July 30/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 04/14-21/:"Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed meto bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."’

At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you
Second Letter to the Corinthians 05,20-21.06,01-10/:"We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything."

Question: "Should a Christian study philosophy?"
Answer: The word philosophy comes from the Greek word philosophia, which means “love of wisdom.” The study of philosophy is about using rational argument and critical thinking to analyze the way human beings think and know and perceive the world around them—both the physical world and the abstract world of ideas. Questions like “what is real?” and “can the truth be known?” and “what is beauty?” are all philosophical questions. There is nothing wrong with a believer in Jesus Christ loving wisdom (Proverbs 4:6; 7:4), and there is nothing wrong with a Christian studying philosophy. The book of Ecclesiastes is very philosophical, dealing as it does with several different worldly philosophies before concluding that a philosophy that fears and obeys God is the best (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
A Christian believes that all necessary questions pertaining to life can be answered by the Bible. However, philosophy is a fascinating field of academic study, and, if a believer’s mind is inclined toward it, the study of philosophy can be enlightening and prove beneficial in one’s dealings with the world. An understanding of the various philosophies of men is a valuable tool in evangelism. Paul was able to engage the philosophers on Mars Hill because of his familiarity with Greek writings (Acts 17:28), and he quoted a Cretan philosopher to make a point in Titus 1:12.
Faith is often seen as a “non-intellectual” pursuit; it is viewed as something understood with the spirit and the heart and therefore doesn’t need to make sense to the rational mind. This idea goes all the way back to ancient times. The Greek culture, the birthplace of philosophy, could not understand the Christian message, which seemed irrational to them. The preaching of the cross was foolishness to the Greeks (1 Corinthians 1:23). Paul here intimates the limitations of human philosophy. The philosophy of man can never arrive at the truth of God on its own.
God’s wisdom is revealed to man when God gives him the mind of Christ. Without God’s revelation, man in his natural state cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:14–16). Wisdom does not come from the natural, rational mind because man’s mind and his reason are fallen; that is, they are affected by sin. Wisdom is a beautiful thing, poetically described as the worker by God’s side as He created the world (Proverbs 8:12–31). To truly be able to think rationally, a person must be introduced to the ultimate source of wisdom, which is God Himself. Faith in God is not foolishness—though it is perceived that way by those who trust solely in reason—it is rather what informs reason. “By faith we understand” (Hebrews 11:3). Through faith, we access true wisdom (Proverbs 3:5–6).
On the one hand, the study of philosophy is totally harmless—simply a way to understand human concepts and learn to think critically about the world. On the other hand, if a person does not accept man’s fallen nature as revealed in Scripture, philosophy can turn into the assertion of man’s reason as the ultimate source of wisdom. When people trust in their own reason to lead them to truth, they lead themselves astray. For this reason, the study of philosophy is fraught with pitfalls; the reasoning of unsaved men fills the textbooks, and the Christian must be aware. But philosophy as a field of study is simply a tool—it can be used to build beautiful and enlightening arguments based on what is revealed by God to be true, or it can be used to deconstruct and confuse a fallen mind that trusts itself rather than its Creator.
**Recommended Resource: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by William Lane Craig & J.P. Moreland

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on July 29-30/17
Hezbollah fighter challenges officer from IDF Spokesperson's Unit/Roi Kais/Ynetnews/July 30/17/
Fate of Ancient Canaanites Seen in DNA Analysis: They Survived/Nicholas St.Fleur/The New York Times/July 27/17
Palestinians: The Metal Detector Scam/Khadija Khan/Gatestone Institute/July 29/17
We must prepare for the global energy changes to come/Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/July 29/17
Qatar’s spins and maneuvers/Mohammed Al-Hammadi/Al Arabiya/July 29/17
Egypt goes about the task of reforming the religious rhetoric/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/July 29/17
Trump under NKorean and Iranian missile siege/DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis July 29, 2017

Titles For Latest Lebanese Related News published on July 29-30/17
Report: Battle to Expel IS from al-Qaa, Ras Baalbek Within 72 Hours
Report: LF Says Upcoming Battle in Ras Baalbek Different from Arsal's
Lebanese Chief of Staff from Eastern Border: Army in Open War against Terrorism
Nizar Zakka's Attorney: He ended his hunger strike
Hbeish: Qbayat fire completely extinguished
Army: Four enemy drones violate national airspace
Bou Saab says army will receive absolute support to complete its process of liberating the land from Takfiris
State Security: Three Palestinians arrested for belonging to terrorist groups in Nabatieh
Khoury: There is an international decision to rid Lebanon of terrorists
Aoun affirms commitment to resolution 1701
Hezbollah fighter challenges officer from IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Fate of Ancient Canaanites Seen in DNA Analysis: They Survived

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on July 29-30/17
Qatari Islamist’s confessions reveal Doha ‘plot’ to sabotage Gulf states
Saudi envoy to the UN: Saudi Arabia increased efforts to combat extremism
Arab foreign ministers to meet in Bahrain over Qatar crisis
Syrian Coalition Calls for Establishment of ‘National Army’ to Fight Terror
UAE: Boycotting States Have Evidence of Qatar’s Funding of Terror Groups
Protests Besiege Nusra Front in Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta
Qatar appeals to UN, while US calls for dialogue
Yemeni vice president: Houthis targeting of Mecca backed by Iran
Iran Guards Report New Incident with US Navy in Gulf
N. Korea Leader Says 'All US' Within Range after Missile Test

Latest Lebanese Related News published on July 29-30/17
Report: Battle to Expel IS from al-Qaa, Ras Baalbek Within 72 Hours

Naharnet/July 30/17/The Lebanese Army is gearing for a battle against the Islamic State group militants on the eastern borders in the al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek which will reportedly “begin within 72 hours,” al-Mustaqbal daily said on Saturday. Senior military sources told the daily that “military reinforcements taken in al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek come in the context of preparing for "zero hour" that will mark the start of the battle waged by the army to liberate a distinctly Lebanese land. “It falls within the framework of the army's duties and role in the protection of borders and sovereignty,” stressed the source on condition of anonymity. On the reasons that made the army refrain from taking part in the battle waged by Hizbullah against al-Nusra Front militants in the outskirts of Arsal, the source stressed: “The recent battles against Nusra had been launched mainly from within the Syrian territory, specifically from the outskirts of Flita. Consequently, the Lebanese army had no mission or role except to protect the Lebanese border, Lebanese civilians and displaced Syrians. “However, the army is the sole entity that will wage the battle in the outskirts of al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek,” stressed the source.
He added that the battle is expected to be within a “geographical area free of any civilians or displaced people,” which will comfort the military units while facing terrorist groups who will not be able to use the encampments of the displaced or civilians as human shields. The area has witnessed an exchange of shelling in the past 48 hours. The report comes in the wake of a Hizbullah assault in Arsal's outskirts that managed to oust al-Nusra Front's jihadists from the area. Militants from the al-Qaida-linked, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and the Islamic State group are entrenched in rugged mountains along the Lebanese-Syrian border. The Lebanese army regularly shells their positions while Hizbullah and the Syrian army have engaged in clashes with them on the Syrian side of the border. The two groups overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in 2014 and engaged in deadly battles with the Lebanese army for several days.
The retreating militants abducted around 35 troops and policemen of whom four have been executed and nine remain in captivity.

