November 23/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
Whoever holds out to the end will be saved
Mark 13/09-13: “You yourselves must watch out. You will be arrested and taken to court. You will be beaten in the synagogues; you will stand before rulers and kings for my sake to tell them the Good News.  But before the end comes, the gospel must be preached to all peoples.  And when you are arrested and taken to court, do not worry ahead of time about what you are going to say; when the time comes, say whatever is then given to you. For the words you speak will not be yours; they will come from the Holy Spirit.  Men will hand over their own brothers to be put to death, and fathers will do the same to their children. Children will turn against their parents and have them put to death.  Everyone will hate you because of me. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 22-23/17
Lebanon Is An Occupied Country, But By God’s Will Shall Be Free & Independent/Elias Bejjani/ November 22/17
Developments in Lebanon since Hariri's Resignation Announcement/Agence France Presse/Naharnet /November 22/17/
Jerusalem Post Uncovers Israeli Medical Treatment Of Syrian Gas Attack Victims/Jerusalem Post/November 22/17
Stanford University's Duplicitous Morality Police/Ruthie Blum/Gatestone Institute/November 22/17
The Hague Aims for U.S. Soldiers/John R. Bolton/Gatestone Institute/November 22/17
When Aoun ‘hallucinates’, parroting Khamenei/Jameel al-Thiyabi/Al Arabiya/November 22/17
Why is Nasrallah angry with Arabs/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/November 22/17
Macron as a firefighter diplomat/Christian Chesnot/Al Arabiya/November 22/17
The challenge of ‘Iranian interference/Ghassan Charbel/Al Arabiya/November 22/17

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 22-23/17
Lebanon Is An Occupied Country, But By God’s Will Shall Be Free & Independent
Aoun to Arabs on Eve of Independence Day: Dealing with Lebanon Needs Great Wisdom
Lebanon’s Hariri Suspends Resignation at President’s Request
Hariri Says Putting Resignation on Hold at Aoun's Request
Returning Hariri Attends Independence Day Events after Shock Resignation
Aoun Hails Army for Triumphing despite Being Underequipped
Hariri Tells Joyous Supporters Celebrating His Return 'I Will Stay'
Hariri Meets Berri and Daryan, Says Arab States 'Inclined' to Back His 'Approach'
Hariri Gets Hero's Welcome in Heart of Beirut
Developments in Lebanon since Hariri's Resignation Announcement
Report: France Efforts Pushing to 'Disarm' Hizbullah
Tillerson Congratulates Lebanon on National Day
U.N. Chief Appoints Pernille Kardel as Acting Special Coordinator for Lebanon
UN SecretaryGeneral appoints Pernille Dahler Kardel of Denmark as Acting Special Coordinator for Lebanon
President Amin Gemeyal marking his son's assassination commemoration: We will continue to resist till the last breath!
Lebanon President's word in Army Booklet on Independence Day: Armies triumph with determination, faith and fortitude
Bassil delivers a word at 'Migration Conference' in Mexico upcoming Saturday
Mikati: Hariri's resignation suspension allows opportunity to review stances, adopt selfdistancing policy
Rahi meets with US Ambassador to Holy See in Rome
When Aoun ‘hallucinates’, parroting Khamenei
Why is Nasrallah angry with Arabs/Mashari Althaydi

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 22-23/17
Saudi FM: Solution to Syrian Crisis Not Possible without Syrian Consensus
PA: Relations with US Entered a Critical Period
Role of Kurds in Syrian Settlement Main Obstacle ahead of Putin-Erdogan-Rouhani Summit
Germany and the Age of Political Absolutism
Putin, Rouhani, Erdogan Agree to Advance Syrian Peace
'Butcher of Bosnia' Found Guilty of Genocide
Syria Opposition Meets in Riyadh under Pressure to Compromise
Saudi Crown Prince to open counter-terror defense council
Anti-Terror Quartet adds 2 entities, 11 individuals to terror list

Latest Lebanese Related News published on November 22-23/17
Lebanon Is An Occupied Country, But By God’s Will Shall Be Free & Independent
Elias Bejjani/ November 22/17

Psalm 92:12: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon”.
Today, the Lebanese back home in beloved Lebanon, as well as those living in Diaspora are all remembering with sadness, anger and frustration their country’s Independence Day.
Although the country is practically not independent and savagely occupied by Hezbollah, Iran’s terrorist proxy army, but every sovereign, faithful and patriotic Lebanese is hopeful and fully confident that this era of terrorism, evilness, oppression and hardship is ultimately going to end. By God’s will Lebanon’s freedom spring is on the horizon.
Lebanon through its deeply rooted history of 7000 years have witnessed hard times and all kinds of invaders, occupiers, dictators, and tyrants, they all were forced to leave Lebanon with humiliation and Lebanon maintained its freedom and sovereignty. There is no doubt that the fate of the current occupier is going to be any different.
There are numerous reasons behind the ongoing devastating internal and external wars that are being waged against Lebanon and his people. These reasons have varied throughout contemporary history with the changing instruments of fighting, circumstances, financiers and profiteers.
However, the main reasons and targets were always and still are the privileged Lebanese distinctive identity, multiculturalism, freedoms and coexistence. Almost every nation and people in the Middle and Far East look upon Lebanon as a heaven for freedoms and as an oasis for the persecuted.
At the present time and since 1982, the Iranian armed terrorist militia, Hezbollah, which was created by the Iranians with its mini-state during Syria’s bloody occupation era of Lebanon (1976-2005) imposes an extremely serious and fundamental threat to all that is Lebanese: culture, identity, history, civilization, freedoms, coexistence, tolerance, democracy, peace, openness, order and law.
But as our deeply rooted history teaches us, this Stone Age armed terrorist group shall by God’s will be defeated as was the fate of all invaders, tyrants, dictators and occupiers whose sick minds fooled them that Lebanon could be tamed and his people could be subdued and enslaved. They all were disappointed and forced to leave with humiliation and disgrace.
The Syrian occupier in 2005 and after almost 30 years of savage occupation had to face the same scornful fate. Hezbollah will have ultimately the same end sooner or later although its armed militiamen are Lebanese.
We thank God for the ultimate failure of all savage attacks which the faithful Lebanese shattered with stubbornness, perseverance, courage and self-confidence, and remained attached to their identity, and steadfast against hatred, foreign expansionism schemes and evil conspiracies.
The distinction of Lebanon is that it is a nation of diverse religious denominational groups and civilizations living together in agreeable coexistence, without coercion or oppression or becoming a melting pot, despite transient harsh confrontations at certain periods of history always instigated and orchestrated by external forces. Lebanon’s air of liberty has been made equally available to its extensive mosaic of communities to help them maintain freedom of their cultural and religious particularities and distinctions.
All Throughout history these distinctions gave Lebanon his pluralist flavor and made the majority of the Lebanese people into a homogeneous society attached heart and spirit to the one Lebanese identity that personifies their roots, cultures, hopes and civilizations.
The confessional diversity permits each of Lebanon’s 18 ethnic communities to express its original goodness within its core and the sanctity of its faith. Even though the communities’ perspective towards God may be different, they do not disagree on the truth of God’s essence, and He remains the All Mighty Creator and the source of all good to all people.
Accordingly, all Lebanese have learned that none of them should presume to monopolize God’s relationship through himself, or seek to acquire all God’s graces by eliminating others, because these others were also created by God and are also His children, and that He is the only ultimate judge.
All religions in Lebanon worship the same God, and He definitely accepts them all each according to their sincerity and trust. God knows the content of hearts and intents, and He is not fooled by the various rituals and styles of worship.
The majority of the peace loving Lebanese people strongly believe that no one Lebanese community should claim that it is the best, or the closest, or the only path to God. They all trust in the fact that God knows all wants, and uncovers all intents. Hezbollah is an odd exception among the Lebanese communities.
In conclusion, for Lebanon, the land of the holy cedars to be victorious in the face of the Axis of Evil powers dirty and evil wars against his existence, Each and every Lebanese in both Lebanon and Diaspora has a patriotic and ethical obligation and a holy duty to preserve by all means Lebanon’s graceful identity and solidify its implantation in the conscience, hearts and souls of the new Lebanese generations and to root it in their awareness, as well as in Lebanon’s blessed soil.

Aoun to Arabs on Eve of Independence Day: Dealing with Lebanon Needs Great Wisdom

Asharq Al-Awsat/November 22/17/Lebanese President Michel Aoun stressed on Tuesday that his country adopted its policy of disassociation to avoid getting embroiled in conflicts, while also defending “Hezbollah” without naming it. In a speech on the eve of Lebanon’s Independence Day, he called on the Arab League to “take an initiative based on the principles, objectives and spirit of its Charter, in order to save itself and its member States.” “In my inaugural speech, I declared that one of our top priorities was to prevent any spark from the raging flames around us to move into Lebanon’s inner space. I affirmed the need for Lebanon to distance itself from external conflicts and to be committed to respecting the Arab League Charter – notably its 8th article. “We therefore have adopted a totally independent policy, we have avoided entering into disputes and we have called – and are still calling – for dialogue and harmony among Arab brothers because in internal wars there is inevitable loss for the victorious, as well and as for the defeated, and the two statuses are meaningless because the great loss befalls the nation.” Aoun then listed Israeli wars and offensive against Lebanon, as well as Lebanon’s confrontation against terrorism on its eastern borders.The terrorist groups sought to create instability and sow strife, he added. “Is it not better for the international community to take the lead of a new approach based on rights, justice and the peoples’ right to self-determination, through which it would tackle the issues of weapons, armament and wars?” he asked. “Throughout all those periods and milestones, Lebanon was paying the highest prices, striving to keep away the specter of sedition. The nation whose people and army have made generous sacrifices in blood against the Israeli, as well as the Takfiri enemy, this very nation, which has scored heroic achievements and sacrifices in liberating its land from both, is not easy to plunder as long as it holds on to its internal unity in the face of strife, the greatest evil,” he added. “Lebanon has only received the fallout of clashes and the shrapnel of explosions, and it is vain to deal with the fallout unless the door of conflicts is shut. In all cases, Lebanon will not yield to any opinion, advice or decision that drives it towards internal strife, and those who wish Lebanon well would help it consolidate its unity because it is its safety valve,” stressed the president.
Addressing Arab brothers, Aoun said: “Dealing with Lebanon requires much wisdom and rationalism; otherwise it would be like pushing it towards fire. Despite everything that happened, we still place high hopes around the League of Arab States to take an initiative based on the principles, objectives and spirit of its Charter, in order to save itself and its member States, and to rescue its humans, sovereignty and independence. “I also address the international community which is aware of the importance of Lebanon’s stability, and I call on it to safeguard it through the full implementation of international justice.
“To the Lebanese, I say: with your unity you have overcome many hardships, crises and dangers. Do not let strife peek out among you because it represents mass destruction that no one will survive. Your unity is your sole savior, your security, your stability and the future of your country and children,” he declared.

Lebanon’s Hariri Suspends Resignation at President’s Request
Asharq Al-Awsat/November 22/17/Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced on Wednesday that he has put his resignation on hold at the request of President Michel Aoun. He made his declaration from the Baabda Presidential Palace in Lebanon after he held talks with the president and participated in the country’s Independence Day parade.Hariri had tendered his resignation on November 4 over Iran backed “Hezbollah’s” meddling in regional affairs and its hegemony of Lebanese decision-making. “My decision to suspend my resignation came at Aoun’s behest to carry out more consultations,” he told reporters. “We hope that this move would pave the way for tackling contentious issues,” he added. “I look forward to the achievement of real partnership with all political forces in Lebanon so that the country’s interests are placed above all else,” he declared. He underlined Lebanon’s policy of disassociation from regional conflicts. Hariri had announced his surprise resignation from Riyadh and Aoun had refused to accept it until he held talks with the PM on the issue in Beirut. Attention will now be turned to Hariri’s next move and the stances that he pledged to announce once he returned to Beirut. On Tuesday, the Lebanese official had held talks with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. He reiterated his firm stance of keeping Lebanon away from regional conflicts and foreign axis. Aoun had received cables from several Arab and world leaders on the occasion of Independence Day.US President Donald Trump had cabled the president to emphasize that Lebanon is a strong partner for the US in its battle against violent terrorism and extremism. He voiced his support for Lebanon, saying that the US will continue to support Lebanese efforts to protect their country’s stability, independence and sovereignty.

