August 12/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 12/10-12/:"And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.’"

That night the Lord stood near him and said, ‘Keep up your courage! For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome

Acts of the Apostles 22,30.23,01-11/:"Since he wanted to find out what Paul was being accused of by the Jews, the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and the entire council to meet. He brought Paul down and had him stand before them. While Paul was looking intently at the council he said, ‘Brothers, up to this day I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God.’Then the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near him to strike him on the mouth. At this Paul said to him, ‘God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting there to judge me according to the law, and yet in violation of the law you order me to be struck?’Those standing nearby said, ‘Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?’And Paul said, ‘I did not realize, brothers, that he was high priest; for it is written, "You shall not speak evil of a leader of your people." ’When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.’When he said this, a dissension began between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge all three.)Then a great clamour arose, and certain scribes of the Pharisees’ group stood up and contended, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?’When the dissension became violent, the tribune, fearing that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered the soldiers to go down, take him by force, and bring him into the barracks. That night the Lord stood near him and said, ‘Keep up your courage! For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome."

Question: "Is it wrong to have pictures of Jesus?"
Answer: When God first gave His Law to mankind, He began with a statement of who He is: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt” (Exodus 20:2) with a warning that Israel was to have no other God but Him. He immediately followed that by forbidding the making of any image of anything “in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exodus 20:4) for the purpose of worshiping or bowing down to it. The fascinating thing about the history of the Jewish people is that they disobeyed this commandment more than any other. Again and again, they made idols to represent gods and worshiped them; beginning with the creation of the golden calf during the very time God was writing out the Ten Commandments for Moses (Exodus 32)! Idol worship not only drew the Israelites away from the true and living God, it led to all manner of other sins including temple prostitution, orgies, and even the sacrifice of children.
Of course, simply having a picture of Jesus hanging in a home or church does not mean people are practicing idolatry. It is possible that a portrait of Jesus or a crucifix can become an object of worship, in which case the worshiper is at fault. But there is nothing in the New Testament that would specifically forbid a Christian from having a picture of Jesus. Such an image could well be a reminder to pray, to refocus on the Lord, or to follow in Christ’s footsteps. But believers should know that the Lord cannot be reduced to a two-dimensional image and that prayer or adoration is not to be offered to a picture. A picture will never be a complete image of God or accurately display His glory, and should never be a substitute for how we view God or deepen our knowledge of Him. And, of course, even the most beautiful representation of Jesus Christ is nothing more than one artist’s conception of what the Lord looked like.
As it is, we don’t know what Jesus looked like. If the details of His physical appearance were important for us to know, Matthew, Peter, and John would certainly have given us an accurate description, as would Jesus’ own brothers, James and Jude. Yet these New Testament writers offer no details about Jesus’ physical attributes. We are left to our imaginations.
We certainly don’t need a picture to display the nature of our Lord and Savior. We have only to look at His creation, as we are reminded in Psalm 19:1–2: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” In addition, our very existence as the redeemed of the Lord, sanctified and made righteous by His blood shed on the cross, should have Him always before us.
The Bible, the very Word of God, is also filled with non-physical descriptions of Christ that capture our imaginations and thrill our souls. He is the light of the world (John 1:5); the bread of life (John 6:32–33); the living water that quenches the thirst of our souls (John 4:14); the high priest who intercedes for us with the Father (Hebrews 2:17); the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11, 14); the spotless Lamb of God (Revelation 13:8); the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2); the way, the truth, the life (John 14:6); and the very image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). Such a Savior is more beautiful to us than any piece of paper hanging on the wall.
In her book Gold Cord, missionary Amy Carmichael tells of Preena, a young Indian girl who became a Christian and lived in Miss Carmichael’s orphanage. Preena had never seen a picture of Jesus; instead, Miss Carmichael prayed for the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to each of the girls, “for who but the Divine can show the Divine?” One day, Preena was sent a package from abroad. She opened it eagerly and pulled out a picture of Jesus. Preena innocently asked who it was, and when she was told that it was Jesus, she burst into tears. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Why are you crying?” Little Preena’s reply says it all: “I thought He was far more beautiful than that” (page 151).

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 11-12/17
Just imagine if the Lebanese Forces had maintained its opposition Role/Roger Bejjani/Face Book/August 11/17
The Bachir Lebanese Forces that we knew does not exist any more/Elias Bejjani/August 11/17
Hezbollah Steers Lebanon Closer to Syria, Straining Efforts to Stay Neutral/Reuters/August 11/17
Walid Phares' Ideas Land in the White House Narrative/Rebecca Ynum/Family Security Matters/August 10/17
Economists Are Cheating Their Profession/Mark Buchanan/Bloomberg/August 11/17
While Trump Tweets, the ‘Cold Monster’ Returns/Amir Taheri/Asharq Al Awsat/August 11/17
UK: Still Welcoming Jihadis/Douglas Murray/Gatestone Institute/August 11/17
Trump and North Korea: What could come next/Ellen Mitchell /Hill/August 11/17
Time to end the Iranian horror show once and for all/Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi/Al Arabiya/August 11/17
Qatar’s supremacy...Fortune does not equate with respect/Salman al-Dosary/Al Arabiya/August 11/17
Qatar and the western media/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/August 11/17
Why did the Red Sea Project provoke this academic/Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran/Al Arabiya/August 11/17

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published on August 11-12/17
Just imagine if the Lebanese Forces had maintained its opposition Role
The Bachir Lebanese Forces that we knew does not exist any more
Salary scale saga lingers, Aoun signature still missing
Aoun Hopes Dialogue at Baabda Would 'Consider Interests of All'
Report: Dialogue Meeting over Wage Scale 'Helps President' Take Right Decision
UK Affirms Support for Lebanon's Military Institution
U.S. Government Supports New Digital Platform for Lebanon to Engage the Diaspora
Ibrahim-Beary Discuss Situation on Southern Border
Jumblat Advises Baabda Interlocutors to Stop 'Superfluous' Spending
Bassil contacts his Kuwaiti counterpart over recently raised matters
ISF thwart terror Daesh attack on Tripoli's Mansouri Mosque
Army apprehends 8 suspects for links to Daesh
Army discovers aerostat in Zghorta's Miziara outskirts
Merkel rejects use of force in N. Korea and verbal ‘escalation’
Army Commander, interlocutors tackle overall situation
Hezbollah Steers Lebanon Closer to Syria, Straining Efforts to Stay
Lebanon to Resolve Syrian Rebel Group Withdrawal ahead of ISIS Border Battle
Lebanese Ministers’ Visit to Damascus Deepens Disputes inside Government

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 11-12/17
Mossad spies in close quarter to Supreme Leader : Iranian press
US-backed Syrian fighters pressure ISIS militants in Raqqa
Russia's Lavrov says risks are high of U.S.North Korea conflict
China earthquake death toll rises to 23
Two Arab Israeli Brothers Charged with IS Contacts
N. Korea War Would be 'Catastrophic,' Diplomacy Bearing Fruit, Says Mattis
Bomb blast kills three, wounds 26 in northwestern Pakistan: Officials
Soldiers conduct ‘unauthorised search’ of UN camp in Maiduguri
Sudan invited to US-Egyptian military exercises
Egypt shootout kills 3 'militants behind anti-copt attacks'
Dozens killed and injured in train crash in Egypt’s Alexandria
Call to UN for Iran political prisoners
Kuwait announces measures against North Korea
Payout for Muslim woman whose hijab was removed by US police
6.2 earthquake hit Philippine island of Luzon, felt in Manila
Egyptian, US Efforts Pour into Resolving Libya’s Political Crisis
Iraqi Militant Dragged into Iranian Proxy War in Syria Claims being Deceived
Ankara Using Energy Agreements to Stop Kurdish Independence Referendum

Latest Lebanese Related News published on August 11-12/17
Just imagine if the Lebanese Forces had maintained its opposition Role
Roger Bejjani/Face Book/August 11/17
Just imagine if the LF had maintained its opposition and refused to vote for Aoun (he would have been elected since their MPs would have not made any difference) and refused to take part in a government with Hezbollah and rejected the sectarian rhetoric.
Simply the LF would have been today the largest political party in Lebanon grouping a nationwide multi-confessional crowd and would have embodied the true alternative.
Instead, due to Melhem Pakradouni and the "embourgeoisement" and the very recent "pragmatism" of Geagea, the LF have lost their credibility.

The Bachir Lebanese Forces that we knew does not exist any more
Elias Bejjani/August 11/17
It is no surprise that Geagea's presidential dream and delusion has marginalized the LF's resistance role and wiped off its patriotic history. Geagea's own power agenda practically has turned the LF in to a feudal and commercial party like all the rest. Sadly the LF that we knew does not exist any more. In reality it turned to be an arena for one man show and an ugly replicate of all the Lebanese so called political parties.

Salary scale saga lingers, Aoun signature still missing
The Daily Star/ August 10, 2017/BEIRUT: The salary scale saga, which most thought over, took yet another turn Wednesday when President Michel Aoun said the legislation was still awaiting his signature before it could be passed into law. During a meeting with a delegation of economic associations at Baabda Palace, Aoun stressed the importance of maintaining Lebanon’s economic stability. He confirmed that he supported the new wage hike, but said that “economic stability” for the country as a whole should be the priority. The president has yet to sign the salary scale and accompanying tax measures that were endorsed by Parliament last month. The wage hike included new tax measures that aimed to finance the increase in the salary, including a 10-percent increase in value added tax to 11-percent. The first time Parliament convened to pass the bill it was met with large street protests. Yet, months later the bill was hammered through Parliament with minimal reaction by the general public. Aoun was critical of Parliament’s endorsement, saying that he preferred that the state budget be ratified before the two laws were passed. The Kataeb Party, headed by MP Sami Gemayel, sent a question to Cabinet asking why the government had not released a law detailing the auditing of the budget before its announcement. The auditing bill has so far been excluded due to political infighting over billions of dollars of overspend in the 12 years since Lebanon last passed a budget. Speaker Nabih Berri, the most vocal supporter of the bill, and Prime Minister Saad Hariri have both reportedly signed the salary scale bills. Yet in order for them to become law, the bills need to be published in the Official Gazette, which requires Aoun’s signature. The president is under pressure from the private sector, the Association of Banks in Lebanon and the Kataeb Party to return the two laws to Parliament for further study. Economic associations claim that the new wage and tax hikes will have negative consequences for the economy as a whole, which has already been struggling since the eruption of the Syrian civil war in 2011. Aoun’s plea to lawmakers to abide by the Constitution regarding the state budget fell short of returning the two laws to Parliament for a review, as demanded by the private sector. Speaker Nabih Berri said Wednesday that he was waiting for Aoun’s signature on the salary scale and tax hike laws, reiterating his respect for the president’s jurisdiction in this regard. “In case the [laws] were returned, the Parliament would practice its role in this regard and it would study the reasons behind this and would take a decision on it,” he said. Speaking in the weekly meeting with MPs at his Beirut residence, after returning from an official visit to Iran, Berri also announced that he may call on Parliament to convene in the near future. “I don’t believe that the president will return the salary scale law to Parliament because it is a right for those [who were calling for it],” he said. “The president has constitutional jurisdictions that allow him to take the decision that he sees as appropriate based on its provisions.”Touching on Parliament’s next legislative session, the speaker said that he would call a session soon to discuss the items remaining on the agenda for the session that was held in mid-July. Berri added that he is still waiting for the Parliament’s Finance and Budget Committee to end its discussions on the state budget draft law. If the draft law is referred to Berri ahead of the next Parliament session, he said that it would be given priority over other items. “It will be discussed in a general assembly [of parliament] to be endorsed, with the hope that this will happen before the end of this month,” Berri said.
Meanwhile, the Higher Judicial Council urged judges to handle urgent cases despite a three-week-old strike to protest changes to their salaries and benefits in the salary scale, which they say will reduce their social standing and threaten their independence.The salary scale law contains provisions that will reduce family medical and education benefits, and the judges’ solidarity fund – also known as the mutual fund – that provides judges a benefit of just under one month’s salary every three months.Judiciary sources said the Council was drawing its own law that includes a separate salary scale.

