Why is PITAPOLICY #Happy about the #SocialGood Summit? #2030Now // لماذا يكون ” سعيد” عن القمة الاجتماعية جيد ؟

Happy in English & Arabic ….

On September 21st and 22nd, PITAPOLICY will be live-tweeting the Social Good Summit in Arabic.  PITAPOLICY founder, Mehrunisa Qayyum, is super HAPPY to have been selected by the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy as one of the YPFP blog sites for the 5th Annual Social Good Summit in New York City during UN Week!  Inspirational partners include the UN Foundation, UNDP, Mashable, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Case Foundation, and 92Y.

Speaking of HAPPY, singer of the “Happy” song, Pharrell Williams will be one of several inspirational speakers at the venue, 92nd Street Y near the UN Headquarters.  Here are five other reasons for PITAPOLICY followers and pitaconsumer fans to join in the happy feeling:

  1. Social Good Summit is a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world.
  2. 50+ countries will be participating using one hashtag. Follow the global movement here:
  3. On September 20th, summit organizers will include a country from the MENA region to participate in the Global Check-In.
  4. Nobel Prize laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus, will elaborate on this year’s theme “Connecting for Good, Connecting for All”.  Yunus founded the Grameen Bank.  Currently he serves as Chairman of Yunus CenterFounder.
  5. Social Good Summit is another opportunity for entrepreneurs to join the discussion on climate change, which the UN is focusing on during UN week.  Climate change negatively impacts the Arab world as water scarcity becomes a bigger stress on agriculture and industry.  Here’s more from the UN Foundation on “What Climate Change Means for Public Health” by Jenni Lee:


This week we are highlighting what climate change means for our communities and our world. Today we feature what climate change means for public health.

Recent United Nations reports from leading science experts have made clear that climate change is real, it’s caused by humans, and it’s already having negative consequences.

Next week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is bringing together leaders from governments, businesses, and non-governmental groups for a Climate Summit to spur action to address the climate challenge.

It’s time to move from climate talk to climate action, and we need your voice. Learn what climate change means for health, and tell your friends, family, leaders, and social networks that you support climate action using the hashtag #climate2014.

– See more at: http://unfoundationblog.org/what-climate-change-means-for-public-health/#sthash.h1AShQdm.dpuf

سعيدة باللغتين العربية والإنجليزية

يوم 21 سبتمبر و 22 ، سوف يكون PITAPOLICY الحية تويتينغ قمة اجتماعية جيدة باللغة العربية.
مؤسس PITAPOLICY ، Mehrunisa قيوم ، هو السوبر سعداء ل تم اختيارها من قبل المهنيين الشباب في السياسة الخارجية باعتبارها واحدة من المواقع بلوق YPFP للقمة الاجتماعية الجيدة السنوي 5 في مدينة نيويورك خلال أسبوع الأمم المتحدة !

ويشمل الشركاء ملهمة مؤسسة الأمم المتحدة ، برنامج الأمم المتحدة الإنمائي ، ماشابل ، ومؤسسة بيل وميليندا غيتس، ومؤسسة القضية ، و 92Y .

الحديث عن HAPPY ، المغني من " سعيد " أغنية ، و فاريل وليامز واحدا من العديد من المتحدثين ملهمة في مكان ، 92 شارع Y بالقرب من مقر الأمم المتحدة . هنا خمسة أسباب أخرى ل أتباع PITAPOLICY والمشجعين pitaconsumer للانضمام في الشعور بالسعادة :

قمة اجتماعية جيدة هو المؤتمر الذي يستمر يومين دراسة تأثير التكنولوجيا ووسائل الإعلام الجديدة على المبادرات الجيدة الاجتماعية حول العالم.
أكثر من خمسين بلدا
الدول المشاركة باستخدام هاشتاج واحد.
تغير المناخ يؤثر سلبا على العالم العربي و ندرة المياه يصبح الضغط أكبر على الزراعة والصناعة.
متابعة حركة 2030Now# العالمية هنا: http://trib.al/U4eyjW2 يوم 20 سبتمبر ، وسوف تشمل منظمي القمة بلد من منطقة الشرق الأوسط للمشاركة في العالمية فورية لل . الحائز على جائزة نوبل البروفيسور محمد يونس ، و تفاصيل عن موضوع هذا العام " ل توصيل جيد، توصيل للجميع" . يونس مؤسس بنك جرامين . انه يشغل حاليا منصب رئيس يونس CenterFounder . قمة اجتماعية جيدة هو فرصة أخرى لأصحاب المشاريع في الانضمام إلى مناقشة بشأن تغير المناخ ، التي تركز على الأمم المتحدة خلال أسبوع الأمم المتحدة . وهنا أكثر من مؤسسة الأمم المتحدة ع
لى "ما تغير وسائل للصحة العامة " من قبل جيني لي:

هذا الاسبوع نحن إبراز ما يعني تغير المناخ ل مجتمعاتنا وعالمنا . اليوم نحن ميزة ما يعني تغير المناخ على الصحة العامة.

جعلت التقارير الأخيرة للأمم المتحدة من خبراء العلوم الرائدة واضحا أن تغير المناخ هو حقيقي ، وسببه البشر ، وانها لديها بالفعل عواقب سلبية .

الاسبوع المقبل ، بان الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة بان كي مون التي وحدت بين القادة من الحكومات والشركات و الجماعات غير الحكومية ل قمة المناخ لتحفيز العمل على مواجهة التحدي المناخي.

حان الوقت للانتقال من الكلام إلى العمل المناخ المناخ ، ونحتاج صوتك. تعلم ما يعني تغير المناخ على الصحة ، و تخبر الأصدقاء والعائلة و القادة، والشبكات الاجتماعية التي قمت دعم العمل المناخي باستخدام هاشتاج # climate2014

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Are 15 Presidential Candidates Too Many for #Elections? #Tunisie

Whether pitaconsumers think 15 presidential candidates for Tunisia’s 8 million eligible voters is too much or a good amount, we are happy to hear some discussion about Tunisia’s upcoming elections.    On October 26th, Tunisians will elect a new parliament.  Soon after, on November 23rd, Tunisians will hold round 1 of electing their first president since ousting the Zine El Abidine Ben Ali regime in 2010.  Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi served as Acting President.  Since then, Tunisia adopted a new constitution, saw the winning Ennahda Party step down, and witnessed two political assassinations.  If necessary, round 2 will occur on December 28th.  This week, Dr. Noureddine Jebnoun shares his political assessment for Tunisia’s parliamentary and presidential elections.  Dr. Jebnoun is a faculty member at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.

It’s refreshing to hear about political challenges in an election context.  To be honest, we are tired of hearing about ISIS — it’s like the national security community is hitting a midlife crISIS…or experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the Al Qaeda experience and the symptoms include outdated flashbacks.