Report: LF Says Upcoming Battle in Ras Baalbek Different from Arsal's
Naharnet/July 30/17/In light of battle reinforcements taken by the military forces to oust the Islamic State group's militants from Lebanon's eastern border area, the Lebanese Forces said the expected battle in Ras Baalbek and al-Qaa is different from the one waged in the outskirts of Arsal, al-Jouhmouria daily reported on Saturday. “The battle in the outskirts of Ras Baalbek differs in form and content from the battle in the outskirts of Arsal,” LF sources told the daily. “In form, Ras Baalbek's outskirts are Lebanese while the outskirts of Arsal are triangular, one part is Lebanese, another is Lebanese-Syrian and the third is Syrian. Thus, the Lebanese state can not enter into a confrontation on Syrian soil and fight alongside the Syrian army which has been isolated at Syrian, Arab and international levels,” added the source. Media reports said Saturday that the Lebanese Army is gearing for a battle against the Islamic State group militants on the eastern borders in the al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek's outskirts. The source who spoke on condition of anonymity assured that the army “was the first to start the battle through its airstrikes and artillery,” pointing out that the reasons were not enough to let the army engage in the battle in Arsal. “In content,” added the source, “the Lebanese army represents all the Lebanese people as it fights to protect the land and Lebanon's interest. While Hizbullah's fight is a class struggle-- even if Lebanon is benefiting this time in exceptional ways. Hizbullah's main goal is to achieve the interest of the axis it belongs to, not Lebanon's interest.”Last week Hizbullah launched an assault in Arsal's outskirts that managed to oust al-Nusra Front's jihadists from the area. Militants from the al-Qaida-linked, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and the Islamic State group are entrenched in rugged mountains along the Lebanese-Syrian border. The Lebanese army regularly shells their positions while Hizbullah and the Syrian army have engaged in clashes with them on the Syrian side of the border. The two groups overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in 2014 and engaged in deadly battles with the Lebanese army for several days. The retreating militants abducted around 35 troops and policemen of whom four have been executed and nine remain in captivity.

Lebanese Chief of Staff from Eastern Border: Army in Open War against Terrorism
Naharnet/July 30/17/Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Hatem Mallak on Friday visited military units deployed on the eastern border in the al-Qaa, Ras Baalbek and Arsal areas, inspecting their measures on the ground and giving the necessary instructions to the officers and soldiers, the National News Agency said. Mallak lauded the units' “efforts and sacrifices over the past days in terms of striking terrorists sneaking towards the town of Arsal and the refugee camps, and therefore protecting residents and keeping them safe from clashes, in addition to securing the delivery of food and medical aid to these camps in coordination with the red cross,” NNA said.“The army's war against terrorism will remain open until the liberation of the last inch of the eastern border region, and the upcoming battle will be decisive and the army will inevitably emerge victorious, the same as it won all the previous confrontations against the terrorist groups,” Mallak vowed. He also called on soldiers to show “more vigilance and to remain prepared to carry out the missions that are expected in the near future.”Mallak's visit comes amid reports of preparations by the army for an offensive against the jihadist Islamic State group in the outskirts of the border towns of al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek. The area has witnessed an exchange of shelling in the past 48 hours. The chief of staff's visit also comes in the wake of a Hizbullah assault in Arsal's outskirts that managed to oust al-Nusra Front's jihadists from the area.

Nizar Zakka's Attorney: He ended his hunger strike
Fri 28 Jul 2017/NNA - Nizar Zakka's Attorney, Antoine Abou Dib, on Friday announced that he recieved the following statement from his client: "At the request of my sons, and because of the support of the American Congress, I've decided to end my hunger strike."Zakka added in his atatement: "33 days of hunger strike, and the support of family, friends, and even strangers, has helped me find protection, help, and guidance that I did not have before. I want to thank again the Congress, the American people, for not forgetting about me and other fellow hostages held captive in Iran. I also thank fellow hostages and prisoners in Evin prison, for showing solidarity with my cause, for treating me as brother. This has truly been a gift, a huge difference in how the Iranian government has treated me. I am innocent of the charges against me. I just want to go home and be reunited with my family and friends."

Hbeish: Qbayat fire completely extinguished
Sat 29 Jul 2017/NNA - MP Hadi Hbeish indicated Saturday that the fire which lasted since Friday morning until today in the area of Qbayat over approximately 250 hectares has finally been extinguished, and is currently being cooled down using water from an artificial pond developed in the region. Hbeish thanked the Lebanese army, Civil defense and volunteers, the Lebanese Red Cross, the Qbayat Municipality and all citizens of Qbayat and Akkar who responded to the emergency call to help extinguish the fire. The deputy regretted the forest disaster which befell the areas that suffered from fire, while reassuring that no human casualties were reported. He added that the causes of the fire are not yet known, since investigations are still underway into the incident. In this connection, Hbeish indicated that the Prime Minister would be informed of the incident's details in an effort to provide all necessary assistance and compensations for those who incurred material damages, in cooperation with the Municipality of Qbayat. He added that a report would be submitted to the Supreme Relief Commission in this respect.

Army: Four enemy drones violate national airspace
Sat 29 Jul 2017/NNA - An Israeli enemy reconnaissance aircraft breached the Lebanese airspace above the Southern town of Rmeish at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, circled over the areas of Riyak, Baalbek and the South and then left at 10:55 p.m. flying over the town of Kfarkila, an issued Army Command communiqué indicated on Saturday. A similar enemy drone also violated the national airspace over the town of Kfarkila at 3:50 p.m. on Friday, circled over various Southern areas and then left at 7:40 p.m. flying above the town of Alma el-Shaeb, the communiqué added.
Another enemy drone also breached the Lebanese skies over the town of Alma el-Shaeb at 7:50 p.m. on Friday, circled over the South region and then left the airspace at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday, flying over the town of Rmeish, the Army communiqué continued. Moreover, at 6:10 a.m. today, a similar Israeli reconnaissance aircraft again breached the Lebanese airspace above the town of Rmeish, circled over various areas of the South and then left at 10:25 a.m. flying over the aforementioned town, the communiqué concluded.