Aoun Hopes Dialogue at Baabda Would 'Consider Interests of All'
Naharnet/August 11/17/President Michel Aoun, on Friday expressed hope that the upcoming economic dialogue meeting at Baabda palace on Monday would find solutions that take into consideration the interests of all the Lebanese regarding the salary scale and taxes, the National News Agency reported on Friday. The President also assured that he was seeking a “fair solution” for all sides, NNA said. Aoun has called for a dialogue meeting on Monday at the Baabda palace to discuss the various points of dispute and disagreement over the recently approved salary scale bill and the new batch of taxes to fund said scale. The dialogue meeting will be attended by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, concerned ministers, Central Bank Governor, and representatives of the economic, labor and financial institutions, as well as free professions, private schools and teachers Syndicates' heads. Aoun has yet to sign the wage scale and the tax measures that were approved by the parliament in July. The parliament has approved a new batch of taxes to finance the scale. Fears mount that Aoun could use his constitutional jurisdiction and return the approved wage scale bill to Parliament if it does not “balance between rights and economic stability.”The new taxes involve hiking the VAT tax from 10% to 11%, fines on seaside violations, and taxes on cement, administrative transactions, sea imports, lottery prizes, financial firms and banks. Authorities have argued that the new taxes are necessary to fund the new wage scale but opponents of such a move have called for finding new revenues through putting an end to corruption and the waste of public money.

Report: Dialogue Meeting over Wage Scale 'Helps President' Take Right Decision
Naharnet/August 11/17/President Michel Aoun has invited all parties concerned with the wage scale file for a dialogue meeting on Monday, in order to become “acquainted with the different points of view in preparation for exercising his constitutional right”, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Friday. “Aoun has called for a dialogue so as to be enlightened with the opinions of parties concerned with the wage scale in preparation for exercising his constitutional right to make the appropriate decision,” sources of the Baabda Presidential Palace told the daily. “He wants to listen to everyone in order to set the picture straight,” they added. On Thursday, Aoun has called for a dialogue meeting next week at the Baabda palace to discuss the various points of dispute and disagreement over the recently approved salary scale bill and the new batch of taxes to fund said scale.
The dialogue meeting will be attended by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, concerned ministers, Central Bank Governor, and representatives of the economic, labor and financial institutions, as well as free professions, private schools and teachers Syndicates' heads. President Aoun had met on Thursday at the Baabda palace with Finance Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, who said that they discussed the general financial situation in the country and details pertaining to the wage scale, in terms of revenues and expenses. Aoun has yet to sign the wage scale and the tax measures that were approved by the parliament in July. The parliament has approved a new batch of taxes to finance the scale. Fears mount that Aoun could use his constitutional jurisdiction and return the approved wage scale bill to parliament if it does not “balance between rights and economic stability.” The new taxes involve hiking the VAT tax from 10% to 11%, fines on seaside violations, and taxes on cement, administrative transactions, sea imports, lottery prizes, financial firms and banks. Authorities have argued that the new taxes are necessary to fund the new wage scale but opponents of such a move have called for finding new revenues through putting an end to corruption and the waste of public money. Baabda sources said they were astonished at attempts to portray the call for dialogue as “undermining the state's institutions.” They said the dialogue is necessary namely on a “sensitive subject that is supposed to be addressed with rationality and objectivity.”

UK Affirms Support for Lebanon's Military Institution
Naharnet/August 11/17/British Chargé d’Affaires Ben Wastnage emphasized that the Lebanese army is the “sole legitimate defender of Lebanon,” as he reiterated the UK's support for the military institution, a press release said. “I reaffirmed the UK’s support to the Lebanese Armed Forces as the sole legitimate defender of Lebanon, who successfully and highhandedly repelled an invasion by Daesh in 2014, and which is a cornerstone of Lebanese sovereignty,” said Wastnage after a meeting he held with Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Thursday. “In particular, I welcomed the convening of the Higher Defense Committee and the Prime Minister’s backing for the Lebanese Armed Forces Commander,” he added. Praising the PM, the UK Chargé d’Affaires stated: “I was honored to meet Prime Minister Hariri as he steers his government through this very important time for Lebanon.”

U.S. Government Supports New Digital Platform for Lebanon to Engage the Diaspora
Naharnet/August 11/17/U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Richard joined Prime Minister Hariri on Thursday to launch the Diaspora Investment and Development platform, developed with the support of a $1,050,000 grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Held at the Grand Serail, the launch event took place in the presence of the Prime Minister, Ministers, mayors and other municipality officials, Lebanese diaspora and private sector representatives. This innovative platform connects the Lebanese Diaspora with their ancestral home towns to foster collaborative action to support the continued development of Lebanon. In her remarks, the Ambassador stressed the impressive contributions of the Lebanese diaspora community to both the United States and Lebanon, and expressed continuing U.S. support for Lebanon’s economic development, security and stability.
DiasporaID provides the opportunity for diaspora around the globe to mobilize their expertise and resources and digitally engage in development projects in Lebanese communities and villages. These could include investment opportunities, fundraising efforts for local projects, on-line mentoring for young people, and marketing and purchasing the goods of local Lebanese businesses. This grant is part of a larger U.S. Government commitment to support economic development and job creation in Lebanon, including over $45 million invested over the last three years.
Following are Ambassador Richard’s remarks at the ceremony:
Good morning everyone, Your Excellency Prime Minister Hariri, Esteemed Ministers, Members of Parliament, and our friends at Netways, ladies and gentlemen. I am so happy to be here with all of you to officially launch the Diaspora Investment and Development platform - DiasporaID. I would especially like to especially thank Prime Minister Hariri for graciously hosting this event to promote the important role that the diaspora can play in Lebanon’s economic prosperity. I think it is very meaningful that we are doing this here, in the seat of government today. With his support, we are confident that the platform we will launch today will build stronger ties between the U.S. and Lebanon by energizing this diaspora to support Lebanon’s development. About 40 million Americans are first or second-generation immigrants, and this includes several very impressive millions of Lebanese descent, they are among our most successful immigrants. They have become national leaders, including four currently sitting members of our Congress. Some of our leading scientists in the globe are from Lebanon, including Elias James Corey, who was the 1990 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, regarded by many as one of the greatest living chemists. Some are successful businessmen and women, including Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinkos, and Debra Cafaro, the CEO of the investment firm Ventas, and one of only two women named by Harvard Business Review in its list of the “Top 50 Best Performing CEOs in the World” and that is three years in a row. Very impressive.
Lebanese Americans are also doctors, influential writers, entertainers, and innovators.
Yet these great Americans maintain a profound connection to Lebanon because of family, friends, and a deep sense of cultural heritage. They have diverse experiences, they have connections, and they have exceptional human and capital resources at their disposal. And so many of them are looking for a way to contribute directly to Lebanon’s development and prosperity… even from abroad. We in the U.S. government believe in Lebanon and we have invested over $45 million in just the past 3 years in economic development, start-up capital for new businesses, and training and mentoring for young entrepreneurs. You know there are many many success stories, and I wish I had time to tell them all, but I want to highlight one. A young Lebanese gentleman, who was a beneficiary of a USAID grant for about $200,000 to start a biotechnology company, and do you know his company is working on a minimally invasive device that many expect is going to revolutionize heart surgery. These are very impressive outcomes of our investments as a US government in Lebanon. And we are very proud of these investments, but it’s equally important to help our friends in the diaspora also give back to the country.
And that’s why we are so pleased to help launch this very innovative social network called DiasporaID. Through a grant of over $1 million, we’ll help create a platform that will help Lebanese Americans - and Lebanese around the globe – quite frankly, strengthen their connection to their communities of origin. We’ll help them turn their general sense of wanting to help their own country into concrete opportunities to create jobs, to raise funds for local projects, to provide on-line mentoring for young people, or to market and purchase the products of Lebanese small businesses. With DiasporaID, they will be able to easily access this platform from anywhere in the world to make a positive change back home. We are very proud to support this innovative Lebanese private sector initiative, led by Netways, and I couldn’t be more happy to be here with Roula Moussa who is actually one of the most inspirational examples of someone who has not only succeeded, quite extensively on her own, but who has come back to Lebanon to help others succeed. And I think that’s really the spirit of giving back to the country that we are so proud of being associated with. So thank you Roula. And I want to thank everyone for being with us to launch this today. I think it is one of the most exceptional initiatives that I’ve seen in quite some time and I’m sure will be very successful.

Ibrahim-Beary Discuss Situation on Southern Border
Naharnet/August 11/17/General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim held talks on Friday with UNIFIL Commander Michael Beary, the National News Agency reported on Friday. Talks highlighted the situation on Lebanon's southern border and the ways of coordination between the peacekeeping troops and the General Security apparatus. The meeting comes in light of a US demand raised by Ambassador Nikki Haley that UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon should take on an expanded mission and investigate alleged violations by Hizbullah in the volatile area.
The UN Security Council is set to vote on renewing the UN interim force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) later this month, and Haley said she will seek "significant improvements" to its mandate. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had informed the council that he intended to look at ways in which UNIFIL could beef up its efforts "regarding the illegal presence of armed personnel, weapons or infrastructure inside its area of operations."

Jumblat Advises Baabda Interlocutors to Stop 'Superfluous' Spending
Leader of the Democratic Gathering bloc MP Walid Jumblat advised interlocutors set to meet Monday at Babada Palace over the wage scale file, to stop "unnecessary expenditures and squandering of public funds," as he expressed “concern over the monetary and livelihood stability in the country.”Urging the government not to engage in income raises before checking the possibility of securing revenues, Jumblat said the government must “not engage in increases before checking the possibility of income. “A series of reforms must be introduced including the pension system and the national security services for example,” said Jumblat in a tweet on Friday. The MP called for “unification of standards between civil and military wires and the independent interests in order to reduce some of the huge compensations.” He also called for “administrative reform and an end to squandering, random employment, and excessive expenditures in the telecommunication sector for example, electricity and other sectors in the economy.” Jumblat also said that “indiscriminate travel trips of officials, ministers, deputies and senior citizens at the expense of the state must be stopped,” noting that customs exemptions must be reconsidered. Turning to the occupation of maritime property, the Progressive Socialist Party leader said: “A shameful settlement with respect to maritime property must be stopped. Profits secured by these tourist resorts and real estate companies are sufficient.”President Michel Aoun has called for a dialogue meeting on Monday at the Baabda palace to discuss the various points of dispute and disagreement over the recently approved salary scale bill and the new batch of taxes to fund said scale. The dialogue meeting will be attended by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, concerned ministers, Central Bank Governor, and representatives of the economic, labor and financial institutions, as well as free professions, private schools and teachers Syndicates' heads.

Bassil contacts his Kuwaiti counterpart over recently raised matters

Fri 11 Aug 2017/NNA - Out of his keenness to maintain best relations with the State of Kuwait, Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Gebran Bassil, recently held several contacts with Kuwaiti officials aimed at resolving the currently raised case, in terms of causes and repercussions. In this framework, Minister Bassil recently contacted his Kuwaiti counterpart Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, where they agreed on how to follow up on currently proposed matters and clear them out.

ISF thwart terror Daesh attack on Tripoli's Mansouri Mosque

Fri 11 Aug 2017/NNA - An Internal Security Forces patrol foiled on 7/8/2017 at 16.45 pm a terror attack by a Daesh affiliate on the Grand Al-Mansouri Mosque in Tripoli during the afternoon prayers, a communiqué by ISF Directorate General said on Friday. In details, ISF police apprehended the Lebanese, identified with the initials R.K, (Born in 2003), as he was trying to enter the mosque. After searching him, two hand grenades were found inside his bag. The detained person was referred to the Information branch for interrogation, and he admitted his affiliation to the terrorist "Daesh" Organization. He confessed he was planning to enter the Grand Mansouri Mosque during the afternoon prayers and toss the two hand grenades on worshippers. He also planned to snatch a gun from one of the police on guard and open fire at worshippers. However, the arrest of the Daesh attacker-to-be prevented the occurrence of this tragedy. Investigation is underway under the supervision of the concerned judiciary.

