Eye on Extremism, May 17, 2017

Fox News: ISIS On ‘Brink Of Total Defeat’ In Mosul, Coalition Spokesman Says

“The last of the Islamic State militants remaining in the Iraqi city of Mosul were completely surrounded and ‘on the brink of total defeat,’ a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said Tuesday. Iraqi forces have reduced the amount of territory held by ISIS in the city to around 129 square miles, Iraq Brigadier Gen. Yahya Rasool said at a news conference, Reuters reported. The recent advancement in Mosul came after Brett McGurk, a special presidential envoy for the coaition against the Islamic State, said Monday that the fight against the militants was entering its ‘final stages.’”

Associated Press: Iraq Says IS Now In Control Of About A Tenth Of Mosul’s West

“A Baghdad military spokesman says Iraqi forces have surrounded Islamic State militants in Mosul’s Old City, leaving the extremists in control of only about 10.5 percent of the territory in the western half of the city. Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool told reporters that all of Mosul will soon be liberated from IS. He says the battles in that last militant hold-out in Mosul have slowed because the area is densely populated areas, with narrow alleys. Rasool says “it is only a matter of time and a very short time” until the battle is won. The military push to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group started in October. The city’s eastern half was declared liberated in January. Mosul is divided by the Tigris River into its eastern and western part.”

Reuters: Israeli Intel Experts Alarmed By Trump Leak But Play Down Any Damage

“Israeli intelligence experts are gravely concerned that U.S. President Donald Trump’s sharing of classified information with Russia may have compromised an Israeli agent, but don’t expect any long-term consequences for intelligence cooperation. Trump has confirmed via Twitter that during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the White House last week he shared information related to a potential airline plot by Islamic State, thought to involve a laptop bomb. The New York Times, citing a current and a former U.S. official, reported on Tuesday that the information Trump divulged came from an Israeli intelligence asset based in Islamic State-held territory in Syria.”

Bloomberg: U.S. Considers Expanding Airline Laptop Ban Beyond Europe

“The U.S. is considering expansion of a ban on laptops in airliner cabins to include flights not only from Europe but from other regions as well, as objections against any broader restrictions mounted. U.S. anti-terror officials are looking at other areas ‘not solely Europe,’ David Lapan, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, told reporters in Washington on Tuesday. He declined to identify the other areas. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly hasn’t made a final decision but an expansion is ‘likely,’ Lapan said. Earlier Tuesday, the European Union pressed the U.S. to refrain from banning laptops and other electronics in cabins of flights to America from Europe, saying both sides needed to work in tandem to curb the threat of terrorism.”

CNN: DHS Issues Homegrown Terror Bulletin

“The Department of Homeland Security renewed a bulletin late Monday that warned of the dangers posed by homegrown terrorists and called the threat environment in the country one of the “most serious” since the 9/11 attacks. “We face one of the most serious terror threat environments since the 9/11 attacks as foreign terrorist organizations continue to exploit the Internet to inspire, enable, or direct individuals already here in the homeland to commit terrorist acts,” the bulletin, issued through the National Terrorism Advisory System, said. An NTAS bulletin was first issued in December 2015 to “highlight the continuing threat from homegrown terrorists” and has been renewed three times previously with updated language.”

BBC News: Syria War: Turkey Will Never Accept US Alliance With Kurds – Erdogan

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated after talks in Washington that he will never accept a US alliance with Kurdish forces fighting in Syria. ‘There is no place for terrorist organisations in the future of our region,’ he said at a joint news conference with President Donald Trump. He was referring to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, following a US decision earlier this month to arm the group. Despite this, the two leaders pledged to strengthen bilateral relations. We’ve had a great relationship and we will make it even better,’ President Trump said.

