Our LCCC Website is in a maintenance Status/موقع المنسقية في وضعية صيانة
موقعنا (موقع المنسقية) هو الآن في وضعية صيانة روتينية قد تأخذ عدة ساعات.. لهذا هو بطيء في الغالب وقد قد لا يفتح
Our LCCC Website is going NOW through a routine maintenance process.. It might be very slow to open or does not open at all.. Hopefully the process will done soon


August 18/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

The Bulletin's Link on the lccc Site

 News Bulletin Achieves Since 2006
Click Here to go to the LCCC Daily English/Arabic News Buletins Archieves Since 2016

Bible Quotations For Today
From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 12/42-48/:"The Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says to himself, "My master is delayed in coming", and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful. That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded."

It seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner without indicating the charges against him
Acts of the Apostles 25,13-14.22-27/:"After several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to welcome Festus. Since they were staying there for several days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, ‘There is a man here who was left in prison by Felix. Agrippa said to Festus, ‘I would like to hear the man myself.’ ‘Tomorrow’, he said, ‘you will hear him.’ So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then Festus gave the order and Paul was brought in. And Festus said, ‘King Agrippa and all here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish community petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. But I found that he had done nothing deserving death; and when he appealed to his Imperial Majesty, I decided to send him. But I have nothing definite to write to our sovereign about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write for it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner without indicating the charges against him.’

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 17-18/17
Our Thoughts and prayers go to the Barcelona terrorist’s victims/Elias Bejjani/August 17/17
Lebanon Prepares for Syria's Post-War Construction Windfall/Associated Press/August 17/17
Risks of Iran nuclear deal collapse/Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/August 17/17
Dialogue with Iran Through Qatar/Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al Awsat/August 17/17
How Technology Might Get Out of Control/Mark Buchanan/Bloomberg/August 17/17
Minimize Islamic Terrorism in America? Just Manipulate Statistics/A.Z. Mohamed//Gatestone Institute/August 17/17
Turkish Education: Jihad In, Evolution Out/Burak Bekdil/Gatestone Institute/August 17/17
The Palestinian Authority is a Genocidal Terrorist Entity and Should be Treated as Such/Guy Millière/Gatestone Institute/August 17/17

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on August 17-18/17
Our Thoughts and prayers go to the Barcelona terrorist’s victims
13 killed and over 50 injured in Barcelona attack, ISIS claims responsibility
Lebanese Army to Launch Battle Against ISIS
Lebanon Repeals ‘Marry the Rapist’ Law
Israel Says it Hit Nearly '100 Hizbullah' Arms Convoys in 5 Years
Lebanese Army Scores Advancements in Outskirts, Kills Six IS Militants
Report: Lebanese Ministers in Syria 'In Their Personal Capacity'
Hajj Hassan meets with Syria Prime Minister in Damascus
Lebanese Cabinet Convenes at Baabda, Aoun Invites for 'Speedy' State Budget Approval
Infamous Australian-Lebanese IS Fighter Reported Dead in Syria
Lebanon Prepares for Syria's Post-War Construction Windfall
Aoun, Lebanese Ambassador to Germany discuss overall situation
Aoun: Baabda meeting showed flaws in salary scale and tax bills
Loyalty to Resistance bloc calls for widest campaign of solidarity with army
Future bloc: Ministers' visits to Syria occur in their personal capacity
Hariri asks Jreissati, Riachi to track down rumors about army
Hariri chairs meeting of ministerial panel tasked to devise economic strategy
Riachi, Bukhari tackle overall situation

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 17-18/17
Barcelona attack: Why the War on Terror is far from over
U.N. hopes for Syria peace talks in October or November
US slams Middle East allies in 'religious freedom' report
Israeli TV: Iran Building a Long-Range Rocket Factory in Syria
Bahrain Reveals Phone Calls Showing Qatar’s Role in 2011 Events
Saudi Crown Prince Discusses Regional Developments with US Secretary of State
Ankara Intensifies Consultations with Moscow, Tehran to Face ‘Nusra’ in Idlib
President Hadi: Iranian Plots Failed in Yemen
Bouteflika Sacks Algerian Prime Minister

Latest Lebanese Related News published on August 17-18/17
Our Thoughts and prayers go to the Barcelona terrorist’s victims
Elias Bejjani/August 17/17
Our Thoughts, hearts, sympathies, support are with the Barcelona terrorist’s victims.
Our prayers go to the victims who lost their lives, to the injured and to their families and friends.
This barbaric and savage new terrorist attack is strongly condemned by all means.
Terrorism is a deadly and devastating evil cancer that needs to be totally and globally eradicated as soon as possible and by all worldwide means. All those, individuals, organisations and countries who promote, finance, adopt, use and advocate for terrorism and terrorists must be charged and put on trial no matter who they are.
May Almighty God Bless the souls of the Barcelona innocent victims and with His Fatherly love safeguard the injured and lead them with His care to a quick recovery.

Back Ground of the Attack
13 killed and over 50 injured in Barcelona attack, ISIS claims responsibility

Al Arabiya EnglishT/hursday, 17 August 2017/A van has crashed into dozens of people in Barcelona’s city centre, local police said on Wednesday. Officials reported 13 people were killed, in the terrorist act in Barcelona where a van ploughed into pedestrians and two armed men entered a restaurant and chased by the police. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, the group’s Amaq news agency said.“The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of ISIS and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states,” the agency said, referring to a United States-led coalition against the militant group. One of the van attackers has died in a shootout with police, while two were arrested over the attack. There were at least 50 people reported injured in a “massive crash”, police said on Twitter. Catalan emergency services said people should not go to the area around Placa Catalunya.
The driver of the van fled vehicle on foot -el pais newspaper, citing police. A number of people were injured when a van rammed into a crowd of pedestrians on Barcelona’s iconic Las Ramblas on Thursday, police said. “Huge collision on Las Ramblas in Barcelona by an individual driving a van, many injuries,” a statement said. The area around the incident was cordoned off, with several ambulances and police vehicles on the scene, an AFP correspondent said.
The famous Las Ramblas Boulevard is one of Barcelona’s busiest streets, normally thronged with tourists and street performers until well into the night.It was not immediately clear if the van had been deliberately driven into people, but vehicles have been used as weapons in several terror attacks in Europe in recent years.Two armed men have entered a restaurant in Barcelona after van crash.

Lebanese Army to Launch Battle Against ISIS
Asharq Al Awsat/August 17/17/Beirut- The Lebanese Army continue its preparations for the anticipated battle with ISIS, in Ras Baalbek and al-Qaa where the army intensified bombardment and deployed forces and equipment. It has been rumored that the land-battle will be launched within the upcoming hours – military sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hezbollah handed out some sites to the army.
Sources also denied the commencement of the battle, “what occurred in the past hours is an advancement of the army towards hills outlooking the region where ISIS members are sheltering, but no clashes occurred.”According to Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA), “The shelling with heavy artillery has destroyed a number of tanks and fortifications, amid the reinforcement of positions in Arsal Mountains to prevent any infiltration of terrorists.”Head of Arsal Municipality Basel al-Hujairi noted that the residents of Arsal did not yet receive access to their lands which were occupied by Jabhat al-Nusra, but he added that the Lebanese Army is in charge of the matter. “Hezbollah has expressed willingness to hand out these lands to the Army and their owners but it seems that some procedures must be taken first,” Hujairi added. “However the miserable economic condition makes the residents in a rush to restore their lands so that they can invest them and operate their factories,” he continued.
Until this moment, ISIS shows no intention to hold negotiations to depart from the region or to disclose the destiny of the nine Lebanese soldiers captives – since 2014. However, experts said that ISIS would likely negotiate after the military battle is launched. Riad Kahwaji, INEGMA’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, stated that the army depends on “a specific strategy in dealing with ISIS through exerting pressure and exasperating it, which might push ISIS at the end to refuge to negotiations.”

Lebanon Repeals ‘Marry the Rapist’ Law
Asharq Al Awsat/August 17/17/Beirut- After a long strive by the women authorities and the civil society in Lebanon, the Lebanese Parliament repealed a law (Article 522) that allowed rapists to evade punishment by marrying their victims. However, the decision was seen insufficient. Lebanese Women Affairs Minister Jean Oghassabian was the first to object and tweeted that he welcomes the repeal of article 522, but shows reservation over preserving articles 505 and 518, since there are no exceptions in the rape crime. He added that articles 505 and 518 stipulate that the rapist will not be prosecuted if he marries the underage – between 15 and 18 years old. Following protests of organizations and associations in the civil community, the article was finally abolished – in the beginning of August, Jordan enacted a similar law that punishes the rapist instead of exempting him if he marries the victim. Director of KAFA Zoya Rouhana stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that the “parliament step is incomplete, as usual. It maintained two articles that legalize the marriage of the underage instead of repealing them as we were demanding.”Rouhana explained that articles from 503 to 521 tackle various kinds of sexual crimes, however the following article 522 sums them up stipulating that the rapist is exempted from the punishment in case he marries the victim. “But the parliament excluded articles 505 and 518 that still allow the rapist to evade punishment if he marries the victim. This makes Jordan better than Lebanon and shows that their legislations are braver,” she added. Oghassabian stated that the ministry will propose before the cabinet a bill to abolish these two oppressive articles that encourage marrying the underage.

Israel Says it Hit Nearly '100 Hizbullah' Arms Convoys in 5 Years
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 17/17/Israel's military army has carried out nearly 100 strikes in the past five years on convoys carrying weapons to Hizbullah and other militant groups in Syria and elsewhere, an Israeli general said Thursday. Former air force commander Amir Eshel told Haaretz newspaper that "since 2012, I'm talking about many dozens of strikes... the number is close to being three digits". "An action could be an isolated thing, small and pinpointed, or it could be an intense week involving a great many elements," he said of the strikes. Since Syria's civil war erupted in 2011, Israel has maintained a policy of attacking arms convoys intended for Hizbullah, which is a key supporter of the Syrian regime and fought a devastating war against the Jewish state in 2006. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last year that Israel had "taken military action" against Iranian convoys leading weapons to Hizbullah "dozens and dozens of times". Israel also carries out strikes in retaliation for spillover in fighting on the Golan Heights facing Syria when rockets or other projectiles have landed over the demarcation line. According to Eshel, who was commander of the air force for five years, the strikes had been precise enough to avoid escalation, but at the same time they had served as a deterrent to war with Israel. "I think that in the view of our enemies, as I understand things, this language is clear here and also understood beyond the Middle East," Eshel told Haaretz. He did not specify the location of the strikes, but Haaretz said they were carried out on a number of different fronts. Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.Around 510 square kilometers remain under Syrian control.

