November 06/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 17/01-08/:"After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. ‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me."

I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more. Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin
Letter to the Hebrews 10/11-18/:" Every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, ‘he sat down at the right hand of God’, and since then has been waiting ‘until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.’For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds’,he also adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 05-06/17
Foggy Status in the aftermath of Hariri's Resignation/Elias Bejjani/November 05/17
Lebanon Is An Occupied & Rogue Country/Elias Bejjani/November 05/17
Failure Of The Sinful Governing Deal & The Must resignations/Elias Bejjani/November 04/17
Patriarch Al Raei's Historic Visit To Saudi Arabia/Elias Bejjani/November 03/17
Hezbollah Is A Gang Of Evil People/Elias Bejjani/November 03/17
Lebanon PM Sa'ad Hariri resigns, fears for his life/Hariri blames Iran for meddling in Arab affairs
Gulf News/November05/17
Hezbollah, Iran and dying for a tomb/Yahya Alameer/Al Arabiya/November 05/17
Hariri ‘assassination plot’ is just an excuse/Ynetnews/Smadar Perry|/November 05/17
With Hariri's Resignation, Israel Has More Leeway In Nexy War With Lebanon/Anna Ahronheim/Jerusalem Post/November 05/17
Time for an Assyrian Regional Government in Iraq/Uzay Bulut/Gatestone Institute/November 05/17
We Are Going to Burn You Alive!"/Muslim Persecution of Christians, June 2017/Raymond Ibrahim/Gatestone Institute/November 05/17
Iran and 'The Great Satan': A Four-Decade-Old Saga/Amir Taheri/Gatestone Institute/November 05/17
Who did Saudi Arabia round up in latest anti-corruption move/Middle East Eye/Sunday 5 November 2017
Sweeping Saudi purge exposes broad opposition to Crown Prince’s policies/Debeka Files/November 05/17
The defeat of ISIS may not correspond to victory for women/Hazem Saghieh/Al Arabiya/November 05/17
In protection of Druze, Israel gave up security interests in Golan/Alex Fishman/Ynetnews/November 05/17

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 05-06/17
Foggy Status in the aftermath of Hariri's Resignation
Lebanon Is An Occupied & Rogue Country
Failure Of The Sinful Governing Deal & The Must resignations
Patriarch Al Raei's Historic Visit To Saudi Arabia
Hezbollah Is A Gang Of Evil People
Lebanese president will not accept PM's resignation yet: sources
Lebanon PM Sa'ad Hariri resigns, fears for his life/Hariri blames Iran for meddling in Arab affairs
Hezbollah, Iran and dying for a tomb
Nasrallah Urges Calm, Says Hariri's Resignation 'Imposed' by Saudi
Lebanese Army: Arrests, Investigations Have Not Pointed to Any Assassinations Plot
Miqati Reportedly Suggests 'Neutral Govt.' in Talks with Mufti
Berri Says Egypt to Help in Current Crisis after Sisi Talks
Al-Rahi Regrets Hariri's Resignation, Urges Vigilance over 'Any Sabotage Scheme'
Hariri's Exit Sparks Fears of Fresh Violence
Daryan Meets Saudi Envoy, Says 'Understands' Hariri's Resignation
Bahrain urges its nationals to leave Lebanon immediately
Saudi minister says he has ‘confirmed information’ on plot to kill Hariri
Hariri ‘assassination plot’ is just an excuse
Western Intelligence Agencies Warned Lebanon's Hariri of Assassination Plot
Aoun will wait for Hariri return before action
With Hariri's Resignation, Israel Has More Leeway In Nexy War With Lebanon

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 05-06/17
At Least 20 Dead in Texas Church Shooting
Netanyahu: When Israelis & Arabs Agree On Iran, The World Should Listen
In response to Doha, Bahrain says it has right to demand the return of its lands
Princes and former ministers detained in Saudi Arabia corruption probe
Saudi king calls Trump to condemn New York terror attack
Saudi hashtag ‘king fights corruption’ trends on Twitter after royal orders
Saudi crown prince: ‘No one is above the law, neither prince nor minister’
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince: UAE ‘stands by Saudi’ amid security challenges
Saudi Arabia’s new management style ‘based on integrity, honesty and sincerity’
Suicide car bomber kills at least five Yemeni soldiers in Aden
Trump speaks to Saudi king on listing Aramco shares on NY Stock Exchange
Saudi Arabia announces millions of dollars in bounty for 40 wanted in Yemen
Shares of Al-Waleed bin Talal's Company Dive after Reports of Arrest

Latest Lebanese Related News published on November 05-06/17
Foggy Status in the aftermath of Hariri's Resignation
Elias Bejjani/November 05/17

Complete mystery prevails in the aftermath of PM, Hariri's resignation. The sudden and chocking resignation is beyond the comprehension of all Lebanese politicians and officials, including Hezbollah's Nasrallah and president Aoun. This current foggy status requires quietness and temporary silence till things are clear Saudi, Iranian and USA wise.

Lebanon Is An Occupied & Rogue Country

Elias Bejjani/November 05/17
Lebanon is an occupied and rogue country. Its officials, decision making process and institutions are all under the control and hegemony of the occupier. The occupier is the Iranian terrorist Hezbollah. All approaches that focuses on the symptoms of the occupation and not the cancerous disease itself which is the Iranian occupation is a waste of time and a mere deception and camouflage.

Failure Of The Sinful Governing Deal & The Must resignations
Elias Bejjani/November 04/17
All Those Lebanese Hypocrite politicians and so called political parties who cowardly succumbed to the terrorist Hezbollah, dismantled the 14th of March Coalition, betrayed The Cedars Revolution and exchanged sovereignty with governing personal gains including Hariri and Geagea are ought to resign not only from the Government but from the whole political arena.

Patriarch Al Raei's Historic Visit To Saudi Arabia
Elias Bejjani/November 03/17
His Beatitude, Patriach Al Raei's coming historical visit to Saudi Arabia emphasizes Bkerke's crucial and valuable role as a partner and a must gateway for the kigdom's success and credibility of it new unprecedented genuine policies of openness on the oriental Christains, Vatican and on the Western secularism, multi-culturalism, tolerance and civilization.

Hezbollah Is A Gang Of Evil People
Elias Bejjani/November 03/17
In the eyes of the Lebanese Judiciary laws, Hezbollah is an evil mere gang of outlaws. Accordingly Its members and leaders must be arrested and put on trial. No legitimacy to this Iranian gang in the constitution or in the UN Lebanese related resolutions. All Those officials who allege Hezbollah is a legitimate resistance must be charged and also put on trial.

Lebanese president will not accept PM's resignation yet: sources
BEIRUT (Reuters)/November 05/17/ Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun will not decide whether to accept or reject the resignation of prime minister Saad al-Hariri until Hariri returns to Lebanon to explain his reasons, sources at the presidential palace said on Sunday. Hariri left Lebanon for Saudi Arabia on Friday and resigned on Saturday in a televised statement that took the Lebanese political establishment by surprise. There is no obvious successor to Hariri and by refusing to accept his resignation, Aoun is seen to be delaying political consultations on a new prime minister.

Lebanon PM Sa'ad Hariri resigns, fears for his life/Hariri blames Iran for meddling in Arab affairs
Gulf News/November 4, 2017
Beirut: Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri announced his resignation on Saturday, citing Iran's "grip" on the country and threats to his life.
"I announce my resignation from the post of prime minister," he said in a speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia by the Al Arabiya news network.
"I felt what was being covertly plotted to target my life," Hariri said.
The two-time prime minister, whose father Rafik was assassinated when he held the same position in 2005, accused Iran and its powerful ally Hezbollah of seeking hegemony in the region.
The 47-year-old Sunni politician's resignation comes less than a year after his government, to which Hezbollah's political wing belongs, was formed.
"Iran has a grip on the fate of the region's countries... Hezbollah is Iran's arm not just in Lebanon but in other Arab countries too," he said.
"In recent years, Hezbollah has used the power of its weapons to impose a fait accompli," he said, reading a speech from behind a desk.
Hezbollah is a vital ally of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in the war the Syrian regime is waging against the Islamic State group and armed opposition movements.
What is behind Sa'ad Hariri's resignation?
Hariri was target of assassination plot
Resignation may lead to ‘dangerous escalation’
It enjoys broad support from Iran and is the only Lebanese party to have kept its weapons after the 1975-1990 civil war.
Its arsenal has since grown exponentially and now outstrips that of the nation's own armed forces.
It claims it is the only credible rampart against neighbouring Israel and its refusal to disarm is the main political crux in Lebanon.
Hezbollah members have been accused over the 2005 assassination in a massive car bomb blast of Rafik Hariri, the dominant figure of Lebanon's post-war political landscape.
He made his fortune in Saudi Arabia, where his son Saad was born. Riyadh is Iran's main regional rival and the two powers' tussle for influence has played out in ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
February 14, 2005
Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is killed by a massive car bomb blast along with 22 others in Beirut.
April 2005
The attack sparks anti-Syrian rallies, piling pressure on Syria to end its 29-year military presence in Lebanon. The last Syrian soldiers leave Lebanon on April 26. Saad Hariri, a business graduate from Georgetown University in Washington, is propelled into the spotlight as his father’s successor.
June 2005
An anti-Syrian alliance led by Saad Hariri wins control of parliament after elections. Hariri ally Fouad Siniora becomes prime minister.
June 8, 2009
Lebanon’s anti-Syrian parliamentary majority declared winner of parliamentary election. Rafik Hariri’s son, Saad Hariri, is named prime minister-designate on June 27.
November 9, 2009
Saad Hariri forms national unity government in which pro-Syrian militant group Hezbollah has two ministers in the 30-member Cabinet.
January 12, 2011
Hezbollah and its allies resign from Saad Hariri’s Cabinet to protest the Tribunal’s investigation, causing the Lebanese government to collapse.
August 8, 2014
Saad Hariri returns to Beirut after a three-year long security-imposed exile.
November 3, 2016
Saad Hariri asked to form a new government, after winning support of a majority of MPs, including influential Speaker Nabih Berri, who was vehemently opposed to his candidacy.
December 18, 2016
A new 30-member national unity Cabinet headed by Saad Hariri announced.
December 28, 2016
Parliament overwhelmingly approves a national unity Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The vote of confidence comes after MPs debate the new government’s policy statement, outlining its priorities for the coming months.
November 4, 2017
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announces his resignation, citing Iran’s “grip” on the country and threats to his life.

Hezbollah, Iran and dying for a tomb

Yahya Alameer/Al Arabiya/November 05/17
In Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, people are growing wary of sectarian figures and leaders who have hindered development of their countries and dragged them into internal conflicts and regional wars.
This is pretty clear in the case of Lebanon. The secretary general of Hezbollah Hasan Nasrallah is fast losing appeal among Lebanese youth. His speeches are only watched by either people who make the programs or those who find them funny. In fact, the catchword ‘Al Sayed’ has now become the butt of many jokes and videos in Lebanon.
The ‘glory’ of 2006
The party still basks in the glory of 2006, when some Lebanese and Arab communities were deceived by the idea that it had resisted, confronted and defeated Israel. Soon a murderer joined the party, who did not find any justification for his deeds except the protection of tombs — a primordial sectarian excuse that is of no significance for the Lebanese people. In fact, funerals of party members became a daily occurrence in the districts.
The party is no longer drawing even the young Shiites in Lebanon to its ranks, who earlier saw in it a model for resistance and its secretary-general as a charismatic leader. That false image has started to come off a tad.
As countries in the region gradually overcome the chaos that sprung in Arab capitals in 2011, with the young becoming more aware of the political realities, the appeal of Hezbollah has started to taper off, and many now view it more as a threat to stability.
The radical Shiite discourse is based on historical events and its obsession with the past constitutes the most problematic part of its narrative. Similarly, Sunni extremism dwells excessively on ideas from the past and seeks to impose them in the present and this is where conflict occurs.
Shiite extremism goes a step further in that it does not just seek to revive history, but also seeks to evoke old emotions and sentimentality associated with them. Sunni extremism is motivated by its excessive adherence to certain beliefs and ideas, but Shiite extremist is impelled by certain interpretations of historical events. The danger here is that it is easier to intellectually counter the radical ideas of Sunni extremism than to address the sentimentality associated with Shiite historical narratives. Events of the past cannot be changed and their imagined nostalgia is difficult to remove from a collective psyche.
The reason for the growth of Shiite extremism in the region is that it is supported by a state, which is established on extremist ideas. However, current developments in the region are increasingly posing a challenge to Iran’s expansionist designs, which includes its attempts at political and socio-cultural transformation. One can only imagine how a group of young, war-weary Shiite fighters would feel on their return from Al-Hussein and Al-Zahraa missions in Syria, when they watch news on television about the Neom project in Saudi Arabia or Al Nahda projects in Dubai. Their hearts will be filled with rage against Iran and toward the distorted interpretation of history presented to them. These men will think about their children and whether they would also be forced to defend historical shrines and tombs.

