October 22/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
The Talents Parable/As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 25/14-30/:"‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents.But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, "Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents."His master said to him, "Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master."And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, "Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents." His master said to him, "Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master."Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, "Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours." But his master replied, "You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up
If anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Letter to the Galatians 06/01-10/:"My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads. Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith."

Question: "Why do people reject Jesus as their Savior?" The decision to accept or reject Jesus as Savior is the ultimate life decision. Why do many people choose to reject Jesus as Savior? There are perhaps as many different reasons for rejecting Christ as there are people who reject Him, but the following four reasons can serve as general categories:
1) Some people do not think they need a savior. These people consider themselves to be “basically good” and do not realize that they, like all people, are sinners who cannot come to God on their own terms. But Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Those who reject Christ will not be able to stand before God and successfully plead their own case on their own merits.
2) The fear of social rejection or persecution deters some people from receiving Christ as Savior. The unbelievers in John 12:42-43 would not confess Christ because they were more concerned with their status among their peers than doing God’s will. These were the Pharisees whose love of position and the esteem of others blinded them, “for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”
3) For some people, the things that the present world has to offer are more appealing than eternal things. We read the story of such a man in Matthew 19:16-23. This man was not willing to lose his earthly possessions in order to gain an eternal relationship with Jesus (see also 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
4) Many people are simply resisting the Holy Spirit’s attempts to draw them to faith in Christ. Stephen, a leader in the early church, told those who were about to murder him, “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” (Acts 7:51). The apostle Paul made a similar statement to a group of gospel rejecters in Acts 28:23-27.
Whatever the reasons why people reject Jesus Christ, their rejection has disastrous eternal consequences. “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” than the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12), and those who reject Him, for whatever reason, face an eternity in the “outer darkness” of hell where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 21-22/17
Between Opposing Kurdish Separation and Sidelining Kurds/Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al-Awsat/October 21/17
Germany: Full Censorship Now Official Courts Rewrite History/Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/October 21/17
Iranian Aggression Intensifies/UN ambassador Nikki Haley takes the "outlaw" regime to task./Joseph Klein/Front Page/October 21/17
How Israel misread Lebanon, failed Ron Arad and helped Hezbollah rise to power/Haaretz/Clinton Bailey/October 21/17
Exposing mainstream media: America’s Iraq antics in North Korea/Ramzy Baroud/Al Arabiya/October 21/17
Is Egypt’s religious tourism industry ready for Christian pilgrimages/Sonia Farid Special to Al Arabiya/October 21/2017

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 21-22/17
MP. Dory Chamoun Says Situation in Lebanon Hasn't Changed Since Dany's Assassination
Army Chief on Official Visit to the United States
Geagea: Ruling against Chartouni a Conviction against March 8 Camp
Report: Asmar Says Time for 'Wage Growth in Private Sector'
Chartouni, Alam Sentenced to Death over Bashir Gemayel Assassination
Khoury: Country's Economy Can No Longer Endure Burden of Displaced Syrians
Army Rescues 32 Syrians from Boat Off Anfeh
Army Arrests IS Fugitive after Luring Him to Leave Ain el-Hilweh
Marouni: Verdict in Bachir's Case to Become Dead Letter if Assassins Not Apprehended
Rahi from LA: Lebanon can no longer bear displacement repercussions

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 21-22/17
Knife-wielding Man Wounds Several People in Munich
35 Egyptian Police, Troops Die in Clashes with Islamists
Gunmen Kill 12 Niger Gendarmes Near Mali Border
Israel Hit Syrian Artillery after Golan Fire, Army Says
Israel Hits Syrian Artillery, Warns to Intensify Response
German Intelligence Warns from New Generation of ISIS Recruits
US to Americans: Terrorist Groups in Sudan Intend to Harm Westerners
Madrid to Suspend Catalonia's Government, Call Regional Elections
Pakistan carries on with petty politics, while mothers give birth on roads
Spain to Grab Catalonia Powers as Crisis Intensifies
US Treasury Secretary to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar
Air Force could recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to address serious shortage

Latest Lebanese Related News published on October 21-22/17
MP. Dory Chamoun Says Situation in Lebanon Hasn't Changed Since Dany's Assassination
Saturday 21st October 2017/ Liberal Party chief Dory Chamoun on Saturday said that his late brother, Dany, chose to stay in Lebanon while he could have abandoned his responsibility and left the country, deploring the stagnation that Lebanon has been witnessing since then. "We wish the situation has improved since then; we are trying to preserve what was achieved as we still hope that we reach the Lebanon we are aspiring to, not the one they are trying to drag us into,” Chamoun said after a mass commemorating the 27th assassination anniversary of Dany Chamoun and his family. "It took more than 30 years to issue a verdict against the assassins of President Bachir Gemayel. I don’t expect anything new to come up in my brother's case," he said.

