October 08/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
The master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 24/45-51/:"‘Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked slave says to himself, "My master is delayed", and he begins to beat his fellow-slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

You are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness
First Letter to the Thessalonians 05/01-11/:"Concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Question: "How can I believe in the goodness of God when there is so much evil in the world?"
Answer: The evil in the world did not come from God. If Adam and Eve had only obeyed God, then they may have lived on earth forever, walking with God, tending the garden, working together—what might God’s “Plan A” have been? After they sinned, the created ones were just not on the same page with God anymore. God cannot tolerate sin and has no sin within Himself, so mankind hid from God in guilt and fear. One could perhaps blame Adam and Eve for the evil in the world, as they blamed each other and the serpent; however, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is safe to say that, had we been in the garden instead of Adam and Eve, we would have sinned in the same way.
God is good in that He has a plan to redeem fallen mankind. The salvation Jesus provides attests to His goodness and love (Romans 5:8). The effect of the Fall is universal, but so also is the offer of divine grace (John 3:16). The Bible clearly indicates the devastating effects of sin upon man and the hopelessness of man in solving his own sin problem. The proper understanding of the doctrine of sin is essential to understanding God’s remedy for it.
God is good in that He has sent His Son “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Jesus called Satan “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31), which means Satan has been allowed a certain amount of authority over this earth. The blame for the evil in this world should be placed squarely upon Satan. Much is written about the devil—he comes only to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). He is a fierce enemy (1 Peter 5:8). He is a liar and a murderer (John 8:44). By contrast, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11). He is the Lamb of God, sacrificed for us (Revelation 5:6). He is the truth and the life (John 14:6). Jesus is the “seed of the woman” to crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15). Jesus is Goodness incarnate.
God is good in that He is implementing a plan to rid the universe of evil once and for all. He is the God of justice, and He will one day make all things right (Psalm 89:14; Revelation 21:5). Sin and evil will be dealt with in perfect judgment (Revelation 20:13). Because of Christ, we have the promise of Romans 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
God is good in that He provides for His children (Matthew 6:33). He gives life to all and upholds all things by His wisdom and power (Hebrews 1:3). He is patient with sinners, desiring them to come to repentance and find eternal life (2 Peter 3:9). God gives us eternal life and abundant life now, free from the death penalty of sin (Romans 6:23). He is “rich in mercy” because of “His great love for us” (Ephesians 2:4).
Just picture the Sinless One who created everything, willfully hanging on a cross and spilling His blood for the sin of those who put their faith in Him. Who can charge Him with injustice (Romans 9:14)? Jesus proves God’s love. “Love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
Recommended Resource: If God, Why Evil?: A New Way to Think about the Question by Norman Geisler

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 07-08/17
Trump Shows Tough Measures Against Iran, 'Targets' Hizbullah/Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 07/17/
'The Insult' tops box office in Lebanon/Chloe Domat/Al Mointor/October 6, 2017
Some Haven’t Learned from the October War/Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/October 07/17
Sweden: Land of Double Standards/Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/October 07/17
Threats to Kurds made independence referendum inevitable/Huda al-Husseini/Al Arabiya 07/17

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 07-08/17
Trump Shows Tough Measures Against Iran, 'Targets' Hizbullah
Israel Breaches Lebanon's Territorial Waters Off Ras Naqoura
Rifi Says Will Wage Parliamentary Elections in Sidon
Geagea in UAE for Talks with Emirati Officials, LF Cadres
General Security Exposes Israeli Spy Cell
Report: No One Wants to Be Liable for Wage Scale Suspension
Lebanon’s Cabinet Approves Allocations for Electoral Supervisory Authority
Bassil from Aqaba: We need to remain strong together as Lebanese, even if we disagree in politics
Foucher from Baalbek: We are committed to promoting a political settlement in Syria, ensuring the safe return of refugees
Caccia presides over Thanksgiving Mass in Harissa: I found faith in Lebanon
Hariri receives women participating in "Pedal for Peace" initiative
We Want Accountability hold sitin at Central Bank
'The Insult' tops box office in Lebanon

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 07-08/17
Eleven injured in car crash near London museum, terrorism ruled out
Man arrested, people injured in crash near London Natural History Museum
Anti-nuclear campaign ICAN wins Nobel Peace Prize
Washington to Provide Saudi Arabia with THAAD Missile Defense
Russia Strikes Kill 120 IS Fighters, over 60 'Foreign Mercenaries' in Syria
Spain Braces for More Protests in Catalonia Crisis
Cinders and Desolation in Iraq's Hawija after IS
Turkey's Erdogan Says Syria Rebels in New Idlib Operation
Erdogan: FSA in New Idlib Operation
Libyan Authorities Recover Bodies of Beheaded Copts
Revolutionary Council, Fatah Welcome Palestinian Reconciliation
Egypt’s Parliament Begins Int’l Moves against HRW
Russian Campaign Against US al-Tanf Base
European MP Resigns over Talks with Assad
Police, FBI seek public's help in finding motive behind Las Vegas massacre

Latest Lebanese Related News published on October 07-08/17
Trump Shows Tough Measures Against Iran, 'Targets' Hizbullah
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 07/17/
Aiming to show tough action against Iran, the White House is preparing a series of measures targeting its affiliates in the country and beyond, even as President Donald Trump quietly steps back from his campaign pledge to rip up the nuclear deal. New actions to be announced in the coming days will focus on two entities: Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Hizbullah, the Shiite group blamed for sowing discord in the Middle East and seeking Israel's demise. The actions include financial sanctions on anyone who does business with the Revolutionary Guard, as well as millions of dollars in rewards for information leading to the arrest of two operatives of the Iranian-backed Hizbullah. The measures were described by two administration officials and a person familiar with the unfolding policy on Iran. The administration officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the actions before they are officially announced. The third person was not authorized to speak about private conversations.
The moves allow Trump to show he is not easing the pressure against the Islamic Republic, even though the nuclear deal he has long derided may live on — at least for the immediate future. An avowed critic of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, Trump has called it one of America's "worst and most one-sided transactions" ever. Yet White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that Trump is looking beyond the deal for ways to pressure Tehran. "The president isn't looking at one piece of this," Sanders said. "He's looking at all of the bad behavior of Iran — not just the nuclear deal as bad behavior, but the ballistic missile testing, destabilizing of the region, number one state sponsor of terrorism, cyberattacks, illicit nuclear program." Since taking office, the Trump administration has spoken about an all-of-the-above approach to countering Iran's troublesome activities in the region, which extend beyond nuclear development to ballistic missile testing, human rights violations and support for extremist groups. But the administration has had to wait to put that approach into place until it finished a lengthy Iran policy review whose completion has been repeatedly delayed.
The person familiar with Iran policy said H.R. McMaster, the president's national security adviser, has been the key driver in developing the integrated strategy with the Defense, State and Treasury departments and intelligence agencies.
Trump is set to deliver a policy speech on Iran next week in which he is expected to decline to certify Iran's compliance in the landmark 2015 agreement that the U.S. and its partners signed with Tehran to rein in its nuclear program.That would stop short of pulling out of the deal. Lawmakers say Trump isn't going to immediately announce new nuclear sanctions, which are prohibited by the deal, and instead will refer the matter to Congress. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., tweeted Friday that the White House has told senators the president will "decertify (the) Iran deal but asks Congress NOT to re-impose sanctions."
Under the new policy, the White House is focusing on the Revolutionary Guard and Hizbullah — two Iran-backed entities that have long elicited scorn from much of the West. The State Department next week will announce a total of $12 million in rewards for information leading to the location, arrest or conviction of two leaders of Hizbullah. The U.S. will offer up to $7 million for information on Talal Hamiyah, who leads Hizbullah's international terrorism branch and is suspected of carrying out hijackings, attacks and kidnappings of U.S. citizens. Another $5 million is being offered for information on Fuad Shukr, a member of Hizbullah who runs the group's military forces in southern Lebanon, where the group is based. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, will also feel the squeeze. Legislation signed in August gave Trump an Oct. 31 deadline to either impose sanctions on the IRGC or issue a waiver. He is not expected to sign the waiver, meaning the sanctions will kick in automatically. The new White House policy will also include a political strategy to curb Iranian aggression, possible covert or cyber operations and diplomatic efforts to change parts of the nuclear deal with Iran.

