LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
August 12/2019
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For today
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 10/34-39:”‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on August 11-12/2019
Bassil Slams World Silence over Israel's Storming of al-Aqsa
PSP MP Says U.S. Statement Unnecessary, Solution 'Purely Lebanese'
Al-Rahi Says Lebanese Politicians ‘Experts in Creating Obstacles’
Berri’s 'Central Role' Led to Baabda Reconciliation
Raad: The enemy is preparing to wage a war on us and the resistance is ready to teach it a lesson!
Bou Saab from Ain Dara: Army sole guarantor of all Lebanese

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 11-12/2019
Iranian FM Zarif travels to Doha to meet Qatari officials
Iranian foreign ministry: US expectation of call from Tehran is ‘vain’
Syria regime gains ground in deadly Idlib push: Monito
Norway Mosque Shooting 'Attempted Act of Terror'
Israel Police, Palestinians Clash at al-Aqsa Mosque Compound
Israeli troops kill militant on Gaza border: Medic, Military
Dozens of Palestinians injured after Israeli forces storm al-Aqsa Mosque
Saudi-Led Coalition Launches Strike after Aden 'Coup'

Titles For The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 11-12/2019
Germany's Pro-Iran, Anti-Israel Foreign Policy/Soeren Kern/Gatestone Institute/August 11/2019
Yemeni Separatists Oust Government in Key City, Complicating Peace Efforts/Ben Hubbard and Saeed Al-Batati/the New York/Aug. 11/2019
Iran hopes a US election will solve its ‘Trump problem/Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Arab News/August 11/2019
How water can oil the wheels in dealing with Iran/Dr. Dania Koleilat Khatib/Arab News/August 11/2019
Moscow and Ankara at odds over Syrian crisis/Yasar Yakis/Arab News/August 11/2019

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on August 11-12/2019
Bassil Slams World Silence over Israel's Storming of al-Aqsa
/Naharnet/August 11/2019
Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil on Sunday condemned the storming of the al-Aqsa mosque compound by Israeli forces. “I greet Muslims and Druze on the holy feast of Eid al-Adha and I condemn the storming of al-Aqsa and the beating of worshipers,” Bassil said in a tweet. “I deplore the continued Arab and international silence over Israel’s crimes at the al-Aqsa mosque, specifically in Eid al-Adha,” the foreign minister added. “International justice is one-eyed and the justice that is not won through international laws will be taken through the resilience and resistance of the peoples,” Bassil went on to say. Israeli security forces and Palestinian worshippers clashed at the al-Aqsa compound on Sunday as overlapping Jewish and Muslim holidays led to tensions there, which resulted in the wounding of 61 Palestinians.

PSP MP Says U.S. Statement Unnecessary, Solution 'Purely Lebanese'
Naharnet/August 11/2019
A Progressive Socialist Party lawmaker on Sunday said that the U.S. embassy statement on the Qabrshmoun incident was “unnecessary,” stressing that the solution reached Friday was “purely Lebanese.”“I personally wish it had not been issued, seeing as it was unnecessary at that point and the solution was maturing,” MP Bilal Abduallah said in a TV interview. “From the beginning, we were insisting that the solution should be Lebanese-made and I stress that what happened was purely Lebanese,” Abdullah added, noting that the reconciliation reached in Baabda was “a carbon copy of Speaker Nabih Berri’s proposal.”“We had entrusted Speaker Berri with the file from the beginning and he rejects injustice, the distortion of the truth and anything that is unfair,” Abdullah went on to say, noting that the Speaker enjoyed Hizbullah’s support in his efforts. Turning to the judicial procedures pertaining to the deadly Qabrshmoun incident, the MP said: “We have handed over the biggest part of those wanted by the judiciary and we will hand over the rest. We have put the issue on its right judicial track and we will be positive towards anything demanded by the probe.” Abdullah, however, warned that his party “would have a stance” when it senses that “someone has started interfering in the investigation or in the work of the judiciary.”

Al-Rahi Says Lebanese Politicians ‘Experts in Creating Obstacles’
Naharnet/August 11/2019
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday said Lebanese politicians are “experts in creating and resolving obstacles,” referring to the latest deadlock over the deadly Qabrshmoun incident. “Lebanese politicians have proved anew that they are experts in creating obstacles and paralysis and in resolving the obstacles and resuming activity, after they subject the state and the people to hefty financial and economic losses,” al-Rahi said in his Sunday Mass sermon. Lamenting that “the Lebanese state is living a lethal political rift,” the patriarch said “divisions within the state started with the failure to abide by the 1990 Taef Accord.”The political parties reached a reconciliation Friday in Baabda after weeks of political deadlock in the wake of the Qabrshmoun incident. Cabinet sessions resumed following the reconciliation.

