October 10/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

The Bulletin's Link on the lccc Site 

News Bulletin Achieves Since 2006
Click Here to enter the LCCC Arabic/English news bulletins Achieves since 2006

Bible Quotations
Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy

Saint John 16/20-24/:"Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labour, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete."

At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you
Second Letter to the Corinthians 05/20-21.06,01-07/:"We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;"

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 09-10/17
Thanks Giving Day: Obligations Prayers & Wishes/Elias Bejjani/October 09/17
Lebanese public figures speak out against Hezbollah/Roi Kais/Ynetnews/October 09/17
Hezbollah’s crazed rhetoric will bring Armageddon down on Lebanon/Baria Alamuddin/ArabNews/October 09/17
Lebanese Shiites form front against Hezbollah/Najia Houssari/ArabNews/October 09/17
Mr. President, Don't Put America at Risk with Flawed Iran Deal/John R. Bolton/ Gatestone Institute/October 09/17
An Unhappy US Congress is Not a Good Congress/Jonathan Bernstein/Asharq Al Awsat/October 09/17
The Nuclear Issue Isn’t the Real Iranian Challenge/David Ignatius/The Washington Post/October 09/17
Multiculturalism Is Splintering the West/Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/October 09/17
Germany: The Progressives' Post-Election Meltdown/Vijeta Uniyal/Gatestone Institute/October 09/17
Trump's 'Calm before the Storm' is a Message to North Korea and Iran/Alan M. Dershowitz/Gatestone Institute/October 09/17
Iran, Iraq and Turkey Seek Triple Military Alliance/Amir Taheri/ِAharq Al Awsat/October 09/17
Days of depending on US are over for Pakistan’: Pakistan PM tells Arab News in exclusive interview/Baker Atyani & Sib Kaifee/ArabNews/October 09/17
A must-have man for the Russian federation/Ghassan Charbel/Al Arabiya/October 09/17
Why North Korea’s antics remind us of Qatar/Hussein Shobokshi/Al Arabiya/October 09/17

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 09-10/17
Thanks Giving Day: Obligations Prayers & Wishes
Lebanese public figures speak out against Hezbollah
71 MPs Vote in Favor of Revised Tax Law, 5 Against as 9 Abstain
Hariri Says No Wage Scale Without Revenues
Kataeb Chief Says 'Detrimental' Taxes Aimed at Funding Electoral Campaign
Finance Minister: Taxes Mainly Aimed at Reducing Budget Deficit
Chamoun Deplores People's Passivity Towards Raging Corruption
Aoun, Mashnouq Affirm Timely Elections
Army Receives Two U.S. Super Tucano Light Attack Aircraft
Berri Says Voters to Use Normal IDs, Passports in Elections
Berri, Hariri and Jumblat Hold Evening Meeting in Clemenceau
Arsal Man Arrested for Belonging to Terror Group
Gunfight Erupts in Ain el-Hilweh Near UNRWA-Run School, Panics Students
Son of Iran detainee steps up calls for his return
Hezbollah’s crazed rhetoric will bring Armageddon down on Lebanon
Lebanese Shiites form front against Hezbollah

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 09-10/17
Iran promises “crushing” response if US designates Guards a terrorist group
Three Arab Candidates in the Race for UNESCO Chief Selection
‘Confederal’ System Alternative to Kurdistan’s Referendum
Civilian Casualties Spiral in Syria
Bahrain Confirms Committing to Principles of Anti-Terror Countries
Saudi King Salman Returns to Riyadh after Successful Russia Trip
Lockheed Martin Says ‘Looks Forward’ to Defense Industry Localization in Saudi Arabia
Arab League: UN Report on Yemen Lacks Accuracy

Latest Lebanese Related News published on October 09-10/17
Thanks Giving Day: Obligations Prayers & Wishes/الياس بجاني/عيد الشكر في كندا: واجبات وصلاة وتمنيات
Elias Bejjani/October 09/17
This Year, Our beloved Canada celebrates on the 09th of October The Thanks Giving Day.
A blessed day by all means that is welcomed and cherished with joy, gratefulness, Hope and faith.
All principles and values of humility and gratitude necessitates that each and every one of us with faith, and hope thank Almighty God for all that we have no matter what.
To appreciate what we have it is a must to look wisely around and observe the millions and millions of people all over the world who are totally deprived from almost every thing that is basic and needed for securing a descent life.
While celebrating the “Thanks Giving Day” Let us be grateful and thank Almighty God genuinely and with full reverence.
On this special day we have to focus on praying and combine both faith and acts together.
We need to train ourselves to witness for the truth and to be humble and generous in giving what we can to all those who are in need.
We must recognise and understand with no shed of doubt that the only weapons that a peaceful believer can use to fight hardships of all sorts are faith, honesty, self trust, righteousness and praying.
Let us all Lebanese Canadians pray and ask Almighty God for what ever we are in need for ourselves, for others and for our beloved both countries, Canada and Lebanon.
Almighty God definitely will hear and respond in case we are genuine in our prayers and praying with confidence, faith and trust, but His responses shall be mostly beyond our understanding or grasping.
Let us Pray for on going peace and prosperity in the hospitable and great Canada that gave us a home when we needed it.
Let us pray for peace in our beloved original country, Lebanon and for freedom of its persecuted and impoverished people.
Let us pray that all Families will get together on this day to support each other and mend all differences among their members.
Let us pray that all parents will be appreciated today by their family members, honoured and showed all due respect.
Let us pray for the souls of Lebanon’s martyrs that fell while defending Lebanon’s dignity and independence.
Let us pray that Jesus Christ shall grant, our mother country, Lebanon, the Land Of the Holy Cedars with faithful clergymen and brave political leaders who fear him and count for His Day Of Judgment.
Let us pray for peace and tranquility in our beloved Canada, and for all countries and people over the world, especially in the troubled and chaotic Middle East

Lebanese public figures speak out against Hezbollah
Roi Kais/Ynetnews/October 09/17
In rare and risky display, dozens of renowned Shiite public figures, including professors, writers, journalists and businessmen, meet in Beirut to voice their opposition to Hezbollah and call for a transfer of power, claiming oppression and drawing the ire of the terror group's supporters. Earlier this month, 60 renowned public figures from the Shiite Muslim community in Lebanon gathered for a conference at a hotel in Beirut in an attempt to challenge the dominance of terror group Hezbollah and promoting the Shiite political party Amal in their country. The conference organizers said the meeting was meant to voice different opinions within the Shiite community. "We met and debated and found one thing that brings us together concerns the building of a strong state with sovereignty over its land and borders," the group said. "A state that ensures the transfer of power in a periodic manner in accordance with the formulas established in the constitution. A state that enforces its sovereignty through its army and security forces without distractions."
This recent resistance movement is reportedly counting on Hezbollah's involvement in Syria in order to increase their own power in the Lebanese elections, which have not been held since 2009. The London-based Al-Arab newspaper, which is known for its biased coverage against Hezbollah, said the event was not the first of its kind. According to their report, in recent years there have been meetings hosted and attended by independent Shiite public figures in an attempt to challenge the hegemony of the two movements, especially Hezbollah, in the Lebanese political arena and the Shiite community in particular. However, this recent convergence created a wave of negative responses on social media, with Hezbollah and Amal supporters calling them "traitors" and accusing them of being bought and influenced by foreign agents, hinting that those behind the conference were the countries hostile to Hezbollah and its partners, such as Saudi Arabia. "We face offensive rumors if we take an independent stand against the Shiite duo of Hezbollah and Amal. We know we’ll pay for it," said Dr. Harith Sulaiman, an academic and one of the prominent members of the resistance group.
"I have been a political activist and patriot for the last 40 years; I studied in France, and I might have had certain ambitions, but I did not try to achieve my goals through either of the two Shiite powers," he added. "I’ve now decided to retire because I do not want to follow either of them."
The timing, it seems, is not coincidental. This conference takes place only a few months before Lebanon's next parliamentary elections. Those who attended it expressed a strong desire to establish "a national opposition front that will correct the division of Lebanese politics"—or, in other words, prepare the ground for an alternative choice for the Shiite community at the ballot, though it is very doubtful they will succeed. Since Hezbollah's intervention in Syria in favor of the Assad regime, there have been some in the Shiite community to occasionally speak out against the organization, but they are few and far between. "There exists a Shiite dilemma in Lebanon: We can’t dream of being able to break Hezbollah’s dominance," admitted media worker and civil activist Ali Al-Amin at the meeting. "Hezbollah is a regional armed force that uses its power to practice sectarian mobilization, and it is troubled by the existence of Shiites who declare that they oppose its policies and ideologies."We are paying for our stances against the campaigns that accused us of treachery, and we have been oppressed on several occasions. Any Shiite who opposes Hezbollah is accused of treason." Most who attended the meeting agreed that the change in Hezbollah's mobilization came following the 2006 Second Lebanon War with Israel, which prompted them to switch "from calling for a fight against Israel to calling for a holy war—jihad," and bolstered their aggressive and warmongering approach towards regional problem-solving.

71 MPs Vote in Favor of Revised Tax Law, 5 Against as 9 Abstain
Naharnet/October 09/17/The parliament on Monday approved a revised tax law to fund a new wage scale for civil servants after a previous law was revoked by the Constitutional Council over procedural and financial violations, as a separate bill on suspending the wage scale was referred to the Parliamentary Finance Committee. Seventy-one MPs voted in favor of the law, the five MPs of the Kataeb Party voted against it, as nine other lawmakers abstained from voting, most of them from Hizbullah's Loyalty to Resistance bloc. The taxes approved in the morning session included hiking VAT from 10 to 11%; hiking the prices of financial stamps; hiking taxes on imported alcoholic beverages; hiking fees charged by notaries; LBP 2,500 on landline phone bills and LBP 250 on mobile phone recharge cards; LBP 6,000 on cement production; LBP 250 on every cigarette pack, a 10% increase on every cigar and LBP 2,500 on every kilogram of hookah tobacco; an LBP 5,000 fee on non-Lebanese travelers entering Lebanon by land; an LBP 50,000 tax on economy class travel tickets, LBP 150,000 on first class travel tickets and LBP 400,000 on every traveler on a private jet. In the evening, the legislature approved taxes on imported containers, annual fines on seaside properties, a tax hike on lottery prizes, additional fees on firms' income tax and fees on real state sale contracts as it hiked taxes on the profits of financial firms from 15% to 17% and taxes on banks' interests and revenues from 5% to 7%. Announcing that he had referred the bill on freezing the wage scale to the Finance Committee, Speaker Nabih Berri warned that “if we don't approve the taxes, Lebanon's credit rating will drop which would negatively reflect on our currency.”“We must finalize the state budget before the end of the month and we must verify the presence of a budget surplus,” he added. During the session, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil noted that “the real objective behind the taxing measures is to reduce the deficit regardless of the wage scale.”“Everyone criticizing the taxing measures has contributed to hiking expenditure... The public debt interest increased LBP 760 billion in one year,” Khalil added. Earlier during the session, the head of the Finance Committee, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, had called for suspending the VAT hike until the state budget is approved, noting that it can be shelved along with other taxes in light of the achieved surplus.

Hariri Says No Wage Scale Without Revenues
Naharnet/October 09/17/Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Monday that the government cannot carry on with the implementation of the wage scale without securing revenues to fund it. “We have heavily burdened the State with the salary scale. We can't continue without revenues,” said Hariri.
The PM noted that former governments and parliaments had lengthily discussed the tax hikes law, adding -- in an indirect hint at ten MPs including Kataeb party leader MP Sami Gemayel who appealed the law -- that “parties who oppose it today had previously agreed to it.”“Earmarking funds for the wage scale without taxes will obligate us to borrow, which will put our country in a difficult situation. We do not want to impose taxes on the poor,” he noted. After the parliament approved the revised tax law in the evening, Hariri announced that "the imposed taxes are largely focused on firms, banks and wealthy citizens."
"It is rejected to claim that some MPs and ministers are supportive of low-income citizens more than others," he added. Wrong information is being circulated about the revenues needed for the wage scale," Hariri decried. "Approving the wage scale without reforms and revenues would lead the country into a disaster," he warned. "Whoever agrees to the wage scale must also approve its revenues that come through taxes," he added, addressing the opponents of the tax bill. Those who don't care about reforms and revenues are irresponsible and they only care about populist stances," Hariri added, in an apparent reference to Gemayel. Hariri's comments came after a parliament meeting dedicated to looking into three draft laws approved by the Cabinet, including the newly approved scale for civil servants and armed forces. Public sector salaries for the month of October were disbursed based on the new scale, but difficulties arose after the Constitutional Council revoked the tax law aimed at funding it. Fears arose over its suspension in coming months.
Late in August, the Constitutional Council ordered the tax law suspension after an appeal against it by ten MPs led by Gemayel.