Army Chief on Official Visit to the United States
Naharnet/October 21/17/Army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun flew to the United States on an official visit and at the invitation of General Joseph Dunford, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, media reports said Saturday.
Aoun is expected to hold talks with several “military and civilian officials to discuss ways to strengthen relations and cooperation between the armies of Lebanon and the US,” said the reports.

Geagea: Ruling against Chartouni a Conviction against March 8 Camp
Naharnet/October 21/17/Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea said the death sentence verdict against the assassins of president-elect Bashir Geamyel is a ruling against the whole of the March 8 camp which “seeks violence and political assassinations.”“The Judicial Council's ruling that sentenced Habib Chartouni and Nabil al-Alam to death in the assassination of Gemayel is a ruling against all of March 8,” said Geagea, as he accused the alliance of “seeking violence and political assassinations.”“The ruling issued is not only for one person but for all of March 8 because this person belongs to one of the parties of this camp. This man's party has carried out the operation as mentioned in the minutes of the investigation. He was definitely linked to one of the March 8 parties and to the Syrian intelligence at that stage,” added Geagea. The LF leader pointed out saying that March 8 resorts to political assassinations in order to each its goals. “This provision confirms the fact that March 8 group pleads for political assassination to reach its goals. We all know that there are members of a political party of March 8 being prosecuted before the International Tribunal,” added Geagea, in reference to Hizbullah members reportedly accused in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri. On Friday, the Judicial Council, Lebanon's highest state security court, sentenced Chartouni and al-Alam to death in absentia in the case of the 1982 assassination of President-elect Bashir Gemayel. The in absentia trial had kicked off on November 25, 2016. During that session, the Judicial Council called on Chartouni -- who confessed to planting the bomb before escaping prison -- to turn himself in. It also decided to launch in absentia proceedings against the other suspect in the case, al-Alam, after media reports said he had died of illness in Brazil in 2014. Gemayel was a senior member of the Kataeb Party and the supreme commander of the Lebanese Forces militia during the early years of the civil war. He was elected president on August 23, 1982 while the country was torn by civil war and occupied by both Israel and Syria. Gemayel was assassinated on September 14, 1982, along with 26 others, when a bomb exploded in Kataeb's headquarters in Ashrafieh.

Report: Asmar Says Time for 'Wage Growth in Private Sector'
Naharnet/October 21/17/Head of Lebanon's General Labor Union Beshara al-Asmar said that practical consultations have begun to raise the minimum wage level in the private sector after the latest tax hikes that were initially approved to fund the wage scale for the public sector, al-Joumhouria daily reported Saturday. “Wage correction in the private sector is supposed to take its way to implementation in order to update the salaries, correct them and raise the minimum wage level,” Asmar told the daily. Asmar pointed out that the Economic Bodies have always rejected the issue every time it was raised “but today we see some acceptance. Negotiations have begun but they need time. We hope that things will be positive otherwise we will resort to our right and take to the streets,” warned Asmar. He added that the latest approved tax hikes will affect all Lebanese segments, arguing that “wage increases for the public sector have imposed new taxes which the private sector will be part of. It is unacceptable not to initiate a correction in salaries.” After long and arduous debates, Lebanese lawmakers have recently approved a long-awaited new wage scale for civil servants and armed forces paralleled with tax hikes laws intended to initially fund the scale. "As we exercised our right to reach the wage scale, we will resort in the same way to reach our right to correct wages in the private sector,” stressed Asmar. “The private sector includes about 900 thousand workers, therefore complacency on this subject is a crime. The private sector wages have to be corrected with acceptable rates that will satisfy the workers in the sector,” he emphasized.