Voice Of America: Afghanistan’s Deadly Poppy Harvest On Rise Again

“The world’s number one opium-producing country, Afghanistan, is braced for an exploding poppy harvest this year, as farmers are cultivating the illicit crop in areas where it has never grown before. ‘Unfortunately, the narcotics production is on the rise this year,’ Javed Qaem, Afghan deputy counternarcotics minister, told international donors in Kabul Tuesday. ‘We are concerned that narcotics would increase this year, including in areas and provinces where previously we had zero opium production.’ Qaem’s comments come amid growing international concern that the Taliban, who are fighting Afghan government troops in rural areas of the country, are fueling the poppy trade by engaging in trafficking and skimming hundreds of millions dollars in profit to fuel their militancy.”

Reuters: French Investigate Suspected Accomplice In Militant Attacks

“An Algerian has been put under formal investigation in France on suspicion of aiding deadly Islamist militant attacks in Paris in late 2015 and an earlier failed attack on a cross-border high-speed train, a judicial source said on Tuesday. Bilan Chatra is suspected of having acted as a scout for Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of the presumed masterminds of the shootings and bombings in Paris in November 2015 in which 130 people were killed, a source close to the investigation said. Abaaoud was one of three suspected attackers who were later killed in a police operation in a northern Paris suburb. Chatra was believed to have fulfilled the same role as scout for Ayoub El Khazzani, who pulled out a Kalashnikov on the high-speed Amsterdam to Paris train in August 2015. He shot and wounded a passenger before being overpowered by off-duty U.S. servicemen.”

The Jerusalem Post: Terror Cell Planning Attack On IDF Soldiers Arrested By Shin Bet

“The Shin Bet internal security service announced the arrest of a terror cell associated with the Islamic Movement that was planning a shooting attack against IDF soldiers in the south of Israel. According to the Shin Bet, the joint investigation with the Israel Police northern district which took place over the last few week exposed the involvement of terror elements in the banned northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. The investigation found that the three cell members, who have had indictments filed against them, began to plot the attack in November in 2015 in retaliation for Israel’s decision to outlaw the movement.”

New York Times: How Iran Became An Undemocratic Democracy

“Presidential elections in Iran raise a puzzling contradiction: How can the government include both an unelected supreme leader and a president who is chosen in votes that are treated as serious contests? Put another way, is Iran a democracy or a dictatorship? Citizens elect the president, as they will on Friday, as well as members of a legislature. But they are overseen by institutions staffed by clerics. One, known as the Guardian Council, approves all candidates for office, narrowing the scope of elections. Still other unelected bodies, like the Revolutionary Guards, wield tremendous power. The supreme leader, who holds the position for life, is the most important figure, overseeing everything.”

Voice Of America: Negotiations With Boko Haram Raise Hope, Questions

“Nigerians celebrated last week as 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram were released and returned to the capital, Abuja. A total of 103 girls have been released since the kidnapping more than three years ago. Despite the joy, questions remain about the fate of the 113 girls still being held captive. Additionally, some are questioning the ethics and long-term implications of the negotiating tactics used by the Nigerian government. Talks to free the girls date back several years. In October 2016, 21 girls were released, although few details were given at the time about what was exchanged for their release.”

United States

Reuters: U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Syrians, Entities Linked To Government

“The U.S. Treasury said it imposed sanctions on Tuesday against five people and five entities accused of providing support to Syria’s government or linked to those previously sanctioned over the Syrian government’s violence against its citizens. Among those put on the Treasury sanctions black list are Muhammad Abbas, a cousin of Rami Makhlouf, a dominant business figure in Syria and himself a cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Treasury sanctioned Makhlouf in 2008, accusing him of benefiting from and aiding the corruption of Syrian government officials. The Treasury said Abbas carried out Makhlouf’s financial interests. It also sanctioned the Al-Bustan Charity and its director, saying the charity was owned or controlled by Makhlouf.”

Newsweek: Trump’s Russia-ISIS Slip Unprecedented In U.S. Presidential History

“Former spies and intelligence historians were scrambling Tuesday to recall any instance of an American president intentionally revealing top secret information to a nuclear armed adversary. They came up blank. ‘Lots of policymakers over the years have talked too much and jeopardized sources, or pissed off partners who shared sensitive information,’ John Sipher, a 28-year senior CIA veteran who served as a top agency official in Russia, tells Newsweek. ‘That said, you don’t expect it from the president—especially with the Russians!’”