Israel Breaches Lebanon's Territorial Waters Off Ras Naqoura

Naharnet/October 07/17/An Israeli enemy gunboat violated the Lebanese maritime borders off Ras al-Naqoura sailing to a distance of 240 meters for a period of 2 minutes, Lebanese Army Command said in a communiqué on Saturday. The breach took place at 17:45 on Friday. The Israeli breach is being followed-up in coordination with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the communiqué added.

Rifi Says Will Wage Parliamentary Elections in Sidon

Naharnet/October 07/17/Former Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi stressed that he will be waging Lebanon's upcoming parliamentary elections that will be staged based on the new electoral law, and pointed out that those who “tailored it have regretted later.” “Those who tailored the law have regretted it later. They were surprised to see that the calculations they made were wrong. Those who cooked the venom will have it as their food,” said Rifi. His remarks came in a meeting he held with a number of lawyers from Tripoli and the North. “You are all men of law. We are obliged to implement the (electoral) text despite our reservations. We know well that in all countries of the world, the proportional law is better than a majoritarian law, but there are proper ways to implement proportional laws," he added. Rifi remarked that he is going to wage the elections in the districts of Tripoli, al-Menieh, al-Dinniyeh, Akkar, in the second district of Beirut, Akkar, West and Central Bekaa and in Shouf.

Geagea in UAE for Talks with Emirati Officials, LF Cadres

Naharnet/October 07/17/Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea arrived Friday in the United Arab Emirates for talks with “Emirati officials and LF cadres,” a media report said. The regional developments and the outcome of Saudi King Salman's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will be the focus of Geagea's talks with the UAE officials, al-Markazia news agency reported. A terse statement issued by the LF's media department in the morning had only said that Geagea had left for the UAE along with his wife, MP Sethrida Geagea. The visit comes eight days after Geagea held talks in Saudi Arabia with the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “The visit to the UAE is not separate from the course of the meetings that Geagea held in Saudi Arabia in terms of looking into the developments in the region, which is at the brink of major changes,” LF sources told al-Markazia. Geagea will discuss “the military developments in Syria, which are going in parallel with diplomatic action moving from one influential capital to another with the aim of finding a solution to the crisis,” the sources added. “Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the spearhead of the Arab and Gulf confrontation against Iran and its expansionist schemes in the region, which means that the coming developments and changes in the region will definitely go through them, that's why Geagea's visit to the UAE today is a completion of his visit to the kingdom a week ago,” the LF sources explained. The sources also revealed that Geagea will stay in the UAE for several days during which he will meet with top Emirati officials and LF cadres based in the UAE and other Gulf countries.

General Security Exposes Israeli Spy Cell

Naharnet/October 07/17/Lebanon's General Security Directorate uncovered a three-member spy cell suspected of having links to the Israeli enemy and that has been active between the areas of Burj al-Barajneh, a southern suburb of Beirut, and the Aley village of Deir Qoubel, media reports said Saturday. As part of its adamant efforts to clamp down on terrorist and enemy cells, the Directorate has dismantled in recent days a cell comprised of three individuals suspected of having links to the Israeli enemy, al-Akhbar daily reported Saturday. The security operation, which began with the arrest of two suspects in Burj al-Barajneh and Hadath, was completed Friday evening with the arrest of a third suspect in the town of Deir Qoubel, it added. According to information, “one of the suspects identified as Abbas S. has confessed to have knowingly assisted the Mossad. Another suspect, a teacher, told interrogators that he was communicating with the Israeli enemy for amusement,” added the daily. Several computers and electronic devises were confiscated from the latter's house. Al-Akhbar said the three suspects were Lebanese nationals, and that one hails from the Bekaa region and another from south Lebanon. The cell “operator” is also Lebanese but he resides in occupied Palestine.

Report: No One Wants to Be Liable for Wage Scale Suspension
Naharnet/October 07/17/Lebanon's newly approved wage scale and the tax hikes law still grasps the focus of political attention as the parliament gears for a Monday meeting dedicated to take the final course with regard to the tax provisions aimed at funding the scale. Sources close to Speaker Nabih Berri assured to al-Akhbar daily that on Saturday that “things will go well,” saying it was unlikely for the law to be appealed a second time. They said shall the tax law be appealed, it would mean the suspension of next months salaries of public sector employees as per the new wage scale “who has the courage to do such a thing let him try,” remarked the sources on condition of anonymity. In September the Constitutional Council unanimously annulled the tax hike law aimed at funding the wage scale for civil servants and the armed forces after an August appeal submitted by ten lawmakers. The appeal was submitted based on arguments that the approved “taxes will lower the purchasing power of citizens, push more than 100,000 citizens Lebanese below the poverty line, and initiate an increase in school tuition fees.” The new taxes involve hiking the VAT tax from 10% to 11%, fines on seaside violations, and taxes on cement, administrative transactions, sea imports, lottery prizes, tobacco, alcohol, travel tickets, financial firms and banks. Authorities have argued that the new taxes are necessary to fund the new wage scale but opponents of such a move have called for finding new revenues through putting an end to corruption and the waste of public money.

Lebanon’s Cabinet Approves Allocations for Electoral Supervisory Authority
Asharq Al Awsat/October 07/17/Beirut- The Lebanese government approved on Friday allocations for the supervisory authority for the parliamentary elections that are set to take place in spring 2018. The decision was taken following a session chaired by Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the Grand Serail. The session had a 63-item agenda. At the end of the meeting, Minister of Information Melhem Riachi read the following statement: “The Council of Ministers held its ordinary meeting at the Grand Serail chaired by Prime Minister Saad Hariri and approved its agenda. It will hold its next meeting at the Presidential Palace to discuss current issues.”Asked whether the cabinet approved the item regarding the electoral supervisory authority, Riachi said: “This item was approved, and all pending issues will be discussed during the next meeting.”Before entering the cabinet meeting, Interior Minister Nuhad al-Mashnouk told reporters: “I want to emphasize that elections will take place on time (in May 2018). What we are discussing is the mechanism (to implement the new vote law) and not the date of the elections. Any discussion among the political parties is on the implementation of this miracle law. Also, the biometric card is being discussed with the political parties.”

Bassil from Aqaba: We need to remain strong together as Lebanese, even if we disagree in politics
Sat 07 Oct 2017/NNA - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Gebran Bassil, highlighted Saturday the need for all Lebanese to remain strong together, despite their political differences. Bassil was speaking from the town of al-Aqaba, the second stopover in his tour of Rashaya region, where the town's residents headed by MP Wael Abu Faour warmly greeted him. He stressed on the importance of "continuously meeting and coming together as citizens of one country, especially that we travel hundreds of thousands of kilometers to meet our fellow Lebanese outside the nation."
Bassil called for "the implementation of the administrative decentralization law, which helps bridge the gap between the city and the village."He also referred to the drawbacks of sectarian division, which deprives any side in Lebanon the ability to carry out its national mission alone.

Foucher from Baalbek: We are committed to promoting a political settlement in Syria, ensuring the safe return of refugees
Sat 07 Oct 2017/NNA - French Ambassador to Lebanon, Bruno Foucher, confirmed on Saturday his country's commitment to strengthening the political compromise in Syria, and ensuring the safe return of the displaced to their homes. Speaking at a ceremony organized by the Lebanese Association for Education and Training in Baalbek, Foucher outlined the social projects financed by the French Embassy in Lebanon. "France's contribution to helping countries of the region affected by the war in Syria amounts to 100 million Euros between 2016 and 2018. The vast majority of these aids are intended for Lebanon," disclosed Foucher. He stressed the importance of re-establishing trust between refugees and host societies, through the support of projects beneficial to both parties, and boosting respect for human rights and dialogue. "These projects target young people, through whom we can contribute to building a just and secure future," he said. Foucher hoped, in conclusion, that the projects executed in collaboration with civil society committees would give a boost to the Lebanese economy.