Hariri Says Putting Resignation on Hold at Aoun's Request
Naharnet/November 22/17/Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Wednesday that he is putting his resignation on hold after President Michel Aoun asked him to reconsider pending consultations. “I discussed my resignation with the President of the Republic who asked me to wait before submitting it... and allow for more consultations," Hariri told reporters after a closed-door meeting at the Presidential Palace and added "I agreed to this request." Hariri also extended his appreciation for the President's affection, he said: “I thank Aoun for the affection he had shown towards me,” and also thanked the Lebanese “I express appreciation to all the Lebanese throughout the past period,” he added. He also thanked Speaker Nabih Berri saying: “I also thank Berri for his wise commitment to the Constitution.”Hariri's announcement came during national celebrations of Independence Day, hours after the return of Hariri after his absence since his resignation Nov. 4. Lebanon's president met privately with Hariri in their first face-to-face meeting following Hariri's shock resignation nearly three weeks ago from Saudi Arabia. The Lebanese presidency said Wednesday the meeting was also attended by the parliament speaker. President Michel Aoun had said he will not consider the resignation of Hariri until he hears from him in person. Hariri resigned from Saudi Arabia, saying he was protesting the meddling of Iran and Its Lebanese ally, Hizbuollah, in Arab affairs. Hariri was expected to formally present his resignation now that he is in Beirut. Hariri had said he may reconsider his resignation if there is a new "settlement" that ensures Hizbullah stays out of regional affairs.

Returning Hariri Attends Independence Day Events after Shock Resignation
Associated Press/Naharnet /November 22/17/Lebanon is celebrating its Independence Day with a military parade attended by President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri who resigned from Saudi Arabia earlier this month in a move that stunned the country. Wednesday's parade comes hours after Hariri returned to Lebanon after a three-week absence that was described by Lebanese officials as forced upon him by his Saudi allies. The resignation of Hariri prompted a crisis in Lebanon and set off international efforts to prevent the upending of the country's delicate sectarian-based political order. Hariri declared his resignation on Nov. 4 in a televised speech from Saudi Arabia, in which he said he was protesting meddling in Arab affairs by Iran and its Lebanese ally. Hizbullah is a partner in the coalition government formed by Hariri a year ago. President Michel Aoun said he would not recognize the resignation until he hears from Hariri in person. Aoun, and many Lebanese, suspected Hariri was forced to resign by his Saudi backers. Aoun accused Riyadh of holding Hariri against his will. Lebanese are hoping that with Hariri now home, he will clarify the mysterious circumstances surrounding his resignation. Posters have been erected around Beirut and other cities, welcoming Hariri's return. The resignation pushed Lebanon back to the forefront of an intensifying regional feud between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which until recently appeared to have a tacit agreement to keep Lebanon out of their race for influence. His announcement was followed by sharp Saudi rhetoric against Hizbullah, which the kingdom accuses of meddling on Iran's behalf in regional affairs.
Hizbullah has been fighting on the side of Syrian President Bashar Assad in that country's six-year civil war. The kingdom says Hizbullah is also advising Houthi rebels waging a war against Yemen's Saudi-backed government. Hizbullah denies it is militarily supporting the Houthis.Hizbullah says Saudi Arabia is sowing instability in Lebanon, and accused the kingdom of partnering with Israel to start a war with Lebanon.Hariri, in his only in depth interview since announcing his resignation, told his media station Future TV that he could retract his resignation if a deal could be struck with his opponents to distance Lebanon from regional conflicts. At France's invitation, Hariri left Saudi Arabia to Paris on Saturday. He then traveled to Beirut on Tuesday, stopping first in Cairo and Cyprus for visits with the two countries' presidents. Hariri is expected to first meet with Aoun and the parliament speaker at the military parade. The three are expected to meet privately, before Hariri meets with his supporters at his residence in the city center.In Cairo, Hariri said he had a long chat with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi "about the stability of Lebanon and on the need for us as Lebanese to keep our distance from regional issues." Lebanon is rife with speculations about what decision Hariri is expected to make: whether to stay in the government, insist on his resignation or make new demands to stay in office in a coalition government.El-Sissi and French President Emmanuel Macron are reportedly trying to mediate a solution that would involve rolling back Hariri's resignation. Upon arriving in Beirut, Hariri went straight from the airport to pray at the grave of his father, the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, assassinated in 2005. He then retired to his home in central Beirut.

Aoun Hails Army for Triumphing despite Being Underequipped
Naharnet /November 22/17/President Michel Aoun on Wednesday hailed the Lebanese Army over its recent victory in the eastern border region against the terrorist Islamic State group.The military institution is “the strength of the Lebanese nation, people and land, especially during this difficult period in our history,” said Aoun in an army booklet demonstrating the events and results of Operation Dawn of Hills. The booklet was distributed during a military parade marking Lebanon's Independence Day. “You are the guardians of the country's sovereignty, freedom and independence. You are protecting them through your blood, heroism and sacrifices and also through your attachment to your people. You are the people's security valve and the source of their reassurance,” Aoun added, addressing the army. “Through your latest victories in the hills, you have proved that not only through arms and equipment armies triumph, but also through resolve, faith, professionalism and courage,” the president went on to say.

Hariri Tells Joyous Supporters Celebrating His Return 'I Will Stay'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet /November 22/17/Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who returned back to Beirut Tuesday after a mysterious saga that saw his shock resignation in Saudi Arabia, told thousands of supporters rallying near his Center House in Downtown Beirut on Wednesday that he was staying.
"I'm staying with you... we're continuing together, to be the first line of defense for Lebanon and its stability," he told a large crowd gathered in front of his home. Thousands of Hariri supporters flocked to the Center House on Wednesday celebrating his return to Lebanon and expressing support for the Premier following a surprise resignation on November 4 from Riyadh that left the country in disarray. Advocates of Hariri gave him a welcome and flocked from different Lebanese regions cheering and flashing banners welcoming his return and chanting to the beat of music resonating in the streets. Hariri said Wednesday he had agreed to suspend his surprise decision to resign, at the request of President Michel Aoun, pending talks on the political situation. The new decision came hours after the premier landed back in Lebanon for the first time since announcing his resignation in a statement from Saudi Arabia. "I discussed my resignation with the president of the republic who asked me to wait before submitting it... and allow for more consultations," Hariri told reporters after meeting Aoun. "I agreed to this request."Lebanon has been gripped by the political crisis precipitated by Hariri's resignation, including the question of whether the premier was being detained in Saudi Arabia, where he remained for two weeks after stepping down. Aoun had refused to accept Hariri's resignation while the premier was still abroad, and even accused Riyadh of having "detained" the prime minister.Hariri holds dual Saudi-Lebanese citizenship, and denied he was being held against his will by Riyadh, a close political ally, but accepted a French invitation to visit Paris, leaving the kingdom on November 18.

Hariri Meets Berri and Daryan, Says Arab States 'Inclined' to Back His 'Approach'
Naharnet /November 22/17/Prime Minister Saad Hariri held separate talks Wednesday evening with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan and announced that Arab states are “inclined” to support his conciliatory approach. “We discussed the consultations that we intend to carry out, both him and I, about the issue of the dissociation policy, and its main principle is to spare Lebanon any difficulties,” said Hariri after talks with Berri in Ain el-Tineh, which were attended by Hariri's adviser Nader Hariri and Berri's aide Ali Hassan Khalil, who is also the finance minister. “We should seek Lebanon's interest and only Lebanon's interest. We are in a burning region and there are things that we should stay away from. I'm talking about all political parties, not only about a single party, and this means that the dissociation policy must apply to everyone and not only to a single party,” the premier added.
He said honoring Lebanon's so-called dissociation policy would “immunize our ties with our Arab brothers and would put Lebanon in a position in which it can have a clear dialogue with everyone, especially regarding regional disputes, especially that we are a small country.”
“Our political camp must also practice real dissociation – in the media, practically and in all matters,” Hariri added. Asked whether his decision to put his resignation on hold was coordinated with Saudi officials, Hariri said: “I suspended it because the president asked me to do so and I suspended it because I found out that the political parties are showing positivity regarding dialogue and consultations... The dissociation policy should turn from words into action in order to spare Lebanon any problems.” “The president, whom I thank for the sympathy he showed towards me, asked me for this, and the least I can do is to respond to his call,” Hariri added. Asked whether the Cabinet will convene now that he has reversed his resignation, the premier said that he wants to “focus on consultations.” “I have a lot of mail that accumulated throughout the previous period and I will start signing it as of tomorrow,” he added.
Moreover, Hariri stressed that positive results can be achieved, noting that “Arab brothers” understand his stance. “They know what we are trying to do, whether yesterday with (Egyptian) President (Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi, or even in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and also today in the UAE. There is positivity regarding the dissociation policy and there is an inclination to back our approach. The French president is also following up closely on this issue for the sake of Lebanon's stability,” the PM added. Hariri had earlier held talks at Dar al-Fatwa with Mufti Daryan.“The dissociation policy is essential in the ministerial Policy Statement and this is what we should emphasize and implement,” Hariri said after the talks.

Hariri Gets Hero's Welcome in Heart of Beirut

Naharnet /November 22/17/After nearly three weeks of an absence cloaked in rumor and mystery, a crowd of ecstatic supporters welcomed Prime Minister Saad Hariri like a prodigal son on Wednesday. Hundreds of noisy supporters thronged a beaming Hariri at his Beirut home, a few hours after a jet flew him back to Lebanon. The unprecedented episode in Lebanese politics saw him announce his resignation in a November 4 televised address from Saudi Arabia in which he said he feared for his life. He also accused Hizbullah and its backers in Tehran of taking over Lebanon and destabilizing the region, sparking fears of an escalation between Sunni and Shiite powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Iran. Rumors that he was held hostage in Saudi Arabia sparked alarm beyond Hariri's political family and his return late Tuesday after a stop in France saw Lebanon breathe a sigh of relief. "Saad or nothing", "With you during the good and the bad days" read some of the banners in the crowd that filled the streets around his home in central Beirut Wednesday, which also happened to be the 74th anniversary of Lebanon's independence from France. Among the supporters, clad in the blue colors of Hariri's al-Mustaqbal Movement, Mona Sabbagh was struggling to hold back tears. "We were so worried," she said, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the 47-year-old prime minister's face.
'Real family'
"Now we are all with him, not only Lebanon but the entire world," said this Beirut resident in her forties. "Lebanon is emerging stronger from this."Hariri had looked tired and worried when he appeared on television from Saudi Arabia but on Wednesday he said he had suspended his resignation.
And when he addressed the crowd his tone was anything but that of a politician about to bow out of the arena. "This is a day I will never forget," Hariri said, smiling and wearing a sports jacket when he appeared in front of the crowd from his residence's main entrance.
"You are my real family," he said before going on a walkabout among his fans. "For three weeks, it felt like war time, everybody was wondering where Hariri was, some people had begun packing their bags," said Nada Rabaa, one of those who came to welcome Hariri back home. Echoing a widespread feeling among the Hariri supporters gathered near his home, the 48-year-old lawyer was full of praise for the key role French President Emmanuel Macron appears to have played in securing the premier's return. "We obtained our independence from France 74 years ago," she said. "Today is a real Independence Day thanks to President Macron who brought him back." Many supporters were carrying posters of Hariri. "It's the face of peace," said one supporter who gave her name as Rana. Ali, from the central village of Barja, said the return of "Hariri has given Lebanon a new lease of life."