Various efforts to increase voter registration, through SMS and “youth” campaigns, receive external support on the watch of the Independent High Authority for Elections.  The At the same time, we must agree with Dr. Jebnoun that not all is faring so well in Tunisia.  Since PITAPOLICY’s visit in June 2014, the domestic situation in Tunisia leaves a lot of room for Tunisian voters to hold their political parties accountable for –regardless of experience.  In Jebnoun’s article, he points out how tackling unemployment, cronyism, and corruption can be any party’s platform because no solutions have been posited as of late, “Political economy has never been a priority for the Islamist party and its secularist – leftist partners in power.”

Tunisia’s Presidential Bazaar

Source: Article first appeared on Middle East Insight: MEI Insight No. 115 27 August 2014

More than fifteen candidates have already announced their candidacy for the November 2014 presidential election. (Note 1)
However, the final list of potential pretenders to the Carthage presidential palace is still to come. (Note 2) Set within a deeply fragmented and polarized political arena, this election has come to be seen as a kind of horse race where the contenders have focused most of their time and energy on their right to be elected – denied under the fallen dictatorship – and their own image de marque with their peer rivals, rather than on offering realistic political agendas for the country and addressing its monumental socioeconomic challenges. The absence of such an agenda is of paramount significance in light of the lack of any serious debate on the key issues affecting Tunisians. Meanwhile, proxy-biased media outlets run talk shows where candidates and their supporters favor the populist approach of “going negative,” a modus operandi dedicated to personal attacks viciously framed in defamatory and denigrating narratives. (Note 3)
This disenchantment and resentment amongst a population originally yearning for freedom and democracy has been generated by more than three years of uncertainty marked by endless political negotiations, latent violence and poor economic performance. In fact, post-uprising macroeconomic indicators have become worse as economic dislocation has led to poor economic growth incapable of creating enough jobs. The rise in the fiscal deficit and the increase in the public debt have negatively impacted investment promotion and prevented the country’s economy from engendering sustainable growth. Rising unemployment among the youth has reached an all – time high of 40 percent and is even higher in the countryside. (Note 6) Corruption, cronyism and nepotism have marginalized large segments of Tunisian society, chiefly among the … [Click here to continue.]

Who Are These Candidates? Why so many and where did they come from?

Among  these candidates include the following from Note 1.
  • Emna Mansour,  President   of   Democratric   Movement   for   Reform   and  Construction;
  • Abderraouf Ayadi, Secretary  General   of  Wafa Movement;
  • Béji Caïd Essebsi,  President of  Nidaa Tunis;
  • Kalthoum Kannou,  judge and  former President of  the  Tunisian  Association of  Magistrates;
  • Ahmed Néjib Chebbi,   President  of   the   High   Political   Authority   of Al Joumhouri Party;
  • Abderrahim Zouari,   former   Secretary  General   of   the   dissolved -­‐ banned Ben   Ali’s   party the Democratic   Constitutional   Rally   and   candidate   of   the  Destourien  Movement.

Filing nominations for presidential elections started on September 8th, and will close on September 22nd.

Candidates for the 2014 presidential election not backed by at   least   10  members of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA)   must  get 10,000 signatures for  sponsorship by citizen – voters in at least ten electoral  constituencies… Already nearly 40 personalities have publicly announced their intention to run for the highest office, most of whom are independent personalities. However, it is difficult for them to secure an endorsement from10 members of NCA and the only other way open  to them is to seek the10,000 signatures required. ~Noureddine Jebnoun


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#PresErdogan: Wins 9 Elections; Allows Media Blackout When ISIS Takes 49 Turkish Hostages

Washington, DC ~ Turkey’s most talked about Prime Minister, Recep T. Erdogan, is now their new president– a switch to election by citizens from selection by parliament.  But does Erdogan still get the right to say he represents the masses?  With increasing public scrutiny on freedom of expression, Turkey’s state of economy will not be the only area that the new Turkish President will be graded on by Turkish citizens.  For example, a week into Erdogan’s presidency, media blackout continues to paint a controlled picture inside Turkey: ISIS has 49 Turkish hostages, including consul general, in Mosul, Iraq.

On September 4th, Kemal Kirisci, Brookings Institute’s Turkey Project Director, asked  Senior Fellow, Omer Taspinar, SETA Foundation’s Research Director, Kadir Ustun, and S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace’s, Robert Wexler: How will Turkey’s move forward with former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan as Turkey’s new president?  Erodgan served for 12 years before winning 52 percent of the votes.  Erdogan ran against a two-party coalition ,who chose Ekmeleddin Ihasano, and a Kurdish political party candidate, Selahattin Demirtas.  As Wexler argued, “Whether you are a fan or opponent of Pres. Erdogan, he is the most successful electoral candidate in the world, winning 9 elections.”  At the same time, criticizing the status of #Turkey ‘s democracy and freedom of expression “doesn’t translate as nostalgia for the military-led era”, said Taspinar.  (We would chime in that the same applies to the Ataturk era.)  Taspinar noted Turkey’s downgraded scores for freedom of expression and press, which should be treated separately as a mark of success or failure that is distinct from Turkey’s economic success under Erdogan.

Here are the highlights from the panelists’ debate:

Economic Goals

  • Ustun: the opposition in #turkey must figure out a way to appeal to citizens. #PresErdogan has appeal to middle class, oppo has failed.
  • Wexler argues that #PresErdogan should not accept second tier #EU membership.

Turkish Relations

Kirisci followed up on U.S. perceptions of Turkey: Will the US take interest in #Turkey’s democratic performance?

  • Wexler: Yes, however interests will be dwarfed by national security concerns.  Erdogan doesn’t get credit in DC for good actions he has taken, like putting civilians in charge of military.
  • When President Erdogan does things right, we tend to mark it as tactical. But PM Erdogan has done right things more than once.  For example, two years ago, Erdogan warned the U.S. about the Syria crisis and the downside of inaction, such as the refugee and humanitarian crisis…and now the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq & Levant.  (More importantly, if the U.S. can accept and “I told you so!” from President Erdogan, there is a way for the U.S. and Turkey to build a coalition to address Syria and not as a default problem of ISIS.)
  • Wexler: Erdogan got a second chance to show if he can focus on successful leadership, economic management; mitigate his own internal battles.
  • Taspinar: The AKP, Erdogan’s party, squandered an opportunity. “Yes it’s an electoral democracy, but it’s an illiberal one where press freedom declined.”
  • Taspinar concludes: “Turkey’s institutions (legislative powers, media, courts) aren’t working; you don’t see checks and balances.”

Kurdish Question
How can an autocrat provide hope for the Kurdish question?

  • Taspinar: “It’s a huge paradox.  Either Pres. Erdogan Is Machiavelli, who has coalition of Kurds. Or is genuine BUT an Ottoman Sultan granting rights.  (We give high marks for his truthiness observation — truth from the gut.)


