October 02/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
If the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away
Saint Matthew 24/32-44/:"‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ‘But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 01-02/17
Rebel spokesman: Houthi missiles can hit covert Israeli bases in Eritrea/Jerusalem Post/October 01/17
The Pope, Peace and Islamic Fundamentalists/A. Z. Mohamed/Gatestone Institute/October 01/17
What is Behind the Refusal to Stand for the Anthem/Jonathan S. Tobin/Gatestone Institute/October 01/17
Saudi Arabia is not a backward state/Mamdouh AlMuhaini/Al Arabiya/October 01/17
Women’s roles in Saudi Arabia: What they said, what we said/Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi/Al Arabiya/October 01/17
Why Macron Doesn’t Fear France’s Unions/Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry/Bloomberg/September 01/17
Before the Spark Breaks Out in Kurdistan/Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al Awsat/September 01/17

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 01-02/17
Rahi: We are living an identity crisis, we will not allow it to continue
Al-Rahi Says Unilateralism Has No Place in Lebanon, Urges Regional Neutrality
Berri meets Ambassadors of Egypt, Palestine
Nasrallah Says Israelis May Have 'No Time to Leave Palestine' if Netanyahu Wages War
Senior U.S. General Says Army Must be 'Sole Defender of Lebanon'
Jumblat Stresses Importance of 'Compromise', Wishes Better Days for Syrians
Tueni: National currency immune, taxes will not affect lowincome citizens
Riachi representing Geagea: We want Lebanon's freedom, sovereignty and independence
Nasrallah: Netanyahu leading Israel to ‘death and destruction’
Nasrallah Tells Jews Who Moved To Israel To Get Out Before Next War Begins
Lebanon says it is pursuing sleeper cells

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 01-02/17
5 Hurt, Suspect Held as Canada Police Probe 'Act of Terrorism'
Two Dead in Marseille Station Knife Attack
Egyptian college dean stirs controversy after imposing ban on ripped jeans
O.J. Simpson freed after serving 9 years in jail, plans to get an iPhone
Le Point: Qatar arrests 20 opponents from al-Thani ruling family
3,000 Killed in Syria in September, Deadliest Month of 2017
Turkey Opens Largest Foreign Military Base in Somalia
Palestinian Government to Visit Gaza on Monday to End Division
Clashes, Injuries as Police Crack Down on Banned Catalonia Referendum
Libyan Committee Discusses Structure of Presidential Council
Al Jazeera English vs. Al Jazeera Arabic: One channel, two messages

Latest Lebanese Related News published on October 01-02/17
Rahi: We are living an identity crisis, we will not allow it to continue

Sun 01 Oct 2017/ NNA - Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, said Sunday that Christians are currently living a crisis of identity, noting however, that said crisis would neither be tolerated nor allowed to go on. In a speech in the locality of Mou'allaka, as part of his pastoral tour in Zahle, al-Rahi expressed a word of tribute to its people and the souls of the fallen martyrs who lost their lives in defense of Zahle and Lebanon as a whole. "This historic page has brought us back to the roots, to be aware of our present and look forward to our future," he said. "We are living an identity crisis, but we will not tolerate its persistence," the Patriarch underscored. "Our age is two thousand years along the Lebanese coast, and we are anchored in this land and our martyrs have paid the heavy price to preserve Lebanon. We must live up to their dear blood and live our long-lasting Lebanese identity," added al-Rahi. "We rely on you to preserve the national and ecclesiastical spirit, and make our youth love Lebanon more and more and remain committed to it," the Patriarch concluded.

Al-Rahi Says Unilateralism Has No Place in Lebanon, Urges Regional Neutrality
Naharnet/October 01/17/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi stressed on Sunday that “unilateralism” has no place in Lebanon. “Lebanon cannot be unilateral in color, religion, party, sect or political opinion,” al-Rahi emphasized during a mass in the Bekaa city of Zahle.“It cannot be governed by a single coalition, party, religious community or religious denomination,” the patriarch underscored. The country “cannot withstand the elimination or marginalization of any group,” al-Rahi added.He also called for “preserving Lebanon's neutrality and dissociating it from regional and international

Berri meets Ambassadors of Egypt, Palestine
Sun 01 Oct 2017/NNA - House Speaker Nabih Berri met on Sunday at his residence in Msayleh with Egyptian and Palestinian Ambassadors to Lebanon, Nazih Najari and Ashraf Dabbour, with discussions focusing on the Palestinian-Palestinian reconciliation sponsored by Egypt. Palestinian ambassador praised the efforts of Speaker Berri in this reconciliation, as well as the essential role played by Egypt in this context.

Nasrallah Says Israelis May Have 'No Time to Leave Palestine' if Netanyahu Wages War
Naharnet/October 01/17/Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Israelis on Sunday that they might have "no time to leave Palestine" should Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wage a war in the region. In a televised speech marking the tenth day of the Ashura commemorations, Nasrallah said that Netanyahu is working with U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to undermine the Iran nuclear deal and start a regional war, warning Israel not to underestimate Hizbullah's capabilities. "Netanyahu and his military leadership do not know where a war on Syria, Lebanon and Gaza might lead them should they start it, and they do not have a real picture about what will await them in the next war," said Nasrallah "I call on non-Zionist Jews to leave occupied Palestine to the countries they came from so that they don't be the fuel of the next war, seeing as they might not have enough time to leave," Nasrallah added.

Senior U.S. General Says Army Must be 'Sole Defender of Lebanon'
Naharnet/October 01/17/Deputy Commander of United States Central Command Lieutenant General Charles Brown has stressed that the army should be “the sole defender of Lebanon" during a visit to Lebanon this week, the U.S. Embassy said. During his visit, Brown met with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Defense Minister Yaacoub al-Sarraf and Army Commander General Joseph Aoun to "reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to the Lebanese-American partnership and support the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as the sole defender of Lebanon," the Embassy said in a statement. Brown also met with the UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Michael Beary at UNIFIL Headquarter in Naqoura. He received "an update on the implementation of UNIFIL’s vital mission that has helped de-escalate tensions in southern Lebanon," the Embassy said.

Jumblat Stresses Importance of 'Compromise', Wishes Better Days for Syrians
Naharnet/October 01/17/Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Sunday stressed the importance of "compromises" in Lebanon as he wished better days for the Syrian people. At a PSP ceremony in Baakline, Jumblat called on new PSP cadres to “achieve Kamal Jumblat's dreams and our dreams in equality, justice, Arabism, the liberation of the South from Israeli occupation and the establishment of a state-to-state relation with Syria when the circumstances there change.”Jumblat also wished “freedom, stability, pluralism and dignity” for the Syrian people. “As you remember, in the first days of the Cedar Revolution the martyr Samir Kassir said there can be no freedom and democracy in Lebanon as long as Syria is engulfed with destruction, oppression and chaos, but we must wait and be patient,” Jumblat said. He added: “We must always accept the principle of compromises, even during the harshest circumstances.”

Tueni: National currency immune, taxes will not affect lowincome citizens

Sun 01 Oct 2017 /NNA - State Minister for Anti-Corruption Nicola Tueni assured Sunday that the national currency is immune, adding that the imposed taxes will not affect low-income citizens. "The economic theories and dim analyses that we are facing daily are far from the reality of figures. We have a good initial surplus, which the Finance Minister has confirmed in figures," Tueni indicated in an issued statement. "The issuance of the 2017-2018 budget is the first serious attempt to restore control of public finances since 1993, as well as addressing the issue of cutting account and the accumulation of differences over the years," he added. "These are the facts without any ambiguity...and despite reservation, the President preferred national unity to tension and hence, took responsibility for the previous financial mismanagement," Tueni went on. "The national currency is immune and taxes are mostly direct and will not affect citizens with low-income," he reiterated. "The government has a tax and investment approach to curb the public debt, the cost of service, the budget deficit and redistribution of the tax burden towards social justice. This move should be valued and supported because it is the foundation for the coming years," Tueni asserted. "Lessons should be learned from the financial evasion of previous financial management during the past 24 years, which resulted in public debt and the inability to break the account," Tueni concluded.

Riachi representing Geagea: We want Lebanon's freedom, sovereignty and independence
Sun 01 Oct 2017/NNA - Minister of Information Melhem Riachi said Sunday that his political party advocated Lebanon's freedom, sovereignty and independence, the image it wished to portray to the world. "Lebanon is the model we love...a Lebanon of music, poetry, literature, courage, freedom, sovereignty, independence and civilization, and this Lebanese model is what we wish to promote to the world," he emphasized. Minister Riachi's words came as he represented Lebanese Forces Party Chief, Samir Geagea, during the "Race for Women" organized in the city of Byblos by the LF's women sector. "It is an honor for me to be with the youth who are running and organizing this significant event, not only for Jbeil but for all of Lebanon, because this image is portrayed to Lebanese expatriates and all areas of Lebanon, reflecting the Lebanese life existing within the Lebanese Forces," said Riachi. He praised the efforts of the women's sector within the LF Party in working to activate women's role, and in organizing this sports activity. "Byblos is the capital of the alphabet and word...Today, we speak our word from here while tomorrow we utter it from the South and the North and all of Lebanon, especially from Mount Lebanon," Riachi went on. He concluded by greeting the participants and organizers of the race and congratulating the winners in advance. It is to note that several political figures attended the sports event, including State Minister for Women's Affairs, Jean Oghassapian, MP Shant Jenjian, former Minister Alice Shabtini and National News Agency Director Laure Sleiman. More than three thousand athletes of different ages took part in the race. For his part, Minister Oghassapian described the race as "important and reaffirms the importance of giving women a role in all fields."
"Today they are proving themselves in sports and they are able to reach great achievements in the country," he added.
Oghassapian thanked the Lebanese Forces and its women's sector for setting up the race, stressing that "Lebanese society is fine as long as women play their role in it."