Bou Saab says army will receive absolute support to complete its process of liberating the land from Takfiris
Sat 29 Jul 2017/NNA - Former Minister Elias Bou Saab stressed that the Lebanese army shall receive utmost support to pursue its march of liberating the land from Takfiris. Speaking at the inauguration of the "Dhour Shoueir Expatriates Festival" on Friday evening where he represented President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, Bou Saab considered that "Lebanon today is facing an enemy similar to that of July 2006," adding "there is no difference between both the Zionist and Takfiri enemies."
"Victory lies in our unity together as Lebanese, and in rallying around the equation of the people, the army and the resistance," he emphasized. "We have full hope and confidence that the Lebanese army will successfully complete the mission of eliminating Lebanon's soil of the last terrorist," Bou Saab underscored.

State Security: Three Palestinians arrested for belonging to terrorist groups in Nabatieh
Sat 29 Jul 2017/NNA - In an issued communiqué by the State Security General Directorate on Saturday, it indicated that three Palestinians were arrested in the area of Qaaqiat al-Jisr in Nabatieh Province on charges of belonging to terrorist groups. During investigations, one of the arrestees confessed to working with al-Nusra Front in monitoring Lebanese army checkpoints in Sidon and at the entrance to Ain el-Helweh refugee camp, in addition to being involved in assassination plots against Fateh Movement officials. Another arrestee confessed to working with Daesh organization and taking part in clashes inside Ain el-Helweh camp. Based on the Government Commissioner at the Military Court's directions, the detainees were placed in custody of the Lebanese Army Intelligence Directorate, the communiqué concluded.

Khoury: There is an international decision to rid Lebanon of terrorists
Sat 29 Jul 2017/NNA - "Change and Reform" parliamentary bloc member, Deputy Walid Khoury, said Saturday that there is an international decision to eradicate terrorism from Lebanon, stressing that their presence imposes a threat on the economic situation in the country. "There is an international decision to rid Lebanon of terrorism and to isolate it from what is happening in the Arab countries because the presence of terrorists and security turbulences can reflect negatively on Europe, in addition to the oil and gas in our waters," MP Khoury noted. Commenting on the salary scale issue and imposing of new taxes, the lawmaker considered that their bloc was forced to take such decision, adding that their goal is to cancel the 1% increase on TVA.

Aoun affirms commitment to resolution 1701
The Daily Star/July 29/17/BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun Friday said Lebanon was fully committed to the complete implementation of U.N. resolution 1701, a statement from the presidential palace said. Aoun’s comments came during a meeting with U.N. Special Coordinator to Lebanon Sigrid Kaag at the Baabda Palace. “We know the potential consequences of not abiding by this resolution [1701],” the statement quoted Aoun as saying. Aoun condemned the continuous violations of Lebanese territory by Israeli forces and the current occupation of Lebanese land by Israel. Lebanon has frequently announced its commitment to resolution 1701, which ended Israel’s 34-day war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006. The resolution called for an immediate end to hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah, the deployment of the Lebanese Army along the Israeli border, the establishment of a weapons-free zone south of the Litani River and the disarmament of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias. During the meeting the president informed Kaag of the Cabinet’s recent request to extend the mandate of UNIFIL forces in south Lebanon for one year. Aoun also spoke of the importance of aid to the Lebanese Army from the United Nations and world powers in the fight against terrorism. Kaag delivered a message from U.N. Secretary-General Antnio Guterres congratulating Aoun on his success in leading the country and reaffirmed the United Nations continued support to Lebanon. Separately, Aoun met with British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter, they discussed Britain's stance regarding the recent battles in the outskirts of Arsal.

Hezbollah fighter challenges officer from IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Roi Kais/Ynetnews/July 30/17/
Photo purports to show fighter of the terror organization posing with sign saying 'Avichay Adraee, we are practicing against Jabhat al-Nusra ahead of the invasion to the Galilee.'A photo making the rounds in Lebanon over the past few days purports to show a Hezbollah militant, who is currently participating in the fighting in the Arsal mountains on the Syria-Lebanon border, holding up a sign with a challenge to an IDF officer. "Avichay Adraee, we are practicing against Jabhat al-Nusra ahead of the invasion to the Galilee #Arsalmountains #alQalamoun," the sign says.
Maj. Adraee is the head of the Arabic media desk at the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. Lebanese newspaper Al-Binaa, which is affiliated with the Lebanese Communist Party, published the photo, noting: "This is what one of the strongest fighters in the Arsal/al-Qalamoun mountains wrote to Israeli officer Avichay Adraee." The photo also made the rounds on social media but was not featured in more central Lebanese media outlets. The outlets that did publish the photo said they could not verify its authenticity. In general, it appears Hezbollah-affiliated media outlets have been following Adraee closely and more than they used to. The Lebanese Al Mayadeen network published an article about Adraee's use of quotes from the Quran in his tweets, while Hezbollah's media department uploaded a video after Adraee posted a greeting to Muslims ahead of Ramadan, calling it a "holiday greeting from a murderer."
Maj. Adraee responded to the alleged Hezbollah fighter's message on his social media accounts, saying, "Recently a photo has been published of one of Hezbollah's members threatening Israel and mentioning me by name. The only question that came to my mind was whether the photo was taken before or after Hezbollah bombed a hospital for displaced Syrians in Arsal, with that proving once more its terrorist and sectarian behavior. "As for my response to the photo, I'll say: if you realize your threat—you will be welcomed to a new chapter of your failed surprises."