Berri’s 'Central Role' Led to Baabda Reconciliation
Naharnet/August 11/2019
Speaker Nabih Berri played a “central role” in the reconciliation that was reached in Baabda between Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat and Lebanese Democratic Party chief Talal Arslan, an informed ministerial source said.
“The endorsement of Berri’s proposal began with a phone call that (Prime Minister Saad) Hariri made with the President, in which he informed him that he would not convene Cabinet amid the escalation of fiery stances and tensions, warning that its meeting would lead to blowing up the political situation and perhaps its spiraling out of control,” the source told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in remarks Sunday. “Berri played a central role in producing results from the reconciliation meeting, topped by the end of the political clash between Jumblat and Aoun and consequently between the Free Patriotic Movement and Arslan, which opens the door for the beginning of a dialogue without tensions between these parties,” the source added. Noting that the reconciliation meeting witnessed “unprecedented harmony between Aoun, Berri and Hariri,” the source said “their agreement created a safety net at the political and security levels that pressed for the Jumblat-Arslan reconciliation.” The source also noted that the parties did not act because of the statement that was issued by the U.S. embassy but rather due to the “economic deterioration that reached its climax with the continued suspension of cabinet sessions” and to avert negative repercussions from a possible downgrade of Lebanon’s credit rating in the report that will be issued next week.

Raad: The enemy is preparing to wage a war on us and the resistance is ready to teach it a lesson!
NNA -Sun 11 Aug 2019 at 20:06 Politics
"Loyalty to Resistance" Parliamentary Bloc Head, MP Mohamad Raad, said Sunday that the resistance is totally ready to teach the Israeli enemy a lesson to remember in wake of any war it is preparing to wage against Lebanon. Speaking at a ceremony he patronized in honor of distinguished students organized by Hezbollah's Harouf branch earlier today, Raad commended "everything that bridges the rift on our internal arenas, and all that brings citizens together and boosts our internal cohesion."He highlighted the need to remain alert towards the existential strategic enemy that lurks before the nation, attempting to cause divisions, problems and sedition among the Lebanese, inciting one side against the other and pushing countries to support one team against another. "We must pay attention to the repercussions of the enemy's plans, and we will be at the level of confronting its schemes," he said.
"We do not joke with an enemy that threatens our existence, our role, and our position. As we make all concessions on the internal scene, we never lose sight of our enemy's moves and we will teach it an additional lesson that threatens its existence and persistence if it ever considers launching any aggression against our homeland," Raad emphasized. "The Resistance is no longer just a movement of people in a certain scope, but has grown to be a popular axis that extends with pride and dignity across our Arab and Islamic nation," he concluded.

Bou Saab from Ain Dara: Army sole guarantor of all Lebanese

NNA -Sun 11 Aug 2019
Minister of National Defense, Elias Bou Saab, stressed during the opening of Army Square in Ain Dara, that "the Lebanese Army will always remain the sole guarantor of all the Lebanese," adding that there is no prosperity or economy without security. After congratulating the Druze and the Muslims on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, he said that "the only salvation of Lebanon is to gather around the military institution, which safeguards the Constitution and freedom in the country." Bou Saab also noted that "the Head of State is the guarantor of the Constitution and is firmly committed to applying the law," stressing that the meeting held in Baabda after the Bsatin incident showed the President's commitment to justice.

The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 11-12/2019
Iranian FM Zarif travels to Doha to meet Qatari officials
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English/Sunday, 11 August 2019
Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif traveled to Doha on Sunday to meet with Qatari officials, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Earlier on Sunday, Fars News Agency posted in a tweet that Zarif met with the spokesman of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, Mohammed Abdul Salam, in Tehran.

Iranian foreign ministry: US expectation of call from Tehran is ‘vain’

Staff writer, Al Arabiya English/Sunday, 11 August 2019
US officials’ “expectation” of a call from Iranian officials is “vain,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Sunday, the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported. US officials have expected Iran to make contact for some time, but this expectation is vain because Iran will never engage in a negotiation that does not respect international laws and regulations, said Mousavi. US President Donald Trump had offered Iran direct talks last May, saying: “What they should be doing is calling me up, sitting down and we can make a deal, a fair deal … we just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons. It’s not too much to ask. And we would help put them back into great shape.”Iran has rejected offers to hold talks with the US on multiple occasions. Last June, in a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was carrying a message from Trump to Tehran, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said: “I don’t consider Trump as a person deserving to exchange messages with; I have no response for him and will not answer him.”“No sane man negotiates under pressure and with a gun pointed at him,” Mousavi said. US officials have shown “dishonesty” in their remarks, he said, adding: “They sanction the Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] and the chief of [Iran’s] diplomacy [Mohammad Javad Zarif], but also talk of negotiation.”

Syria regime gains ground in deadly Idlib push: Monitor
AFP, Beirut/Sunday, 11 August 2019
Syrian regime forces seized a town on the edge of Idlib province on Sunday, a monitor said, their first ground advance since resuming an offensive on the opposition-held enclave more than three months ago.
The region of northwestern Syria, which is home to an estimated three million civilians, has come under almost daily Syrian and Russian bombardment since late April. The most recent fighting focused on an area straddling Idlib and Hama provinces, a war monitor said, and claimed dozens of lives on both sides. “Regime forces seized the town of Al-Habeet, in Idlib’s southern countryside, at dawn,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, said. The regime’s latest gains were in the north of Hama province, which lies to the south of Idlib. The area has escaped the control of President Bashar al-Assad’s government since 2015 and is the last major bastion of opposition to his regime and its allies. The capture of Al-Habeet, one of several strategic targets for advancing pro-regime forces, came after another night of deadly fighting, the Observatory said. According to the Britain-based monitor’s tally, 70 combatants were killed on Saturday alone, 32 of them pro-government forces. The remaining 38 were from the opposing ranks of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the extremist outfit led by members of al-Qaeda’s former Syria franchise, and allied fighters. Rami Abdel Rahman said another 27 combatants, nine of them government fighters, were killed in early fighting on Sunday. He described Al-Habeet as “the first town in southern Idlib to be taken by the regime since the start of the escalation” in April. The town is seen as a stepping stone towards Khan Sheikhun, one of the main towns in Idlib and the target of some of the eight-year-old conflict’s deadliest air strikes. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in recent weeks and aid groups have warned that an all-out assault on Idlib could turn the current humanitarian emergency into a catastrophe of proportions previously unseen. The fighting is a violation of a deal which was reached by the battle’s two main foreign brokers - Russia and Turkey - but was never implemented. Russia is Damascus’ main backer while Turkey holds sway over some opposition forces along its border. The deal’s terms were never realistic but the agreement sealed in the Russian resort of Sochi in September 2018 staved off a fully-fledged offensive that risks triggering the Syrian civil war’s bloodiest phase yet.