Lebanese Army Scores Advancements in Outskirts, Kills Six IS Militants

Associated Press/Naharnet/August 17/17/Lebanon's army have bombarded the posts of Islamic State group extremists on the outskirts of Ras Baablek and al-Qaa inflicting casualties among their ranks. Army troops continue to tighten the siege on the militant group entrenched on Lebanon's eastern border near the border with Syria, the Army Command Directorate of Orientation said in a communique. The Army command published a series of photos showing its advancements in the last hours. Six militants were killed in the shelling, including an IS leader. A mortar launch pad was destroyed and a number of weapons, ammunition and military equipment left behind by the terrorists were seized. Earlier, the Army said it took new areas in said outskirts including in Mrah el Cheikh, Ajram and Wadi Hmayyed in the outskirts of Arsal. The army also said in a statement that the troops discovered bombs and explosive belts left behind by militants in areas captured on the edge of the Lebanese border town of Arsal. It said that they also found the body of an unknown man. The military has been preparing for an all-out attack on IS positions along the Syrian border for

Report: Lebanese Ministers in Syria 'In Their Personal Capacity'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 17/17/Three Lebanese ministers leading an accompanying delegation traveled to Syria “in their personal capacity” to take part in the opening of Damascus International Fair, media reports said on Thursday. Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan, Agriculture Minister Ghazi Zoaiter and a a private sector delegation traveled for the opening of the fair the capital Damascus, An-Nahar daily reported. Public Works and Transportation Minister Youssef Fenianos also said that he plans to head to Syria on Thursday for the same purpose. “It is noteworthy that the three ministers insisted that their visits should be considered as official, while Prime Minister Hariri has reiterated before joining the legislative meeting on Wednesday that the ministers do not go to Syria in an official capacity," the daily said. The daily described the move as an attempt to “normalize relations” with Syria. Hassan and Zoaiter said they had received invitations to the Damascus International Fair, which opens on August 16. Hassan, a minister of Hizbullah, which has intervened in Syria on behalf of President Bashar Assad's government. Zoaiter belongs to Amal movement.
After the eruption of Syria's conflict in March 2011 with protests demanding Assad's ouster, Lebanon's government adopted a policy of "disassociation" -- preferring to maintain a neutral stance towards the complex war in a bid to avoid spillover. Lebanon's political parties are bitterly divided between those opposing Syria's regime and factions like Hizbullah and Amal which support it. The announced visit sparked controversy among political factions. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea had warned Wednesday that some parties "are trying to use Lebanon and the Lebanese government to bestow legitimacy on Bashar al-Assad's regime.”

Hajj Hassan meets with Syria Prime Minister in Damascus

Thu 17 Aug 2017/NNA - Minister of Industry, Hussein HajJ Hassan, currently in Syria, met this afternoon with Syrian Prime Minister, Imad Khamis, in the presence of Syrian Industry Minister Ahmad al-Hamo and the Secretary General of the Syrian-Lebanese Supreme Council Nasri Al Khoury. Premier Khamis welcomed Minister Hajj Hassan and the Lebanese delegation in Syria, branding Syria's triumph over terrorism as "the victory of certainty over falsehood."Khamis also pointed out to Syria's qualitative economic leap in the past two years, underlining that through positive debate, cooperation and dialogue, great economic challenges could be surmounted. Minister Hajj Hassan, for his part, highlighted the significance of the Lebanese participation in the International Damascus Fair as "re-affirming the natural Lebanese position supporting Syria."Hajj Hassan congratulated in his official and ministerial capacity the Syrian command, army and people on their victory over the Takfiri terrorism, thanks to the resilience and great sacrifices of the people, army and resistance. The Minister said that there is a great interest for Lebanon, Syria, and regional and world countries to achieve victory over terrorism.

Lebanese Cabinet Convenes at Baabda, Aoun Invites for 'Speedy' State Budget Approval

Naharnet/August 17/17/The cabinet convened on Thursday at the Babada Palace to tackle 66 items on the agenda including the state's budget and address a number of thorny issues mainly the controversial leasing of power generating ships, and a suggestion to rehabilitate the telephone network. At the beginning of the session, President Michel Aoun stressed the need to accelerate the approval of the state budget, pointing out that the government is “determined to present the 2018 budget withing the constitutional deadlines.
He commented on the latest economic dialogue meeting held at Baabda early this week, and said: “The meeting has revealed some gaps in the wage scale and taxes law, and those are being rectified.”For his part, Prime Minister Saad Hariri commented on the “achievements” of the Lebanese army in its fight against the Islamic State on Lebanon's eastern border.
He said: “The army must be left to carry out its duty and terminate the terrorists in that area of Lebanon.”Hariri said that the Public-Private Partnership Law approved by the House of Representatives is an important step to take advantage of liquidity in the banking sector and invest in projects that achieve more growth and employment opportunities.
President Aoun chaired the meeting in the presence Hariri and other ministers. Two Hizbullah and Amal ministers were absent due to their presence in Syria to take part in the Damascus International Fair. Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan and Public Works and Transport Minister Ghazi Zoaiter headed to Syria on Wednesday in a highly controversial visit, the first since the start of the war. Hariri, an Assad critic, said the visit did not have government backing.
The cabinet is set to discuss a highly controversial file related to Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil's request on leasing power generating ships, and the importation of LNG import stations.
A file related to the suggestion of telecommunications Minister Jamal al-Jarrah for cash advances to revamp the land-lines communication network will also be highlighted.
Reports later said that the cabinet has postponed the decision on the cash advances to Ogero, the main operator for the Ministry of Telecommunication, which angered Jarrah.
Before the session began, MP Marwan Hamadeh said: “The cabinet is heading to a new tender as for the power generating ships.”For his part, minister of health and deputy prime minister, Ghassan Hasbani, stressed that the electricity tender must be run through the Tender Department of the Central Inspection Bureau. For his part, Lebanese Forces Minister of Social Affairs Pierre Bou Assi commented on the visit of ministers to Syria, he said: "The government has not authorized the ministers to go to Syria.”

Infamous Australian-Lebanese IS Fighter Reported Dead in Syria
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/August 17/17/Canberra said Thursday there was a "high probability" a notorious Islamic State fighter born in Australia to Lebanese migrant parents and two of his children had been killed in a US airstrike in Syria. Reports said Khaled Sharrouf and his sons Abdullah, 12, and Zarqawi, 11, were killed last Friday while driving near the IS bastion of Raqa. Sharrouf sparked international revulsion in 2014 when he posted pictures on social media of Abdullah holding the rotting severed head of a soldier.
The father of five had used his other children in propaganda videos, including one that surfaced this year in which he grilled his youngest son about killing non-Muslims as the six-year-old handled guns and knives. "Nobody will mourn his passing... I can assure you of that," Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told Channel Nine. newspaper and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, both citing unnamed government sources, reported the death of Sharrouf and his sons.
But he was mistakenly reported killed in a drone strike in 2015 and Dutton said Canberra was still awaiting official confirmation that the latest accounts were accurate.
"There's a high level of confidence, but this guy's been like a cat with nine lives," he said.
"There have been reports of his demise and his death before which have been proven, obviously, to be wrong."Sharrouf, believed to have been born in Australia to Lebanese migrant parents, left for Syria in 2013 with his wife Tara Nettleton and five children.
- Child deaths 'regrettable' -Earlier this year, he became the first Australian to be stripped of his citizenship under anti-terrorism laws.
Nettleton reportedly died last year after falling ill, while the fate of the other children is unknown.
Dutton said if the latest reports were correct it was "regrettable" that two of Sharrouf's children died alongside him.
But he said the jihadist and his wife put their offspring in harm's way by taking them to Syria, adding: "It's hard to imagine what other outcome they could have imagined for their children."
"The fact is that the Sharroufs took their children into a war zone," he said.
"They've poisoned their minds, they've indoctrinated young children and if they've been killed along with their father that is regrettable.
"But that is a decision that was made by the parents by taking them into that war zone. It speaks to the character, or lack thereof, of Mr Sharrouf and his wife."
Dutton was non-committal when asked if the other siblings, two girls and a boy, would be allowed back into Australia. "Obviously it is difficult to get the intelligence out of a war zone like Syria and we'll wait to see what evidence there is in relation to where they are or their status," he said.
"At the moment we don't have that information."The children's maternal grandmother, Karen Nettleton, has previously campaigned for their return, denying they had been indoctrinated by the violence their parents exposed them to."They're not lost, they're not gone, they're just kids," she told the ABC in May.
"With the right help they should be OK. They will be OK."