Chartouni, Alam Sentenced to Death over Bashir Gemayel Assassination
Naharnet/October 21/17/The Judicial Council, Lebanon's highest state security court, on Friday sentenced Habib Chartouni and Nabil al-Alam to death in absentia in the case of the 1982 assassination of President-elect Bashir Gemayel. The Council also stripped Syrian Social National Party members Chartouni and Alam of their civil rights. The in absentia trial had kicked off on November 25, 2016. During that session, the Judicial Council called on Chartouni -- who confessed to planting the bomb before escaping prison -- to turn himself in. It also decided to launch in absentia proceedings against the other suspect in the case, al-Alam, after media reports said he had died of illness in Brazil in 2014. Protesters from the SSNP organized a demonstration outside the Justice Palace on Friday to demand the acquittal of Chartouni. Supporters of Chartouni had called on the Lebanese state to consider Chartouni “a hero not a criminal.”Gemayel was a senior member of the Kataeb Party and the supreme commander of the Lebanese Forces militia during the early years of the civil war. He was elected president on August 23, 1982 while the country was torn by civil war and occupied by both Israel and Syria. Gemayel was assassinated on September 14, 1982, along with 26 others, when a bomb exploded in Kataeb's headquarters in Ashrafieh. Chartouni, a member of the SSNP, was later arrested in connection with the assassination. His sister was a resident of the apartment above the room Bachir was in. He had visited her the previous day and planted the bomb in her apartment. The next day, he called her and told her to get out of the building. Once she was out, he detonated the bomb from a few kilometers away from the building. Two days later Chartouni was arrested by the Lebanese Forces. At a press conference before being handed over to the Lebanese judiciary by the LF, he called Gemayel a traitor and accused him of “selling the country to Israel.”He said he was given the explosives and the fancy long-range electronic detonator in West Beirut’s Ras Beirut district by Nabil al-Alam, who was reportedly SSNP's intelligence chief at the time. Alam reportedly had close ties to the Syrian intelligence services and he swiftly fled to Syria after the assassination.Chartouni spent eight years in Roumieh Prison without an official trial until he escaped on October 13, 1990 during the Syrian offensive to oust Michel Aoun from the Baabda Palace.

Khoury: Country's Economy Can No Longer Endure Burden of Displaced Syrians
Naharnet/October 21/17/Minister of Economy Raed Khoury said on Saturday that the Syrian crisis has entailed economic costs on Lebanon worth $18 billion dollars, as he urged displaced Syrians to return back home. “The Syrian crisis has cost the Lebanese economy 18 billion dollars since 2011 until today. The economic situation can no longer endure,” stressed Khoury in a press conference. The Minister pointed to the spike in Syrian workforce that left thousands of Lebanese unemployed, he said: “Syrian workforce has increased to 380 thousand, and unemployment among the Lebanese has risen to 30%.”“We sympathize with the displaced Syrians, but we wish them to return home,” he remarked, pointing out that until that happens “Lebanon as a state is required to organize economic relationship between Lebanon and the displaced.”Lebanon hosts more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, who amount to more than a quarter of the country's population not to mention undocumented individuals, many of whom live in informal tented settlements. The Syria refugee influx into Lebanon has strained the country's infrastructure, and has also sparked accusations that refugee camps are harboring militants from the war.
The World Bank says the Syrian crisis has pushed an estimated 200,000 Lebanese into poverty, adding to the nation's one million poor.

Army Rescues 32 Syrians from Boat Off Anfeh
Naharnet/October 21/17/The Lebanese Army on Friday said it rescued 32 Syrians who were on a malfunctioning boat off the northern region of Anfeh. “At 3:00 pm, naval forces at the Wajh al-Hajar post in the Anfeh region detected a boat which was 23 miles away from the Lebanese territorial waters,” the army said in a statement. “A patrol from the Naval Forces then intercepted the malfunctioning boat and rescued 32 Syrian people, including women and children, transferring them to Lebanese soil for interrogation after preparing all the necessary means and measures to ensure their safety,” the military added.

Army Arrests IS Fugitive after Luring Him to Leave Ain el-Hilweh
Naharnet/October 21/17/The army on Friday announced the arrest of an Islamic State group fugitive who was hiding in the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. “After luring him from the Ain el-Hilweh camp in a security operation, the Intelligence Directorate arrested Omar Ahmed al-Bustani, a member of the IS terrorist cell that was led by detained terrorist Jamal Fatima,” the army said in a statement. It noted that several members of the cell had sought refuge in the camp. By long-standing convention, the Lebanese Army does not enter Palestinian refugee camps, where security is managed by joint committees of Palestinian factions. Ain el-Hilweh is an impoverished, overcrowded camp near the coastal city of Sidon, and is home to some 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the war in Syria.

Marouni: Verdict in Bachir's Case to Become Dead Letter if Assassins Not Apprehended 21st October 2017Kataeb MP Elie Marouni on Saturday called on the competent authorities to take a swift action and apprehend the convicted assassin of President Bachir Gemayel, Habib Chartouni, and bring him to justice. Marouni pointed out that the Lebanese judiciary has fulfilled its duty in the martyr president's assassination case, noting, however, that this verdict will become a dead letter if the death sentence is not actually executed.