Developments in Lebanon since Hariri's Resignation Announcement

Agence France Presse/Naharnet /November 22/17/
A timeline of developments since the surprise announcement by Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Saudi Arabia that he was resigning:
Shock resignation
On November 4, Hariri announces his shock resignation while in Saudi Arabia, citing Iran's "grip" on Lebanon and threats to his life. In a speech broadcast by the Al-Arabiya news network, he accuses Tehran of "creating a state within the state" and blasts its Lebanese ally Hizbullah. Iran rejects what it calls "unfounded accusations."The announcement to quit by Hariri, a dual Saudi national long backed by Riyadh, comes as Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman carries out a purge of Saudi princes, ministers and businessmen. On November 5, Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says Hariri's resignation had been "imposed" by Saudi Arabia. The next day President Michel Aoun, a Hizbullah ally, says he will not take "any unilateral decisions" to formalize Hariri's resignation until they can meet face to face. On November 7, Hariri, a day after meeting Saudi King Salman, briefly visits Abu Dhabi before returning to Riyadh. French President Emmanuel Macron during a regional trip makes a surprise detour to Saudi Arabia on November 9 for talks with Prince Mohammed that cover the situation around Hariri's resignation.
'Detained' or 'free'?
On November 10, Nasrallah ups the ante by insisting Hariri was "detained" by Saudi Arabia and accusing Riyadh of "inciting Israel to strike Lebanon."
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says Hariri is "free to move around."On November 12, Aoun criticizes "the obscure circumstances in which... Hariri is staying in Riyadh."The same day, Hariri says he will "return to Lebanon very soon." he says in an interview from Riyadh with his political movement's Future TV.
French push
French President Emmanuel Macron reiterates his wish that "Hariri can go to Lebanon," during a meeting with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil. On November 15, Aoun accuses Saudi Arabia of having "detained" Hariri. Hariri replies on Twitter: "I want to repeat and confirm: I am totally, totally fine and I'll come back, God willing, to beloved Lebanon like I promised you all. You'll see."French top diplomat Le Drian on November 16 flies to Riyadh and meets Hariri, as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insists he is free to leave the kingdom "when he pleases."After the talks the French presidency announces that Hariri will travel to Paris to meet Macron. Aoun welcomes the news and says he hopes "the crisis is over and Hariri's acceptance of the invitation to go to France is the start of a solution."
Hariri in Paris
Two weeks after announcing his resignation, Hariri leaves Saudi Arabia for France on November 18 with his wife. Two of his children remain in Riyadh. Hariri is greeted at the Elysee Palace by a smiling Macron. Aoun announces he has spoken to the premier by telephone. Hariri says he will return to Lebanon in time for the country's Independence Day celebrations on November 22 and will explain his situation.
Homecoming, resignation postponed
Hariri returns to Lebanon on November 21 for the first time since his shock resignation, stopping off in Egypt and Cyprus along the way for talks with the presidents of the two countries. The next day, at Aoun's request, he agrees to suspend his decision to resign pending talks on the political situation. After officiating over Independence Day events, Hariri delivers a rousing speech to crowds of supporters outside his home in Beirut and pledges to stay in the country and protect its "stability."

Report: France Efforts Pushing to 'Disarm' Hizbullah
Naharnet /November 22/17Efforts have been made over the past three days to create a new atmosphere and resolve the crisis that emerged after PM Saad Hariri's resignation over “Iran's grip and Hizbullah's policies in Lebanon,” meanwhile France is exerting efforts towards Hizbullah's “disarmament,” media reports said on Wednesday. The French diplomacy has taken these efforts and held contacts with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pushing towards disarming Hizbullah, al-Joumhouria daily reported. Diplomatic sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the daily, said that French President Emanuel Macron made a contact with his Iranian counterpart, which was described as "positive, but the French side wants to ensure the position of the supreme leader of the Islamic revolution, Ali Khamenei, who holds the Iranian decision in the region,” they said. The same sources said that the French ambassador in Tehran “was able to get acquainted with the real Iranian position that it does not interfere in Hzibullah's affairs and that the party is to decide the need to participate in the regional wars against terrorism or just the Lebanese arena against Israel.” They added: "But the American side did not trust this Iranian position and considered it a means to waiver the responsibility from pressuring Hizbullah to withdraw, at least from Yemen, so that Saudi Arabia would be able to accept that Hariri rolls back his resignation.”Even though Rouhani has described Hizbullah as a “very popular party in Lebanon whose weapons are only used in a defensive nature," France hoped that the party would abandon its weapons and abide by UN Security Council resolutions. The French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman had said that "France's demands from Hizbullah are clear. In accordance with the relevant security council resolutions, we are waiting for Hizbullah to put down its weapons and act like a party which respects Lebanese sovereignty. “We believe that Lebanon's stability requires Hizbullah to distance itself from tensions in the region," the spokeswoman added. She stressed that France is working in that direction and said: “At this critical stage, we are continuing the dialogue with all the Lebanese parties and encouraging them to agree on the proper functioning of the state institutions, which is essential for the stability of Lebanon."

Tillerson Congratulates Lebanon on National Day

Agence France Presse/Naharnet /November 22/17/Secretary of State Rex Tillerson extended his congratulations to the Lebanese people celebrating the 74th Independence Day on Wednesday, a US embassy press statement said. “On behalf of the American people, I wish to pass along my warmest regards and congratulations to the people of Lebanon on the anniversary of your independence on November 22,” said Tillerson. “The United States looks forward to strengthening its friendship and cooperation with Lebanon as we work together to pursue our common goals and advance Lebanon’s sovereignty, stability, and independence. We reaffirm our support for Lebanese state institutions and appreciate our close partnership in addressing shared regional challenges, particularly the fight against terrorism,” he added. Tillerson's statement added: “Our enduring commitment to the Lebanese people will remain strong as Lebanon works to fulfill the aspirations of all Lebanese for a prosperous and secure future. Once again, please accept our best wishes to all of Lebanon on this historic occasion.”

U.N. Chief Appoints Pernille Kardel as Acting Special Coordinator for Lebanon
Naharnet /November 22/17/United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday announced the appointment of Pernille Dahler Kardel of Denmark as Acting United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL). Kardel succeeds Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands, who concluded her assignment on October 26, 2017 after being appointed as a minister in her country. A statement issued by Guterres' spokesperson said “the Secretary-General is thankful for Ms. Kaag’s dedication and leadership of UNSCOL.” Kardel brings 25 years of experience in diplomacy, political affairs, international cooperation and economic development, spanning several continents. “Most recently, Ms. Kardel served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) since 2016. She was previously the Ambassador of Denmark to Egypt (2012-2016) and served as Ambassador to Ethiopia as well as to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti (2007-2012) as well as Permanent Representative to the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),” the U.N. spokesperson said.Kardel has held several positions with Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ranging from Counselor with the Permanent Mission to the United Nations to Deputy Head of Mission in Moscow, Russian Federation, and Second Secretary in New Delhi, India. She also served as the Head of the Asia Department in the Ministry. Kardel holds two master degrees, one in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, and one in interdisciplinary planning from Roskilde University in Denmark.

UN SecretaryGeneral appoints Pernille Dahler Kardel of Denmark as Acting Special Coordinator for Lebanon
Wed 22 Nov 2017/NNA - United Nations Secretary- General Antonio Guterres today announced the appointment of Pernille Dahler Kardel of Denmark as Acting United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL). Ms. Kardel succeeds Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands, who concluded her assignment on 26 October 2017. The Secretary-General is thankful for Ms. Kaag's dedication and leadership of UNSCOL. Ms. Kardel brings 25 years of experience in diplomacy, political affairs, international cooperation and economic development, spanning several continents. Most recently, Ms. Kardel served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) since 2016. She was previously the Ambassador of Denmark to Egypt (2012-2016) and served as Ambassador to Ethiopia as well as to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti (2007-2012), as well as Permanent Representative to the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). She has held several positions with Denmark's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ranging from Counsellor with the Permanent Mission to the United Nations to Deputy Head of Mission in Moscow, Russian Federation, and Second Secretary in New Delhi, India. She also served as the Head of the Asia Department in the Ministry. Ms. Kardel holds two master degrees, one in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, and one in interdisciplinary planning from Roskilde University in Denmark.

President Amin Gemeyal marking his son's assassination commemoration: We will continue to resist till the last breath!
Wed 22 Nov 2017/NNA - Marking eleven years since the assassination of MP Pierre Gemayel and his comrades, a memorial Mass service was held Wednesday at Saint Michael Church in Bikfaya, in presence of family, friends and prominent officials who gathered to pay tribute to his memory.
In his eulogizing word in remembrance of his martyr son, former President Amine Gemayel vowed "to continue to resist till the last breath, despite all relinquishment.""It is not necessarily true to be wrong if left alone in the march, for the path of truth is difficult and full of sacrifices and challenges...and if the settlements were concluded for the sake of immediate interests and at the expense of the blood of martyrs, it does not mean that the march is not right but rather entails more attachment to rightfulness and resistance for the sake of Lebanon," said Gemayel.
"We shall stay on this path no matter the sacrifices, and most importantly, Lebanon must persist and triumph, " he concluded.

Lebanon President's word in Army Booklet on Independence Day: Armies triumph with determination, faith and fortitude
Wed 22 Nov 2017/NNA - "You are the guardians of the sovereignty, freedom and independence of the nation. You safeguard it with your blood, heroic sacrifices and your cohesion with your people. You are the safety valve and the source of reassurance," wrote President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, in the Lebanese Army's Booklet marking Lebanon's 74th Independence Day. Praising the Army's achievements, especially its "Fajr Al-Joroud" operation, the President stressed that armies are not only triumphant by the use of weapons but through determination, faith, resilience and fortitude. "I admit, with all sincerity, joy and pride, that this military institution has long been, and still is a point of weakness as far as my strength is concerned because it renders me emotionally biased towards it, and a point of strength because it has never let me down, even in the most difficult and cruelest of situations and stages. In every juncture, it is the point of strength of Lebanon the nation, the people and the land, especially at this difficult stage in our history," wrote the President.

Bassil delivers a word at 'Migration Conference' in Mexico upcoming Saturday
Wed 22 Nov 2017/NNA - Foreign and Expatriates Minister Gebran Bassil will deliver a speech at the inaugural session of the "Migration Conference" in Cancun, Mexico, upcoming Saturday (at 9:30a.m. with live transmission).

Mikati: Hariri's resignation suspension allows opportunity to review stances, adopt selfdistancing policy
Wed 22 Nov 2017/NNA - "Prime Minister Saad Hariri's announcement of suspending his resignation should be an opportunity to review positions and rally around what preserves Lebanon's interests, and to adopt a self-distancing policy that protects our nation from the repercussions of regional conflicts," former PM Najib Mikati said via Twitter on Wednesday.He added that the resignation suspension is also a chance to "exchange views with open hearts to safeguard the independence of Lebanon which we are commemorating today."

Rahi meets with US Ambassador to Holy See in Rome
Wed 22 Nov 2017/NNA - Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Beshara Boutros al-Rahi met Wednesday afternoon with United States Ambassador to the Holy See Calista Gingrich at the Pontifical Patriarchal Institute in Rome. The hour and a quarter meeting was a chance to dwell on "the latest developments in the Middle East and on America's role in keeping Lebanon away from the repercussions of what is happening in the region and alleviating the burdens of the displaced issue."The Patriarch stressed "the need to neutralize Lebanon from all conflicts and to protect its leading role in the region as a factor of moderation, stability and dialogue."Meanwhile, it is to note that Patriarch al-Rahi will partake in the National Independence Day ceremony at the invitation of Lebanon's Embassy in Italy. He also participated in a similar ceremony organized by the Lebanese Embassy at the Holy See.