Kataeb Chief Says 'Detrimental' Taxes Aimed at Funding Electoral Campaign 09/17/Kataeb chief Samy Gemayel on Monday sounded the alarm over the negative impact that the taxes will have on the country and its people, warning that the most of the approved taxes will affect the poor and middle classes. “The finance minister made it clear that the taxes are not aimed at funding the salary scale as claimed,” Gemayel said following the Parliament’s legislative session aimed at discussing the taxes proposed by the government."We are convinced and certain that there was no need for taxes to fund the salary scale," he affirmed. "What happened today is a big mistake."“The state's finances cannot be controlled and regulated unless a budget is set out and approved,” he added. Gemayel accused the ruling authority of imposing taxes in order to boost its revenues ahead of the parliamentary polls, saying that the main goal behind the levies is to fund the electoral campaign of the political forces in power.“80% of the approved taxes will affect all the Lebanese,” Gemayel warned, noting, however, that the Kataeb party supports taxes on banks and maritime properties. “We are afraid that the poverty rate will increase due to the approved taxes as it will impact the daily life of the Lebanese,” Gemayel said, noting that the VAT hike will affect 95% of the goods used regularly by the people. “Let them stop saying that the poor and middle classes will not be affected. In fact, these taxes will impoverish the people," he reiterated. “Each of the approved taxes will impact the entire economy, businesses and citizens”.Gemayel noted that lawmakers will vote by raising hands once discussions on the taxes law are wrapped up, adding that the Lebanese will be able to determine the stance of each deputy. “We will be scrutinizing the approved taxes to determine whether there is a legal foundation that enables us to lodge a challenge before the Constitutional Council,” Gemayel stressed. During the session, Gemayel blasted the reckless approach that has been adopted to deal with the taxes issue, criticizing the government for not basing the proposed levies on a clear study that assesses their impact on the people and the economy. “We would have loved to see the government reconsidering the taxes law in the wake of the Constitutional Council's verdict; this law is unconstitutional, detrimental to the economy and is not based on an economic study,” Gemayel said. “We do not know the income that each of these taxes will produce. No reform plan has been also set out knowing that top officials had admitted that Lebanon suffers from corruption and that the finance minister himself acknowledged tax and customs evasion,” Gemayel pointed out, adding that no one has so far answered him regarding the $825 billion sum that the state's treasury had gained thanked to bank profits. "We haven't received so far any study that shows the taxes' impact on inflation and the living conditions. How are we supposed to decide what to vote?"Gemayel noted that the budget surplus, the bank profits as well as the reforms that can be carried out, by limiting tax evasion before anything else, are sufficient to fund the salary scale. "As some are claiming that the taxes will not affect the poor, we stress that the VAT will affect 95% of supermarket goods," he pointed out.

Finance Minister: Taxes Mainly Aimed at Reducing Budget Deficit 09/17/Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil admitted on Monday that the taxes proposed by the government are mainly aimed at reducing the budget deficit, not only funding the salary scale. According to information obtained by the Kataeb website, the minister told the Parliament that the goal behind approving the taxes is to boost the state's revenues, admitting that the treasury had received $825 million, but failed to clarify whether this sum had been spent or not.

Chamoun Deplores People's Passivity Towards Raging Corruption 09/17/National Liberal Party leader Dory Chamoun blasted the taxes being imposed by the ruling authority, deploring the fact that the Lebanese are keeping mum and standing idly by while corruption is in full swing. "It is time for the people to speak up and say 'enough' to those ruling the country," Chamoun told the Kataeb website. The Chouf lawmaker dismissed statements claiming that the present term of President Michel Aoun is one of prosperity and stability, saying that the reality proves that ordeals and hardships have increased since the latter got to power. Chamoun regretted that many Lebanese are still following their leaders blindly, slamming this "stupid" segment of society for electing the same failed political class over and over. Asked whether the approved taxes law will be contested this time also, Chamoun said that no constitutional violation has been detected so far, adding that the legislation will be scrutinized for that purpose.

Aoun, Mashnouq Affirm Timely Elections
Naharnet/October 09/17/President Michel Aoun and Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq said Monday the parliamentary elections will be held on time based on the newly agreed proportional representation electoral system. Aoun, speaking to members of the 11-member Election Supervisory Committee at the Baabda Palace, stressed saying Lebanon will stage timely polls, he said: “Parliamentary elections will be held on time based on the newly agreed electoral law.” On a similar note and after meeting Aoun, Mashnouq said: “The polls will be held on time without any thought of postponement or extension.”The Election Supervisory Committee took an oath before Aoun Monday, in a move that would legitimize its proceedings. Lebanon's elections are expected to be held in May 2018.

Army Receives Two U.S. Super Tucano Light Attack Aircraft
Associated Press/Naharnet/October 09/17/The Lebanese Air Force on Monday received two U.S. A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, the National News Agency said. The two planes were delivered at the Hamat military airport in northern Lebanon. The two aircraft have been donated to Lebanon as part of the U.S. aid program for the Lebanese Army. The planes are designed for counter-insurgency operations. The U.S. has been a major supporter of the Lebanese Army, which until recently had been fighting the Islamic State group and al-Qaida's Syrian branch on the border with Syria. The two groups were ousted from the border region following Hizbullah and army offensives. Last year, Washington delivered three Huey II helicopters, raising to 10 the number of such U.S.-made aircraft in Lebanon's fleet. The U.S. has provided more than $1 billion in military assistance to Lebanon since 2006.

Berri Says Voters to Use Normal IDs, Passports in Elections
Naharnet/October 09/17/Speaker Nabih Berri said that voters will be able to cast their ballots in the upcoming parliamentary elections using their normal identity cards or passports, as he pointed out that there will be no prior registration of voters, al-Joumhouria daily reported Monday.
“Things seem to have been settled. There will be no prior registration of voters, there will be no biometric or magnetic voter cards. Elections will be run normally as usual and voters can use their Ids or passports,” Berri was quoted as telling his visitors. The cabinet was divided over whether to issue biometric cards or magnetic voter cards for the 2018 parliamentary polls. The process is costly and time-consuming, some political parties argue.Prior registration of voters enables voters to cast ballots in their place of residence without the need to move to their hometowns. On whether the newly agreed electoral law needs “some amendments”, the Speaker said: "The amendment is not on the table, and the law is clear.” On the postponement of the elections, Berri said it is surprising to talk about any postponement of the elections scheduled for next May, as he categorically rejected “new extension of the parliament even if it was for two minutes. I repeat, an earthquake alone can disrupt the elections, nothing else.”

Berri, Hariri and Jumblat Hold Evening Meeting in Clemenceau
Naharnet/October 09/17/A meeting was held Sunday evening at the residence of head of the Democratic Gathering bloc MP Walid Jumblat in Clemenceau in the presence of Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, MP Wael Abu Faour and Taymour Jumblat, al-Joumhouria daily reported Monday.According to a statement released by the Progressive Socialist Party media office, the two-hour meeting “included a review of the local situation and the regional developments, as it stressed the need to make every effort to maintain stability and fortify the national arena against all threats to the homeland and activating the work of institutions in the interest of the homeland and citizens.” Circles close to the interlocutors told the daily that they “have been preparing for the meeting for some while,” and that “the atmospheres were positive and friendly.”As for the goals, the sources stressed on condition of anonymity saying “the meeting is not directed against anyone, but was dictated by the need to meet. Several internal issues were addressed including the elections' file.”They stressed that Berri, Hariri and Jumblat's “main concern is the country's interest and the need to take the edge off political rhetoric, including the need for coordination between political parties on all internal files mainly the ones of priority.”In that regard, Jumblat took to Twitter and said about the meeting: “A gathering of dialogue, consensus and agreement on the need for stability, and realistic approach of things. Immunization of Lebanon must remain a priority above all else.”

Arsal Man Arrested for Belonging to Terror Group
Naharnet/October 09/17/The General Directorate of State Security announced Monday that Ali Hussein al-Hujeiri, 39, who hails from the border town of Arsal, was arrested Saturday on charges of “belonging to a terrorist group, fighting alongside it and staging acts of terror.”“Walkie-talkies were seized in his possession and investigations showed that he was convicted by the Military Court and that four arrest warrants had been issued for him,” State Security said in a statement. “The detainee has been referred to State Security's general headquarters for further investigations before being referred to the relevant judicial authorities,” the statement added. Jihadists from the extremist Islamic State and al-Nusra Front groups had been entrenched in Arsal's outskirts since the eruption of the Syrian conflict before being ousted from the area following Hizbullah and Lebanese Army offensives earlier this year. The two groups overran Arsal in 2014 and were eventually ousted by the army after days of deadly battles.

Gunfight Erupts in Ain el-Hilweh Near UNRWA-Run School, Panics Students
Naharnet/October 09/17/Tension prevailed on Monday in the southern Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh after a shooting incident between a group of Palestinian youth near an UNRWA-run school, the National News Agency reported. A personal dispute that escalated into a gunfight erupted between a group of youth in al-Braxat neighborhood, NNA said.The fight sent students panicking and trampling each other prompting the school's administration to have the children returned back home for safety reasons, it added.

Son of Iran detainee steps up calls for his return
The Daily Star/October 09/17/BEIRUT: The son of a Lebanese citizen imprisoned in Iran Monday sent an open letter to President Michel Aoun, calling for him to return from an upcoming visit to Iran with his father. Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese citizen and permanent U.S. resident, was arrested while attending a state sponsored women’s conference in Tehran in 2015. Zakka has since being tortured mentally and physically, his son Nadim alleges. “This has never occurred in history. No organization, no party, and definitely no government has ever done anything similar – they have officially invited and taken Nizar Zakka hostage,” the letter read. “He was sentenced to 10 years through a Star Chamber-like proceeding, by certain people in the Iranian government who are more interested in using him, and others, as political pawns in international politics.” Nadim added that his father requires urgent medical care, which has been denied to him despite medical experts’ recommendations. “My father has already lost his mother while he has been in Iran, [in addition to] his strength, and his health. There is no reason for any more suffering,” the letter read. Nadim added that many other countries had raised similar humanitarian issues and succeeded in securing the release of persons detained in Iran. “I’m sure you hear the thousands of Lebanese voices echoing, [saying] how our government disregards the Lebanese people, how our elected officials care so little for the honest man.”“We believe in you,” Nadim said, addressing Aoun, “more than the average man, more than the average official. I believe in you as father of my people, as sworn defender of the Lebanese ... I am sure you will do all that is in your power to return [from Iran] with my father, especially [since] Iran is supposedly a friend of Lebanon.”At the time of his arrest, Zakka was the secretary-general of IJMA3, the Arab Information and Communications Technology Organization. Reports from Iranian media suggested that his arrest was linked to espionage. He was invited to speak by Iran’s then-Vice President Shahindokht Molaverdi, who issued Zakka’s invitation as well as his visa. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and faces a $4.2 million fine for spying on behalf of the U.S., following a closed-door trial held in September 2016.