Norway Mosque Shooting 'Attempted Act of Terror'

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 11/2019
The shooting at a mosque near Oslo is being treated as an "attempted act of terror", Norwegian police said Sunday, with the suspect appearing to harbor far-right, anti-immigrant views. "We are looking at an attempted act of terror," acting chief of the police operation Rune Skjold told a press conference after Saturday's incident left one man injured. Skjold said the investigation had shown that the man appeared to hold "far-right" and "anti-immigrant" views. The suspect, armed with multiple weapons, opened fire in the mosque in Baerum, a suburb of Oslo, on Saturday afternoon, before being overpowered by a man who suffered "minor injuries" in the process. Norway was the scene of one of the worst-ever attacks by a right-wing extremist in July 2011, when 77 people were killed by Anders Behring Breivik. Hours after the attack on Saturday, the body of a young woman related to the suspect was found in a home also in Baerum. Investigators are treating her death as suspicious and have opened a murder probe. Police said earlier Sunday they had tried to question the suspect, described as a "young man" with a "Norwegian background" who was living in the vicinity but he did not want to "give an explanation to police."The man had been known to police before the incident but according to Skjold he could not be described as someone with a "criminal background."On Saturday, Norwegian media reported that the suspect was believed to have put up a post to an online forum hours before the attack where he seemingly praised the assailant in the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March, when 51 people where killed. The suspect in the Christchurch killings wrote a hate-filled manifesto in which he said he was influenced by far-right ideologues including Breivik. Breivik detonated a massive bomb in Oslo that killed eight people and then opened fire on a gathering of the Labor Party's youth wing on the island of Utoya, killing another 69 people, most of them teenagers. Local Norwegian paper Budstikka said it had contacted the mosque in Baerum in March after the Christchurch massacre and that officials there had said security would be tightened.

Israel Police, Palestinians Clash at al-Aqsa Mosque Compound

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 11/2019
Israeli police and Palestinian worshipers clashed at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site on Sunday as overlapping Jewish and Muslim holidays led to tensions there, an AFP journalist reported. Police fired sound grenades as Palestinian protests intensified at the highly sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported injuries without specifying a number. Sunday marked the start of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday and thousands of Palestinians prayed at the Al-Aqsa mosque. It coincided with the Jewish Tisha B'av holiday, which typically sees an increase in Jewish visits to the holy site. In a bid to ease tensions, police barred Jewish visits to the site on Sunday but Muslim worshipers still feared they would be allowed in and protested there. The clashes with police broke out afterward. The compound, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is one of the most sensitive sites in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews, who revere it as the location of the two biblical-era temples. It is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community. Jews are allowed to visit but not pray there to avoid provoking tensions.

Israeli troops kill militant on Gaza border: Medic, Military
Reuters/Sunday, 11 August 2019
Israeli soldiers fired at a Palestinian militant on the Gaza border on Sunday, the military said, as a Palestinian medic reports the man was killed. It was the second such incident since Saturday, when Israeli troops shot dead four heavily armed Palestinians who attempted to cross the volatile border. “IDF (Israel Defense Forces) troops spotted an armed terrorist approaching the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The terrorist opened fire towards the troops,” the military said in a statement. The soldiers returned fire and an Israeli tank fired at a post belonging to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza.
A Palestinian medic told Reuters the man was killed. The IDF said no Israelis were hurt in the incident. There was no immediate comment from Palestinian officials or from any of Gaza’s militant groups. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars over the past decade and tensions along the border are high with frequent fatalities.Israel pulled its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005 but keeps the enclave under a blockade, citing security concerns.

Dozens of Palestinians injured after Israeli forces storm al-Aqsa Mosque
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English/Sunday, 11 August 2019
Dozens of Palestinians were injured in al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday when clashes erupted between worshippers and Israeli forces. It was not immediately clear what sparked the violence at the site, which Muslims refer to as the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Jews refer to as the Temple Mount. Thousands of Muslims had flocked to the site early Sunday for Eid al-Adha prayers. It is the holiest site for Jews and the third holiest for Muslims. It has long been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli police barred entry to the compound to Jewish visitors on Sunday before clashes erupted.
(With Agencies)