Caccia presides over Thanksgiving Mass in Harissa: I found faith in Lebanon
Sat 07 Oct 2017 /NNA - Outgoing Apostolic Nuncio Gabriele Caccia said on Saturday that he "found faith in Lebanon" and "felt strengthened by thriving in the land of the Cedars."Mgr. Caccia's words came as he presided over Thanksgiving Mass at the Basilica of "Our Lady of Lebanon" in Harissa, following his new appointment by Pope Francis as Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines. "My mission began with prayer for God to bless this country," he said in his homily, thanking the Lebanese authorities - official, military, civil and religious - for the support they showed him during his eight years in Lebanon. "I prayed that this unity among Christians would be stronger and more effective," Caccia went on. "It is the desire of the Lord Jesus to be one...that every woman and man be one in Christ, for the Church is a rainbow. When Pope Benedict visited Lebanon and gave us the Apostolic Exhortation of the Church in the Middle East, we gathered altogether in the heart of Beirut...and from the four corners of the city and all sects, we came together in prayer," added Caccia. He raised prayers to Virgin Mary to "protect this country, strengthen its people and bring them together to witness unity." "Lady of Lebanon, pray for us," concluded Caccia in Arabic.

Hariri receives women participating in "Pedal for Peace" initiative
Sat 07 Oct 2017/NNA - The media bureau of Prime Minister Saad Hariri issued on Saturday the following press release: "the President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri received today at the "Center House" the women participating in the "Pedal for Peace" initiative. They are 120 women from 16 countries, touring different regions of Lebanon on bikes, upon the invitation of Beirut by Bike, and in cooperation with "Follow the Women" and "Cycle for peace" associations and British activist Detta Regan, with the support of the Internal Security Forces.
On this occasion, Hariri said: "You have seen Lebanon, after hearing about it in the past through the media. It is a very different image. Lebanon is a country of coexistence, culture, history and beauty, but it may sometimes witness stages of chaos, suffering and difficulties. When you tour Lebanon, you see the beautiful cities and roads as they really are. You must have seen that despite this diversity in the country, 18 different sects, we all live together as if we were one, even if politics separate us sometimes. When you go back to your countries, you have to tell your friends how beautiful this country is. I hope you will return to Lebanon with your families and friends. I hope that Lebanon will become friendlier to bicycles, it is a must".Activist Regan said: "We have seen the beauty and diversity of Lebanon. We all want to come back to visit it. Many of our countries experienced terrorist attacks in the past few months. But we felt safe and happy in Lebanon. It was an opportunity for us to experience this, we all believe in peace and all these women show their solidarity with Lebanon. When we return to our countries, we will tell about this experience to our surroundings. We are here for peace". The owner of "Beirut by Bike", Jawad Sbeity, said: "We communicated with several groups in the world working to support women and invited them to Lebanon. Many had bans from their countries to visit Lebanon. Despite all the circumstances, we now have 120 women and girls born between 1944 and 2000, from 16 countries, touring Lebanon from north to south on bicycles. Our message is for the world to come to Lebanon and to see that it is a safe and secure country."

We Want Accountability hold sitin at Central Bank
Sat 07 Oct 2017 /NNA - "We Want Accountability" activists organized a sudden sit-in in front of the entrances of the Central Bank under the title of "Yes to taxes on to taxes on the poor," National News Agency Correspondent reported on Saturday.

'The Insult' tops box office in Lebanon
Chloe Domat/Al Mointor/October 6, 2017
When George Haddad left the film theater, he immediately sat down again lighting a cigarette. “Well, I hadn’t seen anything like that in a long time,” he told Al-Monitor. A few feet away, storekeeper Nour Khoder admitted she cried several times during the film. “The narrative is so strong, it really shakes you. It brought back memories of the war, the massacres, what my family went through. I'm very moved,” she said.
Ziad Doueiri’s latest film, “The Insult,” was released three weeks ago and has been a box office favorite, taking almost 50% of total film admissions in Lebanon.
It takes place in today’s Lebanon and tells the story of how a seemingly meaningless dispute between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian Muslim escalates into a national affair that plays out in the courts, political parties and the media.
“It feels so real,” said student Daniel Abboud. “What happens in that film — it could happen now, right now, in this street."
The civil war of 1975-1990 is a difficult topic in Lebanon. Right after the fighting stopped, an amnesty law took effect in the name of national unity, with countless crimes and over 150,000 dead swept under the rug. At the same time, although there was no official reconciliation between the different factions, militia leaders turned themselves into elected politicians.
Up until today, what happened during 15 years of armed conflict is hardly ever mentioned, let alone discussed. History books mostly ignore modern history. Yet many in Lebanon — like the two main characters in the film — still live with the memories of the war.
“Despite the disclaimer at the beginning of the screening which declared that the movie does not represent the current situation in the country, I think it actually does … the wounds of the civil war have yet to heal and this case does reflect in a way or another the feel that Lebanese have towards each other and towards Palestinian refugees,” blogger Najib Mitri wrote.
For film critic Sandra Noujeim from the local daily L’Orient le Jour, the film goes even further. She wrote, “For the first time, the Christian community is portrayed as a victim. The film deconstructs the political demonization of Christians."
Although "The Insult" does bring some new elements to the debate, one can’t deny that the civil war has been on the agenda of Lebanese cinema for a long time. Films such as “Where Do We Go Now?” (2011), “Zozo” (2005) and Doueiri’s masterpiece “West Beirut” (1998) are all about the civil war.
“Cinema doesn’t have a great record in achieving national reconciliation. It is unlikely 'The Insult' can change that. At the end of the day a film is judged by other criteria,” wrote Jim Quilty from the local newspaper The Daily Star.
If “The Insult” is such a powerful film, it is first and foremost because it feels so real. The plot is inspired by a real story. A couple of years ago, Doueiri found himself in a dispute with a worker on the street. They started arguing, insulting each other and finally settled on good terms, but that’s when the director thought, “What would have happened if I had pushed it further? At what point would I have resorted to violence?"
The choice of actors was also crucial in ensuring the film was as close as possible to reality. The two main characters — Tony, a middle-aged Lebanese man raised on Christian militia propaganda, and Yasser, a Palestinian refugee living in a Lebanese refugee camp — are played by actors who have been through similar life struggles.
"Adel is Tony in a way — of course he wouldn’t do or say what Tony does, but he identifies with him, and that's what makes a strong act,” Doueiri told Al-Monitor.
“I could not have played the character of Yasser. I'm a Lebanese Christian. I was raised with the Lebanese Forces, in the same neighborhood as Tony, actually. This is what I know best,” actor Adel Karam told Al-Monitor.
The same is also true of Kamel El Basha, who plays Yasser. “Yasser is not too different from me. Although I have never lived in Lebanon, being a Palestinian helps me to better understand the life of a Palestinian in a refugee camp,” he told Al-Monitor.
Both actors believe their characters exist in real life.
“Tony is real — there are many Tonys in Lebanon. Sparks of hatred between [Lebanese] Christians and Palestinians still exist today. Some of the people I know saw the film and asked me, ‘Why did you not teach him a lesson?’” said Karam.
Basha told Al-Monitor, “Yasser in today’s Lebanon represents the real Palestinian, the one who does not belong to any political faction but wants to live a normal life, while at the same time longing very much to go back to his homeland."
It is clear that the film was not a low-budget production, given the quality of the images, the special effects such as drone shots, the editing and the music.
“The Insult” is set as a courtroom drama. Doueiri, who comes from a family of lawyers, admits that he is “very inspired by US courtroom drama films, because you can have the two protagonists facing each other.”
Although the Lebanese judicial system does not exactly function like the American one, Doueiri stuck to this genre in order to create a dynamic in the film. He successfully used the courtroom setup to lay out half a century of history.
On the international stage, Basha took home the best actor award at this year's Venice Film Festival, and Lebanon has submitted "The Insult" for the 2018 foreign language film Oscar.
**Chloe Domat is an award-winning multimedia journalist currently based in Beirut. She reports for various international media outlets including France 24, Ouest France, Global Finance and Middle East Eye. Domat has worked with LCI (TF1 Group Paris). She has a master's degree in political science from the American University of Beirut and studied journalism and international relations at Sciences Po Paris. She speaks English, French and Arabic.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 07-08/17
Eleven injured in car crash near London museum, terrorism ruled out
AFP, LondonSaturday, 7 October 2017/Eleven people were injured on Saturday when a car collided with pedestrians near London’s Natural History Museum, in one of the capital’s busiest tourist areas, but police doused fears it was a terrorist attack, saying it was a road traffic incident. Police said it was believed the car had mounted the pavement outside the popular attraction in west London and collided with a number of pedestrians. Officers had arrested a man at the scene and he was now being questioned. Britain has suffered five attacks blamed on terrorism so far this year, three of which involved vehicles, and the incident in an area packed with tourists at the weekend had prompted concerns that the collision had been a deliberate act. “The incident is a road traffic investigation and not a terrorist-related incident,” a police statement said. London’s ambulance service said they had treated 11 people, mostly for head and leg injuries, with nine taken to hospital. Police said none of the injuries were life-threatening or life-changing. Unverified footage from the scene showed a man being pinned to the ground by what appeared to be four security guards or police officers.