Nasrallah Urges Calm, Says Hariri's Resignation 'Imposed' by Saudi
Naharnet/November 05/17/Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday that the previous day's shock resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri had been "imposed" by Saudi Arabia, urging calm in Lebanon at all levels. "It is clear that the resignation was a Saudi decision that was imposed on Prime Minister Hariri. It was not his intention, not his wish and not his decision," Nasrallah said in a televised address. Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of drafting Hariri's resignation letter and forcing him to read it on Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV. He even asked whether Hariri is being held against his will, referring to a purge of princes, ministers and businessmen in Saudi Arabia in an anti-corruption operation. “The speech that Hariri recited was written by a Saudi figure and it was not Hariri's usual rhetoric,” Nasrallah noted.
“Why was not Hariri allowed to return to Lebanon to announce the resignation from here and not from Saudi Arabia?” he asked. “We were not hoping for this resignation and things were moving forward in a reasonable manner... We made a lot of achievements in the government and the government possessed the ability to survive until the upcoming parliamentary elections,” Nasrallah added. Turning to the wording of Hariri's resignation statement, Nasrallah said: “We will not comment on the content despite the statement's very harsh and dangerous language, because we believe that this text is a purely Saudi text.”
Nasrallah also urged calm in connection with the fears that were sparked by Hariri's surprising resignation. “Everyone was surprised by the resignation, even al-Mustaqbal Movement's leadership, and this resignation has undoubtedly created an atmosphere of tension in Lebanon, especially with the threats and analyses that accompanied it,” Hizbullah's chief added.
Hizbullah is “keen on Lebanon's security and civil peace” and “we call for calm,” he said. He noted that his meeting with the leaders of the Hizbullah-affiliated Resistance Brigades on Saturday had been scheduled prior to Hariri's resignation in order to mark 20 years since the foundation of the Brigades.
“It had nothing to do with any development,” Nasrallah reassured. “We call for avoiding political escalation... seeing as escalation against us will not achieve anything but will rather reflect negatively on the country,” he said. “We call for avoiding a return to the previous tensions or to any street protests,” Nasrallah urged. Hizbullah's chief also downplayed the possibility of an external military attack on his group, dismissing rumors that were circulated following Hariri's resignation. “Israel does not work in the service of Saudi Arabia and an Israeli aggression would hinge on Israeli calculations... All Israelis have unanimously agreed since the July War that Israel will only go to war with Lebanon if the cost is low and victory is guaranteed,” Nasrallah said. “The resignation of our government has nothing to do with Israel's calculations,” he noted.Hariri announced his surprise resignation Saturday in a broadcast from the Saudi capital.
He cited the "grip" of Hizbullah ally Iran on the country, and also said he feared for his life.Hariri, a two-time premier whose father Rafik held the same position for years and was assassinated in 2005, accused both Iran and Hizbullah of seeking hegemony in the region. The resignation sparked fears that Lebanon -- split into rivals camps led by Hariri and Hizbullah -- could once again descend into violence. Riyadh considers Hizbullah, a close ally of Saudi regional rival Iran, to be a "terrorist" organization. The two regional powers' tussle for influence has also played out in ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
It remains unclear who will succeed Hariri as prime minister in Lebanon.

Lebanese Army: Arrests, Investigations Have Not Pointed to Any Assassinations Plot
Naharnet/November 05/17/The Army Command on Sunday issued a statement saying its recent “arrests and investigations” have not pointed to any assassinations plot, a day after Prime Minister Saad Hariri cited threats to his life in a shock resignation announcement. “The Army Command points out that as a result of the arrests and investigations it regularly conducts, in addition to the information it has, it has not detected the presence of any plot for assassination operations in the country,” it said in a statement. Also on Sunday, General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim told al-Mayadeen television that “General Security was not aware of preparations for any attempt to assassinate political figures in Lebanon.”Quoting informed sources, Saudi-owned daily al-Hayat reported Sunday that “high-ranking and credible Western sides relayed to resigned PM Saad Hariri a warning through direct channels about the presence of a plot to assassinate him.”Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan had said Saturday that the alleged assassination plot was unveiled by Hariri's security detail. For his part, Future TV director of political news Nadim Qoteish, who is close to Hariri, said that Hariri's convoy had been subject to telecom interference “on three occasions, the last of which was two days ago.”Qoteish also revealed that Hariri had canceled a visit to the town of Beit Misk after one of the alleged interference attempts was detected. Earlier on Saturday, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television reported that an attempt to assassinate Hariri had been foiled “several days ago.”Announcing his shock resignation earlier in the day, Hariri said Lebanon is living "an atmosphere similar to the one that preceded the assassination of the martyr Rafik Hariri.""I have sensed covert plots to target my life," Hariri added.

Miqati Reportedly Suggests 'Neutral Govt.' in Talks with Mufti

Naharnet/November 05/17/Ex-PM Najib Miqati on Sunday reportedly proposed the formation of a “neutral government” in the wake of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's shock resignation. LBCI television said Miqati made the suggestion during a meeting with Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan on Sunday morning, asking the country's highest Sunni authority to hold a meeting for its juristic council to endorse the idea of forming a “neutral government.”Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Miqati stressed that his initiative does not involve his nomination for the premiership. “We will not allow any vacuum in the premiership and we call on everyone to put an end to escalation during this difficult period in order to preserve the state,” Miqati added. Miqati had been named premier in 2011 following the collapse of Hariri's first government. Miqati had also been appointed prime minister in the wake of Omar Karami's resignation in 2005 amid the turmoil that followed ex-PM Rafik Hariri's assassination. Saad Hariri announced his surprising resignation on Saturday, citing Iran and Hizbullah's "grip" on Lebanon and what he called threats to his life.

Berri Says Egypt to Help in Current Crisis after Sisi Talks
Naharnet/November 05/17/Speaker Nabih Berri held a “lengthy meeting” Sunday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and talks tackled the situations in the region and the “latest risks that have surfaced in Lebanon,” Lebanon's National News Agency said. A statement issued by Berri's office said “the meeting was fruitful” and that “Egypt is aware of the fears emanating from what happened,” in reference to Prime Minister Saad Hariri's shock resignation on Saturday. “It has worked and it will continue working to alleviate these tensions,” Berri's office added. In a brief statement after his meeting in Egypt with Sisi, the Speaker said his talks with the Egyptian leader “open a big gateway for a breakthrough despite all the difficulties.”“I urge our people in Lebanon to observe calm and I also urge media outlets to show national and professional responsibility,” Berri added. Later on Sunday, NNA said President Michel Aoun received a phone call from Berri, who “briefed him on the outcome of his meeting” with Sisi. “They discussed the contacts and consultations that followed PM Saad Hariri's resignation,” the agency added. Egypt's official news agency MENA meanwhile said that Sisi had received a phone call from Aoun and that talks addressed “the political developments in the Lebanese arena.”Announcing his resignation as premier from the Saudi capital Riyadh on Saturday, Hariri cited Iran and Hizbullah's "grip" on Lebanon and alleged threats to his life. His surprise withdrawal from a government that also includes Iran-backed Hizbullah risked plunging the already fragile country deeper into turmoil.

Al-Rahi Regrets Hariri's Resignation, Urges Vigilance over 'Any Sabotage Scheme'
Naharnet/November 05/17/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday voiced regret over Prime Minister Saad Hariri's shock resignation, urging vigilance over “any sabotage scheme aimed at undermining Lebanon's stability.”“We join our voice to that of His Excellency President Michel Aoun on the need to protect and enhance national unity and to show patience in taking decisions in order to spare the country any political or security crisis resulting from the ongoing conflicts and wars in the region,” said al-Rahi in his Sunday Mass sermon. “There must be vigilance and full awareness against any sabotage plot or scheme aimed at undermining stability in the country, or at dragging it into regional or international axes that do not befit its nature, values and role as an element of cooperation, stability and coexistence in its Middle Eastern region,” the patriarch added. Last week, al-Rahi received an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia and meet with its top leaders. Hariri announced his surprising resignation on Saturday, citing Iran and Hizbullah's "grip" on Lebanon and what he called threats to his life.

Hariri's Exit Sparks Fears of Fresh Violence
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 05/17/Saad Hariri's resignation from Lebanon's premiership has raised fears that regional tensions were about to escalate and that the small country would once again pay a heavy price. Analysts said the Saudi-backed Sunni politician's move to step down from the helm less than a year after forming a government was more than just the latest hiccup in Lebanon's notoriously dysfunctional politics. "It's a dangerous decision whose consequences will be heavier than what Lebanon can bear," Hilal Khashan, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut, said. Hariri announced his resignation in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia on Saturday, accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hizbullah of taking over Lebanon and destabilizing the entire region. Hizbullah is part of the government, but the clout of a group whose military arsenal outstrips that of Lebanon's own armed forces is far greater than its share of cabinet posts. For years now, Lebanon has been deeply divided between a camp dominated by the Shiite Tehran-backed Hizbullah and a Saudi-supported movement led by Hariri. "Hariri has started a cold war that could escalate into a civil war, bearing in mind that Hizbullah is unmatched in Lebanon on the military level," Khashan said. The rift in Lebanon's political class led to the assassination in 2005 of Hariri's father Rafik, an immensely influential tycoon who made his fortune in Saudi Arabia.
Iran-Saudi flare-up
Investigations pointed to the responsibility of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its Lebanese ally Hizbullah. Other political assassinations in the anti-Hizbullah camp ensued, then a month-long war between Hizbullah and Israel, as well as violent internal clashes that harked back to the dark days of the 1975-1990 civil war. Twelve years on, Lebanese politics remain just as toxically sectarian and the threat of another flare-up very real. Hariri even said on Saturday he feared going the way of his father. His resignation came in a context of high tension between Saudi Arabia, once the region's powerhouse, and Iran, which has played an increasingly predominant political and military role in the region recently. On Friday, Hariri met Iran's most seasoned diplomat, Ali Akbar Velayati, before flying to Saudi Arabia and resigning from there via a Saudi-funded television network. "The timing and venue of the resignation are surprising... but not the resignation itself," said Fadia Kiwane, political science professor at Beirut's Saint Joseph University. "The situation is developing rapidly and we're at a turning point... there could be a deadly clash between Saudi Arabia and Iran," she said.
"In that event, the two main camps in Lebanon will clash too." Over the past few weeks, a Saudi minister, Thamer al-Sabhan, has unleashed virulent attacks against Hizbullah on social media.
- New war with Israel?
"The terrorist party should be punished... and confronted by force," he wrote last month. Other than just an internal conflict, analysts also do not rule out an external attack on Hizbullah, be it by Saudi Arabia directly or by the group's arch-foe Israel."Hariri is saying 'there is no government any more, Hizbullah is not part of it'... and he is thus legitimizing any military strike against Hizbullah in Lebanon," Khashan said. Israel and Hizbullah fought a devastating war in 2006, and Israeli politicians have ramped up the rhetoric lately, warning that its military was prepared for war with Lebanon. Any new war damaging key infrastructure would have a disastrous impact on a country already weakened by ballooning debt, corruption and the demographic pressure from a massive influx of Syrian refugees. As soon as the news of Hariri's resignation broke, many Lebanese took to social media to voice their fears of a return to violence. "After Hariri's resignation, a war will be launched against Lebanon," wrote one of them, Ali Hammoud, on Twitter. On the streets of Beirut, even those who had little sympathy for Hariri expressed concern. "We're headed for the worst," said one shop owner.

Daryan Meets Saudi Envoy, Says 'Understands' Hariri's Resignation
Naharnet/November 05/17/Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan held talks Sunday with Saudi charge d'affaires in Lebanon Walid al-Bukhari, in the wake of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's shock resignation that was announced from the Saudi capital. As Bukhari left Dar al-Fatwa without making a statement, the National News Agency said talks tackled “the national and Islamic affairs and the situations of the Arab region.”Daryan for his part described Hariri's resignation as “a dangerous matter that requires further awareness, wisdom and national unity among the Lebanese.”“PM Saad Hariri's resignation from the government represented a shock and it did not come out of nowhere. We support him and understand this resignation and we must address it through patience and dialogue,” the mufti added. Hariri announced his surprising resignation on Saturday, citing Iran and Hizbullah's "grip" on Lebanon and threats to his life.

Bahrain urges its nationals to leave Lebanon immediately
Manama, AFP/November 05/2017/The Kingdom of Bahrain urged its nationals residing in Lebanon to leave immediately and to "exercise caution.”It also called on Bahrainis not to travel to this country. The call came a day after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation. The Bahraini foreign ministry said in a statement received by AFP that its call was "in the interest of its citizens’ safety and to avoid any risks they may be exposed due to the conditions and developments” that Lebanon is going through.