Nasrallah: Netanyahu leading Israel to ‘death and destruction’
Ynetnews/Associated Press|/October 01/17/Speaking during Ashoura holiday marked by rallies, prayers and self-flagellation, terror group leader Hassan Nasrallah warns Netanyahu is leading his people to 'death and destruction'; accusing Israel and US of conspiring to derail Iranian nuclear deal and start regional war, Nasrallah warns Israel not to embark on 'stupid war.'The leader of the Shiite Lebanese militant group Hezbollah warned Israel against pushing the region into war on Sunday as supporters and other Shiite Muslims marked the Ashoura holiday with rallies, prayers, and self-flagellation. Hassan Nasrallah told observers in a televised speech that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was working with US President Donald Trump's administration to undermine the Iran nuclear deal and start a regional war. He warned Israel not to underestimate Hezbollah's capabilities. "The current Israeli government, presided over by Netanyahu is leading its people to death and destruction," he warned. "I can confirm that they do not have an accurate idea of what is waiting for them if they embark on this stupid war." It was his final sermon to the customary ten days of speeches addressing religious and political matters that lead up to Ashoura. The somber holiday marks the killing of Islam's Prophet Muhammad's grandson, the Imam Hussein, by a rival Muslim faction in Karbala, present day Iraq, in 680 A.D. Hussein and his descendants are seen by Shiites as the rightful heirs to the prophet; his death is attributed with cementing the schism between Shiite and Sunni Islam. Thousands of families attended Hezbollah's main rally under fair skies in south Beirut, waving richly colored banners to commemorate Hussein's martyrdom. Children were adorned with the customary green and yellow ribbons that mark Hezbollah rallies. Posters picturing the leader of the terror group Nasrallah and Iranian Ayatollahs Ali Khamenei and Ruhollah Khomeini featured prominently in the march. But when Nasrallah did not appear at the rally in person—he usually speaks by video link, for his own security—attendees began to stream out, some carrying with them their posters of the secretary general and of relatives killed fighting in the civil war in neighboring Syria. Under Nasrallah's leadership, more than a thousand fighters, including some of Hezbollah's most decorated veterans, have been killed fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad. Hezbollah's participation has cost it some of its more diffuse, cross-sectarian support in Lebanon and further polarized a country already riven with political divisions. Men and women at mosques in central Nabatiyeh offered their brows to receive a razor's nick and tapped their foreheads to keep the wounds from closing. A girl of about five was seen hitting her head with a saber, as men slapped the pavement around her with swords and chanted a nickname for the Imam Ali, the father of Hussein. Blood soaked through their white attire and trickled down the streets.

Nasrallah Tells Jews Who Moved To Israel To Get Out Before Next War Begins
Kerusalem Post/Agencies/September 01/17/Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Sunday of pushing the region to war in Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, and said nowhere in Israel would be safe if such a conflict were to erupt.
With Hezbollah actively fighting in Syria and Israel concerned that it, along with its patron Iran, will try to establish a permanent presence there, tensions between Israel and the terrorist organization have risen this year. In a speech to followers, Nasrallah said the Israeli government did not have “a correct assessment of where this war will lead if they ignite it,” and did not know how it would end. “They do not have a correct picture about what is awaiting them if they go to the idiocy of this war,” Nasrallah said. Israel does not know where such a conflict would be fought, or who would take part, he added.
Netanyahu answers Nasrallah: We will aggressively retaliate to any attack. Netanyahu answers Hezbollah chief Nasrallah: We will aggressively retaliate to any attack .According to Nasrallah, “Even the Zionist entity acknowledges that Hezbollah is the second army in the region, so we are not talking out of weakness. I call upon political parties not to be driven through incitement for such adventure because the outcome of such confrontation is well known.”Formed in the 1980s with the help of Iran as a resistance group against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, Hezbollah has since morphed into a army-like organization having battalions and brigades with thousands of battle-hardened fighters and advanced weaponry spread across the Middle East. Nasrallah said earlier this year that a future Israeli war against Syria or Lebanon could draw thousands of fighters from countries such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan, and could take place inside Israel. In his speech Sunday, he called on Jews who immigrated to Israel to “leave and return to the countries from which they came so they are not fuel for any war that the idiotic Netanyahu government takes them to.”
Were war to erupt, he said, they might not have long to leave. “They will have no secure place in occupied Palestine,” he said.
Nasrallah also said that the Shi’ite Lebanese terrorist group wouldn’t remain silent on the continued Israeli “threats to Lebanon” and its “continued aggression in Syria under the banner of preventing the resistance from obtaining military capabilities.”Israel has hit at least 100 Hezbollah targets, believed to be arms convoys headed to the group in Lebanon or weapons depots in Syria over the past five years. “Israeli spying devices which have been recently uncovered are a dangerous threat to Lebanon,” he said, adding, “We will not abandon our country; if this issue is not politically solved then we will deal with it.”Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Gallant (Kulanu) responded to Nasrallah, saying that he was a “marked man,” and that Israel would “take off the gloves” in the next confrontation with Hezbollah. “Nasrallah speaks from his bunker, and he has good reasons to do so,” said Gallant, a former general. “If he makes a mistake and starts a war, we will send Lebanon back to the Stone Age.”Following similar threats by Nasrallah in February, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said that if Nasrallah dared to fire at Israel’s home front or attack its national infrastructure, “all of Lebanon will be hit.” And in July, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon told a Saudi website that if Iran – which controls Hezbollah – drags it and Lebanon into a war with Israel, “every Lebanese [person] will suffer from the next war because all infrastructure will be destroyed.”Nasrallah was speaking on Sunday on the occasion of Ashura, when Shi’ites commemorate the slaying of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, the Imam Hussein, at Kerbala in 680. Netanyahu said in August that Iran was building sites to produce precision-guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon, with the aim of using them against Israel.
Tens of thousands of Shi’ites wearing mourning black marched through the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut to commemorate Ashura, when Hezbollah rallies supporters around its political causes. Men with boxes of tissues weaved through the crowds, handing them to those weeping in mourning. “All of these crowds are answering Nasrallah’s call, Hussein’s call, saying we are ready to give our selves and souls and blood and children and all we own in sacrifice to this religion,” said Deeb Hussein al-Annan, whose son was killed fighting for Hezbollah in Syria in 2014. “We are defending the cause and our existence [in Syria],” he added, holding a flag emblazoned with a picture of his son.The group’s role in Syria is the focus of controversy in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s opponents say it has dragged Lebanon into the conflict. Hezbollah says it has stopped extremist groups such as Islamic State from advancing into Lebanon from Syria. Nasrallah said the battle against Islamic State must continue “in every place to eliminate Daesh,” using an Arabic acronym for the group.

Lebanon says it is pursuing sleeper cells
Beirut, Sep. 29 (BNA): Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that "Lebanon is continuing to fight terrorism after its achievement in liberating its eastern border from Daesh," pointing out that "the current efforts are focused on pursuing sleeper cells and arresting their members." "The Lebanese Army demonstrated great efficiency during the Fajr El Jouroud Battle," Aoun said during his meeting with deputy commander of the US Central Command, General Charles Brown. "Good training, courage and support have all resulted in ending the battle with minimum losses," the president said, quoted by the National News Agency (NNA). Aoun also praised "the US support for the Lebanese Army in training and ammunition provision." "Lebanon is fully adhering to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, and appreciates the role played by the UNIFIL to establish peace on the [southern] border," he said.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 01-02/17
5 Hurt, Suspect Held as Canada Police Probe 'Act of Terrorism'

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 01/17/Canadian police arrested a man early Sunday suspected of stabbing an officer and injuring four pedestrians in a series of violent incidents being investigated as an "act of terrorism."The crime spree began Saturday evening outside a football stadium in the city of Edmonton and ended hours later with a high speed chase in which the driver of a rented truck plowed into pedestrians, police said. "Currently, we believe this is an individual who acted alone, although the investigation is in its early stages," Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht said. Based on the actions and the evidence at the scene, the incidents were being investigated as "acts of terrorism," police said in a statement. At approximately, 8:15 pm a man in a speeding white Chevy Malibu crashed through police barricades outside an Edmonton stadium where a Canadian Football League game was being played. The car struck a police officer standing in front of his patrol car, "sending him flying 15-feet through the air.""A male, believed to be 30 years of age, then jumped out of his vehicle and began viciously stabbing the officer with a knife, as a struggle ensued," the police statement said. The suspect then fled on foot and the police officer was rushed to hospital. Just before midnight, police pulled over a rental U-Haul truck and noticed that the name on the driver's license was similar to that of the white Malibu. The man in the truck then took off toward downtown Edmonton, according to the police account. "During the chase, the U-Haul truck deliberately attempted to hit pedestrians in crosswalks and alleys," it said. "Currently, it is believed four pedestrians were struck by the truck and transported to hospital with multiple injuries," it said. The chase ended when the truck flipped over, and the driver was arrested.Police described him as a 30-year-old from Edmonton.

Two Dead in Marseille Station Knife Attack
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 01/17/A man armed with a knife killed two people at the main train station in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille on Sunday before being shot by soldiers patrolling there, local officials said. "Two victims have been stabbed to death," regional police chief Olivier de Mazieres told AFP, referring to the attack which occurred at 1:45 pm (1145 GMT). Local prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said the knifeman had been shot by soldiers, while the Marseille police urged people in the city to avoid the area around Saint-Charles station. The deaths came with France still on high alert following a string of terror attacks which began in January 2015 when jihadist gunmen stormed the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 12. The government has since launched Operation Sentinelle, deploying about 7,000 troops across the country to guard high-risk areas such as transport hubs, tourist sites and religious buildings. The knifeman is believed to have shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) before assaulting passers-by, a source close to the investigation told AFP on condition of anonymity. The attacks since 2015 have left 239 people dead, according to an AFP count before Sunday's incident. French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb posted on Twitter that he would travel to Marseille immediately.

