Excerpts: Saudi cares about Lebanon and Lebanese. Fatah party congress 29
November.Jordan compulsory training for marriage. Migrant Syrians in Greece
seek to go home November 02, 2016
+++SOURCE: Naharnet(Lebanon)2 Nov.’16:”Saudi King to Aoun:Kingdom Cares
About Lebanon,National Unity”,by Naharnet Newsdesk
SUBJECT:Saudi King to Aoun:Kingdom cares about Lebanon national unity
QUOTE:”He also underlined that the Kingdom cares about Lebanon and the
FULL TEXT:King Salman bin Abdul Aziz on Tuesday[1 Nov] congratulated
President Michel Aoun on his election during a phone call, wishing him
success in his new national responsibilities, the presidency said in a
The king stressed to Aoun the kingdom’s “keenness on national unity among
the Lebanese and on the brotherly ties that gather the two countries,” the
He also underlined that “the kingdom cares about Lebanon and the Lebanese.”
Aoun for his part thanked the monarch for his congratulatory phone call,
expressing appreciation of “the kingdom’s keenness on encouraging the
Lebanese to come together and unite” and hoping Riyadh will continue to
“support Lebanon in all fields.”
Aoun was elected president on Monday[31 Oct] after around two and a half
years of presidential void. His presidential chances were largely boosted in
mid-October by a key endorsement from al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM
Saad Hariri, who is closed to Saudi Arabia.
Aoun’s nomination also received crucial support from Iran-backed Hizbullah
and the Lebanese Forces
+++SOURCE:Naharnet (Lebanon) 2 Nov.’16:”Fatah to Hold First Congress since
2009 This Month, by Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Fatah party congress 29 November
FULL TEXT:Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday[1 Nov] that his
Fatah party, which is facing internal divisions, will hold its first
congress since 2009 at the end of November.A unanimous decision was taken by
Fatah’s senior most body, the central committee, to convene the congress on
November 29 in the West Bank city of Ramallah, he said in a statement.
The central committee chaired by Abbas is the backbone of Fatah, tasked with
developing and implementing the party’s strategy.The congress is expected to
elect a new 23-member central committee as well a 132-strong revolutionary
council, which is considered Fatah’s parliament.
Analysts have said plans to hold the long overdue congress is a bid by Abbas
to stave off rivals, including Mohammad Dahlan, Fatah’s former strongman in
the Gaza Strip.Dahlan was expelled from the party in 2011 and now lives in
exile in the United Arab Emirates.The congress is seen as an opportunity for
Abbas to reshuffle key positions and sideline allies of Dahlan.
Besides splits within the party, Abbas’ secular Fatah and the Islamist
movement Hamas have been at loggerheads since the latter seized Gaza in a
near civil war in 2007Reconciliation attempts between them have repeatedly
The congress will be held as the 81-year-old Abbas is under heavy political
pressure at home and from abroad.
Arab states have reportedly pressured Abbas to bring Dahlan back from exile
while opinions polls at home have suggested most Palestinians would like him
to step down.
The congress will be the seventh since Fatah — the largest faction of the
Palestine Liberation Organization — was founded nearly 60 years ago.
+++SOURCE:Jordan Times 2Nov.’16:”Compulsory training for marriage hopefuls
planned to reduce divorce rates”,by Sawsan Tabazah
SUBJECT:Jordan compulsory training for marriage
QUOTE:”Every year around 20,000 divorces are recorded in Jordan—official”
FULL TEXT: AMMAN — The Chief Islamic Justice Department has decided to
conduct free obligatory courses for spouses-to-be starting from 2017 in an
attempt to reduce divorce rates, an official said on Tuesday[1 Nov].
The initiative is the second phase of a project to address the rising
divorce rate in the Kingdom, Ashraf Omari the director of the family
reconciliation and mediation department at the Chief Islamic Justice
Department told The Jordan Times. The first phase of the project was aimed
at offering mediation in cases of domestic conflicts, Omari noted.
The planned courses will focus on the spouses’ duties and rights in Sharia
(Islamic law) and under the civil law. Marriage hopefuls will be trained on
communication skills, according to Omari. The training, delivered by experts
and professionals, will also raise awareness on reproductive health.
Those who take the one-day course will receive a certificate which will
enable them to continue with the marriage procedures. Omari said he expects
that the initiative will be accepted by society, citing the adherence to
premarital medical tests that were imposed in 2005.“There were fears of
society’s acceptance of the medical tests 10 years ago, but we applied them
and things went well,” he said.