When Aoun ‘hallucinates’, parroting Khamenei
Jameel al-Thiyabi/Al Arabiya/November 22/17
Exactly one year ago, on the 1st of November, I wrote an article titled “What will Aoun achieve?” Actually, all the opinions I presented came true, as it was a correct reading of the history of the current Lebanese President Michel Aoun, his "disturbed" approach, personal interests and his old and reawakened dreams!
Undoubtedly, Saad Hariri’s resignation from his post as Lebanese Prime Minister will not turn into a big crisis between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. However, it has become a real crisis for the Iranian influenced and funded camp in Lebanon.
At the peak of the pyramid of power, Aoun has been affected by a slight mental derangement that has made him leave aside his presidential affairs and devote his time to firing statements accusing Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri, who announced his resignation from Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia repeatedly denied these charges. Furthermore, Hariri himself denied them many times. He was received by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman in his office at Al-Yamama Palace in Riyadh. Hariri also flew to Abu Dhabi where he met with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed. He then returned to Riyadh.
Hariri also met with the Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, who paid the first visit by a Maronite religious leader to Saudi Arabia. After a series of tweets by Hariri confirming that he was free to move wherever he wanted and that he would return to Lebanon, Aoun came up with a new fabrication: that it was not only Hariri who was being held but his family, as well, were being held in Riyadh.
Michel Aoun is the clearest example of politicians who are not governed by principles or morals, but by their interests and gains
Echoing Tehran’s views
Actually, Aoun is a capricious person. He is ready to change his convictions for the slightest reason. When he chose to speak on the allegations that Hariri was detained in Riyadh, he had actually decided to echo Tehran’s views. Aoun was speaking on behalf of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who preceded him on the same day in stating similar allegations.
Strangely enough, apart from both having Iranian inclinations, both are in the post of a “dummy” president. In Iran, all power is in the hands of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In Lebanon, the real power is in the hands of the Iranian Hezbollah.
Michel Aoun is the clearest example of politicians who are not governed by principles or morals, but by their interests and gains. He was obsessed by the ambition to reach the Baabda Palace (the Lebanese Presidential Palace). He was bent on achieving his interests and did not give a hoot that it would divide the ranks of the Christian community he belonged to.
He accepted Iran’s offer, via its puppet “Hezbollah” that they would enable him to become President in return for being at Iran’s beck and call. There was a blackout on the price of this deal by giving glittering promises to the Sunni, Shiite and Christian communities that were not under Iranian influence.
They were promised that Hezbollah would not be an impeding power in the government. They were also promised that Hezbollah would keep Lebanon neutral vis-à-vis the conflicts ablaze in the region, especially the civil war in Syria. On this basis, the Sunnis led by Hariri, accepted that Aoun be president and Hariri should form a government.
No sooner had the deal been concluded than Iran pushed Hezbollah to boost its participation in the Syrian war, so as to defend the Bashar Assad regime and set up an armed presence in Iraq and Yemen. Furthermore, Hezbollah impeded the Hariri government until it was incapable of fulfilling its promises to the Lebanese people.
The son-in-law
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who is President Aoun’s son-in-law, shaped Lebanon’s policy the way Iran and its terrorist party wanted. Bassil’s contradictory stances were so numerous that Aoun became the headline for the political current that was waging a war to undermine Lebanon’s Arab character.
This current was bent on instilling a Persian identity for Lebanon to appease Tehran, which was represented by Hassan Nasrallah and the Iranian weapons he was brandishing at the Syrian state and people, the Sunnis in Iraq and the people and children of Yemen.
Therefore, Aoun has decided to persist in distorting the image of Saudi Arabia in collusion with his Iranian ally. This was after his decision in January 2017 to make Riyadh the destination for his first external visit after taking the oath of office. The problem is that Aoun is not the only evil person in the Lebanese arena. But the number of good people in Lebanon is greater than those who are evil. The leaders of the Christian, Druze and Sunni communities have reached a consensus to value the Saudi role in boosting Lebanon’s security and strengthening its economy, without bragging or harming anyone. These good people recall with all loyalty the role the Kingdom played in bringing together all the Lebanese factions embroiled in the 1975-1990 civil war.
The Kingdom brought them together in Taif and they reached an agreement that put an end to the bloodshed in Lebanon. The Lebanese are still benefitting from the results of the Taif Agreement, despite evil people devoting all their time and effort to creating tension and attempting to booby-trap the political and social atmosphere. This is due to their belief that Iranian arms and money will place Lebanon under the hegemony of Iran’s agents and puppets.
Hariri’s pragmatism
Hariri was pragmatic enough to tender his resignation instead of taking refuge with his sect and allies in one trench so as to embark on an armed confrontation against Hezbollah and its puppets. His resignation revealed the real reason for the crisis in Lebanon; that is, Hezbollah’s hegemony and meddling as well as Iran’s interference.
This resignation aroused the madness of “the general” and his son-in-law because it simply removed the Sunni cover from Aoun’s presidency. If Hariri does not withdraw his resignation, Lebanon will suffer due to a vacuum in the prime minister’s office, the way the country suffered earlier from a presidential vacuum. Undoubtedly, Hariri’s resignation is purely a Lebanese issue and a decision Hariri himself had taken. If Aoun believes that by spreading his lies, falsehoods and rumors and mobilizing the satellite channels and newspapers financed by terrorist Hezbollah, he will succeed in spoiling Saudi Arabia’s reputation, then he is mistaken as he has been since the time he was the Commander of the Lebanese Army. This was prior to his escape to France.
The reason is that the internal and external Saudi media networks are stronger than Aoun’s smear campaign through his yellow-page newspapers and shaky Iranian satellite channels.
But, Saudi Arabia, as a state, will not do the same because it realizes very well that Lebanon is not Aoun alone nor Hezbollah alone. The Kingdom’s reply will be what he sees and not what he hears. Let’s see after the return of Hariri what excuses Aoun will come up with and who he will scapegoat for his fiascoes in dealing with the real, essential reasons that led the head of the government to tender his resignation.
Not only this, but he failed to find a Lebanese Sunni leader to succeed Hariri as Prime Minister, as the leader of the Future Movement did not budge from his resignation. He stuck to the resignation he announced, amid very critical circumstances.

Why is Nasrallah angry with Arabs?
Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/November 22/17
In Hassan Nasrallah’s recent speech, in which he commented on the Arab foreign ministers’ statement on Iran and its followers, Houthis in Yemen and Hassan Nasrallah’s Party in Lebanon, two things drew my attention.
The first is Nasrallah’s insistence on the idea that the axis of opposition – meaning the axis of Iran – has won a sweeping victory for the benefit of not only Syrians and Iraqis, and not for the benefit of Arabs and Muslims. According to him, this is a clear and historic victory for the benefit of humanity as a whole.
Nasrallah went on and on and boasted about Qasem Soleimani’s leadership. Nasrallah also corrected the name of Qasem’s network as Quds Force and not Quds Fleet. Let our brothers in the Arab take notice.
Anyways, what is important about the Quds Force, according to Nasrallah, is that it led the victory march against evil ISIS in the city of Abu Kamal, Syria. This was for the betterment of humanity and coincided with the victory accomplished on the Iraqi side in the district of Rawa by militant Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. What does Nasrallah want from this? What he wants to say is the following: We, the Iranian group, the Shiites, the axis of resistance, have achieved victory over ISIS, the Saudi Wahhabis – this is what Nasrallah insisted on in his speech.
He would also want to say that Saudi Arabia and the remaining Bedouins of the Arabian Peninsula never fought ISIS, all the while pointing with his finger to undermine. It seems that Nasrallah has never followed, or didn’t want to, the Saudi security battles over the years with ISIS in Saudi cities and the mountains of Yemen.Aside from the absurdities, Nasrallah’s bitterness toward Arabs is a good indicator of the birth of a real Arab position that has angered Khomeini
‘Divine’ victory
Nasrallah wants to celebrate his new “divine” victory in Lebanon. He said he was preparing the grand celebration of the Shiite victory worldwide. Perhaps he would also sell this victory to the West and the East in favor of Iranian propaganda. Nasrallah may have rushed to celebrate and jumped the gun as Iran is itself condemned. The second thing that drew my attention in Nasrallah’s speech was his mockery of Arabs and the whole idea of “why are Arabs so full of themselves” against the Persian Iranians. He also mocked the Gulf people’s traditional clothing, the Ghatrah and Shammagh. However, Nasrallah didn’t tell us about is his Abaya, turban and rings and where did all these come from? Aside from the absurdities, Nasrallah’s bitterness toward Arabs is a good indicator of the birth of a real Arab position that has angered Khomeini. That in itself is a good start. Will Arabs complete the journey toward creating a responsible Arab policy, which aims to protect Arab security, in a serious way this time?

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 22-23/17
Saudi FM: Solution to Syrian Crisis Not Possible without Syrian Consensus
Asharq Al-Awsat/November 22/17/Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir stressed on Wednesday that Riyadh stands by the Syrian people and its aspiration to end their country’s conflict. He said during the opening of the Riyadh-hosted Second Expanded Syrian Opposition meeting that there can be no solution to the Syrian crisis without Syrian consensus that would be based on the Geneva 1 declaration and United Nations Security Council resolution 2254. Saudi Arabia stands by the Syrian people as it has always done so that they can reach a fair solution, he added before the participating delegations at the conference. United Nations special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura was also present at the meeting. Jubeir noted that the conference was being held amid international consensus over the need for a political settlement in Syria. Addressing the Syrian participants, the minister said: “Today, you have a historic responsibility to end the crisis that has exhausted the people and reach a solution and transition to a new future.”“Syrian people all over the world are looking hopefully at you and are eager for you to achieve tangible results to meet their aspirations,” he added. For his part, de Mistura said that Syria’s future should be a priority and a political solution based on Security Council resolutions is necessary. He revealed that the conference will set the framework for the political process in Syria, stressing: “We want a strong opposition delegation in Geneva.” This delegation should include representatives from all Syrian factions, he urged. The three-day Riyadh talks are aimed at forming a united opposition delegation that would head to the November 28 Geneva negotiations that are sponsored by the UN. Over 140 figures, representing various political and military powers, are present in Riyadh. They will seek to coordinate their stance before a Sochi meeting that was called for by Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a political initiative to address the post-ISIS phase in Syria. No date has been set yet for the Syrian dialogue congress.