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Would the REAL Crisis in the Middle East Please Stand Up?

WASHINGTON — President Obama surprised many recently when he diagnosed the crisis gripping Iraq as partly an economic one, noting that Iraqi Sunnis were “detached from the global economy” and thus frustrated in achieving their aspirations.

While Iraq’s chaos has many sources, the president is nevertheless on to something; and it’s not just Iraqi Sunnis, but the entire Middle East that is detached from the global economy.

The region accounts for just over 4 percent of global imports, less than it did in 1983; Germany alone accounts for 6.4 percent. Its economic stagnation is vividly illustrated by a comparison to Asian economies. According to the World Bank, in 1965, Egypt’s per-capita gross domestic product was $406, while China’s was merely $110.

Today (using constant dollars), Egypt’s G.D.P. has increased four-fold to $1,566, whereas China’s has increased thirty-fold to $3,583. Similarly, Iran and South Korea had roughly the same per-capita G.D.P. in 1965; now South Korea’s is $24,000, whereas Iran’s is only $3,000.

The economies of the Middle East are not only detached from the world’s, but from one another. Most exports in North America, Europe and Asia remain within those regions. Two-thirds of exports to Europe are also from Europe. In the Middle East, only 16 percent of exports to the region as a whole are from other Middle Eastern states.

While Western observers focus on political issues in the Middle East, people in the region are themselves preoccupied with economic matters. According to a recent poll, residents of the Gaza Strip overwhelmingly desire calm with Israel and the chance to seek jobs there. In another poll, Iranians listed “expanding employment opportunities” as their top political priority, far higher than “continuing our nuclear enrichment program.”

But while Gazans hope for an end to their blockade, and Iranians for an end to sanctions, neither step would provide a silver bullet. Economic malaise is endemic to the region, even in places not suffering from blockades or sanctions.

This should concern Western policy makers. The distinction between economic and political problems is false. Like anywhere, economics and politics are inextricably linked. And economic progress is the key to easing the chronic instability that threatens American interests in the region.

Among oil importers, bloated public sectors are at the heart of socioeconomic woes. In places like Egypt, where the public sector employs around 30 percent of workers, post-revolution governments in search of quick economic fixes have further increased the public work force and salaries. Generous government subsidies, particularly on fuel, encourage overconsumption and favor inefficient, energy-intensive industries. Together with the large public-sector wage bills, these subsidies strain government finances, resulting in deficits, which increase the cost of credit.

These policies, together with obstacles to doing business, inhibit the sort of private-sector activity that would boost growth and employment. Across the region, unemployment — especially among youth — is in many cases higher than it was at the outbreak of the Arab uprisings, and economic growth is too slow to reverse the trend.

These problems aren’t limited to the oil importers. The International Monetary Fund has warned that oil exporters’ years of massive surpluses are nearing an end, as a result of heavy spending and growing populations. This makes them increasingly vulnerable to a decrease in oil prices, which looks increasingly likely as new sources come online internationally.

These economic problems can be fixed, however. In contrast to the region’s political dilemmas — which often seem intractable — the West is not only able to help, but regional leaders are open to receiving help. Jordan offers an example: Amid the chaos of the Arab uprisings, Amman quietly implemented tough reforms with the assistance of the United States and the I.M.F.

Oil importers need to replace costly fuel subsidies with targeted assistance to the poor and the creation of social safety nets. They also need to ease their dependency on external aid, reduce corruption, and make regulatory changes to encourage private-sector growth. Exporters need to reduce spending and diversify their economies. And both need to shrink their public sectors and modernize their educational systems.

The United States and its allies should not only provide advice in overcoming these challenges but also incentivize regional governments to take it. That means working with regional allies that are seeking to diversify and modernize their economies, and coordinating economic aid and tying it to progress on reform, including the political steps necessary to make reforms successful.

America should also promote greater economic integration by cooperating with wealthy oil producers to invest in the prosperity of their poorer neighbors, and by offering Middle Eastern states better access to Western markets, especially the European Union.

Exhortations for the United States to “do more” overseas are often criticized as veiled calls for the use of military force. But integrating economic statecraft into diplomacy would help broaden America’s international role beyond the security sphere in a way that promotes long-term peace and stability.

It would be naïve to think that economic growth will solve all of the Middle East’s thorny dilemmas; but it would be equally naïve to believe that they can be solved without it.

Michael Singh is the managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former senior director for Middle East Affairs at the United States National Security Council.

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Why Is #Morocco the Outlier in Gallup #Poll?

Why is Morocco the outlier in Gallup’s poll?  Morocco is more confident about its economic future than ANY other MENA neighbor!  Gallup released a poll last week looking at economic confidence across the Middle East and North Africa in 2013 — what we nicknamed the pita-consuming region.  Gallup results showed that MENA respondents showed declining economic confidence in the MENA region with a score of -33 points for 2013.  MENA’s 2012 respondents scored -17 points in its economic confidence, thereby showing a decline of 16 points in Economic Confidence Index in the Middle East.  (Algeria was not included in the sample–probably due to difficulty in gathering data given its government restrictions.)  Lebanon showed the lowest level of economic confidence with a score of -71 points.  In contrast, Morocco showed a score of 20 points.  As all other MENA countries reflected ‘below zero’ economic confidence, Morocco remained steadfast in its economic outlook–for whatever reason.

Only EU Is Less Confident than MENA Region– Minus GCC Countries

After the European Union (-36 points), MENA (-33 points) showed the least amount of economic confidence. Gallup measures economic confidence as the following:

Gallup calculates the Economic Confidence Index by adding the percentage of people rating current economic conditions ([“excellent” + “good”] minus “poor”) to the percentage saying the economy is (“getting better” minus “getting worse”), and then dividing that sum by two. The Economic Confidence Index has a maximum value of +100 and a minimum value of -100. Values above zero indicate a more positive than negative view of the economy, values below zero indicate net-negative views, and zero indicates that positive and negative views are equal.

The greatest decline in economic confidence was in Egypt: scoring -70 points in 2013, a 40 point drop from -30 points in 2012.  What explains the declining economic confidence?  Security discomfort?  Uncertainty about subsidy reform?  Declining FDI, which results from disruptive policing efforts?  Some factors affect certain countries more than others.

Economic Confidence Declined Because of Subsidy Reductions?

MENA is too diverse across its set countries to truly feel surprised about any type of general statement of confidence–especially if you argue that a single indicator of confidence cannot represent the non-homogenous MENA region because oil-producing countries skew the results of economic realities.  It’s important to note: Gallup considered the impact of GCC member nation’s realities and did not include them in the economic confidence index for the region.  Both middle-income (Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon Libya and Egypt) and upper-income countries (Bahrain and Kuwait for example) experience different realities and may point to why they are less confident than last year.  Specifically, middle-income countries, like Tunisia,  have undertaken wide-scale subsidy reductions in contrast to wealthier countries’, which have the luxury of maintaining fuel and bread subsidies without implementing tax regimes.