Army apprehends 8 suspects for links to Daesh
Fri 11 Aug 2017 /NNA - The Lebanese army carried out a raid in the outskirts of the town of Arsal, and arrested 8 people on suspicion of belonging to the terrorist "Daesh" Organization, NNA reporter said on Friday.

Army discovers aerostat in Zghorta's Miziara outskirts

Fri 11 Aug 2017/NNA - Lebanese army patrol found in the outskirts of the town of Zgharta's Miziara an aerostat pinned with an Israeli flag and a phrase "Welcome to Israel", NNA field reporter said on Friday.

Merkel rejects use of force in N. Korea and verbal ‘escalation’
Fri 11 Aug 2017 /NNA - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that she opposed any use of force to resolve the conflict with North Korea, after President Donald Trump said the US military was "locked and loaded.""I don’t envision a military solution to this conflict but rather consistent work as we’ve observed at the United Nations Security Council," Merkel told reporters. "Germany will very intensively take part in the options for resolution that are not military but I consider a verbal escalation to be the wrong response," she said when asked about Trump’s latest tweets on North Korea.--AFP

Army Commander, interlocutors tackle overall situation
Fri 11 Aug 2017/NNA - Army Commander, Joseph Aoun, on Friday received at his Yarzeh office MP Ziad al-Qadri, with talks reportedly touching on the current developments in the country. Major General Aoun also met with German Ambassador to Lebanon, Martin Huth, where they discussed the current situation in Lebanon and the broad region, in addition to military cooperation between the armies of both countries.The Major General then met with a delegation of the Maritime Tourism Institutions' Syndicate, led by Jean Beiruti.

Hezbollah Steers Lebanon Closer to Syria, Straining Efforts to Stay Neutral/حزب الله يأخد لبنان أكثر وأكثر باتجاه النظام السوري
Reuters/August 11/17
BEIRUT — Hezbollah and its allies are pressing the Lebanese state to normalize relations with President Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria, testing Lebanon's policy of "dissociation" from the Syrian conflict and igniting a political row. Calls for closer ties with the Syrian government, including on refugee returns and military operations on the Lebanon-Syria border, come as Assad regains control of more territory from insurgents and seeks to recover his international standing. The Lebanese policy of "dissociation", agreed in 2012, has aimed to keep the deeply divided state out of regional conflicts such as Syria even as Iran-backed Hezbollah became heavily involved there, sending fighters to help Assad, who is also allied to Iran. The policy has helped rival groups to coexist in governments bringing together Hezbollah, classified as a terrorist group by the United States, with politicians allied to Iran's foe Saudi Arabia, underpinning a degree of political entente amid the regional turmoil.
While Lebanon never severed diplomatic or trade ties with Syria, the government has avoided dealing with the Syrian government in an official capacity and the collapse of the policy would be a boost a political boost to Assad. It would also underline Iran's ascendancy in Lebanon, where the role of Saudi Arabia has diminished in recent years when it has focused on confronting Tehran in the Gulf instead. Assad's powerful Lebanese Shi'ite allies want the government to cooperate with Syria on issues such as the fight against jihadists at their shared border and securing the return of the 1.5 million Syrians currently taking refuge in Lebanon. "Everybody recognizes (the dissociation policy) as a farce to some extent, but at least it contained the conflict and prevented Lebanon from being dragged even further into what is going on in Syria," said Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Centre in Beirut.
"(A normalization of relations) would be viewed as a victory, if using sectarian terms, of Shi'ites versus the Sunnis and will just inflame tensions even more."Lebanon's relationship with Syria has for decades set rival Lebanese against each other. Syria dominated its smaller neighbor from the end of its 1975-90 civil war until 2005. A row erupted this week because of plans by government ministers from Hezbollah and the Shi'ite Amal party to visit Damascus next week.
Although the government has refused to sanction the visit as official business - citing the dissociation policy - Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan, a Hezbollah member, has insisted they will be in Damascus as government representatives."We will meet Syrian ministers in our ministerial capacity, we will hold talks over some economic issues in our ministerial capacity, and we will return in our ministerial capacity to follow up on these matters," Hassan told al-Manar TV. Samir Geagea, a leading Lebanese Christian politician and longstanding opponent of Hezbollah and Syrian influence in Lebanon, has said the visit to Syria will "shake Lebanon's political stability and put Lebanon in the Iranian camp".A senior Lebanese official allied to Damascus described the row as "part of the political struggle in the region". The influence of Iran's allies in Lebanon was shown last year by the selection of a longtime ally of Hezbollah, Christian politician Michel Aoun, as head of state in a political deal that also installed Saudi-allied Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.
Hezbollah has recently stepped up calls for the Lebanese government to engage directly with Damascus over the return of Syrian refugees, who now account for one in four of the people in Lebanon and are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim. The issue is of enormous political sensitivity in Lebanon, although all politicians agree they must return to Syria due to strains on Lebanon's resources and risks to its sectarian balance. Hariri has said Lebanon will only coordinate refugee returns with the United Nations, which says there can be no forced return of people who fled the conflict, many of whom fear returning to a Syria governed by Assad.. But one branch of the Lebanese state, the powerful internal security agency General Security, recently held talks with the Syrian authorities to secure the return of several thousand Syrians into Syria following a military campaign by Hezbollah in the northeast border region.
General Security says the refugee returns have been voluntary. The United Nations has had no role in the talks. An expected Lebanese army assault on Islamic State militants at the border with Syria has been another focal point for the debate over cooperation with Damascus. The army, a recipient of U.S. aid, has said it will lead the battle alone in Lebanese territory, and does not need to coordinate with other parties. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said his group and the Syrian army will mount a simultaneous assault against IS from the Syrian side of the frontier, however. "Practically speaking, the dissociation policy is finished," said Nabil Boumonsef, a columnist with the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar.
But he warned of the political ramifications in Lebanon, saying "political score settling" by one party against another would create "a big problem" in the country.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Additional reporting by Laila Bassam; Editing by Tom Perry and Sonya Hepinstall)

Lebanon to Resolve Syrian Rebel Group Withdrawal ahead of ISIS Border Battle
Asharq Al-Awsat/August 11/17/The Syrian rebel group of Saraya Ahl al-Sham will withdraw from the northeaster border region of Arsal in Lebanon ahead of an imminent offensive the Lebanese army is set to launch against ISIS terrorists deployed along the border area. Head of Lebanon’s General Security Abbas Ibrahim told Reuters that the fighters will start to withdraw from the area on Saturday. They will leave the area with some 3,000 civilians and head to Syria. About 300 fighters, along with their families and some other civilians who wish to return to Syria, will be escorted to the border by security forces, Ibrahim told Reuters by phone. Those civilians who had asked to leave along with Saraya Ahl al-Sham would go to the regime-held Assal al-Ward district near the border. The fighters would go to a place that had been agreed upon, he said. Ibrahim did not name the place. But a military media unit run by “Hezbollah” – which is closely allied to Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad – reported that the fighters and their families would go to the rebel-held town of al-Ruhaiba in the Eastern Qalamoun district. The group’s departure follows that of the Nusra Front, which quit its enclave on the border early this month for rebel-held Idlib, in northwest Syria, after its defeat in a six-day “Hezbollah” offensive. During that evacuation and others of rebel groups inside Syria to insurgent-held areas, the Syrian regime has allowed them to travel under protection in buses and carry small arms. This time, civilians will be allowed to travel in their own cars, Ibrahim said. The pull-out by Saraya Ahl al-Sham will leave an ISIS pocket in the same area as the only remaining militant stronghold on the border. In the past few days, the Lebanese army’s artillery shells and multiple rocket launchers have been pounding the mountainous areas on the Lebanon-Syria border where ISIS held positions, in preparation for the offensive. Drones could be heard around the clock and residents of the eastern Bekaa Valley reported seeing army reinforcements arriving daily in the northeastern district of Hermel to join the battle. On Tuesday, the army’s top brass conferred with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and interior and defense ministers at the presidential palace in Baabda to plan operations in the Bekaa Valley. The committee took the “necessary counsel and decisions to succeed in the military operations to eliminate the terrorists,” Major General Saadallah Hamad said after the meeting. Experts say more than 3,000 troops, including elite special forces, are in the northeastern corner of Lebanon to take part in the offensive. The army will likely use weapons it received from the United States, including Cessna aircraft that discharge Hellfire missiles. The movement of rebel and militant factions across Syria’s border with Lebanon represented the biggest military spillover of its civil war into its tiny neighbor.The factions took positions in the hills that straddle the border around the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal, home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. More than 1 million Syrians have sought shelter in Lebanon during the war.

Lebanese Ministers’ Visit to Damascus Deepens Disputes inside Government
Asharq Al-Awsat/August 11/17/Beirut – A visit to Damascus planned by ministers affiliated with “Hezbollah”, the AMAL Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), has sparked internal disputes and a wave of opposition, due to its negative effects on the Lebanese arena. State Minister for the Displaced Affairs, Moueen al-Merhebi said that the visit would not be official but would be made on a personal basis. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said: “The insistence of some ministers to visit Damascus has caused a major political dispute in the country, forcing Interior Minister Nohad al-Mashnouq to ask to discuss the matter within the government, and put it to vote”.“The wisdom of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has prompted him to cancel all discussions in this regard, meaning that there would be no government decision to go to Syria,” he added. The minister stressed that any minister visiting Syria would go there in his personal capacity because he would not be in any way dispatched by the government. Meanwhile, in a press conference held on Thursday, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea underlined the importance of the “policy of dissociation”, which was stipulated in the ministerial statement. “During the last cabinet meeting, Hariri refused to discuss any item on Syria’s visit, but some ministers confirmed that they were going to there in their official capacity. No, if you go to Syria, you go on a personal, not official, basis, and you would be violating Lebanon’s legitimacy, the cabinet principles and the new political era,” Geagea said, addressing ministers insisting on going to Damascus. He warned that if anyone went to Syria, Lebanon will be immediately classified in the Iran axis, and therefore “we will lose what remains of our relations with the Arab countries.”Industry Minister Hussein al-Hajj Hassan (“Hezbollah”) Minister of Agriculture Ghazi Zoaiter (AMAL) and Minister of Economy and Trade Raed Khouri (FPM) are due to visit Damascus to participate in an exhibition on Syrian products upon an invitation from the Syrian regime Ministry of Economy.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 11-12/17
Mossad spies in close quarter to Supreme Leader : Iranian press
By Staff Writer, Al Arabiya English Friday, 11 August 2017/Iranian media has reported that the country’s intelligence services over the past few weeks have arrested a number of people tied closely to the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) charging them with espionage for the Israeli Mossad. Parliament member Mahmoud Sadeqi revealed to local media that two members of the Iranian Strategic Center for Soft,War known as Ammariyon, headed by hardline cleric, Mehdi Taib. The cleric has close links with the IRGC intelligence unit which is headed by his brother Hussein Taib. Sadeqi revealed to local media that two members of Ammariyon - Mohammed Hussein Rustumi, the web editor of and Redha Kalboor, an editor at Kayhan - have been arrested. Kayhan newspaper is funded by the Supreme Leader. On Thursday morning, Sadeqi tweeted that as he was investigating the arrest of some pro-Rouhani journalists, he discovered that the Ammariyon journalists were held on charges of spying for Mossad. In the same context, the IRGC intelligence service arrested a number of well-known activists or so-called “home runners,” close to the Basij groups - namely, Abdul Rida Hilali, Ruhollah Bahmani and Mohammed Hussein Haddadian. The Iranian newspaper Etemad confirmed that the activists were arrested on charges of "spying for Israel" and "involvement in illegal relations." Iranian MP Ghulam Ali Jafarzadeh posted on Thursday on Instagram that these organizers were arrested on charges of working with the Mossad and having illicit relations with the French embassy. A spokesman for the Iranian judiciary, Gholam Hussein Mohseni, confirmed during a press conference, the arrest of two of the activists, saying one of them has been released while the other is still held pending investigations, according to Iranian news agency IRNA. One of the men, Ruhollah Bahmani, is the brother-in-law of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was released two weeks after the arrest, according to reformist sites.