Egyptian college dean stirs controversy after imposing ban on ripped jeans
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSunday, 1 October 2017/A dean at University of Alexandria has decided to ban female students from wearing ripped jeans on college campus, according to an Egyptian newspaper report. In a recent notification, Dean Tarek Sorour of the Faculty of Agriculture said he has introduced a ban on torn clothing in a show of respect to the university campus. He argued that “revealing” clothes can “stir up feelings among young people and may cause sexual harassment incidents” in statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper. Sorour said torn trousers showed students’ bodies, which he considered a breach of university traditions. The dean reportedly stopped a few students on the first day of school for wearing torn clothes. And in a meeting in his office, Sorour instructed them to avoid wearing ripped clothes, citing the sanctity of the university campus, and religious stance on donning this type of clothing. Reactions to the ban on ripped clothes were mixed, with some saying it was right because such attire does not abide by the Islamic modest dressing. Others expressed anger at the decision, saying it was taking the college back to “primitive times.” Founder and Executive Director of Nazra for Feminist Studies, Mozn Hassan, said that no one has the right to define a particular garment for any citizen, adding that harassment cannot be linked to dress, she told the newspaper.

O.J. Simpson freed after serving 9 years in jail, plans to get an iPhone
The Associated Press, Las VegasSunday, 1 October 2017/Former football legend O.J. Simpson became a free man again Sunday after serving nine years for a botched hotel-room heist in Las Vegas that brought the conviction and prison time he avoided in the killings of his wife and her friend after his 1995 acquittal. Nevada state prisons spokeswoman Brooke Keast told The Associated Press that Simpson was released at 12:08 a.m. PDT from Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada. She said she did not know who met Simpson upon his release and didn't know where Simpson was immediately headed in his first hours of freedom. "I don't have any information on where he's going," said Keast, adding she had no indication where he was immediately Sunday. Keast said, the dead-of-night release from the prsion located about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Reno, Nevada, was conducted to avoid media attention. "We needed to do this to ensure public safety and to avoid any possible incident," Keast added, speaking by telephone. The 70-year-old Simpson gains his freedom after being granted parole earlier this year. Unlike the last time he went free 22 years ago, he will face restrictions - five years of parole supervision - and he's unlikely to escape public scrutiny as the man who morphed from charismatic football hero, movie star and TV personality into suspected killer and convicted armed robber. Simpson is looking forward to reuniting with his family, eating a steak and some seafood and moving back to Florida, his lawyer said recently. Simpson also plans to get an iPhone and get reacquainted with technology that was in its infancy when he was sent to prison in 2008. The Florida Department of Corrections, however, said officials had not received a transfer request or required documents, and the attorney general said the state didn't want him. "The specter of his residing in comfort in Florida should not be an option," Attorney General Pam Bondi said. "Our state should not become a country club for this convicted criminal."Close friend Tom Scotto, who lives in Naples, Florida, has offered to have Simpson live at his house, but he has not responded to messages from The Associated Press in recent days about whether a plan was finalized. Simpson lost his home near Miami to foreclosure in 2012.
Two of Simpson's children, Justin and Sydney, also live in Florida.
He could live at least temporarily in Las Vegas, where a friend let Simpson use his home for five weeks during his robbery trial. His five years of parole supervision could be reduced with credits for good behavior. It's a new chapter for the one-time pop culture phenomenon whose fame was once again on display when the major TV networks carried his July parole hearing live. He told officials that leading a group of men into a 2007 armed confrontation was an error in judgment he would not repeat. He told the parole board that he led a "conflict-free life," an assertion that angered many who believe he got away with killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles in 1994.

Le Point: Qatar arrests 20 opponents from al-Thani ruling family
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSaturday, 30 September 2017/French magazine Le Point as revealed that authorities in Qatar have arrested at least 20 members of ruling al-Thani family for their opposition to the policies of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad regarding the ongoing diplomatic and economic crisis the country is facing. Details of the arrest were reported in an article on Le Point International titled: “The Emir of Qatar imprisons members of his ruling family”. The magazine said it obtained its information from a French citizen currently being detained in Qatar. According to Le Point, 20 members were arrested and are being punished for showing support toward the Anti-Terror Quartet boycotting countries, expressing their dissatisfaction and rejection of the current policies followed by Qatar’s emir and his government. The magazine obtained their information via direct contact with Jean-Pierre Marongiu, chairman of a French company currently being detained in Doha for the past four years for writing bad cheques, a charge he has denied. "They arrested about twenty people. In my block, there are six members of the Al-Thani family,” he said. At least four members were identified in the piece: Sheikh Talal bin Abdulaziz bin Ahmed bin Ali Al-Thani, Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa bin Jassem bin Ali Al-Thani, Sheikh Ali bin Fahd bin Jassem bin Ali Al-Thani and Sheikh Nasser bin Abdullah bin Khalifa bin Ali Al-Thani. All four members belong to the Bin Ali branch of the al-Thanis. According to the detainees, they were arrested for their direct relation to Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani, who has advocated for a national meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis involving Qatar’s support and financing of terrorism. These arrests reveal an increasing state of tension and anxiety in Doha as well as a growing in numbers of those within the opposition movement expressed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali al-Thani and Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim Al-Thani.

3,000 Killed in Syria in September, Deadliest Month of 2017
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 01/17/Syria's war killed at least 3,000 people including 955 civilians in September, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said Sunday, in the deadliest month of the conflict this year. "More than 70 percent of the civilians were killed in regime and Russian air strikes, or in air raids of the international coalition" fighting the Islamic State group, the Britain-based monitor's head Rami Abdel Rahman said. Backed by Russian air strikes, the forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are pressing a battle to retake IS-controlled areas in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor. A U.S.-led international coalition has been providing air support to a Kurdish-Arab alliance, the Syrian Democratic Forces, also fighting the jihadists in its former northern bastion of Raqa city and Deir Ezzor.
The number of people killed in September was higher due to increased fighting and "intensified air raids of the international coalition and Russia against jihadist bastions in the north and east of Syria, but also due to increased Russian and regime strikes on rebel-held areas," Abdel Rahman said.
Russian and regime warplanes have in the past two weeks increased their strikes on the northwestern province of Idlib, which is largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a group led by al-Qaida's former Syria affiliate.
The 955 civilians killed in September included 207 children, said the Observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria for its information. It said the toll also included 790 regime troops and loyalists, 738 jihadists from IS and HTS, and 550 rebels and SDF members.
Syria's conflict has killed more than 330,000 people and displaced millions since it broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests before evolving into a complex war drawing in world powers.

Turkey Opens Largest Foreign Military Base in Somalia
Asharq Al-Awsat/September 01/17/Turkish army's Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, center left, escorts Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre during an inauguration ceremony of the Turkish military base in Mogadishu on September 30, 2017. Turkish army's Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, center left, escorts Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre during an inauguration ceremony of the Turkish military base in Mogadishu on September 30, 2017. (AFP photo)
Cairo– Turkey inaugurated its largest foreign military base in the world on Saturday in Mogadishu, Somalia, in a ceremony attended by Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, head of the Turkish military General Hulusi Akar, Somali leaders, and top Turkish military officials and diplomats.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, PM Khaire highlighted the significance of the training base for his country saying this is the right direction toward the development and the re-establishment of a Somali Army capable and ready to defense its nation.“This training base has a unique significance for us because it is a concrete step taken toward building an inclusive and integrated Somali National Army,” said Khaire, adding: “My government and our Somali people will not forget this huge help by our Turkish brothers. This academy will help us train more troops.”Khaire said the base also will help defeat extremism and the ideology that drives young Somali men into violence and terrorism. For his part, General Akar said the base is the biggest sign of how Turkey wants to help Somalia. “We are committed to help Somali government, and this base will cover the need for building strong Somali National Army. And it is biggest sign showing our relationship,” confirmed Akar. The training facility is located south of Mogadishu and had been under construction for the last two years. It is spread over 4 square kilometers and has the capacity to train more than 1,500 troops at a time.
The base will be used to train Somali army forces in its fight against al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab attempting to overthrow the Somali government and install a strict form of Islamic law throughout the country. General Akar arrived in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Friday where he was received by the commander of the Somali armed forces, General Mohamed Ahmed Jim’ale, at Adan Abdulle international airport in Mogadishu. Akar then met with Somali President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo who had previously described the Turkish base as “largest Turkish base in the world”.
In other news, Shabab movement threatened to target US troops in Somalia according to a new recording attributed to the movement’s spokesperson Ali Tiri. Tiri said that on Friday, Shabab had targeted a US-trained base of Somali forces in southwest the country. He threatened that the movement will target US forces next.The movement issued the threats after a number of its militants and leaders were killed during US air raids announced by US Africa Command (Africom). Meanwhile, Somali army announced its “grand victory” over Shabab militants in Lower Shabelle region following intensified clashes between army forces and the militants. Somali News Agency reported commander in charge of the base, General Shegow Ahmed as saying that at least 20 militants were killed as the sides exchanged fire. At least 20 militants were killed Friday, including commanders, when al-Shabab militants stormed an army base and the two sides clashed for hours. The militants attacked the base in the town of Barire, 47 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu, is one of the liberated towns after it had been under Shabab control for a long time. The movement declared that the attack is in retaliation for the death of 11 farmers with the help of US army. Shabab aims to topple the government in Mogadishu and impose its strict interpretation of Islam in the country. It was driven out of the capital in 2011, however it is still heavily present in the south and center of the country. Al-Qaeda-linked group still carries out frequent attacks on security and government targets, as well as civilians. It also targets African Union peacekeeping troops.