Lebanon Prepares for Syria's Post-War Construction Windfall
Associated Press/August 17/17
The port of Tripoli in northern Lebanon wants the world to know it's ready for business.
British safety managers are training local hires to operate heavy machinery and Chinese technicians are running diagnostics on two new container cranes that tower over the harbor, just 28 kilometers (18 miles) from the Syrian border.
After six years of civil war in Syria, markets across the Middle East are anticipating a mammoth reconstruction boom that could stimulate billions of dollars in economic activity. Lebanon, as Syria's neighbor, is in prime position to capture a share of that windfall and revive its own sluggish economy.
Battles still rage in Syria's north and east, and in pockets around the capital, Damascus, but the survival of President Bashar Assad's government now appears beyond doubt.
That is introducing an element of stability into forecasts not seen since 2011, when the war broke out. The Damascus International Fair, a high-profile annual business event before the war, is to open on Thursday for the first time since war broke out, with participants from 43 countries.
The World Bank estimates the cost to rebuild Syria at $200 billion.
For Lebanon, that could be just the stimulus it needs — the tiny Mediterranean country's growth rate has hovered around 1.5 percent since 2013. And though the capital, Beirut, has grown visibly richer over the years, Tripoli and the impoverished north have lagged behind.
"Lebanon is in front of an opportunity that it needs to take very seriously," said Raya al-Hassan, a former finance minister from northern Lebanon who now directs the Tripoli Special Economic Zone project that's planned to be built adjacent to the port.
Ahmad Tamer, the port manager, estimates Syria's reconstruction will create a demand for 30 million tons of cargo capacity annually.
Syria's chief ports, Tartous and Latakia, also on the Mediterranean Sea, have a combined capacity of 10 to 15 million tons, he says. He wants Tripoli port to be ready to step in for a portion of the rest.
"We could provide up to 5 or 6 or 7 million tons," he says.
The port is nearing the completion of the first phase of an expansion project first drawn up in 2009, then revised with an eye on Syria in 2016. Capital investment has reached around $400 million, according to the port manager.
On a map, Tamer pointed to a vacant quadrant where 7/8preparations are underway to build silos to hold grain destined for regional markets.
Syria's conflict has decimated its food production, which included an average of 4.1 million tons of wheat annually before the war, according to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization.
In 2017, it managed to produce just 1.8 million tons.
Lebanon's businessmen and politicians have always maintained close relations with Syrian counterparts. Syria is among Lebanon's largest trade partners, and arguably its most reliable supplier of cheap labor. Lebanon, in exchange, is the banker to many of Syria's enterprises and its wealthy elites.
These ties give Lebanon — and Tripoli in particular — an edge over competitors vying for the Syrian market.
The city's location is also attracting foreign investment. Tripoli port signed a 25-year lease with the Emirati port operator Gulftainer in 2013, to manage and invest in the terminal.
"Our aim was to invest here in anticipation of Syria's reconstruction," said Ibrahim Hermes, the CEO of Lebanon's subsidiary of Gulftainer.
Lebanon is now a fixture on itineraries of prospective investors. Hermes said he has seen delegations arriving from Europe, Asia and especially China, to scope out trade opportunities.
Before the war in Syria, goods coming through Lebanon's ports used to transit as far afield as Iraq — saving ships from having to take the sea journey through the Suez Canal and around the Arabian Peninsula.
There is talk now that Tripoli could even be a terminal in China's trillion-dollar new "Silk Road" project, carving a trade route from east Asia to Europe. The Chinese firm Qingdao Haixi Heavy-Duty Machinery Co. sold the two 28-story container cranes now at the port. Safety signs inside the structures are posted in English and Mandarin. "Tripoli can be a main transshipment hub for the eastern Mediterranean," said Ira Hare, a sunburned British manager working for Gulftainer. Lebanon has officially sought "dissociation" from the Syrian war so as not to fuel rancor among political parties split between those aligned with Damascus and those against it. But there is also an air of inevitability about the re-normalization of relations, as Assad looks, for the short-term at least, to stay on in power.
Syria's chief champion in Lebanon, Hizbullah, which is fighting alongside Assad's forces, evinces little doubt. "Our national interest is for the border between Lebanon and Syria to be open ... because, tomorrow the routes will open to Iraq and to Jordan and we want to be able to transport Lebanese goods," Hizbullah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said in a speech this week.
A Hizbullah minister, Hussein Hajj Hussein, is one of two Cabinet ministers headed to Syria this week in a highly controversial visit, the first since the start of the war. Prime Minister Saad Hariri, an Assad critic, said the visit did not have government backing. Damascus also knows it will be brought back in from the cold. The Damascus International Fair, which promises to attract investors from Russia, China, Iran, and other places, is a telling indicator of the mood in the Syrian capital. Europe and the United States are hesitant to finance the reconstruction projects so long as Assad, a pariah to the West, remains in power. But Russia, China, and Iran, as well as investors in Lebanon and the Middle East, are showing no signs of hesitation. "As soon as there is a political agreement to end the war, we will be among the first countries to play a role in reconstruction," said al-Hassan, the former finance minister.

Aoun, Lebanese Ambassador to Germany discuss overall situation

Thu 17 Aug 2017/NNA - President of the Republic, Michel, on Thursday met at the Baabda palace with Lebanon's Ambassador to Germany, Mustafa Adib, who briefed him on the Lebanese-German relations and cooperation between the two countries. Talks also reportedly touched on the current developments, and the situation of the Lebanese community in Germany.

Aoun: Baabda meeting showed flaws in salary scale and tax bills
Thu 17 Aug 2017/NNA - President of the republic, Michel Aoun, maintained, at the beginning of a Cabinet session on Thursday, that the economic meeting held recently at Baabda palace had shown flaws in the salary scale and taxes bills, adding that work on rectifying them is underway. Aoun informed the convening ministers of the outcomes of the Baabda economic meeting, stressing that discussions were "good" and "constructive."He later tackled school fees' issue, highlighting the obligation of the Education Ministry to monitor the tuitions. Moreover, Aoun informed the Cabinet that the Minister of Economy, Raed Khoury, had updated him on his ministry's work to control prices. On the security level, the President maintained that the army was assuming its duty around the clock in order to liberate the lands on the borders. "We must support the military institution in its national mission," he stressed. Furthermore, Aoun informed the ministers of his fresh inspection of water dams, reminding them to draft work plans for each ministry with a view of improving the performance of the executive authority. He also highlighted the necessity to speed up the endorsement of the state budget, adding that the government is determined to submit to the Parliament next year's budget within the constitutional deadlines. In addition, Aoun informed the Cabinet that he would chair the Lebanese delegation to the United Nations and deliver Lebanon's word that would include a demand to designate Lebanon as a center for the dialogue of religions and civilizations. For his part, Prime Minister Saad Hariri highlighted the importance of working together to activate the law and implement successful partnership projects. He also hailed the Lebanese army achievements and efforts to end terrorism on the borders. It was decided at the session, building on the proposal of Minister of Energy, Caesar Abi Khalil, to cancel the call for tenders on floating power plants, and to adopt a new book of conditions based on certain mechanisms and within specific deadlines set by the cabinet.

Loyalty to Resistance bloc calls for widest campaign of solidarity with army

Thu 17 Aug 2017/NNA - "Loyalty to Resistance" bloc voiced utter support to the Lebanese army, calling for the widest campaign of solidarity with the Lebanese army in its battle to wipe out "Daesh" terrorists from the outskirts of Ras Baalbek and Qaa. "We deem the army's battle against Daesh a national one," Loyalty to Resistance bloc said in a statement on Thursday in the wake of its regular meeting at its headquarters in Haret Hreik, under the chairmanship of bloc head MP Mohammed Raad. The bloc discussed the overall political situation in the country, in the light of the national victory against Nusra Front terrorists in Arsal outskirts and the restoration of sovereignty over these lands. The bloc cordially welcomed the extensive political cover provided by the political class authorizing the Lebanese army to terminate and wipe out Daesh terrorists from the outskirts of Ras Baalbek and Qaa. On the other hand, the bloc considered that "any delay in providing electricity to the Lebanese is a proof of failure," stressing that the government should come to a decision in this regard. On the long awaited wage scale by the Lebanese, the bloc hoped that this matter would take its full constitutional course to be put into effect. At the same time, the bloc showed an understanding of the need for some substantive and just amendments, which the bloc vowed to follow up on and approve.Turning to the relationship between Lebanon and Syria, the bloc emphasized that the distinctive relations between the two countries cannot be altered by circumstances or events. The bloc stressed that the current juncture should center on reconsidering calculations, setting options right and determining friendships and alliances.

Future bloc: Ministers' visits to Syria occur in their personal capacity
Thu 17 Aug 2017 /NNA - Future bloc on Thursday categorically deprecated the visits by some ministers in the Lebanese government to Syria, saying such visits occurred in their "personal capacity" rather than official. "Ministers who visited or shall visit Syria do so in their personal capacity, rather than enjoying official authorization," the bloc said on Thursday in a statement issued in the wake of its regular meeting at the Central House, chaired by bloc head, former Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora.The bloc took up the overall situation in the country.Future considered ministers' visits to Syria and their meeting with officials of the Syrian regime actually provokes the majority of the Lebanese and constitutes a threat to the regularity of the work of Lebanese constitutional institutions. On the other hand, the bloc considered that the law passed by the Parliament concerning the repeal of Article 522 of the Lebanese Penal Code constituted an important achievement for the Lebanese legislation and for the protection of Lebanese women, thus preventing the culprit from escaping impunity. Moreover, the bloc hailed the recent visit by Prime Minister Saad Hariri to the State of Kuwait and his proclaimed positions, indicating that this visit comes to emphasize adherence to Lebanon's Arab sense of belonging against those who are attempting to sabotage Lebanon's relations with the Arab world.

Hariri asks Jreissati, Riachi to track down rumors about army
Thu 17 Aug 2017 /NNA - Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Thursday asked Justice Minister, Selim Jreissati, and Information Minister, Melhem Riachi, to monitor and track down rumors about the army and its task, and to adopt the necessary measures against law breakers.This comes in compliance with the decisions adopted during the meeting of the High Defense Council on August 8, under the chairmanship of President of the Republic, Michel Aoun.

Hariri chairs meeting of ministerial panel tasked to devise economic strategy

Thu 17 Aug 2017/NNA - Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, on Thursday chaired at the Grand Serail a meeting of the ministerial panel tasked to devise an economic strategy, devoted to discussing the general outline of said strategy. The meeting was attended by ministers Ghasssan Hasbani, Raed Khouri, Marwan Hamade, Jamal Jarrah, Gebran Bassil, Ali Hassan Khalil, César Abi Khalil and Avedis Guidanian.
On the other hand, Premier Hariri met with the Sri Lankan Deputy Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Wasantha Senanayake, in the presence of Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Lebanon, Wijeraten Mendis. Later, Hariri met with Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon, Gabriele Caccia, with talks reportedly touching on the overall situation in the country, in addition to the bilateral ties.