US-backed Syrian fighters pressure ISIS militants in Raqqa
The Associated Press, Beirut Friday, 11 August 2017/US-backed Syrian fighters advancing on ISIS from the eastern and western parts of the northern city of Raqqa have linked up for the first time since launching their offensive on the miltant group’s de facto capital, officials said on Friday. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces launched a wide offensive to capture Raqqa on June 6. So far the Western-backed fighters, under the cover of US-backed coalition airstrikes, have captured half the city and linking up forces from the eastern and western fronts would be a major milestone in the battle for Raqqa. This frame grab from video released onThursday, Aug. 3, 2017 and provided by Hawar News Agency, shows a fighter from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) firing his weapon during clashes with ISIS group fighters in the northern city of Raqqa, Syria. (AP) The linkup of the eastern and western fronts deprives ISIS from access to the Euphrates River - and effectively leaves the remaining militants in Raqqa and thousands of civilians surrounded. US Army Col. Ryan Dillon tweeted that SDF forces have linked up “East-West axes” in Raqqa and are continuing to pressure ISIS. “The fighting is ongoing from room to room and from house to house,” said Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media center. Bali also confirmed that SDF fighters pushing from opposite sides of the city have met up. Bali said by telephone from northern Syria that the key difficulty facing advancing SDF fighters is to avoid striking civilians used by ISIS as human shields.The top US envoy for the international coalition against the ISIS, Brett McGurk, tweeted about the linkup of the two fronts, describing it as a “milestone” that is tightening the noose around ISIS.
Meanwhile, the UN migration agency said on Friday that over 600,000 displaced Syrians have returned to their homes this year, citing an increasing trend of returns while warning the situation remains “not sustainable.”International Organization for Migration spokeswoman Olivia Headon said the 602,759 returns between January and July was on track to surpass the figure of 685,000 returns for all of 2016. But she also cautioned about the huge number of displaced Syrians this year - nearly 809,000. IOM said that its partner agencies have found that two-thirds of the returnees have gone to the northern Aleppo governorate, where government forces ousted rebels from the city of Aleppo last year. A third of the returnees said they went back to “protect their assets” while one-quarter cited “improved economic conditions,” IOM said.

Russia's Lavrov says risks are high of U.S.North Korea conflict
Fri 11 Aug 2017/NNA - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that risks of a military conflict over North Korea's nuclear programme are very high, and Moscow is deeply worried by the mutual threats of attack traded by Washington and Pyongyang."The side that is stronger and cleverer" should take the first step to defuse the crisis, said Lavrov, speaking live on state television at a forum for Russian students.He encouraged Pyongyang and Washington to sign up to a joint Russian-Chinese plan, under which North Korea would freeze its missile tests and the United States and South Korea would impose a moratorium on large-scale military exercises.--Reuters

China earthquake death toll rises to 23
Fri 11 Aug 2017/NNA - The death toll from an earthquake that scarred a scenic region of southwest China's Sichuan province rose to 23 on Friday as authorities found three more bodies. The Aba prefecture emergency response office said in a statement that the bodies were found inside a bus in a river valley in Zhangzha. It did not give more details about what had happened to the vehicle. The statement said at least 493 were injured in Tuesday's 6.5-magnitude earthquake, which struck Jiuzhaigou, a popular tourist destination with a national park, forested mountains and over 140 lakes that has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.More than 70,000 people have been evacuated from quake-hit towns and villages, state media reported. The tremor evoked memories of a devastating 8.0-magnitude earthquake in the region in 2008 that left 87,000 people dead or missing.--AFP

Two Arab Israeli Brothers Charged with IS Contacts
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 11/17/"Two Arab Israelis were indicted Friday in a court in northern Israel for alleged contacts with the Islamic State jihadist group and illegal possession of weapons, the Shin Bet security agency said. The Shin Bet said the two brothers from Umm al-Fahm in central Israel, charged in a Haifa court, had been arrested in July on suspicion of support for IS. One of them, Mahmud Abdel Karim Kassem Jabarin, 25, had been in contact with an IS member in Syria and former resident of Umm al-Fahm, according to the Shin Bet, which alleged he had also sworn allegiance to the jihadist group. An automatic weapon had been discovered in a sweep of the brothers' home. On July 14, three Arab Israelis from Umm al-Fahm shot and fatally wounded two policemen near the ultra-sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, before they were gunned down.
The attack triggered a two-week-long crisis as Israel temporarily installed metal detectors and security cameras at the site. The Shin Bet said IS sympathisers among the Jewish state's Arab minority now posed a "serious security threat" for Israel. By the end of 2016, 83 people, most of them Arab Israelis, were behind bars in Israel as suspected IS sympathisers, up from just 12 a year earlier, according to the Haaretz newspaper. Some of them were arrested for planning to travel to Syria or Iraq to fight alongside the jihadists, or on their return to Israel, others for contacts on the internet with IS militants abroad or for planning attacks. The Shin Bet estimates 50 Arab Israelis are currently fighting in IS ranks in Syria and Iraq."

N. Korea War Would be 'Catastrophic,' Diplomacy Bearing Fruit, Says Mattis
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 11/17/US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday warned that war with North Korea would be "catastrophic" and said diplomatic efforts were yielding results. Speaking at an event in California, Mattis said his mission and responsibility was to have military options ready "should they be needed" but stressed the US effort is currently focused on diplomacy. "The American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results and I want to stay right there right now," Mattis said at an event in California. "The tragedy of war is well-enough known it doesn't need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic," he added. Mattis's comments came shortly after President Donald Trump warned North Korea it should be "very, very nervous" if it thinks of attacking America, and doubled down on a vow to rain "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it continued to threaten the US. Mattis did not elaborate on the diplomatic results he referenced, but the UN Security Council at the weekend passed a new set of sanctions against Pyongyang over its weapons program, including bans on the export of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore as well as fish and seafood. In a diplomatic win for the United States, the measures were approved unanimously -- including by Russia and China, the North's sole major ally. The Pentagon chief on Wednesday issued a carefully worded statement telling North Korea it would be "grossly" outmatched in any conflict with the US, and warning Pyongyang to stop considering any action that risked "the destruction of its people."

Bomb blast kills three, wounds 26 in northwestern Pakistan: Officials
Fri 11 Aug 2017/NNA - A roadside bomb killed at least three people and wounded 26 others in a Pakistani tribal district near the Afghan border Friday, officials said. The explosion struck a truck carrying civilians, most of them labourers, in a far-flung frontier village in Bajaur tribal district, one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal regions. "At least three people have been killed and 26 wounded, the roadside bomb exploded when the truck passed by," Mustafa Khan, a local government official told AFP. Anwarul Haq, a senior local government official, confirmed the casualties, telling AFP that the injured have been taken to local hospitals. No militant group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacK.--AFP

Soldiers conduct ‘unauthorised search’ of UN camp in Maiduguri
Fri 11 Aug 2017/NNA - Nigerian forces conducted an unauthorised search of the UN’s main operating base in the town of Maiduguri in the country’s northeast in the early hours Friday, the UN told AFP. "Members of the Nigerian security forces entered a United Nations base for humanitarian workers in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, without authorisation," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Nigeria said by email.An internal UN memo seen by AFP suggested that the Nigerian forces may have been searching for the leader of the jihadist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau after rumours spread locally that he was hiding in the compound known as the "Red Roof". "Information about Shekau’s presence in the Red Roof was already being spread yesterday on social media," said the document, apparently issued by the UN’s Department of Safety."At about 2 a.m. early this morning, Nigeria Army troops in trucks are conducting... (a) search on UN Red Roof Humanitarian camp and forced their way into the property." All UN staff in Maiduguri were ordered to work from home by the note which warned of demonstrations against the organisation and other foreign groups active in the area.
A UN source told AFP such searches are illegal under international law and risk raising suspicions about the organisation’s work. Nigerian forces conducted an unauthorised search of the UN’s main operating base in the town of Maiduguri in the country’s northeast in the early hours Friday, the UN told AFP.--AFP

Sudan invited to US-Egyptian military exercises
Reuters Friday, 11 August 2017/Sudan has received an invitation to US-Egyptian military training exercises in October, a first for the country in nearly three decades, its Defense Ministry said. The head of the Sudanese army, General Emad al-Din Adawi, announced the invitation for the joint Bright Star exercises in Egypt, the largest of their kind in the region, after meeting this week with a US State Department official, it said. The meeting “opened the door to more dialogue” that could restore US-Sudanese military relations “to their right path”, the army chief said. In July, the United States postponed for three months a decision on whether to permanently lift sanctions on Sudan over its human rights record and other issues. Former US President Barack Obama temporarily lifted 20-year-old sanctions for six months in January, suspending a trade embargo, unfreezing assets and removing financial sanctions. But it said Sudan had to make progress on issues, including internal conflicts, before it would lift them permanently. Sanctions relief would not change Sudan’s designation by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism. Sudan’s economy has deteriorated since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of the country’s oil output, its main source of foreign currency and government income.

Egypt shootout kills 3 'militants behind anti-copt attacks'
AFP, Cairo Friday, 11 August 2017/Egypt's interior ministry said on Thursday a policeman and three militants suspected of involvement in deadly attacks against the country's Coptic Christian minority were killed in a shootout. Police had arrested one member of the cell who led them to their mountain hideout in the southern province of Qena where the two other militants opened fire on Tuesday, the ministry said. The two suspects, who have not been identified, were killed in the ensuing firefight, along with the informer and a police officer guarding him. Egypt is battling a local affiliate of ISIS which has claimed attacks that have killed more than 100 Copts since December. At the hideout, police found weapons and "gold jewellery which was probably stolen from some of the Christian victims" of a massacre earlier this year. On May 26, ISIS gunmen killed 29 Copts as they travelled in a bus to Saint Samuel monastery in Minya province south of the Egyptian capital. The bus attack followed two suicide bombings of churches in April that killed 45 Copts. In December, a suicide bomber struck a church in Cairo, killing 29 Copts. Copts make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 90-million population. Egypt's ISIS affiliate is based in North Sinai province, where hundreds of soldiers and policemen have been killed in attacks since 2013.

Dozens killed and injured in train crash in Egypt’s Alexandria

Reuters Friday, 11 August 2017/36 people were killed and 123 injured in a train carsh in Alexandria. Egypt's Prime Minister Dr. Sherif Ismail said that hospitals in Alexandria are in high alert to receive the victims of the crash. The Governor of Alexandria Dr. Mohammed Sultan said that a wrong signal from the railway worker caused the collision. Al-Arabiya correspondent reported that two trains collided on Friday in Khurshid area in Alexandria, north of Egypt. Egyptian attorney general Hisham Barakat opened an urgent investigation into the train crash. The crash killed 36 people and injuring 123. A train coming from Cairo and another coming from Port Said collided. The Egyptian Railways Authority announced the collision of Express train No. 13 traveling from Cairo to Alexandria train No. 571 on route from Port Said to Alexandria near Khurshid station on Cairo-Alexandria line. As per the statement the collision happened when train 13 hit the rear carriages of train 571. The statement pointed out that a committee was formed to arrange for liftting the two trains from the crash scene. (With Reuters)

Call to UN for Iran political prisoners
Staff Writer, Al Arabiya English Friday, 11 August 2017/Concern is increasing for the wellbeing of over 14 political prisoners inside Iran’s notorious Gohardasht prison. A call issued on Friday by the Iranian Resistance was addressed to the United Nations High. Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur of Human Rights in Iran and the Special Rapporteur on Torture to take urgent action to save the lives of these political prisoners. “The Iranian Resistance expresses grave concern over the health and security of political prisoners on hunger strike in solitary confinement of ward 4 in Gohardasht Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran,” the resistence said in a statement issued on Friday. Abolqassem Fouladvand, Hassan Sadeghi, Saeed Masouri, Reza Akbari Monfared, Jafar Eqdami, Amir Qaziyan, Khaled Heradani, Zaniyar and Loqman Moradi are all in solitary confinement, the statement read. Measures include insults and beatings by prison guards as well as the ban of family visits where the prisoners have been “deprived of the minimum hygiene products and decent clothing” the resistance said in their statement. “The religious fascism ruling Iran exerts its authority through executions, torture and detentions. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, with his “moderate” mask, are two sides of this medieval regime’s coin,” the statement read.