Hezbollah’s crazed rhetoric will bring Armageddon down on Lebanon/خطاب حزب الله الجنوني سيجلب الكارثة (أرمجدون) إلى لبنان
Baria Alamuddin/ArabNews/October 09/17
I increasingly hear diplomats and academics talking about the next Lebanon war as if it were simply a matter of time. Perhaps we require no more authoritative conformation of this than statements emerging from Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah himself.
Nasrallah appears to relish the prospect of war; with fire-breathing speeches warning “the Jews” to leave Palestine to avoid being eliminated; and threatening to bring forth militias from Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and God-knows-where else to join the conflict. There is some truth in Nasrallah’s boasts that Hezbollah is today better armed with long-range missiles; can operate on a front extending to the Golan; and now has domestic facilities for manufacturing its own arms and missiles — thanks to kind Uncle Khamenei!
Hezbollah in 2006 faced overwhelming military force, but because it survived and resupplied, propagandists claimed victory. However, there was a third protagonist in that conflict — the Lebanese people. Lebanon was the indisputable loser, with entire villages and urban districts bombed back to the stone age. Hundreds of civilians were killed by Israeli bombing while the world sat on its hands. Even now, hardly a day goes by without children in south Lebanon being maimed or killed by cluster-bomb fragments.
Let’s take Sayyid Nasrallah at his word and accept that Hezbollah today is 10 times better armed than before, with thousands of battle-hardened mercenaries at its disposal — the blood of Syrian citizens still dripping from their uniforms. Will Israel not be 100 times as ready, having spent every day since 2006 quietly preparing?
I’m sure it will be an impressive propaganda victory if rockets hit the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Does that make it worthwhile when Beirut gets pounded to dust? For every Israeli citizen killed, Israel never fails to avenge itself with 20 times the murderous fury against Arab non-combatants. When Nasrallah embarks on these adventures, knowing precisely how the enemy will respond, does he not also have Lebanese blood on his hands?
If the world in 2006 reacted to the conflict with embarrassed platitudes, in 2017 we can expect Trump to be Israel’s biggest cheerleader; opening the floodgates of US funding and military hardware with which to bring down Armageddon upon Lebanon. It was less obvious in 2006 that the UN and the international system were fundamentally broken. It was a psychological shock when the likes of Tony Blair proclaimed Israel’s right to defend itself and refused to call for a ceasefire. The international community’s lethargic response to renewed regional conflict in 2017 may leave us feeling nostalgic for Blair’s forked tongue.
Nasrallah is proud of having performed so well against disorganized bands of Syrian rebels and the women and children of Aleppo. Does he now believe himself to be invincible?
Awash with US funding, Israel is frequently rated as having the most technologically advanced military on earth, with an unrivalled air force. Iran’s annual funding to Hezbollah has risen to an estimated $800 million. How does this compare with Israel’s on-the-books annual military spending of around $20 billion? I mention this not to praise Israel, but so that, as Hezbollah drags us towards war, we aren’t deceived about what to expect. Israel has earned the undying enmity of us all, after waging so many bloody and futile incursions into Lebanon.
Tel Aviv has been remarkably quiet in the face of Nasrallah’s bluster. Does Nasrallah believe he’ll catch the Israeli army unawares? On the contrary, while Israel’s leadership recognizes it cannot emerge from such a conflict unscathed, Israel would obviously never sit back and allow armies of Iranian proxies to take up residence along its northern borders, without cutting them down to size at the right moment. When this conflict is triggered, it will be infinitely more bitter and destructive for Lebanon than 2006.
Flush with Iranian arms and money, and basking in the glow of his ‘military triumph’ over the women and children of Aleppo, Hassan Nasrallah blusters that he is ready for war with Israel. But his enemy is ready too, and the price, as usual, will be the lives and homes of innocent civilians.
Tragic Lebanon is in no fit state to face even limited conflict. For decades Lebanon has hosted a vast refugee population from Palestine and beyond. And after 2011 this tiny state opened its borders to a substantial proportion of the displaced Syrian nation. Consequently, public services long since passed breaking point. Unemployment exceeds 30 percent, with a dangerously high debt-to-GDP ratio of 150 percent. The Lebanon I grew up in was a prosperous and flourishing nation; when I return I’m shocked by growing social hardship. Since 2011 alone, the population living below the poverty line has risen by a shocking 66 percent.
Hezbollah displays contempt for Lebanon, seeing themselves as mighty regional actors (a delusion shared by a disturbing number of Lebanese). Nasrallah somehow claims the right to decide issues of peace and war, life and death, on behalf of the Lebanese people. Many of us thought that the Syrian war would weaken Hezbollah, particularly when domestic criticism intensified after more than 2,000 Lebanese fighters perished in a foreign conflict. Hezbollah has displayed itself to be contemptuously independent of domestic support, as long as Iranian funding flows into its coffers.
Indeed, Hezbollah has intensified ideological control of Shiite districts. It meanwhile embarked on expansive construction projects in areas between the Shiite heartlands, such as south Beirut and Beqaa, to ensure territorial contiguity and sectarian hegemony. This is paralleled with massive sectarian engineering projects across Syria through to Iraq, to ensure a pliant population across which Iran’s pawns can move with impunity. For obvious reasons, the expansion of proxy paramilitaries in Golan has been a priority.
We have entered an era of raw power, when nobody even cares about the moral high ground. Putin, Nasrallah, Khamenei and Assad came out on top in Syria through unlimited brute force. The rulers of Lebanon’s political fiefdoms compete to ally themselves with these self-styled strongmen. A word from Bashar Assad no longer makes or breaks Lebanese governments — Assad’s Iranian and Russian powerbrokers today call the shots.
Hezbollah’s growing stranglehold over the Lebanese political system is manifested in actions against Sunni militants. Nobody disputes that many of those detained and executed are primarily a plague on their own communities. However, such campaigns begin to resemble sectarian purges; thus fueling sectarian militancy which had already been exacerbated by the export of the Syrian conflict on to Lebanese soil.
Much as we resented Western interference, we must acknowledge that in previous decades diplomats were active behind the scenes neutralizing Lebanese disputes and preventing the political system from blundering off a cliff. Today, Western diplomats have largely washed their hands of such a role, and GCC financial support has plunged. Everybody seems to have forgotten the lesson that Lebanon is the Arab world in microcosm – managing crises in Beirut frequently prevents contagion to the rest of the region.
Israel and Hezbollah are like two ageing and punch-drunk street brawlers who relish their periodic sparring matches, while trampling Lebanon to shreds beneath their feet. Meanwhile their sponsors — Iran and America — sit back and spectate from a safe distance.
Are we content to also passively sit back and watch Israel and Hezbollah tear Lebanon to pieces, simply to prove who’s the biggest thug in the region?
• Baria Alamuddin is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East and the UK. She is editor of the Media Services Syndicate, a foreign editor at Al-Hayat, and has interviewed numerous heads of state.

Lebanese Shiites form front against Hezbollah قيادات شيعية تشكل جبهة ضد حزب الله
Najia Houssari/ArabNews/October 09/17

Beirut/ A recent meeting of around 60 public Shiite figures in Beirut, including university professors, writers, journalists and business people, has triggered a series of negative responses on social media.
The group said: “We are a group of democratic Lebanese citizens from the Shiite community, and our main concern is the establishment of a just and capable state, and the Shiite community is but a part of our work and activity, especially as parliamentary elections approach with an electoral law which still requires candidates to have sectarian affiliation.”
Read more: Initiative chiite élargie contre le Hezbollah
The response on social media — accusations of “treason” and cries of “embassy’s Shiites,” a derisory term used by Hezbollah to discredit its opponents by implying they are in the pay of foreign governments — was expected, according to Dr. Harith Sulaiman, an academic and one of the prominent group members.
“We face offensive rumors if we take an independent stand against the Shiite duo of Hezbollah and Amal. We know we’ll pay for it,” he said. “I have been a political activist and patriot for the last 40 years; I studied in France and I might have had certain ambitions, but I did not try to achieve my goals through either of the two Shiite powers. I’ve now decided to retire because I do not want to follow either of them.”
The group stated that their meeting was “evidence we don’t plan on establishing a political party or a Shiite organization, but that we are keen on finding a political climate that is convenient for all Lebanese people and through which they can perform their duties and receive their rights. Our meeting today is not a fleeting one, but the beginning of establishing a national opposition front that will correct the division of Lebanese politics.
“During the meeting, it was agreed that the quota policy has disrupted and paralyzed government agencies and changed Lebanon’s direction toward serving regional agendas, which, if continued, will eventually lead to the fragmentation and demise of Lebanon,” the group’s statement continued. “From here, we call for searching for ways out after the country was brought to a state of intransigence. It is time for a Lebanese civil state to be established, and it should start with the parliamentary elections.”
Media worker and civil activist Ali Al-Amin pointed out that the meeting brought together left-wingers, conservatives and civil activists from South Lebanon, Bekaa and Beirut. They do not share the same ideology but they do share a desire for a civil state. “The appeal we made is a founding statement for this common space,” he said.
“There exists a Shiite dilemma in Lebanon: We can’t dream of being able to break Hezbollah’s dominance. Hezbollah is a regional armed force that uses its power to practice sectarian mobilization, and it is troubled by the existence of Shiites who declare that they oppose its policies and ideologies. We are paying for our stances against the campaigns that accused us of treachery, and we have been oppressed on several occasions. Any Shiite who opposes Hezbollah is accused of treason.”
Shiite figures in the meeting agreed that Hezbollah’s sectarian mobilization had begun to escalate in 2006 after Israel’s war on Lebanon, and continued during its fight alongside Syria “when they switched from calling for a fight against Israel to calling for a holy war — jihad.”
However, the group believes the upcoming parliamentary elections, based on the new law that adopts proportional representation, are an opportunity for achieving a ballot-box breakthrough.
“In the last quarter-century, we haven’t seen any breakthroughs in electoral lists in which the Shiite duo is allied — neither in the south nor in Baalbek-Hermel,” Al-Amin said. “This is an indication to any observer that there are no elections in these areas, but rather the use of the organs of state to exert influence over them. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah once said, ‘We are headed to a referendum, not an election.’ For us, sovereignty is a matter of vital importance and we have the right to tell them they’re committing forgery and violating the law.”
The independent Shiite figures believe the outcome of last year’s municipal elections, in which some individuals overcame the traditional Shiite alliance, offers cause for optimism. They do not believe there is a contradiction between their call for a civil state and using a unified Shiite front to achieve it.
“The Lebanese regime divided us into sects and regions, so what (are we) supposed to do? There is a Shiite problem and if certain figures are not replaced, nothing will change,” businessman Kareem Marwa said. “Lebanon is governed by the balance of powers. We know this, but we wish to say that we are Lebanese and Arabs, and the new election law may either allow for a seat or not, but it’s our duty to provide the people of Lebanon — especially Shiites — with options if we wish the state to come first.”
Journalist Kassem Kassir, a close associate of Hezbollah, doubts that these figures will remain united when it comes to their electoral project because he believes “they have nothing in common — on the contrary, actually; there are conflicts between them. Moreover, they have already attempted to form groups but were marginalized by the electoral alliances between the March 14 Forces and the Shiite duo.”
Kassir said he believes “these figures are trying to seize the opportunity and take advantage of a regional event to unite as opposition to Hezbollah. However, these figures form an elite group that does not constitute a popular cause, so how will it survive the parliamentary elections without powerful electoral support?”
But Dr. Sulaiman’s vision goes beyond the parliamentary elections. “In the light of Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian mess, what we’re doing is protecting our people from death,” he said. “Every day I go to the university and see the walls filled with photos of students I’ve known being mourned by Hezbollah; I find it quite painful. When they fought Israel, we used to say ‘May they rest in peace,’ but the tragedy is greater today because those young people are fighting in defense of Bashar Assad. Those young men are dying thrice: Once because they died, once because they fought the wrong battle, and once because they are supporting a tyrannical ruler. The reason why we’re here is that we appeal for the truth and want to say ‘Enough is enough’ and defend our youth.”
“We cannot despise our students, relatives or neighbors — what we do is because we love them and wish to protect them from death,” he continued. “Those who are responsible for their harm are the ones who said ‘We will be wherever we must be.’ It is the responsibility of Qasem Soleimani because it means we must be whatever Iran wishes us to be, and this is unacceptable. We are more concerned about the Hezbollah youth than about Iran and Hezbollah’s leadership.”

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 09-10/17
Iran promises “crushing” response if US designates Guards a terrorist group
Reuters/Monday 9 October 2017/LONDON: Iran promised on Monday to give a “crushing” response if the United States designated its elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group.The pledge came a week before President Donald Trump announces final decision on how he wants to contain Tehran. He is expected on Oct 15 to will decertify the landmark international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, in a step that potentially could cause the 2015 accord to unravel. Trump is also expected to designate Iran’s most powerful security force, the Revolutionary Guards Corp. (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, as he rolls out a broader US strategy on Iran. “We are hopeful that the United States does not make this strategic mistake,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA at a news conference.
“If they do, Iran’s reaction would be firm, decisive and crushing and the United States should bear all its consequences,” he added. Individuals and entities associated with the IRGC are currently on the US list of foreign terrorist organizations, but the organization as a whole is not. IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Sunday “if the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world.”Jafari also said that additional sanctions would end the chances for future dialogue with the United States and that the Americans would have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km (1,250 mile) range of IRGC’s missiles.