Saudi-Led Coalition Launches Strike after Aden 'Coup'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 11/2019
A Saudi-led coalition launched Sunday a strike against southern separatists in Yemen after they seized the presidential palace in second city Aden in deadly fighting that threatened to deepen the country's humanitarian crisis. The seizure, decried by the Riyadh-backed Yemeni government as a UAE-supported coup, reflects deep divisions between secessionists and loyalist forces, both of whom have fought Shiite Huthi rebels. "The coalition targeted an area that poses a direct threat to one of the important sites of the legitimate government," a coalition statement said, calling on the separatist Southern Transitional Council to withdraw from positions seized in Aden or face further attacks. It did not specify the target but residents in Aden told AFP it was an air strike against separatist camps in the city. Riyadh-based Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi is backed by the coalition -- led by Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates -- that is battling the Iran-aligned Huthis. But another force in the anti-Huthi coalition -- the UAE-trained Security Belt Force -- has since Wednesday been battling loyalists in Aden, the temporary base of Hadi's government. The Security Belt Force is dominated by fighters who back the Southern Transitional Council (STC), which seeks to restore south Yemen as an independent state as it was from 1967-1990. The International Crisis Group think tank warned that the Aden clashes "threaten to tip southern Yemen into a civil war within a civil war." "Such a conflict would deepen what is already the world's worst humanitarian crisis," it said. The coalition called for an "immediate ceasefire" and the Saudi foreign ministry has demanded an "urgent meeting" between the warring parties. Both the Yemeni government and separatists said early Sunday they backed Riyadh's call for dialogue and a suspension of fighting.But in a sermon to mark the start of the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival, STC vice president Hani bin Breik said his group will not "negotiate under threat."
Government decries 'coup'
Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman also called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities and withdrawal from all forcefully occupied locations in Aden". A Security Belt official told AFP Saturday the force had seized the presidential palace -- largely symbolic, due to Hadi's absence -- without a fight. "Two hundred soldiers from the Presidential Guard were given safe passage out of the palace," the official said. A witness confirmed the complex had been handed over. Yemen's government earlier blamed the STC and the UAE for staging a "coup" against it. The foreign ministry demanded "the UAE halt its material support and withdraw its military support, immediately and fully, from the groups that have rebelled against the state."The STC's spokesman said the council was working to restore the water network, damaged in the fighting. Ties between the Security Belt and Hadi loyalists have been strained for years, and this week was not the first time they have engaged in armed clashes. They fought a three-day battle in January 2018 that killed 38 people and wounded 222 others after the government prevented a rally by separatists. The Security Belt has accused Hadi's backers of allowing Islamists into their ranks and of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to back the government against the Huthis, who are supported by Riyadh's regional rival Iran. The Huthis had overrun large parts of northern and western Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, which they still control. UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said Abu Dhabi was "exerting all efforts to de-escalate the situation," Emirati state media reported.The two camps should focus their efforts on fighting the Huthis instead of each other, he said.
'Attacks on civilians'
The latest violence flared on Wednesday during the funeral of a senior Security Belt commander killed earlier this month in a drone and missile attack on a training camp west of Aden. The commander was among 36 people killed -- many of them newly graduated cadets -- in the aerial attack, claimed by the Huthis.The U.N. human rights office later accused the Security Belt force of "reportedly carrying out and enabling retaliatory attacks against civilians" from northern Yemen. The death toll is unclear, with initial reports saying 18 people, including civilians, had been killed on Thursday and Friday. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) tweeted that it had treated more than 100 people in one of its hospitals in Aden. Since 2015, fighting between the Huthis and Yemeni loyalists backed by the Saudi-led coalition has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, aid agencies say.

The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 11-12/2019
Germany's Pro-Iran, Anti-Israel Foreign Policy
سورين كارن/كايتستون: سياسات ألمانيا المؤيدة لإيران والمعادية لإسرائيل وكشف لواقع الوجود القوي لحزب الله في ألمانيا
Soeren Kern/Gatestone Institute/August 11/2019
http://eliasbejjaninews.com/archives/77450/%d8%b3%d9%88%d8%b1%d9%8a%d9%86-%d9%83%d8%a7%d8%b1%d9%86-%d9%83%d8%a7%d9%8a%d8%aa%d8%b3%d8%aa%d9%88%d9%86-%d8%b3%d9%8a%d8%a7%d8%b3%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d8%a3%d9%84%d9%85%d8%a7%d9%86%d9%8a%d8%a7-%d8%a7%d9%84/
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14699/germany-iran-israel