Every year around 20,000 divorces occur in Jordan out of 100,000
marriages.Seventy-five per cent of the divorces occur in the first year of
marriage, Omari noted. Divorces are usually caused by problems in choosing
the partner, conditions in the marriage contract, or developments such as
the woman’s work or education.
Hussein Khozai, a full-time professor of sociology at Balqa Applied
University, said that the planned training could be vital in decreasing
divorce rates, ensuring that the partners understand their rights and duties
before they start their own family.“The training can present a roadmap for
the spouses as they start a new life together,” Khozai told The Jordan
Times. He said he believes Jordanians will accept the courses because they
will have a positive impact on society.
+++SOURCE:Jordan Times 2 Nov.’16:”Tired of waiting in Greece, Syrians bid to
return home”,by Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Migrant Syrians in Greece seek to go home
QUOTE:” people smugglers are the ony ones who profit”
FULL TEXT:DIDYMOTEICHO, Greece — “I want to go back to Syria. There is war
in my country, but we’ve been living for seven months in Greece like
Adan, from Aleppo, has abandoned his dream of building a new life in Europe,
like thousands of other Syrians trapped in Greece.He has just arrived at the
station in Didymoteicho, a village near the Greece-Turkey border, with his
wife, three children and five other relatives, and is preparing to go
through a police checkpoint before trying to get into Turkey, the start of a
long journey home.
“We’ve been on the streets for months, with nowhere to live. When we arrived
in Greece we went to the Idomeni camp where we stayed for three months,”
hoping to cross the Greece-Macedonia border to head for Germany, says Adan.
He describes heir miserable time in the makeshift camp where over 10,000
migrants were thrown together in wretched conditions, before the Greek
government eventually decided to dismantle it in May and transfer them to
nearby reception centres.Adan and his family then tried their luck in
Thessaloniki, the nearest major Greece city to Idomeni, before returning to
Athens. We realised that we are trapped by the closure of the borders and
finally we’ve decided to go home,” he says.
More than 60,000 refugees are currently trapped in Greece, in particular
after the March 18 EU-Turkey accord aimed at sending migrants arriving from
Turkey systematically back there.Refugees and migrants find themselves with
no way ahead, their hopes to travel onward to a European country proving to
be virtually impossible.Programmes for relocating or reuniting families, the
only legal way of moving to live and work in Europe, have proved slow and
complicated due to the reluctance of many countries who do not want to take
in any more refugees.
The EU committed itself in September 2015 to relocate 66,400 refugees from
Greece over two years. So far only 4,926 have left in 13 months.A last hope
for migrants is to apply for asylum in Greece — but that is also a lengthy
procedure, and daunting in a country still mired in crisis, with the highest
unemployment rate in the eurozone.
Crossing the river
Adan shows the Didymoteicho police his identity papers handed out by
authorities when they first registered on the Aegean island of Lesbos, the
main entry point to Greece for migrants from the Turkish coast. “With their
documents they can travel freely within the country. But we know they came
here to find people smugglers who will help them cross the Evros River on
the border at night, to get into Turkey,” one border guard told AFP,
“This kind of case happens every day.. it’s crazy: these are miserable
people, they’ve already paid to come illegally to Greece, and here they have
to pay again to return home,” he said.“The people smugglers are the only
ones who profit.”
The river level on the Greece-Turkey border is currently quite low Some
people use boats but at some points you can cross by foot,” says
Chrysovalantis Gialamas, border guard chief for the Evros region.
Dozens of refugees arrive every day at the Didymoteicho station in recent
weeks. Some even have German refugee papers, and so appear to be returning
from Germany, disappointed that they have not integrated there.“We can’t
really verify if they are genuine or fake,” said one officer, cautiously.
But apart from those who want to leave Greece, the flow of migrants in the
opposite direction — from Turkey into Greece — has also increased in recent
months, and police have been forced to bolster the land border between the
two countries.Since July, 70 people smugglers and over 1,000 migrants have
been arrested, police say.
On Thursday[27 Oct. an alleged Greek people smuggler was arrested near
Thessaloniki transporting 40 Syrians including 15 children in a truck. They
had paid 1,500 euros each to get to the Greek city, where they hoped to find
a way to travel onward to northern Europe, according to police.
Sue Lerner – Associate, IMRA