Saudi minister says he has ‘confirmed information’ on plot to kill Hariri
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English/Sunday, 5 November 2017/Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan said the personal security detail of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who resigned on Saturday, had “confirmed information” of a plot to kill him. Speaking in an interview on Future, an Arabic television channel owned by Hariri, he said Hariri was in Riyadh, adding there were “security threats to the prime minister and the kingdom is keen on his safety.” He added that Hariri resigned from Riyadh for security reasons. “Saudi Arabia is different than the terrorist state Iran. We respect Lebanese parties despite their different opinions,” Sabhan added. Speaking to the Lebanese television channel LBC, Sabhan said Hariri is completely free to return to Lebanon, adding, however: “We do not want explosions and destruction to happen again in the Hariri family.” Sabhan also said that Saudi Arabia supported all of Hariri’s stances in the past, including the agreement related to choosing a Lebanese president, adding that the Saudi kingdom did not incite Hariri to resign. “We cannot but be sad over Lebanon’s situation due to Hezbollah. We call for peace but those who try to (harm) the kingdom will find what they do not wish for,” he added. “Hezbollah is a militia that tried to transfer Syrian battles to Lebanon and to harm Lebanon and Arab countries,” Sabhan also said, asking: “What’s the difference between Hezbollah and ISIS?”

Hariri ‘assassination plot’ is just an excuse
Ynetnews/Smadar Perry|/November 05/17
Analysis: No one in Beirut believes the Lebanese prime minister resigned to avoid the fate of his slain father. The Saudis likely drafted his resignation speech in a bid to send Lebanon into a political tailspin that would weaken Hezbollah. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s resignation took everyone by surprise, apart from the Saudis. On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s Gulf affairs minister tweeted that “the evil hands of Iran must be cut off” and promised “a dramatic development in the very near future.” Knowledgeable sources didn’t miss the pun, as the name of the largest party in the Lebanese parliament, which is led by Hariri, is Future Movement. So the Saudis likely weren’t surprised, and it’s no coincidence that Hariri chose to issue his resignation from Riyadh. The Saudis are the resigning prime minister’s patrons. That’s where he was born 47 years ago and that’s where he took his first steps in the Oger construction company, which made him one of the wealthiest people in the world with a net worth of $2 billion. Those who knew him well, including in Israel, are willing to swear that he didn’t even want to jump into Lebanon’s muddy and dangerous waters. It was the Saudi royal family that pulled him out of the luxury palaces in Paris, sent him to run for prime minister and even funded his election campaign. As far as the Lebanese are concerned, the assassination plot revealed in Hariri’s resignation speech on Saturday is just an excuse. There’s no one in Beirut who believes the prime minister resigned to avoid the fate of his father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in the heart of Beirut in 2005. After all, within less than a week he visited Saudi Arabia twice and met with Crowne Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It’s reasonable to assume that the Saudis drafted his resignation speech for him in a bid to send Lebanon into a political tailspin that would weaken Hezbollah. Hariri is leaving a split Lebanon behind him: The Sunni camp, which supports Saudi Arabia, against the Hezbollah-led Shiite camp, which supports Iran. In recent months, the Shiite camp has grown stronger and it control all the government institutions—the army, the security and intelligence apparatuses, the government ministries and the presidential palace. Lebanese President Michel Aoun isn’t hiding his blind loyalty to the Revolutionary Guards’ representatives. On the other hand, Israeli planes are circling in Lebanese airspace as if it’s their home court on their way to attack targets in Syria. Behind the scenes, Israel is sticking its fingers in Lebanon’s political mud as well. Hariri’s departure is aimed at paving the way to an escalation in the Saudi-Iranian conflict. The royal family in Riyadh has had enough of seeing the Iran expanding in Syria and the Revolutionary Guard taking over Lebanon. The Saudi crowne prince’s plans have yet to be revealed in full, but sources in Beirut believe Hezbollah is already on defensive alert.

Western Intelligence Agencies Warned Lebanon's Hariri of Assassination Plot
Reuters/Haaretz/November 05/2017
Lebanese President Michel Aoun will not decide whether to accept or reject Hariri's resignation until he returns to Lebanon from Saudi Arabia
Western intelligence agencies warned former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri of an assassination plot against him, the Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on Sunday. It cited unnamed sources close to Hariri. However, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon's General Security, said he had no information about an assassination plot against political figures in Lebanon. The army also said it had not uncovered any such plots. Asharq al-Awsat reported that the sources "revealed that he had received Western warnings of an assassination attempt that was prepared against him." It did not give further details of the alleged plot.  Hariri announced his surprise resignation on Saturday, citing a plot to kill him, and saying the climate in Lebanon resembled that before the assassination of his father Rafik Hariri, who was also prime minister, in 2005. However, Lebanese President Michel Aoun will not decide whether to accept or reject the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri until Hariri returns to Lebanon to explain his reasons, sources at the presidential palace said on Sunday. Hariri left Lebanon for Saudi Arabia on Friday and resigned on Saturday in a televised statement that took the Lebanese political establishment by surprise. There is no obvious successor to Hariri and by refusing to accept his resignation, Aoun is seen to be delaying political consultations on a new prime minister. In his resignation, Hariri criticized Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah for their role in Lebanon and other Arab countries. Asharq al-Awsat reported the same unnamed sources as speculating that Hariri would probably remain outside Lebanon because of the security threat against him.  On Saturday, Saudi-owned television channel al-Arabiya al-Hadath, part of the same media group as Asharq al-Awsat, reported that an assassination plot against Hariri had been foiled in Beirut days earlier, citing an unnamed source.  Saudi Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan said in a television interview that Hariri's personal security detail had "confirmed information" of a plot to kill him. 
Lebanon's internal security force said in a statement on the reports that it had no information about the matter.

Aoun will wait for Hariri return before action
The Daily Star/November 05/17/BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun will make no decision regarding Prime Minister Hariri’s resignation announcement until Hariri returns to Lebanon, Baabda sources told The Daily Star Sunday. Constitutionally, the source said, Hariri’s resignation had already been completed and did not need to be submitted in writing, but its acceptance would not be addressed until Hariri returned to Lebanon. Aoun hoped to discuss with Hariri the circumstances surrounding his decision, the source said, adding that Aoun sees Lebanon’s security and financial situations as stable. Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said Sunday that the Lebanese pound’s exchange rate against the U.S. dollar was secure. The Baabda source also said that Speaker Nabih Berri’s telephone call with Aoun Sunday following Berri’s meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had been the speaker’s second contact with Aoun in the wake of Hariri’s resignation announcement.

With Hariri's Resignation, Israel Has More Leeway In Nexy War With Lebanon
Anna Ahronheim/Jerusalem Post/November 05/17
Israel will wage an uncompromising campaign against Iran and Lebanon, not only Hezbollah, should a war in the north break out.
With Saad Hariri’s shocking resignation as prime minister of Lebanon on Saturday evening, Israel’s northern border has become even more unstable, but the Jewish state has more leeway should a full-blown war with Lebanon break out. Hariri made the announcement that he was leaving his post from the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, citing Iran’s grip on his country and his fear that he would share the same fate as his father, former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was murdered by a car bomb in 2005 which was blamed on Syria and Hezbollah.
While Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces later issued a statement distancing itself from unconfirmed reports about the alleged plot, Hariri, who spoke on Saudi’s Al-Arabiya television network, said he was “living in an atmosphere similar to the one that preceded the assassination of the martyr Rafik Hariri.”
Hezbollah was formed in the 1980s, with the help of Iran, as a resistance group against the Israeli military presence in southern Lebanon. Now, Hezbollah is deeply embedded in Lebanese politics and society, with thousands of Lebanese Shia relying on the group for social, medical and financial support.
The world’s preeminent terror group has also morphed from a terror cell into quasi-army, with a massive arsenal of advanced weaponry given to them by their Iranian patrons and thousands of battle-hardened fighters spread across the Middle East.
The world’s preeminent terror group has also morphed from a terror cell into quasi-army, with a massive arsenal of advanced weaponry given to them by their Iranian patrons and thousands of battle-hardened fighters spread across the Middle East.
Hezbollah is Israel’s most dangerous enemy.
On Sunday, Yoav Gallant, a member of the security cabinet and former IDF general, told The Israel Project that Hariri’s resignation should be a wake up call for the international community.
“Iran controls actually Lebanon, Iraq and is working very hard to take over Syria. This is a great danger to the stability of the region and the peace of the world. Hariri understands very well that after the massacre that is taking place in Syria, he might be next in line, as it happened to his father Rafik al-Hariri, and he is saying it in his own words.”
Following Hariri’s resignation, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman took to Twitter, saying that “Lebanon=Hezbollah. Hezbollah=Iran. Lebanon=Iran. Iran is dangerous to the world. Saad Hariri has proved that today. Period.”
Last month, Liberman bemoaned the "reality" in the region, saying, "The Lebanese army has lost its independence and has become an integral part of Hezbollah’s network.”
Hariri, a Sunni Muslim who formed a government last year, accused Shiite Tehran of "creating a state within the state... to the extent that it gets the final say on how Lebanon's affairs are run.”
And it does seem that way. Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, is an ally of Hezbollah and believed to have been an appointment by Iran. The Lebanese army, despite the aid it received from the West (including two A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft from the US last week), has far fewer weapons than Hezbollah and is cooperating with the terror group.
In his resignation speech on Saturday, Hariri also accused Hezbollah of using “the power of its weapons to impose a fait accompli,” stating that "Hezbollah is Iran's arm not just in Lebanon but in other Arab countries, too."
Hariri also accused Iran of “spreading destruction and strife where it is” and that it has “a grip on the fate of the region’s countries.”
In a in mid-October interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Hariri spoke of Iran’s meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries, calling it “absolutely unacceptable,” stating that Iran should play a positive role that will help in economic development and security and not contribute to destabilization.”
In the same interview, Hariri said he had joined a coalition government with Hezbollah, "putting aside" their differences to serve and unite the country. Now, it seems that Hariri has given Israel more legitimacy for a full-scale and uncompromising campaign against Iran and Lebanon, not only Hezbollah, should a war in the north break out.
And should that war break out, as Gallant said, Israel “will bring Lebanon back to the stone age.”

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 05-06/17
At Least 20 Dead in Texas Church Shooting
Agence France Presse/November 05/17/A gunman shot dead at least 20 worshippers during Sunday morning services at a Baptist church in Texas, news media reported. The gunman was killed after a short chase, CNN reported, quoting a sheriff's office spokesman in Guadalupe County. It was unclear whether the shooter died from a police bullet or at his own hand.The worshippers were killed at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small rural community about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio, reports said. Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. told AFP there were multiple fatalities and multiple people wounded, but he could not officially confirm the number. With details rapidly unfolding, some unnamed officials were quoted in media reports citing tolls as high as 27 dead and 20 or more wounded. The shooter reportedly walked into the church shortly before noon -- at a morning service that witnesses said was normally attended by some 50 people -- and opened fire. A two-year-old was among the wounded, the Dallas Morning News website reported. A spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center in nearby Floresville told Fox News that "we have accepted a number of patients from the shooting." She gave no number.
Federal agents arriving
A witness working at a gas station across the street said he heard at least 20 shots being fired in quick succession, CNN reported. Others nearby said the shooter appeared to have reloaded more than once. Emergency personnel rushed to the scene, and some victims were evacuated by helicopter. Police formed a perimeter around the area, and tearful relatives and neighbors stood outside it, nervously awaiting news from inside the traditional, white-frame church. Agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were heading to Sutherland Springs, a town of about 400, those agencies said. President Donald Trump, who is in Japan on the first stop of a tour of Asian countries, tweeted: "May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan." Texas Governor Greg Abbott offered his condolences. "Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response," he tweeted, promising more details "soon."The shooting comes just over a month after a gunman in Las Vegas, firing down from a hotel room, killed 58 people and wounded hundreds attending an outdoor concert. And it came just over two years after a white supremacist, Dylann Roof, entered a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and shot nine people to death.

Netanyahu: When Israelis & Arabs Agree On Iran, The World Should Listen
Jerusalem Post/November 05/17/Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made use of his visit to Britain to persuade the British government to take steps to halt Iranian aggression. Iran has taken over Lebanon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday morning, issuing a warning about Tehran’s growing regional dominance before ending a five-day trip to London. Netanyahu was in Britain to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, but made use of the trip to persuade the British government to take steps to halt Iranian aggression.  Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's Saturday resignation — during which he said he fears an assassination attempt — and his warning about Iran’s inference in his country appeared to underscore the message Netanyahu delivered in meetings he held with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
You just heard the resigning prime minister of Lebanon, Hariri, say Hezbollah took over, which means that Iran took over,” Netanyahu said in an interview with the BBC Sunday morning. “This is a wake up call for everyone. It says what the Middle East is really experiencing, it is experiencing the attempt of Iran to conquer the Middle East, to dominate and subjugate it,” Netanyahu said. “When Israelis and the Arabs, all the Arabs and the Israelis, agree on one thing, people should pay attention. We should stop this Iranian take over,” Netanyahu said. Iran is also operating in Syria and wants to colonize it, Netanyahu said, vowing that Israel would not let this happen.
“They want to bring their airfare there. They want to bring Shi'ite and Iranian forces next to Israel, we will not let that happen. We will resist it,” he said. Netanyahu, however, sidestepped the BBC question of whether Israel was prepared to go to war over this issue. In the same interview, he explained, the best way to move forward in the peace process is for the Palestinians to have a demilitarized state. “They should have all the powers to govern themselves and none of the power to threaten us,” Netanyahu said. “If its not demilitarized then it becomes a platform to continue the war against the one Jewish state,” he said. He continued to vow that he would not uproot West Bank settlements stating: “the idea that Jews cannot live in Judea is crazy.”The settlements, Netanyahu said, are a side issue. The real issue is the Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish right to a homeland.