Three Arab Candidates in the Race for UNESCO Chief Selection
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 09/17Cairo- Three Arab candidates sit for the selection of UNESCO’s top post holder. Egyptian human rights activist Moushira Khattab, Lebanese lecturer in International Law at the Sorbonne School of Law Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilhe, and Qatari diplomat Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, next to four other candidates are being reviewed for the position of UNESCO’s new chief. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s executive board is choosing a new leader to replace departing director Irina Bokova. Affiliated sources revealed on Sunday that Egypt’s Khattab, who also served as the Minister of Family & Population of Egypt, receives wide-reaching support from African, Arab, and Mediterranean Sea countries. A career US-educated diplomat, Khattab’s biggest achievement was campaigning in the 1990s for women’s rights as a top aide to the country’s first lady at the time, Suzanne Mubarak. She also served as chairwoman of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and was one of the main architects of legislation prohibiting the marriage of underage girls and female genital circumcision. She also served as family and housing minister under President Hosni Mubarak, ousted in a 2011 popular uprising. However, there are fears that Arab votes will be broken in favor of other candidates, notably former French nominee and former culture minister Audrey Azoulay.Azoulay is the first French nominee seeking UNESCO’s position for chief, mixing up the cards a little. On the other hand, no Arab candidate has ever secured this high position throughout the organization’s history. Egypt has hinted at efforts to buy the votes of members in the elections. “Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who is in Paris to follow up on the elections, confirmed his confidence that UNESCO will choose its new director in a fair manner … and that it is difficult to buy them as other elections were bought,” foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said. Zeid’s remarks were in reference to Qatar’s victory in winning the hosting job for the 2022 World Cup. Voting by UNESCO’s executive board starts Monday and continues through the week. Among the leading candidates is Qian Tang of China. It is worth noting that the US has also paused funding for the organization along with Israel, once former UNESCO Director-General Bokova allowed for the 2011 members’ vote to make Palestine a member of the organization.

‘Confederal’ System Alternative to Kurdistan’s Referendum
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 09/17Baghdad, Irbil- The option of a “confederal” state reemerged on Sunday as an alternative to the Kurdistan Region’s plans to gain independence from Iraq, informed Kurdish sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. Abdullah Warti, a member of the Kurdistan Supreme Political Council, said that the confederal choice was proposed by a third intermediary, represented by neighboring countries and other international states, and was adopted by some sides in the government and some Iraqi politicians. “However, the proposal has not yet became official,” Warti said, adding that confederalism is currently considered as the best solution for the political situation in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. From his part, Fadel Mirani, secretary-general of the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani, said on Sunday that “the choice of confederalism is good.”He added: “If Baghdad recognizes the Kurdish state, then it would be possible to discuss the choice of confederalism.”The development came as several parliamentary bloc leaders in Iraq are working to limit the tension between Baghdad and Irbil. In this regard, Barzani held talks in Irbil on Sunday with Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabori, the first meeting between the two sides since Kurdistan’s independence referendum last Sept. 25. Following the meeting, Jabori’s office issued a statement saying his visit aims to help rebuild the strained relations between Irbil and Baghdad that have reached a dangerous level where “regional countries have begun to interfere as parties in the crisis, threatening the security and stability of Iraq as a state.”Meanwhile, the office of former Iraqi Speaker and Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi announced on Sunday launching a new political initiative to “defuse the crisis” with an aim to reach national solutions based on dialogue and the unity of Iraq.

Civilian Casualties Spiral in Syria
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 09/17Beirut- Civilian casualties have spiraled across Syria in recent weeks as pro-regime forces launch hundreds of bombing raids across areas marked for international protection.
Groups monitoring the conflict have recorded hundreds of strikes since the end of a sixth round of peace talks in Astana among Russia, Iran and Turkey in mid-September. On Friday, the White Helmets rescue group reported that 80 percent of those attacks targeted civilian areas. September was the deadliest month on record this year in Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, with almost 1,000 civilians killed across the country. “Now the planes are back, there is just terror all the time,” said Tim al-Siyofi, an activist from the besieged Damascus district of Douma. Analysts took the violence as a sign that piecemeal cease-fires struck in the Kazakh capital of Astana have done little to change the core objectives of the Syrian regime. With support from Russia and Iran, Bashar al-Assad’s military is ascendant and on course to reclaim most of the territory that slipped from its grasp during six years of war. They also said it underscored the paucity of diplomatic options for the United States and European nations, which championed an earlier, UN-backed process without success, and now hold little leverage over any side in the conflict. “For the international community, who have failed in large part to see through this process, a return to violence may have larger implications for their attempts to push for a political and sustainable solution,” said Emma Beals, a Beirut-based expert monitoring the war in Syria. Attacks by government and Russian warplanes followed a failed offensive led by Al-Qaeda (al-Nusra Front and its allies) in the western province of Hama. In the next-door province of Idlib, a rebel stronghold in which the peace talks are meant to have guaranteed a cease-fire, warplanes have targeted the hospitals in which many of the wounded would have sought treatment. Interviews with civilians in the area were interrupted on several occasions by the sound of rocket fire and explosions. Inside the Idlib and Kafr Takhareem hospitals during one nighttime attack, staff said they were overwhelmed with the number of casualties. “Our emergency room is full during the bad nights, so we’re treating casualties in the chairs. The dead are wrapped in blankets and laid on the ground as we work,” said a 34-year old medic who gave his name as Abdulhamid. In the Damascus suburbs, areas covered by the truce have also come under sustained attack, with strikes hitting civilian homes and a rehabilitation clinic for victims of earlier bombings. With the bombings, rebel corruption and infighting, Siyofi, the activist, said trust in the community has plummeted. “People say we do not want either the regime or the armed groups, we just want to eat, open the sieges and to live in peace and not to get bombed.” “The de-escalation process is allowing Assad to continue to implement this strategy within the framework of an internationally sanctioned political process,” Beals said. Regime and Russian airstrikes appear to have been concentrated in areas around the strategic M5 highway, a vital artery for the Syrian state that runs from Damascus through Homs and on to Aleppo, which was recaptured from rebel forces last December. Some saw few gains to be made. “Astana is just like a piece of fabric stretched over parts of the country,” said Ahmed Rahhul, a former general in Assad’s army who now works as an Istanbul-based military analyst. “These de-escalations freeze the problem, they do not solve it.”

Bahrain Confirms Committing to Principles of Anti-Terror Countries

Asharq Al-Awsat/October 09/17Manama-The King of Bahrain has hailed the efforts of the anti-terror Quartet and the current boycott of countries supporting terrorism headed by Qatar, underscoring the Kingdom vital role in fighting terrorism in the region.
“The Kingdom affirms its adherence to the basic principles declared by the countries calling for the fight against terrorism and uncovering the supporters and funders of terrorism, who adopt political agendas that aim to fabricate crises, divide ranks and threaten the security and stability of the region,” King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said. The King’s comments came during the opening of the final session of the fourth legislative term at a special ceremony held at the Isa Cultural Center premises in Juffair. Deputy Prime Ministers, Bahrain Defense Force(BDF) Commander-in-Chief Field Marshall Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, ministers, senior officers of the BDF, Interior Ministry and National Guard, Members of Parliament and Shura Council, Ambassadors and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.The King mentioned the headlines of Bahrain’s internal and foreign policy as he stressed the reform requirements and development in light of this changeable world. “The requirements of reform and development in our changing world, with its opportunities and challenges, call for a clear vision to ensure a smooth development process,” King Hamad said. “On this level, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been able to meet these requirements, proceeding from our comprehensive national project, from which stems Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 and its principles that instill justice, competitiveness, and sustainability to attain leadership in performance and achievement,” King Hamad added. Praising the efforts paid by the two branches of the Legislative Authority, the House of Representatives and Shura Council, King Hamad highlighted the main legislations passed during the previous three years, serving the people of Bahrain and their interests. He commended the initiatives of the legislature that aim to boost the level of social stability, especially the Family Law, which came in the “form of a consensus and unified formula, stemming from the provisions of the Islamic Shari’a, and in support of the tremendous attention the Kingdom accords to the status of the Bahraini family in general and women in particular, who deserve all respect.”It’s a matter of pride that Bahraini women today exceed the traditional stages of empowerment to reach the higher status they now enjoy as they represent a high percentage of the country’s public and private sector employees,” the King said. In the field of foreign policy, King Hamad stressed that his country will remain, as it has always been known in the Arab world, faithful to its causes, protecting its security and defending its interests. “It will mobilize all its military, security and diplomatic capabilities to confront any illegal interference and deal with any crises that aim to destabilize its Arab region,” the King added. “In this regard, we will continue our efforts in support of the legitimate rights of the brotherly Palestinian people to establish their independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital, as a prerequisite for the establishment of security and stability in the region.”In this context, Speaker of the Council of Representatives called upon Qatar to return to the Gulf House and the Arab Ranks and to adhere to the bonds, ties of closeness, religion, history and common destiny and to stay away from the Iranian policies.

Saudi King Salman Returns to Riyadh after Successful Russia Trip
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 09/17/Moscow, Riyadh – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz returned to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, concluding a successful trip to Russia where he met President Vladimir Putin and senior officials.
He stressed the importance of the talks with the Russian president, sending him a cable on Sunday in which he thanked him for the warm reception. “I leave your friendly country by offering my greatest gratitude for the reception the accompanying delegation and I received.”
“The joint talks we held confirm the determination to go ahead and bolster ties between our countries in all fields,” added King Salman. It confirms a determination to continue coordination and consultations on issues of joint interest in a manner that serves the interest of both friendly nations and peoples and international security and peace, stressed the monarch in his cable. He also hoped that the Russian people will witness continued prosperity and growth. Talks between King Salman and Russian officials addressed bilateral ties and strengthening cooperation between Riyadh and Moscow.
The historic trip was crowned with the signing of agreements and Memorandums of Understanding worth billions of dollars. The deals cover the technology, military cooperation, space, trade, communication, investment and cultural sectors.

Lockheed Martin Says ‘Looks Forward’ to Defense Industry Localization in Saudi Arabia
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 09/17Dubai- Lockheed Martin Saudi Arabia’s Chief Executive Alan Chinoda said that the arms deal brokered during the US President’s visit last May encompasses the settings of a Saudi-US partnership and encourages the exchange of intelligence. Lockheed Martin has partnered with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) to provide on-the-job training in advanced manufacturing. Chinoda added that modern defense contracts go beyond the traditional arms-oriented deals. The defense industry is wide-ranging, involving everything from launchpads, advanced software, specialized technologies, complex supply chain management, all the way to many other defense partnership aspects, said Chinoda. The US State Department has approved the possible sale of 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile launchers to Saudi Arabia, worth up to $15 billion.
The sale is part of the $110 billion mega arms deal with Saudi Arabia that President Trump announced during his trip in May. Lockheed Martin’s share of this partnership is estimated at $28 billion covering air and missile defense systems, warships, tactical aircraft, and Rotary. The THAAD sale would further enhance US national security and foreign policy interests and support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian and other regional threats. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Chinoda said that the Kingdom’s next approach is based on the efforts of localization in the context of Vision 2030, which seeks to cover 50 percent of the country’s defense investments by 2030. Chinoda described the move as ‘intelligent,’ saying that the Saudi leadership approach is positive in terms of developing a more mature defense industry, with specialized and highly skilled jobs. One of the key elements of the May 20 deal is to localize products and develop skills. Companies looking to work in Saudi Arabia are encouraged to incorporate knowledge transfer into their operations. Commenting on the US-Saudi arms deal pledging to assemble 150 Lockheed Martin Blackhawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia, Chinoda said that the group was working to deliver on that deal. Initially, parts of the helicopters will be transferred mostly from the United States and delivered to Saudi military forces, while the final assembly will take place within the joint venture in Saudi Arabia. The $6 billion deal for Blackhawks is expected to result in about 450 jobs in Saudi Arabia, the statement said. A number of experienced employees from Lockheed Martin will provide practical training to Saudis so that they can eventually build a successful aviation and defense industry in the Kingdom. He reiterated that Lockheed Martin looks forward to continuing its historical relationship with Saudi Arabia, a relationship that dates back more than half a century when in 1965 the company delivered the first C-130 Hercules military air transport to the kingdom.