Rahi from LA: Lebanon can no longer bear displacement repercussions
Sat 21 Oct 2017/NNA - Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Beshara Boutros Rahi, Saturday, deemed that Lebanon could no longer bear the consequences of the Syrian displacement at all levels. "In spite of our complete humanitarian solidarity with refugees, Lebanon can no longer bear the consequences of the displaced," Rahi said during a pastoral visit to Los Angeles in the United States. Rahi stressed the right of all refugees to return to their homeland, saying, "All refugees, whether Muslims or Christians, have the right to return to their homeland in order to preserve their culture, civilization and history."The Prelate explained that there was no problem with the displaced themselves and with supporting their humanitarian and national case. "We have no problem with them, we support their humanitarian and national cause; however, their continued presence in Lebanon is a burden and poses political, demographic, economic and security risks," Rahi went on. Responding to a question, he underscored that "if the international community has the intention to settle refugees in Lebanon, then that is rejected by all the Lebanese people and by the Lebanese Constitution," adding that "this is a serious danger that threatens stability in the region."The Patriarch urged the international community to realize the importance of Lebanon and work on stopping the war, eradicating terrorism and returning refugees to their homeland and helping them rebuild their country. Commenting on the Christian presence in the Levant, Rahi pointed out that the "Christians were at the basis of civilization in the Levant, and have helped to create an Islamic moderation, strengthening their role through coexistence.""If Christians lose their influence and role in the Middle East, Muslims will lose moderation," he stressed.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 21-22/17
Knife-wielding Man Wounds Several People in Munich
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 21/17/A man wounded several people with a knife in the southern German city of Munich on Saturday, police and the fire department said. A suspect was arrested a few hours later, and authorities were working to determine whether he was the assailant. None of the injuries were life-threatening, police said, adding that the attacker's motive remained unclear. They urged people at the Rosenheimer Platz area, located close to the German city's downtown, to remain at home as they had received conflicting information about which way the attacker had gone. Police described the suspect as a corpulent, unshaven man in his 40s who had fled the scene on a black bicycle. They said he was wearing gray pants and a running jacket. He was also carrying a backpack and a camping bed roll.About three hours after the stabbing, police arrested a man matching that description who initially tried to evade officers. "We can't yet confirm whether he is the perpetrator," police spokesman Marcus da Gloria Martins said.

35 Egyptian Police, Troops Die in Clashes with Islamists
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 21/17/At least 35 Egyptian troops and police officers were killed in clashes with Islamist fighters in the Bahariya oasis in the country's Western Desert late on Friday, security and medical sources said. An interior ministry statement confirmed the incident and said some of the attackers had died, without giving any figures for casualties or further details. Security forces, who are hunting down Islamic militants in the region, were ambushed late Friday on a road to the Bahariya oasis, some 200 kilometers southeast of Cairo, according to the interior ministry statement. According to a source close to the security services, the convoy was hit by rocket fire. The attackers also used explosive devices. There has not yet been a claim of responsibility. A false claim by the small extremist group Hasm, reported by multiple local media, spread on social media soon after the attack. But the group's official Twitter feed, where it routinely shares statements, has been dormant since October 2. Since the army removed President Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, extremist groups have increased their attacks on the country's military and police. The Brotherhood, once Egypt's largest opposition movement, has long denied involvement in violence. Mohamed Morsi was elected as Egypt's first civilian president in 2012, but the army overthrew him a year later following mass protests against the divisive Islamist's rule. Since then, an extensive crackdown on the group has left it in disarray with competing wings that have disagreed on whether to use violence, after police quashed their protests. Analysts say a section of the Brotherhood has encouraged armed assaults against policemen in Egypt. Hasm has claimed multiple attacks since 2016 on police, officials and judges in Cairo. In their statements, none of the militant groups claim any affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood. Authorities have also been fighting the Egyptian branch of the jihadist group Islamic State, which has increased its attacks in the north of the Sinai peninsula. Hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed in the violence. The Islamic State group's deadly attacks on the military and police include a recent assault on a checkpoint in Sinai on July 7 that killed at least 21 soldiers. The group has maintained a steady war of attrition with sniper attacks and roadside bombings. But unlike their parent organisation in Iraq and Syria, they have been unable to seize population centres in the peninsula bordering Israel and Gaza. In October 2015, IS claimed the bombing of a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from the popular South Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board.