Riachi, Bukhari tackle overall situation
Thu 17 Aug 2017/NNA - Information Minister, Melhem Riachi, on Thursday afternoon met at his ministerial office with Saudi Embassy Charge d'Affaires Waleed Bukhari, with talks between the pair reportedly touching on the overall situation.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 17-18/17
Barcelona attack: Why the War on Terror is far from over
Harry J. Kazianis/Fox News/ August 17, 2017/After the horrific attacks on September 11, President George W. Bush adopted the phrase “a global war on terror” to describe America’s response to a series of horrific events that continue to shock and anger us to this very day. While President Obama might have retired the phrase back in 2009, the War on Terror—and the war against America, indeed, our very way of life—has truly never ended. While its latest iterations might not always drive front page news or get the A block of every TV talk show, brave Americans are still fighting and dying to keep our country safe from those who would love nothing else than to see our democracy rocked once again by crippling terror attacks like they were on that fateful Tuesday almost sixteen years ago.
In all honesty, the war against terror—and the war against our own very way of life—might just be getting started.
With news breaking of another terror attack, this time in Barcelona, we are reminded that we never can take our guard down from this evil. While Usama Bin Laden might be dead, Al Qaeda a shell of its former self and ISIS on the run, it does not mean the final battle against terror has yet to be waged.
Police officers tell members of the public to leave the scene in a street in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Police in the northern Spanish city of Barcelona say a white van has jumped the sidewalk in the city's historic Las Ramblas district, injuring several people. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)Expand / Collapse
Police officers tell members of the public to leave the scene in a street in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Police in the northern Spanish city of Barcelona say a white van has jumped the sidewalk in the city's historic Las Ramblas district, injuring several people. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
In all honesty, the war against terror—and the war against our own very way of life—might just be getting started.
Consider for a moment the state of play against ISIS. While the so-called Islamic Caliphate may no longer be at the gates of Baghdad and with their own capitol now under constant attack, ISIS has decided to take its attacks on the road—doing all it can to radicalize new followers in the West to carry on their struggle, to turn our very own citizens against us.
So while America and its allies will no doubt take Raqqa and ensure there is no more physical Islamic State in the months to come, this evil group is poised to transform from a physical threat into something more asymmetric, dispersing around the world and online—becoming potentially even more dangerous than ever before.
Then there is Afghanistan. The Taliban, the sinister group who harbored Usama bin Laden and who Washington deposed from ruling that nation back in 2001, seems set to make major gains in the coming months now that America’s footprint in the region has dropped off dramatically.
What we do next, as today’s terror attack only makes more clear, could not be more vital. The next few months will be crucial as we consider what Washington’s strategy will be to ensure the gains we have made in the nearly two-decade fight against terror do not recede.
First, we must finish the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and make sure the Islamic State is destroyed once and for all. But we must also make sure it never rises from the ashes, providing economic and reconstruction aid to those impacted areas, providing the foundation for those whose lives were pillaged by ISIS to have a chance to live in peace and prosperity—and never turn to terror themselves.
Second, we need to make sure ISIS does not move from the battlefields of Iraq and Syria to the cyber battlefield of the internet, poisoning the minds of our own citizens or others who could potentially be used as weapons against us. American and allied governments must develop a comprehensive strategy and work with the internet companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and any online space where ISIS or other terror groups can spread their message of hate. We must deny them any sanctuary, any place to hide and sow the seeds of terror—especially on the internet.
Next, we must have a firm strategy to make sure Afghanistan does not turn into another haven for terrorists like it was during the days before 9/11. President Trump seems to be weighing his options carefully—as well he should. However, he should seek council from all sides of the political spectrum, Democrats, Republicans, Neoconservatives as well as Realists who can offer wise council on the best path forward. Our goal should be obvious: to make sure the Taliban never returns to power and that Afghanistan has a chance as a viable nation state where its people can prosper free of harm or terror.
Finally, we must prepare and brace for a long struggle ahead—likely a multi-generational effort unlike we have never seen before. The terrorists who want to do us harm have timelines of battling us for decades, some have even said centuries. While we have the tools and willpower to win this struggle, taking our eye off the ball or diminishing the resources to fight this war or allowing it to slip from our minds gives our enemy his greatest advantage—that is something we can never allow to happen.
**Harry J. Kazianis (@grecianformula) is director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, founded by former President Richard M. Nixon. Click here, for more on Mr. Kazianis.

U.N. hopes for Syria peace talks in October or November
Thu 17 Aug 2017/Reuters/NNA - The United Nations hopes for a "serious negotiation" between the government and a still-to-be-formed unified Syrian opposition in October or November, U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday. After seven previous rounds that have failed to persuade the adversaries to hold face-to-face talks, let alone make progress, the veteran diplomat outlined a new timetable for talks to end the six-year war in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. He said he expected a meeting in October, possibly in Riyadh, among the three opposition delegations "to take stock of the realities on the ground", with a view to consolidation. Before that, he planned a brief U.N. round of diplomacy with the oppositions and government around mid-September in Geneva.
"We may be eventually focusing basically on the agenda for the real substantive talks that we hope will take place in October," he told reporters. "Regarding the (Syrian) government, we are counting very much on Russia, on Iran, on anyone who has got major influence, and on the government of Syria to be ready finally to initiate when they are invited to Geneva, a genuine, direct negotiation with whatever (opposition) platform comes out."
The main opposition is the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) but there are two other dissident groupings, the "Moscow" and "Cairo" platforms. The two, much less opposed to President Bashar al-Assad than the HNC, each comprise some activists but do not control territory or have strong links with armed groups. De Mistura also said that a letter from Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in early August had paved the way for Russian military police to be staged along the route of a U.N.-Red Cross convoy which reached the besieged rebel-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta near Damascus, on Thursday. The successful convoy, the first since May, consisted of 50 trucks carrying relief items for 35,000 people. "We are seeing just today one of those examples, and I am expecting and hoping that this will become a pattern," De Mistura said. Jan Egeland, U.N. humanitarian adviser, said that the convoy to Douma, one of 11 besieged areas, was "hugely symbolic". "It took a lot of effort, a lot of negotiations and a lot of help from Russia and others to make it happen," he said. Assad is extending his military advantage, helped by the capture of swathes of territory from Islamic State with the help of his Russian and Iranian allies.
IS has also lost ground to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia. U.S.-backed forces have Islamic State fighters surrounded in central Raqqa, a Syrian Kurdish commander said last week. "The worst place probably today in Syria today is the part of Raqqa city that is still held by the so-called Islamic State," Egeland said. "We reckon there to be 20,000 or 25,000 civilians there. They are encircled by the SDF fighters and they are used seemingly as humanitarian shields by the Islamic State."
"We're therefore urging the coalition, the SDF whom we can deal with, to allow, as much as they can, people to escape and come out and to avoid civilian casualties, of which there have been many," Egeland said. -- REUTERS

US slams Middle East allies in 'religious freedom' report
MEE and agencies/August 16/17/The United States issued its annual religious freedom report on Tuesday, slamming allies and foes alike for their shortcomings at a time when its own record has come under fire.Launching the first report since President Donald Trump took office, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took swipes at Bahrain, China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Turkey.
The report does not look into policy in the United States, where Trump won office on a pledge to ban all Muslim immigration and is now battling US courts for the right to ban arrivals from eight Muslim-majority nations. But Tillerson - who gave a brief address to launch the report - insisted the administration will continue to promote religious freedom around the world as a "moral imperative" and a universal human right. "Religious persecution and intolerance remains far too prevalent," he said. "Almost 80 percent of the global population live with restrictions on or hostilities to limit their freedom of religion.
"Where religious freedom is not protected, we know that instability, human rights abuses, and violent extremism have a greater opportunity to take root," he warned, in a brief speech at the State Department.
The 2016 report itself, which US diplomats have been mandated by Congress to prepare, is not very different from that of the year before; a dry but detailed breakdown of the state of play across the world.
But Tillerson used his remarks and a preface to the report to draw attention to some particular offenders, including slamming the Islamic State (IS) group for committing “genocide”.
“ISIS has and continues to target members of multiple religions and ethnicities for rape, kidnapping, enslavement and death," Tillerson said in the report’s executive summary.
"ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled. ISIS is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities.”
“The protection of these groups – and others who are targets of violent extremism – remains a human rights priority for the Trump administration,” he added.
He again took the opportunity to criticise perennial US foe Iran, noting that the Islamic republic has used "vague apostasy laws" to execute 20 members of religious minorities over the past year.
But he also complained about the behaviour of some US friends, such as NATO ally Turkey, where he said non-Sunni Muslims, such as the Alevi, are not protected by the state from "discrimination and violence". And he demanded Turkey release a US citizen, evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been "wrongfully imprisoned" since last year on charges he belongs to the banned movement of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. America's allies in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, were also in the firing line, despite Trump's recent triumphant visit to Riyadh to salute their support in the battle against Iran and violent militancy. "We urge Saudi Arabia to embrace greater degrees of religious freedom for all of its citizens," he said. Saudi Arabia bans non-Muslims from practising religion in public and discriminates against Shias. Russia, while it has a critical chapter in the report itself, is not one of the 10 countries currently of "particular concern", and US officials said Tillerson is not due to review these designations until another 90 days after Tuesday's report was made public.
The 2016 report itself - while required under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act - does not bind the US administration to act. But ambassador Michael Kozak of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour told reporters that its data would inform policymakers as they make decisions on diplomatic outreach and refugee admissions. Countries listed separately as being "of particular concern" in terms of religious freedom can face sanctions, but Tillerson can also issue a waiver if he thinks it is in US interests to give them a pass.
Saudi Arabia, for example, faces no penalty for its hardline stance.