In response to Doha, Bahrain says it has right to demand the return of its lands
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English/Sunday, 5 November/In a report on sovereignty and land in Bahrain on the sidelines of the Gulf crisis, Bahrain’s official news agency said it had the right to demand that Qatar return the rights that Doha had carved out of the body of Manama for a century. After the Kuwaiti mediation stalled and after Qatar continued to fail in its 2013 and 2014 commitments, brought in foreign forces to empower itself and opened its doors wide to terrorist groups, Manama has taken new measures in addition to the previous ones taken by the boycotting countries in order to protect its security and stability.Bahrain, throughout all its steps, has taken into consideration that we, the people of Bahrain and Qatar, are one entity and that our social bonds have been, and will remain, our inevitable destiny, meaning that what affects our people in Qatar affects us here in Bahrain. Respect for the “legitimacy” between states is the safety valve in international relations and it is one of the constants that we strongly uphold regardless of how profound our differences are in the Arab world or within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Within this spirit, Bahrain, as can be testified by living witnesses, has endured the intolerable and conceded many of its internationally documented historic rights in order to distance the GCC from bilateral differences.
Assault on legitimacy
As is well-known historically, Bahrain has lost part of its sovereign entity when Doha cut off from its sovereign borders. These borders are well-documented in contemporary history and were known by every single one in the early 1900s. Later, and in the 1950s, Bahrain lost another part of its sovereign existence when the northern territory was forcibly cut off by a foreign support force that set the new border according to the new oil border. The border expanded at the expense of the legitimate rights of Bahrain to the north and from Umm Al Shubram, 20 kilometers south of Doha to the area of ‘Salwa’ in the south. The island of ‘Halul’ was included. The borders of the new Qatar were drawn according to the required oil border, which was defined in the agreements as the new concessions to the British Petroleum Company. The Kingdom of Bahrain has every right to claim what was cut off forcibly from its land and to dispute the legitimacy of the Qatari rule on the northern territory. However, when the brothers from the Gulf States met to establish an entity that would bring them together, everybody agreed to postpone all discussions regarding border issues to avoid controversial cases and instead move ahead with strengthening the new Council.
Bahrain honored the request by the brothers, agreed to postpone the claim of its rights, accepted the losses and gave up what it is rightfully hers in order to ensure the unity of the Gulf. Later, Bahrain once again placed the GCC interests above its own. When the GCC convened an emergency meeting in August 1990 to consider the issue of the occupation of Kuwait, Qatar insisted that the dispute between Bahrain and Qatar on the Hawar Islands be discussed at that critical time before everything else, including addressing the essential and crucial issue of the occupation and liberation of Kuwait. For the sake of collective interest and the reinstatement of legitimacy in sisterly Kuwait, Bahrain referred part of its sovereign entity to international arbitration. This meant that the Kingdom of Bahrain accepted not to ask for what is rightly hers, while Qatar every time demanded what is not hers.
Support for terrorism
Qatar has not only usurped Bahrain’s legitimate rights, but has also worked for years on undermining the security of the Kingdom, offering support to every saboteur and terrorist for two decades. Qatar also supported terrorist groups during the unrest in Bahrain in 2011 that attempted to overthrow the legitimacy in the kingdom. Qatar did the same thing in all the countries that slid into chaos and saw their regimes fall in what was called “Arab Spring”.
Naturalization of terrorists
Qatar has allowed in more than 59 terrorists wanted by affected countries and gave them the Qatari citizenship, thus preventing their extradition.
Today, Qatar is naturalizing more terrorist groups coming from volatile areas of conflict, thus transforming itself into a focal point for the terrorists that it sends to neighboring countries with Qatari passports. Such a scheme poses serious threats to security and leads to increased terrorism in the region.
Qatar’s ties with countries that support terrorism
Qatar has announced the strengthening of the Iranian-Qatari alliance, which poses a direct threat to regional security and territorial integrity and jeopardizes international attempts to stop the arming of Iranian-backed groups such as the Houthis, Al Qaeda, Saraya Al Ashtar and other groups on terrorist lists.
Finally, history bears witness that Bahrain has always been a peace-loving nation that has never infringed on anyone or gone beyond its limits. It has confined itself to defending the safety and security of its citizens. Its martyrs have sacrificed their lives for the sake of their nation while they confronted the terrorist groups trained by Iran and backed by Qatar. These are not gratuitous charges, but well documented accusations supported by irrefutable evidence, backed by undeniable proof and confirmed by telephone recordings.

Princes and former ministers detained in Saudi Arabia corruption probe
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSunday, 5 November 2017/Eleven princes, four sitting ministers and ‘tens’ of former ministers have been arrested on orders from the new anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday evening according to sources. The committee announced that it is reopening the file of the 2009 Jeddah floods and investigating the Corona virus issue also known as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus. According to a Royal Decree issued by King Salman on Saturday, the anti-corruption committee is chaired by the Crown Prince with the membership of: Chairman of the Monitoring and Investigation Commission, Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Authority, Chief of the General Audit Bureau, Attorney General and Head of State Security. The committee has the right to investigate, arrest, ban from travel, freeze accounts and portfolios, track funds and assets of individuals involved in corruption practices.

Saudi king calls Trump to condemn New York terror attack

Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSunday, 5 November 2017/Saudi King Salman called American President Donald Trump to condemn the recent New York terror attack which killed at least 8 and injured others last week, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday. The king slammed the attack and said it contradicts with all religious values and humanitarian principles and voiced the Saudi kingdom’s willingness to help confront evil acts. He also voiced the kingdom’s support of measures taken by the US to confront terrorism and maintain national security. The king, who offered his condolences to the American people, added that more international efforts are necessary to eradicate terrorism in all its forms and dry out its resources.  Meanwhile, Trump thanked the king and voiced his appreciation for the kingdom’s role in spreading moderation and combating extremism. Trump and King Salman also discussed regional and international developments as well as means of cooperation between the two countries.

Saudi hashtag ‘king fights corruption’ trends on Twitter after royal orders
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSunday, 5 November 2017/The hashtag in Saudi Arabia, “the king is fighting corruption,” became one of the highest worldwide trends on Twitter on Sunday morning, a few hours after an anti-corruption committee was formed by royal decree. The hashtag has been used 536,000 times since the decree was announced and until now, making it the trendiest in the world, with users sharing images of the king and the crown prince. The royal orders were widely accepted by Twitter users in Saudi Arabia. Other hashtags include “Decisive Salman” which has been used tens of thousands of times until now.

Saudi crown prince: ‘No one is above the law, neither prince nor minister’
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSunday, 5 November 2017/In an interview broadcasted by Al Arabiya channel on May this year Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that “we grew apprehensive of corruption cases; anyone who is guilty will be punished”Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asserted that “no one is above the law whether it is a prince or a minister.”On Saturday, November 4, King Salman issued a Royal Decree creating an anti-corruption committee chaired by the Crown Prince with the membership of the Chairman of the Monitoring and Investigation Commission, Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Authority, Chief of the General Audit Bureau, Attorney General and Head of State Security. Eleven princes, four sitting ministers and ‘tens’ of former ministers were immediately arrested on orders from the new committee on Saturday evening according to sources. The committee announced that it is reopening the file of the 2009 Jeddah floods and investigating the 2012 Corona virus issue also known as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus. King Salman said in his decree that in view of what was noticed of exploitation by some to illicitly accrue money the committee was formed to eliminate the issue.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince: UAE ‘stands by Saudi’ amid security challenges
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSunday, 5 November 2017/Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the UAE “strongly and resolutely stands with the brotherly Saudi kingdom while confronting all challenges that target its security and the region’s security and stability.”He also said that the UAE wholeheartedly stands with Saudi Arabia through easy and difficult times and emphasized that the latter’s security is part and parcel of the UAE’s security. He added that the hand of evil will not defeat the brothers’ determination in Saudi Arabia, noting that Saudi King Salman’s decisiveness can thwart all forms of aggression and conspiracies against the kingdom and the region. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed also condemned the Houthis and their allies for firing a ballistic missile towards Riyadh, and which Saudi air defense forces intercepted and successfully destroyed without causing any injuries.

Saudi Arabia’s new management style ‘based on integrity, honesty and sincerity’
Al Arabiya/Sunday, 5 November 2017/Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awad bin Saleh al-Awad said that the royal decree on fighting corruption is the state’s approach towards promoting integrity and advancing reform under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the Crown Prince. The minister said that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince are keen to protect the public funds and eradicate corruption, which is considered a deterrent to the economy and society. He said that this decision represents a shift in transparency, accountability and governance which produces a healthy environment that is attractive for investment. Al-Awad added that the fight against corruption is a formal and popular demand to achieve social justice and accelerate the pace of reform and development of the renaissance within the Kingdom. This is an important step towards the implementation of the kingdom’s policy to preserve public monies, announcing the launch of a new stage that establishes the state’s management style based on integrity, honesty and sincerity. The minister said that the Crown Prince’s message in punishing corrupt people is a clear and firm message that no one will escape accountability. Dr. Al-Awad explained that this decision will have a significant positive impact on the people of the Kingdom because the return of funds looted will benefit them in development projects and restore tens of millions of meters of land illegally seized. He added that this will also aid in solving the housing problems and that this decision represents a strong deterrent for those who steal public money. The Minister praised the King and the Crown Prince for their efforts to protect the country and its citizens and for preserving the country.

Suicide car bomber kills at least five Yemeni soldiers in Aden
Reuters, Aden/Sunday, 5 November 2017/A suicide car bomber killed at least five soldiers in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday, residents and a security official said. The attack took place at a checkpoint outside the main security headquarters in Aden’s Khor Maksar district, they said.
Sunday’s bombing was heard across the city and a plume of smoke could be seen from miles away, residents said. Clashes erupted in the area immediately, they said. It was unclear who was behind the attack or the clashes that followed. The port city of Aden is the interim headquarters of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, which had to move there when Houthi militiamen took control of the capital, Sanaa, in 2015 during Yemen’s civil war. More than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s conflict since the Houthis advanced on Aden, forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi him to flee and seek help from Saudi Arabia. Aden is dominated by Yemeni forces backed by the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen’s war to restore Hadi. Saudi Arabia’s air defence forces intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen over the capital, Riyadh, on Saturday, state news agencies reported. The missile was brought down near King Khaled Airport on the northern outskirts of the city and did not cause any casualties.

Trump speaks to Saudi king on listing Aramco shares on NY Stock Exchange
Agencies/Sunday, 5 November 2017/President Donald Trump, who arrived in Japan on Sunday, said he spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia about listing national oil company Saudi Aramco's shares in New York and that "they will consider using US exchanges."The remarks were made aboard Air Force One en route to Japan, where Trump kicks off a 12-day Asian trip during which North Korea is expected to top the agenda in meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other leaders. The president had earlier expressed his desire for Aramco to list on the New York Stock Exchange in a Twitter post. "I know they're looking at London, I know they're looking at others, they're probably looking at themselves, they have a much smaller stock market," the US president said. "So I would like them to consider the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ." The Aramco IPO is expected to be the largest in history, raising around $100 billion in much-needed revenue for the kingdom. Aramco, which controls Saudi Arabia's massive energy assets, plans to list nearly five percent of its shares on the stock market. Trump's remarks followed a Twitter missive posted from Hawaii ahead of the Asia trip: "Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange. Important to the United States!" Plans are to list the offering in the second half of 2018 on the Saudi stock market as well as an international exchange, with markets in New York and London vying for the business. CEO Amin Nasser said in an interview with CNBC television in October that the listing venue "will be discussed and shared in due course."(With Reuters and AFP)

Saudi Arabia announces millions of dollars in bounty for 40 wanted in Yemen
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English Monday, 6 November 2017 /The Saudi Ministry of Interior issued a statement on Monday a list of wanted persons for terrorism charges in Yemen, including Houthi militias. The announcement came as part of Saudi Arabia’s effort to stop terrorism and fight extremist ideology. Houthi militias have increasing terrorist activities and continue to harm the security of Saudi Arabia. Houthi militias have also been known to have ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Ballistic missiles were used in a significant precedent where these dangerous missiles were available to the terrorist militias, who violated the legitimacy when directly threatened Saudi Arabia to intimidate the citizens and cause insecurity in Saudi Arabia and impact its stability. Saudi Arabia announced the first list with 40 names of Houthi leaders and members responsible for planning, executing and supporting the different terrorist activities in the Houthi group.It also announced financial rewards for whoever gives information that leads to arresting the wanted men or even locate them, calling for whoever has this information to contact Saudi authorities. Those in the list include Houthi leader, Abdul Malik Badreddin al-Houthi, with a 30 million dollar bounty placed on him.