Kuwait announces measures against North Korea
Reuters, Washington Friday, 11 August 2017/Kuwaiti authorities have begun taking measures against North Korea, including stopping direct flights to and from Pyongyang, state news agency KUNA cited an official source in Kuwait's foreign ministry as saying on Thursday. The official source said the measures included stopping entrance visas for North Korean workers and stopping the issuance of commercial licenses. Kuwait's measures come as U.S. President Donald Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric toward North Korea on Thursday. Trump said North Korea should be "very, very nervous" if it even thinks about attacking the United States or its allies, after Pyongyang said it was making plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. The United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday that could slash by a third the Asian state's $3 billion annual export revenue over Pyongyang's two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. The Kuwait foreign ministry said it was committed to implementing Security Council resolutions on North Korea.It also said it had stopped financial transactions and loans to North Korea, banned all North Korean imports and decreased the numbers of North Korean diplomats in the country. The United States has called on countries to sever diplomatic and financial ties with Pyongyang and suspend the flow of North Korean guest workers, as well as impose bans on North Korean imports.

Payout for Muslim woman whose hijab was removed by US police
AFP, Los Angeles Friday, 11 August 2017/A California city has agreed to pay $85,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a Muslim woman whose hijab was forcibly removed by the police. The city of Long Beach has been sued "after police officers forcibly removed” African-American Muslim, Kirsty Powell’s “hijab in view of other male officers and dozens of inmates". Powell, who wears the head covering "as part of her religious beliefs," was "forced to spend the entire night exposed in custody and described the experience as deeply traumatizing," AFP reported. Powell was arrested during a traffic stop in May 2015 on outstanding warrants that were since cleared.Long Beach voted Tuesday to approve the settlement, AFP reported, adding that nearby communities have already adopted policies protecting religious headwear in detention following similar lawsuits. Now female officers are required to remove the headscarves of female inmates "when necessary for officer safety," and away from male officers and inmates, Long Beach assistant city attorney Monte Machit told the Los Angeles Times. During the arrest officers told Powell that she had to remove her hijab. Powell was denied requests for a female officer to search her, and was denied requests to wear her hijab in custody. "I would never want anyone to go through what I felt from this experience," Powell said when the suit was filed last year.

6.2 earthquake hit Philippine island of Luzon, felt in Manila
Reuters, Manila Friday, 11 August 2017/An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 hit the Philippines' northern island of Luzon on Friday and was felt in the capital Manila, shaking buildings and forcing the evacuation of offices and schools.
There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries in the quake, which the United States Geological Survey earlier measured at 6.6. The quake struck at 1:28 pm (05:28 GMT) 10.7 km (6.6 miles) southeast of Nasugbu, in the province of Batangas, at a depth of 168 km (104 miles). No tsunami warning was issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, which put the magnitude of the quake at 6.3, and said it expected aftershocks.The Philippines is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and experiences frequent earthquakes. Students use their hands to cover their heads as they evacuate their school premises after an earthquake hit the northern island of Luzon and was felt in the Metro Manila. (Reuters)

Egyptian, US Efforts Pour into Resolving Libya’s Political Crisis
Asharq Al-Awsat/August 11/17Cairo- The US administration took a decisive and active initiative on Thursday, in hopes of collaborating with Egyptian efforts seeking to broker a political settlement among Libya’s warring blocs. Hours after Libya’s Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar wrapped up two days of Cairo talks with Egyptian chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Mahmoud Hijazi, US ambassador to Libya Peter Bodde flew in to to see the Egyptian commander.Bodde travelled with US AFRICOM commander General Thomas D. Waldhauser. A statement by the Egyptians said that Bodde had praised Egyptian efforts to break the current political stalemate. The US Embassy in Libya had also disclosed on a secret meeting in the Jordanian capital Amman held between the divided country’s eastern commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and US Ambassador to Libya Peter Bodde. The United States embassy in Libya issued a statement saying it remains fully committed to working with all Libyans to help advance stabilization and resolve the conflict in Libya. He was also said to have stressed to Hejazi, who is Egypt’s lead on Libya, the importance of ensuring that all political actors were involved in the political process. Only a negotiated solution could bring peace, security and stability. The US Embassy to Libya simply reported that the meeting had taken place and that efforts to restore stability in Libya were discussed. Its statement, which also disclosed that Bodde had met Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj last Monday in Tunis, noted that “ultimately, Libyans must lead the process of achieving political reconciliation in their country”. They were, it said “working towards that goal”. The embassy added on its website that it is engaging a wide range of Libyan political and security figures in order to help achieve stability in the country.
Earlier this July, Haftar had also met with the commander of US AFRICOM, General Thomas D. Waldhauser in Al-Rajma – the headquarters of Haftar’s so-called National Army in eastern Libya. Although that meeting was reported by pro-Haftar media, no specific details were given at the time. The meeting came one day after the US announced that it will step up its presence in Libya and according to the CNN that it will reopen its embassy in Tripoli and reestablish its presence in Benghazi.

Iraqi Militant Dragged into Iranian Proxy War in Syria Claims being Deceived
Asharq Al-Awsat/August 11/17/Baghdad- Resting in a modest home in a humble neighborhood just off Baghdad’s outskirts lives an ex-recruit who spends his days trapped in a body heavily scared after surviving a heatseeker attack in Syria. His eyes, ears, right leg and an arm have all been a heavy price he paid for partaking in the Aleppo proxy war. Despite the morbid outcome, H.A. feels like he’s been blessed with him being one of the only three of his platoon of 15 that survived the attack. Recalling the 2013 recruitment campaign which hit his impoverished neighborhood, H.A. tells Asharq Al-Awsat that in a not so lucky day he picked up a flyer enlisting fighters for ‘Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba,’ an extremist militia which was founded by the ‘Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH)’ defector Sheikh Akram Al-Kaabi . “The way to volunteer was to either simply call the contact information found on the flyers, or to get an in on the militia through around the block members– and I chose the latter,” said A.H. He then recites his journey accompanied by one of his friends to the militia’s Baghdad headquarters. In a sorrowful notion, A.H. explained that as of 2014 his family continued to plunge deeper and deeper into poverty. Moving merchandise from a nearby market place was their family’s breadwinning job, which would bring back home 20,000 Iraqi Dinars on a good day. For a family of seven, that much money wasn’t remotely sufficient. Lured in by the handsome paycheck at the point of enrollment, amounting to $1,400, and bought out by the emotional campaign run about the glory found in defending religious Islamic and Shi’ite shrines, A.H. found himself dragged into an outrages battlefield a thousand miles away from home. Speaking about the life-defining moment when he decided to March to Syria, A.H. said that it looked like an easy win-win situation for him given the much needed cash, the chance to fight for a cause and against shrine-desecrating terrorists, and last but not least, the fact that he had no wife and children make parting all the more challenging. A.H. also made not of the fact that he received close-to-zero education, leaving him with the bare minimum literacy, but it was enough to read the flyers. After arriving to the headquarters, A.H. says that they were admitted on spot, delivered their luggage and prepared papers to travel to Iran first, then be deployed to Syria battlefields. He noted that most volunteers were young and come from underprivileged slums in Baghdad and some other provinces. “The next day after arriving at the headquarters, movement high-ranking members were waiting for us with five transport buses, with the boarding capacity of 40 people,” he said. “We then headed us to Basra, where Iraq shares borders with Iran.”Most of the new recruits heading to Basra did not even need an official passport , an identification piece was more than sufficient to cross borders. “No one stood in our way until we reached Iran.”Recruits then boarded a plane at an Iranian airport, later finding themselves at Iranian founded training boot camps south of Damascus, said the ex- Nujaba recruit. Eventually becoming cannon fodder, they were transported to an Aleppo stronghold for Iranian-backed militias. “Iranian trainers put us in an intensive 15-day training course on light weapons, and then we were taken to the fighting in Tel al-Ais, in the countryside of Aleppo,” he said. Feeling misled by the recruitment campaign, as he was promised to defend sacred shrines and land near Damascus, A.H. said that he felt short to deceived. “I felt a bit of fear, and I felt early that we had been subjected to some sort of deception. We were supposed to defend the shrine of Sayeda Zeinab, so we are fighting hundreds of kilometers away,” he said.

Ankara Using Energy Agreements to Stop Kurdish Independence Referendum
Asharq Al-Awsat/August 11/17/Ankara – Ankara announced on Thursday that the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s insistence to hold an independence referendum will harm cooperation in the energy sector with Turkey. Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak said during a television interview that the “whole of northern Iraq” will pay the price for the Kurdish region’s decision to go to polls. Going back on the decision to hold the referendum will be a “safe step,” he added. The government of the autonomous region of Kurdistan had announced in June that it will hold an independence referendum on September 25, ignoring warnings from several countries, including Turkey, that this will spark a dispute with Baghdad. President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani voiced on Wednesday his commitment to holding the vote on time, adding that Baghdad failed to establish real partnership with the Kurds. The decision to hold the referendum was issued by the political leadership in the autonomous region and not a single party, he stressed. Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan signed an energy agreement in 2014 that sees energy resources extracted from Kurdistan travel through neighboring Turkey towards the European Union. The agreement is valid for 50 years. Ankara fears that the referendum will result in the formation of a Kurdish entity that will merge with Kurdish-controlled regions in Syria and later Kurdish regions in Iran and Turkey to form what is known as Greater Kurdistan.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 11-12/17
Walid Phares' Ideas Land in the White House Narrative//أفكار د.وليد فارس في ادبيات البيت الأبيض
Rebecca Ynum/Family Security Matters/August 10/17
Though he served as a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign in 2016, Dr. Walid Phares did not join the ranks of the administration in 2017. After election-day, as he returned to the private sector, he told diplomats and journalists, who continued to seek his assessments, that he "remains at the service of the President elect and later his administration, when needed."
Dr. Phares is a veteran when it comes to advising presidential candidates and lawmakers. Back in 2011, he was appointed as a senior national security advisor to Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who asked Phares to review the Middle East related chapter of his own book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness (March 2010) and who later endorsed the Phares' book which predicted the Arab Spring before it happened, titled The Coming Revolution, published in October 2010.
The Beirut-born scholar, who immigrated to the United States in 1990, has not only published several books and numerous articles, but has been prolific in national and international media interviews. The impact of his expertise, particularly on Jihadism, Islamism, Iran's strategies, minorities' issues and human rights in the Middle East, can clearly be found in number of congressional discourses, European Parliament policy conferences, the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns and the present administration.
Phares had briefed candidate Trump in the fall of 2015 but was not officially appointed until March 2016. Among the many talking points he advanced for the campaign on Fox News, French, British, Asian as well as Arab media was the call for an "Arab Alliance against Terror." First published back in 2011 on al Arabiya, Phares' concept of a NATO-like coalition was circulated in several arenas before advocated as a Trump foreign policy component in 2016. The idea, which Phares had discussed with a few Arab leaders early on, materialized when President Trump addressed fifty Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh earlier this year.
Another idea advanced by Phares as early as 2012, and defended during last year's campaign, was the concept of "safe zones" in Syria. Here too, the concept was adopted by the candidate and later promoted by the president as a policy to pursue.
The notion of looking for extremist violent ideologies while countering terrorists as well as for vetting foreigners seeking to enter the United States was found years ago in Phares' books, including Future Jihad (2005) and The War of Ideas (2007,) under the title of "Ideological Identification." During the 2016 campaign, the foreign policy advisor filled the airwaves advocating a new sophisticated system for identifying potential Jihadi terrorists who seek to enter the United States or are already operating on the homeland.
Last but not least, another set of Phares' ideas evolved from campaign foreign policy advocacy to a White House set of talking points. For months during 2016, Dr. Phares refuted the accusation that Donald Trump was either an "isolationist or an interventionist." The advisor reassured European and East Asian diplomats and media, when asked, that a future President Trump would neither disband NATO nor abandon US allies. Phares' statements in Egyptian and Gulf media were key in reassuring many partners that the next administration would rebuild lost strategic bridges.
Obviously, Walid Phares has never claimed to be an exclusive promoter of these ideas, but thick archives from 2016 and years before demonstrate how he fathered several simple concepts and defended them to the advantage of the campaign. Readers, listeners and viewers thanked him in droves for being steadfast in producing the necessary narrative to promote a new approach during the campaign as well as during the few months after the election. Walid Phares' ingenious word-craft can be seen in his efforts to restructure a number of Donald Trump's controversial slogans after they were publicized. One difficult theme was the candidate's call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" in December 2015. For months, Phares worked to build the argument that Trump did indeed have Muslim supporters and that his goal was to stop the Jihadists, not the religion per se, and that Trump was actually reaching deep into the Muslim world to partner against terror. These talking points helped change the international and Arab perception of the Trump image as Phares accepted dozens of interviews conducted in Arabic across the region during the campaign. Not all of the ideas advanced by the advisor ended up as part of policies, but the few that made it to the national audience, were proportionally helpful.
Another popular slogan used by candidate Trump was "America First." It was also sharply attacked as isolationist. Brilliantly, Phares added a proposition that changed the impact of the slogan on concerned ears. In many interviews and statements as of April 2016, the foreign policy advisor told media and diplomats that "America First does not mean America Alone." The line was not seriously noted by the campaign spokespersons until after the election. Only a few months ago, particularly after President Trump's visit to Europe and his speech to NATO, did White House advisors begin to use the phrase in defense of the President's standing worldwide.
Walid Phares' contribution may not have been referred to by the users of the slogan, but what counts for the scholar in world affairs is the contribution to the public cause, that is, to defend America as a powerful, credible and compassionate superpower.
Although Dr. Walid Phares may not have landed a job in the Cabinet or White House this year, there is no doubt-as a long trail of references show-his ideas have certainly landed in the White House narrative.
** Bynum is the editor of the New English Review and member of the American Mideast Coalition for Democracy (AMCD)