PA: Relations with US Entered a Critical Period
Asharq Al-Awsat/November 22/17/Palestinian Authority stated that the relations with the United States is going through a critical stage after US authorities decided to close the Representative Office of Palestine in Washington. Meanwhile, Palestinian diplomatic sources confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that several Arab countries are pressuring the Washington to reopen the office. Earlier, several Arab, international, and local media outlets reported spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh saying that communications with Washington had stopped. However, Palestinian News and Info Agency (Wafa) reported the spokesman's statement which did not refer to the suspension of communications, which created several suspicions and doubts regarding the Palestinian position. Abu Rudeineh stated on Tuesday that the Palestinian decision is going to face the challenges with firm and national positions," adding that the coming period "is critical and an opportunity to correct Palestinian-US relations." The spokesperson confirmed that the recent Palestinian moves came in response to some unacceptable US measures. Abu Rudeineh called on Hamas to pick up on these courageous positions to return to the legitimate fold, preventing anyone from manipulating with the Palestinian arena. Following the controversy, informed Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that a Palestinian decision has been made to suspend any meetings with US officials concerning the peace process as long as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) office is closed. The sources said that communications are not suspended, but reiterated that this is a move to pressure Washington. Palestinian foreign ministry was informed by the US State Department that the representative office in Washington was closed, adding that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson couldn't renew the certification for the office to operate, given that there weren't enough reasons for that. US media reported that Tillerson stated that: "given certain statements made by the Palestinian leaders about the International Criminal Court", Palestinian officials violated a US law. Under the law, Palestine cannot operate a Washington office if it urges the ICC to prosecute Israelis for alleged crimes against Palestinians. A State Department official said that in September, PA President Mahmoud Abbas crossed that line by calling on the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israelis. This is the first time in four decades that US authorities had not renewed PLO's certification and the decision is usually signed by the Secretary of State and renewed every six months. Restrictions on PLO in the US, including the operation of its Washington office, could be waived after 90 days if US President Donald Trump “determines the Palestinians have entered into direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel.”PLO later informed US authorities that the decision will also lead to its withdrawal from the peace process. Palestinian government called upon US authorities to retract its decision which contradicts the vow Trump has made during his presidential campaign to exert all the efforts in order to ensure a historic deal that ends the Palestinian-Israeli struggle. The government stated that this decision comes in line with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's false claims that the PA encourages terrorism and violence, at a time he was granted the green light to expand the settlements in a blatant violation to UN Resolution 2334. PA added that it is prepared to bring the peace process back on track, including the issues that were agreed upon during Abbas' meeting with US President.

Role of Kurds in Syrian Settlement Main Obstacle ahead of Putin-Erdogan-Rouhani Summit
Asharq Al-Awsat/November 22/17/The participation of Kurds in the political settlement in the Syrian crisis remains an issue of contention for the guarantor countries of the “Astana process.”The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran are expected to tackle this issue when they meet in the Russian city of Sochi on Wednesday. Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov stated on Monday that military officials will be part of the delegations at the Turkish-Russian-Iranian Sochi summit that is aimed at tackling the Syrian settlement. He revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will discuss whether the Kurds should be invited to attend the Syrian dialogue congress. This issue has not bee resolved yet and the date of the congress, which was initially proposed by Putin, has not been set either, he added. As part of preparations for Wednesday’s summit, the foreign ministers of the three countries held talks in Turkey’s Antalya on Sunday. The Russian Foreign Ministry said after the talks that the ministers agreed on all recommendations linked to the Syrian dialogue congress and they will be referred to the Sochi summit. Russian FM Sergei Lavrov confirmed the Kurdish issue was discussed, but he did not disclose the outcomes of those talks. A meeting of the military commands of the three countries will also precede the Sochi summit.  Sources in Moscow stressed that the Syrian dialogue congress will be a central article on the summit agenda. Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani will also address the mechanism to implement “de-escalation” zones in Syria. Thorny issues will likely be the Kurdish role in the political settlement, as well as Iran’s role in the “de-escalation” zones. The three presidents will attempt to reach middle ground over these issues. Lavrov stressed the importance of the participation of the greatest number of opposition factions at the dialogue congress, saying that Russia is acting based on United Nations Security Council resolutions. Representation must include all components of Syrian society, he continued. The staging of the congress has not been without obstacles. The Russian Foreign Ministry originally announced that it will be held on November 18, but it was later postponed “indefinitely” after it was met with American and French objections and Turkey’s refusal of the participation of the Kurds. The majority of Syrian opposition factions have also opposed the idea of the congress. Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported on Monday that the congress may hold its first session between December 2 and 4. Meanwhile, an informed source from the Syrian opposition said that the Geneva 8 conference will be held over two phases, the first on November 28 to December 1 and the second will kick off on December 8. The Syrian dialogue congress will therefore be held in between the two meetings, said the source according to RIA.

Germany and the Age of Political Absolutism
Anna Sauerbrey/The New York Times/November 22/17
It was the most preposterous mic drop in German history. On Sunday night, after 56 days of four-party talks on forming a coalition government, the pro-business Free Democratic Party abruptly pulled out of the negotiations, effectively ending them. Germany’s parliamentary democracy is a system with compromise in its DNA — so when Germans awoke to the news Monday morning, they were shocked. Such a failure is a challenge to Germany’s new role in the world. And it is yet another example of the dangerous political absolutism sweeping the world’s democracies.In the national election of Sept. 24, six parties earned enough votes to get seated in the Bundestag — most notably, the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party, known as AfD. The Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, is the largest, but with just over 34 percent of the seats, it needs a robust coalition to form a majority government. Since all parties reject joining a coalition with the AfD, there are only two possible combinations: another grand coalition between the center-left Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats — an option the Social Democrats have rejected after a major electoral defeat — or a four-party coalition of the Christian Democrats, its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union, the Greens and the Free Democrats (in Germany we call this the “Jamaica coalition,” because the parties’ colors mimic the green, yellow and black Jamaican flag).
The decision by Christian Lindner, the head of the Free Democrats, to withdraw leaves Germany with the following bad options: The German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, could still propose Ms. Merkel as chancellor to the Bundestag; he could then either ask her to form a minority government or to dissolve the Parliament and order new elections. Few people want new elections, which is why Mr. Steinmeier is urging the Free Democrats and Social Democrats to reconsider.
“All parties involved should pause for a moment and reconsider their positions,” he said on Sunday.
“Whoever runs in an election to claim political responsibility must not duck out when he holds it in his hands.” (On Monday, Ms. Merkel said new elections may be a better option.) Germany’s fear of political instability goes deep. For many, the AfD’s entrance into the Bundestag brings to mind the dark shadow of the Weimar Republic, its disastrous collapse and all that followed. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has featured a series of German historians mining the parallels between the 1920s and ’30s and today: Back then, a divided political spectrum and a splintered left, with extremism on both sides, created a run of minority governments and a perception of political chaos, all of which made Nazi authoritarianism look like an attractive alternative. Given all the obvious differences between then and now, one could shrug off the hand-wringing as historical trauma made obsolete by Germany’s political and constitutional reality. The federal republic is not Weimar; it is one of the world’s most stable political systems. There may be a few weeks of political chaos, but in the end, someone will be an adult and think twice. Or we will have new elections and deal out a new hand of cards. I am still convinced that the AfD, which won 12.6 percent of the votes in September, has pretty much exploited its electoral capacity.But “we’re not Weimar” is not exactly comforting. Germany’s political system is based on the ability to compromise. All German governments since 1949 have been coalition governments and so far, they have always worked. The rise of populism has complicated all this, and not only in mathematical terms. Mr. Lindner’s decision also shows that the AfD has corrupted the ability to compromise in a more fundamental way. It has managed to discredit compromise as a core value of democracy.
On Monday, Germany was still speculating about Mr. Lindner’s reasons for ending the talks. Strategic questions may have played an important role. Mr. Lindner rebuilt the Free Democrats from scratch after the party got so few votes in 2013 that it was not allowed in the Bundestag. Maybe he felt it was simply too early to join a complicated liaison à quatre. But there’s an all-too-familiar brutality in the decision that is not just the consequence of Mr. Lindner’s cold, surgical intelligence. When asked during a news conference on Monday afternoon why he dropped out of the talks, Mr. Lindner listed areas where the negotiations didn’t yield the results his party wanted. The other parties would agree only to a gradual elimination of the “Soli,” a tax used to help the economies of former East German regions. The Free Democrats had also sought limits on immigration, but the Greens insisted on exceptions for humanitarian reasons.
These are completely normal and necessary compromises — but the Free Democrats apparently feared that their voters would be told by the AfD that the party had sold them out for a chance to rule.The sudden end of the talks is a huge blow to Germany’s global image as a stable, responsible power. Compared to what is at stake on the global level, the discussion on when to end the Soli looks tiny. But then it is exactly this, the disdain for what seem like petty concerns in the name of compromise, that has fed the rise of populism in the first place. Mr. Lindner and others need the political courage not just to compromise, but to explain to the public why compromise is vital to German democracy. The next weeks will show which is stronger in Germany: the fear of new elections or a minority government and all its Weimar overtones, or the new disgust for political compromise.

Putin, Rouhani, Erdogan Agree to Advance Syrian Peace
Agence France Presse/Associated Press/Naharnet/November 22/17/The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran met Wednesday to discuss ways to advance a political settlement in Syria as the Islamic State group is nearing its defeat, while disparate Syrian opposition groups met in Saudi Arabia in a bid to form a united front for Syrian peace talks in Geneva."Militants in Syria have received a decisive blow, and there is a real chance to put an end to the civil war that has raged for many years," Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the start of talks with Turkish and Iranian counterparts in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin noted that political settlement will require concessions from all sides, including Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. Assad made a surprise trip to Russia late Monday for talks with Putin, which the Kremlin said were intended to lay the groundwork for the trilateral meeting Wednesday in Sochi. Speaking after the three-way talks, Putin said that the Syrian leader pledged to conduct constitutional reforms and hold new elections under U.N. supervision. In their joint statement after the talks, Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized the need for all parties in the Syrian conflict to release all prisoners and hostages, hand over bodies and search for those missing to help create conditions for lasting cease-fire and the launch of political talks.
"We have reached a consensus on helping the transition to an inclusive, free, fair and transparent political process that will be carried out under the leadership and ownership of the Syrian people," Erdogan said. Even though Russia and Iran have backed Assad's government since the start of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, while Turkey has supported his foes, the three countries have teamed up to help mediate a peace settlement. They have sponsored several rounds of talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in Astana, Kazakhstan, and also have brokered a truce between Syria's government and the rebels in four areas, helping reduce hostilities.Meanwhile, the U.N. envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura spoke at the opening of a three-day gathering of the Syrian opposition in Riyadh, where various opposition groups are expected to come up with a unified delegation and a vision for the Nov. 28 Geneva talks.
De Mistura said he planned to have two rounds of talks in Geneva in December. He is set to travel to Moscow later this week. "It is our common interest that today, you elect the best and most inclusive team among yourselves," de Mistura said. "A strong, unified team is a creative partner in Geneva and we need that." The Riyadh meeting, however, has already been marred with disagreements. The notoriously fragmented opposition is divided by visions of a future role for the incumbent Assad, the length of a transitional period as well as the constitution that will see the country move toward elections. Around 30 various opposition delegations are attending the meeting. The conflict in Syria, now in its seventh-year, has all but been frozen amid a series of cease-fires. A political solution has long been elusive.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in opening remarks that the opposition meeting comes amid international consensus to reach a resolution.
"There is no resolution to the crisis without Syrian consensus that achieves the demands of the Syrian people and ends their suffering," al-Jubeir said, adding that a resolution must be based on U.N. resolutions. Russia, which has welcomed the Saudi efforts to unify the opposition, will also be hosting a meeting in Sochi that's expected to bring the opposition and Syrian government together in early December. Russia, Turkey and Iran have pledged to help the success of that meeting. Putin, whose military intervention in the war saved Assad's government from imminent defeat, called President Donald Trump, Saudi King Salman, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday to brief them on his talks with Assad and coordinate the planned peace efforts. Putin's broad outreach highlighted a key role Russia has come to play in the Syrian conflict and reflected Moscow's desire to engage all key players.Some of the opposition delegations in Riyadh are backed by Gulf countries, which had sided with the anti-Assad rebellion, while others have been backed by Russia. Another opposition group is backed by Egypt, which has also kept contacts with the Syrian government. The Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV said some members of the Russia-backed delegation withdrew from the meeting. A member of the delegation, Qadri Jamil, said they withdrew to object other delegations putting conditions on the talks, including limiting a future role for Assad. The Russia-backed opposition is promoting political reform under Assad's rule.