Man arrested, people injured in crash near London Natural History Museum
AFP, LondonSaturday, 7 October 2017/Police said they have arrested a man near London's Natural History Museum following reports of a collision Saturday, in which a number of pedestrians are believed to have been hurt. A spokesman for the museum said there had been a vehicle collision with pedestrians outside its entrance on Exhibition Road, while a witness told AFP there were armed police on the scene.

Anti-nuclear campaign ICAN wins Nobel Peace Prize

AFP, OsloFriday, 6 October 2017/Nuclear disarmament group International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its decade-long campaign to rid the world of the atomic bomb as nuclear-fueled crises swirl over North Korea and Iran. “The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons,” said Norway’s Nobel committee president Berit Reiss-Andersen. More than 70 years since atomic bombs were used on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and as tensions flare over the North Korean crisis, the Nobel committee sought to highlight ICAN's tireless efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. A coalition of more than 300 NGOs founded in Vienna in 2007 on the fringes of an international conference on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, ICAN has tirelessly mobilized campaigners and celebrities alike in its cause. It was a key player in the adoption of a historic nuclear weapons ban treaty, signed by 122 countries in July. However, the accord was largely symbolic as none of the nine known world nuclear powers signed up to it. The organization will receive their prize, consisting of a gold medal, a diploma, and a cheque for nine million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million, 945,000 euros), at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death in 1896 of the prize’s creator, Swedish philanthropist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel.

Washington to Provide Saudi Arabia with THAAD Missile Defense
Asharq Al Awsat/October 07/17/Washington- The US government has approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of the advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system for $15 billion, the State Department said Friday. “This sale furthers US national security and foreign policy interests, and supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian and other regional threats,” a statement said. The sale “will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a friendly country,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation agency said in a separate statement.Lockheed Martin and Raytheon will be the main US contractors in the sale of the THAAD system. The THAAD is one of the most capable defensive missile batteries in the US arsenal. Saudi Arabia will become among the first US allies to receive this important missile defense system.

Russia Strikes Kill 120 IS Fighters, over 60 'Foreign Mercenaries' in Syria
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 07/17/Some 120 Islamic State fighters and 60 foreign mercenaries were killed in a series of Russian air strikes in Syria over the past 24 hours, the defence ministry in Moscow said on Saturday. "A command post of the terrorists and up to 80 (IS) fighters including nine natives of the Northern Caucasus were destroyed in the area of Mayadeen," the ministry said, adding some 40 IS fighters were killed around the town of Albu Kamal. As a result of an air strike more than 60 foreign mercenaries from the former Soviet Union, Tunisia, and Egypt were killed south of Deir Ezzor. The ministry said the "large numbers of foreign mercenaries" were coming into the Syrian border town of Albu Kamal from Iraq. Mayadeen is one of the Islamic State group's last bastions in Syria. The advances against IS in Deir Ezzor have cost a heavy civilian death toll from Russian and coalition air raids. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian air strikes on Thursday night killed 14 people, including three children, fleeing across the Euphrates on rafts near Mayadeen. Russia has not acknowledged any civilian deaths from its strikes since it intervened in Syria in 2015, and dismisses the Observatory's reporting as biased. Moscow has been carrying out air strikes in support of its ally Damascus targeting both IS in Deir Ezzor province and rival jihadists led by Al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate in Idlib province in the northwest.

Spain Braces for More Protests in Catalonia Crisis
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 07/17/Spain braced for mass street protests Saturday as anger swelled against Catalan leaders' vows to declare their region independent and the national government's handling of the volatile political crisis.Tentative signs have emerged that the sides may be seeking to defuse the crisis after Madrid offered a first apology Friday to Catalans injured by police in a crackdown on their outlawed independence vote on October 1. But uncertainty still haunted the country as Catalan leaders have not backed off from plans to make a unilateral declaration of independence within days, based on the result of the banned referendum vote. "There has to be a commitment to dialogue," said Jordi Cuixart, president of one of the grassroots groups driving Catalonia's separatist movement, on Catalan radio on Saturday. "We will never refuse that. But we... will continue to demand a commitment that the referendum law be fulfilled." Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to block independence as well as any referendum. And he has rejected calls for mediation in a dispute that has drawn cries of concern all over Spain, and even from Barcelona and Real Madrid footballers.
'Let's talk' -Spain's deepest political crisis in decades has raised fears of further unrest in the northeastern region, a tourist-friendly area of 7.5 million people that accounts for a fifth of Spain's economy. Opponents of secession called for demonstrations around Spain on Saturday and a major rally in Barcelona on Sunday. A movement called "Let's Talk" urged citizens to gather dressed in white in front of town halls across the country, demanding dialogue to end the crisis under the slogan: "Spain is better than its leaders". "It's time to come together to tell them that they are incapable and irresponsible," the group's manifesto reads. The gatherings will start from around midday (1000 GMT). A separate "patriotic" march was called for the same time in central Madrid, organised by activists defending the unity of Spain.
Back from the brink? -Friday saw the first signs the sides may be willing to step back from the brink in a political conflict that risks destabilising Europe. After days of ill-tempered rhetoric, the central government said it regretted the injuries and suggested Catalonia should hold a regional election to settle the crisis. Catalan government minister Santi Vila, a close of ally of regional president Carles Puigdemont, meanwhile told broadcaster Rac1 that his side could consider a "ceasefire" in the dispute, to avoid a further crackdown by Madrid. Businesses and the government have kept up economic pressure on Catalonia however, with several big companies announcing moves to shift their headquarters to other parts of Spain. 'We deeply regret' -Puigdemont had been due to appear at the regional parliament on Monday but postponed it by a day, a spokesman said, gaining time and easing tensions. It remains unclear what he plans to say, although some leaders are hoping he will use the opportunity to make a declaration of independence. Spain's central government apologised on behalf of police to people hurt in Sunday's referendum disturbances. "I can do nothing but regret it, apologise on behalf of the officers who intervened," said the government's representative in Catalonia, Enric Millo. Central government spokesman Ignacio Mendez de Vigo also said he "regretted" the injuries. "It would be good to start mending this fracture... through regional elections," he told a news conference. In Madrid meanwhile, Catalonia's police chief and two prominent separatist leaders including Cuixart avoided being remanded in custody at a court hearing Friday over sedition accusations. - Economic pressure -Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered the suspension of a session scheduled for Monday in the Catalan parliament at which some leaders have called for an independence declaration. If Catalonia declares independence, Spain could respond by suspending the region's existing autonomous status and imposing direct rule from Madrid. On another front, the government in Madrid pushed ahead with a measure to pressure Catalonia economically. It passed a decree to make it quicker for businesses to shift their legal domiciles away from one region to another. With its own language and cultural traditions, demands for independence in Catalonia date back centuries but have surged during recent years of economic crisis. The Catalan government on Friday published final results from the referendum indicating that 90 percent of voters backed the idea of breaking away from Spain.
Turnout was 43 percent.
Recent polls had indicated that Catalans are split on independence, though leaders said the violence during the referendum turned many against the state authorities.