Arab League: UN Report on Yemen Lacks Accuracy
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 09/17Cairo, Riyadh- The Arab League said that a more accurate approach was required in the annual report of the UN Secretary-General on the situation of children in armed conflict, in which the UN accused the Arab Coalition Countries to Restore Yemen’s Legitimacy of committing violations against children during the country’s armed conflict. Mahmoud Afifi, the official spokesman of the Arab League secretary general, said that the report lacked a more accurate approach by the authors in monitoring, recording and documenting the alleged violations by Arab Coalition in Yemen.
He stressed that Yemen’s complex situation and the responsibility of the coup militias for a large number of violations “makes it important to refer to the legitimate government in Yemen as the main source for information and data in this regard.”Afifi added that the severe deterioration in the humanitarian and living conditions of the Yemeni people necessitated practical steps to mobilize the much-needed efforts to address the situation as soon as possible, starting with a constructive and sound dialogue between the international community and the legitimate government and its allies. He also highlighted great efforts deployed by the Arab Coalition over the last years to help the Yemeni people, including, for example, the work of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRELIEF) in the protection of Yemeni children in armed conflicts and the rehabilitation of child soldiers.Meanwhile, legal sources said that the credibility and accuracy of United Nations reports was at stake, as the international organization has recently resorted to inaccurate statistical data from non-neutral actors possibly involved in conflicts. The sources told Asharq al-Awsat that in recent years there has been an increase in the international organization’s failures, while its secretary-general’s tasks have been limited to denunciation and condemnation. Dr. Hadi Al-Yami, the former chairman of the Arab Human Rights Committee, said that international organizations have tried to exploit Saudi support for their programs and to issue reports in the interests of the Kingdom’s enemies. He also expressed his surprise over the United Nations’ designation of the Arab Coalition as a party that violates children’s rights. “Unfortunately, information obtained by international organizations is not objective, as it comes from employees working for the Houthis and does not reflect the reality of Houthi violations of children’s rights,” he stated.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 09-10/17
من جون بولتون للرئيس ترامي: السيد الرئيس، لا تضع أمريكا في خطر مع صفقة إيران المعيبة والمتعثرة
Mr. President, Don't Put America at Risk with Flawed Iran Deal

John R. Bolton/ Gatestone Institute/October 09/17
President Trump will address U.S. policy toward Iran on Thursday, doubtless focusing on his decision regarding Barack Obama's badly flawed nuclear deal. Key officials are now briefing Congress, the press and foreign governments about the speech, cautioning that the final product is, in fact, not yet final. The preponderant media speculation is that Trump's senior advisers are positioning him to make a serious mistake, based on their flawed advice. Wishful thinking about Iran's mullahs, near-religious faith in the power of pieces of paper, and a retreat from executive authority are hallmarks of the impending crash.
In short, Obama's Iran nuclear deal is poised to become the Trump-Obama deal. The media report that the president will not withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but instead, under the misbegotten Corker-Cardin legislation, will "decertify" that it is in America's national interest. Congress may then reimpose sanctions, or try somehow to "fix" the deal. Curiously, most of the suggested "fixes" involve repairing Corker-Cardin rather than the JCPOA directly.
Sure, give Congress the lead on Iran. What could go wrong? Whatever the problem with Iran, Congress is not the answer. No president should surrender what the Constitution vests uniquely in him: dominant power to set America's foreign policy. In the iconic Federalist Number 70, Alexander Hamilton wrote insightfully that "decision, activity, secrecy and dispatch" characterize unitary executive power, and most certainly not the legislative branch. President Trump risks not only forfeiting his leading national-security role, but paralysis, or worse, in the House and Senate.
If Congress really wants to "fix" Corker-Cardin, the best fix is total repeal. The substantive arguments for decertifying but not withdrawing are truly Jesuitical, teasing out imagined benefits from adhering to a deal Iran already treats with contempt. Some argue we should try provoking Iran to exit first, because our withdrawal would harm America's image. This is ludicrous. The United States must act in its own self-interest, not wait around hoping Iran does us a favor. It won't. Why should Tehran leave (or even modify) a deal advantageous beyond its wildest imagination?
This "shame" prediction was made against Washington's 2001 unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and proved utterly false. America's decision to abrogate the hallowed "cornerstone of international strategic stability" produced nothing like the storm of opprobrium Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty adherents predicted. No nuclear arms race followed. Instead, withdrawal left the United States far better positioned to defend itself against exactly the threats Iran and others now pose.
Some say that trashing the deal will spur Iran to accelerate its nuclear-weapons program to rush across the finish line. Of course, before the JCPOA, Iran was already party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which barred it from seeking or possessing nuclear weapons, but which it systematically violated. JCPOA advocates are therefore arguing that although one piece of paper (a multilateral treaty, no less) failed to stop Iran's nuclear quest, the JCPOA, a second piece of paper, will do the trick, with catastrophic consequences if we withdraw. Ironically, these same acolytes almost invariably concede the JCPOA is badly flawed and needs substantial amendment. So they actually believe a third piece of paper is required to halt Iran. Two are not enough. This argument flunks the smile test: Burying Iran in paper will not stop its nuclear program.
Iran's ability to "rush" to have nuclear weapons existed before the deal, exists now, and would exist if America withdrew. The director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said recently it would take a mere five days for Iran to resume its pre-deal level of uranium enrichment. This rare case of regime honesty demonstrates how trivial and easily reversible Iran's JCPOA concessions were. What alone deters an Iranian "rush" is the threat of preemptive U.S. or Israeli military strikes, not pieces of paper.
Nor will U.S. withdrawal eliminate valuable international verification procedures under the JCPOA. In fact, these measures are worse than useless for nonproliferation purposes, although they serve Iran well. By affording the appearance of effective verification, they camouflage Iran's active, multiple violations of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231: on uranium-enrichment levels, advanced-centrifuge research, heavy-water production and missile programs. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently admitted explicitly it has no visibility whatever into weapons and ballistic-missile work underway on Iran's military bases.
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently admitted explicitly it has no visibility whatever into weapons and ballistic-missile work underway on Iran's military bases. Pictured: An Iranian surface to surface missile, on display at an army day military parade in Tehran, Iran. (Photo by Majid/Getty Images)
It is simple common sense that Iran would not conduct easily discoverable weapons-related work at already-known nuclear sites like Natanz and Esfahan. Warhead design and the like are far more likely at military sites like Parchin where the IAEA has never had adequate access. No wonder the IAEA is now barred from Parchin.
It is not just weapons-related work the JCPOA fails to uncover. Substantial uranium-enrichment production and research are also far more likely at undeclared sites inside Iran or elsewhere, like North Korea. This is the lesson Tehran learned after Israel destroyed the nuclear reactor under construction by North Koreans in Syria in 2007.
Nor will abrogating the deal somehow induce Iran to become more threatening in the Middle East or in supporting global terrorism than it already is with the JCPOA in force. Consider Tehran's belligerent behavior in the Persian Gulf, its nearly successful effort to create an arc of control from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon, threatening Israel, Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula, and its continued role as the world's central banker of international terrorism. The real issue is how much worse Iran's behavior will be once it gets deliverable nuclear weapons.
I have previously argued that only U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA can adequately protect America from the Iranian nuclear threat. Casuistry deployed to persuade President Trump to stay in the deal may succeed this Thursday, but it does so only at grave peril to our country. This is no time to let our guard down.
**John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is Chairman of Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad".
**This article first appeared in The Hill and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

An Unhappy US Congress is Not a Good Congress
Jonathan Bernstein/Asharq Al Awsat/October 09/17
No one feels sorry for members of Congress. Nor should they, but we probably should care about their working conditions, which are pretty much awful right now:
Congress scholar Josh Huder reacted with a blunt assessment: “Congress is a crap place to work. More crap than any time certainly in recent history, but likely distant history too.” Moreover, he pointed out why it matters: If the main thing members of Congress do is dial for dollars, the results will be a legislature full of very rich folks who have little interest in or aptitude for legislating.
My entirely subjective opinion (for what it’s worth) is that for whatever reason, that’s become more of a problem in the House than in the Senate. Not the rich part: U.S. senators are very wealthy. But I do think there’s less dead wood in the Senate now than there was, say, 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. On the other hand — and again this is just purely guesswork on my part — the average quality of members of the House has been lower this decade than at any point in recent history.
Of course, you learn in part by doing, and there’s been very little legislating at all since January 2011. Not none, but a lot less than usual.
The outcome I’d hate to see would be the rotting away of Congress’s “transformative” powers. It’s possible to imagine that eventually it could evolve into an “arena”-type legislature, in which its main function is to debate the president’s policy choices but not to make its own choices. Congress’s control over executive-branch departments and agencies — such as its influence over the Federal Reserve — could also erode over time. That wouldn’t end US democracy. But the result would be a far less robust democracy, with citizens and groups finding it much harder to reach points of influence within the system. And it also, as many have pointed out, would fit poorly with the constitutional structure, leading perhaps to constitutional crises.
All of which are very good reasons to find ways to make service in Congress more appealing for talented, civic-minded (or, for that matter, power-hungry) citizens.
Now, to be fair, neither House nor Senate retirements have spiked in recent electoral cycles, with only one senator so far calling it quits instead of running in 2018. So perhaps there’s less here than meets the eye. But I don’t think so. I think McCain and Huder are exactly correct.
1. Erica Chenoweth and Jeremy Pressman at the Monkey Cage have their monthly report on political protests and other activism.
2. Dhrumil Mehta at FiveThirtyEight has the data on the news media paying less attention to Puerto Rico. Which probably is one of the reasons (but of course no excuse for) the Donald Trump administration has been slow to act.
3. You know what also can’t be helping with Puerto Rico? That Trump still hasn’t nominated a new Department of Homeland Security secretary. Politico’s Andrew Restuccia and Eliana Johnson report that the White House isn’t close to doing anything about it after two months.
4. My Bloomberg View colleague Megan McArdle on the Trump — and Reagan — tax bills.
5. And a little fun: Yair Rosenberg has a list of social media sins to atone for.

The Nuclear Issue Isn’t the Real Iranian Challenge
David Ignatius/The Washington Post/October 09/17
Various cultures have different phrases for expressing the idea of having it both ways at once. “To take a swim and not get wet” is an Albanian proverb. Poles talk about “having the cookie and eating it.” Iranians want “both God and the sugar dates.”
The Trump administration has been weighing a contemporary geopolitical version of this straddle. Hard-liners have been urging the president to decertify the Iran nuclear agreement but insist that he wants to strengthen the deal, not break it. The idea is enticing politically, certainly, but it has as much chance of working as (forgive me) “washing your fur but not getting wet,” as a German aphorism puts it.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a leading critic of the Iran deal, described this ambiguous diplomatic approach this week at the Council on Foreign Relations. “I don’t propose leaving the deal yet. I propose taking the steps necessary to obtain leverage to get a better deal.” Cotton wants decertification, but no sanctions, so that the United States can . . . what? Apparently, the idea is that US pressure will convince Iran to make unilateral concessions that it refused during the 13 years the deal was being negotiated.
Magical thinking is always appealing in foreign policy, but it usually produces nothing more than fairy dust. In this case, there is no evidence that putting the agreement in limbo will bring any security benefits for the United States or Israel. It will introduce uncertainty where the United States and its allies should most demand clarity — in insisting on compliance by all sides with an agreement that caps Iran’s centrifuges and stockpiles of enriched material for at least another decade.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, hardly a dove on Iran, bluntly told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the nuclear deal was “something that the president should consider staying with.” When pressed by Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) on whether he thought the pact was in the United States’ national-security interest, Mattis paused and answered: “Yes, Senator, I do.”
Officials speak truth to power at their own risk in President Trump’s Washington. So Mattis’s argument for sustaining what the president has called “one of the dumbest [and] most dangerous” deals was important, though the outcome of the debate still isn’t clear. It’s probably because of Mattis’s military advice, however, that Trump has dropped his campaign talk of simply tearing up the agreement.
How would Iran react? Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former Iranian official who stays in close touch with his ex-colleagues, told me recently that if Trump doesn’t certify, but Congress doesn’t re-impose sanctions, and the other P5+1 negotiators assure full implementation, then Iran may continue to adhere to the agreement. But he cautioned that this line is opposed by some political factions in Iran that argue for suspending the pact if Trump challenges Iranian compliance.
As for the administration’s hope of forcing Iran to renegotiate the “sunset” provisions and other details of the agreement, Mousavian says that’s a nonstarter in Tehran.
The real challenge with Iran isn’t the nuclear issue, which was put in a box for at least a decade by the agreement, but Tehran’s aggressive behavior in the region. Iran and its proxies continue to destabilize the Middle East. They seek to manipulate and control nearly every major capital: Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, Saana. According to the White House, Iranian proxies are mining the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, pointing missiles from Yemen toward Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, and seeking to carve a zone of influence on the ruins of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
The administration claims to be focused on this big Iran problem. Would that it were so. Officials say that Trump has signed off on a broad strategy that makes Iran’s behavior the central issue going forward. But the decertification debate will probably dominate the headlines over the next weeks and months — needlessly focusing attention on the one part of the Iran problem that is capped and manageable, and defusing efforts on the real challenge.
There’s a final, crucial reason Trump should certify that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal: because it’s true. Even Cotton conceded as much this week, arguing against certification “not primarily on the grounds related to Iran’s technical compliance, but rather based on the long catalogue of the regime’s crimes and perfidy against the United States.”
A question for the Iran hawks: If the United States refuses to certify an agreement when a country is “technically” in compliance, why would any other country ever make a deal with us again? A great country keeps its word.