Palestinian Government to Visit Gaza on Monday to End Division
Asharq Al-Awsat/September 01/17/Rammallah– Palestinian Authority security forces are laying the final touches for the expected visit of Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah to Gaza Strip on Monday. In addition, several engineers and workers are finishing the work needed to prepare the residence of President Maamoud Abbas in Gaza where the government meeting will be held for the first time since 2014. A security delegation arrived in Gaza from West Bank where a plan will be devised in a rarely-occurring coordination with Hamas’ security forces in Gaza.
The two delegations met to organize the forces and secure Hamdallah’s visit and his accompanying delegation of dozens of ministers and officials. Security officials from the Palestinian Authority arrived in Gaza to coordinate several topics between the two parties as they attempt to solve the deep rift between them.
Security sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Hamas security forces will secure the streets and the PM and ministers’ residences and the places they are expected to visit. Hamdallah is expected to arrive in Gaza on Monday, while he will convene his Cabinet next Tuesday. Several bilateral meetings in Egypt between Hamas and Fatah will follow the visit to set a comprehensive plan which includes the formation of unity government and the agreement on elections. Hamas had previously announced the dissolution of its administrative committee in Gaza. The movement welcomed the government’s visit to the strip. Hamdallah will arrive in Gaza through Beit Yahoun crossing and will begin his visit with extensive meetings with Hamas leaders and other factions including Hamas’ chief Ismail Haniyyeh and Hamas’ leader in Gaza Yehya Sinwar. He will then tour the strip to oversee the debris and damage done by Israeli forces. The government will then convene in Abbas’ house. Hamdallah stated that the government formed several ministerial committees to handle the security, crossing points, and handle all issues in the strip including the legal and civil cases that resulted from the division.
However, Hamdallah has several issues to handle, namely the security in Gaza controlled by Hamas and the movement’s former civil servants. But, the problems are expected to be handled calmly and peacefully to ensure the success of the reconciliation. An Egyptian security delegation will also arrive in Gaza on Monday to ensure the smooth transition of the authority from Hamas’ to Hamdallah’s. Hamas senior official Mushir al-Masri reiterated the important role of Egypt as a force to help ensure reconciliation. Speaking at a political seminar, Masri said that division is no longer accepted especially amid the crises in the region and the challenges facing the Palestinian people and cause. He added that the reconciliation is a historic chance to end the rift which all Palestinian parties should seize as an opportunity. Masri confirmed that the movement is committed to all agreements signed especially that of Cairo 2011. He added that the success of national reconciliation requires free political will that it is not affected by any foreign pressures.

Clashes, Injuries as Police Crack Down on Banned Catalonia Referendum
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 01/17/Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and forced their way into activist-held polling stations in Catalonia on Sunday as thousands flooded the streets to vote in an independence referendum banned by Madrid. At least 91 people were injured in clashes, emergency services said, as police cracked down down on what the Spanish central government has branded a "farce". "Spanish democracy faces its greatest challenge," headlined top-selling El Pais daily just hours before police moved in en masse to seal off polling stations and seize ballot boxes, sparking scuffles as they sought to block the vote. More than 5.3 million people have been called upon to have their say on independence from Spain in the wealthy northeastern region which has its own distinct language and culture. The referendum poses the question: "Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?"But it has been ruled unconstitutional by the central government and the courts, with judicial officials ordering police to seize ballot papers, detain key organizers and shut down websites promoting the vote. Thousands of Spanish police fanned out across the region on Sunday, forcing their way into polling stations.
'Unjustified violence'
In central Barcelona, riot police charged at demonstrators who were sitting on the ground blocking their way after they raided a polling station at a school, witnesses said. They said police also fired rubber bullets, with one man showing AFP a leg injury he suffered. The crackdown drew a sharp rebuke from Catalan leaders. "The unjustified use of violence, which is both irrational and irresponsible, by the Spanish state will not stop the will of the Catalan people," Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said. The police, he said, had used "batons, rubber bullets and indiscriminate force" against people demonstrating "peacefully." "The head of a cowardly government has flooded our city with police," Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau wrote on Twitter, adding: "Barcelona city of peace, we are not afraid" -- a slogan coined after August's jihadist rampage that killed 16 people.
'I voted, I voted!'
Riot police also stormed a polling station near Girona, smashing the glass doors of the sports center where Puigdemont was due to vote, then cutting a chain to force their way in. But the regional government said Puigdemont had managed to vote anyway, tweeting pictures of him casting his ballot in Cornella del Terri, 10 kilometers (six miles) away, and in several areas voting was reported to be peaceful. The drama unfolded after a night of tension in which thousands of people had gathered outside polling stations before dawn, joining those who had spent the night camped inside to ensure they would be open on the day. Under a sea of umbrellas outside a school in Barcelona, a mixed crowd gathered, among them elderly people in wheelchairs, families with buggies and parents clutching toddlers by the hand. With no police in sight, they were able to cast their ballots, prompting scenes of jubilation. "I've voted! I've voted," one man shouted. "That's the great hope, to be able to vote freely like this despite the problems we've faced, I'm very happy. I can die peacefully," added Jose Mas Ribas, 79.
Elsewhere in Barcelona, rows of police vans lined the streets, their blue lights flashing as officers in riot gear, some carrying heavy bolt cutters, walked past crowds outside another polling station. "Votarem, votarem!" -- Catalan for "We will vote!" -- they chanted, many with their hands in the air.
'End this farce'
Although Catalans are divided over independence, most want to vote on the matter in legal, binding plebiscite. The Spanish government's representative in Catalonia placed the blame for the chaos on the regional leadership. "Puigdemont and his team are solely responsible for all that has happened today and for all that can happen if they do not put an end to this farce," Enric Millo told a news conference. "The sole objective of today’s operation has been to ensure that this illegal referendum does not take place and the Spanish and Catalan people can continue to live in peace and liberty as they have these past 40 years."
Over-taxed, under-funded
Pro-separatist lawmakers in Catalonia have pushed for an independence referendum since September 2015 when they won a narrow majority of 72 seats in the region's parliament. Although Catalonia already has significant control over education, healthcare and welfare, the region says it pays more in taxes than it receives from Madrid. This has sparked resentment which has been further exacerbated by Spain's economic doldrums and helped push the secessionist cause. The Catalan government says independence would leave the region richer and more able to protect its language and culture. The referendum law foresees a declaration of independence within 48 hours of a 'Yes' vote. But it remains unclear what the regional government will actually do so, although whatever happens, the outcome will not be recognized by Madrid.
The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has come under fire for limiting its response to the crisis to repeating that the referendum is unconstitutional. "The state needs to explain the benefits of remaining united, instead of repeating all the time that the referendum is illegal," said Rafael Castillo, a 59-year-old engineer at a Madrid rally, wearing a scarf with the Spanish flag around his neck.

Libyan Committee Discusses Structure of Presidential Council
Asharq Al-Awsat/September 01/17/Tunis– The unified committee entrusted with amending the Skhirat Agreement met with representatives of Libya’s various political parties on Saturday, for the fifth consecutive day, in the presence of UN Envoy Ghassan Salameh. While no concrete results were reached to amend the agreement signed in 2015, the committee discussed the structure and authorities of the presidential council and the cabinet, as well as the mechanism to choose the members of the council. According to Libyan sources, which participated in the political dialogue sessions, the committee has avoided to suggest names to fill State institutions posts, in order to prevent disagreements that might hamper the progress of the talks in a positive atmosphere. Since the launch of talks in the Tunisian capital last week, the unified committee, which is formed of 16 members representing Libyan Parliament and the High State Council, has failed to agree on the authorities of the presidential council and the mechanism to give confidence to the cabinet. In this regard, many observers talked about the existence of several obstacles to the intra-Libyan dialogue, noting that reaching concrete solutions required “common concessions for a unified Libya”. The Libyan political dialogue meetings in Tunis are aimed at putting an end to the transitional phase in the country by holding presidential and parliamentary elections next spring. The proposed amendments to the Skhirat Agreement include five main points, the most important of which is Article 8, which specifies the powers of the supreme commander of the Libyan armed forces. During the closed-door dialogue sessions, participants also discussed the African Union peace plan that was issued during the recent meeting in Brazzaville, and the Libyan parties considered that relying on an African Union peacekeeping force in the first stage to secure the basic pillars for restoring stability in Libya might be one of the solutions to overcome political instability at the end of the transitional period.