The New York Times: Trump May Have Shifted U.S. Intelligence Policy On Russia. Or Maybe Not.

“President Trump’s acknowledgment that he shared intelligence on terrorism with Russia was something of a coup for President Vladimir V. Putin, whose mantra about forging a global alliance to fight violent extremists never gained much traction in the West. Mr. Putin’s repeated calls for unity in fighting terrorism — delivered from the podium of the United Nations, at countless global summit meetings and after every grisly attack around the world — have often been met with skepticism, interpreted as smoke screens to cloak the violence fomented by the Kremlin in places like Chechnya, Ukraine and Syria.”

Syria

The New York Times: Syria Denies Burning Bodies Of Political Prisoners

“The Syrian government forcefully rejected on Tuesday accusations by the United States that the bodies of thousands of political prisoners had been disposed of in a crematory at a prison near Damascus, describing the allegations as ‘lies’ to justify American aggression. The government of President Bashar al-Assad has long been accused of killing thousands of prisoners and burying them in mass graves. But on Monday, the Trump administration made a new charge, accusing Damascus of burning corpses at the Sednaya prison to destroy evidence of war crimes.”

Reuters: International Inquiry Finds Sulfur Mustard Exposure In Syria

“Investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog found that two Syrian women were exposed to sulfur mustard in an apparent attack in Aleppo province last September, a report to the United Nations Security Council said. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission was not able to visit the site. Investigators based their finding on interviews with the women, an analysis of blood samples taken under their supervision, and a review of information provided by the Syrian government and Russia. ‘The FFM can confirm that the two female casualties reported to have been involved in the incident in Um Hosh, Aleppo of 16 September 2016 were exposed to sulfur mustard,’ the mission wrote in a report to the Security Council earlier this month and made public on Tuesday.”

BBC News: Syria War: Peace Talks Restart In Geneva

“The United Nations has convened a new round of indirect Syrian peace talks in Geneva, despite President Bashar al-Assad dismissing them as irrelevant. The government and opposition have agreed to discuss four ‘baskets’ – a political transition, new constitution, elections and combating terrorism. Mr Assad has said ‘nothing substantial’ will come out of the talks. But UN envoy Staffan de Mistura insists that the government’s 18-strong delegation is in Switzerland ‘to work’. Five previous rounds of negotiations have made little progress towards a political solution to the six-year civil war, which has left more than 300,000 people dead.”

Reuters: U.S.-Led Coalition Denies Air Strikes On Militant Held Syrian Town

“The U.S-led coalition on Tuesday denied its warplanes bombed a Syrian border town in the Islamic held eastern province of Deir al-Zor, a day after a war monitor and activists said air strikes there had killed scores of civilians, including children. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 42 people, including 11 children, were killed on Monday when jets believed to belong to the U.S.-led coalition hit the town of Al-Bukamal near the border with Iraq. They struck near a residential area and a mosque, wounding dozens more, the Britain-based monitor said. In an emailed statement to Reuters, U.S. army spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said that coalition warplanes on Sunday and Monday did not hit the town, targeting only oil production facilities run by the militants more than 50 kms outside of it.”

Iraq

Reuters: Iraq Says Battle For Mosul Nearly Won As Forces Close In On Old City

“Iraqi forces have dislodged Islamic State from all but 12 square km of Mosul, a military spokesman said on Tuesday, after planes dropped leaflets into the city telling civilians the battle was nearly won. Seven months into the U.S.-backed campaign, the militants now control only a few districts in the western half of Mosul including the Old City, where Islamic State is expected to make its last stand. The Iraqi government is pushing to declare victory by the holy month of Ramadan, expected to begin on May 27, even if pockets of resistance remain in the Old City, according to military commanders. A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition backing Iraqi forces said the enemy was completely surrounded in the city and its fighters and resources were being destroyed.”