Gunmen Kill 12 Niger Gendarmes Near Mali Border
Gunmen mounted on pick-up trucks and motorcycles killed 12 paramilitary police and wounded several in an attack on their base in restive southwest Niger, near the Mali border, on Saturday, two security sources said. The village is a few dozen kilometers from where militants killed four US soldiers in an ambush on Oct. 4 that has thrown a spotlight on the US counter-terrorism mission in Niger, which straddles a large expanse of the Sahara. The gunmen crossed over the border from Mali and drove up to the village of Ayorou, before launching their attack, the security sources said. "They were heavily armed. They had rocket launchers and machine guns. They came in four vehicles each with about seven fighters," said a security source on the scene. One of the attackers was killed in an exchange of fire, he added. A spokesman for Niger's military said he could not confirm any details of the attack. Several militant groups and well-armed ethnic militia are known to operate in the area near the border with Mali, and there have been at least 46 attacks recorded there since early least year. However, security officials suspect a relatively new militant group called ISIS in the Greater Sahara to have been behind many of them, including the ambush on the joint US-Niger patrol. Meanwhile, members of Congress are demanding answers to the killing of the four US soldiers. Among the unresolved inquiries: Why were the Americans apparently caught by surprise? Why did it take two additional days to recover one of the four bodies after the shooting stopped? Was ISIS responsible? The confusion over what happened in a remote corner of Niger, where few Americans travel, has increasingly dogged President Donald Trump, who was silent about the deaths for more than a week.

Israel Hit Syrian Artillery after Golan Fire, Army Says
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 21/17/The Israeli army attacked Syrian government artillery on Saturday after fire across the armistice line hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and warned it would step up such retaliation in the future.
The Syrian government controls only party of the territory on the other side of the line, with the rest in the hands of rebel groups, one of them affiliated to the Islamic State group. But the Israeli army said it would retaliate against the Syrian army, regardless of who was responsible for any fire and of whether it was intentional or not. The Syrian defence ministry said that rebels had deliberately fired the rounds into Israeli-held territory to provoke the response against its forces. The Israeli army said it identified four hits from five rounds launched at the northern Golan. It reported no casualties or damage. "In response to the projectiles that hit Israel, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) targeted three artillery cannons of the Syrian regime in the Syrian Golan Heights," it said. "Any future occurrences will force the IDF to intensify its response," the army said, adding that it held "the Syrian regime accountable for any aggression from within its territory." The Syrian defence ministry said the Israeli riposte had targeted one of its positions near the armistice line in Quneitra province, causing "material damage". It reported no casualties. "The terrorists, acting at the behest of Israel, shelled empty ground to provide a pretext for this aggression," the ministry added. Israel has sought to avoid becoming directly involved in the six-year civil war in Syria, although it has systematically responded to fire across the armistice line on the Golan.
It also acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes against Hezbollah forces in Syria to stop what it calls advanced arms deliveries to the Lebanese Shiite militant group, which is a key ally of the Damascus government. Israel fought a devastating 2006 war with Hezbollah and has voiced concern that the group's involvement in Syria risks opening up a new front. Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community. The two countries remain technically at war, although before the eruption of the conflict inside Syria in 2011 the armistice line remained largely quiet.

Israel Hits Syrian Artillery, Warns to Intensify Response
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 21/17/The Israeli army attacked Syrian regime artillery on Saturday after fire across the armistice line hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and warned it would step up its response to stray fire from the country’s civil war. The Bashar Assad regime controls only part of the territory on the other side of the line, with the rest in the hands of rebel groups. But the Israeli army said it would retaliate against the Syrian forces, regardless of who was responsible for any fire and of whether it was deliberate or unintentional. Israeli forces identified four hits from five rounds launched at the northern Golan from Syria, the army said. No damage or injuries were reported in Israel. "In response to the projectiles that hit Israel, the Israeli army targeted three artillery cannons of the Syrian regime in the Syrian Golan Heights," the statement said. It warned that whether errant fire or not, any future occurrences will force the Israeli military “to intensify its response." It held "the Syrian regime accountable for any aggression from within its territory." In their own statement, the Syrian regime forces warned against "such aggressive acts" and held Israel "fully responsible for the consequent results.”