Al Jazeera English vs. Al Jazeera Arabic: One channel, two messages
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishSunday, 1 October 2017/Although a road separates the buildings of Al Jazeera English from their organization’s main Arabic network, the two channels could not have been further apart editorially. This was ever more evident during both the channel’s coverage of Saudi Arabia’s National Day celebrations. While Al Jazeera English (AJE) produced a video criticizing Saudi Arabia for “banning gender mixing at concerts and cinemas”, Al Jazeera Arabic’s coverage condemned women and men celebrating the National Day at mixed events. Al Jazeera Arabic (AJA) went so far as to invite a political ethics and religious history professor, Mohammed al-Mokhtar al-Shinqiti, who labeled the gender mixing during Saudi national day by quoting critics describing the event as “akin to pornography”. A completely different tone was struck across the street when Al Jazeera English produced a package and an in-depth magazine show advancing the point of view that not enough reforms were being undertaken in the Gulf kingdom - the opposite of AJE’s sister channel messaging all day long. “Another step that’s been lauded by rights activists came over the weekend. For the first time, women were allowed to enter the King Fahad stadium to celebrate the 87th anniversary of the kingdom’s foundation… The right for women to drive may be a welcomed step, but human rights organizations say the kingdom has a long way to go in guaranteeing equal rights,” Al Jazeera's Paul Chaderjian reported.
Former AJE staff speak out against sister Arabic channel
Diverging editorial lines between AJA and AJE is nothing new. Former journalists who once worked on AJE have publicly spoken out on the unspoken rule among themselves and their efforts to distance themselves from their colleagues at AJA. This especially came to head after Egypt arrested three AJE journalists and sentenced them in June 2014. At the time, Al Jazeera’s Mubasher Misr (AJMM), or Egypt Live channel was formally banned by the state while Al Jazeera English continued reporting from Cairo while reapplying for their expired press credentials. Mohamed Fahmy, then AJE Cairo bureau chief, was led to believe that any packages produced from their team would not be broadcasted on AJMM. Al Jazeera continued to broadcast reports by AJE on the AJMM, despite repeated requests from Fahmy in Cairo not to do so. “There’s never been any acknowledgment from Al Jazeera management or editorial in public that Al Jazeera, as a television channel, got sucked into the Muslim Brotherhood game that was being played out in the Middle East. Everyone at Al Jazeera English came to recognize that Al Jazeera’s pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias in some of its reporting, in some of the areas in which it worked, put its staff in greater and unnecessary danger,” Senior Middle East Correspondent from 2007-2013 Anita McNaught told Channel 4 News, which investigated Al Jazeera’s management about their handling of AJE staff in Egypt at the time. McNaught, who did two stints in Cairo for AJE, was not alone in criticizing Al Jazeera’s bias toward the Muslim Brotherhood. Greg Carlstrom, formerly an online producer at AJE, wrote a lengthy Foreign Policy piece titled “Why Egypt hates Al Jazeera English”. “Other Islamist leaders supportive of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, including Muslim Brotherhood leader Gamal Heshmat, have appeared in recent weeks on both the Arabic channel and its Egypt affiliate, Mubasher Misr. The channel routinely gives airtime to guests with sharply sectarian and reactionary views, which often go unchallenged. The Washington Post reported in November that the network has also paid to host several exiled Egyptian Islamist leaders in hotels in Doha,” Carlstrom wrote.
“None of this makes it onto Al Jazeera English”.
Ruben Banerjee, who is a former senior editor at AJE online and now national editor at the Hindustan Times, wrote that his former network walked a thin line between journalism and activism. “Its English arm, started in 2006, is suave and sophisticated. The original Arabic channel that first courted international fame and notoriety at the same time with the Osama bin Laden tapes some couple of years after its launch in 1996 is a little more direct. Mubashr Misr, the local variant of the Arabic channel, was far more stormy and acerbic,” Banerjee wrote.
“That the line between journalism and activism is often blurred is well to be expected given the backgrounds and personal preferences of senior staff,” he added.
Further disparities
Editorial disparities came to head in 2014, when AJA’s website published a report that ridiculed the execution of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff as a “Hollywood” fabrication. Al Jazeera eventually removed the article following a report by Al Arabiya English which outlined the controversial claims made in the Al Jazeera story, deemed by many online commentators as offensive and insensitive. A year later, internal fighting among AJE and AJA staffers made headlines after a series of leaked emails showed disagreements over the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris in 2015. Several journalists and editorial staff branded the Charlie Hebdo magazine as “racist” and “extremist” while others defended the right to publish cartoons depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The chain of emails involving newsroom staff and foreign correspondents resulted in several back-and-forth before Mohamed Vall, a senior reporter based in Qatar and who reported for AJA before joining AJE, said supporting Charlie Hebdo risked encouraging more killings. “And I guess if you encourage people to go on insulting 1.5 billion people about their most sacred icons then you just want more killings because as I said in 1.5 billion there will remain some fools who don’t abide by the laws or know about free speech,” Vall wrote.
Case of Jane Dutton
Senior anchors from both AJE and AJA recently participated in a video campaign demanding press freedom after the Anti-Terror Quartet countries issued a list of demands, including the shutting down of Al Jazeera Media Network for it being used as Qatar’s foreign policy tool to meddle in other countries’ internal affairs. Senior AJE News Presenter Jane Dutton appeared in the same video saying: “We demand diversity of thought and opinion be cherished”. Dutton, however, was at the center of an internal dispute between AJE and AJA after she was taken off-air on Aug. 14, 2013, following an interview she had with a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Jane Dutton was at the center of an internal dispute between AJE and AJA after she was taken off-air on Aug. 14, 2013 following an interview she had with a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in which she questioned whether the MB had weapons inside the Rabaa mosque. (Screenshot: Al Jazeera) According to AJE staffers who spoke to independent news website Doha News, the channel’s Executive Producer Hani El Konayyesi pulled Dutton off air after Al Jazeera management felt she had asked questions that cast the Muslim Brotherhood in a negative light. Dutton had asked whether the Muslim Brotherhood had been seen with weapons inside the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque at the height of protests that summer. “She (Dutton) was given a dressing down, publicly, behind the glass walls of an office in the newsroom. They tried to make out that someone of Jane’s experience had forgotten her journalistic integrity in the excitement of it all,” one AJE staff told Doha News, which was banned from operating inside Qatar last year. David Pollock, the Kaufman Fellow at The Washington Institute, analyzed the difference between AJE and AJA in Apr. 2011 in a piece titled “Al Jazeera: One Organization, Two Messages”, just two months after the so-called Arab Spring uprising took place. In the piece, Pollock wrote that while the Arabic website reflects Qatar's regional interests, the English site has a greater internationalist bent to its reporting. “Unfortunately, Aljazeera's English/Arabic bifurcation helps to ensure that these constituencies will never see eye to eye. As long as this practice continues, Aljazeera should not be touted as a true reformer or promoter of democracy,” Pollock wrote.
Kurdish Parliament Rejects Iraqi Measures
Asharq Al-Awsat/September 01/17/Erbil– In an urgent session held on Saturday, Kurdish parliament rejected the list of measures announced by the Iraqi parliament. The government of Kurdistan region also refused to receive any military or security Iraqi personnel to oversee the airports. Meanwhile, reports indicated that both Turkey and Iran had approved the presence of Iraqi military forces on their territories, however no official confirmation of the news had been issued. Speaking before the parliament, Kurdistan Region’s Minister of Transportation Mawlood Bawa Murad confirmed that all flights from and into Erbil and Sulaimnai airports had stopped, saying this was a political punishment from the Iraqi government. The minister added that the government’s decisions have no legal base and are a punishment to all civilians and airlines. Bawa Murad said that he was told by journalists that the Iraqi government was planning to deploy some officers to the Kurdish airports. He said if the reports were accurate, the Kurdish government would consider such officers as “our guests,” but warned that they would not allow them to “step in” the Kurdish airports unless discussions were held about the flight ban. “We will not allow even one single person from Iraq, from the Iraqi civil aviation, or from the office of the government to come to the Erbil and Sulaimnai international airports without our decision,” Bawa Murad said. He concluded that unlike the Iraqi government, they want to continue the path of “language of dialogue,” and that the Iraqi authorities should know that Kurdistan remained a nation with or without an airport. Security forces on Ibrahim al-Khalil crossing denied the deployment of Iraqi forces or employees in the border.
AbdulWahhab Mohammed, director of intelligence at the crossing point from the Kurdish region into Turkey, said Iraqi troops are in position on the Turkish side of the border. He informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the situation is completely normal and no changes had occurred, adding that they had not been contacted and no Iraqi employees or military forces had arrived. On September 26, the Iraqi government decided to monitor all crossing points between Iraq and Kurdistan, close or unofficial points, and stop all international flights. The measures came in force on Friday when the Iraqi authorities cut Kurdistan’s air connection to the rest of the world for an unlimited time. Speaking at the parliament, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi called the parliament to cancel the results of the referendum and impose Iraqi law on the region. The parliament voted on 12 measures against Kurdistan, most of which are economic, including calls to deploy Iraqi forces to the disputed or Kurdistani areas such as Kirkuk, take control over Kurdistan’s land and air entry points, demand the foreign missions present in Erbil and Sulaimani to leave the Kurdistan Region, and bring charges against Kurdish officials who helped organize the Kurdish vote. According to Asharq Al-Awsat sources, several countries proposed mediation between Erbil and Baghdad to begin new negotiations. Kurdistan Region’s Presidency (KRP) announced that British Defense Secretary, Michael Fallon has sent a letter to President Masoud Barzani urging the Kurdistan Region to reach a solution with Baghdad and other neighboring countries over the Kurdish independence referendum. “Now that the referendum has taken place, I would urge you to engage constructively with Baghdad and your other neighbors and strive for a mutually agreeable solution in a measured and calm manner,” the statement quoted Fallon. Fallon reportedly called for continued cooperation between Peshmerga and Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS.
On Saturday, Iraqi Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Othman al-Ghanemi arrived in Tehran, Iran to coordinate military cooperation and efforts. Upon his arrival, Ghanemi met with Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of Iran Major General Mohammad Bagheri. Ghanemi thanked Iran for its continuous military support and stated that he is convinced Iran will continue to support Iraq till the end. He also delivered a letter from President Abadi to Iranian President Hasan Rouhani. Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 01-02/17
Rebel spokesman: Houthi missiles can hit covert Israeli bases in Eritrea
Jerusalem Post/October 01/17
A spokesperson for Yemeni rebels accused Israel of taking part in the Saudi Arabia-led coalition against Yemen and warned that Israeli military bases in Africa are within range of Houthi missiles. Colonel Aziz Rashid, military spokesman for the Houthis, was quoted by Al Masirah, a news outlet tied to the armed group, warning that his forces would soon have missiles capable of reaching bases in Israel itself. "In the event that the military situation develops, all possibilities will be considered," he said. While Israel is not recognized by Saudi Arabia, Riyadh and Jerusalem have shared interests in curbing the expanding role of their mutual enemy Iran across the region. Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are at their worst in years with both accusing the other of subverting regional security. Israel for its part has continued to warn of the growing presence of Iranian militias on its northern border.
Israel established diplomatic relations with Eritrea in early 1993 and assisted in the Eritrean war of independence. A 2012 report by intelligence group Stratfor uncovered Israeli naval bases in Eritrea’s Dahlk archipelago and Massawa along with a listening post in Amba Soira.
These docks were previously reported as being used by submarines and ships taking part in the ongoing covert war against Iranian networks smuggling weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah through the Red Sea and then to Sudan and Egypt.
Iran, which arms the Houthis, was also reported by Stratfor to have a military installation in Assab, Eritrea. Tehran is reported to be spending hundreds of millions of dollars supporting the Houthi rebels including having sent Hezbollah militants to the war-torn country to train the rebels.
In early July, the head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate Major General Herzi Halevi confirmed reports that Hezbollah operates and manages two underground weapons factories in Lebanon set up by the IRGC in response to alleged Israeli strikes against weapons convoys in Syria.
Israel also believes that Iran has begun to build similar factories in Yemen and according to Iran's semiofficial Tasnim News Agency, the Houthi have various homegrown missiles, including Qaher-1 which has a range of 500 kilometers as well as the Borkan-1.
The Houthis have launched several ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia, including one which targeted Riyadh a day before US President Donald Trump visited the Kingdom in May.
Yemen has been gripped by violence since September 2014, when the Houthi rebels stormed Sanaa and forced the internationally recognized government to flee south.
The Saudi-led coalition began bombing raids on Houthi positions across Yemen in March 2015 in support of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and has since been accused of bombing schools, markets, hospitals and other civilian targets, killing over 10,000 people and leaving tens of thousands more injured. The war has created a humanitarian crisis in one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, forcing aid groups to cope simultaneously with a food crisis as well as the world’s worst cholera outbreak which the International Committee of the Red Cross expects to hit 1 million cases by the end of the year.

