is that the US must focus its efforts on thwarting Iran's project to expand its control over the Arab world.
The Arabs are saying that they expect the Biden administration to reverse its stance on Iran and act in accordance with reality: that Tehran poses a catastrophic threat to America's allies -- all of its allies, Arab and Israeli alike -- in the Middle East.
*Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.
© 2022 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

د. عبد العزيز العويشق: هناك حاجة ملحة لمعارضة إيران ولجمها بغض النظر عن محادثات فيينا
Pushback against Iran needed irrespective of Vienna talks
Dr. Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg//Arab News/June 22/2022
Since mid-March, the Vienna talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action have stalled because Tehran introduced a new condition, unrelated to the nuclear deal, demanding the lifting of the US’ designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.
Since then, Iran has taken additional steps to derail the talks. It has expanded its underground uranium enrichment and made it difficult for the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct oversight of its nuclear installations. Earlier this month, the organization’s 35-nation Board of Governors overwhelmingly (only China and Russia opposed) adopted a resolution submitted by the US, Germany, France and the UK saying that the board “expresses profound concern” that uranium traces found at three undeclared sites remain unexplained due to insufficient cooperation by Iran. It also called on Tehran to engage with the IAEA “without delay.” Iran’s response to this censure was to switch off the IAEA’s cameras in some nuclear sites and ignore its calls for cooperation.
Making the delisting of the IRGC a condition to continue the Vienna talks was a contradiction in Iran’s own logic, as previously it had insisted that no new issues could be introduced. Specifically, it opposed any discussion of its regional behavior or any other non-nuclear issues. Since the IRGC’s designation was not related to the nuclear program but was motivated by its regional activities, it would make sense to discuss the designation only in that context.
The increased uranium enrichment, the switching off of the IAEA’s cameras and the demand regarding the IRGC’s designation add to the suspicion that Iran is purposely dragging out the nuclear talks. The Iranians are sending signals that a decision regarding the JCPOA’s revival may not be forthcoming before the end of the year. Tehran may want to make rapid additional progress in its nuclear program and then negotiate from a new threshold; there may come a time when augmentations of the nuclear program become irreversible. Delay is also being used by Iran to escalate its regional activities, while the nonproliferation value of the JCPOA diminishes with every passing month.
The US and others have expressed frustration over Iran’s delays. Brian Nelson, undersecretary of the US Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said last week: “The United States is pursuing the path of meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA.” However, he added: “Absent a deal, we will continue to use our sanctions authorities to limit exports of petroleum, petroleum products and petrochemical products from Iran.”
To make sure that Iran does not use the Vienna talks as cover for its regional destabilizing actions, the Biden administration has continued pushing back against those actions, introducing some 150 new sanctions since coming to office last year. There are now more sanctions imposed on Iran than at any other time.
The US has also encouraged its partners to do the same. For example, members of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center this month sanctioned individuals, entities and groups affiliated with a variety of regional terrorist organizations supported by Iran. All of these targets had previously been designated by the US. They included three individuals associated with the IRGC’s Quds Force and terrorist groups Saraya Al-Ashtar and Saraya Al-Mukhtar. This designation action marked the fifth year of coordinated sanctions action between the US and its GCC partners, which are all members of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center.
While JCPOA talks continue, there is a need to coordinate between the US and its GCC partners, and maybe others, regarding how to deal with all aspects of concern in Iran’s conduct, from its nuclear program, ballistic missiles and drones to its support for terrorist groups or proxies with the aim of destabilizing the region.
Coordinated actions to push back against Iran’s activities could include diplomacy outside of the JCPOA talks, more sanctions and stricter enforcement, but especially bolstering partners’ defenses against those threats.
Iran’s regional destabilization has continued in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere. In Iraq, there have been missile attacks, by Iran directly or through its allied militias, targeting civilians and the forces of the US-led Global Coalition Against Daesh. Politically, Tehran’s allies have blocked the formation of a new government and the selection of a new president since last October, when parliamentary elections were held and they were defeated.
In Syria, as Russia is redeploying its forces, Iran-allied groups are taking over Russian positions in a number of areas. The redeployment of Hezbollah nearer to the Jordanian border should also raise the alarm about its intentions.
In Lebanon, the election of a new parliament in May has yet to translate into tangible reforms or progress in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
Concerns about its nuclear program, as well as its missile and drone programs, persist and the need to contain that proliferation also persists.
Lebanon has also continued to stonewall the Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which last week sentenced Habib Merhi and Hussein Oneissi to five life sentences each for carrying out the 2005 bomb attack that killed Rafik Hariri and 21 others and left 226 people injured. The two men are members of Hezbollah, which has refused to hand over the pair or a third man, Salim Ayyash, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2020. Tehran’s allies in Lebanon, though weakened, have blocked attempts to make serious changes.
Absent a significant change in Iran’s destabilizing policies, it is important to keep the pressure on, regardless of the pace or outcome of the Vienna talks. Concerns about its nuclear program, as well as its missile and drone programs, persist and the need to contain that proliferation also persists. Concerns about regional security and stability will also continue even if there is a successful conclusion to the JCPOA talks. Discussions between concerned partners, including the GCC, US, UK and EU, among others, should explore all options for an effective pushback.
*Dr. Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg is the GCC assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiation, and a columnist for Arab News. The views expressed in this piece are personal and do not necessarily represent GCC views. Twitter: @abuhamad1