Tunisia’s planned subsidy reforms and public spending cuts should help reduce the budget deficit by 1.5 billion dinars or $927 million in 2014. Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa

Subsidy culture aside, some feel like certain cultural experiences speak to certain countries and not others.  Or even if you feel that certain countries belong to the region versus others, what does economic confidence really mean if each country is starting off from a richer endowment?  Advanced, industrialized economies, like Israel, are included in the Gallup poll.  But, Israel is the only MENA country that receives economic aid.

True, you could argue that the regional security situation negatively impacted over 6 MENA countries in 2013, which is why economic confidence declined across the board–expect in Morocco.  Syria’s war produced huge spillover effects by producing over 1.5 million refugees for Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.  But not for Morocco.  Geographically, Morocco is the furthest away from the Syrian conflict (and now the ISIS escalation in Iraq).  So Morocco’s positive economic outlook is not tainted by either the Syrian spillover or the Gaza blockade.

More importantly, if you does want to focus on the overall “declining economic confidence in the Middle East” why the heck is Morocco the outlier in this MENA poll?   Based on PITAPOLICY’s June visit to Morocco, certain positive developments may explain why Moroccans show more economic confidence:

1) Fully operational, newly constructed metro system operating in Rabat.  More mobility, more access to economic outlets.

2) More publicity on King Mohammed IV’s increased support for economic and agricultural assistance to African countries.  Can’t tell you how many times Qayyum turned on Moroccan news to see coverage on Morocco’s Africa’s assistance–counted two stories each night for a week.

3) Optimism that political trajectory of Morocco is more stable than neighboring revolutions in Tunisia, Libya Egypt, and Yemen.


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Live-Blogging from DC: To what point does international community accept that there’s a state within a state? #IRAQ – What is Happening?”

August 14th in Washington, DC ~ The New America Foundation asks “Iraq: What Is Happening?” from its office in Washington, DC.  Earlier this week, Iraqi president, Fouad Masum, announced the new Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, who is SUPPOSED to take over from Nouri al-Maliki — Iraq’s Prime Minister since the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. (Since this post, Al-Maliki resigned at 5pm EST.  Al-Abadi now has 26 days to form a government according to the constitution.)

Rightly or wrongly — depending on if one views this as an impeachment or  as a coup that dismisses constitutional processes — Al-Maliki is taking legal action to fight for a third term.  It is no surprise that the UK Foreign Office welcomes Al-Abadi as the new PM — he was educated at Manchester University.

More political drama unfolds since the Obama order airstrikes on August 7th.  Despite the Obama’s administration pledge to keep troops out of combat, the Pentagon confirms US special operations are headed to Mount Sinjar, Iraq.

New America Foundation: Two-and-a-half years after the United States withdrew from Iraq, President Obama has ordered air strikes against Sunni militants in the country without giving any sort of timetable on how long the United States will remain involved.  The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have taken over major cities in the north, Iraqi army officers have abandoned their posts, and people are fleeing the region by the hundreds of thousands. ISIS has also taken over at least four small oil fields and Mosul Dam, the largest dam in the country, which has the capacity to flood cities and farms downstream.  Iraqi Kurds have also taken over parts of the north, fighting back ISIS militants.  Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki clashed with Iraq’s president on Monday after he asked a veteran Shiite politician, Haider al-Abadi, to form a new government on Monday, setting the stage for a political showdown.As the humanitarian crisis worsens and the level of U.S. involvement deepens, we will explore some key questions: What is the trajectory of ISIS? Will Maliki try to stage a coup? What does this mean for a country with some of the largest oil reserves in the world? Is President Obama is doing the right thing? And what is the fate of Kurdistan?


We will be live-blogging the conversation, which includes comments from the following participants:

Col. Derek Harvey (Ret.): Professor, University of South Florida Former Senior Analyst for Iraq for General David H. Petraeus Denise Natali: Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Author, The Kurdish Quasi-State: Development and Dependency in Post-Gulf War Iraq

Steve Levine: Future Tense Fellow, New America Foundation; Author, The Oil and the Glory, The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea

Moderator: Douglas A. OllivantASU Future of War Senior Fellow, International Security Program, New America Foundation Former NSC Director for Iraq


The Moderator, Olivant,  opens with a Sad Joke about Iraq –like Russia–producing more history than GDP.  He emphasizes war between moderates and ‘Jihadists’ prefers emphasizing “Sunni Jihadist” and the sectarian, regional conflict.


  • ISIS is not a terrorist organization, but a terrorist army b/c strong social media and strongholds great strategic military planners

Military Organization

  • ISIS made up of former Mukhabarat and Iraqi army officers
  • Strengths: good leadership and organization
  • Arm and ally w/Peshmurga: training and reforming the Iraqi Forces, augementation of intelligence need combined joint task force

(Although there’s a “democritzation of violence” we disagree w/the construct – democratization of violence


  • Kurdish region media coverage hyperfocuse on arming Kurds
  • Pushing back on ISIS in Sinjar area, but Pehsmarge having difficulty in east area where no airtstrikes occurred
  • Concerned about the politicization of aid: why just looking at safeguarding the Yazidis?
  • “We were too busy predicting breakup of Iraq. myth that peshmurga were capable of defending region” Look at Baghdad, PKK, and Iran
  • Iraqi govt was the one providing airport, arming Kurds is undermining terrirotial integrity of Iraq… but done w/approval of Iraqi govt

Economic Side:

  • Operations are suspended in Kurdish region: almost every intl oil company has evacuated, but service companies no longer there
  • Building construction are at standstill; commercial flights are not running unless to Istanbul or Jordan
  • 25% occupancy of hotels


  • 200K bpd produced, only 120 bpd exported
  • Not focused on “do Kurds get independence?” or discourage Kurds from selling oil
  • ISIS understands centrality of resources: captured in Syria and Iraq, producing by using crews on ground earning $1M a day
  • Reuters reported similar thing of ISIS asserting economic control of wheat.

Here’s the jist of what Levin is saying regarding wheat, which we already noted as 5 provinces in Iraq represent 40% of Iraq’s supply.  ISIS tactics and strategy is reminiscent of when the Taliban captured the heroin trade in Afghanistan.  Given that ISIS operates like a state trying to control resources (oil, wheat, and now water) we see that this is no longer a terrorism issue, but an Iraqi soveriegnty issue.   As Levin pointed out, and we agreed, ISIS is working on control of water and dams.