Fate of Ancient Canaanites Seen in DNA Analysis: They Survived
Nicholas St.Fleur/The New York Times/July 27/17
Remnants from an ancient Canaanite found in the Sidon excavation site. A genetic analysis found that the Canaanites survived a divine call for their extinction and that their descendants live in Lebanon. There is a story in the Hebrew Bible that tells of God’s call for the annihilation of the Canaanites, a people who lived in what are now Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian territories thousands of years ago. “You shall not leave alive anything that breathes,” God said in the passage. “But you shall utterly destroy them.” But a genetic analysis published on Thursday has found that the ancient population survived that divine call for their extinction, and their descendants live in modern Lebanon.
“We can see the present-day Lebanese can trace most of their ancestry to the Canaanites or a genetically equivalent population,” said Chris Tyler-Smith, a geneticist with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute who is an author of the paper. “They derive just over 90 percent of their ancestry from the Canaanites.”
Dr. Tyler-Smith and an international team of geneticists and archaeologists recovered ancient DNA from bones belonging to five Canaanites retrieved from an excavation site in Sidon, Lebanon, that were 3,650 to 3,750 years old. The team then compared the ancient DNA with the genomes of 99 living people from Lebanon that the group had sequenced. It found that the modern Lebanese people shared about 93 percent of their ancestry with the Bronze Age Sidon samples.The team published its results in The American Journal of Human Genetics.
“The conclusion is clear,” said Iosif Lazaridis, a geneticist at Harvard who was not involved in the study. “Based on this study it turns out that people who lived in Lebanon almost 4,000 years ago were quite similar to people who lived there today, to the modern Lebanese.”
Marc Haber, a postdoctoral fellow at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in England and lead author on the study, said that compared with other Bronze Age civilizations, not much is known about the Canaanites.
“We know about ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks, but we know very little about the ancient Canaanites because their records didn’t survive,” he said. Their writings may have been kept on papyrus, which did not stand the test of time as clay did. What is known about the Canaanites is that they lived and traded along the eastern coast of the present-day Mediterranean, a region that was known as the Levant.
“What we see is that since the Bronze Age, this ancestry, or the genetics of the people there, didn’t change much,” Dr. Haber said. “It changed a little, but it didn’t change much and that is what surprised me.”
At first the team was not sure if it would be able to retrieve DNA from the ancient skeletons, which were recovered from the hot and humid excavation site within the last 19 years. Dr. Haber had chosen more than two dozen bones from the site that looked promising and had them investigated for genetic material. It turned out that only five contained ancient DNA. All of those came from the petrous part of the temporal bone, which is the tough part of the skull behind the ear, from five different individuals.
Ancient DNA recovered from bones in the excavation site was sequenced for a new study.
After extracting that DNA, the team members compared it with a database that contained genetic information from hundreds of human populations. They then further compared their results with the genomes of the modern-day Lebanese population sample, which revealed what happened to the ancient Canaanite population. “Genetics has the power to answer questions that historical records or archaeology are not able to answer,” Dr. Haber said. He said researchers thought that migrations, conquests and the intermixing of Eurasian people — like the Assyrians, Persians or Macedonians — with the Canaanites 3,800 to 2,200 years ago might have contributed to the slight genetic changes seen in modern Lebanese populations. Still, the Lebanese retain most of their ancestral DNA from the Canaanites.
“It confirms the continuity of occupation and rooted tradition we have seen on-site, which was occupied from the 4th millennium B.C. right to the Crusader period,” Claude Doumet-Serhal, an archaeologist and director of the Sidon Excavation who is a co-author on the paper, said in an email.
She said that the archaeologists had found about 160 burials to date at their excavation site, which is in the heart of modern Sidon. They include graves and burials where a person was placed in a large jar, and they date to between 1900 and 1550 B.C. The genetic results further support the archaeological findings.“We were delighted by the findings,” Dr. Doumet-Serhal said. “We are looking at the Canaanite society through 160 burials and at the same time uncovering a common past for all the people of Lebanon, whatever religion they belong to.”

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on July 29-30/17
Qatari Islamist’s confessions reveal Doha ‘plot’ to sabotage Gulf states
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSaturday, 29 July 2017 /Qatar’s alleged “plots” against the UAE and Gulf states have been detailed in a new documentary released by Emirati state television channels, local media reported on Friday. The program features audio and video confessions by Qatari Muslim Brotherhood supporter Mahmoud al-Jaidah, who received a seven-year jail term in the UAE for supporting the illegal Islamist group, Al Islah. In the documentary, Jaidah is filmed saying that Qatar had become “the preferred” and “only” mediator of terrorist organizations in the past 20 years.
“The report revealed that Qatar supported Al Islah and provided hotel accommodations to members of the group,” according to the Dubai-based Gulf News. The documentary comes amid a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf, as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have boycotted Qatar over its alleged support for extremist groups. Jaidah’s confessions detailed the organizational structure of Qatar’s Muslim Brotherhood branch, which included an "Executive Office" and a "Shura Council."Jaidah, Qatari doctor, had been granted amnesty by the UAE, but he later returned to attack the UAE on Qatar’s state television.
He said that meetings that took place in Qatar resulted in the “blatant financing” of these organizations and that the Qatari government provided material and moral support to fugitive members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Gulf News reports: “Qatar’s contact with Al Islah members began with Khalid Mohammad Abdullah Al Shaiba, who was convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for links to the Muslim Brotherhood and setting up a branch of the organization in the UAE. “The group then infiltrated Qatari state facilities with the support of members of the ruling family, with 30 representatives of the group governing the ‘Ahl Al Hall Wa Al Aqd’ Council.”The newspaper stated that Jaidah’s testimony “serves as the most incriminating proof of Qatar’s role as the primary incubator of the Muslim Brotherhood.”The following points were also revealed in the documentary, citing Jaidah’s admissions:
•Doha’s efforts to recruit GCC nationals to carry out terrorist acts inside the UAE and in the region.
•That the UAE has been the chief target of the Muslim Brotherhood for years.
•The members of a group setting up a Muslim Brotherhood branch in the UAE were named by Jaidah: Eisa Al Ansari, Mohammad Thani, Nasser Mohammad Eisa, Ebrahim Al Ebrahim, Abdul Hamid Mahmoud and Khamis Al Mohannadi.
•The Brotherhood’s actions were supported by the Qatari government, as well as organizations such as, the Shaikh Thani Ibn Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services, and the Shaikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association.

Saudi envoy to the UN: Saudi Arabia increased efforts to combat extremism
Al Arabiya EnglishSaturday, 29 July 2017 /Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Abdullah Al-Maalami, said that Saudi Arabia has made incessant efforts to counter extremism, reported Al Arabiya. In a speech before the General Assembly of the UN, Al-Maalami said that Saudi Arabia wholeheartedly condemns all acts of terrorism, stressing that the fight against terrorism is a shared international responsibility that requires intensive and sustained efforts. The foreign ministers of the four anti-terrorism countries; Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, will hold a meeting at the Bahraini capital Manama on Saturday to discuss the latest developments of Qatar crisis. The two-day meeting reflects the interest of the four countries in coordinating their positions and affirming their demands from Qatar. The ministers will assess the updates concerning Qatar crisis to stop its support of terrorism as well as its negative interference in the internal affairs of their countries.

Arab foreign ministers to meet in Bahrain over Qatar crisis
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSaturday, 29 July 2017/The foreign ministers of four Arab countries that cut ties with Qatar over its alleged backing of terrorism will meet in Bahrain on Saturday "to watch Doha's seriousness in combating terrorism," Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement."Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt will hold a two-day meeting in Manama to evaluate the recent developments of Doha situation," foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmad Abu Zeid was quoted as saying. The Arab quartet severed diplomatic ties with Qatar last month after accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, interfering in their internal affairs and seeking closer ties with Iran. Qatar had strongly denied the charges and rejected a list of 13 demands put forward by the bloc for resuming diplomatic ties. On Thursday, Qatar's foreign minister said the United Nations should step in to help resolve the crisis.