Cinders and Desolation in Iraq's Hawija after IS
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 07/17/One side of the billboard calls for jihad, while the other warns of death for smokers. Iraq's Hawija still bears clear signs of its three years under jihadist rule. Islamic State group jihadists set fire to everything they could before they fled an Iraqi government offensive on the northern town in oil-rich Kirkuk province. Thick black smoke billows from burning oil wells around the city. Fields lie scorched in the surrounding region known for its cereal crops and watermelons. Government troops and paramilitary units on Thursday retook Hawija, one of the jihadist group's last bastions in the country. Beside roads leading into the town, villagers throw themselves at passing military convoys begging for food. "We haven't seen a teabag or spoonful of sugar for four years," Um Imed says, tears in her eyes. "Our children are dying of hunger and go barefoot," she says, fiddling with the edge of her long black robe, covered in dust from the passing vehicles. "Only IS families got fat from the taxes they levied on our crops and the quarter of our produce" they took for themselves, she says.
- Life under IS -The desolation is the same inside the town, where the 70,000 Sunni Arab residents who were believed to have stayed on under IS rule are nowhere to be seen. In 2014, "when IS seized the town, they used the hospital," a spokesman for the Shiite-dominated Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force tells AFP. "But as the Iraqi forces approached, they wanted to burn everything so no one could use it -- despite it being public infrastructure," Mohammed Khalil says. But some of the medical centre has survived the flames. In consultation rooms, glass shards and blood samples litter the floor, while in the nurses' staffroom, prescriptions, pamphlets and other pieces of paper recount life under IS. On one sheet of paper headed "Islamic State, Kirkuk province", jihadist leaders ask staff to urgently treat "brother Adel, a soldier in the special forces". "They too only got things through connections," a Hashed member scoffs, before slipping away. Opposite the hospital, no one has entered the town hall for fear it has been booby-trapped. IS has lost vast swathes of its territory in Iraq since it overran around a third of the country, imposing its brutal interpretation of Islamic law on those it ruled.
Smoking was banned under the jihadists and punishable in their so-called Islamic courts. 'We're waiting' -Hawijah, 230 kilometres (140 miles) north of Baghdad, was at the centre of a pocket of mainly Sunni Arab towns that were among the group's final holdouts. The town had been an insurgent bastion since soon after the US-led invasion of 2003, earning it the nickname of "Kandahar in Iraq" for its ferocious resistance -- an allusion to the Taliban's citadel in Afghanistan. Jihad is nothing new in Hawija, as shown by pamphlets scattered in the hospital, or nearby in what was an IS court. While a shiny pamphlet speaks of the "joy of martyrdom", another quotes late Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who fought the Americans and ordered grisly executions of Western hostages before being killed in a US air strike in 2006. But Hawija is now in new hands. In the town's central market, reduced to rubble by a car bomb, Hashed members have planted their own flag on top of surviving stalls. Instead of the jihadist standard, the new flag bears the face of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed and a revered figure in Shiite Islam. "Let IS return," says Oday Salman, a 35-year-old who left his wife and baby girl in the Shiite shrine city of Najaf to come and fight the jihadists."We're here, and we're waiting."

Turkey's Erdogan Says Syria Rebels in New Idlib Operation
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said pro-Ankara Syrian rebels were staging a new military operation in Syria's jihadist-controlled Idlib province. The move, which had been rumoured for weeks, comes as Turkey along with Russia prepares to set up a so-called "de-escalation" zone in Idlib in line with accords in peace talks in Astana aimed at ending the Syrian civil war. "We are taking new steps to ensure security in Idlib. Today, a very serious operation is ongoing in Idlib and this will continue," Erdogan said in a televised speech in the western city of Afyon. Erdogan said that many Syrians had fled to Idlib from the neighbouring Aleppo province, which was rocked by heavy fighting last year, and Turkey was not going to let them down. Idlib is largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a group led by Al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate. HTS is not party to a deal brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran for the safe zone in the province, one of four such "de-escalation" zones nationwide."We will absolutely not allow the creation of a terror corridor along our borders," said Erdogan in his speech. The president later told reporters the operation was led by Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels and that the Turkish army was not yet operating there. Media reports have pointed to a heavy deployment of military hardware and personnel by the Turkish army to its southern border area in recent weeks. "At the moment the Free Syrian Army is operating there (inside Syria), our troops are not there yet," Erdogan said, quoted by the Dogan news agency. Turkey earlier this year wrapped up its months-long Euphrates Shield operation against jihadists and Kurdish militia in the northern Aleppo province that involved both the Turkish army and Syrian rebels.Asked whether the Idlib operation would be similar to Euphrates Shield, Erdogan replied: "When you enter the boxing ring you don't count your punches."

Erdogan: FSA in New Idlib Operation
Asharq Al Awsat/October 07/17/President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey and Syrian rebel groups it backs are starting a military operation in Syria’s Idlib province with the aim of pushing out militants from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) that control the region. Idlib and surrounding areas of northwest Syria are among the largest bastions for rebel groups fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, but have increasingly fallen under the sway of insurgent factions. Erdogan said the operation, part of a de-escalation deal agreed between Turkey, Iran and Russia, will involve Free Syrian Army groups crossing into Idlib supported by Turkish soldiers from inside Turkey’s borders. HTS is not party to the deal. “There’s a serious operation in Syria’s Idlib today and it will continue,” Erdogan said in a speech to his AK Party in the western city of Afyon. “Now this step has been taken, and it is underway,” he said, adding that Turkish forces were not yet involved and that it was a rebel operation so far. Russia, an ally of Assad, is backing the operation from the air, he said. Much of Idlib is controlled by the HTS alliance, spearheaded by formerly al-Nusra Front. “We will never allow a terror corridor along our borders in Syria,” Erdogan said. “We will continue to take other initiatives after the Idlib operation.”HTS has pledged to keep fighting Syrian regime forces and their allies, casting doubt on the de-escalation agreement, but Ankara has worked to lure militants from it, and two groups have defected from the alliance.

Libyan Authorities Recover Bodies of Beheaded Copts
Asharq Al Awsat/October 07/17/Libyan authorities have recovered the bodies of 21 Coptic Christian workers, mostly Egyptians, beheaded in 2015 by ISIS in the coastal city of Sirte. Sadiq Al-Sour, head of investigations for the Attorney General’s office, said last week that Libyan authorities had arrested a senior ISIS commander who supervised the beheadings. “He gave details on the incident and indicated their place of burial,” Sour said. “We are seeking with military authorities in the central region to discover where the bodies are, and hopefully we will find them, despite the time that has passed,” he added. The beheaded bodies in orange uniforms were reportedly found with their hands cuffed to the backs. They included 20 Egyptians and one African. The killings were documented in a grisly video released online by the terrorist organization that shocked Egypt and led it to launch punitive airstrikes.

Revolutionary Council, Fatah Welcome Palestinian Reconciliation
Asharq Al Awsat/October 07/17/The Revolutionary Council and the Fatah Central Committee, the two largest bodies in the Palestinian Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, have endorsed the terms of Palestinian reconciliation and supported its steps. They stressed that the meeting, which is going to be held in Cairo Tuesday will be crucial to its success, considering that it will discuss the practical and detailed steps to enable the Government of National Reconciliation to govern. President Abbas delivered a speech before the two bodies and talked about the importance of this reconciliation process. However, he sounded cautious, recalling previous experiences that failed. “National reconciliation is a top priority that we seek to achieve by all possible means in order to protect the Palestinian national project and meet aspirations of our people to have their freedom and independence,” Abbas said.
“Since the beginning of the division, we have sought, in cooperation with the Arab League and the brothers in Egypt, to end it by peaceful means. We have signed several agreements, the most important of which are the Cairo Agreement of 2011 and the Beach Refugee Camp agreement.”
Abbas added that Hamas’s approval to dissolve the administrative committee that it has formed in Gaza Strip, the visit of the national unity government to the strip and the approval to carry out general elections, “are the right way to achieve national unity, which is indispensable to us, as it is the basis for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders.”Abbas tackled other issues such as the captives, Jerusalem and the political file as he briefed the members on the US moves in this regard. He talked about the 1917 Balfour Declaration in its 100-year anniversary, and he denounced what Britain announced its support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”-as a “crime against our people.”He also slammed the United Kingdom for having launched the process that led to the creation of the State of Israel in the first place.
In a common matter, Hamas official Salah Bardawil said that his movement is going to participate in any future unity government. “We have the will to promote the peaceful settlement and have the courage to take the responsibilities brought by the settlement agreement to end the split. We need all people to join in the movement in order to alleviate the sufferings of our people and face Israel’s occupation in unity,” said Bardawil. He also referred to the issue of Hamas’s insistence on maintaining its military power, which is one of the obstacles that might impede reconciliation since the Palestinian president insists on the existence of one weapon and one regime and does not agree with the Hezbollah model in Lebanon. Bardawil stressed that his movement seeks to achieve a reconciliation, based on partnership while the issue of the resistance arms was not mentioned by any party to be discussed.