Shares of Al-Waleed bin Talal's Company Dive after Reports of Arrest

Agence France Presse/November 05/17/Shares in Kingdom Holding, 95 percent of which is owned by billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, dived 9.9 percent as the Saudi stock exchange opened Sunday after reports of his arrest.
The Saudi Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI) also dropped 1.6 percent only a minute after the start of trading on the Arab world's largest stock market following a sweeping crackdown on corruption that saw the arrest of leading royals and businessmen. The Kingdom Holding share price did not slide further because, under the rules of the Saudi exchange, stocks are only allowed to fall a maximum of 10 percent in a single trading session. Since the start of 2017, Kingdom Holding has lost around 15 percent of its market value. The latest fall came despite the company announcing earlier on Sunday that its profit for the third quarter and the first nine months of the year increased. Kingdom Holding is one of Saudi Arabia's most important investors with shares in the Euro Disney theme park, U.S. tech giant Apple and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, among others. It also has key stakes in banks at home and abroad, as well as a number of investment, media and agricultural companies. Saudi Arabia reportedly arrested 11 princes, including Prince Al-Waleed, and dozens of current and former ministers, reports said late Saturday, in a sweeping crackdown as the kingdom's young crown prince consolidates power. Head of the Saudi National Guard, once a leading contender to the throne, as well as the navy chief and the economy minister were replaced in a series of high-profile sackings that sent shock waves in the oil-rich Gulf country. The crackdown was reported immediately after a new anti-corruption commission, headed by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was established by royal decree late Saturday.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 05-06/17
Time for an Assyrian Regional Government in Iraq
Uzay Bulut/Gatestone Institute/November 05/17
As can be seen in the region every day, it is not realistic to expect the Assyrians to be quiet and accept their "fate" under the tender mercies of Shiite or Sunni rule.
The future Assyrian regional government could be an independent state or autonomous region like the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. Even if it is city-state like Vatican City, it would be monumental in stopping the annihilation of Assyrian people and could also serve as a safe haven for other persecuted minorities.
"Thank God that Jews, a historically persecuted people just like us, now have Israel... After centuries of persecution, is it not the time for Assyrians and other persecuted Christians to finally have their own government?" — Sabri Atman, founder of the Assyrian Genocide and Research Center.
When ISIS invaded Iraq and its Nineveh Plain in 2014, one of the most victimized peoples were Assyrians, a Christian community indigenous to the region.
After the defeat of ISIS, some of the displaced Assyrians from the Nineveh Plain finally returned to their homeland, but today, they are fleeing their homes as their towns once again become a battleground -- this time between Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
The Assyrian-Syriac-Chaldean people have inhabited the Middle East since the beginning of recorded history. We might now, however, be witnessing the disappearance of this community. The end of the Assyrians in Iraq means the eventual end of the Assyrians altogether.
The Threat of Iran
Christians are also increasingly facing threats from Shiite Iran as, after its gains against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, it attempts to expand its influence in the region.
"Iran is aggressively establishing schools and mosques and libraries and other structures within the main Christian towns," said human rights lawyer Nina Shea, who once served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
A UN- and US-protected region is needed in northern Iraq to help restrict the empowerment and Iranification of Iraq, according to experts in the region Andrew Doran, Robert Nicholson, Mark Tooley, and Stephen Hollingshead. They argue that U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley should call on the UN and US coalition allies to establish a protected zone for genocide victims in northern Iraq:
"The UN has a duty to protect Northern Iraq's indigenous peoples. It can also promote stability and security in the Middle East by preventing Iranian expansion to the Mediterranean Sea. Such a zone would also be a bulwark against Iranian-backed militias in Northern Iraq.
"What is required for administrative, juridical, and economic functions to take hold in these communities is to be liberated from the immediate threat — Iran. The presence of a multinational coalition force would likely be sufficient to deter Iranian aggression.... There are already U.S. and other coalition forces on the ground in northern Iraq. The force required to deter external aggression would be small. It is also worth noting that these communities in Northern Iraq were rarely covered in the news from 2003 until 2014, when ISIS conquered them. This is because they were peaceful, productive, and proven allies of the United States. They have suffered much for that alliance. This is no time to abandon them to Iran."
Centuries of Persecution
"The Assyrian homeland is in northern Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq, where the ancient cities of Assur and Nineveh were built," writes the scholar Hannibal Travis.
"For 300 years, Assyrian kings ruled the largest empire the world had yet known. The Assyrian Church of the East records that the Apostle Thomas himself converted the Assyrians to Christianity within a generation after the death of Christ. Christianity was 'well established and organized' in Mesopotamia by the third century CE."
Today a stateless and persecuted people, Assyrians have been continuously brutalized by Muslims in the region -- Turks, Kurds, Arabs, and Persians.
Every fifty years, there has been a massacre of Assyrians, according to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA).
According to a report by the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights of Rutgers University:
"The Assyrian people have been repeatedly victimized by genocidal assaults over the past century... Massacres, rapes, plundering, cultural desecrations, and forced deportations were all endemic. Around 750,000 Assyrians died during the genocide, amounting to nearly three quarters of its prewar population. The rest were dispersed elsewhere, mostly in the Middle East.
"Unfortunately, the persecution of Assyrians did not end with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. From August 8-11, 1933, in the newly established state of Iraq, Assyrian villagers in the northern Iraqi town of Simele were brutally murdered. Some 3,000 men, women, and children were killed by Iraqi soldiers and Kurdish irregulars."
As a result of continued persecution and discrimination, the Assyrians in Turkey, Syria and Iran, once sizable communities, have almost completely been exterminated, apart from those who have fled to the U.S., Australia, Europe, Canada and Lebanon.
Why an Assyrian Regional Government (ARG) is an Urgent Need
The situation of Assyrians in Iraq is beginning to resemble the previous situation of those in Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Given all of the persecution to which Assyrians have been exposed and the lack of any support or protection from the West, the only way for Assyrian-Syriac-Chaldean people to survive is to have a protected "enclave" in the Nineveh Plain. As can be seen in the region every day, it is not realistic to expect the Assyrians to be quiet and accept their "fate" under the tender mercies of Shiite or Sunni rule.
Muslims make up a majority of the population in 49 countries around the world today. Regrettably, the proven hatred of many Muslim fanatics in that part of the world will not magically disappear. It is also delusional to argue that an Assyrian autonomy would somehow "destabilize" a region of chronic, bloody instability.
The future Assyrian Regional Government could be an independent state or autonomous region like the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. Even if it is city-state like Vatican City, it would be monumental in stopping the annihilation of Assyrian people and could also serve as a safe haven for other persecuted minorities.
A fighter from the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU) walks through a destroyed church on November 8, 2016 in Qaraqosh, Iraq. The NPU is a militia made up of Assyrian Christians that was formed in late 2014 to defend against ISIS. Qaraqosh is a mostly Assyrian city near of Mosul that was captured by ISIS in August 2014, and liberated in November 2016. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
All the Assyrian activists, politicians and scholars with whom Gatestone spoke asserted that the Assyrians should have a right to self-rule and security in the Nineveh Plain.
Yacoob Yaco, for instance, an Assyrian MP and political chair of the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU), said that Assyrians are willing to defend their homeland. "For us to be able to do that effectively, the leading countries of the world must help us determine our fate, and to have our own political and military entity."
Joseph Baba, the Western Regional Director for the Assyrian American National Federation, told Gatestone:
"We would like to help establish a political structure in Nineveh Plain -- a secular republic -- that is pluralistic and respects the ethnic and religious diversity of the Nineveh Plain. The Assyrian government would also cooperate with its neighbors and others to bring peace to the region and open the door to endless business opportunities for many Western countries to invest."
"Forced displacement, persecution and genocide have caused the drastic decrease in our population," said Anahit Khosroeva, an Assyrian historian specializing on genocide studies, who is based in Armenia.
"The international community just closes eyes on all these...The West should not continue ignoring Assyrians and Yazidis. Every inch of this land and every line of history tells who this territory belongs to. We deserve a state."
David William Lazar, the Chairman of the American Mesopotamian Organization, called for "the establishment of three new provinces in the districts of the Nineveh Plain, Talafar and Sinjar. "The current Iraqi constitution allows the proposed region to have its own parliament and executive branch similar to the region under the control of the Kurdish authorities."
"The world should not expect us to be protected by any other forces but our own," Juliana Taimoorazy, a leading Assyrian activist and the Founding President of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, told Gatestone. "We have been betrayed by both the Iraqi military and the Kurdish Peshmerga, over and over again."
She called on the Kurdish government to recognize Assyrian rights. "There are also Assyrians living under Kurdish rule. We ask the Kurdish government to honor Assyrians under their rule by recognizing our identity, flag, schools, churches, and language."
In an interview with Gatestone, Sabri Atman, the founder of the Assyrian Genocide and Research Center (Seyfo Center), said:
"There are two options. Either Assyrians in Iraq will have their own government in Nineveh and will be a free nation, or they might be extinct in a few decades. In order to stop the latter from happening, the Assyrian administration in Nineveh should be protected by the UN and the US. Thank God that Jews, a historically persecuted people just like us, now have Israel. The Assyrian claim for autonomy has never been realized. After centuries of persecution, is it not the time for Assyrians and other persecuted Christians to finally have their own government?"
**Uzay Bulut, a journalist born and raised in Turkey, is currently based in Washington D.C. She is a writing fellow of 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.