Syrian Coalition Calls for Establishment of ‘National Army’ to Fight Terror

Asharq Al-Awsat/July 29/17/London- The Syrian Coalition has urged friendly countries to support the establishment of a unified national army “made of the revolutionary armed groups forming an integral part of the international coalition against terror.”The Coalition on Friday held a press conference at the headquarters of the Secretariat in Istanbul, Turkey, to define its position on the latest developments in Syria. Head of the Coalition’s media department Ahmed Ramadan said: “The grave and unfortunate developments that have recently taken place in Idlib province did not come as a surprise given the conspicuous lack of sufficient support for the Free Syrian Army groups and the failure to empower the Syrian people through their legitimate political institutions to establish a unified national army.” “The latest developments in Idlib province have put the opposition armed groups in front of a national responsibility to integrate into a single national army whose primary task is to defend the liberated areas from the attacks of the Assad regime forces and their allies and to liberate the areas under the control of terrorist groups,” he added. The coalition also condemned the blatant intervention of “Hezbollah” in Syria’s Qalamoun and its siege of several towns and villages in the area in an attempt to force local residents out of their homes. “These actions are aimed at serving the Iranian agenda to bring about a demographic change in the area, which includes large territories of rural Damascus, it said.

UAE: Boycotting States Have Evidence of Qatar’s Funding of Terror Groups
Asharq Al-Awsat/July 29/17/Riyadh, Washington – The United Arab Emirates said Friday that the four countries boycotting Qatar have conclusive evidence that Doha is financing extremist organizations in the region, including the terrorist al-Nusra Front.
Meanwhile, foreign ministers of the four anti-terrorism countries are preparing for a meeting in Manama to discuss the latest developments in the Qatari crisis. UAE Ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba revealed that the four countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) have conclusive evidence to indict Doha for its support of armed militias in Syria, Libya and Somalia, in addition to supporting al-Qaeda in Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood, and many others including Hamas and the Taliban. Otaiba told US TV channel PBS that Doha has the right to continue to do what it wants and support who it wants. The four countries in return have the right to continue their boycott and to take the measures that safeguard their rights and security as they wish. He pointed out that the Washington-led international coalition against ISIS could triumph, but that would not be possible without putting an end to funding terrorism from foreign parties. The ambassador said that the cause of the difference between the four boycotting countries and Qatar is the lack of its commitment to the charters and treaties that were signed in Riyadh in 2013 and 2014. He stressed that the Gulf states and Egypt cannot agree to the policies of Doha that are contrary to the approach of the Gulf fold. The Gulf crisis is about a fundamental clash of visions over the future of the Middle East, the UAE’s ambassador to Washington said. “Our disagreement is about what the future of the Middle East should look like and that’s something we haven’t been able to square with the Qataris for a long time,” Otaiba added. For his part, Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA, said that Qatar has money and relations with extremist groups, and it sees itself oppressed as a country in foreign policy, so it formed allies with these groups and funded them to get the external power it wants.

Protests Besiege Nusra Front in Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta

Asharq Al-Awsat/July 29/17/Beirut- The US-led coalition against ISIS is aware of the coordination between the Syrian regime, Russia and the Kurds in northeastern Syria, a senior Kurdish official told Asharq Al-Awsat, pointing out that the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces are working on a plan to liberate Raqqa from ISIS within two weeks. The progress of the SDF, supported by the coalition on one hand, and the regime forces, backed by Russia on the other, has led to coordination between the parties fighting ISIS. The Kurdish official said that Washington does not oppose the presence of military chambers for coordination between the Kurds, the regime of Bashar al-Assad and Russia. In this context, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said: “Backed by the US-led coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces have waged a months-long offensive on Raqqa and have successfully captured half of the city.”Meanwhile, Syrian regime troops, with Russian air support, have entered the last ISIS stronghold in the country’s Homs province after militants began withdrawing. Al-Sukhna, some 70 kilometers northeast of the famed ancient city of Palmyra, is of a strategic significance since it is the last town on the road to the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, most of which lies under ISIS control. On the other hand, protests against al-Nusra Front have taken place in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, which has witnessed confrontations between Faylaq al-Rahman and Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), formerly known as Nusra Front, coinciding with attempts to expand truce to include central and western Ghouta. In an official statement, HTS accused the fighters of Faylaq al-Rahman of killing one of its fighters in eastern Ghouta. In the statement, HTS claimed that a group of Faylaq al-Rahman gunmen attacked one of its fighters in Hamuriya town during his return from the Jobar front. The statement added that Faylaq al-Rahman members then chased him and killed him in his home. HTS claimed that Faylaq al-Rahman has carried out several such attacks on HTS fighters. The statement added that HTS informed the leadership of Faylaq al-Rahman several times, and the leaders pledged to resolve the problem, but didn’t keep their promises. In response to the HTS statement, Wael Alwan, spokesman for Faylaq al-Rahman, told opposition media: “HTS element has nothing to do with the fronts or fighting, he was a security man who was walking with his arms in Hamuriya town.”“He attacked one of Faylaq al-Rahman elements then he was stalked by a patrol of Faylaq al-Rahman, where he hid in a building under construction and fired at them, which forced them to deal with the situation and kill him,” Alwan added.
He also said that HTS abuses were repeated more than once in Ghouta. HTS held Faylaq al-Rahman responsible for this “heinous crime” and demanded that the killers be handed over immediately.

Qatar appeals to UN, while US calls for dialogue
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishFriday, 28 July 2017/Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani called the United Nations to help in resolving the Gulf crisis. The Qatari minister said to the reporters after meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who stressed that the international organization supports solving the crisis regionally. The UN secretary-general reiterated his full support for Kuwait-led mediation in an attempt to resolve Qatar crisis. In Washington, where Qatar's foreign minister met with his US counterpart, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Neuert said that Washington believe that to solve the crisis; the stakeholders need to sit together to talk and discuss it directly. In a related context, China's permanent ambassador in the United Nations expressed his country's belief that the crisis should be resolved within the Gulf Cooperation Council as an internal dispute, stressing that China hopes that the parties of the crisis will hold direct talks to overcome the obstacles to solve the issue. Qatar's foreign minister said that there are no positive steps taken by the boycotting countries, pointing out that Qatar wants to end this crisis through diplomatic dialogue based on principles that do not violate sovereignty and respect of international law.