Turkey

Reuters: Turkey Detains Dozens Of Ministry Staff In Post-Coup Investigation

“Turkey detained dozens of energy and education ministry staff on Tuesday in an investigation targeting the network of a U.S.-based cleric whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating last July’s attempted coup, state media said. Some 50,000 people have been formally arrested in court cases targeting supporters of cleric Fethullah Gulen. President Tayyip Erdogan, who is meeting his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Washington on Tuesday, is seeking Gulen’s extradition. Arrest warrants were issued for 60 energy ministry-linked workers and 25 education ministry staff and some 40 have already been detained, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Many of them had previously been dismissed from their posts.”

Reuters: U.S., Turkish Leaders Put Best Face On Ties Amid Tensions

“Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday his country would not accept Syrian Kurdish fighters in the region but stopped short of directly criticizing a U.S. decision to arm them. At a White House meeting, Trump lauded Erdogan as an important ally in the ‘fight against terrorism’ and did not mention Erdogan’s domestic crackdown after last year’s failed coup attempt. ‘We’ve had a great relationship and we will make it even better,’ Trump said in their joint appearance. Erdogan said his visit would ‘mark a historical turn of tide’ and hailed ‘outstanding relations’ between the nations.”

Afghanistan

Reuters: Gunmen Attack State TV Station In Afghanistan

“Gunmen attacked a building of Afghan state television in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday and engaged in a gun battle with security forces, the provincial governor’s spokesman said. ‘We can confirm that a number of insurgents have entered the building,’ said Attaullah Khughyani. ‘Who they are, and what their target is, is still not clear.’ He said there appeared to have been at least three attackers, two of whom had blown themselves up while at least one was still fighting. Heavy gunfire could be heard from around the building of RTA, Afghanistan’s national broadcaster, located close to the provincial governor’s compound.”

CNN: Insurgents Attack State TV Building In Afghanistan

“A number of insurgents have attacked a building housing a state TV station in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan, police tell CNN. An explosion was heard from the vicinity after the insurgents entered the building, Nangarhar police spokesman Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal said Wednesday. Radio Television Afghanistan’s Kabul office confirmed the attack in its Jalalabad office was ongoing but gave no other details. The town’s main hospital confirmed it received six people who were injured in the attack.”

Voice Of America: Taliban Categorically Rejects Peace Talks With Afghan Government

“The Taliban has categorically stated that seeking a peace deal with the current government in Afghanistan would be tantamount to a surrender to the “enemy” and contrary to Islamic faith. The Islamist insurgency issued the statement to media, including VOA, in response to reports its representatives told a former insurgent group that the Taliban is willing to enter into peace talks with the government. The announcement, and reported U.S. plans to send additional American troops to the war-torn country to help Afghan forces contain the Taliban, strengthen widespread concerns of an escalation in hostilities and bloodshed this year.”

ABC News: Afghan Officials: Taliban Rocket, Mortar Attacks Kill 4

“Taliban attacks killed at least four people in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, officials said. A rocket attack on a market in Asad Abad, the capital of Kunar province, killed two civil servants, according to Waheedullah Kalimzai, the provincial governor. In the Laghman province, a Taliban mortar round struck a house, killing two women and wounding three children, said Sarhadi Zwak, a spokesman for the Laghman governor. No one immediately claimed either attack, but the officials blamed both on the Taliban. The Interior Ministry meanwhile said Afghan forces retook a district from the Taliban in the northern Kunduz province amid fierce clashes. The Qala-e-Zal district fell to the Taliban earlier this month after insurgents overran the local police headquarters.”

Saudi Arabia

Newsweek: Saudi Arabia To Push Donald Trump For Harsher Tone On Iran In Riyadh

“When U.S. President Donald Trump meets Saudi princes in Riyadh Saturday, he can expect a warmer welcome than the one given a year ago to his predecessor Barack Obama, who Riyadh considered soft on arch foe Iran and cool toward a bilateral relationship that is a mainstay of the Middle East’s security balance. Beneath the pomp, Riyadh will be looking for assurances that the Trump administration will continue its notably harsher tone toward Iran and keep up pressure, through both rhetoric and action, to stop what Saudi Arabia sees as Tehran’s destabilizing activities in the region. The U.S.-Saudi alliance has experienced turbulence since Riyadh faulted what it saw as Obama’s withdrawal from the region, a perceived tilt toward Iran since the 2011 Arab uprisings and a lack of direct action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an Iranian ally.”