  • Iraq projected ambition 12M bpd now downgraded projection to 5M bpd
  • Now 80% of expats have flown out of Erbil, oil companies aren’t there anymore – their share prices: lost 25% of value, but resurged?
  • Kirkuk key area: Exxon tried to drill, but even if you do drill, it is percieved that ISIS can threaten oil fields or transportation b/c needs to get it to Turkey

Olivant on Baghdad Politics:

  • We have a new nominee for PM, same from same party as Al Maliki (Al Dawah Party not Sadrists) but has a Phd in engineering — a technocrat w/o political study….(hmmm…we said that last week)
  • Kurds are in areas where violence will exist for some time in addition to corruption and ghost soldiers — requires reassesment of US forces in region as assessing Peshmurga and Iraqi forces
  • Kurds have lost their brand b/c they used to be in the safe part of Iraq
  • selling weapons directly to Kurds “above board” are against U.S. law b/c must deal with the state
  • Insurance rates for oil companies operating in Erbil are going to skyrocket


far left (doug?): challenges the “lost their brand” comment
not a matter of law, but matter of policy

Policy suggestions:

1) Reynolds: Frame correctly and understand threat frame correctly by specifying who the threat is– This is not a terrorism issue.(PITAPOLICY NOTE: But didn’t we already do that by identifying ISIS and their origins??? It makes sense to go after sanctuary areas in Syria, but then it revisits what Olivant warned the US not to do: deal with Syria.  Tactical measures aren’t enough. )

2) Do not reinforce ethnic/sectarian divisions existing now, which the US has done w/aid operation last week
Not in the Kurds interest to give into Barzani’s interest

3) Natali: Be careful not to create a political cushion that doesn’t get Iraqis to stand with their decisions
praises Kirkuk Governor Najmuddin Kareem for not getting sucked into the accusation that Kirkuk getting ‘Arabized’ // now similar accusation with “Kurdization” of territories
have a referendum in any territory is a wise idea


Why can’t the Arabs should take care of this ISIS crisis?

– Well, unwise to put in a GCC force given the opportunity for sectarian opportunists

Olivant: Assad is now secondary or tertiary priority b/c it’s too complex for near term solution

 Why didn’t we do more? former employee of firm that entered Iraq right after Saddam ouster:directed to Colonel Reynolds

(ummm… b/c ISIS/ISIL didn’t exist when US withdrew from Iraq)
Levine:  If we did airstrikes 10 weeks ago, wouldn’t have had Yazidi sitution, but was held hostage to a domestic situation in Iraq and not enough intelligence for precise targets


  • Not enough local buy-in within Iraq. Note the Mosul coup: Barzani said “We won’t fight ISIS!” b/c risk of attacking Sunni Arabs civilians



  • Downside of recognizing an Islamic State: create a cascade of sectarian warfare that will create a 30 year war from Mediterranean to Asia
  • ISIS has military, ideological, political and financial bureaus that know how to recruit technicians and how to invest.



  • Administration should get an ‘A’ for crisis management
  • US needs to identify which groups deals may be cut with… (PITAPOLICY NOTE: and hope/pray that ISIS doesn’t capture and torture special forces guys and put it in Youtube)
  • Maybe necessary to have an interim state to hold Iraq together: imagine an Obama and Karl Rove leading US jointly where one department led by Republicans and another led by Democrats: klunky, but unity may trump efficiency


  • Only 5% of revenue stream to support ISIS coming from Gulf

(PITAPOLICY NOTE: GCC states got slapped in the face b/c ISIS predecessors were no longer “good guys gone bad” after they left Syria for Iraq)

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We Didn’t Have the Support That We Expected From the West #Tunisie

“I’ll be frank: we didn’t have the support that we expected from the West.”- Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki
Tunisia feels as if it is going at it alone.  “Help us, and we will help you,” stated Tunisian President, Moncef Marzouki at the Atlantic Council on August 5th in Washington, DC.  He listed Tunisia’s achievements: 1) passing a consensus based constitution; 2) preserving freedom of press by not shutting down any television station; and 3) setting a date for parliamentary and presidential elections this Fall.   This was his response after he stated that Tunisia did not have the support that Tunisians expected from the West.
Marzouki is unsure why Tunisia was not receiving support, but speculates that it may be because of its previous Islamist party in power.   Nonetheless Tunisia moved forward despite its increasing inflation rate (6% in 2013 and 5.6% in 2012) and modest 3.0% growth, according to the Institute of International Finance.

Before Marzouki became president, he was exiled from Tunisia for ten years during the Ben Ali regime for his human rights activism in Tunisia.  In welcoming President Marzouki, Atlantic Council President, Fred Kemp quotes Sikor Skiradek who told him: will play role played in bringing down communism.  (Note the subtext of a security threat perceived by the Americans in Tunisia’s context by mentioning communisim.)  Marzouki has not decided if he will run for president in the November 2014 elections.  He will announce at the end of September.

“We need to have an inclusive government. People must listen to each other…Arab societies are not homogenous and need to be inclusive otherwise it will lead to more divisions and chaos.” ~President Moncef Marzouki
Although Tunisia’s Jasmine revolution stemmed from concern with socio-economic injustice, the revolution has boomeranged back towards discontent. “We expected that the revolution would be a solution to the [economic] problem but now it is the cause,” admitted Marzouki.  At the same time, he said that Tunisians may have been naive regarding its internal security threat posed by extremist groups.  In 2013, extremist groups assassinated two political figures.

That being said, the Tunisian president defined two problems for Tunisians.

  • Problem #1 is a social problem: corruption.
  • Problem #2:  unemployment.
  • Problem #3 (Unsaid): Border security
Corruption has grown more and more because of Tunisia’s transition period; the state is always weak during transition.  He explained how keeping the judiciary branch’s 200 judges independent is a key factor in stemming corruption.
At the same time,  it is difficult to bring democracy to Tunisia without steady employment options.  He worries that some people are regretting the revolution because they are getting poorer and poorer while remembering some sort of stability from the authoritarian days.
Unfortunately, no one amongst the audience commented on the various ways of jumpstarting employment.  Rather, the focus remained on security.  (Security ranked as Problem number three on Tunisia’s list in contrast to Problem number one on the American list.)  Perhaps it was the best strategic opportunity for Tunisia’s president to present his ask on security–which he did very specifically: 12 Blackhawk helicopters, night vision goggles, communications devices, and security trainings.
According to Marzouki, the army is not as well equipped as the police forces–which may make sense since they are treated as one security entity–the result of a police state that is common in the Arab world.
Corruption seemed to be the fetishized question among audience members from the U.S. military and American based NGOs–as if they memorized 2011 State Department Talking Points memo on Tunisia.  Furthermore, Tunisia’s corruption problem is underpinned by people not paying taxes.  Marzouki says that collecting tax revenue remains a critical issue, but without the number of delinquent taxpayers, there’s no way of determining the magnitude of the problem compared to the percent that remains uncollected from businesses.