German Intelligence Warns from New Generation of ISIS Recruits
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 21/17/Children returning from war zones controlled by ISIS in Syria and Iraq could grow up to be a new generation of terrorists, the chief of German Intelligence has warned.
More than 950 people from Germany went to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq, some 20 percent of them women and 5 percent minors, according to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said. With ISIS losing territory in Syria and Iraq, many of the women are expected to return with their children. Germany needs to prepare for the risk of the children being radicalized, BfV Chief Hans-Georg Maassen said. “We see the danger of children who socialized with and were indoctrinated by extremists returning to Germany from the war zones,” said Maassen. “This could allow a new generation of extremists to be raised here.”Last year, a 12-year-old German-Iraqi boy failed in an attempt to detonate two explosive devices in the western town of Ludwigshafen. A spokeswoman for the Immigration and Refugee Department in Nuremberg reported that the Family Guidance Center against Extremism received in 2016 about 1,000 calls from Muslim families asking for advice, fearing their minor children might become extremists. German lawmakers said that the country planned to spend more on security, intelligence gathering and foreign aid in 2017, as part of their efforts to counter growing security threats. A package of measures passed by Parliament's budgetary committee will also see an additional 3,250 federal police hired in the coming years. The lawmakers said that staffing plans for a new agency designed to break encrypted communication have been doubled to 120. Spending on programs for civil protection and migrants will also be increased, pending parliamentary approval. Separately, German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that the country's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) spy agency is to receive its own dedicated satellite. Until now, the agency has relied on satellite imagery taken by the German army or allied intelligence agencies. On the level of terrorism, prosecutors in Dortmund demanded a three-year prison term for a militant, who is classified as "dangerous" and accused of preparing for a terrorist bombing. The 21-year-old man, named only as Ivan K under German privacy laws, was already under police surveillance as an associate of Islamic preachers close to Anis Amri, the Berlin Christmas market attacker. A police search of his apartment found propaganda and terror manuals from ISIS as well as evidence he had been preparing to make explosives. The incident has raised concerns that extremists may turn to crossbows as a potential terror weapon. Police acted after a surveillance team witnessed Ivan K buying a powerful high-performance crossbow in the west German town of Lippstadt, far from his home. When he emerged from his hotel the next day in Feb 11, 2017, carrying the crossbow in a sports bag, he was detained.

US to Americans: Terrorist Groups in Sudan Intend to Harm Westerners
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 21/17/Sudan has expressed regret that the US State Department warned Americans about traveling to Sudan and visiting conflict areas due to alleged risks of terrorism, days after Washington lifted a trade embargo imposed on Khartoum as a result of increased cooperation with US intelligence agencies in combating terrorism. “The warning is contradictory to all the appreciation offered by senior US officials for Sudan's efforts in combating terrorism," Sudan’s foreign ministry said Friday. The State Department has said that US citizens should avoid all travel to the five Darfur states, and to the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. It said Americans should also "consider carefully before planning travel to other areas of Sudan due to the risks of terrorism, armed conflict and violent crime". "Terrorist groups are present in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings and kidnappings," the advisory said. "Violent crimes targeting Westerners, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjacking can occur anywhere in Sudan,” it added.Earlier this month, Washington lifted its 20-year-old trade embargo imposed on Khartoum, citing Sudan's increased cooperation with US intelligence agencies in combating terror.

Madrid to Suspend Catalonia's Government, Call Regional Elections
Asharq Al-Awsat/October 21/17/Spain's government said Saturday that it will move to suspend Catalonia's separatist government and call fresh elections within six months in a bid to stop its leaders to break away from Spain. Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, said his government had no choice after Catalonia's separatist government acted in a way that was "unilateral, contrary to the law and seeking confrontation" in holding a banned independence referendum. He said his government had taken this unprecedented decision to restore the law, make sure regional institutions were neutral, and to guarantee public services and economic activity as well as preserve the civil rights of all citizens. The measures must now be approved by Spain's upper house, the Senate, where a vote is scheduled for Oct. 27. Rajoy's government is activating a previously untapped constitutional article to take control of Catalonia. The move is aimed at blocking the independence movement that has gained pace since the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on separating Catalonia from Spain. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Spain's Constitutional Court said the court's website has been affected by a cyberattack of unknown origin. The attack on Saturday came as social media accounts linked to the Anonymous hacktivist group had launched a campaign to "free Catalonia." The spokeswoman said it only affected the court's website and no internal information was compromised. She requested anonymity in line with internal rules.