Egypt

CNN: Egypt Plans New Controls On Social Media

“The Egyptian government is considering radical new proposals to restrict citizens’ access to social media. A draft bill circulated in Egyptian newspapers would require users to register with the government to access sites including Twitter and Facebook. Successful applicants would receive a login linked to their national ID. Unauthorized use could result in prison sentences and heavy fines. The draft was authored by MP Reyad Abdel Sattar of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, the largest party in parliament with 65 of 596 seats. He told the Egypt Independent it would: ‘facilitate state surveillance over social networks in Egypt by making users enroll in a government-run electronic system that will grant them permission to access Facebook.’”

Middle East

Newsweek: Trump ISIS Leak To Russia Could End Israel-U.S. Intelligence Sharing

“President Donald Trump’s decision to disclose highly classified information to Russia, which Israel reportedly provided to Washington, has put the intelligence services ‘in crisis,’ according to a former senior Israeli intelligence official and recruiter of assets for Israel’s Shin Bet security service. As Washington’s key Middle East ally and partner on counter-terrorism, Israel has a longstanding intelligence sharing arrangement with the U.S., collecting intelligence on a range of threats to U.S. national security, including the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and the Iranian regime. According to The Washington Post, during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Oval Office last Wednesday, Trump disclosed details about an ISIS plot involving the use of laptops on airplanes.”

The New York Times: Israel Said To Be Source Of Secret Intelligence Trump Gave To Russians

“The classified intelligence that President Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided by Israel, according to a current and a former American official familiar with how the United States obtained the information. The revelation adds a potential diplomatic complication to an episode that has renewed questions about how the White House handles sensitive intelligence. Israel is one of the United States’ most important allies and runs one of the most active espionage networks in the Middle East. Mr. Trump’s boasting about some of Israel’s most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries and raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the region.”

BBC News: Israel Says Ties With US Unaffected After Trump-Lavrov Accusations

“Israel says ties with the US have not been damaged by claims President Donald Trump gave Russia sensitive information provided by Israeli intelligence. ‘Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States,’ Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer said. The White House is refusing to comment on reports that Israel was the source of the intelligence. Mr Trump has defended his right to share sensitive material on terrorism. Is Trump allowed to spill secrets? White House drowned out shouting using TVs. US media reports said he had shared material that was passed on by a partner that had not given permission. It allegedly happened during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the White House.”

United Kingdom

International Business Times: Antarctica At Risk Of Isis Terrorist Attack Claims British Government

“Visitors to the South Pole need to be wary of many things from frostbite to getting lost in the driest and windiest conditions on Earth. And now also, according to the British government, there is the possibility of stumbling across a band of Isis fighters. The UK Foreign Office has issued a bizarre terrorism warning for citizens wishing to travel to its territory in Antarctica – a security chief has criticised the move as ‘pointless back covering’. The message on the department’s foreign travel advice section reads: ‘Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the British Antarctic Territory, attacks can’t be ruled out.’”

Germany

The Washington Post: Man Faces Terrorism Charges In Germany

“German prosecutors have charged a 28-year-old Pakistani man with membership in a terrorist organization on allegations he joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba group to fight against Indian forces in the Kashmir region. The federal prosecutor’s office said Tuesday that Muhammad Aafaq I., whose last name wasn’t given in accordance with privacy regulations, joined the group in 2008 to fight against Indian control of the areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Prosecutors say he trained with the group in Pakistan, learning to use weapons like assault rifles and rocket launchers before becoming a trainer of new recruits.”

Europe

U.S. News & World Report: Danish Teenager Found Guilty Of Terrorism, Sentence Pending

“A Danish court on Tuesday convicted a teenage girl of attempted terrorism for planning bomb attacks against two schools. Holbaek District Court judge Peder Christensen says the 17-year-old, who wasn’t identified, was also convicted of assaulting an employee in the juvenile incarceration facility where she had been held during the trial. Christensen said the girl had converted to Islam and intended to carry out attacks, including one on a Jewish school, when she was 15. He said she possessed chemicals to make the explosive known as TATP. It also appeared she had online contacts with radical militants.”