Economists Are Cheating Their Profession
Mark Buchanan/Bloomberg/August 11/17
Many economists genuinely want to make their field more scientific — grounded in empirical evidence rather than in theory or, worse, ideology. Yet a recent article by four prominent academics demonstrates the extent to which ideology remains a problem.
My Bloomberg View colleague Justin Fox has highlighted the motivated reasoning in the article, penned by a team of conservative economists including R. Glenn Hubbard of Columbia Business School and John Taylor of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. They argue that the current economic stagnation has nothing to do with a hangover from the financial crisis, and that policies such as lower taxes and cuts in social spending would markedly boost growth. They say this follows from objective analysis of data on past crises and recoveries.
As Fox notes, the analysis actually rests on a conveniently biased selection of data. It includes among past financial crises several moderate downturns that most economists don’t think of as crises, and rather bizarrely counts the grinding decade of the Great Depression as a “rapid recovery” from the recession of 1929. Worse, the article projects a completely unjustified sense of certainty. “Economic theory and historical experience,” it boldly asserts, “indicate economic policies are the primary cause of both the productivity slowdown and the poorly performing labor market.” This willfully misrepresents current thinking. Economists hold diverse views on the roots of the recent malaise, and remain divided and uncertain about the fundamental causes of growth.
The authors have every right to express their views and opinions in forceful terms. But when professional economists write as experts and claim theory as a basis for their views, they also have a duty to present that theory — and other economists’ thoughts about it — honestly. Their failure to do so is “unprofessional,” as University of California at Berkeley economist Brad DeLong rightly put it. It doesn’t reflect the honest, evidence-based approach that most economists aim for.
The question, then, is what, if anything, the profession will do about it. Does it have standards? If so, can it enforce them?
Just like regulators, economists can be captured by powerful corporations and individuals, as University of Chicago economist Luis Zingales has argued. Conservatives in particular have been successful in subverting research for their own ends, especially through the creation of think tanks and by funding economists adept at disguising ideological arguments in objective academic language. Concerted efforts date back at least to the 1980s. In her recent — and controversial — book “Democracy in Chains,” historian Nancy MacLean offers billionaire industrialist Charles Koch’s backing of libertarian economist James Buchanan as an example.
How can the profession combat such capture? Zingales has suggested public shaming, following the example of media efforts such as the film “Inside Job,” which exposed a number of prominent academics for pushing the benefits of modern finance while hiding considerable income from major Wall Street firms. Among the economists scrutinized was Columbia’s Hubbard.
Shaming seems appropriate. After all, public trust is a resource from which all economists benefit. If they want to preserve it, they should draw guidance from Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom. She showed that successful management of such resources typically requires an effective means to maintain group standards and values — for example, by punishing and deterring self-serving behavior among individuals within the group.
Economists who present their opinions as fact, or who misrepresent the consensus, are cheating at the expense of the entire profession. They shouldn’t get away with it.

While Trump Tweets, the ‘Cold Monster’ Returns
Amir Taheri/Asharq Al Awsat/August 11/17
How is Donald Trump doing?
In the past couple of weeks, this question has been making the rounds in political and punditry circles pondering the first six months of the new US President.
The answer depends on whose point of view one has in mind. From Trump’s point of view things are going well for him. He has managed to keep himself at the center of global media coverage almost non-stop, thus satisfying his seemingly insatiable craving for attention. At the same time, he has made it impossible for political foes to challenge him in the field of policies. Not doing anything in that field, he is not exposed to scrutiny and criticism. To avoid being labeled as a do-nothing president, however, he fills the policy vacuum with a deluge of tweets and an avalanche of executive orders while highlighting his few surprising successes, including the ability to name a man of his choice to the US Supreme Court.
Trump has turned the political debate in the US into what sociologist Malinowski calls “phatic communion” or “content-less conversation”, a process solely aimed at keeping the conversation going without conveying any discernible meaning – something like what Irish dramatist Samuel Beckett did in his plays.
The Trump method, if one might call it thus, has two planks.
The first is to foment confusion regarding his public and private personae. All public performers usually have two faces: a phony one in public and a real one in private. In Trump’s case however, it is the public face that is genuine and the private one that is phony, as French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin recently discovered.
The second plank of Trump’s method is to hide what matters through over-exposure. The model for that is Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Purloined Letter” in which Auguste Dupin, the best of French detectives, has to employ all his resources to discover a compromising letter that is so much in evidence that no one notices it. Because everyone sees what Trump is doing, or believes to see what he is doing, no one actually knows what he is doing. That offers him a luxury that few previous US presidents enjoyed, that of escaping the trap of predictability.
More importantly, perhaps, Trump has managed to maintain his original support base almost intact. The latest polls in July showed that his approval rating remains at around 39 percent, the lowest for any president in his first year, but surprisingly close to the base that swept him into the White Hose.
By all accounts, Trump’s presidency is an unusual one because Trump himself is an unusual occupant of the White House. He is the first non-politician to win the presidency since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. He is also the first to enter the White House without the active backing of either of the two big parties.
In Washington the conventional wisdom is that the Trump presidency has already failed and that a change at the top in the White House is only a matter of time.
I am not so sure. Politically, no potential alternative to Trump, Republican or Democrat, could garner a similar support base at this moment. Deeply divided, Americans seem to be getting used to the new version of the Punch-and-Judy show in Washington, and trying to live and better their lives as if government were on auto-pilot.
Government on auto-pilot should not be dismissed out of hand as if it were a misfortune.
In fact, there are many examples in history, including the American story itself, of good results emanating from auto-pilot.
President Bill Clinton’s second term was an overall success by all accounts, largely because the auto-pilot was in working, while the White House was dealing with Monica-gate and the Republicans pursuing their dream of impeaching him.
In contrast, the US passed through one of its most humiliating phases under Jimmy Carter, the most active and hands-on president in the past 100 years.
Trump succeeded Barack Obama, another hands-on president, one of whose aims was to counter the traditional working mechanisms of the US government. One example: He insisted that the firing a missile by an Apache helicopter against terrorist bases in Iraq be first cleared with him in Washington. Obama also took pleasure in publicly contradicting, thus humiliating, his own top aides, including the hapless John Kerry, by reversing policies developed by the American machinery of state.
In contrast, Trump, while playing his TV-show “you-are-fired-game” with his close entourage, most recently with the Italian-American loudmouth Antonio Scaramucci, has steered clear of intervening in the workings of the American machinery of state, the invisible power that the French label “the cold monster”. It may take many more months, if not years, for that “cold monster” to regain the self-confidence and agility it lost under Obama. But the process has already started in the Pentagon, the CIA, the Treasury and the Permanent Legation at the UN. The State Department is the only major part of the “cold monster’ that has not yet recovered from the shock of the Obama years.
Auto-pilot is also working on the economic front. Projected growth rates for the final quarter of 2017 hover close to 2 percent compared to .05 in the comparable period last year. Although job growth was slowing down, US unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.3 percent, the lowest in 16 years. The US dollar also seems to have benefited from auto-pilot, rising against all main currencies, including the euro and the sterling.
Auto-pilot is also doing well on issues of more concern to Trumps’ support base, notably immigration, with the monthly number of expelled “undocumented illegals almost double that of 2016.”
Where auto-pilot isn’t really interested, including on such childish schemes as building a wall on the Mexican border or expelling transgenders from the armed forces, nothing happens beyond the president’s tweets. Nor does “the cold monster” take any notice of Trump’s seemingly conciliatory, not to say flattering, remarks when meeting Putin, Macron or British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Trump may end up doing damage to the presidency as an institution by further de-sacralising not to say demeaning it. But that could help other institutions, the Congress and the Supreme Court more specifically, to regain part of the strength they lost under Obama.
Each presidency develops a grammar of its own which, if not understood, would make its proper assessment difficult. Trump’s is no exception. So far, it has allowed the US machinery of state, the “cold monster” to enter a period of convalescence to recover from the shock of the Obama years. That may not be a success for Trump, but it certainly is for the US.

