07 May 2018- NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy


Islamic State’s intent to disrupt elections in Iraq, Libya, and Tunisia will indicate group’s enduring capabilities
by Janes.com, 07 May 2018

On 2 May, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the double suicide attack that targeted the High National Election Commission (HNEC) office based in the Libyan capital Tripoli, killing 16 people. According to Libyan media, the attack on the HNEC was carried out by two individuals who forced their way into the building and opened fire, before detonating suicide improvised explosive devices (IEDs). At least 16 people were killed and 11 injured, including thee security guards, in the attack. In a statement released by the Islamic State official Amaq News Agency a few hours later, the group stated that the operation was in response to the call by the group’s spokesperson, Sheikh Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir, to “target centres of polytheist elections and those who support them” on 22 April.

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Israeli minister threatens Assad over any Iranian attacks from Syria
By Reuters, 07 May 2018

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli security cabinet minister said on Monday that Israel could kill Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and topple his government if Iran used Syrian territory to carry out attacks on Israel.“Israel has not gotten involved in the (Syrian) civil war so far,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz was quoted as telling the Israeli news site Ynet. “If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues allowing Iran to operate within Syrian territory, Israel will liquidate him and topple his regime,” he was quoted as saying. “If Assad lets Iran turn Syria into a military base against us, to attack us from Syrian territory, he should know that will be the end of him.”

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Iran warns US of 'historic regret' if nuclear deal collapses
By The Guardian, 07 May 2018

Tehran has plans to “resist” any decision by Donald Trump on the 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has declared, warning the US that pulling out of the accord will “entail historic regret”. The US president has threatened to withdraw from the agreement when it comes up for renewal on 12 May, demanding his European allies “fix the terrible flaws” or he will reimpose sanctions. “We have plans to resist any decision by Trump on the nuclear accord,” Rouhani said at a rally on Sunday in north-eastern Iran broadcast live on TV

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Lebanon awaits election results, turnout at 49 percent
By Al Jazeera, 07 May 2018

Lebanon is awaiting official results of the country's first parliamentary elections in almost a decade, a poll that saw a significantly lower turnout than previous general elections.  Of the 3.8 million registered voters, 49.2 percent cast their ballots in Sunday's poll, the interior ministry said, down from 54 percent in the last election in 2009. The final results are expected to be announced in a news conference later on Monday. However, according to unofficial preliminary results cited by politicians and Lebanese media, Hezbollah and its political allies won more than half the seats.

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New US Embassy building in Jerusalem unveiled
By Ynet News , 06 May 2018

The new US Embassy will be inaugurated in Jerusalem next week, but construction works by American, Israeli firms will continue over next 6 years; move will initially be largely symbolic, as at first only ambassador will move to capital building. While the new American Embassy in Jerusalem is expected to be inaugurated next week, the road to the diplomatic mission actually beginning operations is still a ways off.The current move, then, is mostly symbolic, including a changing of a sign and the move of the ambassador and his secretary, and possibly a visit from US President Donald Trump, who decided on the move to begin with. The capital's American consulate stretches across 6,000 square meters of actual construction, with rights to up to 25,000 square meters—rights that will be realized in full over the next six years to create the new embassy complex.

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