Egypt’s Parliament Begins Int’l Moves against HRW
Asharq Al Awsat/October 07/17/Cairo- The Egyptian parliament is launching measures against Human Rights Watch over its latest reports on the alleged abuse of inmates inside the country’s prisons. A high-ranking parliamentary delegation is expected to file an official complaint during its participation in a conference for the Inter-Parliamentary Union mid-October. Second deputy chairman of parliament’s human rights committee Margaret Azer, who is a member of the delegation, said that the complaint is about the New York-based rights group’s intentional and premeditated attack on Egypt, mainly in the human rights field. “The complaint will be a response to HRW’s latest report and to its claims,” Azer told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. “It will reveal the lies of the organization through documents.” During the conference, the Egyptian delegation will provide an overview of Egypt’s experience with human rights, the lawmaker added. The organization’s controversial report, which was released in September and which claims that prisoners have suffered abuses, has angered Egyptians. The Egyptian foreign ministry has also accused the rights group of bias, saying it is promoting the interests of certain parties and countries that finance it. Nineteen former detainees and the family of another detainee, who were allegedly tortured between 2014 and 2016, were interviewed for the report. Last month, the parliamentary human rights committee formed a seven-member subcommittee to come up with a plan to visit prisons and police stations across Egypt for the purpose of snapping back at allegations and claims of torture. The subcommittee is entitled to take all measures that facilitate its mission, including summoning prisoners and searching detention centers. Azer said “the human rights committee regularly visits detention centers and makes sure that the violations, which the organization has mentioned, are not taking place.” HRW “has gotten used to attacking Egypt in favor of some countries. This is what we will reveal during the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference,” the lawmaker added.

Russian Campaign Against US al-Tanf Base

Asharq Al Awsat/October 07/17/Moscow — Moscow strongly escalated on Friday its campaign against the US-led al-Tanf military base in eastern Syria and near the Iraqi border at a time when Russian warplanes supported regime forces that infiltrated in the city of Mayadeen, one of the ISIS strongholds in the east of Deir Ezzor. The Russian Defense Ministry said the US base in al-Tanf has turned into “a black hole” that generates the insurgency of terrorists into Syria. Spokesperson of the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement on Friday: “In reality, al-Tanf has turned into a 100-kilometer ‘black hole’ on the Syrian-Jordanian state border. And, instead of the Free Syrian Army, it is spewing ISIS mobile groups who make inroads to launch subversive terrorist operations against Syrian troops and civilians.”The spokesperson said that every time the Syrian regime forces, supported by Russian warplanes, advance towards the east of the ISIS stronghold in Deir Ezzor, the US presence in the background lines at al-Tanf base becomes a bigger problem. In a surprising development that could further escalate tensions between US and Russian forces in Syria, coalition jets shelled on Friday a convoy of the Syrian regime and its allied foreign militias in the al-Tanf area. Syrian opposition sources said that the attack killed seven regime forces and allied militias and injured more than 16 others. For its part, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Friday that a series of explosions caused by the regime and Russian forces hit the city of Mayadeen at a time when fighting continued in the western part of the city where Assad forces were capable to arrive. “With support from Russian aviation, regime forces entered Mayadeen and took control of several buildings in the west of the town,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

European MP Resigns over Talks with Assad
Asharq Al Awsat/October 07/17/Strasbourg (France), London- Spanish politician Pedro Agramunt announced on Friday his resignation as president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), just three days before the assembly was due to vote on his dismissal. Agramunt, the 66-year-old president of PACE since January 2016, wrote on Twitter: “Today, for personal reasons, I have decided to no longer chair the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.”All of the assembly’s blocs have been demanding his dismissal since he went on a trip to Syria to meet with the head of the regime, Bashar al-Assad, in March.Agramunt was stripped of his leadership powers at a session in April after the motion received 158 votes of the 324-member Assembly, which decided to vote in favor of his dismissal in October if by then he didn’t resign. PACE is made up of 324 parliamentarians from the national parliaments of the Council of Europe’s 47 member states, and generally meets four times a year in Strasbourg to discuss upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Following the cabinet session, Hariri met with Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury and Energy and Water Minister Cesar Abi Khalil to discuss a parliamentary session, slated for Monday, when lawmakers are set to deliberate on draft laws over tax amendments previously approved by the cabinet and a settlement to past years worth of extra-budgetary spending. On the eve of the session, the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers and other unions threatened to resort to a general strike and a protest after signs that the government would halt a public sector wage increase if revenues from taxes are not secured.

Police, FBI seek public's help in finding motive behind Las Vegas massacre
Sat 07 Oct 2017/NNA - Baffled police and FBI agents, still lacking a clear motive for the Las Vegas massacre of 58 people by a lone gunman five days ago, appealed to the public on Friday to come forward with any information that might help solve the mystery. Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said investigators remain largely in the dark after running down more than 1,000 leads seeking clues to what drove a wealthy retiree with a penchant for gambling to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, 64, poured a barrage of gunfire from the windows of his 32nd-floor hotel suite into a crowd of 20,000 people attending an outdoor music festival on Sunday night, then killed himself before police stormed his room. In addition to the 58 people killed, nearly 500 were injured, some by gunfire, some trampled or otherwise hurt while running for cover.
In a new disclosure, authorities said two bullets Paddock fired struck a large jet fuel storage tank at the edge of the city’s main airport, about a block from the concert grounds, indicating an apparent attempt by the gunman to create even greater havoc.
There was no explosion or fire from the two rounds, one of which penetrated the tank, as jet fuel in storage is almost impossible to ignite with gunshots, airport officials said on Friday. Unlike so many other perpetrators of deadly mass shootings before him, Paddock left behind no suicide note, no manifesto, no recordings and no messages on social media pointing to his intent, according to police. “We have looked at everything, literally, to include the suspect’s personal life, any political affiliation, his social behaviors, economic situation, any potential radicalization,” McMahill told reporters. “We are looking at every aspect from birth to death of this suspect and this case.”
McMahill acknowledged that Islamic State had repeatedly claimed responsibility for the attack, but said investigators had uncovered “no nexus” between that Mideast-based militant group and Paddock.
In an unusual bid to cast a wider net for additional tips, the FBI and police have arranged with communications company Clear Channel to post billboards around Las Vegas urging members of the public to come forward with any information they believe might help investigators. The billboards will bear the slogan, “If you know something, say something,” and carry a toll-free number to an FBI hotline, said Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas FBI office. “We have not stopped, we will not stop until we have the truth,” Rouse said. McMahill said investigators were satisfied that no one else was in the room with Paddock, who checked into the Mandalay Bay hotel three days before the massacre. “We’re very confident ... there was not another shooter in that room,” he said.
But police have said they suspect Paddock may have had assistance at some point before the killings, based on the large number of guns, ammunition and explosives that were found in the hotel suite, his home, his car and a second home searched in Reno.
Authorities have said that 12 of the weapons recovered from Paddock’s hotel suite were equipped with so-called bump-stock devices that enable semi-automatic rifles to be operated as if they were fully automatic machine-guns.
Paddock’s ability to fire hundreds of rounds per minute over the course of his 10-minute shooting spree was a major factor in the high casualty count, police said.
The bloodshed might have lasted longer, with greater loss of life, but for a hotel security officer who was sent to check an open-door alarm on the 32nd floor, and discovered the gunman’s whereabouts after the shooting started, McMahill said.
The security officer, Jesus Campos, was struck in the leg as the gunman strafed the hallway with gunfire from behind his door, apparently having detected Campos via surveillance cameras Paddock set up outside his hotel suite.
Campos, though wounded, alerted the hotel’s dispatch, “which was absolutely critical to us knowing the location as well as advising the responding officers as they arrived on that 32nd floor,” McMahill said. “He’s an absolute hero.”
Reports have emerged in recent days that Paddock may have targeted other sites for attack in Las Vegas, Chicago or Boston, which police have said they were investigating.
Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62, was questioned by the FBI on Wednesday and said in a statement she never had any inkling of Paddock’s plans.
Danley, who returned late on Tuesday from a family visit to the Philippines, is regarded by investigators as a “person of interest.” The Australian citizen of Filipino heritage is cooperating fully with authorities, her lawyer said. --- Reuters

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 07-08/17
Some Haven’t Learned from the October War