Multiculturalism Is Splintering the West
Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/October 09/17
Multiculturalism is leading to the "partition", the separation of European societies. – Alexandre Mendel, author of the new book, Partition: A Chronicle of the Islamist Secession in France.
Under European multiculturalism, Muslim women lost many rights they should have had in Europe. Multiculturalism is, in fact, based on the legalization of a parallel sharia society, which is founded on the rejection of Western values, above all equality and freedom.
The European establishment closed its eyes while Muslim supremacists were violating the rights of its own people.
The European Union's official statistics on terrorism are dramatic:
"In 2016, a total of 142 failed, foiled and completed attacks were reported by eight EU Member States. More than half (76) of them were reported by the United Kingdom. France reported 23 attacks, Italy 17, Spain 10, Greece 6, Germany 5, Belgium 4 and the Netherlands 1 attack. 142 victims died in terrorist attacks, and 379 were injured in the EU. 1,002 persons were arrested for terrorist offences in 2016".
These countries all tried to integrate Muslim communities, but all came to the same dead end. "As long as that continues, the failure of integration will pose a mortal threat to Europe", the Wall Street Journal wrote after a suicide bombing that killed 22 people in Manchester. According to a new book by the French reporter Alexandre Mendel, Partition: Chronique de la sécession islamiste en France ("Partition: A Chronicle of the Islamist Secession in France"), multiculturalism is leading to the separation of European societies.
It is also leading to constant waves of terror attacks. Last August, on a single day, Islamists killed 20 Europeans in Barcelona and Finland. A month later, they slaughtered two girls in Marseille, and in Birmingham a Shiite boy was brutally wounded. That is the deadly harvest of Europe's multiculturalism. It is the most romanticized, seductive European ideology since Communism.
There is an "increasingly permanent chain of 'suspended communities' nesting within nations throughout the West", the American historian Andrew Michta recently wrote.
"The emergence of these enclaves, reinforced by elite policies of multiculturalism, group identity politics, and the deconstruction of Western heritage, has contributed to the fracturing of Western European nations".
Only twenty minutes separate the Marais, the elegant quarter of Paris where Charlie Hebdo's offices were located, and Gennevilliers, a suburb that houses 10,000 Muslims, where the Kouachi brothers, who gunned down Charlie Hebdo's cartoonists, were born and raised. In Birmingham there is a suburb, Sparkbrook, which has produced one-tenth of the England's jihadists. All of Europe's biggest cities have separated enclaves where Islamic apartheid now proliferates.
There, Burqas and beards mean something. Dressing has always symbolized loyalty to a lifestyle, a civilization. When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk abolished the Caliphate in Turkey, he forbade beards for men and veils for women. The proliferation of Islamic symbols in Europe's ghettos now demarcates the separation of these suburbs. The new leader of England's UK Independence Party (UKIP), Henry Bolton, recently said that the Britain is "buried" by Islam and "swamped" by multiculturalism.
"Multiculturalism," according to the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, "has led to honour killings, female genital circumcision and the establishment of sharia law in inner-city pockets throughout the UK." Under European multiculturalism, Muslim women lost many rights they should have had in Europe. They face "honor crimes" for refusing to wear an Islamic veil; for dressing up in Western clothes; for meeting with Christian friends; for converting to another faith; for seeking a divorce; for resisting being beaten and for being too "independent".
It is one of the great ironies of multiculturalism: five European NATO members are now fighting in Afghanistan against the Taliban who enslave women, while in Europe the same thing is taking place in our own ghettos.
Under multiculturalism, polygamy has increased, along with female genital mutilation (500,000 cases across Europe). Multiculturalism is, in fact, based on the legalization of a parallel sharia society, which is founded on the rejection of Western values, above all equality and freedom.
In addition, the fear of "offending" Islamic minorities has been leading to wishful blindness. That is what happened in Rotherham, a city of 117,000 people in northern England, where the mass-rape and grooming of at least 1,400 children by "rape gangs of Pakistani origin" was allowed to go on for many years.
Under multiculturalism, anti-Semitism has also skyrocketed, especially in France. The French weekly L'Express just devoted an entire issue to the "new malaise of the French Jews".
All Europe's recent political earthquakes are a consequence of the failure of multiculturalism. As the British Historian Niall Ferguson said, the main reason for Brexit was immigration.
"Many people in the UK looked at the refugee crisis in Europe and thought: if they get a German passport, they will come to Britain and we will not be able to stop them. This was a key issue for voters, and legitimately, because the Germans had opened the doors to a vast influx from the Muslim world. If you looked at these things from the United Kingdom, the reaction was: wait a moment, what if they come here?"
In the Netherlands, the rise of Geert Wilders is the direct result of the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Dutch Islamist and the anti-multiculturalism backlash that followed it. In France, Marine Le Pen's political ascent coincided with two years of major terror attacks, in which 230 French citizens were murdered. Moreover, the extraordinary success in the recent general election of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is the consequence of Chancellor Angela Merkel's fatal decision to open the doors to over a million refugees and migrants. Beatrix von Storch, an AfD leader, just said to BBC that "Islam does not belong to Germany". She explained that it is one thing to allow Muslims privately to preach their Islamic faith, but another to appease political Islam, which is trying to change German democracy and society.
The European establishment has closed its eyes while Muslim supremacists were violating the rights of its own people. Many Islamists then knocked at the doors of Europe with ever more determination. Multiculturalism has been killing and destabilizing Europe as only Nazism and Communism have done before.
**Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Germany: The Progressives' Post-Election Meltdown
Vijeta Uniyal/Gatestone Institute/October 09/17
On election night, around 400 leftist agitators gathered outside the Cologne's central railway station, chanting, "Whoever is silent, is complicit."
The irony of this moment should not be overlooked. The German left was not only silent when thousands of migrant men raped and sexually assaulted 1,200 women on New Year's Eve of 2016, but also, during the weeks that followed, when they tried to bully the female victims into silence by calling them racists and liars for daring to identifying their attackers as migrants.
With the AfD in the Bundestag, the country's political landscape finally reflects the actual political mood of the country. It is a view that has been completely missing since Germany's self-inflicted migrant crisis began two years ago.
The German voters certainly spoke in last month's general election, but the establishment in Berlin is having a difficult time coming to terms with what they said.
The right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), winning 12.6 percent of the vote, became the third-largest party in the German parliament by securing 94 of the 700-odd Bundestag seats. In states that used to be East Germany, the AfD got 20.5% of the vote, second after Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).
The election result was not only a big breakthrough for the AfD -- created just four years ago -- but also a historic debacle for the two major parties that have dominated the country's post-war political landscape for almost seven decades.
Chancellor Merkel's conservative CDU, with 33% of the vote, suffered its worst election result since 1949, and so did the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the world's oldest Socialist party, with 20.5% of the vote.
News of the AfD's strong electoral showing triggered far-left protests across Germany. On election night, the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported:
"The crowd [in Berlin] was continuing to grow outside the building where the AfD were celebrating their historic election result. Protestors chanted slogans such as, 'Racism is not an alternative,' 'AfD is a bunch of racists,' and 'Nazis out!'"
Far-leftists protest the election gains of the Alternative für Deutschland party (AfD), in Berlin, on September 24, 2017. (Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)
Also on election night, around 400 leftist agitators gathered outside the Cologne's central railway station, chanting, "Whoever is silent, is complicit."
The irony of this moment should not be overlooked. The German left was not only silent when thousands of migrant men raped and sexually assaulted 1,200 women on New Year's Eve of 2016 on that very place, but also, during the weeks that followed, when they tried to bully the female victims into silence by calling them racists and liars for daring to identifying their attackers as migrants.
Germany's political establishment and mainstream media also went into bouts of grief and anger. They refused to accept the electoral verdict and appeared furious at the voters' rebuff. "What the hell is wrong with the East Germans?," asked the German business newspaper Handelsblatt, adding that "Many Germans are emotional and angry about this outcome."
Shortly after the announcement of the election result, the German weekly Die Zeit launched a social media campaign encouraging its two million Twitter followers to tweet anti-AfD messages using the hashtag #87Prozent ("87 percent") -- thereby highlighting that the majority of the country's electorate did not vote for the right-wing party.
"How could the AfD gain ground? Could this have been prevented? And whose fault is it?" inquired the weekly newspaper Der Freitag in its headline.
If the "Antifa" agitators and the media were having tough time coming to terms with the democratic verdict, the established German parties across the political spectrum were busy trying to disenfranchise the elected representatives of the newcomer, AfD.
As the news of the AfD's entry into the parliament began to make rounds, an all-party campaign to block the AfD from chairing parliamentary committees in Bundestag kicked into action.
Chairs of the parliamentary committees are allocated to the parties on the basis of their legislative strength. As the third largest group in the Bundestag, the AfD will be eligible to head some of these committees.
The Social Democratic Party's senior politician, Michelle Müntefering, launched a signature campaign to prevent the AfD from heading the Bundestag's culture and media committee. "A "far-right party" should not be allowed to inject its "nationalist venom" at sensitive positions of the parliamentary system," quoted Der Spiegel, citing Müntefering's campaign letter. Prominent figures from politics, journalism, arts and culture had signed the letter, which claimed that an AfD member at the helm of the committee would imperil the country's "free and diverse cultural and media landscape".
That seems a strange claim, considering that those who signed the letter were part of the very media establishment that systematically blocked the AfD from the media's "diverse" landscape. In the first quarter of 2017, for example, "only four AfD representatives had been invited to appear on Germany's four biggest political talk shows [out of 162 politicians] on the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF," the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle confirmed.
The AfD holds the prevalent political culture in the country responsible for the hysteric reaction to its electoral success. Petr Bystron, chief of the AfD's Bavaria state unit, told Gatestone Institute:
"[Attempts to] discredit the AfD and the protests on the election night are a testament to the skewed understanding of democracy, lack of respect towards the voters and towards differing opinions,"
It is also intriguing to see how the so-called liberal elite on both sides of the Atlantic think they can overturn electoral verdicts through meaningless signature campaigns or pompous-sounding hashtags every time their side loses at the ballot box.
The fear of the AfD influencing the workings of the powerful parliamentary committees, however, is a real one. Committees that can set up inquiries and expose the inner workings of the state apparatus are a serious nuisance for the ruling political class. The AfD has made no secret of its intention of hauling Chancellor Merkel before a parliamentary committee to look into her decision to open the country's borders to hundreds and thousands of migrants in 2015.
What might not be good news for the political establishment, however, might be good for the German democracy. With the AfD in the Bundestag, the country's political landscape finally reflects the actual political mood of the country. It is a view that has been completely missing since Germany's self-inflicted migrant crisis began two years ago.
**Vijeta Uniyal, a journalist and news analyst, is based in Germany.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Trump's 'Calm before the Storm' is a Message to North Korea and Iran
Alan M. Dershowitz/Gatestone Institute/October 09/17
U.S. policy toward both Iran and North Korea is closely related, because we must prevent Iran from joining the nuclear club and becoming another, even more dangerous version of North Korea.
President Trump cannot afford to wait and do nothing as Iran and North Korea grow ever stronger, ever more menacing and become greater and greater threats. He must do something -- now.
Reporters continue scratching their heads about what PresidentTrum p meant when he spoke of the "calm before the storm" Thursday as he was hosting a dinner for military commanders and their spouses. It seems clear to me that he was sending a powerful message to North Korea and Iran: change your behavior now, or prepare to face new but unspecified painful consequences.
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose for pictures with senior military leaders and spouses after a briefing in the White House on October 5, 2017. During the photo session, President Trump spoke of the "calm before the storm".
North Korea and Iran are taking the measure of President Trump to see how far they can push him and how much they can get away with. The North Koreans continue testing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles and threaten to launch a nuclear attack on America and our allies that could kills millions. Iran is likely engaging in activities that could contribute to the design and development of its own nuclear explosive device.
If these worrisome actions by the two rogue nations persist, there will be a storm. And as candidate Trump said during his campaign for the White House, he will not tell our enemies what kind of storm to expect -- only that he will not allow current trends that endanger our national security and that of our allies to continue unabated.
The president must make some difficult decisions: whether to continue to rely on economic sanctions that don't appear to be working against North Korea; and whether to refuse to certify Iranian compliance with the bad nuclear deal and demand that additional constraints be placed on the Islamic Republic's dangerous and provocative activities.
President Trump faces an Oct. 15 deadline to decide whether to certify Iranian compliance with the nuclear agreement, which is designed to keep it from developing nuclear weapons for the next few years. News reports say he is expected to refuse to make that certification.
U.S. policy toward both Iran and North Korea is closely related, because we must prevent Iran from joining the nuclear club and becoming another, even more dangerous version of North Korea.
The sad reality is that even if Iran were to comply with the letter of the nuclear agreement, it will still be able to develop the capability to build up a vast nuclear arsenal within a relatively short time. This is the fundamental flaw of the agreement.
And Iran claims that the nuclear deal permits it to refuse to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect military facilities. This has led the IAEA to conclude that it cannot assure the world that Iran is not even now designing and developing a nuclear arsenal with missiles capable of delivering them to American allies in the Mideast and Europe, and soon the U.S. itself.
All the Iranians need to do to become a nuclear power is to resume spinning centrifuges. The nuclear agreement, which was reached with the Obama administration in 2015, will allow them to do that in a few years.
So whether we like it or not, a storm is coming. Whether that storm will be diplomatic, economic or military depends on the leaders of North Korea and Iran. If they choose to negotiate constraints on their increasingly dangerous activities, they can avoid the other more painful options.
Our military options are and should always be a last resort. They are the worst possible options -- other than Iran developing a nuclear arsenal and North Korea developing a nuclear delivery system that can reach our population centers and wipe out major American cities.
With fanatical dictators like those in control of North Korea and Iran, we cannot rely on containment and deterrence as acceptable policies to prevent them from using nuclear weapons, as we have done for years with the Soviet Union (and now Russia) and China.
So President Trump cannot afford to wait and do nothing as Iran and North Korea grow ever stronger, ever more menacing and become greater and greater threats. He must do something -- now. The nature of what is done, and what kind of storm it may be, is up to our enemies. I hope they choose wisely.
**Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and author of, "Trumped Up! How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy," which is now available.
**Follow Alan M. Dershowitz on Twitter and Facebook
© 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.