Yemeni vice president: Houthis targeting of Mecca backed by Iran
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSaturday, 29 July 2017/Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar said that the attempt by the Houthis to target Mecca is a terrorist act supported by Iran, reported Al Arabiya. "This is a terrorist act that hurts the feelings of hundreds of millions around the world," he said. "Iran is responsible for what happened. The targeting of Mecca with a missile is something that every Muslim should rise to face and denounce," he added. "Tehran’s support of the Houthis and pushing them to target Mecca - more than once - is unjustified absurdity," said Mohammed Ali al-Husseini, a Shiite cleric and the secretary general of the Arab Islamic Council in Lebanon. He was referring to the last time Mecca was targeted by a ballistic missile, Saudi air defenses blocked it in Taif, 69 km from Mecca, and no one was hurt. As for the dean of the Faculty of theology in Al-Azhar University in Cairo, he described the Houthis’ violation as suicidal, and said: "They are attempting suicide, an act that cannot be imagined by a sane person, as well as any true Muslim, the sacred house of Allah that God has made safe for mankind, those who seek to harm it await God’s painful punishment.” The Saudi air defense forces managed to intercept a ballistic missile launched by the Houthi militia towards Mecca in a desperate attempt to disrupt the Hajj season, no damages were reported.

Iran Guards Report New Incident with US Navy in Gulf
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/July 30/17/Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday that the US Navy had approached their patrol vessels in the Gulf and fired flares in what it called a provocative move.
"At 4 pm (1130 GMT) on Friday, the supercarrier USS Nimitz and its accompanying warship, while being monitored by the Guards' frigates, flew a helicopter near the Resalat oil and gas platform and approached the force's ships," the Guards said. On Tuesday, a US Navy patrol ship fired warning shots at a Guards boat in the Gulf as it closed in on the American vessel, US officials said.

N. Korea Leader Says 'All US' Within Range after Missile Test
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/July 30/17/Kim Jong-Un boasted of North Korea's ability to strike any target in the US after a second ICBM test that weapons experts said Saturday could even bring New York into range -– in a potent challenge to President Donald Trump. China condemned the test but US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Beijing and Moscow bore "unique responsibility" for the growing threat posed by the reclusive North. Under Kim's leadership North Korea has accelerated its drive towards a credible nuclear strike capability, in defiance of international condemnation and multiple sets of UN sanctions. Kim said the test "is meant to send a grave warning to the US" and demonstrated the North's ability to launch "at any place and time," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. The "leader said proudly the test also confirmed all the US mainland is within our striking range," it said. Trump denounced the launch as "reckless and dangerous" and rejected Pyongyang's claims that such tests helped ensure its security. "The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region."
Weapons experts said the altitude and flight time of Friday's missile suggested it was significantly more powerful than the July 4 test, with a theoretical range of around 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) meaning it might be able to reach east coast US cities like New York, depending on the payload size.
"North Korea seems to have made a logical step forward, as it tries to perfect the technologies to build and field an operationally-viable ICBM that can threaten the mainland United States," said Michael Elleman, missile defense specialist at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
- 'Growing threat' -Kim Dong-Yub, a defense analyst at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University, said the North may have succeeded in miniaturising warheads down to 750 kilograms (1,650 pounds). "If the missile carries a 750 kg payload, its range could be 10,000 kilometers. Taking into account the Earth's rotation, it means it could reach not only the western cities but New York and Washington as well," he told AFP. Tillerson said Pyongyang's main ally Beijing, together with Moscow, bore responsibility for the growing threat from Pyongyang.
"As the principal economic enablers of North Korea's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development program, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability," he said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said he held telephone talks with Tillerson and agreed on the need to put "the heaviest possible pressure" on North Korea.
"We confirmed that we will closely cooperate in adopting a fresh UNSC (UN Security Council) resolution, including severe measures, and working on China and Russia," Kishida told reporters. In a standard response to the test, Beijing urged restraint by all sides, after the US and South Korea conducted a live-fire exercise using surface-to-surface missiles. The heads of the US and South Korean militaries also discussed "military response options" after North Korea's launch, the Pentagon said. South Korea said the test had prompted it to speed up deployment of a US missile defense system. North Korea's unrelenting pursuit of its missile and nuclear program poses a thorny policy challenge for Trump, who is at loggerheads with Beijing over how to handle Kim's regime. Trump has repeatedly urged China to rein in its recalcitrant neighbor, but Beijing insists dialogue is the only practical way forward.
- 'Time for Trump to focus' -Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University and an expert on the North's nuclear weapons programme, said Friday's launch confirmed time was running out for Washington to find a way out of a pressing security crisis.
"Another North Korean test of what appears to be a missile that can reach the United States further emphasizes the need for the Trump administration to focus like a laser on this increasingly dangerous situation," Wit said on the institute's 38 North website.
The North's July 4 test triggered global alarm, with experts saying the missile had a theoretical range to reach Alaska. There remain doubts whether the North can miniaturize a nuclear weapon to fit a missile nose cone, or if it has mastered the technology needed for the projectile to survive re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. But since Kim came to power there has been a series of technical advances, including three nuclear tests and a string of missile launches. In all, six sets of UN sanctions have been imposed on North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006, but two resolutions adopted last year significantly toughened the sanctions regime.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on July 29-30/17
Palestinians: The Metal Detector Scam
Khadija Khan/Gatestone Institute/July 29/17
Metal detectors and are commonplace at most prominent mosques in the Middle East, and more than 5,000 surveillance cameras (and 100,000 security guards) monitor pilgrims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia during the annual Hajj.
While the Palestinian terrorist was being treated for his wounds in an Israeli hospital, the Palestinian Authority celebrated his actions and set in motion the mechanism according to which he will receive a salary of more than $3,000 per month for his attempt to become a "martyr" through murdering Jews. It is time for the international community to stop enabling radicals to use the Palestinian people as pawns in their greater agenda, transparent to everyone, including all Muslims: to obliterate Israel through delegitimization.
After massive pressure from the Muslim world and international community, Israel removed all metal detectors and surveillance-camera infrastructure from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the location of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Possibly to obfuscate the reason that the metal detectors were installed in the first place -- a terrorist attack on July 14, in which three Israeli Arab citizens killed two Israeli Druze police officers with weapons they had hidden inside the mosque -- the Palestinian Authority (PA) called on Muslims to boycott the site and launch "days of rage" against the Jewish state.
Palestinians, claiming that the metal detectors were a "desecration" of the mosque -- which is actually located on the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam - entered into violent clashes with Israeli security forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israel and called on Muslims to "protect" Jerusalem.
Palestinians near Jerusalem's Old City protest Israel's installation of metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount, although the metal detectors had already been removed days before, on July 28, 2017. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
A Palestinian teenager posted on Facebook his intention to become a "martyr," before entering the home of a Jewish family in the West Bank and slaughtering three of its members. While this terrorist was being treated for his wounds in an Israeli hospital, the Palestinian Authority celebrated his actions and set in motion the mechanism according to which he will receive a salary of more than $3,000 per month for his attempt to become a "martyr" through murdering Jews.
Then, on July 23, a terrorist in Jordan -- the country that has religious custodianship over the Temple Mount through the Islamic Waqf -- attacked an Israeli security officer at the Israeli embassy compound in Amman. In self-defense, the officer shot and killed him, catching another Jordanian in the crossfire. In an deal between Israel and the Jordanian authorities, the guard and other embassy staff were released, apparently in exchange for a promise that the metal detectors would be removed from the entrance to the Temple Mount.
The metal detectors, however, had nothing to do with the real reason for the inflamed atmosphere -- stoked by PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction and the terrorist organization Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip -- in spite of the fact that the attack that spurred their installation was committed by Israeli Muslims against Israeli Druze. In reality, the security measures were taken by Israel to protect all people entering the site -- where only Muslims are allowed to pray, while Christians and Jews may visit only under strict surveillance.
Proof that the violence was not provoked by measures that were actually aimed at preventing terrorists from infiltrating deadly weapons onto the Temple Mount lies in the fact that metal detectors and are commonplace at most prominent mosques in the Middle East, and more than 5,000 surveillance cameras (and 100,000 security guards) monitor pilgrims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia during the annual Hajj. Furthermore, everyone visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, another Jewish holy site, is required to pass through metal detectors before entering the plaza -- a protection taken for granted.
The ongoing incitement against Israelis -- this time using metal detectors as the excuse to claim that the Jewish state is attempting to change the "status quo" on the Temple Mount -- not only disgraces Islam; it hurts the Palestinians whom the world claims to want to defend.
It is time for the international community to recognize this and stop enabling radicals to use the Palestinian people as pawns in their greater agenda, transparent to everyone, including all Muslims: to obliterate Israel through delegitimization.
**Khadija Khan is a Pakistani journalist and commentator, currently based in Germany.
© 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.