ISIS

Elwatan: Egypt: ISIS Militants Seize Money-Transport Car

“Yesterday, Egypt’s Attorney General Nabil Sadiq ordered forwarding the cases of 66 suspected terrorists to the Criminal Court. Investigations conducted by the Supreme State Security Prosecution, under the supervision of Counselor Khalid Dia’uddin, the First Attorney at the Office of the Attorney General, and initiated by Yasser Zeitoun, the Chief Prosecutor, revealed that the suspects had seized a car transporting money on the international Kafr El Sheikh-Baltim Highway.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Elyom New: Egypt: Brotherhood Member And Wife Caught Red-Handed Smuggling Drugs Intended For Sale In Saudi Arabia

“Cairo International Airport authorities arrested a Brotherhood activist and his wife in the act of smuggling a large quantity of subsidized prescription drugs, hoping to sell them at a hefty profit in Saudi Arabia by exploiting the price discrepancies. Security men at Cairo International Airport arrested Brotherhood activist Heba Mohammed Ali Mohammed, wife of the released Islamic Group member Abdul Mona’em Abdulsalam Mohammed, upon completion of the travel procedures for their flight to Saudi Arabia. They were detained in possession of contraceptive drugs subsidized by the Ministry of Health, intended to be sold in the Kingdom. Abdul Mona’em was detained in 2013 while printing and distributing Rabaa signs in support of deposed Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi.”

El-Ahly: Egypt: State Commissioners Authority Recommends Annulling The Seizure Of Brotherhood-Affiliated Abu Treika’s Funds

“The Board of the Supreme Administrative Court’s State Commissioners Authority unveiled its report on Tuesday in the appeal by the government filed against the ruling of the Administrative Court to cancel the decision to seize funds owned by soccer legend Mohamed Abu Treika. The original decision was issued by the Brotherhood Asset Freeze Committee. Following this decision, Abu Treika’s lawyer Mohammed Othman filed an appeal which was accepted. But then the government presented its own appeal, leading the State Commissioners Authority to have the final say on the matter. The report the Commissioners Authority issued on Tuesday morning rejected the appeal submitted by the government and upheld the ruling issued by the Administrative Court to cancel the decision to seize the ex-player’s properties.”

Masr11: Jordan: Unlicensed Muslim Brotherhood Attempts To Avoid The Ban By Enrolling Members In The Licensed Party

“The Brotherhood has begun to transfer its organizational activities to its licensed party (the Islamic Action Front) as a way to circumvent the government’s ban on its activities and offices, sources close to the unlicensed Muslim Brotherhood group in Jordan disclosed. The sources stressed that “the group has begun to implement this scheme in practical terms by transferring the membership of all its cadres to the {licensed} party. In this way, they become de facto members of the legal party, which enables them to hold meetings at party headquarters, without being held accountable.” The sources noted that the group, “which lost many of its offices and installations to the licensed Muslim Brotherhood, found this scheme to be the only way to use the party installations legally.”

Hezbollah

Voice Of Beirut International: Lebanese Delegation Heads For Washington To Discuss Sanctions On Hezbollah

“In an effort to prevent Lebanon from entering into an economic and political impasse and causing harm to its banking system, a parliamentary delegation is set to depart for Washington this week. On its agenda are meetings with US officials whom the Lebanese side plans to alert concerning the dangers of imposing new sanctions on Hezbollah. The Lebanese delegation will also reaffirm Lebanon’s commitment to international banking and security standards. The meetings will take place on the backdrop of leaks of American efforts to extend the scope of the penal code concerning Hezbollah to include officials from its allied parties. MP Mohammed Qabbani, a member of the Lebanese delegation, was quoted as saying that “the delegation’s demands in Washington will focus on ensuring the stability of Lebanon, which will reflect on its Arab neighbors and major countries involved in the region’s conflict. The planned Washington visit of the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, comes on this backdrop, as he has enjoyed a strong show of political support since the renewal of his term.”

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