Pakistan carries on with petty politics, while mothers give birth on roads
Mansoor Jafar Special to Al Arabiya English/October 21/2017/Three incidents of childbirths on roads outside two public hospitals where the mothers were denied admission in a span of four days in the capital of Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab, and its central district Faisalabad, have been reported.
This has given a rude shock to the already unstable government of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif who was disqualified from being member of parliament by the country’s apex court three months back. The shameful childbirth incidents have also exposed the country’s poor healthcare system, not much different from the majority of Third World countries. Meanwhile, the fragile PML-N government has been struggling hard to survive against the opposition’s demand to step down from power and call for early elections. The Supreme Court dismissed Nawaz Sharif on charges of concealing off shore assets belonging to his family and lying before the parliament about them when the Panama Papers leak broke in the press. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a long-time loyalist to Nawaz Sharif in parliament was sworn in as Prime Minister for the remaining term of 10 months before the next elections due in the mid of 2018.
“The government is under fire from all sides on the social media as all fingers are pointing towards Sharifs’ inefficiency and failure to provide even the basic healthcare services to people despite being in power for the last three decades,” said a political leader opposed to Sharifs.
A leader loyal to ruling PML-N party admitted these incidents “served as cannon fodder against the beleaguered PML-N government in the hands of the opposition parties and its critics in media.”The first incident of denial to prenatal medical care to a full-term pregnant woman occurred on October 16 at Raiwind hospital just a few kilometers away from the palatial farm house estate of the Sharif family, where the peasant woman had to deliver the baby on the road outside the hospital since no doctor was on duty. The second incident was on October 20 at Sir Ganga Ram hospital situated only a few hundred meters away from Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif’s secretariat. The third event took place at the sub-division hospital in Tandlianwala on the outskirts of Faisalabad when an expectant mother was turned away from the medical facility citing shortage of facilities and blood. Later, she gave birth inside an ambulance outside the hospital.
Opposition anger
Health department authorities responded to the incidents by suspending the doctors in-charge at the two hospitals and ordering inquiry to take formal disciplinary action, but it was not enough to calm down the ire of opposition parties and government critics. “These incidents were accidental, and government is taking necessary steps to prevent them in future,” said Punjab health minister Khwaja Imran Nazir, and criticized the opposition and political opponents on social media for cashing in on the situation to score points against the government.
“Poor people in Pakistan especially in rural areas take their health care needs for granted and report to hospitals very late. Often, medical cases from rural areas become overdue and complicated after they were referred to bigger hospitals in cities for want of required services. Apart from that, the country has a long history of unfortunate childbirths and deaths on roads and outside hospitals for a number of reasons, including hours of traffic logjam due to closure of roads to allow the passage of protocol motorcade of the rulers and lack of beds and medical care services in the government hospitals.
The death of a teenage girl inside an ambulance on a street in Karachi, stuck in traffic blockade because of retired General Musharraf’s motorcade hit the headlines 10 years back and created quite a stir in the media.
A baby boy born in the rickshaw on a street of Quetta some years back when his mother could not reach hospital as the roads were closed to facilitate the protocol convoy of president Asif Zardari hit the headlines and went viral on social media for long time. Ironically, the parents named the boy Asif Zardari.

Spain to Grab Catalonia Powers as Crisis Intensifies
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 21/17/Spain will on Saturday take unprecedented steps to seize powers from Catalonia's separatist government after Madrid won powerful backing from the king and the EU in its battle to keep the country together. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will meet with his cabinet at 10.00 am (0800 GMT) to set out specific powers it plans to take away from the wealthy northeast region, which currently enjoys wide autonomy including control over its own policing, education and healthcare. The measures -- which take the country into uncharted legal waters -- come after Spain's King Felipe VI on Friday blasted what he said was an "unacceptable secession attempt" and said the crisis sparked by the region's banned October 1 independence referendum must be resolved "through legitimate democratic institutions". "We do not want to give up that which we have built together," he pleaded.
Madrid enjoys constitutional powers to wrest back control of rebellious regions in one of the Western world's most decentralised nations, but it has never used them.
Autonomy is a hugely sensitive issue in semi-autonomous Catalonia, which saw its powers taken away under Spain's military dictatorship. Home to 7.5 million people, the region fiercely defends its own language and culture. - 'Critical point' -There are fears of unrest if Madrid seeks to impose direct rule of any kind, and Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has said such a move could push regional lawmakers to declare unilateral independence. But Rajoy said Friday that Spain had reached a "critical point" after weeks of political limbo and that his government had to act to stop the rule of law being "liquidated". Rajoy is likely to announce plans to take control of Catalonia's 16,000-strong police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, whose leader Josep Lluis Trapero could face up to 15 years in jail on sedition charges for failing to contain separatist protests ahead of the referendum.
Madrid could also seek to force new elections -- its preferred solution to Spain's most protracted political crisis since it returned to democracy in 1977 -- as early as January. Rajoy is due to hold a press conference early Saturday afternoon to announce his plans, which must pass through the Senate where his conservative Popular Party holds a majority -- a process that would take about a week.
Speaking on Friday night at the Princess of Asturias Awards -- Spain's answer to the Nobels -- King Felipe described Catalonia as "an essential part of 21st century Spain".
'Hellish mess'- EU leaders, who were at the ceremony to collect a prize for encouraging harmony in Europe, used their acceptance speeches to demand respect for the law in words that offered implicit backing to Madrid. "Some are sowing discord by deliberately ignoring law," Tajani said at the awards night in the northern city of Oviedo. He added pointedly: "All too often in the past the prospect of redrawing borders has been presented as a heavenly panacea that has resulted in a hellish mess."As tensions continue to run high, independence supporters are set to rally in Barcelona Saturday evening calling for the release of Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, the leaders of two powerful grassroots separatist groups who have been in jail since Monday pending investigation into sedition charges. Puigdemont says he has a mandate to declare independence after the referendum, which his administration says resulted in a 90 percent Yes vote. But turnout was given as only 43 percent as many Catalans who back unity stayed away from the banned vote.
Accounting for about a fifth of Spain's economic output, Catalonia is evenly split over whether to break away from Spain, according to polls. Supporters say the wealthy region does too much to prop up the rest of the national economy and would thrive if it went its own way, but opponents say Catalonia is stronger as part of Spain and that a split would spell economic and political disaster. Nearly 1,200 companies that have shifted their registered domiciles to other parts of Spain since the referendum, hoping to minimise instability. Madrid this week cut its national growth forecast for next year from 2.6 percent to 2.3 percent, saying the standoff was creating uncertainty.