UK: Still Welcoming Jihadis
Douglas Murray/Gatestone Institute/August 11/17
What excuse is there in a country which has now seen and suffered the effects of Islamist terror so many times, a country that the Prime Minister has claimed has had "enough" of this terror, for precisely the same two clerics to return to the UK for another tour?
On their visit to the UK last summer, the two clerics were allowed to talk at mosques up and down the UK, including in Prime Minister Theresa May's own constituency. By way of explanation, as the imam of the Madina Mosque and Islamic Centre in Oldham, Zahoor Chishti, said of the two clerics, "They have got hundreds of thousands of followers in the UK." For his part, the son of the murdered Punjab Province Governor Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Taseer, criticised the UK authorities for letting people who praised the murderer of his father into the UK.
Last year, members of the British government could have claimed to have been ignorant of the views of these two clerics. They could have pretended that they did not know that they were allowing into the UK two men principally known for encouraging the murder of apostates. They could have pretended to have been ignorant of the beliefs of two men who like to whip up crowds to praise murderers. But they cannot be unaware this year. So what are the excuses for letting them in? Are there any?
The British Prime Minister's June declaration, that when it came to terrorism in the UK, "enough is enough", already looks like little more than rhetoric. If members of the British government want to move on from rhetoric to action, however, they need to do more than just work out what new things are going wrong in British counter-extremism policy. They will need to identify the mistakes they keep on making, and perhaps try to avoid making them yet again. Bewilderingly, a remarkable opportunity to learn a lesson appears to have been missed yet again.
At almost precisely this time last year, two clerics from Pakistan toured the UK. Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman are well-known clerics in their native country. Not the least of the reasons for their fame -- or notoriety -- is that they took a particularly strong line on the issue of Mumtaz Qadri. He is the man who in 2011 murdered Salman Taseer, the governor of the Punjab province in Pakistan. Taseer had gained attention for taking a brave public stance in opposition to his country's strict blasphemy laws -- often used as a pretext to persecute religious minorities, including Muslim religious minorities, in Pakistan. Such laws have recently been used against a Christian, Asia Bibi, who has now been imprisoned under a death sentence for seven years because of allegations made against her by a Muslim woman: that she drank from the same water as Muslims. The case of Asia Bibi was one of the injustices which Taseer had highlighted. Because of Taseer's vocal opposition to such laws, Mumtaz Qadri (who had been employed to act as one of the governor's bodyguards) evidently decided that Taseer was an apostate. In January 2011, Qadri murdered the man he was employed to look after.
Qadri's action were hugely divisive both in Pakistan and in the global Pakistani diaspora. After a trial that same year, Qadri was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to death -- a sentence that was carried out in February 2016.
That event brings us back to the two clerics, Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman and Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman. After Qadri's conviction, on at least one occasion Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman delivered a hysterical speech supporting the murder of Taseer, while his fellow cleric, Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman, looked on approvingly from the platform. The video of this occasion has now been removed from YouTube, where it had previously been hosted.
While his fellow Pakistani cleric, Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman, delivered a hysterical speech supporting the murder of Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab province, Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman (pictured above at an unrelated event in 2011) looked on approvingly from the platform. (Image source: US Embassy Pakistan)
Meanwhile, here is Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman after the funeral of the murderer Mumtaz Qadri in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, whipping up a vast crowd of mourners. During the speech, he repeatedly refers to Qadri as a shaheed [martyr]. This was after tens of thousands of people attended Qadri's funeral, and afterwards rioted, chanting slogans such as "Qadri, your blood will bring the revolution" and "the punishment for a blasphemer is beheading" -- and then murdered the human rights attorney who had defended Taseer.
After Qadri's execution, Haseeb ur Rehman also declared on social media that "'Every person who loves Islam and Prophet is in grief for the martyrdom of Mumtaz Qadri."
So, these are two clerics whom the British government thought appropriate to let into the UK. The British government has previously made it clear that entry to the UK is not a right of absolutely everyone in the world, and that under certain conditions (especially if the individuals may be thought to contribute to a breach of the peace) the government can bar people from entry. Nevertheless, on their visit to the UK last summer, the two clerics were allowed to talk at mosques up and down the UK, including in Prime Minister Theresa May's own constituency. By way of explanation, as the imam of the Madina Mosque and Islamic Centre in Oldham, Zahoor Chishti, said of the two clerics, "They have got hundreds of thousands of followers in the UK."
For his part, the son of the murdered Governor Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Taseer, criticised the UK authorities for letting people who praised the murderer of his father into the UK:
"These people teach murder and hate. For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in. It's countries like the UK and the US that claim they are leading the way in the war against terror [and] setting a standard. Why are they allowing people [in] that give fuel to the fire they are fighting against?"
On that occasion it was perhaps possible to claim that the UK government were ignorant about whom they were allowing into the UK. If so, they could not claim to be once the men were in the country. Here at Gatestone, among other places, the government was warned about the two clerics and informed about their extremism.
What excuse is there in a country which has now seen and suffered the effects of Islamist terror so many times, a country that the Prime Minister has claimed has had "enough" of this terror, for precisely the same two clerics to return to the UK for another tour? And not just to return but to take part in a meeting of faith leaders in Oldham which claimed to be organised with an intention to "bring communities together and address terrorism"? That engagement (which took place at the end of last month) turns out to have been just one more meeting in another tour of the UK and Europe -- this one lasting up until August 27.
Last year, members of the British government could have claimed to have been ignorant of the views of these two clerics. They could have pretended that they did not know that they were allowing into the UK two men principally known for encouraging the murder of apostates. They could have pretended to have been ignorant of the beliefs of two men who like to whip up crowds to praise murderers. They could have been unaware that such people were going to speak to thousands of UK Muslims. But they cannot be unaware this year. So what are the excuses for letting them in? Are there any? Or are the words of elected officials in Britain just words today?
**Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England.
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Trump and North Korea: What could come next
Ellen Mitchell /Hill/August 11/17
President Trump, like his predecessors, faces a poor set of options when it comes to North Korea. Because North Korea could wipe out much of Seoul, South Korea, with a missile attack, Trump’s promise of “fire and fury” in response to North Korea’s threats, while appealing to a segment of Trump’s base, is a decided risk. Past presidents have sought other options to try to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, though none have been successful.
Here is what could be next for Trump.
Return to negotiations
A new negotiation with North Korea strikes many watching the latest development as unlikely. “North Korea has provided no indication whatsoever that it is interested in denuclearization,” noted Bruce Klingner, the CIA’s former deputy division chief for South Korea. “There’s nothing the U.S or Korea can offer to induce them to abandon their nuclear arsenal,” he said. “They’re willing to talk about a peace treaty or fight, but they want to be accepted as a nuclear state.” Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, agreed that a negotiation was an unlikely option for a White House that has asserted a nuclear-armed North Korea is unacceptable.“With North Korea holding three Americans captive and North Korea unwilling to deal away its nukes, there is no basis of foundation for talks,” he said.
New sanctions The United Nations’ latest resolution targets North Korea’s primary exports of coal, iron, lead, lead and seafood, as well as banks and joint ventures with foreign companies.The new sanctions, which aim to cut $1 billion — roughly a third — of the country’s annual foreign revenue, are the most severe yet on Pyongyang.Yet there is more the international community could do.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday visited Thailand to push that country to do more to cut funding streams for North Korea. Klingner, now with the Heritage Foundation, said there’s a misconception among those in Washington that North Korea is the most heavily sanctioned and cut-off nation on Earth.
“The reality is we’ve done things to other nations that we haven’t done to North Korea,” Klingner said. “There’s more that could be done.”
Increase pressure on China
China has voted to move new sanctions against North Korea in response to the country test-firing two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July. But the Trump administration is hoping for more action on that front. China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner and main source of food and energy, and Washington wants Beijing to use its leverage to bring the erratic nation to heel. Kazianis says Trump should call Chinese President Xi Jinping, or call him out on Twitter, and “explain the days of China looking the other way when it comes to North Korea are over.”“Beijing must enforce the sanctions within 30 days — or else. If not, America will have no choice but to consider a massive recalibration of the U.S.-China relationship,” Kazianis said. “We don't want to wake up one morning and discover Kim Jong Un has tested a hydrogen bomb — the next milestone for the North Korean regime — when China could have helped us take away the resources to make that happen.” Patrick Chovanec, managing director of Silvercrest Asset Management, said going after Chinese banks and companies doing business with North Korea is a strong possible move, but “the question is: How wide and aggressively do you cast that net?”
“I've heard some argue we should purposely try to use sanctions to undermine the stability of China's banking system,” Chovanec said. Klingner said the United States has seen time and again that China turns a blind eye on weapons proliferation. He suggests financial sanctions. “The U.S. imposed $12 billion in fines on European banks for money laundering for Iran. We haven’t imposed a single penny in fines on any Chinese bank,” Klingner said.
Tighten alliances with South Korea and Japan
The U.S. military has stepped up its show of force through recent joint military drills with Japan and South Korea. The Pentagon is also considering a request from South Korea to allow it to develop more powerful ballistic missiles.
Walid Phares, a former foreign policy adviser to Trump, told The Hill a closer bond with Japan and South Korea, coupled with a deeper dialogue with China, may help to “show North Korea that the entire world is now against it.” “What most impresses the North Korean regime, politically, is a united U.N. Security Council position and joint actions by the international community to isolate Pyongyang,” Phares said. The council’s latest sanctions against North Korea’s ICBM testing “is the kind of development that would push the dictatorship to slow down its activities.”
But such a united international front can only work if the United States “is leading a coordinated campaign with its East Asian partners to deter North Korea with a display of military power,” Phares said. “If these three developments are taking place simultaneously, it would be the combination that could stop and even reverse Pyongyang's aggressive behavior.”
A pre-emptive military strike
Viewed as the last and most severe response from the Trump administration, a pre-emptive military strike has been floated as a serious option this week. Past administrations have considered limited strikes targeting North Korean testing facilities, but such a plan has never been implemented.Options discussed among some in Trump’s circle include using U.S. missile defenses to shoot down the next ballistic missile test or take out launchers and testing facilities on the North Korean peninsula.But analysts and politicians alike warn that it’s not clear how much a limited strike would achieve, or what kind of response it could provoke.Kazianis said a military strike to take out North Korea's nuclear weapons would just end up killing millions.“Assume, for example, Kim Jong Un has 60 nuclear weapons. If we strike and miss one or two weapons, he will attack Seoul, or Tokyo or possibly Los Angeles. No one will take that risk,” Kazianis said. Experts have said the range and length of North Korea’s last two missiles' flight indicates the nation has the capability to hit North America. U.S. military officials note, however, that North Korea is still a ways off before it is able to target specific locations.
Klingner agreed that any pre-emptive strike currently under consideration is “dangerously provocative” and could lead to an all-out war on the peninsula. That hasn’t stopped Trump from considering the option.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said earlier this month that Trump is willing to go to war with North Korea to prevent an ICBM from reaching the United States. “He has told me that. I believe him,” Graham said on NBC’s “Today.”Klingner, the chief of the CIA's Korea branch during the 1994 nuclear crisis with North Korea, said that the situation now is more serious since the last standoff. “We have a more unpredictable U.S. president, we know less about the North Korean leader than we did then and North Korea has a much greater nuclear missile delivery capability than they did in 1994,” he said.
“So things are getting very dicey, even by Korea peninsula standards.”

Time to end the Iranian horror show once and for all
Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi/Al Arabiya/August 11/17
Imagine a situation in which your neighborhood is under criminal attack. Your religious authority advised citizens to help protect the place. So you and your neighbors decided to create a “neighborhood watch”— a vigilant group to support the police. You coordinated your work with law and order authorities, who provided you with training, supervision and weapons.The situation improved and the gangs were beaten. In the meanwhile, the religious majority in your group went under the bad influence of a foreign power. Original goals were forgotten, new directions were drawn. Rogue elements took control and began to act like the gangs they fought. They used their newfound power to serve foreign and personal agendas, oppressing and prosecuting the different other, in the name of God. Ethnic and religious cleansing using barbaric methods became their main mission. Instead of disbanding them, the government decided to incorporate the militias into the security system, even if their allegiance and leadership are officially foreign. The government probably thought it was the second best option. Since they couldn’t get rid of the problem why not try to manage it. However, the result so far is: Criminal mobs are acting in the name of the system and under its wing and flag. They get paid, trained and prepared to finish what they started, under foreign leadership, against the best interest of their country and people.
Same horror movie
It is boring to watch the same horror movie twice. You already know what is going to happen next — no surprises. Imagine how tragic if it was a true story — your own. Worse, even though you memorized the scenario, knew all tricks and moves, you cannot do anything about it!
The first show was in Lebanon, 1982. A sectarian party was created, with the telling name “Hezbollah,” the Party of Allah — like there was no one on His side but them. Iran openly sponsored, armed and provided for a supposedly Arab-Lebanese political party. We were sold on the idea that the party is defending the country against Israel, even as the “Party of God” sold hashish in our streets. As Arab governments became powerless in the face of the “Evil Empire,” it is refreshing to see people rising and seeking support from the Arab and international community. In Beirut, Sanaa and Baghdad, we witness how ordinary, peaceful Arabs are fighting back. This week, hundreds of thousands have demonstrated in Iraqi towns against Iranian hegemony, corruption and sectarianism. Times can be short for liars, and the truth has a way of testing the most foolproof lies. So, 25 years later, the Party failed the first test, with a bang, by running an assassination squad against all opposing political, security and media figures, including the prime minister, Rafik Hariri; attempting a coup, overtaking the government, and fighting sectarian wars abroad on behalf of Iran. Israel, in the meanwhile, has received no more than shouting speeches.
The scenario was followed in a similar movie by the same director. In Yemen, “Ansarallah” (the supporters of Allah) followed the script of “the Party of Allah” in letter and logo. Even the pretext of fighting America and Israel, thousands of miles away, was used as a banner. Iran pushed the party up the system ladder till it became the effective government.
Iraq’s Shiite militia
Now the same disastrous transcript is being written and executed in Iraq. Again, Iran is creating a Shiite militia, giving it all the support and guidance it needed to run its dirty work in Arab countries. That included killing, torture, sectarian cleansing and corruption as the “Persian Empire” needed to rise again and spread from Afghanistan and Azerbaijan to Syria and Lebanon. As Arab governments became powerless in the face of the “Evil Empire,” it is refreshing to see people rising and seeking support from the Arab and international community. In Beirut, Sanaa and Baghdad, we witness how ordinary, peaceful Arabs are fighting back. This week, hundreds of thousands have demonstrated in Iraqi towns against Iranian hegemony, corruption and sectarianism. Iraqis, in the clearest terms, called for Iranians to get out of Iraq and stop interfering in their affairs. They also called for arms to be taken away from militias, the return of refugees to their towns, and the dismantling of Iran’s Al-Hashad Al-Shabi. The war with ISIS is over, they argued, so Ayatoallh Al-Sistani’s fatwa of 2013 for citizens to carry arms and fight back no longer applies. Moqtada Al-Sadr is an Arab Shiite cleric with millions of followers. He has always advocated the above demands, calling for Iran to get out long before anyone else dared to. To show his seriousness about collecting arms and dismantling militias he proposed to dismantle his own, too. A true Arab leader like Al-Sadr deserves our support. Thanks Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, it is about time we ended this Iranian horror show once and for all. The train may have started in Yemen, and now in Iraq, but should not stop there. Lebanon and Syria should come next. Iran, too. Our oppressed brothers and sisters there deserve our full support. Let’s “Free Iran” and we shall all be free.