"We Are Going to Burn You Alive!"/Muslim Persecution of Christians, June 2017
Raymond Ibrahim/Gatestone Institute/November 05/17
"They defend freedom of worship in the West in order to ban it in their homeland. They fight to build mosques in someone else's homeland whilst destroying churches and synagogues where they have power." — Kamel Abderrahmani, Arab journalist, Algeria.
"ISIS publicly caged and burned alive 19 Yazidi girls for refusing to have sex with ISIS fighters, according to local activists. Yazidi leaders last year showed Fox News photographs of the Islamic jihadists burning babies to death on a slab of sheet metal, photos that show tiny, roasted bodies side by side as flames engulfed them." — ISIS in Iraq, Fox News, June 14.
The Erdogan government seized at least 50 Syriac churches, monasteries, and Christian cemeteries, many of which were still active, in Mardin province, and declared them "state property." — Turkey.
A presidential order replaced Christian education with Islamic Studies in secondary schools. While the subject, "Christian Religious Knowledge," no longer exists, Islamic, Arab, and French studies have been introduced in the new curriculum.... The Christian Association of Nigeria further denounced this move "to force Islamic studies down the throats of non-adherents of the religion," as being an "agenda deliberately crafted towards Islamization." — Nigeria.
Jesuit Father Henri Boulad, an Islamic scholar of the Egyptian Greek Melkite rite, pulled no punches in an interview concerning the motives of Islamic terror and Western responses to it. "Islam is an open-ended declaration of war against non-Muslims" and those who carry out acts of violence and intolerance are only doing what their creed requires, said the priest. The interview continues:
Those who fail to recognize the real threat posed by Islam are naïve and ignorant of history, he said, and unfortunately many in the Church fall into this category.
Citing a letter he wrote last August to Pope Francis, Father Boulad said that "on the pretext of openness, tolerance and Christian charity — the Catholic Church has fallen into the trap of the liberal left ideology which is destroying the West."
"Anything that does not espouse this ideology is immediately stigmatized in the name of 'political correctness,'" he said.
The priest went so far as to chastise Pope Francis himself—a fellow Jesuit—suggesting that he has fallen into this trap as well.
"Many think that a certain number of your positions are aligned with this ideology and that, from complacency, you go from concessions to concessions and compromises in compromises at the expense of the truth," the priest wrote to Francis.
Christians in the West and in the East, he wrote the Pope, "are expecting something from you other than vague and harmless declarations that may obscure reality."
"It is high time to emerge from a shameful and embarrassed silence in the face of this Islamism that attacks the West and the rest of the world. A systematically conciliatory attitude is interpreted by the majority of Muslims as a sign of fear and weakness," he said.
"If Jesus said to us: Blessed are the peacemakers, he did not say to us: Blessed are the pacifists. Peace is peace at any cost, at any price. Such an attitude is a pure and simple betrayal of truth," he said.
The priest also stated his belief that the West is in an ethical and moral debacle, and its defense of Islam is a denial of truth.
"By defending at all costs Islam and seeking to exonerate it from the horrors committed every day in its name, one ends up betraying the truth," he wrote.
June's roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Muslim Attacks on and Desecration of Christian Churches
Philippines: On June 21 in the village of Malagakit, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) — which earlier pledged allegiance to the Islamic State — vandalized a Catholic church. Describing the desecration as "wicked," the chief police inspector said the "crucifix and images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ were destroyed while the sacred hosts were thrown all over the floor." Cardinal Quevedo, who condemned the sacrilege in the strongest terms possible, challenged the leaders of the BIFF to punish its men who desecrated the chapel: "If the BIFF wants to have an image as a respecter of all religions, it must punish its members who perpetrated the odious desecration and educate all its members in strictly respecting other religions," the prelate said. "Last month, terrorist gunmen also desecrated St. Mary's Cathedral in Marawi, some 150 kilometers from Cotabato," the report noted. "The gunmen were seen on a video [here] destroying religious images and burning the cathedral."
Egypt: An Islamic terror cell consisting of six members, two of whom were described as "suicide bombers," planning on bombing yet another Coptic Christian church in Alexandria, was exposed and arrested by police before they could launch their attack. According to a statement from the Egyptian Interior Ministry, "one attacker had planned to detonate an explosive vest inside the church and the other to blow himself up when police arrived to the scene." Several similar, recent attacks on Christian churches in Egypt had left about 100 churchgoers dead and hundreds severely wounded.
Separately, authorities raided a church-owned building being used by the local Coptic Christian community for worship. After police removed furniture, Christian iconography and other items from the building, they chained down the doors to prevent Christians from entering the building. Christians had for some time tried to have the building legally recognized as a church, only to face a backlash from both local Muslims and authorities. According to a local Christian:
"During the early hours of Friday, June 16, we [Christians] were surprised to find the furniture, rugs, icons, pictures, and worship utensils ... had been thrown outside and the building closed down with seals and chains. We took the belongings into our homes. We don't know why the police did that."
When dozens of church leaders met with the local governor insisting that they needed a place to worship, he told them the building they were using had been found to be in a state of disrepair and needed to be demolished.
Algeria: On June 9, the state oversaw the demolition of the Catholic church located in Sidi Moussa, 15 miles from Algiers. According to Kamel Abderrahmani, an Arab journalist who covered the incident:
"Algerian authorities found a very shallow argument to justify this anti-Christian act. According to the authorities concerned, the church was listed in the red category by the technical inspection services. The legitimate question that arises from this is, since the building was deemed in danger of collapse, why was it not restored and listed as part of the national heritage? The statement of the mayor was of unprecedented clarity. He had announced the construction of a mosque and a Quranic school on the same site. Such statements caused outrage, as many saw the demolition as an act of vandalism."
Kamel also noted how the Algerian government had demolished other churches on other pretexts, and concluded by calling Muslim governments and activists "hypocrites":
"If the mayor of Paris or Rome had destroyed a mosque to build a church, what would have happened? Sunni Muslims would have shouted scandal and Islamophobia! This question shows the hypocrisy of Islamists and their double standards. They defend freedom of worship in the West in order to ban it in their homeland. They fight to build mosques in someone else's homeland whilst destroying churches and synagogues where they have power."
Iraq: In June 2015, when Mosul was under the Islamic State's control, the group had announced it was converting St. Ephrem Church into a "mosque of the mujahedeen." The cross from the dome was broken off, and all Christian symbols were purged from within the house of worship. Now, months after Mosul was liberated, the occupied church was exposed as being used as a sex-slave chamber where approximately 200 Yazidi girls and women were abused by the Islamic State. A report recounts "ISIS' depravity towards Yazidi women and girls. On the floor of the iconic house of worship lie tiny pieces of pink and yellow underwear and flower headbands belonging to the very young Yazidi sex slaves the barbaric terrorist group took captive." The June 14 report also notes:
"Last week, according to local activists, ISIS publicly caged and burned alive 19 Yazidi girls for refusing to have sex with ISIS fighters, according to local activists. Yazidi leaders last year showed Fox News photographs of the Islamic jihadists burning babies to death on a slab of sheet metal, photos that show tiny, roasted bodies side by side as flames engulfed them....The butchered Christian building and its Yazidi remnants serve as chilling reminders of the genocide experienced by the two religious minorities."
Spain: A Muslim man stormed a Christian church during a marriage ceremony, and started shouting "Allahu Akbar" — "Allah is greatest." He "tried to throw liturgical objects around him to attack the priest and churchgoers," according to a report. A number of wedding attendants managed to apprehend the 22-year-old Moroccan and hand him over to police, who reportedly charged him with "disturbing public order, crime against religious feelings and threats." Police also investigated the church for potential explosives before permitting the wedding ceremony to resume. According to the officiating priest, the incident began when a "group of young troublemakers" started making offensive noises at the back of the church.
"Suddenly, someone started to shout and charged at the altar. A lot of people, including the bride's mother, were crying, and there were people who had already jumped out of the pews because we did not know whether this person came alone or not, or if he was armed."
Turkey: The Erdogan government seized at least 50 Syriac churches, monasteries, and Christian cemeteries, many of which were still active, in Mardin province, and declared them "state property." According to the report, "The Syriacs have appealed to the Court for the cancellation of the decision." The Chairman of Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation — a 1,600 year-old monastery that was still in use and also seized — said, "We started to file lawsuits and in the meantime our enquiries continued."
The Syriac Orthodox Mor Gabriel Monastery is one of at least 50 Syriac churches, monasteries, and Christian cemeteries in Mardin province, Turkey that were recently seized by the Turkish government and declared "state property." (Image source: Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia Commons)
The Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Pakistan: A Chinese Christian couple—Lee Zing Yang, 24, and his wife Meng Lisi, 26 — were abducted in Quetta and executed on the accusation that they were preaching Christ to Muslims; the Islamic State claimed responsibility for their killing and released "video footage showing the bloodied body of the Chinese man, Lee Zing Yang, taking his last breaths," says a report. The Pakistani government cited the murdered couple's "misuse of the terms of a business visa" as playing a major role in their deaths: "instead of engaging in any business activity they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning Urdu language ... were actually engaged in preaching."
Kenya: Armed Muslims connected to neighboring Somalia's Islamic terrorist group, Al Shabaab, walked into an elementary school compound in Garissa and shot a Christian teacher to death. When a Muslim teacher interfered with their attempts to abduct another Christian teacher, "Al Shabaab got angry," reported another anonymous teacher, "and told the teacher, 'We are going to teach you a lesson for protecting the infidels,' and immediately the two were carried away to unknown destination"—but not before the Somali militants proceeded to "beat Muslims of Somali descent at the school for housing Kenyan Christians."
Philippines: More news and revelations concerning the jihadi uprising that began in late May in the Islamic City of Marawi appeared in June. The eight or nine Christians originally reported as being tied together and shot dead, execution style, had apparently first been ordered to recite the Islamic confession of faith, which they refused to do, an act leading to their execution. "Their bodies were reportedly thrown into the ditch, and a signboard was placed beside them reading 'Munafik,' which means traitor or liar," said a report. "The assailants also asked Police Senior Inspector Freddie Solar to recite the Muslim creed, and as a non-Muslim [Christian] he too declined and was killed." Seventeen others were found ritually decapitated or butchered by the Islamic State-affiliated militants. A priest and 13 parishioners from the St. Mary Cathedral were also kidnapped; the priest "appeared in a propaganda video on Tuesday (May 30) pleading for his life."
Egypt: More eyewitness details concerning the Islamic State massacre of 29 Christian pilgrims traveling to a Coptic monastery in the Egyptian desert in May 2017 emerged. One ten-year old boy, who witnessed the slaughter of his father, recounted:
"We [he and his 14-year-old brother] saw dead people, just dumped on the ground. They asked my father for identification then told him to recite the Muslim profession of faith. He refused, said he was Christian. They shot him and everyone else with us in the car.... Every time they shot someone they would yell God is great [Allahu Akbar]."
Although President Sisi had depicted the terrorists as "foreigners," the ten-year-old said that the fifteen assailants "had Egyptian accents like us and they were all masked except for two of them ... They looked like us and did not have beards." The same report states that, a month after the massacre, the Egyptian government had failed to provide adequate security for the residents of Dayr Jarnous, a Christian village that was home to seven of those killed, "and has done nothing to help the victims' families."
Muslim Attacks on Christian Religious Freedom
Pakistan: A new blasphemy case was registered against yet another Christian. After Mohammad Irfan refused to pay a repair bill to Ishfaq Masih, a Christian who fixed his bicycle, the Muslim denounced the Christian of blaspheming against Islamic prophet Muhammad, leading to the Christian's arrest. According to Masih's cousin:
"During the argument, Irfan said that he obeys only one master, Prophet Muhammad, to which Ishfaq said that he was a Christian and his faith ends at Christ. Upon hearing this, Irfan raised a clamor that Ishfaq had blasphemed against Muhammad. Soon a mob gathered at the spot, and someone called the police, who took Ishfaq into custody."
Mohammad Irfan also rallied a number of other Muslims — including Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Naveed, and Mohammad Tahir — who claimed that they "heard Ishfaq Masih say derogatory words against the Muslim prophet." According to the Christian's lawyer, only one of the four "witnesses" was even present during the altercation.
"Irfan had gathered the other men, including the complainant Mohammad Ishfaq, and they then concocted the allegation against Ishfaq Masih and got him arrested.... The FIR [First Information Report] is quite weak, as it does not contain any specific blasphemous words that my client may have allegedly said.... It also shows that the police did not even bother to investigate the charge before registering a case against the poor man. This is the routine practice of the police in blasphemy cases, and it's a shame that nothing is being done to stop it."
Separately, after a Christian couple was slaughtered for preaching Christ among Muslims (see Slaughter section), a South Korean Christian was arrested for allegedly also engaging in "illegal preaching activities." Authorities revoked his visa and ordered him to leave the Muslim nation.
Philippines: A Muslim teacher in the Muslim majority island of Mindanao forced Jen-Jen, a young Christian schoolgirl apparently of Islamic origins, to say Islamic prayers in class or else fail the class. According to the report:
"Despite being uncomfortable, Jen-Jen learned the words of the prayer to recite to the teacher. But rather than asking Jen-Jen to say the words in an oral test, the teacher later announced students would be required to go to a mosque and pray the prayer aloud."
When the girl and another Christian classmate told the teacher that praying in a mosque contradicts their faith in Christ, the Muslim teacher "ignored the request and told them to turn away from Christ," adding: "You must comply or else you will fail in this subject. You should revert to your Islamic faith." The girl was then "forced to complete the long walk to the mosque while wearing a traditional Muslim dress and veil covering, despite burning up with a fever."
"The schoolgirl got so sick, however, that she lost consciousness and blacked out. Even as she came back to, the teacher refused to excuse her from listening to the entirety of the Muslim imam's message. Since the day at the Mosque, Jen-Jen has been pressured to conform to many other Muslim practices, such as fasting during the month of Ramadan.... [O]ther students have also teased and bullied Jen-Jen because of her faith, sometimes bombarding her as she walked to and from school and pushing her or insulting her."
Malaysia: The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy — the statement of purpose of which is to define and promote "Human rights from the Muslim perspective" — asserted that all forms of Christian evangelicalism should be banned. According to the CEO of the Centre, Azril Mohd Amin, "It is a fact that the groups that are spreading Christian propaganda to Malaysians, especially Muslims, will keep up their efforts as they believe that there is no effective law that can stop them." Jo-Anna Henley Rampas, a leading member of a more progressive and inclusive party, responded by saying this move is "reflective of the erosion of religious freedom in the country" thanks to the "federal government's failure to instil proper understanding, tolerance and harmony among citizens."
Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians
Pakistan: A Christian sanitary worker died after pious Muslim doctors who were fasting for Ramadan refused to touch the "unclean" infidel's body. Thirty-year-old Irfan Masih had fallen unconscious along with three other sanitary staff while cleaning a manhole on June 1. He was rushed to a governmental hospital where the doctors refused to treat him; he died hours later. "The doctors refused to treat him because they were fasting and said my son was napaak [unclean]," said the mother of the deceased. A few weeks later, a court, responding to complaints from hospital officials accusing the family and friends of Irfan of terrorizing the hospital, ordered police to register a complaint against them. "The hospital has levied a false charge against us in order to save themselves," explained a cousin of the deceased, who also works in sanitation.
"The doctors were responsible for Irfan's death, because he would have been alive today had they not refused to treat him immediately. Our outburst against the doctors was natural, but we did not damage or steal anything from the hospital. It is a lie, and even the police know it."
A senior police official admitted that "we believe that the hospital is making frivolous accusation against these people..... The hospital is ostensibly trying to pressure the family to withdraw their case."
Egypt: Suzan Ashraf Rawy, a 22-year-old Christian woman, was reportedly kidnapped on the morning of June 5 while walking to the Coptic Orthodox church where she worked. "When she did not return home that evening, her mother called the church," an area Christian leader said. "That is when she discovered Suzan did not arrive at the church in the morning. It is expected that she has been abducted." She is the third Christian woman in the area of Al Khosous, a predominantly Christian town on the outskirts of Cairo, to disappear since May 30, when a Copt accidentally shot and killed a Muslim bystander during a quarrel with someone else. "Since then, the Muslims started to wage revenge attacks on the Christian community living there, especially the women," the Christian leader said. According to the report:
"Two other young Coptic Christian women disappeared without a trace after the May 30 incident. The families of the women suspected to have been kidnapped have received no communication from alleged kidnappers, the sources said. Area Muslims have long disfigured Christian women for not wearing veils by throwing acid on them, but there has been a surge in such attacks in the past few weeks, sources said.... Fear has seized Coptic Christians in the area, with women afraid to leave their homes. One of the church women's meetings, which Rawy attended, has been suspended until further notice out of fear for the safety of the participants."
Bangladesh: Three Muslim men sexually assaulted a 20-year-old Catholic girl in the village of Madarpur on June 18. Her loud cries drew the attention of village locals who came to her rescue, prompting the rapists to flee. After her parents filed a complaint, they began to receive threatening messages to withdraw it or else. "Last year her family was involved in a land dispute," adds the report. "The violence - a premeditated attack - was also witnessed by the police, deployed by the Muslims who wanted to expropriate the land. The young woman, along with her parents, was forced to leave the house and live in a slum."
Pakistan: The home of a journalist who extensively covers the plight of religious minorities in the Muslim nation was vandalized. When Rana Tanveer, chief reporter of The Express Tribune, went to the police, they failed to register a formal complaint. Days later, an unidentified vehicle intentionally ran over Tanveer, while he was riding his motorcycle in Lahore on Friday, June 9. According to the report:
"Tanveer underwent surgery for a fracture in his pelvic bone on Saturday. His recovery may take months and he has expressed fears for his safety as well as that of his family.... Tanveer says that his work on exposing the poor treatment meted out to the country's religious minorities like the Ahmadis and the Christians has made him a target of extremists."
Sudan: A court in El Gedaref fined a number of Christians for selling food and tea during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting: "This is a clear discrimination against Christians and contrary to the slogans of religious coexistence launched by the Sudan Government for the international community," contended one defense layer. About a dozen people were each fined $2,000 Sudanese dollars ($298 USD).
Iraq: "[T]roubling issues related to discrimination and even violence targeting ethnic and religious minorities" are widespread in Kurdish-ruled territories, one report found, adding:
"Christian citizens of the KRI [Kurdish Region of Iraq] have issued complaints and held protests against Kurdish residents for attacking and seizing their land and villages in the provinces of Dohuk and Erbil.... Some Assyrian Christians accuse Kurdish government and party officials of taking lands for personal use or financial gain. These Christians believe they are specifically targeted as part of a policy to Kurdify historically Christian areas.... Minorities continue to fear growing extremism in the majority population, which they believe could threaten them in the long term."
Most Kurds are Sunni Muslims.
Nigeria: A presidential order replaced Christian education with Islamic Studies in secondary schools. While the subject, "Christian Religious Knowledge" no longer exists, Islamic, Arab, and French studies have been introduced in the new curriculum. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), which protested the new changes in front of the presidential palace, currently filled by a Muslim, described the change as "a time-bomb, obnoxious, divisive and ungodly.... To us in CAN, its introduction is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good for so many reasons." According to the report, "The end result [of these changes] is that a Christian student will be left with no option than to settle for Islamic Arabic Studies since French teachers are more or less non-existent in secondary schools," all of which "will deprive pupils of moral trainings which CRK [Christian Religious Knowledge] offers." The Christian Association of Nigeria further denounced this move "to force Islamic studies down the throats of non-adherents of the religion," as being an "agenda deliberately crafted towards Islamization."
Separately, a Christian priest and his companions who were abducted by Islamic militants in April told of their experiences in June, when they were released. Fr. Sam Okwuidegbe identified his "kidnappers as Fulani herdsmen, an Islamic radical group that has killed thousands of people in Nigeria, including many Christians, in the past couple of decades" notes the report. That he was unable to recall any phone numbers for the Islamic terrorists to call to negotiate a ransom for his release "triggered a series of beatings," says Fr. Sam.
"they huddled me up, hands and feet tied to the back with a rope like a goat before a kill. They removed my cassock, then my shirt, threw me into the dirt on the ground, and began to beat me with the back of their guns, they'd kick me hard on my sides, slap across my face, push and pull me hard across the ground ... one of them said 'We are going to burn you alive!'"
Another man in captivity did manage to recall a phone number, a ransom was set, and the men were eventually released.
Due to the ongoing bleeding of Nigeria's Christian population — increasingly at the hands of Muslim Fulani herdsmen and not just the Islamic terror group, Boko Haram — a number of leading Nigerian churches issued a statement calling on the government "not to abdicate its responsibility of protecting all Nigerian citizens." According to the communique:
"We are worried that the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen have continued unabated and unchecked. The recurring and orchestrated killings of Christians in Southern Kaduna, mass killings in parts of Benue State and others across the country have increased suspicion that the so-called herdsmen are an extension of terrorist groups carrying out an evil agenda of ethnic and religious cleansing. Characteristically, these mindless attacks are often unprovoked."
Earlier in January, Bishop Diamond Emuobor, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said that, because Christians are facing increasing dangers at the hands of extremists, so "Christians should defend themselves and he who has no sword, should sell his coat and buy one to defend himself. We are all human beings, nobody should catch you like a snail and slaughter because you believe in Jesus Christ."
About this Series
While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by Muslims is growing. The report posits that such Muslim persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.
**Raymond Ibrahim is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (published by Regnery with Gatestone Institute, April 2013).