Iran, Iraq and Turkey Seek Triple Military Alliance
Amir Taheri/ِAharq Al Awsat/October 09/17
London -- Iran, Iraq and Turkey have agreed to create a triple military alliance as the first step towards growing cooperation in mutual defense and regional security.
The creation of the "military triangle" was highlighted yesterday in a report published by Fars News Agency, the principal news outlet for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
According to the report the idea of alliance was raised in the recent trip to Ankara by Iran's Chief of Staff of Armed Forces General Muhammad Hussein Baqeri at the head of a 40-man delegation, during high-level meetings with Turkish leaders including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Baqeri's visit was the first of its kind by the highest Islamic Republic military commander to a member-state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Its historic importance was subsequently highlighted by the visit to Tehran of the Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar followed by President Erdogan himself. Within a few days of Baqeri's visit to Ankara, his Iraqi counterpart Gen. Othman al-Ghanimi came to Tehran to discuss Baghdad's role in the emerging alliance project.
According to sources, Iranian, Iraqi and Turkish senior commanders held a series of meetings to set out the rules for join staff conversation, exchange of military intelligence and targeted joint operations.
Since then, the three neighbors have held coordinated military exercises along their respective borders.
Initially, the composition of Baqeri's team in his Ankara visit was kept confidential.
Now, however, Fars has revealed the names of some of those who accompanied the Chief of Staff in his historic visit. They included General Muhammad Pakpur, Commander of the Ground Forces of the IRGC, Gen. Qassem Rezai, Commander of the Border Forces and the deputy head of the regular army's planning division. Gen. Rahim-Zadeh.
Also present in Baqeri's team was Gen. Mehrabi, who heads the Khatam al-Anbia base, a conglomerate that runs the IRGC's economic and business enterprises, indicating that the "triple alliance" may also include the sale of certain categories of weapons by Iran to Turkey and Iraq, as well as joint construction projects in border areas.
The presence in Gen. Baqeri's team of Gen. Hassan Baqeri, in charge of the army's training programs, indicated the intention to extend military cooperation into educational and academic domains.
The fact that Baqeri also met the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli and Security Chief Hakan Fidan underlined the broader political dimensions of his high profile role in reshaping Iran's defense and foreign policies.
The "triple alliance" also envisages cooperation in training of the security forces of the three neighbors.
In talks with his Turkish and Iraqi counterparts, Gen. Baqeri proposed the development of plans for academic level "joint action" in the field of defense and security. That could allow for an exchange of students seeking military careers at higher academic levels.
Such an exchange would enable Iranian trainee officers to get familiar with the military culture of NATO, something that was available to Iran before the Islamic Revolution in 1979. At the same time, the program would enable the military in Iraq and Turkey to obtain direct understanding of Iran's military doctrine, mindset, methods and practices.
It is not clear how many trainee officers would be exchanged among the three members of the proposed alliance.
However, according to Gen. Baqeri the putative allies would also organize joint courses for trainee officers from all three countries. That would allow the gradual emergence of a new generation of officers who have studied together and thus know each other's way of thinking more closely, fostering an esprit de corps that could strengthen neighborly ties.
According to Fars, it was the Kurdish secessionist referendum in Iraq that speeded up a process that had been "in gestation at thought level for some time".
In an unusually frank statement, Gen. Baqeri has asserted that Iran, Iraq and Turkey will not allow Iraqi Kurds to secede.
Iran and Turkey have a long history of alliance treaties.
The first came in 1639 when the two neighbors divided Mesopotamia on the basis of the Qasr-e-Shirin Treaty, ending centuries of conflict and war over who controls what is now Iraq. That ended centuries of wars between the Ottoman Empire and Iran in which, at times, Iranians allied themselves with European powers against the Turks.
After the collapse of the Caliphate in Constantinople, Iran and Turkey went through a period of "national redefinition" and in 1933 concluded the Saadabad Pact which even envisaged the creation of joint military units.
That was interrupted in 1941 when the Allies, Great Britain and Russia, invaded and occupied Iran for almost five years.
In 1955 Iran and Turkey created a new alliance with Iraq. Known as the Baghdad Pact it also included the United Kingdom.
The Baghdad Pact collapsed in 1959 when the new Iraqi pro-Soviet regime of Col. Abdul-Karim Qassem denounced it. That forced Iran and Turkey to create a new alliance known as the Central Treat Organization (CENTO) with Pakistan added as a new member and the UK retaining the place it had in the Baghdad Pact. The United Sates was included as an associate member, emphasizing CENTO's close ties to NATO.
Right now Iran, Iraq and Turkey have a number of major concerns.
The Kurdish secessionist bid is highlighted as a major threat. In reality, however, such a threat could be no more than marginal in military-security terms. More urgent is the need to fully cleanse the region from the remnants of ISIS and find a way out of the quagmire that is Syria.
Iran and Turkey have been on opposite sides in Syria for seven years.
Now, however, Tehran is beginning to realize that it is losing its dominant role in Syria as Russia assumes the role of big power there. An alliance with Turkey and Iraq could help Iran regain part of its lost influence in Syria without risking a direct clash with Russia.
The forging of the triple alliance also boosts the prestige and authority of Gen. Baqeri as a top-level player in Iran's macro-politics, eclipsing that of President Hassan Rouhani and his Cabinet who have been excluded from the entire process.
The 56-year old two-star general, whose full surname is Afshordi-Baqeri, took over as Chief of Staff last June and has hit the road running. Holder of a PhD, Baqeri is regarded in Iranian military circles as an intellectual soldier as opposed to his long-serving predecessor Gen. Hassan Firuzababadi, who was more of a bureaucratic figure.
Gen. Baqeri has also established direct contact with his Pakistani counterpart Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, who is visiting Tehran next week. According to sources Gen. Baqeri wants Pakistan to join the emerging "triple alliance" or, at least, to revive aspects of military cooperation it had with Iran and Turkey before the mullahs seized power in Tehran in 1979.
In a gesture of goodwill toward Baqeri, Gen. Bajwa ordered the deployment additional Pakistani military units on the border with Iran to prevent infiltration of "terrorists" and smugglers into Iranian territory.
Gen. Baqeri is also sending an indirect message to the United Sates at a time that President Donald Trump is reportedly pondering whether or not he should declare the IRGC a "terrorist organization."
Gen. Baqeri's message is clear: The IRGC and the Iranian armed forces are really important players in the nation's politics. Antagonizing them would be bad policy on the part of the US, especially at a time that the new commanders, under Baqeri, are trying to establish links with NATO via Turkey.
"Iran has already entered a post-Khamenei transition period," says Nasser Zamani, an analyst in Tehran. "What is certain is that the mullahs cannot handle that transition and that gives the military an opening to offer an alternative narrative of the revolution, paving the way for normalization with the outside world."
Gen. Baqeri's efforts to make the "triple alliance" possible is an indication, albeit indirect, that his priority is national security and regional military cooperation rather than "exporting revolution", a project that has already failed.