Israeli TV: Iran Building a Long-Range Rocket Factory in Syria
Asharq Al Awsat/August 17/17/Tel Aviv– New satellite images revealed that Iran is building a facility in northwest Syria to manufacture long-range rockets, according to an Israeli television report on Tuesday. News report showed images it said were taken by an Israeli satellite showing a site in northwest Syria near the Mediterranean coastal town of Baniyas, saying some of the construction indicated explosives would be stored there, according to Reuters. It compared images of buildings it said were of a rocket factory near Tehran to structures at the Syrian site, and said there was a strong resemblance between them. The factory is located in Wadi Jahannam, near the northern Syrian coastal city of Baniyas and appears to have underground weapons storage. Based on the images, construction on the site began last year and will most likely continue until the end of 2017. Intelligence experts analyzed the images from Israel’s EROS-B satellite and argued that the resemblance to a similar Iranian factory indicates Iran’s involvement in this factory’s construction. They also stated that the images show dirt embankments being utilized in order to protect the buildings currently under construction. Israeli reports stated that the new satellite images confirm an assessment by Mossad Director Yossi Cohen before the Israeli Cabinet earlier this week. Cohen stated that the Iranian regime is expanding its control across the Middle East through proxy forces in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. Cohen warned that Iran is moving to fill the void left by ISIS, to become a dominant power in the Middle East. “In places where Iran’s presence is limited, Iran is working to fill the void,” he said.
Cohen also added that Iran has not abandoned its aspirations to become a nuclear power, and that the nuclear agreement signed between the world powers and Iran only strengthens Iranian economy.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Iran was strengthening its foothold in its ally Syria and said Israel was watching developments and would act against any threat. He added that Israel is not obligated to abide to any international agreement that Iran signed on, referring to the nuclear agreement between Iran and six states, US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany. “Our policy is clear: We vehemently oppose the military buildup by Iran and its proxies, primarily Hezbollah, in Syria and we will do whatever it takes to protect Israel’s security,” he said in a speech.
Meanwhile, White House National Security invited an Israeli security delegation to Washington this week for talks with senior officials in the White House and in the US defense establishment. The delegation will be headed by Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen, Military Intelligence Chief Major-General Hertzi Halevy, and Head of the Political-Military Bureau at Israel’s Ministry of Defense Zohar Palti. According to a senior White House official, the Israeli delegation would meet with National Security Advisor General Herbert McMaster, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt, and other officials. The talks will focus on Israel’s security needs in Syria and Lebanon and finding a method to keep Iran and its militias away from Syria.
The delegation will also attempt to change the US-Russian agreement concerning Syria.

Bahrain Reveals Phone Calls Showing Qatar’s Role in 2011 Events
Asharq Al Awsat/August 17/17/Manama– Bahrain’s state television accused Qatar of helping instigate anti-government protests back in 2011. The report claimed Qatar backed anti-government protests saying that Qatar’s former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani contacted in 2011 Ali Salman, head of dissolved association al-Wefaq, and asked him to urge protesters to flood the streets and escalate the situation as to exacerbate it and undermine Bahrain’s interests and stability. It broadcast recordings of telephone calls between al-Thani and Salman in which it claimed they agreed to escalations to destabilize the situation in the country. Following the report, Public Prosecution had launched investigation into the telephone call. It added that this represents a crime of exchanging intelligence information with a foreign country to jeopardize the kingdom’s national interests, according to Bahrain News Agency (BNA).
The Public Prosecution will announce the outcome of the investigation as soon as it is over. Bahrain´s Information Minister Ali al-Rumaihi described the calls as a “dangerous link in the chain of Qatari conspiracy against stability in Bahrain and the Gulf.” The voice record, the minister noted, is an additional evidence on Qatar’s interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs, support to extremist groups and targeting of the Peninsula Shield forces. Rumaihi pointed out that Bahrain is one of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries most harmed by the Qatari hostile political, security and media practices which have gone on for years and reached their peak in 2011.
The minister claimed that Qatar’s interventions were documented by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry which showed implication in a dubious foreign plot in Bahrain. Rumaihi confirmed that Bahrain will not allow any interference in its domestic affairs adding that the kingdom had shown a lot of patience taking into consideration the historic fraternal ties with the Qatari people and all the GCC nationals. He also pointed out that it has become unacceptable to show any more tolerance toward such interference. He added that it is within Bahrain’s full right to take the necessary procedures to protect its people and hold accountable those conspiring on its sovereignty and stability. In the calls, Sheikh Hamad told Salman that the problem is that there was heavy pressure, adding: “Actually we went there to ease such pressure from some brothers, telling them that we should not resort to force (Peninsula Force).” Salman reminded him that any use of force will complicate the situation, to which Al Thani responded: “We do not wish that anything happens by force, and this is our main aim. Please trust us. You know that we are always truthful with you.”Salman expressed his trust in Qatar but told him that there are people who are firing bullets in some areas. “This is not a way that shows desire for dialogue. It shows a desire to use pressure and constraint,” stated Salman. Sheikh Hamad assured him that this will stop, as he spoke about it. Ali Salman then stated that the idea is that they do not want a speech that contains threats, informing him that he barely managed to convince his supporters. Salman informed Sheikh Hamad about meeting Jeffrey Filtmen and tried to find a solution to what is happening during the meeting. Bahrain stated that Sheikh Salman is the “architect of anarchy” in the conspiracy project against Barhain. The project involves five articles including forming an interim government within two months, withdrawal of Peninsula Force from Bahrain and release all detainees.

Saudi Crown Prince Discusses Regional Developments with US Secretary of State
Asharq Al Awsat/August 17/17/Saudi Crown Prince and US Secretary of State /Jeddah – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a telephone call from the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. During the telephone conversation, they reviewed the bilateral relations as well as the latest developments in the region, according to Saudi Press Agency. Prince Mohammed and Tillerson had also discussed the developments in the Middle East and the joint efforts of the two countries countering terrorism. In other news, Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Mohammed donated SR 15 million from his own account to charitable societies in Makkah Region as part of project “Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz’s support for charitable societies in all regions of the Kingdom”. About 14,914 citizens benefited from the Prince’s donation through ten charitable societies in Makkah region, including five categories: orphans, cancer patients, widows, divorced women, young men and women to be married, and needy families. The project was launched last week from Riyadh region and covers all Saudi areas with an amount of SR 23 million and met the requirements of 11,680 beneficiaries through 14 charitable societies.

Ankara Intensifies Consultations with Moscow, Tehran to Face ‘Nusra’ in Idlib
Asharq Al Awsat/August 17/17/Ankara, Moscow- Ankara has started intensifying its consultations with Tehran and Moscow regarding the situation in Syria and the latest developments that are related to al-Nusra Front’s control over wide areas in Idlib Governorate, which is close to the Turkish borders. It has discussed means of facing the terrorist front and preventing the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Syrian governorate and the emergence of a new wave of refugees, while Moscow has warned of the growing strength of al-Nusra Front in Idlib and its attempt to control the border-line with Turkey through the Syrian governorate. Meanwhile, the guarantor states are continuing their consultations at the level of technical experts on the details of the implementation mechanisms of the “Idlib de-escalation zone.”“Lately, an active regrouping of Nusra Front forces was noted as well as the flow of radical members of the armed opposition to this terrorist organization. This endangers the general situation in Syria as it strengthens terrorists’ positions,” a military-diplomatic source in the International Syria Support Group task forces told RIA Novosti news agency.
“They are carrying out active actions to establish control over financing sources and are trying to take control of main border crossings with Turkey,” the source warned. In this context, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the TRT Haber news channel Wednesday that Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov will visit Turkey to discuss the Syrian crisis. He added that the clashes continue in Syria, pointing out that his country is working on keeping the process of Astana vital and that the most important role of this process is to stop the clashes on the ground, form areas of stability and reach de-escalation. Cavusoglu explained that his country continues its technical talks with Russia and Iran with regard to de-escalation zones in Syria, adding that after fully securing de-escalation zones, the political solution must be presented.
He stressed that his country is involved in all processes aimed at achieving peace in Syria, and it is providing positive contributions to those processes.
For his part, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, visited Turkey on Tuesday together with a high-ranking political-military delegation upon an official invitation from Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar. Fighting against terrorism, regional developments, bilateral relations in the defense industry and border cooperation are some of the topics that have been discussed during the three-day meetings. The Iranian commander, who is visiting Turkey for the first time, was planned to meet Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other Turkish senior officials during his stay.

President Hadi: Iranian Plots Failed in Yemen
Asharq Al Awsat/August 17/17/Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi said that Iranian plots meant for his country have failed and has found rejection among the Yemeni People.
Hadi’s comments came during his meeting here today with Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen Saleh, Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Dagher, and a number of Yemeni senior officials.
Hadi reiterated that the outcome of the national dialogue and the building of a federal Yemen based on partnership, justice and equality is the choice of the Yemeni people, pointing out at the same time that the coupist militia continues its rejection of the peace calls based on the three authorities. In 2014, Iran-allied Houthi militias joined forces with armed loyalists backing the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and overran the capital Sana’a. Armed and funded by Iran, each of Saudi Arabia and the United States consider the coup to be part and parcel of Iran’s expansionist ambitions in the region.
After insurgency militias took over Sana’a, the internationally-backed government led by Hadi was forced to relocate to the now-temporary capital, Aden. A Saudi-led Arab coalition has also entered Yemen to back pro-legitimacy forces against Iran-backed putschists and help re-establish national authority in the war-torn country.