'Butcher of Bosnia' Found Guilty of Genocide
UN judges Wednesday sentenced former Bosnian Serbian commander Ratko Mladic to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of genocide and war crimes in the brutal Balkans conflicts over two decades ago. The trial of the man dubbed "The Butcher of Bosnia" was the last before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and comes as the court prepares to close its doors next month. The court found him guilty on 10 counts including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 1992-1995 war that killed 100,000 people and displaced 2.2 million as ethnic rivalries tore apart Yugoslavia. But they found him not guilty of genocide in the municipalities. "For having committed these crimes, the chamber sentences Mr Ratko Mladic to life imprisonnement," presiding judge Alphons Orie said, adding the crimes were "amongst the most heinous known to human kind". After rumours he would not attend the hearing, the former general, 74, who once cut a swathe of fear against Bosnia, gave a thumbs-up as he entered the courtroom in The Hague.
But in extraordinary scenes he was ordered to be dragged from the court, when in an outburst he accused the judges of lying, after they refused to adjourn because he had high-blood pressure.
"The circumstances were brutal. Those who tried to defend their homes were met with ruthless force. Mass executions occurred and some victims succumbed after being beaten," Orie said, outlining the facts of the case against Mladic.
"Many of the perpetrators who had captured Bosnian Muslims showed little or no respect for human life, or dignity."
- 'Guilty of all' -Wednesday's verdict has been long awaited by tens of thousands of victims across the bitterly-divided region, and dozens gathered early outside the courtroom in The Hague, many clutching photos of loved ones who died or are among the 7,000 still missing. "Bosnia and Herzegovina: No impunity for war criminals!", read one banner, while another had a picture of Mladic with a human skull saying: "Guilty of all!""We will see today. Will he be found guilty or will he be seen as a hero?" Munira Subasic, president of the Mothers of Srebrenica, told AFP before the verdict. Prosecutors said Mladic and his political counterpart Radovan Karadzic sought through ethnic cleansing to "permanently remove" Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from areas claimed by Bosnian Serbs.
- Darkest episode -Caught after 16 years on the run, Mladic was found guilty of the 1995 massacre in northeastern Srebrenica, where troops under his command slaughtered almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys.
The killings, in which the victims were marched away, shot in the back and dumped in mass graves, was one of the darkest episodes in the conflict, and has been called the worst atrocity on European soil since World War II.
Once a brutish military commander who strode around in combat fatigues, Mladic was also found guilty of "personally directing" a 44-month campaign of sniping and shelling to terrorise citizens in Bosnia's capital Sarajevo, which left about 10,000 dead. Mladic was also found guilty of taking hostage more than 200 NATO military personnel and keeping them as human shields to prevent NATO air strikes against the Bosnian Serb army.
Prosecutors had called for a life sentence, after a five-year trial in which almost 600 witnesses testified and more than 10,000 exhibits were presented.
- 'Time for justice' -But defence lawyers -- who in the past few days filed a flurry of requests to have their ailing client's health assessed -- have slammed his trial as "political", had called for an acquittal.
After suffering at least three strokes, Mladic has been left with "part paralysis of the entire right side of his body," lawyer Dragan Ivetic said. For victims of the atrocities committed by the Bosnian Serb army however, it was time for Mladic to face justice. Subasic, who said she had begged Mladic to spare her son at Srebrenica, told AFP the truth had to be unveiled. "We need truth, we need justice. Without justice there's no trust, without trust there's no reconciliation," she said. For Fikret Alic,a survivor of a Bosnian Serb camp, told AFP: who was in "I hope justice will be done by this verdict, so that people will stop suffering. It will send a message to the world."

Syria Opposition Meets in Riyadh under Pressure to Compromise
Agence France Presse/Naharnet /November 22/17/Syrian opposition figures met in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday in a bid to form an overhauled delegation to peace talks that analysts say may be more willing to compromise on key demands. The meeting came as Iran, Russia and Turkey held a summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, pressing their diplomatic dash to resolve Syria's six-year conflict with a new round of U.N.-brokered peace talks set to open in Geneva next Tuesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran's Hassan Rouhani had agreed to a "congress" of Syrian regime and opposition forces in Sochi, aimed at boosting the Geneva process. The Riyadh meeting was co-chaired by the U.N.'s Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who said the aim was to reach a "fair solution" to the conflict.
De Mistura said the goal was to give momentum to next week's talks in Geneva by forging a unified opposition delegation, as long demanded by the Syrian government. He said he would travel to Moscow on Thursday for talks with Russian officials. "I'm always optimistic... especially in this moment," he said.
The 140 or so delegates from a wide range of opposition platforms are under heavy pressure to row back on some of their more radical demands after a series of recent battlefield victories that have given President Bashar al-Assad's regime the upper hand.
Absent are several former leading figures who were seen as unwilling to compromise. Among them is Riad Hijab, who stepped down as leader of the Saudi-backed opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) ahead of the meeting complaining that there were "attempts to lower the ceiling of the revolution and prolong the regime." Multiple rounds of talks hosted by the U.N. have failed to bring an end to the war in Syria, which has killed more than 330,000 people since 2011 and forced millions from their homes.
Factions opposed to Assad have been plagued by divisions throughout the maelstrom. Participants in the Riyadh meeting include members of the Istanbul-based National Coalition as well as of rival Cairo- and Moscow-based groups seen as more favorable to the regime, and independent figures.
Qadri Jamil, who heads the Moscow-based group, on Wednesday announced he would not be attending the talks, citing what he said was the Syrian opposition's inability to agree on "the bases and principles" of their stance at the Saudi summit. The National Coalition meanwhile said Jamil had pulled out after "disagreement over an article on Bashar al-Assad stepping down and the start of a transitional phase" in Syria.
Forming 'the right opposition'
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he expected that the withdrawal of Hijab and other hardliners in recent days would "help the Syria-based and foreign-based opposition unite on a constructive basis."
Observers said it could clear the way for a new negotiating team that would water down some of the opposition's longstanding demands, notably Assad's immediate ouster.
His fate has been one of the chief obstacles to progress in peace talks, with the opposition demanding he step down at the start of any transition.
"The Saudi pitch to the Syrian opposition has been that denial will only make the situation worse, and that they have to rethink their strategy," said Hassan Hassan, a fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington.
"The problem... is that the political opposition does not see it that way, and most activists are still struck in the 2012 thinking, that Assad has to be toppled."
Ahead of the meeting, dozens of prominent civilian and armed opposition figures appealed to participants not to compromise on the "ouster of Bashar al-Assad and his gang.""No one should back down or quietly circumvent" it, they said in an online statement. HNC member Yehya al-Aridi acknowledged some participants, notably the Moscow platform, were more flexible on the president's future. But they "do not represent the choices of the revolution or the Syrian people," Aridi told AFP. And Hisham Marwah, another National Coalition member, said his group's "positions toward Assad have not changed."
"Whoever is betting on the Riyadh conference to legitimize the presence of Assad is delusional," Marwah told AFP.

Anti-Terror Quartet adds 2 entities, 11 individuals to terror list
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates make up the quartet currently fighting to combat terror financing in the region. (Shutterstock)
Al Arabiya English/November 23/2017 /The Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) countries have added two organizations and 11 individuals to their state-sponsor list of terrorism and terror financing.
Among the entities named includes the International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi and was founded in 2004. It is currently headquartered in Qatar.
The ATQ countries have previously designated several individuals and organizations whom they accuse of financing terror groups across the region, including Doha-based Qaradawi.
1. The International Islamic Council "Massaa'"
2. World Union of Muslim Scholars
1. Khaled Nazem Diab
2. Salem Jaber Omar Ali Sultan Fathallah Jaber
3. Moyasar Ali Musa Abdullah Jubouri
4. Mohammed Ali Saeed Atm
5. Hassan Ali Mohammed Juma Sultan
6. Mohammed Suleiman Haidar Mohammed Al-Haydar
7. Mohammed Jamal Ahmed Hishmat Abdul Hamid
8. Alsayed Mahmoud Ezzat Ibrahim Eissa
9. Yahya Alsayed Ibrahim Mohamed Moussa
10. Qadri Mohamed Fahmy Mahmoud Al-Sheikh
11. Alaa Ali Ali Mohammed Al-Samahi
“The two listed entities are terrorist organizations working to promote terrorism through the exploitation of Islamic discourse and its use as a cover to facilitate various terrorist activities. The Individuals also have carried out various terrorist operations in which they have received direct Qatari support at various levels, including providing them with passports and assigning them to Qatari institutions with a charitable appearance to facilitate their movement,” a statement from the Saudi Press Agency read.
“Through their monitoring, the four countries emphasize continued Qatari authorities' support for and sponsor and finance of terrorism, promotion of extremism and dissemination of hate speech, and that these authorities have not taken effective action to stop terrorist activity,” the statement added.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates make up the quartet.

Saudi Crown Prince to open counter-terror defense council
SPA, Riyadh/November 23/2017/Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense will open the inaugural meeting of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) Ministers of Defense Council. The meeting will be held in Riyadh on November 26, 2017 and will deliver the opening remarks at the meeting, which will bring together Ministers of Defense as well as diplomatic missions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, reported Saudi Press Agency. Lieutenant General Abdulelah Al-Saleh, the IMCTC Acting Secretary General said, " “This meeting marks the official launch of the IMCTC’s operations at our Center in Riyadh. The Center provides an open platform for willing IMCTC member countries to exchange best practices and coordinate their counterterrorism efforts, enabling culturally appropriate regional and local solutions to counter terrorism."
General Rahil Sharif, the military commander of the IMCTC, said, “The biggest challenge in the 21st Century, especially in the Muslim world, is confronting the dangerous phenomenon of terrorism. The IMCTC encompasses an integrated approach to coordinate and unite on the four key domains of ideology, communications, counter terrorism financing, and military, in order to fight all forms of terrorism and extremism and to effectively join other international security and peacekeeping efforts.” The IMCTC is a 41-nation pan-Islamic coalition united in the fight against terror. The Inaugural Meeting, held under the theme “Allied Against Terrorism”, will include statements by Ministers of Defense of IMCTC member countries and keynote speeches in connection with the IMCTC’s four domains: Ideology, Communications, Counter Terrorist Financing, and Military. In addition, the IMCTC’s Acting Secretary General, Lieutenant General Abdulelah AlSaleh, will outline the Coalition’s strategy, governance, activities and future plans.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 22-23/17
Jerusalem Post Uncovers Israeli Medical Treatment Of Syrian Gas Attack Victims
Jerusalem Post/November 22/17
Three Syrian rebels wounded last week in an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad were sent for treatment in Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
If Syrians hurt in the attack entered Israel for treatment, it would be the first confirmed case. “The [Syrian regime] forces shelled a strategic site controlled by the rebels named ‘Bardaya Hill,’ and three of the rebels who suffered suffocation as a result of the gases were sent to Israel for treatment,” Abo Omar al Golany, spokesman for the Revolutionary Command Council in Quneitra and the Golan, told The Jerusalem Post. “Helicopters belonging to the Assad regime threw explosive drums containing toxic gases on the hill.”Al Golany said the chemicals were believed to be chlorine, which has been used by the regime in the past.
According to a separate source in Israel, Syrian casualties injured in a chemical attack were transferred to Ziv Medical Center in Safed. The hospital did not respond to the Post’s inquiry by press time.
The attack was part of an ongoing offensive by the Syrian government and its Hezbollah allies to retake an area around Mazra’at Beit Jinn near the Hermon. The offensive has attempted to pressure the rebels in a small finger of territory they control near the Golan and Majdal Shams extending 15 kilometers toward Damascus along the foot of Mount Hermon.
“In recent weeks, Assad was trying to push an offensive and there was difficult fighting on the night of the 15th-16th,” the source said. “They hit [the rebels] from helicopters and used gas in at least three places. The same day, the wounded came to Israel.”
A separate source familiar with the situation also confirmed that Syrians suffering from the effects of chemical weapons had sought treatment in Israel.
By press time, the IDF responded that they are not familiar with an incident of this kind.
The area of the alleged attack is several kilometers from the scene of fighting on November 3 in which Syrian Druse from the village of Hader were killed in a bombing as rebels from Quneitra area tried to break through the siege around Beit Jinn.
At the time, Israel said it would act to prevent Hader from being overrun after Druse from the Israeli side of the Golan expressed concern for their coreligionists. This is a sensitive area because Israel has been providing aid to people in Syrian areas near the border in recent years.
More than 3,000 Syrians in the past four years have entered Israel for medical care, according to reports in July. Ziv Medical Center has treated many of those in the past year; its website includes several stories about treating Syrian patients but mentions none who suffered from gas or chemical injuries.
In early April, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz advocated aiding children who were victims of a chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, in the Idlib region of northern Syria.
“I see it as our obligation as Jews and Israelis to provide assistance to those wounded in the gas attacks in Syria, among them many children,” he said, according to Ynet.
The Independent in April interviewed a patient nicknamed “Baibars” in Ziv Hospital.
“The regime has used chemical weapons since the beginning of the war,” Baibars told the newspaper. “We were just trying to defend ourselves.”
He did not say whether any of his fellow rebels had suffered gas attacks or entered Israel for treatment from these injuries.
On November 16, reported that there had been “cases of suffocation due to shelling by forces of Bashar Assad with a barrel bomb loaded with toxic chlorine.” It had struck near Mazra’at Beit Jinn.
Mazra’at means “farms” in Arabic, and the farms are a suburb of the village of Beit Jinn.
According to a separate report by Adnan Ali at The New Arab based in the UK, the Syrian regime used chlorine gas on November 16 in attacks against rebels in eastern Ghouta and in the city of Harasta. It quoted a local activist named Alaa Ahmed, who said the regime fired artillery. According to the report, attacks that day targeted Mazra’at Beit Jinn and the nearby village of Kafr Hawar, causing “several cases of suffocation.”
According to a May 1 report by Human Rights Watch, the Syrian government is guilty of “widespread and systematic use of chemical weapons.” This includes “the government’s use of helicopter-dropped chlorine-filled munitions,” which recently has become more systematic.
HRW noted that the Chemical Weapons Convention does not ban chlorine because of its civilian uses, but “the convention bans its use as a weapon.”
Between April 2014 and 2016, HRW documented 16 Syrian regime attacks with chlorine in “improvised air-dropped munitions.” An August 2016 UN report of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) alleged that there was evidence to conclude the regime had undertaken two chlorine gas attacks.
On November 16th US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the UN: "The Assad regime should be on clear notice: the United States does not accept Syria's use of chemical weapons. We will defend the international standard against chemical weapons use. It would be wise for the Assad regime to heed this warning."