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/October 07/17
The Jewish state suffered heavy losses: almost 3,000 soldiers were killed, 8,000 were injured, 1,000 tanks and other destructive machinery were lost while 100 military air crafts went down. It also lost possession over one of the largest lands it has seized six years prior to a rather easy and opportunistic war. This is a brief overview of the October 1973 war. Wars are political activities, and their aim is not only to defeat the enemy. And the outcome of that war is that it has changed perceptions on the banks of the Suez Canal. Israel is a strong and advanced state, which possesses a dangerous military and expansion project.
It lived a sense of permanent superiority and content ever since winning the war in 1967, but most of the elements of this equation have changed in the October War. From then till now, Israel’s mission has become to protect whatever it has gained from the six-day war. Israel has learned its lesson and so did Egypt, yet some Arabs haven’t. They are the ones you see in Qatar, Iran and remaining torn regimes in Syria and Iraq. Perhaps the Sinai Peninsula and the Suez Canal would not have returned to Egypt if the 1973 war wasn’t waged, and perhaps Israel’s hunger for expansion would not have been put to an end without that defeat. The October War resulted in a major difference in relations between both sides as it adjusted the power balance. After that, both sides knew that there is no such thing as guaranteed victories. It dismissed many axioms inside the Jewish state, however, it failed to enlighten anti-Egypt Arab states, which misunderstood the war and its outcomes.Former Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat remains one of the history’s most prominent figures, politically and militarily. This war is only one of his many achievements.
Egypt entered the war in critical political and military circumstances; only six years after its defeat in June – a war that stripped Egypt of its arsenal and enthusiasm. Sadat’s advisers certainly attempted to dismiss the pursuit of such a dangerous mission against a state having a massive arsenal of advanced weaponry.
It is wrong to compare both countries in terms of size and population, such as some commentators have said continuously. Despite Israel’s smaller population when compared to Cairo alone, yet it has a bigger army. This is because most Israelis are trained and qualified soldiers for war if we count the army back-ups and the rest of the soldiers as the state demands that all those between the age of 17 and 49 should fight when needed, amounting up to 1.5 million individuals today.
This makes their numbers greater than that of the Egyptian army, who stood at half a million at the time.
Despite the difference in numbers, Israel lost then. The war came as a victory for faith, a victory over arrogance and superiority, a victory spurred for the first time a sense of insecurity among Israelis. It echoed conviction of humility and retreat after a constant desire for expansion. After the 1973 war, Israel did not wage an expansionist war again. The dream of a “Greater Israel” was over. The following wars that Israel was engaged in were about defending itself against the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon, and then against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah. In the October War, Egypt was victorious over Israel while the latter was the winner in the Syrian front as it seized more territory, which it later returned via negations in its agreement with late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. The agreement was not on separating forces and reordering borders as it was described, but it was an end to the direct war between Damascus and Tel Aviv. Even so, Baathists launched a false propaganda war against Egypt because it signed the Camp David Accords. Sadat was a realist politician, who was different from them. He developed the victory to become a greater project. If it weren’t for the threats by President Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq and Assad regime in Syria, the Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat would have been part of the accords. That war could have also come to a final peace agreement if it weren’t for Syria, Iraq and Libya’s conspiracy against Egypt and the treason of Islamic groups that assassinated Sadat – the man who released them from Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Naser’s prison. Egypt won in the October War, yet it is quite unfortunate that the Arabs lost it as an opportunity to capitalize on their only victory over Israel. To this day, there are those who are trying to distort the war’s history and the events that followed it to cover up their defeats and their political stances, which later proved futile.

Sweden: Land of Double Standards
Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/October 07/17
Both books are aimed at 3-6 year-olds. The first book is about "Asli, who has never been to Somalia, but now she is going there with her father to meet her four grandmothers". Swedish children, evidently, are supposed to learn that the Islamic practice of polygamy -- illegal in Sweden -- is completely normal.
Swedish libraries are evidently not concerned that books normalizing the misogynist practices of Islamic polygamy and covering women from top to toe, aimed at Swedish toddlers and children, might also be considered "offensive", not to mention criminal.
How curious, then, that the Swedish government laments Nazi marches in the streets of Gothenburg, yet is happy to spend large sums of Swedish tax payer money on those who agree with the Nazis on the streets of the Middle East.
The country that censors "offensive" words from children's books -- Swedish publishers and libraries have censored, among others, the classic Astrid Lindgren books about Pippi Longstocking -- has apparently found politically correct replacements.
Farfar har fyra fruar ("Grandad Has Four Wives") and Mormor är inget spöke ("Grandma Is Not a Ghost"), two books written by the Swedish author Oscar Trimbel, were featured at the book fair in Gothenburg recently. Both books are aimed at 3-6 year-olds. The first book is about "Asli, who has never been to Somalia, but now she is going there with her father to meet her four grandmothers". Swedish children, evidently, are supposed to learn that the Islamic practice of polygamy -- illegal in Sweden -- is completely normal.
The second book, "Grandma Is Not a Ghost", which features a drawing of a grandmother in a full-length jilbab on the cover, tells the story of "Omar, who meets his grandmother from Somalia. Omar wants to dress up as a ghost for Halloween and he wants his grandma to come along so that it will be spooky". Apparently, Swedish children are supposed to learn that the jilbab, which covers a woman from head to toe, leaving only the face visible, is not a frightening ghost costume, but completely commonplace dress for women to wear.
Swedish libraries are evidently not concerned that books normalizing the misogynist practices of Islamic polygamy and covering women from top to toe, aimed at Swedish toddlers and children, might also be considered "offensive', not to mention criminal. On the contrary: Stockholm Library had already ordered "Grandad Has Four Wives".
After two Swedish news outlets wrote about the books, however, the author, Oscar Trimbel, announced that he will be taking "Grandad Has Four Wives" off the market. He gave no reason for his decision.
Double standards are extensive in the Swedish establishment not only when it comes to children's books. On September 30, Swedish authorities were ready to allow a group of Swedish neo-Nazis, the "Nordic Resistance Movement" (NMR), to march in Gothenburg, close to a Jewish synagogue, which would be full as that day was Yom Kippur, the most significant Jewish holiday of the year. Despite protests, the Swedish police refused to listen to the Jewish community's concerns, but a Swedish administrative court finally rerouted the march.
Hundreds of people reportedly showed up for the NMR march, many of them armed with shields and helmets, while an estimated 10,000 counter-protesters turned out. A small group of so-called "anti-fascists" clashed with the neo-Nazis, as well as with the police. According to police, over 30 people were arrested and one officer lightly injured. The police had anticipated violence and had called in reinforcements from all districts in Sweden. One Swedish observer estimated that the NMR march had largely failed due to low participation numbers and a failure to reach the actual destination of the march.
Members of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) at an earlier march in Falun, Sweden, on May 1, 2017. (Image source: Edaen/Wikimedia Commons)
While it is curious that the police allowed the march to take place when it did -- it could have been moved to another day and another area of the city -- the reaction of the Swedish government to the Nazi demonstration was even more noteworthy.
After the march, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said he plans to invite center-right opposition parties to discussions on how to "counteract antidemocratic forces in the country".
Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström lamented the Nazi march by claiming:
"My entire political career has been driven by what I learned in school about the Holocaust... to condemn antisemitism... is a democratic obligation... We are witnessing increased intolerance and hatred in Sweden, in Europe and around the world... It is everyone's responsibility to ensure that history does not repeat itself".
The problem is that the Swedish government has not exactly done much to "ensure that history does not repeat itself".
While the neo-Nazi march was a welcome occasion for the government to pretend that it cares about anti-Semitism, the government's show of concern was highly questionable. "Empathy" from the Swedish government only surfaces when anti-Semitism originates from Nazi groups. The far more widespread Muslim anti-Semitism, which entered Sweden with the many Muslim immigrants, barely elicits any reaction on the part of ministers such as Wallström, who has called Israeli self-defense against Islamic terrorists "extrajudicial executions". She also famously linked the November 2015 Paris attacks to the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict, indirectly blaming Israel for the ISIS massacre in Paris, and allegedly even saying: "the Jews are campaigning against me".
Muslim anti-Semitism is rife in Sweden, as already substantiated by a Swedish report in 2003, but the Swedish establishment hardly talks about it; they prefer to talk about "Islamophobia".
In addition, Sweden continues to support the Palestinian Authority (PA) with millions of dollars, in spite of the fact that the PA instigates anti-Semitism, incites terrorism and uses half of all foreign aid to reward and incentivize terrorism.
Since its inception in 1993, the PA has systematically indoctrinated its citizens with an incessant barrage of enjoinders to commit jihad against Jews. From the moment children enter kindergarten, they learn, in line with Quranic passages 5:60 and 7:166, that the Jews are cursed and that Allah transformed them into apes and pigs. Hatred of Jews is taught in schools, where Israel is erased from the map, and Jewish nationhood and the Holocaust are denied. Jew hatred is preached in the mosques, on the internet, TV and radio, and manifests itself in the statues the PA erects in its city squares in the memory of terrorists as examples for its youth to emulate, and even in crossword puzzles.
Unsurprisingly, Hitler's Mein Kampf has been a bestseller throughout the Arab world. In 1999, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported that the Arabic translation of Mein Kampf had also become a bestseller in territories controlled by the PA. When in 2005 Mein Kampf was published in Turkey, it became an instant bestseller, with more than 100,000 copies sold in two months.
The Swedish government also funds groups trying to obliterate Israel.
How curious, then, that the Swedish government laments Nazi marches in the streets of Gothenburg, yet is happy to spend large sums of Swedish taxpayer money on those who agree with the Nazis on the streets of the Middle East.
**Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.
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Threats to Kurds made independence referendum inevitable