Iran and 'The Great Satan': A Four-Decade-Old Saga

Amir Taheri/Gatestone Institute/November 05/17
Right now, with marches and fiery speeches, the Islamic Republic in Iran is marking the 38th anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran and the holding of American diplomats as hostages for 444 days.
As the US Congress seeks new ways of tightening the screws on Iran, the Tehran leadership remains prisoner to old illusions. Most of those illusions are centered on the United States, which has frightened and fascinated the mullahs since they seized power almost 40 years ago.
The mullahs are frightened of the US because their view of history is shaped by their belief in conspiracy theories. They regard the US as a heavily-centralized diabolical machine controlled by a small coterie of conspirators, determined to rule the world. Internal political fights in the US are seen as part of a carefully scripted scenario to confuse the outside world.
According to one prominent mullah, President Donald Trump is "playing mad on advice from Henry Kissinger, with the aim of frightening the Muslims." According to another leading mullah, even the duel between Trump and Hillary Clinton was "nothing but a show to confuse the world."
At times, the US is depicted as "on the verge of destruction" because of its "lack of morality and deep-rooted corruption". At other times, it is the "Great Satan", as powerful and just as deadly as the diabolical personage depicted in scriptures.
For some mullahs, including Ayatollah Imami Kashani, hating the US is part of "true belief." For others, for example Ayatollah Qara'ati, no prayer could be regarded as validated until it ends with "Death to America!" Every day, President Hassan Rouhani, a mid-ranking mullah, and all members of his Cabinet trample the US flag under feet before they enter their offices.
Since the mullahs seized power, hardly a day has passed without the Islamic Republic holding some US hostages. The raid on the US Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979 is dubbed "The Second Revolution" and marked with government-sponsored marches and seminars, exhibitions and propaganda campaigns across the nation.
The Islamic Republic is also holding the mortal remains of at least three Americans, a former CIA station head in Beirut, kidnapped by 'Hezbollah' and killed under torture in Iran, a retired FBI agent working for a private US company in Dubai, and a seconded US officer serving with a UN peace force in southern Lebanon.
And, yet, some mullahs and their technocratic attendants also cultivate another image of America as a gullible 800-kilo gorilla that is easily deceived and brought into one's service.
In 2015, in the heyday of the nuclear talks, the entourage of Mohammad Javad Zarif, the US-educated functionary who plays the role of foreign minister, circulated several limericks to that effect. One said: Don't see him so frail (a play on the word Zarif), He can knock out six like them! (meaning the US and other members of the 5+1 group of nations.) Another line was: "Zarif fights, America trembles!"
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) strategist Dr. Hassan Abbasi, nicknamed the "Kissinger of Islam," claims that Iran has "tens of thousands of sleeping elements" inside the US and in Latin America ready to " blow America up into pieces at a moment's notice."
"The Americans know this and are frightened of us," Abbasi likes to say, Such illusions were encouraged by President Barack Obama's determination to accommodate the Islamic Republic almost at any cost. Obama believed that the US had done Iran much wrong for which he sought atonement. The mullahs and their minions saw Obama's behavior as sign of American weakness.
And, yet, Iran's current ruling elites are fascinated by America. A list of over 700 children of top Islamic Republic personalities currently attending American universities was unveiled in Tehran last August. According to Islamic Majlis member Karimi Qodusi, over 1500 Islamic Republic officials hold dual nationality, including American citizenship and/or permanent residency.
There are scores of former Islamic Republic and IRGC officials throughout the US, including in think-tanks and universities.
Two years ago, President Rouhani described the Obama-scripted nuclear "deal" as "the greatest diplomatic victory in the history of Islam."
But now, under its new President, the" Great Satan" is highlighting the hollowness of that " victory". Iran's oil revenues, accumulated over the years, remain largely frozen in Western, Japanese, Chinese, Indian and other banks that won't un-freeze them for fear of attracting US sanctions. The highly publicized "Oil deal of the century" with the French giant TOTAL is on the back-burner for the same reason.
The same sorry fate has befallen "agreements in principle" for Iran to buy new passenger aircraft from Airbus and Boeing. Promises of granting Iran new credit lines, including one worth $5 billion by Russia, have been quietly forgotten because it is now clear that Trump won't sing from Obama's hymn-sheet on Iran.
Zarif now says that "We cannot even open a bank account in London to pay our embassy staff."
To be sure, in his last phase in office, Obama provided some relief for Iran in coping with its cash-flow problem. But it is now clear that with Obama gone, Tehran is unlikely to ride any gravy train any time soon. So, what is Iran to do?
The reasonable response would be that Iran should seek the roots of this unnecessary enmity and try to cut them out through a review of its foreign policy and creative diplomacy. It is interesting that after 38 years, the mullahs have never told Iranians why they should regard the US as "enemy" rather than an adversary or, even more realistically, a power with which Iran has some differences.
Because of that, almost all Iranians are suffering in their daily lives without scoring any points against the "Great Satan".
For almost four decades, trampling the star-spangled banner underfoot, burning effigies of US presidents and cries of "Death America" haven't solved any of Iran's many problems. Nor has the "Great Satan" changed its tune on such scores.
When a policy has failed, reason dictates that it should be revisited. However, in Iran today, lazy minds remain content with fist-shaking and flag-burning.
**Amir Taheri, formerly editor of Iran's premier newspaper, Kayhan, before the Iranian revolution of 1979, is a prominent author based on Europe. He is the Chairman of Gatestone Europe.
This article first appeared in Asharq Al Awsat and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.
© 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.

Who did Saudi Arabia round up in latest anti-corruption move?
Middle East Eye/Sunday 5 November 2017
In the dead of night, Saudi forces surrounded the compounds of several prominent princes across the Gulf kingdom, in a move to clamp down on corruption.
Under the auspices of the newly formed anti-corruption committee, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, prominent Saudi princes and businessmen are now being held in the lavish Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh.
Just last week the Ritz Carlton was host to some of the world's leading investors, as Salman attempted to tell the world his vision for a post-oil Saudi Arabia.
The individuals detained include 11 princes, four current ministers and tens of former ministers.
Among those held are Abdullah al-Sultan, who is commander of the Saudi Navy, and Khalid al-Mulheim, the former director general of Saudi Arabian airlines.
But who are some of the other individuals that have been rounded up in the latest alleged move against corruption in the Gulf Kingdom?
Prince Waleed bin Talal
Prince Walid bin Talal owns sizeable shares in Newscorp, Twitter and Citigroup via his Kingdom Holdings company (AFP)
Known for his flamboyance and philanthropy, multi-billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is the grandson of Ibn Saud, the first Saudi king,
He is also the grandson of Riad al Solh, Lebanon's first prime minister.
According to Forbes, Talal is worth $18bn and chairman of the Kingdom Holding Corporation.
He owns sizeable shares in numerous companies, including Newscorp, Citigroup, 21st century Fox and Twitter.
In 2015, Talal was criticised for offering to buy Bentley cars for Saudi pilots involved in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. He also took to Twitter to describe Donald Trump as a "disgrace" during the US presidential election.
Prince Miteb bin Abdullah
Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was the last remaining member of the late King Abdullah's Shammar branch of the Saudi family to have an important post in Saudi Arabia (AFP)
Born in 1953, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah headed the Saudi Arabian National Guard, an elite internal security force originally based on traditional tribal units run by his father for five decades.
Trained at Sandhurst military academy in Britain, he was the son of the late King Abdullah, and was once thought to be a leading contender for the throne.
He is also the last remaining member of the Shammar branch of the Saudi Royal family to retain an important position.
Officially named as the National Guard's commander in 2010, his position was consolidated in 2013 when the National Guard was given its own ministry, where he was named minister.
Abdullah's business interests are thought to include ownership of the prestigious Hotel de Crillon in the centre of Paris, which French newspaper Le Figaro reported that he bought in 2010 for $354mn.
Bakr bin Laden
Bakr Bin Laden is chairman of Saudi Arabia's largest construction firm (Screengrab)
Described in Der Spiegel magazine as being the "true ruler of Jeddah," Bakr bin Laden is the chairman of Saudi Bin Laden group, the largest construction company in Saudi Arabia.
Born in 1945 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, bin Laden attended the University of Miami in Florida and is said to keep a low profile.
Even so, bin Laden is viewed as being a political heavyweight in Jeddah and major powerbroker inside the city.
He is also the older brother of Osama bin Laden and has been pivotal in the Saudi Bin Laden group's increased income.
Khalid al-Tuwaijri
Khalid al-Tuwaijri was the highest ranking non-prince under the court of King Abdullah before being ousted (Screengrab)
Famously known as being the highest ranking non-prince in Saudi Arabia, Khalid al-Tuwaijri was chief of the Royal court of Saudi Arabia under the late King Abdullah.
Born in 1960, Tuwaijri studied law in Saudi Arabia. He obtained a masters degree in political sciences in the United States another in Islamic criminal law in Saudi Arabia.
Tuwaijri created many enemies, earning him the nickname of octopus as he controlled who was and wasn't allowed to have an audience with King Abdullah.
He was also pivotal in helping formulate Saudi's foreign policy, from helping oust Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, to sending troops to support the Bahraini monarchy.
His fall from grace, however, came after King Salman ascended to the throne in 2015, whereupon he was sacked from his position.
Saleh Kamel
Saleh Kamal is known as being the father of Islamic Finance globally (Screengrab)
Worth more than $2bn according to Forbes magazine, Saleh Kamel is the chairman and founder of the Dallah al Barakah group, one of the Middle East's largest conglomerates.
He is viewed as being Saudi Arabia's leading businessman and served as chairman and on numerous boards of companies.
Kamel, however, is better known for helping pioneer Islamic finance, serving as chairman of Al-Baraka, which operates Islamic banks throughout the Middle East, as well as in Pakistan and Indonesia. He promoted the field to numerous world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Kamel is also known for his philanthropic efforts, and his son most recently donated $10mn to Yale University to establish an institute that focuses on Islamic law.
Alwaleed al-Ibrahim
Alwaleed al Ibrahim is chairman of the Middle East broadcasting corporation (screengrab)
Born and raised in Saudi Arabia with his eight brothers, Alwaleed al-Ibrahim is the CEO of the commercially successful Middle East Broadcasting Centre, otherwise known as MBC.
After launching MBC in 1991, which became the Arab world's first commercially successful channel, Ibrahim went on to found a series of other entertainment channels.
He later launched Al-Arabiya in 2003 with the stated goal of being an alternative to the Doha based Al-Jazeera.
Despite known as being the owner of MBC, a leaked Wikileaks cable alleged that King Fahd's youngest son and his nephew, Abdulaziz bin Fahd, control Al-Arabiya editorial line.