Bouteflika Sacks Algerian Prime Minister

Asharq Al-Awsat/August 17/17/Algiers– Sacking the Algerian Prime Minister could be the beginning of power struggle over the succession of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, according to observers. In less than three months after appointing him, Bouteflika sacked Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Tuesday, according to a presidential statement carried by state media.
“President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Tuesday relieved Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune of his duties and appointed Ahmed Ouyahia,” the statement added. Ouyahia, 65, served three terms as prime minister and most recently was Bouteflika’s chief of staff.He is also leader of the National Rally for Democracy (RND), and during May’s parliamentary election he won absolute majority in the parliament along with Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front (FLN).
Bouteflika is expected to name the new government soon, although reports say that Ouyahia will most likely maintain the majority of the ministers of Tebboune’s cabinet, except Minister of Industry.
Political observers stated that it is possible that Bouteflika assigned Ouyahia as prime minister in an attempt to “kill his political dream” of becoming president before the 2019 presidential elections.
For his part, Tebboune avoided to comment on his departure. He said “All I can say is that I’m still faithful to President Bouteflika.”
Few weeks after his assignment as the PM, Tebboune entered a public media war with prominent businessman Ali Haddad who is also close to Said Bouteflika, the president’s brother and special adviser.
As prime minister Tebboune was leading the austerity drive, he also spoke out about the need to separate money from politics. News about his dismissal was surprising for his supporters, especially after the rise in his popularity on social media. Few days ago, Algeria seemed to be witnessing an open political crisis after the President gave the former PM Tebboune instructions through the private TV Channel al-Nahhar. According to Algerian law, Nahhar is a foreign and not considered part of the official channels. The president’s instructions included several warnings to Tebboune’s ministers to stop meddling with businessmen and investors and asked them to refer to the law in case of violations. The president said that such behavior is bad publicity for the country.
FLN Secretary General Djamel Ould Abbes reiterated that Bouteflika is the ruler of this country and there is no alternative authority.
Speaking before party commanders, Abbes said he wouldn’t analyze what the president did since he is the decision maker and aware of all aspects of the issues.
Founder of opposition party New Generation (Jil Jadid) Sofiane Djilali said that ever since the president appeared at the funeral of former PM Reda Malek and his public provocation of the PM, Algerians realized that the internal balances of the system are broken.
Djilali said that the President’s alleged reprimand to PM Tebboune made it clear that the regime is divided.
He explained that it had been agreed among the president’s entourage that he will continue in position no matter his condition or illness duration, meanwhile people around him will prepare for succeeding him.
Djilali claimed that Tabboune and his supporters were against the “militia deviation of the president’s clique threatening civil peace and security.”
According to Djilali, it is no longer acceptable for the other party in power to overlook the unconstitutional decisions made in the name of an irresponsible president who has nothing left other than his title.
This public crisis will not be over with the departure of the PM, stated Djilali, adding that the failing system suffers from presidential vacuum and impersonation.
Former Trade Minister and opposition figure Noureddine Boukrouh stated that it was pertinent if the President summoned the PM or spoke with him on the phone rather than speaking about him in the media like he is some sort of criminal to be arrested.
“Whether those actions and statements came from the president, his brother, or his chief of staff, they are still nonsensical actions. And if indeed the orders attributed to the president were issued by him, this means we’re ruled by a man who is not just physically ill, but also mentally incompetent,” Boukrouh declared, adding that this requires the president’s dismissal.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 17-18/17
Risks of Iran nuclear deal collapse
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/August 17/17
We can sense fear in statements made by Iranian officials and most recently President Hassan Rouhani who warned against the consequences of the big scheme’s collapse – the reconciliation agreement with the West based on the nuclear deal signed during the term of former US President Barack Obama.
The Congress shocked the Iranian government when it reinstated a number of economic sanctions on Iran, and US President Donald Trump insisted on his stance that the nuclear agreement serves Iran more than the US, threatening to abolish it.
Countries of the European Union (EU) are keen to preserve the agreement, which they believe it ushered in a new phase with the Iranian regime. Since signing it, they rushed to seal huge trade deals with Tehran, a move that was previously not possible because the US government would have put any European company that dealt with Iran on the blacklist.
Most provoked
Arab states, especially Gulf countries, were the most provoked by this agreement. They were neither against sealing a deal that eradicates the Iranian nuclear danger nor against dealing commercially with Iran but objected over its high cost – extending Iran’s powers via fighting in Syria, Yemen and Iraq and threatening other Arab states.
In case Iran considered that imposing sanctions abolishes the nuclear deal then it will resume uranium enrichment, renewing tension. Iran offers the West two options: its nuclear project that will threaten the West and Israel in the future, or being allowed to have hegemony over the region.
Tehran used the second option as a weapon to blackmail the West: Obama’s administration struck with it a deal that only aims at halting its nuclear program, allowing it to enjoy its powers in several areas, including those that the US considers as interest zones such as the Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The new Iranian threats against the US economic sanctions must be taken seriously because they trigger Iran’s way of imposing what it wants via violence and chaos
Significant progress
Yet, Iran’s commitment to ceasing the nuclear project is a significant progress that makes Iran worthy of the removal of economic and commercial sanctions. But Obama’s administration went so far in its concessions and allowed Tehran to wage wars, for the first time and in a direct manner, even in states not lying on its border such as Syria and Yemen.
The nuclear agreement is partially responsible for the region’s chaos. There are more than 50,000 extremists fighting in Syria – directed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and brought in from various countries at the time when the international community was endeavoring to get rid of extremist groups such as ISIS.
Also read: Iran reform leader Mehdi Karroubi on hunger strike over 6-year house arrest
Because the nuclear agreement was negotiated discreetly between the Obama and Rouhani teams, the region hasn’t been aware of its details until recently – the Obama administration left behind it a dangerous mine. Iran has become more aggressive after signing the agreement, this is evident.
Disrupting the project
The deal might succeed in disrupting the nuclear project for another decade but it has fueled a more dangerous war in the Middle East and posed an unprecedented level of threat to regimes since the revolution in Iran in 1979. It also reinforced extremists in Tehran.
The new Iranian threats against the US economic sanctions must be taken seriously because they trigger Iran’s way of imposing what it wants via violence and chaos. But the US relapse in Syria represents a huge tactical mistake because Syria is where Iran can be besieged and obliged to cooperate regionally and internationally.
There is a contradiction here because Washington is escalating with Iran on the nuclear level and allowing it to operate freely on the Syrian front.

Dialogue with Iran Through Qatar

Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al Awsat/August 17/17
Qatar’s new lie flew out the window of its “fingers crossed” policy which it had been implementing since the quartet boycott. This time, Doha claimed that Saudi Arabia wants a mediation with Iran.
This statement was never declared by any Saudi official or even the Iraqi Foreign Minister for example. It was reported that while he was in Iran, Iraqi Interior Minister Qassim al-Araji stated Riyadh has asked for Iraq’s mediation.
Saudi Arabia was quick in denying the reports about seeking mediation,”Saudi Arabia has not requested any mediation in any way with the Republic of Iran,” adding that what has been circulated on news in this regard is completely untrue, logic and series of events in the region makes it impossible that Saudi Arabia would request a mediation with Iran amid current conditions.
Aside from that, negotiations with Iran was impossible especially after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman settled the issue and stated his country’s clear position of this supposed dialogue: “There is no common ground between us and Iran.”.
The Prince said there was no room for dialogue with Iran that is busy preparing to control the Islamic world.
But, what made Qatar rush and promote such a false statement before even making sure of its validity?
The answer to that question can be summed in three points.
First of all, the quartet boycott proved that Doha has no policy other than promoting lies. Initially, Qatar tried to make it sound that this is not a boycott but a siege. Then, it claimed that Qatari citizens were banned from Umrah, which was debunked as 1,600 Qatari nationals entered Saudi Arabia just few days before severance of ties.
After that, Doha tried to internationalize Hajj, before retracting its statement following a strongly worded response from Saudi Arabia warning it “not to play with fire”.
Again, Qatar tried to spread a lie that its airlines are flying above the four countries, which is surely not true.
Not to forget the organized campaign that Qatar used to resort to whether secretly, or through its media outlets, or indirectly.
The second reason is that Qatar is trying to alleviate the pressure on it after its openness on Iran.
Everyone is alienating themselves from the capital and spearhead of terrorism and it is no secret that collaborating with Tehran would put Qatar in the same category. Iran wanted to spread chaos and destabilize the stability and security of the region.
If Qatar chose to be in the same league as Iran, then it surely is practicing a policy that is harmful to the region and the world, as well as consolidating the fears that drove regional countries to cut ties with it. Doha is even falsely trying to include Saudi Arabia in the same group.
The third reason for Qatar’s promotion of this exposed lie is that for years now, Doha had been repeatedly trying to force the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to approach Tehran. The Iraqi lie presented an open window to carry on with its attempts.
I was assigned to cover the Doha Gulf Summit of 2007 and everyone was surprised with the participation of the former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the first Iranian president to ever participate in a Gulf summit since the council’s establishment in 1981.
Back then, a Gulf minister told me that they weren’t aware of the invitation. He said: “We hadn’t been aware of that and we weren’t consulted. We knew it from media.”
Another Gulf official stated that there is Gulf “disgust” because of Ahmadinejad’s presence.
Doha even took advantage of the opportunity that GCC Sec-Gen Abdul Rahman al-Attiyah declared that the Iranian presidential invitation was sent due to a “joint Gulf wish”, which turned out to be false later on. Just like that, Qatar chose over night to turn the tables on its principles. Doha participated in the war on Houthis then suddenly announced it was done out of courtesy. It developed a relation with Iran and constantly tried to deceive others otherwise.
Sensible and sane countries do not change their principles. Stances change based on political developments.
Concerning dialogue with Iran, if Tehran continued with its sabotaging methods, then negotiations and mediations are useless. Once it changes its policy, then no one will be against stability in the region and countries’ rapprochement. Dialogue is not possible to happen amid Iran dangerously escalating its expansion policies through its militias and accomplices in six Arab countries.
Negotiations are not possible as long as Qatar keeps up with its hostile policy against Arab and regional countries.

How Technology Might Get Out of Control
Mark Buchanan/Bloomberg/August 17/17
Humanity has a method for trying to prevent new technologies from getting out of hand: explore the possible negative consequences, involving all parties affected, and come to some agreement on ways to mitigate them. New research, though, suggests that the accelerating pace of change could soon render this approach ineffective.
People use laws, social norms and international agreements to reap the benefits of technology while minimizing undesirable things like environmental damage. In aiming to find such rules of behavior, we often take inspiration from what game theorists call a Nash equilibrium, named after the mathematician and economist John Nash. In game theory, a Nash equilibrium is a set of strategies that, once discovered by a set of players, provides a stable fixed point at which no one has an incentive to depart from their current strategy.
To reach such an equilibrium, the players need to understand the consequences of their own and others’ potential actions. During the Cold War, for example, peace among nuclear powers depended on the understanding the any attack would ensure everyone’s destruction. Similarly, from local regulations to international law, negotiations can be seen as a gradual exploration of all possible moves to find a stable framework of rules acceptable to everyone, and giving no one an incentive to cheat – because doing so would leave them worse off.
But what if technology becomes so complex and starts evolving so rapidly that humans can’t imagine the consequences of some new action? This is the question that a pair of scientists — Dimitri Kusnezov of the National Nuclear Security Administration and Wendell Jones, recently retired from Sandia National Labs — explore in a recent paper. Their unsettling conclusion: The concept of strategic equilibrium as an organizing principle may be nearly obsolete.
Kusnezov and Jones derive insight from recent mathematical studies of games with many players and many possible choices of action. One basic finding is a sharp division into two types, stable and unstable. Below a certain level of complexity, the Nash equilibrium is useful in describing the likely outcomes. Beyond that lies a chaotic zone where players never manage to find stable and reliable strategies, but cope only by perpetually shifting their behaviors in a highly irregular way. What happens is essentially random and unpredictable.
The authors argue that emerging technologies — especially computing, software and biotechnology such as gene editing — are much more likely to fall into the unstable category. In these areas, disruptions are becoming bigger and more frequent as costs fall and sharing platforms enable open innovation. Hence, such technologies will evolve faster than regulatory frameworks — at least as traditionally conceived — can respond.
What can we do? Kusnezov and Jones don’t have an easy answer. One clear implication is that it’s probably a mistake to copy techniques used for the more slowly evolving and less widely available technologies of the past. This is often the default approach, as illustrated by proposals to regulate gene editing techniques. Such efforts are probably doomed in a world where technologies develop thanks to the parallel efforts of a global population with diverse aims and interests. Perhaps future regulation will itself have to rely on emerging technologies, as some are already exploring for finance.
We may be approaching a profound moment in history, when the guiding idea of strategic equilibrium on which we’ve relied for 75 years will run up against its limits. If so, regulation will become an entirely different game.