Stanford University's Duplicitous Morality Police
Ruthie Blum/Gatestone Institute/November 22/17
Two Stanford administrators present -- Nanci Howe, associate dean and director of student affairs, and Snehal Naik, assistant dean and associate director of student affairs -- not only nodded approvingly at the walk-out, but actively aided it, first by denying entry to many students who actually wanted to attend the event, and then by not allowing them to enter after the walkout, despite the fact that the auditorium was largely empty. They also forbade the hosts from live-streaming the talk on the Internet.
The reason for having to smear Robert Spencer was clear. Portraying him as someone who has led to the killing of Muslims was the way to try to have him banned from the campus, without abandoning the principle of free speech. Yet no student or faculty member produced a shred of evidence linking Spencer to violence against Muslims at Stanford or anywhere else. All they were able to produce as "proof" of Spencer's incitement was the same libelous blurb on the Southern Poverty Law Center website.
What De Leon, Najaer, Beckman and Fine failed to mention was that a mere few months earlier, at the end of May, the Stanford student senate voted to fund an on-campus speech by the son of Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti, serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail for orchestrating three deadly attacks.
It is no surprise that students at Stanford University disrupted best-selling author Robert Spencer's lecture on November 14. Given the lead-up to his talk -- "Jihad and the Dangers of Radical Islam: An Honest Discussion" -- the scenario was scripted in advance, with the encouragement and support of the school's administration.
As soon as the Stanford College Republicans invited Spencer, founder of the website Jihad Watch, to speak on campus -- as part of the Fred. R. Allen Freedom Lecture Series, sponsored by the Young America's Foundation -- a concerted campaign was launched to prevent him from being allowed to set foot on the premises. Stanford students, faculty members and administrators published a steady stream of articles in the student publications the Stanford Daily and Stanford Review, claiming not only that Spencer was unqualified to speak to them -- despite frequently addressing FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force, military, and other government groups for years -- but also pronounced that his presence threatened Muslim students on campus; that he enabled anti-Semitism; that his message deprived Muslims of "personhood;" and that he was endangering students by replying to their attacks on his website.
When that effort failed, they employed other means to intimidate Spencer and the students who wished to hear what he had to say. Not only did hundreds of protesters cause a disturbance outside the venue, but another 150 entered the auditorium, played Arabic music loudly to drown out what Spencer was saying, and then staged a mass walk-out minutes after the event began.
Two Stanford administrators present -- Nanci Howe, associate dean and director of student affairs, and Snehal Naik, assistant dean and associate director of student affairs -- not only nodded approvingly at the walk-out, but actively aided it, first by denying entry to many students who actually wanted to attend the event, and then by not allowing them to enter after the walkout, despite the fact that the auditorium was largely empty. They also forbade the hosts from live-streaming the talk on the Internet.
According to one report of the event, published in the Stanford Review the following day:
"[T]he protest was a deliberate attempt to block students from engaging with Spencer in any capacity. If you personally do not wish to engage with the man, fine, power to you. But preventing others from doing so is shameful."
Meanwhile, another event took place on campus -- "Stanford Against Spencer: A Rally Against Islamophobia" -- timed to coincide with Spencer's talk. In the Facebook invitation to the rally, the "coalition of concerned students and organizations that formed in response" to Spencer's lecture referred to him falsely as a "self-proclaimed Islamophobe and co-founder of two known hate groups," while lambasting him for responding on his blog to the barrage of defamation to which he had been subjected by Stanford students and faculty during the past few weeks.
In "An open letter to the College Republicans regarding Robert Spencer," printed in the Stanford Daily on November 8 -- penned by a "coalition of concerned student groups" -- Spencer is accused of being "an established Islamophobe, and "Islamophobia" is described as:
"more than just anti-Muslim sentiment, [but] institutionalized through U.S. foreign policy (the ongoing "war on terror") and immigration policy (Trump's xenophobic Muslim ban), extending its violent impact on people from and in Muslim-majority countries."
In other words, supporting the eradication of global terrorism constitutes "Islamophobia" in the eyes of the signatories of the letter, all far-left organizations -- such as Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Queer Liberation, Students Against Militarism, Student And Labor Alliance and Students for the Liberation of All People -- known for their radical views and responsible for the often violent curtailing of the free speech of anyone who disagrees with their politics at universities across the United States.
Furthermore, to justify their call on fellow students not to "engage with [Spencer], even if you are critical of [his views], because engaging in a conversation about Islam with a known Islamophobe is a contradiction," the authors of the letter referred to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as their key source of information. The SPLC, which has been discredited widely for its left-wing bias and unreliable designation of conservative groups on its "hate list," was also quoted by a Pakistani Muslim student at Stanford, who wrote about being "afraid" as a scarf-wearing Muslim on campus. Of course, this is ludicrous, as no Muslim has ever been harmed on the Stanford campus, while in the student's native Pakistan, Christians are persecuted by Muslims on a daily basis.
The reason for having to smear Spencer was clear. Portraying him as someone who has led to the killing of Muslims was the way to try to have him banned from the campus, without abandoning the principle of free speech. Yet no student or faculty member produced a shred of evidence linking Spencer to violence against Muslims at Stanford or anywhere else. All they were able to produce as "proof" of Spencer's incitement was the same libelous blurb on the Southern Poverty Law Center website.
This did not prevent four graduate students (three of them doctoral candidates) -- Joshua De Leon, Umniya Najaer, Jason Beckman, and Jamie M. Fine – from complaining that Spencer had "endangered" the life of a student, by exposing a video of the boy tearing down posters advertising the lecture. The claim was completely nonsensical, of course. In the first place, the student was the one who shared a video of himself on Snapchat removing the posters; Spencer merely re-posted the clip. Secondly, as Spencer responded to the barrage of criticism he received for this:
"I have never called for or condoned violence against any individual. If this Stanford fascist is harmed by anyone, it would be a disgrace, and the perpetrator should be prosecuted. However, [he] is not really in any danger. The College Republicans at Stanford are not neo-Nazis, contrary to the defamation in this latest Stanford Daily piece. Nor am I..."
What De Leon, Najaer, Beckman and Fine failed to mention was that a mere few months earlier, at the end of May, the Stanford student senate voted to fund an on-campus speech by the son of Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail for orchestrating three deadly attacks.
The May 25 event -- "Dignity Hunger Strike: Aarab Barghouti on Palestinian Political Prisoners' Demands for Dignity" -- was hosted by the Stanford chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and co-sponsored by many of the same organizations that protested Spencer's November 14 appearance: Jewish Voice for Peace, STATIC magazine, International Socialist Organization, Students Against Militarism, Student And Labor Alliance and Students for the Liberation of All Peoples.
It is noteworthy that one Jewish student senator at the school told the Stanford Daily why he supported giving a platform to the son of a convicted terrorist, the point of whose lecture was to blame Israel for the alleged plight of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners:
"In the interest of full transparency, I am personally very deeply concerned with the content of [Barghouti's] speech, but I need to make sure that I afford equal access to freedom of speech to groups, even those who I deeply disagree with."
The irony did not escape Spencer, who pointed out:
"There was no uproar when Aarab Barghouti spoke at Stanford. No calls for cancellation or boycott. No statements from administrators offering support to students who found Barghouti's presence disturbing. No protests. No safe spaces opened. No hysterical attacks on Barghouti in the Stanford Daily. No calls by dorm staff to report students who put up posters advertising Barghouti's event.
"Likewise, when the SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine] co-hosted an event at Stanford featuring Mads Gilbert, who supports the 9/11 jihad attacks that murdered 3,000 people, no one at Stanford got hysterical and called for cancellation, boycott, punishment of the students supporting the event, etc."
Yet Stanford's vice provost for student affairs, Susie Brubaker-Cole, and its dean for religious life, Jane Shaw, wrote a blog to reassure the anti-Spencer students that, in spite of the university's "commitment to freedom of expression," it is
"compelled to call out the fact that Mr. Spencer has a track record of actions and speech that motivate hatred towards Muslims, contradicting our university's values of inclusion and respect for all peoples and faiths. We acknowledge the emotional impact of Mr. Spencer's visit on university community members, and we are actively developing supports for the Muslim community before and after his visit."
In conclusion, they said:
"We also recognize that anti-Muslim racism and other forms of bigotry are systemic and require long-range and comprehensive approaches. We reaffirm our support for the Muslim community, and ask all to stand with us in speaking out for a mutually supportive society where all experience care and respect."
It is a travesty that Stanford's administration has no compunction about asserting that Spencer "has a track record of actions and speech that motivate hatred towards Muslims," and that "anti-Muslim racism [is] systemic." Spencer's work focuses on the way in which jihadists use the Koran and other Islamic teachings to justify terrorism and incite Muslims to violence. This is something that Muslims and non-Muslims alike should at least wish to learn about, if not embrace; they certainly should not view it as an affront.
As for the claim that "anti-Muslim racism" is rampant: the only places in the world where Muslims are slaughtered for the way in which they adhere to Islam, or are deemed not to practice it properly, are dominated by Muslims. Anyone teaching or attending an institution of higher learning as illustrious as Stanford should know that.
***Ruthie Blum is the author of "To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring.'"
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