Huda al-Husseini/Al Arabiya 07/17
An American official asked President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani why they held the referendum now and why they rejected all demands to postpone it.
Barzani told his American guest that Baghdad’s government began to receive heavy and advanced weapons from the US, including military jets, which means that in few years, the balance will be in favor of the Iraqi army. Barzani also told the American official what worries him and said he expects “the Shiites, supported by Iran, to win and the Shiites to be defeated.”
He said: “The (Sunnis’) cities like Anbar and Mosul are all destroyed, ISIS was defeated and the Shiite ‘Popular Mobilization’ has emerged. By doing a small calculation, we can see that no one will stay in the face of the Iraqi government and (the Popular Mobilization). With an armed army, the spikes will be directed against us to eliminate us. This is why we should be ahead of time and call for an independence referendum.”
This American official told me that Barzani refused Iraqi commitments and promises as he does not trust Baghdad.
American guarantees came a night before the referendum as they asked the Kurds and the Iraqis to sit for unconditional negotiations to address the matters which concern them both, including the independence. The Americans proposed to sign a pledge to commit to this proposal and to the negotiations’ results.
Meanwhile, Iraq Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said he will respect the Kurds’ desire.
When Barzani heard about the proposal, he said it came in late, especially that it included postponing the referendum.
Barzani told his guest: “I mobilized the entire Kurdish street. They look forward to this referendum and view it as their life and future. I cannot tell them it’s postponed and if I do, I have to find an island to resort to because I will lose my people’s trust.”
Following all the efforts he made, Barzani was not willing to lose what he achieved. He governed for a long time and other parties began to escalate, oppose and defect. He wanted to play a historical role as a bigger leader so he called for an independence referendum. All parties, including the opposing ones, met the call and Barzani restored his leading role.
Kurds have heard nothing but threats from neighboring countries ever since the referendum was held. All these threats aim to please Baghdad’s government but who can punish an entire region with 5 million people?
Role of Saudi Arabia
This is where the role of Saudi Arabia which has good ties with Baghdad, Abadi and the Kurdistan region comes. Saudi Arabia is the only country capable of inviting both Abadi and Barzani to negotiate under its supervision.
It’s said that Abadi has become accepting of the idea of a confederal Iraq. This must be encouraged because this system grants Arab Sunnis land, rights and existence in the Arabic Iraq and it decreases Iranian influence.
In a confederal Iraq, Kurds’ lands will neighbor Sunnis’ lands and they will form a linked entity that’s parallel to Shiite lands. This extended land can pave way to distribute oil from North Iraq through Sunni lands and to Jordan and it can split the Iranian “extension” from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon through Hezbollah.
Regional central governments have rejected the Kurdistan referendum but Kurds in the region see it as the first sign of the domino effects on Kurdish separatist movements in the four countries where there are Kurdish presence.
The Kurds in Iraq voted for a free Kurdistan. Kurds in Syria are implementing a plan to establish a Kurdish parliamentarian regime in Syria, and they’re doing so with America’s support. Turkey views these Kurds as terrorists. The concerned governments think the matter of deciding the Kurds’ fate and independence is not just about unity of land but it also paves way to more wars in the region where civil, ethnic and sectarian battles have been raging for years.
Criticism of the timing
The US and Europe did not criticize the referendum itself but they criticized its timing. Meanwhile, Israel supported it and some interpreted this as a sign of a “hidden American agenda” that aims to sow more divisions and weaken any opposition to American interests.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah was disgruntled the most regarding this as he believes that everything outside the context of his opinions falls within the context of American, Saudi and Israeli directions against Iran. Last Saturday, he warned of an ‘Israeli-Palestinian peace’ that’s being looked into and warned the Palestinians agianst accepting it because any Palestinian reconciliation and any peace with Israel aims to target Iran and the axis of the Resistance.
In a confederal Iraq, Kurds’ lands will neighbor Sunnis’ lands and they will form a linked entity that’s parallel to Shiite lands. This extended land can pave way to distribute oil from North Iraq through Sunni lands and to Jordan and it can split the Iranian “extension” from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon through Hezbollah.
Turkey, Iran and Iraq threatened to take military action against the Kurdish Region. Rapprochement among the three countries is shallow and any possible individual or collective military act can lead to serious consequences. The biggest threat is that any military action by these countries will force the Peshmerga forces to shift their attention from fighting ISIS to fighting the new aggressor. This will give ISIS fighters a chance to gather again and neither the US nor Russia want this to happen.
Weak government in Baghdad
Despite its strict rhetoric, Baghdad’s government is weak and its record in terms of operations against ISIS is weak. The same applies to how it resolved ethnic divisions inside Iraq. Without foreign (Iranian) support, Baghdad’s government will not be able to stand in the Peshmerga’s face.
Meanwhile, the Russians have mutual interests with the Kurds in Iraq as the Kirkuk oil fields are under their control. In this case, it is probable that Damascus will keep the Kurds happy in Syria. Let’s keep in mind that last year Russia invested more than $4 billion in the energy sector in Iraq’s Kurdistan, thus surpassing the US as the biggest investor.
As for Turkey, it has been allied with Barzani for a long time now. Barzani opposes the Kurdistan Workers’ Party while Turkey is the biggest economic supporter of Kurdistan. There are 1,730 Turkish companies in there. A Turkish company built the Erbil airport – which until the recent crisis, no plane landed in without a permission from Baghdad. If we review Erdogan’s moves since the crisis erupted, we can see that they did not reflect his fiery statements. His statements were full of rage but his actions have been calculated.
Meanwhile, Iran closed its airspace and advised Baghdad to deploy Iraqi troops on the borders between it and Kurdistan.
Erdogan may increase tariffs on Kurds to transfer their oil via Turkish territories and he may threaten to pay the oil revenues to Baghdad’s government. He will not execute any military operation in order not to jeopardize Russia’s and Turkish businessmen’s interests.
A Turkish source said Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed with Erdogan the Kirkuk–Ceyhan Oil Pipeline. The Russian Rosneft company wants to keep the pipeline open.
Meanwhile, Moscow thinks the revenues of the Kurdistan region’s government are a return on its investments and without the pipeline and open borders or payments from Baghdad to Erbil, the Kurdistan government will collapse thus seriously jeopardizing the Russian project.
Iran’s backyard
Iran may act against Barzani through Baghdad and the Shiite militias it controls. However, in this particular case, support will come from America and Israel, a point which Hassan Nasrallah addressed. Other countries will not hesitate to provide support and play in Iran’s backyard.
Kurdistan’s problem which Barzani led up to put the four countries in a very difficult corner. If they act against the Kurds, they’d be risking a huge war that goes beyond proxy wars, and if they do not do anything, they’d be giving the Kurds in Iraq a chance to declare their freedom and their brothers in Turkey, Iran and Syria will follow suit. The end result of this path will be very bloody.
Those who think the US is losing its influence in the region are wrong. Proxy wars via militias and that have prolonged for the purpose of dominating the Middle East will finally return “home” to Iran and Turkey.