Germany has, in fact, been decidedly hostile to Israel in recent years... Germany continues to provide millions of euros annually to organizations that promote anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and "lawfare" campaigns, anti-Zionism, antisemitism, and violence, according to NGO Monitor.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in 2008 that Israel's security is "non-negotiable" and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in 2018 that he went into politics "because of Auschwitz." In practice, however, Germany consistently appears to prioritize its relations with Israel's enemies.
Instex, an initiative of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, would enable European trade with Iran despite U.S. sanctions. It would facilitate barter-based trade with Iran in products such as pharmaceuticals and foods, but Tehran has repeatedly insisted that Instex must include trade in oil for the mechanism to make economic sense.
Seven months after its formation, Instex remains non-operational, in part because Iran still does not comply with international legal standards to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
Germany has been decidedly hostile to Israel in recent years. In May 2016, Germany approved an especially disgraceful UN resolution that singled out Israel at the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the world's only violator of "mental, physical and environmental health." German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has cozied up to the Iranian regime and other enemies of Israel. Pictured: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with Steinmeier (Germany's foreign minister at the time) in Tehran, on February 3, 2016. (Image source: Tasnim/Wikimedia Commons)
A senior German diplomat appointed to head an EU barter system that would enable European companies to sidestep U.S. sanctions on Iran stepped down after giving an interview in which he criticized the existence of Israel and praised Tehran's ballistic missile program.
The episode — the latest of a series of occurrences that have laid bare the anti-Israel foundation of Germany's foreign policy — is an embarrassing setback for the German government and will complicate its efforts to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.
Bernd Erbel, a 71-year-old former German ambassador to Iraq and Iran, said that he would not assume leadership of Instex, a payment mechanism to facilitate European business with Iran, after the newspaper Bild, on August 8, published the contents of an extensive interview Erbel gave to Ken Jebsen, a German-Iranian radio host who has been described as a "conspiracy theorist" and an "anti-Semite."
In the 2.5-hour interview, Erbel said that Israel was founded "at the expense of another people" and claimed that "the Palestinians are the victims of our victims." He added that "had the Jewish state been founded in Prussia, then the Palestinian problem would not have existed."
Erbel claimed that the Jewish state is "more than ever a foreign body in the region" and that for "psychological" reasons Israel is incapable of empathy.
In the interview, Erbel defended Iran and said that "the last time Iranian troops crossed the border to another country for purposes of aggression" was in the 18th century, when Iran invaded India. Bild noted:
"That Iranian troops have been at war in Iraq since 2003, and since 2011 in Syria, supporting the Houthi militia in Yemen and Gaza, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Harakat al-Sabireen, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards together with Hezbollah in southern Syria with rockets targeted at Israel — all these offensive military actions by Iranian troops abroad are kept secret by Erbel."
Erbel praised the successes of the Iran-backed Hezbollah in the 2006 Lebanon War: "There was an incredible amount of enthusiasm in several Arab countries that for the first time Israel was really being challenged. That was something very, very unusual, but it was hugely important, psychologically, to see, there are forces that successfully oppose Israel. This was something that, for example, was very much celebrated in the most bourgeois circles in Egypt. So that was a novelty."
Erbel also defended Iran's ballistic missile program: "By 2015, there was a UNSC resolution banning Iran from testing ballistic missiles. After the nuclear agreement, this resolution was changed and only requests that Iran avoid such tests if the rockets can be equipped with nuclear warheads. The request can be obeyed or not obeyed, it depends on the framework conditions, and the conditions for Iran have considerably deteriorated since the conclusion of the nuclear agreement."
After the Bild report, a spokesperson for the German foreign ministry said that Erbel would not be assuming leadership of Instex for "personal reasons." The spokesperson added that the foreign ministry had "no knowledge" of Erbel's interviews and that his views were personal and do not represent the government's position.
Germany has, in fact, been decidedly hostile to Israel in recent years. In 2018, for instance, of 21 anti-Israel UN resolutions, Germany approved 16 and abstained on four others. In May 2016, Germany approved an especially disgraceful UN resolution, co-sponsored by the Arab group of states and the Palestinian delegation, that singled out Israel at the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the world's only violator of "mental, physical and environmental health."
Indeed, much of Germany's political establishment appears to be fundamentally anti-Israel. In March 2019, for instance, Germany's Bundestag overwhelmingly rejected a resolution by the Free Democratic Party (FDP) to urge Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to reverse its anti-Israel voting record at the United Nations. By a vote of 408 to 155 with 65 abstentions, the Bundestag rejected the FPD's call for the government to "clearly distance itself from unilateral, primarily politically motivated initiatives and alliances of anti-Israeli UN member states and to protect Israel and Israel's legitimate interests from unilateral condemnation."
In June 2019, the Bundestag rejected a non-binding resolution to outlaw the Iranian proxy Hezbollah. The bill, sponsored by the conservative party Alternative for Germany (AfD), was rejected by all of Germany's mainstream parties. The author of the resolution, AfD MP Beatrix von Storch, said:
"Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. The Berlin government claims you must distinguish between a legitimate, political wing of Hezbollah and a terrorist wing. This does not make sense to us, or the voters,
"Hezbollah's goal is the destruction of Israel and the Jews, and we should not be offering a safe haven for them to hide in Germany and finance their armed struggle in Lebanon against Israel from our territory."
Hezbollah's "military" wing was outlawed in Germany in 2013, but its "political" wing is allowed to raise funds in the country. Some countries, including Israel, Britain, the United States and several Sunni Arab states, see no distinction between the military and civilian wings of Hezbollah and have accused the group of destabilizing the Middle East.
Hezbollah is believed to have more than 1,000 operatives in Germany, according to Germany's BfV domestic intelligence agency. Nevertheless, Germany will not declare the Hezbollah movement a terrorist organization because, according to Foreign Ministry official Niels Annen, "we focus on dialogue."
In February 2019, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier congratulated, "also in the name of my compatriots," the Iranian regime on the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that seeks Israel's destruction. The move, defended by much of the German establishment as "diplomatic custom," provoked outrage among some members of the German public.
Using the hashtag, "Not in my name," Islamism researcher Ahmad Mansour tweeted:
"Did not the same Steinmeier refuse to congratulate Trump? Why is he setting different standards for Iran? Iran is the world champion of exporting anti-Semitism, is actively involved in the killings of Jews, thousands in Syria, homosexuals in their own country."
Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, noted:
"Regarding the German president's congratulatory telegram on the anniversary of the Iranian revolution, routine diplomacy seems to have supplanted critical thinking.... If there was a need to congratulate on this anniversary, the president could at least have found clear words of criticism of the regime."
Steinmeier has cozied-up to Israel's enemies before. In January 2006, as German foreign minister, he encouraged a Hamas-led government in Gaza. In July 2008, he presided over a conference in Berlin that called for the destruction of Israel.
In December 2016, Steinmeier endorsed a UN Resolution calling on Israel to "immediately and completely" stop all settlement activities "in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem." The resolution stated that the UN would accept "no changes" to the ceasefire lines of June 4, 1967, "inclusive of Jerusalem."
In May 2017, during Steinmeier's first visit to the Jewish state as German president, he publicly rebuked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and later laid a ceremonial wreath on the grave of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Israel's arch-enemy.
In September 2018, after months of effort, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell succeeded in pressuring Germany to prevent Iran from withdrawing 300 million euros ($340 million) in cash from bank accounts in Germany to offset the effect of U.S. sanctions. "Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism" Grenell said. "We must be vigilant."