The Hague Aims for U.S. Soldiers
John R. Bolton/Gatestone Institute/November 22/17
For the first time since it began operating in 2002, the International Criminal Court has put the U.S. in its sights. On Nov. 3, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda initiated an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan since mid-2003. This raises the alarming possibility that the court will seek to assert jurisdiction over American citizens.
Located in The Hague (alongside such dinosaurs as the International Court of Justice, which decides state-versus-state disputes), the ICC constitutes a direct assault on the concept of national sovereignty, especially that of constitutional, representative governments like the United States. The Trump administration should not respond to Ms. Bensouda in any way that acknowledges the ICC's legitimacy. Even merely contesting its jurisdiction risks drawing the U.S. deeper into the quicksand.
The left will try to intimidate the White House by insisting that any resistance to the ICC aligns the U.S. with human-rights violators. But the administration's real alignment should be with the U.S. Constitution, not the global elite. It would not be "pragmatic" to accept the ICC; it would be toxic to democratic sovereignty.
The U.S. is not party to the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the ICC's authority. Bill Clinton signed it in 2000, when he was a lame duck. But fearing certain rejection, he did not submit it to the Senate. The Bush administration formally "unsigned" in 2002 before the Rome Statute entered into force. That same year, Congress passed supportive legislation protecting U.S. servicemembers from the ICC, a law that was decried by hysterical opponents as the "Hague Invasion Act." The U.S. then entered into more than 100 bilateral agreements committing other nations not to deliver Americans into the ICC's custody.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later weakened America's opposition to the ICC. Barack Obama manifestly longed to join but nonetheless did not re-sign the Rome Statute. Thus the U.S. has never acknowledged the ICC's jurisdiction, and it should not start now. America's long-term security depends on refusing to recognize an iota of legitimacy in this brazen effort to subordinate democratic nations to the unaccountable melding of executive and judicial authority in the ICC.
Proponents of global governance have always wanted to turn the U.S. into just another pliant "member" of the United Nations General Assembly or the ICC. They know that America's exceptionalism and commitment to its Constitution were among their biggest obstacles, but they hoped to cajole Washington into joining one day. The new Afghanistan investigation demonstrates why that vision needs to be confronted now and conclusively defeated.
The U.S. has done more than any other nation to instill in its civilian-controlled military a respect for human rights and the laws of war. When American servicemembers violate their doctrine and training—which can happen in any human institution—the U.S. is perfectly capable of applying our own laws to their conduct. These laws and procedures do not need to be second-guessed by international courts, especially ones that violate basic rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, like trial by jury.
Moreover, the Rome Statute's real targets always have been not merely individual soldiers accused of war crimes, but their commanders and political leaders—all the way to the commander in chief of the global hegemon (as they resentfully see it). The White House should not facilitate these efforts to constrain and inhibit its ability to defend Americans.
The ICC prosecutor is an internationalized version of America's "independent counsel," a role originally established in the wake of Watergate and later allowed to lapse (but now revived under Justice Department regulations in the form of a "special counsel"). Similarly, the ICC's prosecutors are dangerously free of accountability and effective supervision. They are not the superhero "Justice League International."
The ICC fits into no coherent representative government structure, which does not exist internationally. It also fails a critical constitutional test—the separation of powers—in that the executive not only prosecutes but determines guilt or innocence. Decoupling executive and judicial powers is no mere constitutional nicety; it is a critical mechanism for restraining excesses.
The ICC always had dramatically different possible paths. First, it could become yet another embarrassing irrelevancy like the International Court of Justice or the U.N. Human Rights Council. That has been its lot so far. To date, the ICC has been feckless and often in disarray, acquiring the justifiable reputation from its caseload that it was a project by Europeans to prosecute miscreants in their former African colonies. Burundi recently withdrew from the ICC, and others have come close.
Second, the ICC could go rogue—which is what the potential prosecution of Americans represents. Pursuing Washington, it seems, finally became too hard for the ICC to resist (having already investigated Israel, which is once again the canary in the mineshaft).
Under the idea of "complementarity," the ICC could defer to countries that possess responsible law-enforcement mechanisms, which the U.S. assuredly does. There are plenty of real criminal states in the world to keep the ICC busy, if it had the wit to focus on them. That it doesn't speaks volumes.
America should welcome the opportunity, as in Churchill's line about Bolshevism, to strangle the ICC in its cradle. At most, the White House should reply to Ms. Bensouda with a terse note: "Dear Madame Prosecutor: You are dead to us. Sincerely, the United States." Other countries wanted the ICC; let them live with it.
**John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is Chairman of Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad".
**This article first appeared in The Wall Street Journal 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.

Macron as a firefighter diplomat
Christian Chesnot/Al Arabiya/November 22/17
The mediation of Emmanuel Macron in the Hariri affair confirms France’s desire to play a central role in the Middle East. The principles of the diplomatic posture of Paris are regularly hammered by the French president’s advisers. France speaks to everyone – be it Saudis or Iranians – and does not have to take sides in the struggle for influence in the region. In this context, the Lebanese crisis was a promising test case for the French president who was able to deploy all his talent as a diplomat. If Emmanuel Macron has got involved in this, it is because Lebanon remains the main gateway to French influence in the Levant and that Saudi Arabia was promoted by his predecessor Francois Hollande to the rank of strategic partner. Paris could not stay away from a case involving two of its main allies in the region. To settle the Hariri case, President Macron was able to engage with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with whom he speaks frankly. Apparently, the two men have good chemistry and, according to a diplomat, even exchange text messages on their phones.
Young leaders
This is not surprising considering they are both young leaders belonging to the same generation and yet embody political succession in their respective countries. Thanks to this successful mediation, Emmanuel Macron scored points. This is an indisputable personal success that France had not known for a long time. Seen from Paris, accumulation of crises that pile up and feed off each other, increases the risk of a destructive embrace for the entire region
Christian Chesnot
However, beyond this timely intervention, the president is doing a tight balancing act between Saudi Arabia and Iran. His bet is to have the ear of both Riyadh and Tehran. Is it possible? But above all, is it tenable?
The Iranians are furious that France has put on the table the question of Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program as well as the influence of Tehran in the region. On the other hand, French president has sent several messages to the Saudi leadership suggesting that Paris does not wish to call into question the Vienna agreement on the Iranian nuclear deal and especially does not share the anti-Iranian approach with Riyadh.
Ideal position
France thinks that it is today in an ideal position to try to make reason, pragmatism and realism prevail. Will it be heard though? Faced with an unpredictable American president, there is certainly room for Paris to play a different tune. “France is available”, the Elysee repeats. Seen from Paris, accumulation of crises that pile up and feed off each other, increases the risk of a destructive embrace for the entire region. Realistically, the current priority of French diplomacy remains the stability of Lebanon. Paris wants to “distance” the country from Cedar regional crises, because in the current highly volatile context, nobody has interest in its destabilization. As a firefighter diplomat, this is the message that Emmanuel Macron repeats to all the Lebanese parties, but also to Teheran and Riyadh. To match the words with action, the French president also intends to organize an international aid conference for Lebanon in Paris next year.

The challenge of ‘Iranian interference’
Ghassan Charbel/Al Arabiya/November 22/17
It is enough for Arab foreign ministers to open their world map to confirm that their emergency meeting in Cairo yesterday was justified and necessary. Talking about the “Iranian interference” is not a passing accusation that lacks evidence. The insistence on discussing it never falls within the framework of harassment or escalation. It is an attempt to crystallize a unified Arab will to deal with a tense Arab reality in a group of countries and maps. Repercussions of continued interventions are not only limited to countries, in which Iranian-backed militias operate, but they can affect the balance of power across the region.
The most striking aspect of these interventions is that Tehran is not trying to deny them. The missile that targeted Riyadh bears a clear signature, and the Houthis were only used as a platform to launch it. General Qassem Soleimani’s pictures, touring among militants and between crescent states, leave no room for doubt. Statements made by the generals of the Revolutionary Guard about the control of four Arab capitals are not just a blur or an exaggeration. President Hassan Rouhani’s words on the compulsory Iranian crossing complete the image.
“Iranian interference” is nothing new. The policy of “exporting the revolution” is primarily a declaration of the right to intervene in the affairs of other countries. What is new is the extent of this interference, the increasing threats it is posing and its growing exposure. Political changes, distortion of the power balance and demographic modifications to guarantee the consolidation of the new features…
“Iranian interference” is nothing new. But after the blatant Iranian role in Yemen, it took a more dangerous course. What is new, however, is that targeted countries feel that they can no longer avoid calling things by their proper name and that this interference is a fixed item in Arab meetings and talks with international powers.Iranian missile on Riyadh and the content of the resignation of Saad Hariri presented new evidence to those who were still looking for proof
Core of relationship
What is also new is the presence of an American administration that is not reassured with the nuclear deal, the achievement of which was an obsession for Barack Obama. The current administration has included the item “Iranian interference” at the core of its relationship with the region and its crises.
What is new in the “Iranian interference” is that Tehran has not dealt with the nuclear agreement as an opportunity to show respect to international laws and covenants. One can say that what happened was exactly the opposite. After signing the agreement, Iran stepped up its intervention in the region as if it considered the deal an opportunity that must be seized and used for the sake of the “big coup” project. It was an unprecedented scene: removing maps’ immunity, violating international law and turning allied militias into small armies to topple some regimes and prevent the fall of others, regardless of the feelings of people, whose maps have been violated. The situation became more dangerous with the formation of rocket-armed militias, which complement abuses committed by militias through ground-based incursions.
What is also new in the “Iranian interference” is that talks about it reemerged after threats posed by ISIS diminished. There are those who believe that Iran’s sectarian-based policy of destabilization was the reason for the fragmentation of national unity in more than one Arab country and that ISIS was born out of these ruptures.
Since the region is also a hub of vital fortunes and corridors for global economy, international concern over Iranian role in missiles and militias has escalated. On the eve of the Cairo meeting, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation in the Middle East. The White House said the two presidents “agreed on the need to work with allies to counter the destabilizing activities of Hezbollah and Iran in the region.”
Iranian interventions have reached an unprecedented level. This reality is even embarrassing for countries that usually prefer to adopt lukewarm stances and treat Arab wounds with general repeated terms. It has become difficult for any Arab minister to justify the Iranian behavior or give pretexts to mitigate its role. The Iranian missile on Riyadh and the content of the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri presented new evidence to those who were still looking for proof.
A firm note
Mounting interventions explained the rhetoric used by Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit at the opening of the meeting. They also explained the firm tone used by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
At the meeting, Iran was accused of pursuing sectarian policies, deploying its militias on Arab soil and interfering in internal affairs. All these accusations have put the “Iranian Interference” item at the top of the agenda of regional and international meetings. One does not exaggerate when saying that the stance towards these interventions will be an influential factor in Arab inter-relations, as well as in Arab-international relations.
Three parties must reflect on the outcome of the emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers. The first is Iran, whose behavior was condemned by the participants. The question is whether it wants to coexist with its Arab neighbors, or it insists on trying to subjugate them… If it chooses the second option, the winds of confrontation will intensify and Tehran will face isolation.
The second party is Hezbollah, which must think about its current image at the Arab level. Hezbollah is no longer seen as a resistance against Israel, but as a terrorist organization, based on its role in the Iranian coup.
The third party is President Michel Aoun, who will be the biggest loser of the resignation of Saad Hariri. The presence of Aoun – the former Army commander – in the presidential palace, will be meaningless if he does not employ his position to defend the idea of the state, the factors for its existence and the interests of the Lebanese people.
Unless Iran makes a quick decision to stop its comprehensive offensive in the region, the “Iranian Interference” item will be the title of the next confrontation and the slogan for a new alignment. The same item will be the title of the move towards the Security Council and will leave its mark on the situation in exploding areas and those which are likely to explode.