Image preview

Foreign Direct Investment Priority

Tunisia’s priority is to attract investors, says Marzouki, who wants international support & asks for patience by the International Monetary Fund.  “We need to explain to the IMF that we are a fragile country,” says Marzouki.  According to Marzouki, foreign investors express concern, “let’s wait”, due to the security situation.  But the investment climate worsens as poverty and unemployment increase.
Kemp asked if a loan guarantee program was under Tunisia’s consideration.  Which sectors would loan guarantees work best for ? Loans accrue “interest” based on .  Although President Marzouki didn’t elaborate on the how, where, what and when of implementing loan guarantees, he did focus on foreign direct investment, “We’re not just solving the political crisis–but rewriting investment code & paving way for investors to come in.”
Libya is not only important for security, but for Tunisia’s .  There are about 2 million Libyans in Tunisia.

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Smart Cities in North Africa #ISSC2014

Are smart cities the next phase of urban development, and thereby, the collective hopes for improving living standards across the pita-consuming region?  On June 9th and 10th, PITAPOLICY attended the first annual summit on smart cities review of North Africa, or the Maghreb region (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya…with some mention of Egypt).  Below is our overview from the presentations…

Walking past the Check-in counter in Casablanca’s Mohamed V International Airport, a digital sign claims X amount of solar energy used and X amount of energy savings occurred in powering a transit hub with the use of polycrystalline panel technology.  As a tourist, this may come as a pleasant surprise if she has not yet had the opportunity to see other improvements, like Rabat’s tram system.  As a citizen, this may be inspiring as the term “smart city” hints at better infrastructure and technology use.  However, what qualifies a city as a “smart city” is more often a topic for discussion only among Maghreb countries and not implementation.  Infrastructural developments like this–as well as challenges with water access and traffic jams–prompted the 1st annual International Summit on Smart Cities in North Africa (#ISSC2014) at Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. [Click here to continue.]




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Economic, Social, and Human Costs of Gaza Strikes

Dear Pita-consumers:

For the last two weeks, we know that you have been diligently following the Gaza Crisis–which seems to re-ignite every two year with a confluence of triggers–accelerated into a series of surgical strikes resulting in 77 percent “unintentional” targeting of civilian death, according to a UN report.  Note that these surgical strikes are justified by military strategists for its “precision”.   As a result, there are economic, social, and human costs associated with the Gaza strikes, and now ground invasion by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which started Thursday, July 17th.  But you don’t have to take our word for it; below include assessments by others who have clearly stated all this before we blogged about it.  Omar Baddar writes for Salon on the human costs that continue to grow with disproportionate use of violence by state military campaigns.

Economic Costs

Source: Deutsche-Welle, Germany


The conflict has so far cost Israel’s defense budget more than a billion shekels, some 200 million euros. Eitan Avriel of the business magazine “The Marker” suspects that the army will reclaim this money from the government.

There is also the additional expenditure on emergency programs in support of people living in the southern parts of the country. For instance, parents receive compensation for the loss of earnings resulting from their staying at home to care for minor children, as almost all summer camps in areas located in the vicinity of the Gaza strip have remained closed due to rocket attacks.

With just 15 seconds of warning time before a rocket strikes, it would be almost impossible to bring large groups of children into safety in time.

Less consumption, less tourism

“The government has already allocated 400 million shekels to support the communities living along the border with the Gaza Strip,” says Eitan. However, the greatest loss is the decline in the gross national product, he stressed, pointing out that consumption has virtually halved.

Carmel Markt in Tel Aviv - Carmel Markt in Tel Aviv,Marktstrasse, Foto: Robert B. Fishman, ecomedia, 19.2.2014 Eitan says consumption dropped by a third in Tel Aviv region

In the nation’s south, it completely collapsed, Eitan noted. “While in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Sderot sales have fallen by 60 to 70 percent, the area around Tel Aviv saw consumption drop by a third. At the same time, public transport has seen a loss of 20 percent,” said the journalist on Israeli television.

The tourism industry was particularly badly hit, says Yossi Fatael of the country’s tour operators association. Around 40 percent of the sector’s revenue is generated in the summer season.

“But we are incurring huge losses as new tourist bookings have totally stopped and there have been many cancellations,” he explained. That’s why we have approached the government and requested it to provide assistance to the industry, said Fatael.

Curtailing consumer protection

Employees who are not currently working should not be dismissed from their jobs, but rather undergo training and other skills development programs. But in order to implement such programs, employers are looking for government support.

Yossi Fatael argues that easing of consumer protection laws would also help. “For instance, a new law stipulates that we pay compensation in case of flight delays or cancellations,” says Fatael, demanding a suspension of the law.

The tourism industry also calls on the government to provide an alternative airport as the international Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv has become a target for Hamas and came under its rocket attacks. In case of such attacks, flights are diverted to either Jordan or Cyprus, said Fatael, demanding that the government should instead divert them to the rarely used Uvda airport in the Negev, 60 km north of Eilat. [Click Deutsche-Welle, Germany to continue.]

Social & Political Costs

The social and political costs associated with the crisis ultimately go back to credibility: how much political capital are attacking forces spending in the name of military force?  Watch this to see how media coverage represents how a country puts its credibility on the line.  Video link if not working below, forward to Minute 5…
<div style=”background-color:#000000;width:520px;”><div style=”padding:4px;”><iframe src=”http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:arc:video:thedailyshow.com:dfe38ee1-09ff-4f6c-86da-f490f0fd2f88″ width=”512″ height=”288″ frameborder=”0″></iframe><p style=”text-align:left;background-color:#FFFFFF;padding:4px;margin-top:4px;margin-bottom:0px;font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;”><b><a href=”http://thedailyshow.cc.com/”>The Daily Show</a></b><br />Get More: <a href=”http://thedailyshow.cc.com/full-episodes/”>Daily Show Full Episodes</a>,<a href=”http://www.comedycentral.com/indecision”>Indecision Political Humor</a>,<a href=”http://www.facebook.com/thedailyshow”>The Daily Show on Facebook</a></p></div></div>

Human Cost Outlined by PITAPAL, Omar Baddar

The civilian death toll in Gaza is immoral and unacceptable — and it’s time to talk honestly about all of it.

How commonly is the alleged moral superiority of the Israeli military invoked? So commonly that if you type “the most moral army in the world” into Google, you’ll immediately get a bunch of articles discussing the Israeli “Defense” Forces. Just last week, Slate’s William Saletan argued that while Hamas fires rockets at civilians, Israel takes “pains” in its “exemplary” efforts to avoid harming Palestinian civilians. The New York Times’ Steven Erlanger didn’t “argue” that Israel takes major precautions to avoid harming civilians, he seemed to be taking it as a given when he wrote Gazans were anxious about airstrikes “no matter how carefully Israel tries to target them.”