Meanwhile, Germany continues to provide millions of euros annually to organizations that promote anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and "lawfare" campaigns, anti-Zionism, antisemitism, and violence, according to NGO Monitor.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in 2008 that Israel's security is "non-negotiable" and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in 2018 that he went into politics "because of Auschwitz." In practice, however, Germany consistently appears to prioritize its relations with Israel's enemies.
Instex (Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges) was established on January 31, 2019 by Germany, France and the United Kingdom to salvage the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal, after the United States pulled out of the agreement and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. U.S. President Donald J. Trump, criticizing the nuclear deal, pointed out that "within a very short number of years, they would be able to make nuclear weapons."
Instex, an initiative of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, would enable European trade with Iran despite U.S. sanctions. It would facilitate barter-based trade with Iran in products such as pharmaceuticals and foods, but Tehran has repeatedly insisted that Instex must include trade in oil for the mechanism to make economic sense.
Seven months after its formation, Instex remains non-operational, in part because Iran still does not comply with international legal standards to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
*Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.
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Yemeni Separatists Oust Government in Key City, Complicating Peace Efforts
Ben Hubbard and Saeed Al-Batati/the New York/Aug. 11/2019
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Yemeni separatists took over most of the southern city of Aden on Saturday, a major blow to the country’s internationally recognized government and to efforts by Saudi Arabia to put it back in control of all of Yemen.
The takeover followed four days of intense fighting that terrified residents, killed dozens of people and split one of the main coalitions fighting Yemen’s civil war.
The loss of Aden means that Yemen’s government no longer has a foothold in two of the country’s most important cities, even though it is internationally recognized. That could severely complicate international efforts to broker a peace agreement and restore the government, prolonging a multisided conflict that has set off the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The violence broke out earlier this week between secessionist fighters and forces loyal to the Yemeni president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is based in Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, the secessionists seized Aden’s military bases and the presidential palace after allowing the soldiers posted there to surrender, said Nizar Haytham, a spokesman for the secessionists, known as the Southern Transitional Council.
The Yemeni Foreign Ministry blasted the takeover as “a coup against the organizations of the legitimate state,” in a statement posted on Twitter.
Yemen’s conflict began in 2014 when rebels known as the Houthis took over the country’s northwest, including the capital, Sana. The government fled south to Aden, and a coalition of various other forces came together to fight the rebels.
In spring 2015, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries launched a bombing campaign aimed at helping the anti-Houthi forces and restoring Mr. Hadi’s government. But the war soon settled into a stalemate. The forces fighting for Mr. Hadi failed to gain much ground, and Mr. Hadi and his ministers spent most of their time in Saudi Arabia, shielded from the conflict at home.
The fighting in Aden pitted two forces that were supposed to be on the same side — separatists and Hadi loyalists, both of whom are anti-Houthi — against each other. Making matters worse, the Saudis supported Mr. Hadi’s forces while the Emirates supported the secessionists, making the fight an accidental proxy battle between two powerful Gulf allies.
The shattering of the Yemeni government coalition will complicate international peacemaking efforts, all of which have sought to find a deal that would restore Mr. Hadi’s government in Sana. But the more his forces lose ground, the more remote that prospect becomes.
Coalition forces called for an immediate cease-fire on Saturday and a representative threatened to use military force against anyone who would violate it, according to the Saudi state news agency, SPA.
In a statement on Saturday, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said it had been following events in Aden “with great concern” and called for the Yemeni government and other parties involved in the fighting there to meet in Saudi Arabia for talks.
The Houthis, who long ago said they did not recognize Mr. Hadi’s government, appeared to be gloating that another Yemeni armed force had given up on Mr. Hadi.
“Now the government of the hotels and illegitimacy chased from the land has ended. What next?” a Houthi official, Hussein Ezzi, said on Twitter. “Is there any thread of shame left for the deluded ones and the dreamers?”
*Al-Batati reported from Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Iran hopes a US election will solve its ‘Trump problem’
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Arab News/August 11/2019
One of the characteristics of democracies in the West is that every government or administration generally comes to office for a few years, and is then replaced by another with new plans and policies. One of the strategic advantages Iran has over the West is that, without such democratic accountability, the theocratic establishment can plan decades ahead.
It is true that presidents in Iran change every four or eight years, but they do not make final decisions. Presidents and foreign ministers work for the Supreme Leader, the ultimate political and religious authority, who rules until his death and enjoys the final say in domestic and foreign policies. This continuity has given Iran a platform for a multifaceted strategy in an attempt to wait out the Trump administration. When Donald Trump became US president, Iranian leaders knew they would have several difficult years ahead; Trump had made his intention of confronting the Iranian regime crystal clear. At the same time, because Trump did not win the popular vote, Iran’s leaders guessed that they would have to survive only four years of his administration.
Pitting Europe against the US paid off for Iran as the EU fell into its divide-and-conquer political trap. The EU also worked hard on avenues that can preserve the nuclear deal, and continues to do so.
Trump began by withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 deal with world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for an end to sanctions. When the US re-imposed those sanctions, Iran did not immediately respond by also pulling out of the nuclear deal, for three main reasons. First, a swift withdrawal could have tilted the European Union toward the US position and intensified the pressure on Tehran. Instead, Iran played the victim by saying it would stick to the agreement in spite of the US having pulled out. Since the US was to blame, the international community should reimburse Iran’s financial losses, it argued.
Pitting Europe against the US paid off for Iran as the EU fell into its divide-and-conquer political trap. The EU also worked hard on avenues that can preserve the nuclear deal, and continues to do so. To circumvent US sanctions that bar access to the dollar, Germany, France and the UK set up a new mechanism called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). Second, by not swiftly and openly withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Tehran was also attempting to prevent the crisis from spiraling into military confrontation with the US. From Iran’s perspective, some of Trump’s officials — such as national security adviser John Bolton — would not hesitate to confront Iran militarily; and such a war would be the end of the clerical regime, because Iran’s military capabilities are much inferior to those of the US.
Third, by claiming that Iran is still adhering to the terms of the nuclear deal, Tehran is encouraging the next Democrat president to rejoin the JCPOA and lift all the sanctions imposed by Trump. That is why, despite openly breaching the JCPOA’s limits on enriched uranium, Iran argues that these are remedial measures in response to US actions, and are both permissible and reversible.
In tandem with this strategy, the regime also deployed more hard power in the Gulf while simultaneously warning that to confront them would be a catastrophe for the world. According to President Hassan Rouhani: “Peace with Iran is the mother of peace. War with Iran is the mother of all war.” Their belief that the EU is on Iran’s side and that the US is alone has emboldened Iran’s leaders to implement such aggressive polices. US presidential elections take place next year, and Iran’s leaders believe their wait will soon be over. We shall see.
*Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. He is a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy, a businessman and president of the International American Council. He serves on the boards of the Harvard International Review, the Harvard International Relations Council and the US-Middle East Chamber for Commerce and Business. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh

How water can oil the wheels in dealing with Iran

Dr. Dania Koleilat Khatib/Arab News/August 11/2019
Everyone agrees that choosing a military option to deal with Iran would be like opening Pandora’s box, with disruption of shipping lanes and the effect on oil supply and prices, as well as on Gulf countries’ economies. However, there is an important factor that few talk about: The water supply to the Gulf. Iran and Arab Gulf countries are tied together by an intriguing geography. The Gulf is almost a closed pond, opened only at the narrow Strait of Hurmuz. That means any contamination would reach waters that all the Gulf countries share.
The Arabian Gulf is not only a strategic waterway, it is also an important source for desalinating water, which is crucial for Arab Gulf countries; Kuwait, for example, obtains 95 percent of its drinking water from desalination plants. The Gulf has the largest number of desalination plants in the world, with a capacity of 11 million cubic meters a day, half of the world’s desalinated water. Demand is expected to increase by 50 percent by 2050.
Saudi Arabia, which obtains only half of its fresh water from desalination, has plans to increase production and thus reduce dependency on ground water, which constitutes 98 percent of natural fresh water in the Kingdom. It aims to reduce the amount of water extracted from natural aquifers for agriculture. Because of the rarity of rain, ground water renews at a slow rate. Water is also a crucial element in the Kingdom’s planned economic growth, so there is a growing need for desalinated water. Research by King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah estimates that the demand for desalinated water has been increasing by 14 percent a year, and Gulf sea water supplies a large portion of it.
A serious leak from a tanker would contaminate the water that cities on the Gulf coast use for desalination. Such a leak could come from crossfire in a military conflict. Iran could also use contamination as a weapon against the Gulf states; asymmetric warfare is not exactly unknown to Tehran. It is difficult to predict such a catastrophe and what its extent would be, but at least the issue of water in the Gulf is a known unknown. The worst part of an armed conflict is the unknown unknowns —disasters that no one can predict.
Arab countries are well aware of the repercussions of a military clash with Iran, which is why they don’t seem to favor a military option; tensions in the Gulf can be addressed only politically, and a solution found only through dialogue and negotiation, Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said in June.
Hence the decision to keep some channels open with the Iranians. The UAE dispatched a delegation to Tehran last month to discuss maritime issues such as illegal entry and smuggling, fishing and shared borders. The meeting could hardly be described as a diplomatic overture, given the many thorny issues the UAE and other Gulf countries have with their Persian neighbor. Nonetheless, that the meeting took place at all represents a communication channel with Iran, albeit a narrow one. In essence, these types of talks on a tactical issue can be extended to encompass other pertinent issues and can identify common ground to build on down the road. Given the importance of water supply and the geography that binds Gulf countries with Iran, water could be another subject, like the maritime issue, to discuss with the Islamic republic.
Arab countries are well aware of the repercussions of a military clash with Iran, which is why they don’t seem to favor a military option; tensions in the Gulf can be addressed only politically.
US policy is to choke Iran into submission, but it will not capitulate unconditionally. The Iranians can handle suffering as long as they can also inflict it on their enemy. Forty years of sanctions have given them a high tolerance for hardship; only when they reach an equilibrium between their suffering and their enemy’s suffering will they countenance negotiations.
Punitive sanctions drove them to the negotiating table with the Obama administration, but they endured those sanctions until their nuclear program was sufficiently developed to create the leverage required to extract a good deal from the US. It will probably follow the same strategy with the Trump administration. Unless the US opts for military action, at some point the Trump administration will have to negotiate. Similarly, unless the Iranians decide to provoke a confrontation with the US, they will also at some point have to negotiate. Issues such as water supply and maritime security, among others, if discussed one at a time, can facilitate negotiations for a new deal when the time is ripe.
More importantly, by keeping these discussions active, Gulf states will secure a seat at the negotiating table when the US and Iran finally start talking to each other.
• Dr. Dania Koleilat Khatib is a specialist in US-Arab relations with a focus on lobbying. She holds a PhD in politics from the University of Exeter and is an affiliated scholar with the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.