Sweeping Saudi purge exposes broad opposition to Crown Prince’s policies
Debeka Files/November 05/17
By purging the most powerful princes in the realm, Crown Prince Muhammad lays bets on his survival and that of his ambitious reform program and policies.
All in one day, Saturday, Nov. 4, the Middle East underwent a rapid series of game-changing events. Sunni politician Saad Hariri resigned as Lebanese Prime Minister and fled to Riyadh, in the wake of an Iranian-Hizballah assassination plot And before the vibes from that event died down across the region, Saudi strongman, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Sultan, conducted a wholesale purge, sweeping hundreds of princes, former ministers and generals out of jobs and into jail, up to the highest-ranking military, financial and political opponents of his policies. The former king’s son Prince Mitab bin Abdullah, was removed from the National Guard, which is responsible for safeguarding the throne and the oil fields, and the multibillion Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, investor in such global giants as Citigroup, 21st Century Fox, Apple and Twitter, was thrown into jail.
That night, the sky over Riyadh suddenly lit up when US Patriot missiles intercepted an Iranian-supplied Burkan- 2H ballistic missile, with a range of 1000km, that was fired by Yemeni Houthi rebels at the King Khaled International Airport of Riyadh from northern Yemen.
It was a timely reminder of the war in which Prince Muhammad has embroiled Saudi Arabia against Iran-backed Yemeni insurgents, of the wider, albeit covert, conflict waged against Iran and the quarrel with Qatar.
Riding over them all is the dynamic, fast-moving, youthful at 32 figure of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad, whose father King Salman has given him free rein to haul the hidebound oil kingdom into modern times.
On Oct. 25, the Crown Prince said: “We are in the G20 and one of the biggest economies in the world. Making Saudi Arabia a good place will contribute to change in the region and the world – and that is what we are doing now.” Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, he also vowed to immediately destroy “extremist ideologies” and return to “a more moderate Islam. We want to lead normal lives, lives where our religion and our traditions translate into tolerance, so that we coexist with the world and become part of the development of the world,” he said.
Prince Muhammad is confident that 70 percent of young Saudis under 30 are behind him. He promised them not to waste another 30 years fighting extremist ideologies.
At the same time, DEBKAfile’s Saudi experts warn that the scale of his lightening purge points to spreading resistance within the royal house and ruling cirlces to his methods and ideas. Interestingly, the forward looking prince has chosen one of the oldest and most effective ways of suppressing dissent: sack and throw the dissenters into jail, that is, until they come around to his vision or rebuilding the economy on contemporary technological and financial lines, creating the NEOM Red Sea megacity and free trade zone and social reforms.
The purge of many hundreds of officials was official designated an anti-corruption drive. Prince Miteb was replaced as National Guard minister by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf; Economy and Planning Minister Adel Fakeih was ousted and replaced by Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri; and the Commander of the Navy, Adm. Abdullah Al-Sultan, was relieved of his position and replaced by Fahad Al-Ghofaili, who was promoted to the rank of Admiral.
King Salman also ordered the formation of a new anti-corruption committee headed by… Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
It may sound strange to Western ears, but the argument over the succession is possibly the foremost subject of dissent within the royal house.
When King Salman abdicates – which could be in a matter of months – he will pass the scepter to Crown Prince Mohammed. However, before ascending the throne, Muhammad insists on appointing his successor to safeguard the Saudi kingdom’s stable continuity. This is a major bone of contention between him and the hundreds of royal princes who hold positions of power. They judge it to be a measure for assuring young Prince Muhammad of unlimited power.
One of the leading dissenters is Prince Miteb and another Prince Al Waleed, both of whom are currently behind bars. It is most likely, therefore, that the opposition to the Crown Prince and his policies will intensify rather than abate. His reform and economic policies are still mostly on paper and the Yemen war has reached a standoff against Iran and Qatar, with no solution in sight. In this fragile and volatile situation, Prince Muhammad’s life and plans have never been in greater danger.

The defeat of ISIS may not correspond to victory for women
Hazem Saghieh/Al Arabiya/November 05/17
It is assumed that women are the worst victims of ISIS — its savage acts, its virulent ideology and its organized sexual slavery. Therefore, it is assumed that any defeat of the ISIS will invariably be a victory for women.
However, as our colleague Khaled Suleiman stated in an article published by, what has happened is quite different. Up until now the marriage of a girl at the age of nine was illegal. But attempts began to reduce the age of puberty ironically when ISIS’ defeat began, as the article states.
As such there is nothing new about the amendment to the Personal Status Law in Iraq. On 8 March 2014, Iraqi Justice Ministry Hassan al-Shammariat announced the Jaafari law (followed by most Shiite) approved a girl’s marriage at the age of nine, which he believed is fair to women. It was said that reduction in the age of puberty gave the girl a great privilege as she could not be considered a minor and so became a legitimate heir to her father if he dies. It has also been stated that this law would lift injustice that women have been subjected to over the past several decades by underdeveloped social traditions and laws.
These arguments were central to the justification regarding the decision taken in 2014. However, in a span of three months ISIS occupied Iraq’s second city Mosul, and took control of large parts of the country. It was at this time that this so-called progressive law, which allows girls to get married at the age of nine, was shelved and had to wait for the right time to be implemented. Meanwhile, ISIS started to enslave and rape girls, especially of the Yazidi community. But with the liberation from ISIS, doors swung open for the implementation of the aforementioned legislation that is “fair to women”. With no ISIS in their way, it was claimed that women had emerged victorious and marriage of nine year old girls marriage became applicable. Currently, parliamentary majority in Baghdad seems determined to bring about this achievement.
Exacerbating sectarianism
The promised new legislation has other so-called “progressive features”. It prevents civil marriage between sects, or at least hinders them and makes them temporary. This calls for an amendment to the 1959 law, which exempted personal status from intervention by sectarian leaders and set the age for marriage of both sexes at 18 years. The new situation may exacerbate sectarianism. The amendment also wants a nine-year-old girl to be able to sign her own marriage contract if there is no guardian! There is no need to be afraid here as well, because according to the votaries of this law a girl at the age of nine is fully aware about what is good for her. “The issue is not just as some civil society organizations and women's rights organizations say, an issue that infringes upon women's rights and gives men the power to determine marriage only, but primarily infringes on the rights of children. A nine-year-old girl is still in elementary school, is not physically ready and understands nothing of sexual relationship. Nine years does not qualify her to bear responsibility of a family; actually she is not aware of it in the first place,” the aforementioned writer avers.
Thus this proposed draft law is a violation of women's rights as well as a violation of children's rights. There is also an ISIS within us. It is hard for women to win, for children to play and for Iraq to flourish as long as there is this ISIS among us.

In protection of Druze, Israel gave up security interests in Golan
Alex Fishman/Ynetnews/November 05/17
Analysis: As the Middle East keeps producing uncertain situations with a potential for a regional crisis, Israel made a strategic decision Friday that its ‘covenant of blood’ with the Druze community is more important than its strategic support for the rebels working to drive the Syrian army away from the Golan Heights.Is the enemy of my enemy my friend? Not when it comes to Friday’s incident in the Syrian village of Hader and Israel’s relations with the Druze in the Golan Heights.
Israel made a strategic decision over the weekend that its “covenant of blood” with the Druze community is more important than its strategic moral and humanitarian support for the groups of rebels who are working to drive the Syrian army away from the Golan Heights. As a result, Israel warned in public that it would target the anti-Assad rebels if they were to harm members of the Druze community in the Golan, in spite of the fact that the Druze support Bashar Assad’s regime and have encouraged him to take over the Israel border area.
Israel heaved a sigh of relief, therefore, when the Syrian army succeeded not only in driving the rebels away from the Hader area but also in regaining control of four of its posts that had been conquered by the rebels. Had the crisis ended differently, it could have led to a rift between the State of Israel and members of the Druze community, not only in the Golan but in Israel too.
Israeli Druze residents march towards Syria border in solidarity with Hader residents, Friday. Had the crisis ended differently, it could have led to a rift between Israel and the Druze community
Israel had been preparing for the possibility of such a crisis for a while, in light of the intensive fighting between rebels and Syrian forces over the control of the Golan area. Nevertheless, the car bomb smuggled by the rebels into Hader over the weekend—which marked the beginning of their attack on posts around the village—caught Israel by surprise. Although it was expected that the rebels would invade Hader on their way to take over the Beit Jann area, Israel misread the map.
Israel has a clear interest in having no Syrian presence in the area, as that would allow free movement of Hezbollah forces from southern Lebanon to the northern Golan Heights. Hezbollah forces have already been active in the areas in the past, trying to gain a foothold in the Golan Heights and provoking Israel. Freed prisoner Samir Kuntar, who was assassinated in a Damascus suburb in late 2015, used to operate Druze terrorist cells in the area against Israel.
This isn’t the first time the IDF comes to the rescue of the Druze on the other side of the fence. In June, 2015, the IDF prevented a pogrom in Hader when rebel forces, led by members of the al-Nusra Front, tried to infiltrate the village and avenge an attack carried out by a Druze lynch mob from the Golan Heights on two injured Syrians who were being transferred to Israel in a military ambulance for medical care. At the time, Israel threatened and curbed the rebels, but did not make a public announcement about it.
The Israeli government was likely to make a public commitment to defend the Druze in the Syrian Golan to stop the Israeli Druze from taking practical steps against the government. The first step, bursting through the border fence between Israel and Syria, was eventually curbed by the IDF.
From the very first day of the civil war in Syria, Israel has respected the Druze community’s scared principle, “hafiz al-ikhwan” (being your brother's keeper). The members of this small community, which includes about a million and a half people around the world, are committed to protecting each other, regardless of where they are and of their political loyalty.
Israel tried to protect the Druze even when the IDF was in Lebanon. When the civil war in Syria broke out, then-IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz gave leaders of the Druze community his word in a close meeting that Israel would protect the interests of the community members in Syria, and Israel did help the Druze in Jabal al-Druze and in the Golan Heights.
This was also one of two basic demands Israel presented to the Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights as a condition for humanitarian aid: You must not harm the Druze community. The second demand was that Islamic State fighters and other radical Islamist forces won’t be allowed to act against Israel from the Golan border.
Friday’s military incident may have ended, but it left behind a bitter taste. Not only is Israel publicly giving up its security interests in the Golan, but its Druze residents are accusing the state of cooperating with radical Islam. The Middle East, however, keeps producing uncertain situations on a daily basis with a potential for a regional military crisis, forcing the army to be constantly alert and the cabinet to be fully attentive to what is taking place around us.