Despite the fact that the Palestinians are an occupied, besieged and oppressed population that lacks the capability to defend itself against systemic and daily Israeli violence, Hamas’s insistence that Israeli civilians are legitimate targets is morally indefensible, and should be condemned by all people of conscience. But according to what evidence is Israel’s conduct better? And how can it possibly be better when Israel has advanced surveillance capability and laser-guided weaponry, but has still managed to kill more than 150 Palestinian civilians (including 40+ children) in Gaza, compared to just one Israeli death in this latest round of violence? Instead of taking Israel at its word, let’s look at the take of credible observers. [Click here to continue.]

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U.S. Announces New Sanctions Against Firms in UAE & Lebanon

Despite UAE’s great news: Dubai airport has ranked higher than Heathrow International for more air traffic, neighboring emirate of Sharjah has drawn the negative attention for supplying the Syrian regime with petroleum products.  On July 9th, Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury added Pangates to the U.S. sanctions list for supplying specialty petroleum products to the Syrian government and blacklisted two additional Syrian companies, Expert Partners and Megatrade, according to Reuters.  Both Syrian companies aided the regime in acquiring ballistic missiles used against its own people.  

The Syrian government’s continued violence against its own people is abhorrent,” -Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.

The U.S. has long been a fan of using sanctions as a tool in the MENA region in conjunction with other tools, to stem terrorist  or perceived conflict activities.  Iran is a case in point regarding its nuclear program.  At the same time, the U.S. has been noted to also arm countries’ regimes that have also been sanctioned, like Iran, during the Iran-Contra Affair during the 1980s.

At the outbreak of Syria’s revolution turned crisis in 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department added Syrian dictator, Bashar al Assad, and his top 15 associates, to the list of sanctioned persons and entities.

The sanctions tool is most certainly a favorite tool.  Last week on July 10th, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against Kamel and Issam Mohamad Amhaz, who run the Stars Group Holidng company in Beirut, Lebanon for ties to Hezbollah.  The full press release is posted below for more details.  Stars Group is reported to have subsidiaries in the United Arab Emirates and China.

Dubai’s Airport Ready to Take on Busiest Airport Hub Title

As Dubai airport’s importance increases due to its increased business traffic to parts of the MENA region, that’s where the good news in MENA ends for now.

Egypt’s Debt Crisis… Continues.

The Elbawaba news site reported that Egypt’s financial reserves dropped drastically due to Gulf Cooperation Council countries’ (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE) decision to suspend aid in the amount of 12 billion dollars–with estimates as high as 20 billion dollars since Mohamed Morsi’s ousters in June, 2013.

Egypt’s net international foreign reserves fell by $600m, recording $16.68bn at the end of June, down from $17.28m in May, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced on Monday.

Foreign reserves are now the lowest since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, when they saw a jump following a total Gulf aid package of $12bn, in the form of cash grants, deposits and petroleum products.

Low financial reserves partially explain why the Sisi government enacted subsidy reform on petroleum products assistance to Egyptians. In Sisi’s speech last week, he called upon Egyptians to swallow the “bitter pill” of cut fuel subsidies while calling upon the wealthiest segment to donate to Egypt’s development.  Although the first part of his call to the Egyptians will become a reality, the second part will not.


Treasury Sanctions Procurement Agents Of Hizballah Front Company Based In Lebanon With Subsidiaries In The UAE And China


Action Targets Company’s Owners and Several Managers Responsible for Supporting Hizballah’s Global Procurement Operations

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury targeted a key Hizballah procurement network today by designating brothers Kamel and Issam Mohamad Amhaz, their consumer electronics business Stars Group Holding based in Beirut, Lebanon, its subsidiaries, and certain managers and individuals who support their illicit activities.  Today’s actions were taken pursuant to E.O. 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists, or acts of terrorism.  As a result of today’s action, all assets of those designated today that are based in the United States or in control by U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.  Today’s action highlights Hizballah’s continued reliance on companies for material support, including the procurement of material used to enhance the group’s military capabilities.


Hizballah has used the Stars Group Holding network to covertly purchase sophisticated electronics and other technology from suppliers across the world.  Items obtained by Hizballah using the Stars Group Holding network have directly supported the group’s military capabilities, including the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which have been used most recently to support Hizballah’s military activities in Syria and to conduct surveillance operations in Israel.


“With disturbing reach far beyond Lebanon, Hizballah’s extensive procurement networks exploit the international financial system to enhance its military capabilities in Syria and its terrorist activities worldwide,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.  “This global terrorist activity and expanding criminal network belie Hizballah’s claimed purpose as a national liberation movement.  It is critical that countries throughout the world work together to combat this dangerous organization and sever it from sources of revenue and support.”


Beirut-based Stars Group Holding is owned and managed by President and Chief Executive Officer Kamel Mohamad Amhaz and company Chairman Issam Mohamad Amhaz.  In addition to the company’s Lebanon-based businesses, Treasury-designated Stars Group Holding maintains subsidiaries in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Unique Stars Mobile Phones LLC, and Guangzhou, China, Stars International Ltd.  Today’s action also targets Ayman Ibrahim, who serves as the General Manager of Unique Stars Mobile Phones LLC, and Ali Zeaiter who is the General Manager of Stars International Ltd.


Over the past three years, Stars Group Holding, Kamel Mohamad Amhaz, Issam Mohamad Amhaz, Ayman Ibrahim, and Ali Zeaiter have used these China- and UAE-based subsidiaries to acquire a range of engines, communications, electronics, and navigation equipment from companies in the United States, Asia, Canada, and Europe for Hizballah’s use in UAVs and for other projects.  These individuals and entities have relied on false end-user certificates, mislabeled air waybills, and other fraudulent methods to avoid export restrictions and otherwise conceal Hizballah as the ultimate end-user or beneficiary of these goods.


In addition to the Stars Group Holding owners, managers, and companies described above, Treasury is also designating Hanna Elias Khalifeh, a Hizballah member and Lebanese businessman who has worked directly with Stars Group Holding network managers to facilitate these procurement activities on behalf of Hizballah.


The following Beirut-based subsidiaries of Stars Group Holding were also designated by Treasury today:  Stars Communications Ltd., Teleserve Plus Sal, Stars Communications Offshore Sal, and Fastlink SARL.