Moscow and Ankara at odds over Syrian crisis

Yasar Yakis/Arab News/August 11/2019
Support for Syria’s independence, unity and territorial integrity underpinned the 13th round of negotiations last week in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, now renamed Nur-Sultan. The iteration of this obvious but also relevant principle will become all the more important as the Syrian crisis moves toward resolution.
A communique after the meeting expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved in the finalization of the composition and the rules and procedures of the committee that will be set up to draft a constitution for Syria.
The constitutional committee will be composed of 150 members, 50 each from the government, opposition and civil society. People familiar with the process believe the list could be finalized soon. Each of these groups of 50 will elect a smaller group of 15 representatives to represent them in the 45-member committee to draft the constitution, which will be submitted for the approval of the full 150-member committee. None of this would have been possible without the painstaking efforts of the three guarantor powers of the Astana process — Turkey, Russia and Iran. After the 150-member constitutional committee approves the draft constitution, the Geneva process, under UN auspices, will organize a constitutional referendum and transparent elections to be closely monitored by international observers.
The second important issue at the Astana meeting was northeastern Syria, an important region for Turkey because of Kurdish autonomist activities. The final communique said sustainable security and stability could be achieved in northeastern Syria“only on the basis of respect for the sovereignty and territorial unity of Syria and respect for the national security of the neighboring countries; and rejected all separatist attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of counterterrorism.”
Moscow not only refrains from opposing the Syrian government’s shelling, but also supports them either by providing air cover or by participating in the bombing with its own fighter aircraft
This wording sends a strong message to the Kurds and to the US, which supports the Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) with arms, ammunition, equipment and training. After having persuaded the other guarantors of the Astana process, Turkey is now eagerly engaged in setting up a safe zone along its Syrian border, together with the US.
The third important issue was Idlib. This is probably the toughest issue, especially between Turkey and Russia. The final communique said the guarantors highlighted joint efforts to prevent cease-fire violations in Idlib, underlining that the fight will continue against Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, Daesh and Al-Nusra Front. “The parties expressed grief over civilian casualties and decided to take concrete measures to protect military personnel of the guarantor countries as well as the civilian population,” it said.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry, in a press release issued on the occasion of the Astana meeting, referred to this subject in the following words: “Turkey has expressed grave concern over the regime’s deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure under the pretext of combating terrorism and has stressed its expectation that these attacks must cease immediately.”
Turkey complains to Russia about the Assad regime shelling various targets in Idlib. Russia duly takes note of these complaints, but it is unclear whether it takes any action on them. Russia’s approach to this shelling is far from being similar to that of Turkey. Moscow not only refrains from opposing the Syrian government’s shelling, but also supports them either by providing air cover or by participating in the bombing with its own fighter aircraft.
Russian president Vladimir Putin’s Special Syria Coordinator Alexander Lavrentiev said that almost 90 percent of Idlib was under the control of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and not moderate opposition, and that HTS was not likely to stop attacking the government forces. “We cannot allow a terrorist organisation to turn Idlib into a calm place where it holds three million people hostage,” he said.
Another Russian military officer, Maj. Gen. Alexei Bakin, head of the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, went one step farther and explained the Russian position in clearer words: “We expect the Turkish side to fully implement the Sochi agreements within 24 hours in response to the Syrian initiative, providing the withdrawal of militants and weapons from the demilitarized zone and the cessation of attacks.” The Syrian government resumed military operations two days after this statement.
Both of these statements coincided with the Astana meeting, and barely conceal the difference between Moscow’s and Ankara’s approach to the problem. Whether Turkey and Russia will be able to find a middle ground is not yet clear. If they cannot, the Astana process risks becoming a lame duck.
*Yasar Yakis is a former foreign minister of Turkey and founding member of the ruling AK Party. Twitter: @yakis_yasar