Minimize Islamic Terrorism in America? Just Manipulate Statistics

A.Z. Mohamed//Gatestone Institute/August 17/17
While Islamist terrorists have committed fewer attacks in America since 9/11 than "far-right-wing violent extremists," they have killed more victims. — United States Government Accountability Office report, released on April 6, 2017. Titled "Countering Violent Extremism: Actions Needed to Define Strategy and Assess Progress of Federal Efforts".
Both right-wing and Islamic extremists are the enemies of Western civilization; all must be investigated and penalized. The attempt by the Left to minimize the dangers of the jihadists among us is not only counter-productive; it is immoral.
Well before Donald J. Trump was elected to the U.S. presidency, many have been claiming that more Americans have been killed by "right-wing extremists" than by Islamic terrorists.
A study released in June 2015 by the New America Foundation on "Terrorism in America After 9/11" ostensibly gave credence to this assertion. Focusing on one graph in the study and the authors' summary of the statistics – that the "death toll [from attacks since September 11, 2001] has been quite similar to other forms of political, and even non-political, violence that Americans face today" -- a number of media outlets and progressive groups pounced on the data.
Referring to the New America Foundation findings, Time magazine's Joanna Plucinska reported:
"Since 9/11, white right-wing terrorists have killed almost twice as many Americans in homegrown attacks than radical Islamists have... [During this period], 48 people were killed by white terrorists, while 26 were killed by radical Islamists."
In March 2017, the self-described "multi-media network for the latest Progressive news, commentary and analysis," The Ring of Fire, also referred to the New America Foundation study. In a program titled "Right Wing Extremist Have Killed More Americans than Terrorists," broadcaster Farron Cousins said:
"In terms of people from Muslim countries coming to the United States committing any kind of act of terror, 50 people have died in the United States since 9/11 attacks. 254 have died since the 9/11 attack from right-wing extremists violence and acts of terror here in the United States."
He went on to state that right-wing extremists "are killing five times more American citizens than anyone from any Muslim country... coming into the United States."
More recently, on August 14, 2017 -- two days after a deranged white supremacist killed a woman and wounded 19 other demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia -- MSNBC also pointed to the New American Foundation study. The network's Stephanie Ruhle announced, "Between 2001 and now, we have seen three times more deaths caused by right-wing extremists than Islamic terrorists."
This repeated assertion is both disingenuous and politically motivated. Far more reliable is the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, released on April 6, 2017. Titled "Countering Violent Extremism: Actions Needed to Define Strategy and Assess Progress of Federal Efforts," the report illustrates that while Islamist terrorists have committed fewer attacks in America since 9/11 than "far-right-wing violent extremists," they have killed more victims.
Both right-wing and Islamic extremists are the enemies of Western civilization; all must be investigated and penalized. The attempt by the Left to minimize the dangers of the jihadists among us is not only counter-productive; it is immoral.
On April 15, 2013, Islamic terrorists detonated two bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring several hundred others. (Image source: Aaron Tang/Wikimedia Commons)
**A.Z. Mohamed is a Muslim born and raised in the Middle East.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Turkish Education: Jihad In, Evolution Out
Burak Bekdil/Gatestone Institute/August 17/17
Turkey has now become the first and only NATO member state that teaches "jihad" in its schools. Although the Turkish government claims that "jihad" means a "spiritual inner struggle for salvation," the official Turkish dictionary defines it as a "war fought in the name of religion."
"Why would a young man, indeed a young woman, would want to return to a country where there are 50,000 [political] people in prison, including 200 journalists, opposition media is gagged, women are second class citizens, and where Darwin's theory of evolution has been taken off academic curriculum because it contradicts teachings of Islam? To these bright young kids, returning to Turkey must appear like hopping on H. G. Wells's 'Time Machine' and travelling back a few centuries." — Fuad Kavur, London-based Turkish-British film producer.
Turkey's Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, draws such a rosy picture of his war-torn country that his audiences might think the world's youth, in envy, should be flocking to Turkey to breathe an air of academic excellence and freedoms. On the other hand, however, he complains of a massive brain drain in the Muslim world, including Turkey, heading to the Western countries, which he explicitly despises. A gross contradiction? Just an Islamist's usual ideological impasse.
In a recent speech, Erdogan said that the Muslim world has been losing students to the West in a brain drain, and that this intellectual emigration must be prevented:
"On top of that, we are transferring very serious amounts of money to Western countries for this. After these students complete their academic studies, we naturally expect them to return to their countries and serve their own people. But most of the time, those finishing their schools do not return to their homelands, but stay where they received education".
Erdogan's diagnosis is correct. According to Cumhuriyet, an independent Turkish daily newspaper, the number of Turkish students seeking study abroad has doubled every year since 2009. At Robert College in Istanbul, a private high school, 151 of 196 seniors recently applied to study abroad. And according to the state-run news agency Anadolu, some 90,000 Turkish students go abroad annually, and spend about $1.5 billion for education. Turkey ranks 11th among countries with students getting an education abroad, according to the World Bank. Top preferred education destinations include Britain, the United States, Malta, Canada, Australia and Germany -- ironically, all of them non-Muslim countries. Turkey sends more students to the United States than any other European country.
At Robert College in Istanbul, a private high school, 151 of 196 seniors recently applied to study abroad. (Image source: Wikipedia)
That is hardly surprising in a country where average schooling is a mere 6.5 years. Qualitatively, too, education standards are extremely poor in Turkey. The results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) education test have revealed some of the most pressing problems in Turkish education. According to the PISA findings in 2016, Turkey dropped from 44th place to 49th (out of 72 countries surveyed), compared to the last test in 2012.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that the number of Turkish 15-year-olds who scored below average on the triennial PISA test is three times higher than the number of students who scored below average in more successful countries. Some 31.2% of Turkish students below 15 years of age underperformed in mathematics, sciences and reading. In contrast, only 10% of students in countries that neared the top of the list underperformed on math, sciences and reading. Between 2012 and 2016, Turkey's ranking dropped from 43rd in science to 52nd, and from 41st in reading to 50th.
For Erdogan, however, education has hardly anything to do with science. In a 2015 speech, he boasted that since his government came to power in 2002, the number of "imam school" students had risen sharply from a mere 60,000 to 1.2 million.
More recently, in July, Turkish Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz revealed that the final version of Turkey's national school curriculum left out evolution and added the concept of "jihad," as part of Islamic law, in the books. The new curriculum will be put into execution for first, fifth, and ninth graders beginning this year, and will extend to other classes in the 2018-2019 academic year. According to Yilmaz:
"Jihad is an element in our religion; it is in our religion... The duty of the Education Ministry is to teach every concept deservedly, in a correct way. It is also our job to correct things that are wrongly perceived, seen or taught".
Although the Turkish government claims that "jihad" means a "spiritual inner struggle for salvation," the official Turkish dictionary defines it as a "war fought in the name of religion".
With that move, Turkey became the first and only NATO member state that teaches "jihad" in its schools. But what may be the logic behind the idea? According to Ahmet Hamdi Camli, a lawmaker from Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, "there is no use in teaching mathematics to students who don't know jihad." He explained: "Jihad is Islam's most prior element".
Against such a surreal backdrop, Erdogan is struggling to prevent Turkey's brain drain to Western countries. That promises to be a futile effort.
StudyPortals, a global study-choice platform, recently reported:
"By the end of Monday the 18th of July, we received 2.6 times as many education seekers from Turkey compared to the average of June 2016! While Turkish visitors normally represent approximately 1.4% of our global traffic, they represented 2.0% on Saturday the 16th, 2.5% on Sunday the 17th and 3.3% on Monday the 18th. Clearly, more and more Turkish students are considering to study abroad".
Not just that. Although in the past it was overwhelmingly Turkish graduate students who sought education possibilities abroad, these days, it seems, it is also high-school students who do. According to IEFT, a Turkey-based education consultancy, parents have this year made "record-level" applications for high-school level study opportunities abroad.
Fuad Kavur, a London-based Turkish-British film producer, told this author:
"I had to laugh, reading that Mr. Erdogan complains about most Turkish students, after completing their university education in the West, do not return to Turkey. Why would a young man, indeed a young woman, would want to return to a country where there are 50,000 [political] people in prison, including 200 journalists, opposition media is gagged, women are second class citizens, and where Darwin's theory of evolution has been taken off academic curriculum because it contradicts teachings of Islam? To these bright young kids, returning to Turkey must appear like hopping on H. G. Wells's 'Time Machine' and travelling back a few centuries."
**Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was recently fired from Turkey's leading newspaper after 29 years, for writing what was taking place in Turkey for Gatestone. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