Days of depending on US are over for Pakistan’: Pakistan PM tells Arab News in exclusive interview
Baker Atyani & Sib Kaifee/ArabNews/October 09/17
‘Days of depending on US are over for Pakistan’: Pakistan PM tells Arab News in exclusive interview
Pakistan PM Abbasi rules out devaluing rupee, says will not ask IMF for help despite rising deficit
Ties with Saudi Arabia ‘as old as Pakistan’: PM Abbasi tells Arab News
ISLAMABAD: The days of Pakistan depending on the US to meet its military and other requirements are over, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told Arab News during an exclusive interview.
The world should recognize Pakistan’s efforts in fighting the “world’s war” on terror, he said, in his first interview since returning from the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York in September.
“If one source dries up, we have no option but to go to another source. It may cost more, it may consume more resources, but we have to fight that war, and that’s what we emphasized to all the people that we met,” Abbasi added.
“Any sanctions or restraints… put on our systems only degrades our efforts to fight terror, and it affects the whole equation in this region,” he said.
“We have major US weapons systems in our military, but we’ve also diversified. We have Chinese and European systems. Recently, for the first time we inducted Russian attack helicopters.”
Complexity of governance
It has been two months since Abbasi assumed office after being voted in by Parliament via special elections on Aug. 1. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the ruling party, holds the numbers in Pakistan’s National Assembly, and Abbasi being a staunch loyalist and trusted comrade of Nawaz Sharif was the suitable choice.
He has hit the ground running, facing a barrage of domestic and international challenges including terrorism, an energy deficit, and economic and regional volatility.
“It’s a complex job,” he said, adding that governing a country with a ballooning population of over 207 million is no walk in the park.
“Pakistan is one of the largest countries in the world… It’s a nuclear power. We have a challenging neighborhood. There’s a war on terror in the country. There are issues in Afghanistan. There’s a very large foreign military presence there... We have a neighbor to the east with which we’ve had several wars. They (India) are also a nuclear power. We have a dispute. They occupied Kashmir, which is our territory… The economic challenge is (also) there.”
Abbasi, 58, is a US-qualified electrical engineer with a bachelor’s degree from the University of California and a masters from George Washington University.
He was a pilot for 40 years, and is Pakistan’s first premier to have flown an F-16 aircraft during an air force training exercise.
He entered mainstream politics in 1988 and later became an MP. Being part of a politically connected family helped him become an accomplished politician, being elected to Parliament six times.
Abbasi is also a prosperous businessman, having launched Pakistan’s first successful budget airline and keeping it profitable when other private carriers shut down.
The incumbent government’s term finishes on June 4, 2018, and he is confident that the next general elections will be held within two months of that.
“Whatever happens, elections will happen on time and in early August. Pakistan will, God willing, have a new government. Hopefully the same party (PML-N) will come to power,” he said, smiling.
Abbasi and his delegation held meetings with several “key players” on the sidelines of the UNGA, including eight heads of state, the UN secretary-general, US Vice President Mike Pence and international investors.
The meeting with Pence was “very constructive,” Abbasi said, adding that there was “also a small interaction with President (Donald) Trump at his reception.”
This was the first high-level communication between the two allies since Trump strongly criticized Pakistan in his Afghanistan and South Asia strategy that he unveiled on Aug. 21.
“There was no meeting scheduled (with Trump). In fact, the meeting with Vice President Pence wasn’t scheduled. It was at their request,” Abbasi said. “This was a visit to the UN to basically present Pakistan’s case at the General Assembly.”
Bilateral ties
The “candid” discussion with Pence was essential for official engagements in the future because when Trump’s policy statement on South Asia came out, there were “a lot of apprehensions on what it meant, and what it meant for Pakistan-US relations,” Abbasi said.
“I think we moved substantially forward in that direction. Whatever concerns they (the US) have, we’ve shown our willingness to address those concerns.”
The meeting paved the way for one between Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday in Washington.
They discussed Trump’s South Asia policy, and Asif told Tillerson that Islamabad pursues a zero-tolerance approach to “all terrorist and militant groups.”
This was in response to Trump’s assertion that Pakistan harbors “agents of chaos,” which he blames for Afghanistan’s continued instability.
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said the US was willing “one more time” to work with Pakistan on Afghanistan, but would resort to measures set by Trump in case of non-compliance regarding the allegations of support for militants.
Abbasi said: “We can categorically state that we don’t provide any sanctuaries to anybody. The bottom line is… today we have a common objective: To destroy terror and bring peace to Afghanistan.”
“We’re partners in the war on terror, and that’s what we emphasized. We emphasized to everybody we met there (at the UNGA) that nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan,” added Abbasi.
“The reality today is that much of the area bordering Pakistan is controlled by the Taliban. The people we’re fighting in Pakistan today, their sanctuaries are in Afghanistan, their leadership is living there, the planning is done there, the logistical bases are there, and they regularly cross the border and attack our installations. We recently had a suicide attack on the deputy chairman of the Senate. He survived, but 22 people were killed. It was by an Afghan national who had crossed the border to attack his convoy deep inside Pakistan,” Abbasi said.
“We’re fencing our border. We’re open to Afghan liaison officers. We have Afghan refugees here. So if anything is pinpointed and the intelligence is provided, we take action,” he added. “Whatever happens in Afghanistan affects us. Whatever happens here affects them.”
India’s role
Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan via a solution that “is owned and led by the Afghans,” said Abbasi, warning that Washington’s desire to include India would be detrimental.
“We don’t believe that injecting India into the Pakistan-US relationship will help resolve anything, especially in Afghanistan, where we don’t see any role for India. India has a relationship with the US. That is between them and the US.”
Pakistan wants an “equal relationship or partnership with the US, like every other nation,” he said.
It wishes to work with the US “to resolve regional” and “global issues… ranging from the economy to nuclear” matters.
Cost of war
Pakistan has fought “a very hard and vicious” war on terror, said Abbasi, adding that “200,000 of our troops are deployed. We have 6,500 shaheeds (martyrs) in the army. We have 21,000 of our citizens who’ve been killed, including police personnel. Almost 35,000 people have been seriously injured.”
He added: “Nobody has fought a bigger war on terror than we have, with our own resources. Even the most conservative economic estimates of Pakistan’s losses are over $120 billion. It has been a very difficult war, but our army has performed very well.”

A must-have man for the Russian federation
Ghassan Charbel/Al Arabiya/October 09/17
In Moscow, you cannot miss visiting the Red Square. It will be a coincidence if you go there in October. This month marks the centennial anniversary of the “October Revolution”, which shook the last century and the world. The orchestrator of that revolution, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, is still lying there. If you happen to be there on the seventh of the month, you must remember that the Master of the Kremlin is turning 65 on that day. One can say that a part of history meets at this specific moment. Lenin’s tomb is only hundreds of meters away from Vladimir Putin’s office on the other side of the square. Lenin certainly believed that Russia would live under the “comrades” party forever. Great victors have this habitude. They imagine that their successes are capable of fighting time and that their ideas cannot be killed or assassinated. The mighty do not learn that history is addicted to destroying convoys. Perhaps it did not occur to Lenin that those who had grown up under his cloak would one day repress his victories through their indolence and obstinacy. The clock does not turn back. Putin originally emerged from the Lenin party and from the ingenuity of the KGB. But Putin’s Russia keeps the vestige of the founding father only in his shrine.
The October Revolution
The current Russian president has words that reflect the cruelty of the fate of the October Revolution. He sees the collapse of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.” He even stated more expressive words: “Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain.”Before I go to the Square, I asked a Russian academic, joking: “Who will be the next president following the upcoming March elections?” “We both know the answer”, he replied, smiling. He meant that there was no president except The President.
Perhaps it did not occur to Lenin that those who had grown up under his cloak would one day repress his victories through their indolenceز When I asked for an explanation, he said: “Russia cannot live without a strong state and a strong leader. It is the size of a continent and consists of 83 federal entities and includes 160 ethnic groups that speak about 100 languages. It includes Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and areas of fluctuating growth. It neighbors 14 countries. Only a strong man can convince this wondrous mixture to co-exist or force them when needed.”
He continues: “At historical turning points, a strong man appears armed with will and vision. He advances, and everyone believes that the country has summoned him to stop its slide towards suicide. This is what happened with Putin.
Brink of disintegration
The Russian Federation was on the brink of disintegration when he entered the Kremlin at the beginning of this century. He managed to speak to the ordinary Russian people and to repress all those who were preparing to leave or blow up the train. He restored the Russian sense of dignity. Russia was re-instated as a major international player. Look at Syria, where the Russian solution is the only proposed solution.”Russia got tired of the indolence of the Communist Party’s cardinals. Then it feared the mess of Yeltsin era. Moscow has receded and the lost provinces were preparing to fight for the legacy. A man was waiting the day he will enter the Palace and History. At the right moment, he struck. Perhaps Lenin imagined that he would run the country from his tomb after his death. This did not happen. The master of the palace does not listen to the late man’s advice. He only defended him when many called for removing his body from his symbolic stronghold off the Kremlin and laying him to rest next to his mother, like any ordinary citizen sliding into oblivion.
It is a different Russia, which is ruled by Putin today. In the Red Square, I remembered that Asharq al-Awsat has sent me to this land in 1992, one year after the fall of the Soviet Union. I went to Arbat Pedestrian Street. Suddenly I heard a Russian man shouting loudly.
I asked my colleague, Sami Amara, what he was saying. He replied: “He says that the uniform of the colonel is on sale for $25 with its decorations. I approached a pile of uniforms of the Red Army officers for sale in a humiliating sight for that old army and its majestic country.”
When I returned to London, I wrote about the sick Russia under Boris Yeltsin, the colonel uniform on sale for $25, and Lenin, who is left to tourists. Vladimir Putin was close to the Berlin Wall when it collapsed. He saw scenes of humiliation in the streets of Russia. He made his decision and made his way. He made his story and changed the fate of his country.
Groaning under the snow
At first sight, Russia seemed far away, groaning under the snow and longing for its Soviet clothes. Putin launched his war. He reformed the Red Army’s spirit, budget and arsenal. He domesticated the governors of the provinces and barons, who came to the country with their wealth from Soviet rubble.
He sought a truce with the West until he gathered his strength. He responded to NATO’s drawing near his country’s borders and began settling his scores. He took advantage of Barack Obama’s hesitation and struck. He intervened militarily in Syria and rescued the regime “whose fall was likely within two months.” And here is the Russian solution ahead of everything else. The Syria crisis was his chance to respond to what he considered to be Western “treason” in Libya… his opportunity to avenge the colorful revolutions and human rights organizations… his golden opportunity to strike Islamists away from Russian soil… and his chance to remind that Russia is a mandatory and crucial partner.
There is a weakness that the tsar failed to conceal. The decline in oil prices revealed that his era did not achieve the desired economic progress. His country’s economy is still lingering far behind European economies. The US and European sanctions have doubled the sufferings. His hopes for an opportunity to forge a deal with the arrival of Donald Trump have evaporated. This is why the regime today is looking for partners and investors.At the hotel, I asked the young man who brought the coffee for his favorite candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. “It is Putin because he is strong; whether you like it or not, he is a must-have man. He gives you a feeling of reassurance. We do not want chaos back.”It is not simple that the exercise of power does not drain the balance of the president-leader. It is not simple that the majority feels that he is a guarantee… that he was able to sail in the midst of storms… It is not simple that the academic, businessman and hotel worker are convinced that a man who changed the fate of his country is a must-have man. While destiny makes most of men, some men make their own destinies.

Why North Korea’s antics remind us of Qatar
Hussein Shobokshi/Al Arabiya/October 09/17
Kim Jong-un has been carrying out a series of provocative military operations similar to the ones that form the fourth stage of one of the destructive planet wars in electronic games on the PlayStation. He is a boy who has his finger on the nuclear trigger and he tests his destructive weapons whenever he sees fit and wants to grab the news headlines around the world. Kim’s antics remind me of Tamim, who is just an instrument in the hands of the Qatar’s coup regime, carrying out media and militant campaigns using fictitious and suspicious slogans in order to spread chaos in the Arab world.
These campaigns are being done sometimes in the name of human rights and sometimes in the name of Arab nationalism because according to the Machiavellian principle the end justifies the means.
In the North Korean crazy child’s case, it is a “provocative” tool completely designed by the Chinese regime and a scarecrow meant to irritate and frighten China’s most important competitors in the economic arena — the United States of America, Japan and South Korea. China has forced these three countries to raise the military expenditure at the expense of their economic development. The United States has stepped up its military presence in the Korean Peninsula. South Korea has acquired a sophisticated missile defense system from the United States of America and raised its defense spending to guard itself against the North Korean recklessness. What applies to the North Korean regime is perfectly applicable to the coup regime in Qatar. It is still an instrument in the hands of others
Strategic relations
Apart from this, South Korea has also focused heavily on investing more in India to strengthen the “strategic” relations with it because India is being seen as the most important competitor of China in Asia in terms of size — the population, geography and future economic growth. Meanwhile, North Korea’s movements are not independent. It is a small “tool” in the hands of the Chinese regime, which provides the North Korean economy with more than 89 percent of its needs on a regular basis. Therefore, if China wants to limit the recklessness of the crazy boy, it can threaten to squeeze the supplies on which the latter depends. The system and intelligence need “small” states that want to prove their existence by playing dirty and “big” roles. There are always “right persons” in the small countries who are ready to play these dirty roles. History is full of models, lessons, characters, and what we see today is a repetition of the same scenes with different heroes and new circumstances.
What applies to the North Korean regime is perfectly applicable to the coup regime in Qatar. It is still an instrument in the hands of others. It continues to play its role according to an agenda. Its policies and positions have nothing to do with principles or values in the world!