We must prepare for the global energy changes to come
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/July 29/17
Bahrain was a rich market for pearl trade. One morning, things changed as the Japanese discovered cheaper and more productive industrial alternatives. The Bahraini main trade collapsed, the fishing boats became deserted, and the Gulf region lost one of its most important financial resources. This same story can happen again with oil, especially since alternatives have been developing which encouraged governments in a number of countries to support electric cars, and plan to end the era of gasoline and diesel cars. Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, as well as India and China, have announced their intention to dispose of petroleum fuels for cars. We have already witnessed how cars replaced horses and donkeys. Today history repeats itself. This is what makes ideas and projects such as Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia an existential issue, because it is based on finding an alternative income for oil; otherwise we would be in a real danger. The new area will require rationalizing a huge portion of government spending, educating people on how to manage their savings, reforming education and employment, and empowering women. Otherwise, the task will be a lot harder later.
Although the gasoline and diesel cars still have two decades in their lifespan in a number of major world markets, oil revenues are suffering today as prices continue to fluctuate and the alternative oil market such as coal expands. This increases pressure on planners to accelerate the search for faster solutions. The economy cannot survive with these very high rates of foreign employment and local unemployment or with government support for various goods and services. All of which will make the task very difficult for the government and citizens over the next few years. We will see the end of time of servants and drivers, and the difficulty of acquiring a paid or guaranteed government job. No one is aware of what is happening in the world or even doubts the need to move to a new stage relying less on oil. Strategy makers will need to think deeply how any country can distinguish itself industrially or serviceably. Does it lean more towards religious tourism or expansion of industrial oil products? Should the focus be on sciences from the early stages of education or rather specialization and the declaration of the country in an urgent state of transition?
To be less reliant on oil
No one is aware of what is happening in the world or even doubts the need to move to a new stage relying less on oil. So the inauguration of Vision 2030 came as a conscious and responsible reading before the states change history in the car industry, which will be the major blow to the oil market. We will see a heated race between reducing our reliance on oil resources and reducing dependence on its derivatives of car fuel. Stopping gasoline and diesel cars does not mean the end of the oil age, but it strikes at the most important products and markets which happen to be the source of our main income. Oil will remain for a long time a source of life in other areas. It is fuel for aircraft and ships, operates electricity generators, runs desalination plants, used in the heating sector, used as asphalt and a key component in many industries from iron to shampoo, toothpaste and even artificial hearts.
I have heard skeptics say that the 20-year time limit for gasoline and diesel is unrealistic and oil will continue to be needed, arguing that the proportion of electric cars in Britain is only one per cent today, but we have seen how the world changed in short times and embraced modern techniques. It may be repeated with electric cars, especially that its technology, as well as the electronic car, is moving forward with amazing speed. Hence, we must be optimistic that we are able to challenge and overcome the crisis.

Qatar’s spins and maneuvers
Mohammed Al-Hammadi/Al Arabiya/July 29/17
Officials in Qatar wake up every day waiting for one thing: a decision to suspend the boycott which the four countries, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt imposed. Up until now, they do not believe that this boycott has in fact happened. They’re also incapable for comprehending that the boycott will go on and will not stop unless Qatar alters it behavior and policies and becomes a positive player in the region. No one wants it under anyone’s sovereignty and no one has the time to be its guardian as each has his plans, projects and concerns. Who would want to find a little naughty boy to be his guardian? Qatar is trying to shift facts and confuse issues. This is the approach it’s adopted to confront the matter in front of its people and the rest of the world. So far, Qatar’s statements have been reflected endless projections as they’ve said the boycotting countries do not fight terrorism and accused them of funding terrorism. It also said the boycotting countries are the reason behind terrorism and it promoted the theory they’re behind the September 11, 2001 attacks. Qatar is making absurd accusations against the four boycotting countries and the world has realized this now as Qatar speaks and makes accusations without presenting a single proof that backs its allegations.
Letting Qatar live in its illusions seems logical as it does not want to listen to anyone. Qatar is actually the country that is trespassing its limits with other countries and this is something that no one will accept. Arab countries’ belief in the fairness of their causes and the accuracy of their stance make them strong and steadfast in terms of the decision they’ve taken despite all the lies propagated via the media and some international pressures. These countries are not playing around or making false accusations against Qatar, and they’re not politically childish like Qatar to make such a major boycotting decision without thoroughly studying it and considering all possible scenarios and expectations. This is what Qatar cannot comprehend, let alone do.
Qatar is trying to shift facts and confuse issues.
Everything around Qatar is active while Doha is standing still and spinning around itself while repeating the same old tune against Egypt and against President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. It’s under the illusion that if it continuously targets Egypt and harms the Egyptian command, the reality will change. However even if Qatar plays all its cards, it will not be able to harm Egypt as its status is very high and it will not be affected by childish games that are not only clear to the Egyptian elite and ordinary people but also to simple Egyptians as they are well-aware now that Qatar targets Egypt’s political, economic and media activity. Egypt after the boycott decision is completely different than Egypt before the boycott. Before the decision was taken, Egypt complained of Qatar but today it’s practically acting to confront Qatar’s destructive actions against it. Qatar will be really surprised in the upcoming days especially that Egypt is not alone as three honest and respectable brothers, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, are with it and they will not give up on one another until the mission is accomplished and until they end Qatar’s harmful and evil acts against them and against the rest of Arab states and until it completely stops supporting and funding terrorism and harboring terrorists.
Qatar continues to spin around itself by repeating its inciting media statements against the four countries and by adopting peaceful rhetoric towards terrorism, violence and extremism. It also claims others are being unjust towards it and says the four boycotting countries have harmed it. Qatar is still looking for legal measures to use against these countries as it’s hoping to find something that may convict them. It did this in the past but didn’t succeed so does it think that it will succeed today after the rules of the game have changed?