The Pope, Peace and Islamic Fundamentalists/البابا فرنسيس والسلام والأصوليين/ الإسلاميين
A. Z. Mohamed/Gatestone Institute/October 01/17'
Islamist terrorists in Egypt bombed Coptic churches and killed dozens of innocent people on Palm Sunday, and Saudi Arabia, which finances and hosts the Muslim World League (MWL), is the global purveyor of extremist Wahhabism. More importantly, it sends a signal to persecuted Christians and moderate Muslims that they really have nowhere to turn. In his attempt at appeasing Muslims, then, the Pope is actually emboldening the "arsonists," not the "firefighters."
Perhaps the Pope is unaware of the nature of the MWL and Al-Azhar. If so, here is a brief description of each...
"MWL has a long history of ties to, and financial support for, Islamic extremists, terrorist operatives, and terrorist organizations including Hamas, the Abu Sayyaf Group, al-Ittihaad al-Islami, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Jemaat-al-Islamiyya, and al Qaeda.... MWL has often provided a platform for hateful, inflammatory rhetoric directed against Jews and the state of Israel." — Discover the Networks.
"Any Muslim can kill an apostate and eat him, as well kill infidel warriors even if they are young or female and they can also be eaten, because they are not granted any protection.." — Al-Azhar book for high school students; 2015 investigative report conducted by the Egyptian newspaper El-Youn el-Sabi.
After a visit to the Vatican on September 20, a delegation of the Muslim World League (MWL), an international NGO based in, and funded by, Saudi Arabia, lauded Pope Francis for his past statements rejecting the link between Islam and violence. During their "historic meeting," MWL Secretary-General Muhammad Abdul-Kareem Al-Issa and the Pope exchanged gifts and reportedly vowed to enhance cooperation "in all areas to achieve common goals, notably the spread of peace and harmony."
The next day, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the WML held an "informal meeting... during which it was repeated that:
Religion and violence are incompatible;
Religions have moral resources capable of contributing to fraternity and peace;
The phenomenon of fundamentalism, particularly when violent, is troubling and joint efforts are required to counter it, and
Situations exist where freedom of conscience and of religion are not entirely respected and protected, so there is an urgent need to remedy this, renewing 'religious discourse' and reviewing school books."
The two groups then agreed to establish a joint permanent committee "in the near future" to address these issues.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the leaders of Cairo's al-Azhar University -- the world's leading Islamic center of learning for Sunni Muslims -- at its International Peace Conference in April, after Pope Francis delivered an address for which the audience awarded him much applause. According to an account in the National Catholic Register, "Probably to avoid offending its Muslim members, who consider Jesus only a prophet, [Pope Francis] seemed to deliberately omit any explicit mention of the Lord's name, preferring to focus more generally on 'God' and the 'Absolute.'"
The report went on to summarize "key points" of the Pontiff's speech, among them:"Despite the need for the Absolute, we must reject any 'absolutizing' that would justify violence which is the 'negation of every authentic religious expression.'"
"Religion is not meant to only unmask evil but promote peace, perhaps today 'more than ever,' but without 'giving in to forms of facile syncretism' [and instead] 'praying for one another.'"
"It is of little or no use to raise our voices and run about to find weapons for our protection: what is needed today are peacemakers, not fomenters of conflict; firefighters and not arsonists; preachers of reconciliation and not instigators of destruction."
Thanking the Pope for his "defense of Islam against the accusation of violence and terrorism," the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Muhammad al-Tayyib, said in his speech that humanity ought to "stress the value of peace, justice, equality and human rights regardless of religion, color, race, or language." He added:
"We need to liberate the image of religions from false concepts, misunderstandings, malpractices, and false religiosity attached to them. These evils bestir conflicts, spread hate, and instigate violence... [W]e should not hold religion accountable for the crimes of any small group of followers."
The twin messages at each occasion -- Al-Azhar in Cairo and the Vatican in Rome -- were the same: that religion is the vessel through which peace is achieved, and that Islam is no more violent than Christianity.
This is not merely ironic, as less than three weeks earlier in Egypt, Islamist terrorists bombed Coptic churches and killed dozens of innocent people on Palm Sunday, and Saudi Arabia, which finances and bases the MWL, is the global purveyor of extremist Wahhabism. More importantly, it sends a signal to persecuted Christians and moderate Muslims that they really have nowhere to turn.
As appropriate as it is for the head of the Catholic Church to hail peace and coexistence while railing against intolerance, it is worse than meaningless if he does so while forging ties with the types of extremists he claims to be denouncing. In his attempt at appeasing Muslims, then, the Pope is actually emboldening the "arsonists," not the "firefighters".
Perhaps the Pope is unaware of the nature of the MWL and Al-Azhar. If so, here is a brief description of each:
The Muslim World League, founded in 1962 and based in Mecca, describes itself as follows:
"The Muslim World League is an international non-governmental Islamic organization based in the Holy City of Makkah. Its goal is to clarify the true message of Islam. It is engaged in propagating the religion of Islam, elucidating its principles and tenets, refuting suspicious and false allegations made against the religion. The League also strives to persuade people to abide by the commandments of their Lord, and to keep away from prohibited deeds. ...The League, which employs all means that are not at variance with the Sharia (Islamic law) to further its aims, is well known for rejecting all acts of violence and promoting dialogue with the people of other cultures. ... those in charge of MWL seek to establish a brand of Islam that adheres to the precepts of God (Allah) and the tradition of the Prophet Mohammad."
According to the David Horowitz Freedom Center's website, Discover the Networks:
"MWL has a long history of ties to, and financial support for, Islamic extremists, terrorist operatives, and terrorist organizations including Hamas, the Abu Sayyaf Group, al-Ittihaad al-Islami, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Jemaat-al-Islamiyya, and al Qaeda.... MWL has often provided a platform for hateful, inflammatory rhetoric directed against Jews and the state of Israel."
Al-Azhar, too, is a virtual training camp for extremism, according to a report in the American Thinker. In a recent article, author Cynthia Farahat -- a fellow at the Middle East Forum -- writes that it "is where many of the world's most brutal terrorists received their formal religious training."
This, she says, "is to be expected, given the nature of the material taught there [and the fact that it has been] unofficially controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood for decades." She provides many examples of the Islamic center's curriculum and teachings -- revealed in a 2015 investigative report conducted by the Egyptian newspaper El-Youn el-Sabi -- among them a book for high school students that promotes cannibalism. "Any Muslim can kill an apostate and eat him, as well kill infidel warriors even if they are young or female and they can also be eaten, because they are not granted any protection," is one passage in the book.
The Egyptian report also quotes the same book as stating:
"To preserve one's self from the evil of an infidel, any Muslim can gouge their eyes out, or mutilate their hands and legs, or sever one arm and one leg."
Another book teaches: "Any Muslim is allowed to kill a fornicator, a warrior, or a [Muslim] who misses prayer, even without permission of the [ruling] Imam."
Farahat then lists a number of the "world's most brutal Islamists [who] either worked for or graduated from al-Azhar." For example, Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, is a graduate, and the first leader of al-Qaeda, the late Abdulla Azzam, studied there, as did Abu Osama al-Masri, the likely mastermind of the Russian plane crash over the Sinai in 2015. Osama Bin Laden's mentor, Omar Abdel Rahman (the "Blind Sheikh"), a leader of the international arm of al-Qaeda, was a scholar at the institution.
Al-Azhar is so closely associated with fundamentalism and violence, she explains, that public figures and academics in Egypt have called on the government of President Abdel Fattah el Sisi to designate Al-Azhar a terrorist organization.
If Pope Francis wishes to create and join interfaith coalitions against dangerous fundamentalism, he should cease giving his blessing to Muslim groups that perpetrate political Islam in its most destructive form.
**A.Z. Mohamed is a Muslim born and raised in the Middle East.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute

What is Behind the Refusal to Stand for the Anthem?
Jonathan S. Tobin/Gatestone Institute/October 01/17
If there is a declining number of Americans who demonstrate patriotism, it may spring from the fact that few have ever served their nation in any capacity.
Public education in the post-Vietnam era, as well as textbooks often developed with the "help" of dubious sources, have also emphasized America's flaws while undermining the sense that it is a place worth defending.
It is worth wondering if the battles over the anthem are more the natural outcome of a popular culture that no longer teaches Western values or requires either a draft or any kind of national service.
The debate about whether football players should stand for the national anthem moved to the center of the national conversation last month. On Sunday, September 24, scores of National Football League players, knelt, sat or stayed in the locker room while the Star-Spangled Banner was played. What used to be a rote exercise that began all sports events suddenly became seen as an indicator of sympathy for the Black Lives Matter movement or antipathy for President Donald J. Trump.
The most telling moment in the controversy, however, may have come a day later, when one NFL player felt compelled to apologize. The contrarian was not one of those allegedly protesting the nation's perceived shortcomings. It was, instead, a player who stood at attention and with his hand over his heart while the anthem was played.
Alejandro Villanueva was in the spotlight because he chose to stand and salute in sight of the fans -- and the television cameras -- at the entrance to the field while the rest of his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates stayed in their locker room. Within 24 hours, his number 78 Steelers jersey became the league's best-selling merchandise. Villanueva was apparently quickly shamed by his team into expressing regret.
In the aftermath of his public browbeating, it did not take much deep analysis for many Americans to see that the factor that separated Villanueva from his teammates was his military service.
A graduate of West Point and a veteran of three tours of service as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan, Villanueva is an outlier not only in terms of the NFL, but also as far as most Americans are concerned.
Alejandro Villanueva of the Pittsburgh Steelers chose to stand and salute in sight of fans during the playing of the national anthem on September 24 in Chicago, while the rest of his teammates stayed in their locker room. Villanueva was apparently quickly shamed by his team into expressing regret. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
According to the Pentagon's Defense Manpower Center, active service members make up only 0.4 percent of the population of the United States. Even more telling is that more than 44 years after the Selective Service effectively ended conscription, the percentage of veterans has plummeted. In 2015, it was reported that only 7.3% of Americans had served in the military at some point during their lives. With each passing year, as the last veterans of World War Two and Korea pass away and with even the youngest Vietnam-era service members entering their seventies, this percentage will decline. Most Americans know nothing of what the military's sacrifice entails and are apparently prone not to value what those who serve in the military are defending. Ironically, surveys show the military to be the most respected of contemporary American institutions.
At the same time, opinion surveys continue to show a decline in expressions of patriotism, such as pride in the values of America or in being American. That number reached a historic low in April of 2017 when Gallup reported that only 52% of respondents said they were "extremely proud" to be Americans.
Gallup's numbers showed Democrats and millennials polled on the question of how they felt about America were less likely to express pride in their country than Republicans or older Americans. As college students have been increasingly shielded from knowing positive values that America has brought to civilization, the resulting impact on the culture cannot be considered a surprise.
Of course, to some of those who refuse to stand for the anthem, kneeling is a public reproach to racism that still exists in the US as well as in many other societies, as well as a supposed expression of patriotism in accord with the American tradition of free speech, honoring dissent.
One does not have to be a veteran to love one's country or to embrace its symbols. Dissent, even in forms that are offensive to many, can also be declared expressions of democracy.
Moreover, Trump's demand that NFL owners players be fired -- they are not his to fire -- doubtless caused many players to join the protesters as a way of demonstrating their antipathy for an unpopular president rather than resentment toward police forces accused of targeting African-Americans for death (often without any basis in statistics or the facts of controversial cases, such as the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri).
The teaching of what used to be called civics or history has declined to the point where Americans know very little about their roots or how a republican form of government works. At the same time, public education in the post-Vietnam era, as well as textbooks often developed with the "help" of dubious sources (here, here, here and here) have also emphasized America's flaws while undermining the sense that it is a place worth defending.
As the sports world has gone from being a sector of the culture where patriotic gestures were transformed from universally accepted time-honored rituals to the occasion for leftist "virtue signaling," it is worth wondering if the battles over the anthem are more the natural outcome of a popular culture that no longer teaches Western values or requires either a draft or any kind of national service.
**Jonathan S. Tobin is opinion editor of a contributing writer for National Review Online. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.
© 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.

Saudi Arabia is not a backward state
Mamdouh AlMuhaini/Al Arabiya/October 01/17
The decision to grant Saudi women a license to drive was no ordinary decision. It actually confirms Saudi Arabia’s decisive journey towards civilization, modernization and development. This has been Saudi Arabia’s orientation for many years, as it opened its markets and economy for foreign companies, sent its students to study abroad and strengthened its ties with world powers. However, the decision to allow women to drive sent a clear and frank message to those who oppose the kingdom and which stipulates that Saudi Arabia is heading towards the future and it will not regress, as they are planning and hoping.
Picturing Saudi Arabia as a backward country that is isolated from the rest of the world has been the aim of those who hate Saudi Arabia, both inside and outside the kingdom. These people included figures who work in prominent universities and famous television stations in the West.
But what does a extremist or a Brotherhood affiliate who practice strict religious behavior in Riyadh or Dammam have in common with a host or researcher in New York or Washington and how do they benefit from each other?
A black cloud
Before answering this question we must understand that preventing women from driving was like a black cloud that prevented the world from seeing all the positive measures which Saudi Arabia has taken. It was like a black hole that absorbed all our successes and good habits, such as sending hundreds of thousands of students to study abroad, assigning 30 women in the Shura council and helping millions of poor people across the world.
Why did this happen? First it is because there was nothing that practically justifies the ban. The stances of those objecting to women driving were not logical or morally justified. This matter directly affected the life of half of the society’s members on a daily basis. It’s not a small issue that can be brushed under the carpet. It resulted in a bad reputation that obscured other important achievements. Another reason is that this matter is rather strange and people in general like these strange pieces of news. What makes this bad in this case is that it depicted the entire society as outdated. An American in Oregon, west of the US, would not know that Saudi Arabia aids the poor from all religions and he may even hear about this without forming any impression. However, he will form an impression and have an opinion when he hears that women cannot drive! This impression will rather solidify forever after a mere one-minute search on Google. The third reason is that Saudi Arabia’s rivals, whether it’s the Brotherhood or figures affiliated with Doha or leftists, exploited this ban during every conference or television show in an attempt to stain the kingdom’s reputation. Of course, we do not expect these people to make any good remarks about Saudi Arabia.
Picturing Saudi Arabia as a backward country that is isolated from the rest of the world has been the aim of those who hate Saudi Arabia, both inside and outside the kingdom.
As I have mentioned in my previous article titled “Women driving license a victory for Saudi society,” this bad reputation has extended to include all Saudi society. We’d be asked “do you support women driving?” at universities or in cafes. They’d ask us that as if we come from the stone age! We are a developed, vital and young society that is familiar with what’s happening in the world. However, this bad reputation is now being absorbed by that black hole.
Let’s answer that question: What brings an extremist or Brotherhood supporter and an American researcher or host together?
A lot more than we actually expect. They disagree over the means but agree on the final outcome which is showing Saudi Arabia as an extremist, backward country that’s isolated from the modern world.
When extremist figures who oppose women driving make television appearances and spread hateful and extremist ideas, they intentionally or unintentionally poison the social culture and deceive thousands of young people. By doing so, they achieve their aim to establish a closed and isolated society. This is why they fight any intellectual or writer who call for tolerance and for combating hate. They accuse them of apostasy because they contradict their vision of the country they want to establish. Technological development and social media helped them turn their extremist rhetoric into trends which achieved the aim of depicting Saudi Arabia negatively like they wanted. The extent of strange and extremist fatwas, such as those related to Mickey Mouse, are not a coincidence but intentional as they aim to create a permanent massive cultural gap between us and others.
These people exploited the driving ban and insulted anyone who called for allowing women to drive. Non-Saudi preachers also worked to distort Saudi Arabia’s image, and they’d turn into Saudis by just wearing the shemagh. The Brotherhood’s and extremists' internal strategy is clear: deepen extremism so it’s not possible to heal from it and spread it as much as possible outside the kingdom in order to harm social and cultural bridges with the developed world.
Exploiting a treasure
Leftist or right-wing extremists in the US and Europe, and of course the Iranians and Doha’s supporters, found in this extremist rhetoric pertaining to women driving a treasure. Will they dump it in the nearest trash bin? Of course not. They will exploit it in every occasion to depict Saudi Arabia as a backward state that supports extremists. One of those who adopted this approach is an author who is well-known for his Iranian orientations. This writer ignored all the horrific crimes which the mullahs’ regime committed and published an article in the American Time magazine attacking Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy which is well-known for its moderation and support of stability. He based his piece on extremists’ speeches. What does foreign policy have to do with the fatwas of an extremist preacher? Is this author stupid? No, he’s definitely not but he’s actually burying all of the kingdom’s significant achievements because he’s aware that western readers care about strange stories that are professionally phrased a lot more than they care about rigid facts. Do not expect your enemy to be fair to you, and more importantly do not give him the rifle that he will point at your chest and kill you with.
We’ve now put all this behind us following the historical decision made by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The decision clearly told the entire world that Saudi Arabia is a country that belongs to the future despite all obstructions. It’s a modern and moderate state that’s not a extremist or a Brotherhood state or a backward country like its enemies have planned for it to be for decades. Saudi women can now rejoice and get driving licenses as they prepare to drive their new cars and men can rest assured a little, as it’s been a long journey.