Qatar’s supremacy...Fortune does not equate with respect
Salman al-Dosary/Al Arabiya/August 11/17
In April 1986, Qatar executed a military operation marking the first of its kind between countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Military forces were airdropped in Bahraini island al-Debel and they apprehended 29 employees and construction workers over there. During the ruling of former King Fahd, Saudi Arabia intervened and its mediation led to the release of the Bahraini nationals after 17 days of detention. Orchestrated by the former Prince Hamad bin Khalifa, who was the Crown Prince and Defense Minister back then, Qatar’s aggressive and barbaric operation was catastrophic to the Gulf. Even amid their toughest border disagreements, no Gulf state ever executed such a reckless behavior.The International Court of Justice ruled that Hawar islands remain under Bahrain’s jurisdiction, despite the forged documents presented at the court by Qatari authorities. Even after the ruling, and despite being its closest neighbor and many of Qatar’s families married into Bahraini ones, Doha continued to treat Bahrain with superiority.
Immoral, pathetic
Yet, what God granted Qatar of natural resources, was used immorally by the state sometimes and pathetically at other times. Majorly, its behavior became dominated by money and its value, but anyway, Qatar continued to believe that its behavior is a tool to prove its dominance and power.
The bitterness was apparent during the interview of Bahrain’s Minister of Interior Affairs Rashid bin Abdallah with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper when he narrated Qatar’s history of superiority or the Qatari aggression when it peaked during the crisis in February 2011 - when Doha intervened and supported the extremist opposition seeking to topple the regime. The Bahraini minister revealed that Doha disrupted the construction of a bridge between Bahrain and Qatar by not providing its share of the Gulf support program like its GCC counterparts. Bahrain was the country most slandered and defamed by Qatar, which was caught on by Bahrain Foreign Minister who said: “Thank God we are immensely more rich with wonderful creative people than materialistic wealth, and more thankful for not being nouveau riche.”In addition, Qatar prevented the export of gas to Manama, forcing Bahrain to import it from Russia, although Qatar exports its gas to different countries around the world, according to the minister.
Aside from the details of historical background that enabled Qatar to poorly treat its neighboring countries, the heinous behavior of the authorities reached the peak when they began promoting an ignorant idea, which is based on the concept that natural resources favor a state over another and that money owned by people is what makes a nation more respected than the other. Bahrain was the country most slandered and defamed by Qatar, which was caught on by Bahrain Foreign Minister who said: “Thank God we are immensely more rich with wonderful creative people than materialistic wealth, and more thankful for not being nouveau riche.”
If only Qatar knew
The sure thing is that Qatar’s superior behavior, precisely when dealing with Bahrain, was publicly unveiled as its isolation crisis unraveled. Doha confirmed a shallow concept that its resources and fortune permits it to carry on with its hostile policies towards its neighbors. Without any regard for the social and political concepts, Qatar is delusional that money can buy whatever it pleases.If only Qatar knew that this is a concept that devalues the country and doesn’t promote it. When was fortune a measure for people’s worth? Any country that brags about its money and resources instead of its history and geography, is doomed to be wiped out. Money can buy a lot of things, but not respect and dignity.Qatar seems to forget that fortune does not buy open land borders and all the fortunes in the world won’t make Turkey or Iran Gulf neighbors.

Qatar and the western media
Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/August 11/17
Readers may have followed up or participated in a discussion about Qatar’s problem or Qatar’s policies. We must note though that the Qatari people and state, ever since it was founded by Sheikh Jassim, are something else other than the policies of Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and his aide Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber.Media outlets that serve Qatar’s policies, whether direct or indirect, Arab or non-Arab, Muslim or non-Muslim, are working at their maximum capacity in this war of media mobilization to distract people from the essence of the problem. A wide category of supporters that includes Brotherhood and Khomeini supporters and leftists have been aiding these media outlets not out of their love for Doha but out of their hatred for Riyadh, Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Manama.
The essence of the problem with Qatar and its policies is due to Doha’s actual contribution to funding terrorism and extremism and upsetting the security situation and social harmony in other countries – not only in the four countries, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt but also in Libya, Yemen and other countries.Doha has been the center funding and providing media support to all the chaos happening in our countries for almost two decades. The Khomeini Iran has an army of terrorism and sectarian incitement. The Brotherhood which uses the name or legitimacy of the state of Qatar is in fact loyal to Khomeini.
Some Brotherhood stars have been famous for this love for Khomeini, such as Tunisian politician Rached Ghannouchi, Egyptian figure Kamal El Helbawy and a bunch of Palestinian politicians who support the Brotherhood such as Ramadan Shalah, Fathi Shaqaqi and Mahmoud al-Zahar or media activists such as the British-Palestinian academic Azzam Tamimi, who is the star of brotherly dialogues with symbols of religious and political incitement, such as Sa'ad Al-Faqih and Mohammad al-Massari, particularly against Saudi Arabia. Summing up the problem with Qatar with nonsense such as air routes and Doha’s ability to impose its flights on everyone despite other countries’ sovereignty or summing it up in the idea that the four boycotting countries want to silence freedom of speech – and what freedom of speech – by closing Al-Jazeera channel reflects the Qatari Brotherhood propaganda machine’s hard work to confuse the matter.
I agree with statements that it was not important to list this demand pertaining to Al-Jazeera in this form. It was enough to state “obligating Qatar’s media not to promote terrorist and propagandist content of terrorist and sectarian groups.” Practically this means cancelling Al-Jazeera and other Qatari networks.
However is it fair or logical to annul all other demands under the pretext that the western media (which loves Saudi Arabia and Egypt!) was upset of this demand to close Al-Jazeera? The western media no longer cares about other things!
People have confused us! They demand Arabs and Muslims and Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which are prominent Muslim nations, to be serious in combating terrorism and fighting those who fund it and encourage it via media outlets. So why are this angry that the four anti-terror countries are doing so?
One last question: Has the media of the four countries failed to reflect this clear picture to the western audience and others?
I will answer this later.

Why did the Red Sea Project provoke this academic?
Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran/Al Arabiya/August 11/17
It seems that prominent translator and academic Abou Yaareb Marzouki who is into philosophy and logic and its methods has been unfortunately destroyed by political analysis. It seems his delusional strategic prophecies and wrong political bets have backfired on him and on his followers. His permanent tension and egocentrism destroy the value of knowledge. I actually met him once. He’s skillful in philosophy regardless of his approaches and results. However, he failed miserably when he entered the world of political analysis. Some attribute the wrath which Marzouki feels towards moderate Gulf countries to the Arab Spring phase. Others, however, think his wrath is linked to Donald Trump’s Riyadh visit. Those observing him though know that his rivalry towards Gulf countries is racial. On July 31, Saudi Arabia announced the Red Sea Project which will cover an area of 34,000 sq. km and include more than 50 islands between the areas of Umluj and Wajah. Following the announcement, Marzouki, in his usual superior tone and reckless and vile approach, gleefully said: “Tourism does not suit the country of the two holy mosques unless it’s cultural and religious but it seems to me that this is the first phase of secularization.”
His statement actually exposes exactly what I want to criticize about him as he always speaks with absolute certainty and he is also self-centered and behaves like he is superior to others. He sits on his couch and uses Twitter to tell the Saudis what suits them and what doesn’t. He previously addressed us, the Saudis, and lectured us on how to spend our money and how we can master development and set the basis for renaissance.
The Tunisian academic thinks Saudi Arabia does not have consultants, skilled experts or elites whose opinions are taken into consideration in institutions and governments across the world. He thinks Saudi Arabia is about few oil wells in a desert and some camels!
Abou Yaareb falls within the category of intellectuals we’ve been familiar with since the phase of nationalism – a category which is soft with enemies but which adopts a poisonous rhetoric against the Gulf. Many of these intellectuals who oppose and advise the Gulf have actually competed over awards in Gulf countries and rushed to benefit from the generosity of their governments and institutions. Gulf countries which are rich in oil and gas have always included their Arab partners in their wealth via offering educational and practical facilitations. This wealth was not exclusive to the people in the Gulf.
It is clear that Marzouki fell victim to dangerous political bets that are the opposite of moderation and stability as his slogans are related to the nation and the revolution and not to the homeland and development. Add to all that his chronic tense relation with Saudi Arabia and moderate Gulf countries. His analyses are most of the time vengeful as he desires to harm Gulf states for no reason whatsoever. His exultation, superiority and overconfidence are unjustified. Arabs have until today considered working in a Gulf country a great opportunity to secure a future. Therefore, this superiority which some Arab intellectuals display when talking about “petro-Islam,” “Bedouins,” “oil culture,” or “cement states” reflect their spite. Cloning the ‘Arab Spring’ experience
Following the measures which some Gulf countries took to combat terrorism, Marzouki, the man who raised the slogan “Arab awareness in the nation’s causes,” wrote a blog post entitled “Gulf’s tsunami or the folly of the Arab counterrevolution.”In the post published on June 5 on his Facebook page, Marzouki said: “The blockade on Qatar is due to two factors which are Al-Jazeera and hosting some Arab opposition figures.” Marzouki wrote this expecting to clone the “Arab Spring” experience in the Gulf. He thus sided with Qatar in its support of terrorist groups like the al-Qaeda organization, the Popular Mobilization, the Revolutionary Guards, ISIS, al-Nusra Front and Taliban. He supports mobilization in Syria for the purpose of “jihad.”
Tunisians believe Marzouki’s statements led some Tunisian young men to go to Syria where they fought and died. In a famous statement, he said: “I understood the slogans of revolution. These slogans are the reason jihad is necessary. I am proud there are Tunisian youths fighting across the world for the values of dignity and freedom which they believe in. If I were a young man, I would be fighting with them. In all cases, I am fighting according to what suits my age. I will not keep silent over the villainies which the heroes of the future are being accused of. These heroes will restore glory to our nation, and they will not only do so via direct jihad but also via educational and humanitarian excellence. I am ashamed that some think this is a crime. I am surprised how some support the atrocities happening in Syria and think those aiding the weak and the helpless are criminals!”
It is clear that Marzouki fell victim to dangerous political bets that are the opposite of moderation and stability as his slogans are related to the nation and the revolution and not to the homeland and development. Add to all that his chronic tense relation with Saudi Arabia and moderate Gulf countries. His analyses are most of the time vengeful as he desires to harm Gulf states for no reason whatsoever. His exultation, superiority and overconfidence are unjustified. We wish he looks after his own matters and after his country’s affairs and leave countries that are more successful to be managed and advised by their own people. The supporters of failed states are not very qualified to advise states that are among the world’s most powerful economies.