The Palestinian Authority is a Genocidal Terrorist Entity and Should be Treated as Such
Guy Millière/Gatestone Institute/August 17/17
The PLO became the first terrorist organization to have a seat at the UN and diplomatic representation in a Western country.
Daniel Pipes suggested measures to move the conflict in a constructive direction without causing major conflagration: require the Palestinian Authority (PA) pay for all damages inflicted by terrorists, including a very high price for each stolen life; burying the dead terrorists without returning them to their families; severely limiting access to West Bank territories ruled by the PA; banning PA leaders from entering Israeli airports if they make inflammatory remarks and each time there is anti-Israeli violence, or even asking them to use Jordanian airports from now on.
Why not tell European leaders that the Palestinian Authority is still a genocidal terrorist organization? Why not ask them how they can agree to finance in the Middle East what they claim to reject with horror in Europe?
The latest slaughter in the land of Israel took place in Halamish, Samaria, on July 21. A Palestinian stabbed to death a Jewish grandfather and two of his children. The grandmother was injured seriously. Countless similar attacks occurred in Israel in the recent and not-so-recent past.
Once again, thousands of Palestinian Arabs joyfully celebrated the murders. Some handed out candy.
The murderer was praised by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas. If he had been shot to death, he would have instantly become a martyr of Islam. A street in Ramallah would be named after him. His picture would be posted in storefronts in the territories occupied by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, and his family would be rewarded with a high "salary" for life.
The killer explained his crime by his willingness to "defend the al-Aqsa mosque" -- which in fact was never attacked or even threatened by Israel. He did not hide his hatred for Jews. In his last Facebook post, he described them as monkeys and pigs.
His mother showed her pride for her son and his actions.
The murders followed Muslim riots after Israel installed metal detectors at the Temple Mount entrances, as exist in other mosques worldwide -- in response to the murder of two Israeli policemen by Muslim terrorists who succeeded in bringing weapons to the site. The Israeli government did not prohibit access to the al-Aqsa mosque; it only wished to prevent further attacks. That a mosque could be used as a base for terrorist attacks seems to have been considered normal by the rioters.
Since then, the Israeli government decided to remove the metal detectors, as well as surveillance cameras that had been added later.
Although the rioting subsided, Israelis reacted negatively to their government's decision: polls showed that 77% of them strongly disapproved of the removal of the metal detectors, and thought that the Israeli government should not yield to threats and intimidation.
The director of public affairs at the Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, David M. Weinberg, said that it is "urgent, through resolute Israeli action, to deprive the Palestinian leadership of its delusion that he can bully Israel into retreat."
For now, Palestinian leaders have every reason to believe that there is no delusion, that terrorism and violence pay off. It would be hard to prove them wrong.
When the Arab and Muslim world waged conventional wars to destroy the Jewish state, Israel, despite its smaller number of soldiers, won every time and acquired a reputation for courage and invincibility.
In 1964, the Arab and Muslim world adopted a new strategy. It created the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The war became a terror war. Unpredictable attacks were launched against Jews in Israel, Europe, and North and South America.
The PLO presented itself as a "national liberation movement". A people was invented, the "Palestinians" -- actually ordinary Arabs -- that the PLO was supposed to "liberate". Attacks became more frequent. Soon, after intense propaganda, Israel was no longer perceived as a small country that the Arab world of 21 nations wanted to crush, but as a powerful country trying to annihilate a small people, deprived of everything. The world, believing this inversion of history, began to withdraw its sympathy from Israel.
Continuing to use terrorism and propaganda, the PLO also commenced a diplomatic offensive -- with the support of, the Arab world, the Soviet Union and Western countries, especially France. The PLO obtained an observer seat at the United Nations in 1972. A diplomatic delegation of the PLO opened in Paris in 1975. The PLO became the first terrorist organization to have a seat at the UN and diplomatic representation in a Western country.
After failing to overthrow the king of Jordan in September 1970 , the PLO retreated to Lebanon, led the country into a civil war, and used camps it built on Lebanese territory to carry out attacks against Israel. Israel intervened in Lebanon in March 1978, then in June 1982, and almost eliminated the PLO which, thanks to French President François Mitterrand, retreated to Tunisia. The Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon, perpetrated by Christian militias, were falsely presented as if they had been Israel's fault. The PLO and the Palestinians were described as victims of the Israeli cruelty. Palestinian massacres such as the coastal road attack in March 1978 were completely forgotten.
The PLO continued to incite Jew-hate among Palestinian Arabs. The result was the "first intifada" (1987-1991). Israel won militarily, but lost the public-relations war: Palestinian terrorists used children as human shields so that the Israeli army could be portrayed as made of ruthless killers.
Concessions were demanded from Israel; Israel ended up succumbing to false hopes of peace. It agreed to participate in the Madrid Conference in 1991, and then, in 1993, entered the Oslo Accords. In them, Israel recognized the PLO and accepted the creation of the Palestinian Authority, a quasi-state ruled by the PLO, which promised to renounce terrorism.
Almost immediately, the Palestinian Authority launched innumerable, terrorist attacks. These decreased only when Israel began building a security fence in 2002. Terrorism, propaganda and especially lies had allowed the PLO to obtained a terrorist quasi-state accepted by Israel. Even though attacks never stopped, Israel was pushed to pursue the peace process as if there was no terrorism.
To this day, the Palestinian Authority launches relentless campaigns to spread murder and terrorism against Israelis. The most recent one began in September 2015, when PA President Mahmoud Abbas falsely claimed that the Jews' "filthy feet" were defiling the Temple Mount; he added that he welcomed "every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem". Tourists of all religions visit the Temple Mount compound -- although not the mosque -- by agreement with the PA.
Every day, the PA uses the schools and the media it controls to incite genocidal Jew-hate.
The Palestinian Authority, a terrorist organization with anti-Jewish genocidal goals, is all the while being subsidized to the tune of millions of dollars annually from the West, which, unhelpfully, presents it as more "moderate" than Hamas, the equivalent of saying that al-Qaeda is more "moderate" than ISIS. That is still insufficient reason to bankroll al-Qaeda.
When the PA leaders speak in the Western world, they may sound moderate. When they speak to Palestinian Arabs, however, they speak like the leaders of Hamas.
The only peace they contemplate is the "liberation" of all Palestine, "from the river to the sea" – in other words, the total destruction of Israel and its replacement by themselves, as any map of "Palestine" clearly corroborates.
The murderers of Jews, who in turn are killed by the Israeli Defense Forces, are considered by the Palestinian Authority as shaheeds, jihadi fighters who died for Allah : "martyrs".
Since the days of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, before the state of Israel was founded in 1948, Palestinians have been using the lie that the Jews are trying to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount as a pretext to stir up Muslim Jew-hate and uprisings, and they continually repeat the slander.
The removal of the metal detectors from the Temple Mount entrances means that more attacks will almost certainly occur. It is perceived as a victory by the leaders of the PA and other Islamic leaders.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he understands those who criticized the government's decision, and added that he had to take into account broader security imperatives. It is probably true. The Palestinian Authority leaders may well have hoped to ignite the entire region and launch a regional war.
Many Israelis, however, viewed the move as terrorism having dictated a retreat yet again. They know that the PA is an enemy that wants them dead. They heard what many of the rioters in Jerusalem were shouting: "Jews, remember Kaybar, the army of Mohammed returns" -- a reference to the massacre of a Jewish community in Arabia by the Islamic Prophet Mohammed in 628. They see that the conflict is essentially religious as well as political. According to Islam, all belongs to Allah -- especially places that were once under the rule of Islam, as the land of Israel was during the Ottoman Empire, and must be retaken and held in trust forever for Allah.
Islamically speaking, Muslims must never fully accept the existence of Israel on a land once conquered by Islam, and therefore, in their minds, obligated to be Islamic for eternity. The thought that Jews control a land that once was ruled by Islam is particularly repellent.
Even if Israelis accepted years ago that Muslims could pray on the Temple Mount, what they accept less and less is that Jews have no right to pray there. They see the Israeli decision to leave the Temple Mount and its management in the hands of the Muslim Waqf when Jerusalem was reunited in June 1967 as a tragic mistake that ended up creating an Islamic enclave on Israel's territory. Israelis, understandably tired of being attacked, are, as Daniel Pipes emphasized a few months ago, ready for an absolute Israeli victory, and an absolute Palestinian defeat.
Daniel Pipes suggested measures to move the conflict in a constructive direction without causing major conflagration: requiring the Palestinian Authority to pay for all damages inflicted by terrorists, including an extremely high price for each stolen life; burying dead terrorists without returning them to their families; severely limiting access to West Bank territories ruled by the PA; banning the PA leaders from entering Israeli airports if they make inflammatory remarks and each time there is anti-Israeli violence, or even asking them to use Jordanian airports from now on.
Israeli leaders could also speak more frankly. Why not tell European leaders that the Palestinian Authority is still a genocidal terrorist organization? Why not ask them how they can agree to finance in the Middle East what they claim to reject with horror in Europe? Do they want Israeli Jews dead, too?
Why not say bluntly that offering a state to the Palestinian Authority would be rewarding terrorism and murder -- far beyond what Israelis can accept, a few decades after the Holocaust? Are they hoping it will spare Europe more Islamic terrorism?
Telling all this to the Trump administration's emissaries is not necessary. The American administration already knows it. President Donald J. Trump told Mahmoud Abbas what no other Western leader dared to say. He knows that there is nothing to expect from the Palestinian Authority and that Jason Greenblatt's mission is destined to fail.
Telling all this to European leaders, however, is critical.
President Donald Trump told Mahmoud Abbas what no other Western leader dared to say. He knows that there is nothing to expect from the Palestinian Authority and that Jason Greenblatt's mission is destined to fail. Pictured: Trump and Abbas give a joint statement on May 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Image source: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
That Mahmoud Abbas could use a blood libel in a speech he gave at the European Parliament -- and receive a standing ovation -- in 2016 is as revealing of Europe's deepest wishes as it is of Abbas's.
That French President Emmanuel Macron could warmly embrace Mahmoud Abbas and thank him for working for "non-violence", when precisely the opposite is demonstrably evident, is just as revealing.
When Macron welcomed Netanyahu in Paris to attend the annual commemoration for the Vel d'Hiv deportations a few days after he met Mahmoud Abbas, the new French president denounced French behavior towards Jews during the German occupation, but seized the opportunity to emphasize the "urgent need" to create a "Palestinian state" with Jerusalem as its capital. Netanyahu politely replied that the Palestinian Authority did not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Like many anti-Semites, French leaders, and many others in Europe, always seem ready commemorate Jews who are dead while contributing to the murder of Jews who are alive.
**Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.