Women’s roles in Saudi Arabia: What they said, what we said
Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi/Al Arabiya/October 01/17
As part of the cultural development which Saudi Arabia is witnessing, King Salman issued a historical decision to allow women to drive cars like their brothers. This is a complementary step towards a bright future. Developing societies is greatly important but some secondary major issues are often exaggerated for several reasons and become major obstacles. Women’s driving is an example of this in the Saudi social context. Vision 2030 led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under the sponsorship of King Salman says: “Our vision begins from society and ends with it. We believe in the importance of building a vital society where people live according to Islamic principles and moderation and centrism while taking pride in their national identity and ancient cultural heritage.. Perhaps what distinguishes our society is its commitment to Islamic principles and values and strong familial ties. This urges us to provide families with the necessary factors for success to empower them towards looking after their children.” The vision’s aims also include “increasing women’s participation in the workforce from 22% to 30%, empowering women and investing in their capabilities.” The decision lifting the ban on women’s driving is only one practical example of the vision. The new Saudi Arabia is the glorious Saudi Arabia that pairs what it says with actions. The crown prince told Bloomberg in an interview on April 23, 2016: “We believe women have rights in Islam that they've yet to obtain.” The agency also quoted a former American officer as saying that he met with the prince once and told him he is willing to allow Saudi women to drive but he is waiting for the right moment to discuss the matter with the religious institution. The right moment has thus come paired with good management and determination.
Those following up with the statements of the crown prince, who is leading major domestic and foreign measures towards enhancing the country’s status and pushing it towards the future, knows well that he does not say anything unless he truly means it. His statements about any cause or crisis means that he has a complete plan that he will implement once all the requirements are met. This applies to politics and economy as well as to cultural and social-related matters.
No society can rise when half of its members are facing obstacles. Saudi Arabia passed through a phase which the prince calls post-1979. The crown prince is leading a generation of young Saudis undeterred by that phase’s problems as countries which renew themselves are those which set their priorities and draw their ambitions away from obstacles and present constraints. In the past, certain political Islam movements used to say that reliance must be on the nation but national movements responded saying that reliance must be on one’s homeland. They said affiliation and belonging must be to an ideology but we said it must be to the state. They said political borders are the limits of faith but we said they are the limits of geography and the modern national state. Regarding women’s affairs, they said she is incapable but we said she is fully competent and she is a partner at home, work and the country. They said educating her is haram and that working and leaving the house is haram but we said these were basic rights in order for her to be an efficient member in the society and a contributor to the state and country. They insisted to keep her dependent on others in everything that concerns her and we insisted that she must be responsible for herself and must build her future herself. As for mingling, we said it is normal because it’s present in all societies, including in the society during the prophet’s time. They’ve been saying things for so long and we’ve been responding. In the end, only what’s right prevailed and the state emerged victorious achieving what’s best for it and for its future and society.
There has been a rhetoric that hurled insults at women and besieged them via concepts, decisions, generalizations and institutions. This aimed to obstruct any attempts to empower women. The decision to lift the ban on driving, like other decisions that preceded it and others that will follow it, was greatly welcomed by the Saudis. The world also commended the move and welcomed it. This proves that the new Saudi Arabia, which is redrawing its regional and international status and working to implement major programs and transformations, is overcoming obstacles from the past and building a bright future that will help it cross towards the aspired future. A big decision like this calls for preparing an appropriate environment to implement it. Commissions were formed in several ministries to devise plans and follow up on their implementation. A legislative environment is also required to handle any problems while executing these plans. A law that criminalizes harassment has thus been issued. This is necessary not only when it comes to women’s driving but it’s also important for all major development projects in the transportation sector, i.e. metro, trains and buses, and in the trade, tourism, culture and entertainment sectors. It will basically deter attempts to hinder the society’s development.
The issue pertaining to women’s driving has witnessed several phases since the beginning of the 1990’s. The political leadership back then insisted it was a social matter that needs certain requirements and measures. They have now finally been provided and it was time to make this historical decision.
Before the so-called Sahwa, the Saudi society was developed like other societies particularly when it comes to women and their role. Women in agricultural areas drove their cars and run their errands without any objections or condemnations. This could have smoothly become the case in rural areas and cities but the so-called Sahwa’s rise stood in the way and dragged the society down the ladder of civilization in terms of women and their status.Amid this rapid pace of the Saudi state to catch up with civilization and engage in a competition over the best international standards in all fields to prove that the kingdom is capable of renewing and developing, the society received this historical decision as part of a comprehensive vision that overcomes obstacles and takes action. The approach is now directed towards further development amid a desire to be the best and culturally compete to be among the first ranks.

Why Macron Doesn’t Fear France’s Unions
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry/Bloomberg/September 01/17
The first street protests against Emmanuel Macron’s proposed labor-market reforms have been underwhelming. Several major unions stayed away. Estimates of the turnout varied — from 223,000, according to fairly reliable police figures, to 500,000, according to the CGT, France’s biggest union, which called for the march. Whatever the real number, French unions are divided, and this helps Macron’s reform efforts.
This is unusual. France’s unions are traditionally a united front against pro-market reforms of any kind, especially labor-market reforms. Despite a history of radicalism, Jean-Claude Mailly, secretary general of the Force Ouvriere (FO), has all but endorsed the bill, while criticizing it. The moderate CFDT union, which most observers expect to eventually support the bill, has not yet taken an official stance, saying it is still studying the matter. Meanwhile CFE-CGC, usually a moderate union, has denounced the bill in terms more fitting for a far-left tract. What’s going on?
Some of this is just habitual political squabbling: Mailly, traditionally allied with the bigger, formerly Communist Party-affiliated CGT, is said to be tired of playing second fiddle and is therefore looking for opportunities to distinguish his group from his senior partner. But there are structural factors at play: the fundamental realignment of French unions as they become more responsive to their members’ concerns.
French unions are famously radical and resistant to all reforms. After World War II, French leaders wanted to create a German-style “social market economy” whereby workers would be represented on boards and be key stakeholders in corporate decisions. A system of “representivity” was set up whereby a company, industry sector or government must negotiate labor rules with those unions that the law deems “representative” of the workers concerned. In sector-wide or national negotiations, any proposed reform must meet a certain threshold of approval by unions, and each union’s vote is weighted by its representivity. The cardinal sin of the post-war system in France is that the law simply set out which unions were deemed “representative,” whatever their results in elections or their membership numbers, thereby giving them a legal lock on the process and freeing them from accountability to their own members and to employees. Most workers, employees and managers don’t actually want to strike and protest over every little thing — even in France. But unions were not accountable to them, and were not incentivized to cater to them.
Unions therefore became little more than political machines. With no incentive to provide services to workers, most of the people drawn to join them were either ideological radicals or civil servants, because civil service rules incentivize union membership, giving unions the ability to bring the whole country to a halt by triggering strikes in key public services. This led to an oft-noted paradox: France had extremely powerful unions, but also the lowest percentage of union membership of any major economy.
In 2008, a crucial reform changed the rules around representivity for unions so that election results were taken into account in the formula for their representivity. The consequences of this systemic shift have been slow in trickling through the system; participation in union elections slowly increased as everyday employees found out their vote actually matters. In March of this year, an earthquake happened: In professional elections, the centrist and moderate CFDT union came in first, ahead of the radical CGT. It was the first time since World War II that CGT didn’t come in first.
Unions have slowly begun to realize that they cannot represent only their ideological activist base but must also reflect a broader swathe of French workers, lest they become irrelevant. FO, usually a radical union, has been treading a fine line, denouncing the bill in press releases and holding a non-binding vote against it, but also refusing to call for strikes and protests; the union has generally been moving in a more conciliatory direction, voting in favor of a deal with bosses on unemployment insurance in March, for example. It is said to be trying to find a middle way between CFDT’s image as always saying yes to everything, and CGT’s as always saying no. This alone has significantly altered the landscape. Macron’s labor-market reform is essentially tailor-made to squeak through without too much disruption and to be supported by at least a few unions. It might be a missed opportunity to push more radical reforms, but by capitalizing on the structural changes to the landscape of French unions, all the signs are there for relatively smooth sailing.

Before the Spark Breaks Out in Kurdistan
Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al Awsat/September 01/17
On Sept. 25, the region woke up on a decisive moment with 92.7 percent of Kurdish people voting for independence from Iraq. Then events accelerated and the Iraqi government announced, in coordination with Ankara and Tehran, its willingness to restore control over four cross-borders (two with Turkey and two with Iran) and to impose an air-embargo on flights from and to Iraqi Kurdistan with scenarios of likely armed conflicts in disputed regions especially the oil-rich Kirkuk. Two days before the referendum, the Iraqi Army advanced to launch an offensive on ISIS strongholds in Hawija – the scene foresees a spark of military confrontation that would break out anytime. True that the local government in Kurdistan confronted the international community with its insistence to carry out the referendum, but the tension in Iraq and the region wasn’t caused only by it. Announcing the referendum is not something new, its date has been previously set and the Kurds reiterated several times their determination to separate from Iraq.
Kurds attribute this demand to years of abuse that have made them realize that it is time to establish their own state. Where was this international rejection before? (Especially that of the US, European Union, Turkey and Iran) Back then, none of them attempted to reform ties between Kurds and the central state, especially that Kurdistan government has been accusing the central government in Baghdad for years of depriving the Kurds from fair shares in power and resources.
Despite all that, the dispute was neglected and this pushed Kurds to insist on the referendum, whose outcome came as expected. This gives Iraqi Kurdistan a strong card to use in upcoming negotiations with the central government on natural resources as well as reinforcement of its political position as a self-ruled region. The severe escalation by the Iraqi central government, Iran and Turkey with the unprecedented siege and threats of starving the Kurds, disregard the fact that Kurds announced earlier that the referendum is not an announcement of independence — it only acknowledges the necessity to move to the next step and to negotiate with Iraq and neighboring states in addition to the international community the conditions of separation, if it happened. Confederation with enhanced conditions and possibly a new version of the current self-ruling which means that Kurds moved on with the referendum after they lost hope in any of the main powers to understand the situation. They moved on with a referendum that enhances their condition and urges European countries to focus on reforming ties between Kurds and the central government.
It should be mentioned that it is difficult for Kurdistan dream of independence to become true amidst this regional and international rejection. Geographically, the anticipated Kurdish state has no navy border and is surrounded by states that reject its independence.
Economically, Kurdistan government economy depends on oil transported via pipes that pass through Turkey or is exported via the central government. Iraqi Kurdistan exports around 550,000 bpd – out of daily produced 600,000 bpd – via a pipe in Turkish Jihan’s Port overseeing the Mediterranean Sea. All these basic-income sources would be hindered if the tension remains. How would Erbil establish a state without the ability to export its oil?
With the referendum card in its hand, the government of Kurdistan has a strong negotiation card that permits it to move on with a confederation that maintains its status, doesn’t marginalize its people -as it is the case now- and ensures that Iraq remains united as everyone wishes.
This would contribute to finding solutions for pending topics, including the disputed regions between Erbil and Baghdad based on the Iraqi constitution and providing joint market and currency as Kurdistan maintains its independent cultural, economic, political and foreign policies.