Identifying Information

Individual 1:               KAMEL MOHAMAD AMHAZ

AKA:                          Kamel Mohamed Amhaz  

AKA:                          Kamel Amhaz

AKA:                          Kamel Al-Amhaz

AKA:                          Kamil Amhaz

DOB:                          04 August 1973

Nationality:                 Lebanon

Passport:                      RL2244333, Lebanon

ID No:                         61 Niha El-Mehfara

Address 1:                   5th Floor, Ghadir Building, Kods Street, Haret Hreik (Baabda), Lebanon

Address 2:                   Ghadir, 5th Floor, Safarat, Bir Hassan, Jenah, Lebanon

Address 3:                   Ghadir, 5th Floor, Embassies Street, Bir Hasan, Lebanon

Address 4:                   Dallas Center, Saida Old Street, Chiah, Baabda, Lebanon

Occupation:                 President & Chief Executive Officer, Stars Group Holding


Individual 2:               ISSAM MOHAMAD AMHAZ


AKA:                          Issam Mohamed Amhaz

AKA:                          ‘Isam Amhaz

DOB:                          04 March 1967

POB:                           Baalbek, Lebanon

Nationality:                 Lebanon

Passport:                      RL0000199, Lebanon

ID No:                        61 Nabha

Address 1:                   Ghadir, 5th Floor, Safarat, Bir Hassan, Jenah, Lebanon

Address 2:                   Issam Mohamad Amhaz Property, Ambassades (Safarate), Bir Hassan Area, Ghobeiri (Baabda), Lebanon

Occupation:                 Chairman, Stars Group Holding

Occupation:                 General Manager, Teleserve Plus Sal



Individual 3:               AYMAN IBRAHIM

AKA:                          Ayman Ahmad Ibrahim

DOB:                          01 April 1979

POB:                           ‘Adlun, Lebanon

Occupation:                 General Manager, Unique Stars Mobile Phones LLC



Individual 4:               ALI ZEAITER

AKA:                          Ali Zoeiter

AKA:                          ‘Ali Zu’aytar

AKA:                          Ali Husayn Zu’aytir

DOB:                          24 February 1977

Nationality:                 Lebanon

Passport 1:                   RL1924321, Lebanon

Passport 2:                   RL0877465, Lebanon

Address 1:                   No. 351 Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, China

Address 2:                   Room 2203A, Grand Tower, No. 228 Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, China

Address 3:                   Room 2203A, Guangcheng Building, No. 228 Tianhe Road, Guangzhou,   China

Address 4:                   204 No. 253 Tianhebei Road, Guangzhou, China

Occupation:                 General Manager, Stars International Ltd.


Individual 5:               HANNA ELIAS KHALIFEH

AKA:                          Hanna Khalifah

AKA:                          Hanna Khalife

DOB:                          09 July 1955

Nationality:                 Lebanon

Passport:                      RL2033216, Lebanon

Address 1:                   Midan Street, Mazraat Yachouh, Metn, Lebanon

Address 2:                   Asaad Karam Building, Midan Street, Mazraat Yachouh, Lebanon


Parent Company:      STARS GROUP HOLDING 

AKA:                          Stars Group Sal (Holding)

AKA:                          Stars Group Holding SAL


Number:                      1901453, Beirut, Lebanon

Registered Office:      Property Number 5208/62, Issam Mohamed Amha, 6th Floor, Dallas Center, Old Saida Road, C, Lebanon

Chamber of

Commerce Number:    317211

Mailing Address:        Postal Box 13-5483, Lebanon

Address 1:                   Bdeir Building, Snoubra Street, Bir El-Abed Area,  Haret Hreik, Baabda, Lebanon

Address 2:                   Bir El Abed, Hadi Nasrallah Highway, Middle East & Africa Bank Building, First Floor, Beirut, Lebanon

Address 3:                   Old Saida Road, Dallas Center, 6th Floor, Beirut, Lebanon

Webpage URL:           www.starscom.net


Subsidiary 1:              UNIQUE STARS MOBILE PHONES LLC 

AKA:                          Unique Stars LLC


File Number:               591610, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Chamber of

Commerce Number:    116340

Registered Office:      Postal Box 98498, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Mailing Address:        Postal Box 98498, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Location 1:                  Al Maktoum Road, Deira, Al Kabira Building, First Floor, Office #103, PO Box 98498, Dubai, UAE

Location 2:                  Office 103, 1st Floor, Sheikh Rashed Building, Al Maktoum Road, Deira, DXB Municipality, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Location 3:                  Gargash Center, Nasser Square, Shop No. 41, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Subsidiary 2:              STARS INTERNATIONAL LTD 

AKA:                          Stars International Co. Ltd

Location 1:                  Room 2203A, Grand Tower, No. 228 TianHe Road, TianHe District, Guangzhou P.R., China

Location 2:                  F-18, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Subsidiary 3:              STARS COMMUNICATIONS LTD 

AKA:                          Stars Communications Ltd Sarl

AKA:                          Stars Communications LLC

AKA:                          Stars Communications

Registration Number:  2001929, Baabda

Location 1:                  Hadi Nasrallah Av, MEAB Building, 1st Floor, Beirut, Lebanon

Location 2:                  Bir el Abed, Snoubra Street, Haret Hreyk, Beirut, Lebanon

Location 3:                  Tayyouneh, Haret Hreyk, Beirut, Lebanon

Location 4:                  Port, Nahr, Beirut, Lebanon

Location 5:                  Ras El Ain, Baalbeck, Lebanon

Location 6:                  Hadeth, Lebanon

Location 7:                  Nabatiyeh, Lebanon

Location 8:                  Old Saida Road, Beirut Mall, Beirut, Lebanon

Location 9:                  Duty-Free Airport, Rafik Hariri International Airport, Beirut, Lebanon

Location 10:                Sharl Helo Street, Beirut Seaport, Lebanon

Location 11:                Kamil Shamoun Street, Dekwaneh, Beirut, Lebanon

Location 12:                Hermel, Lebanon


Subsidiary 4:              TELESERVE PLUS SAL 

AKA:                          Teleserveplus


File Number:               2004609, Baabda, Lebanon

Registered Office:      4th Floor, Dalas Center, Old Saida Road, Chiyah (Baabda), Lebanon

Mailing Address:        Postal Box 13-5483, Lebanon

Address 1:                   6th Floor, Dallas Center, Old Saida Avenue,  Beirut, Lebanon

Address 2:                   6th Floor, Dallas Center, Old Saida Road, Chiyah, Baabda, Lebanon

Webpage:                    www.teleserveplus.com



AKA:                          Stars Communications Offshore

AKA:                          Stars Communication Sal Off-Shore

AKA:                          Stars Offshore

Registration Number:  1801374, Baabda

Location 1:                  Hojeij Building, 2nd Floor, Zaghloul Street, Haret Hreik, Baabda, Lebanon

Location 2:                  Bdeir Building, Ground Floor, Snoubra Street, Ghobeiry, Baabda, Lebanon

Location 3:                  Hadi Nasrallah Av, MEAB Building, 1st Floor, Beirut, Lebanon


Subsidiary 6             FASTLINK SARL

AKA:                          Fast Link SAL

Location 1:                  Hadi Nasrallah Av, MEAB Building, 1st Floor, Beirut, Lebanon

Location 2:                  Cendrella Street, Dalas Center, Chyah, Baabda, Lebanon

Location 3:                  Dallas, 6th Floor, Saida Old Road, Chiyah, Beirut, Lebanon





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