Egypt goes about the task of reforming the religious rhetoric
Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/July 29/17
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi finally announced the establishment of the Egyptian supreme or national council for combating terrorism and extremism.  This is an enlightening path and a blessed move. There is unquestionable determination to work and exterminate extremism that produces awful violence that targets markets, streets, schools, mosques, churches and airports. Terrorists are monsters who operate like zombies that rose from their dark graves.The council is chaired by the president himself. Among the members are the parliament speaker, Al-Azhar Sheikh, the Coptic pope and state officials such as the education, awqaf, interior and intelligence ministers. The aim of the council is to set plans, execute them and supervise them. All this is good and it’s rather a duty and a requirement. This is the work of the state and the society. We wish Egypt luck and success and we hope Muslims and the entire world succeed in winning over Islamized terrorism and the culture behind it.
Task before Al-Azhar
Previously, Sisi had informed Al-Azhar officials that religious reform is a must and said he will quarrel with them before God if they don’t achieve the task.The determination and honesty of the responsible Muslim man, Sisi, are beyond doubt. However, the task of religious reform is not a military one which he can simply approve and it gets done. We wish it were so, as that would have been much easier. The issue is also not just about Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia or Senegal. It is about defeating the culture of terrorism and extremism – and I emphasize extremism here. It is a global task that concerns all people considering the news about terrorism coming daily from across the world. There are many Arabic, Islamic and even European initiatives and centers that work to confront Islamized terrorist cultures, whether Sunni or Shiite, on the ideological and media levels. It’s worth noting that Sunni ones are more than Shiites. The diversity of such work is of course good and beneficial.My only note is that we focus on media and quantitative activity at the expense of qualitative and intellectual activity when the problem’s core is educational and not relevant to media activity.
I’ll be more frank and ask: Is there a serious and specialized discussion before politicians and media figures talk about concepts such as Sharia, governance, Caliphate, secularism, international law and its moral obligations, women’s rights etc.?
This is where we must begin, as late author Khalid Mohammed Khalid put it.

Trump under NKorean and Iranian missile siege

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis July 29, 2017
In the same 48-hour time frame, North Korea and Iran both managed to rattle the West by successfully testing advanced missiles. Thursday, July 27, Tehran launched a "Simorgh" rocket, which is capable of carrying a 250-kg satellite into space. The next day, Pyongyang test-fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile, an improved version of the Hwasong 14, first tested three weeks earlier.
President Donald Trump was discovering that sanctions are no deterrent
The depth of the dismay in the West may explain why none of the experts dared mention the even more troubling fact which has been known for some time: Iran and North Korea are longstanding partners in their long-range missile programs. Each maintains experts at the other’s development facilities.
On July 28, the Hwasong 14 flew 47 minutes over a distance of 3,724km before dropping into the Sea of Japan. Kim Jong-un boasted: “The test confirmed that all the US mainland is within striking range,” confirming the new estimate that North Korea’s latest ICBMs can now reach major American cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.
That was his delighted response to the latest round of US sanctions.
Iran was less forthcoming about its latest test, without however neglecting to underline its success. debkafile’s military and intelligence sources confirm that Iran’s success was no less impressive than North Korea’s - and just as dangerous. The Simorgh, aka Safir-3, is the fruit of years of Iranian development and many failed tests on the way to achieving a satellite-carrying rocket as the basis for nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.
US military sources tried to present the Iranian test as another flop, only admitting at length that “the only thing we know for sure is that no satellite was put into orbit.” Like the Americans with regard to Iran, Russian military sources tried play down the North Korean success by tossing it off as an ordinary, medium-range ballistic missile.
But the fact is that Iran was not trying this time to put a satellite in orbit. Its objective, for which a big step was taken forward, was to perfect the technology for building missiles able to carry small nuclear warheads, as well as carriers for boosting military and spy satellites into space.
Tehran was extremely cagey with details about its success. The Safir-2, built around components of the North Korean BM-25 ballistic missile, which too derived from the Soviet R-27 fired from submarines, was able to attain an estimated range of 3,000-4,000km. The Simorgh or Safir-3 tested this week was an advanced version of its predecessor. The two-stage version, powered by solid fuel, is believed to have an improved range of 7,500km.
Two years ago, when Iran placed an imaging rocket into orbit during February 2015, Israeli rocket experts established that these rockets were also capable of striking any point that Iran may chose. Tehran was therefore well ahead of Pyongyang in its ability to stage a missile attack on the United States mainland - except that this discovery was eclipsed at the time by the Iranian nuclear negotiations nearing conclusion with six world powers, led by the United States.
President Barack Obama, hell bent on a deal, gave in to Tehran’s demand to leave its missile program out of the accord. Iran was left free to pursue its ballistic missile program unchecked by international law up until now.
Therefore, when on Thursday, the US Senate slapped sanctions on Iran as punishment for its missile tests, the Foreign Ministry in Tehran was formally within its rights Saturday in affirming “Iran’s inalienable right” to develop missiles “in compliance with its international obligations.”
In another event tied to Iran’s missiles, Saudi Arabia Thursday, July 26, announced the interception of “a ballistic missile launched by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi insurgents against the holy city of Mecca.” The defense ministry in Riyadh said the missile had been shot down some 69km away from Mecca, causing no damage or casualties.
The Saudis have for some months accused Iran of supplying the Yemeni insurgents with Fatteh-110 missiles for targeting Saudi cities, including the capital, Riyadh. They had expected President Donald Trump to hit back at Iran. However, other than reprimanding Tehran for hostile action against the “US partner Saudi Arabia,” no tangible US action was forthcoming – only fresh sanctions, which don’t cut much ice in Tehran or Pyongyang.
Donald Trump’s six-month presidency is clearly under siege. On top of the bucketfuls of trouble landing on his head at home, he is being pushed against a wall by America’s enemies in two world regions – the Far East and the Middle East.