US Treasury Secretary to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar
Sat 21 Oct 2017/NNA - US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin will travel to the Middle East next week, accompanied by Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker, to discuss the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC) partnership "and other important national security initiatives to combat terrorism and illicit finance,".In a statement announcing the trip, Mnuchin indicated that the trip from October 25-30 will include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Israel and will include official meetings and events "to strengthen our shared resolve to counter the financing of terrorism." He added "we will engage partners in the Middle East on the Trump administration's new strategy toward countering the destabilizing influence of Iran in the region." "Our Middle East trip will focus on combatting terrorist financing and illicit activities, while building on the important national security and anti-terrorism initiatives that developed from the President's successful visit to the region in May," he affirmed. He added that the trio also includes meetings with Gulf partners "essential to the development of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, and will expand the dialogue on efforts to combat terrorism in new and impactful ways." While in Saudi Arabia, Mnuchin will commemorate the opening of the TFTC and deliver the keynote address to the Future Investment Initiative summit, according to the Treasury. --- KUNA

Air Force could recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to address serious shortage
Sat 21 Oct 2017/NNA - President Trump signed an executive order Friday allowing the Air Force to recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to active duty to address a shortage in combat fliers, the White House and Pentagon announced. By law, only 25 retired officers can be brought back to serve in any one branch. Trump's order removes those caps by expanding a state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush after 9/11, signaling what could be a significant escalation in the 16-year-old global war on terror. "We anticipate that the Secretary of Defense will delegate the authority to the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years," Navy Cdr. Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. But the executive order itself is not specific to the Air Force, and could conceivably be used in the future to call up more officers and in other branches.
More: Army is accepting more low-quality recruits, giving waivers for marijuana to hit targets The Air Force needs about 1,500 pilots more than it has. Bonus programs and other incentives have not made up the shortfall. The Air Force has been at the forefront of the Pentagon's battle against the Islamic State, flying most of the combat sorties in Iraq and Syria since 2014. In June, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., labeled the pilot shortage a crisis that would prevent the Air Force from fulfilling its mission. “This is a full-blown crisis, and if left unresolved, it will call into question the Air Force’s ability to accomplish its mission,” said McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee.Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst and vice president of the Teal Group, said the shortage stemmed from a number of issues. "One is competition from commercial airlines," Aboulafia said. "Another is delays and funding shortfalls in training. And, due to military operations, utilization of the aircraft and crew has been higher than expected."On Capitol Hill, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and a member of Armed Services Committee, said that the fight against Islamic State and al-Qaeda linked terrorists will be expanding. He spoke to reporters while speaking about the four U.S. soldiers killed Oct. 4 in Niger. Counter-terrorism rules under President Obama had been too restrictive and ineffective, Graham said. “The war is morphing," Graham said. "You’re going to see more actions in Africa, not less. You’re going to see more aggression by the United States toward our enemies, not less. You’re going to have decisions made not in the White House but out in the field. And I support that entire construct.”Last month, President Trump became the third president to renew the post-9/11 state of national emergency, which allows the president to call up the national guard, hire and fire officers and delay retirements. Those extraordinary powers were supposed to be temporary. But even after 16 years, there's been no congressional oversight of the emergency. ---USA Today

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 21-22/17
Between Opposing Kurdish Separation and Sidelining Kurds
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al-Awsat/October 21/17
Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani had to test the Iraqi Kurds' chance in fulfilling their historic dream of separating and establishing an independent state. Although failure was most likely, why did Barzani do it?
Perhaps if he didn’t, he would have been accused of failing his people. This is delicate because Barzani was in charge of the military and political joint effort with Baghdad’s government over the past few years and he cooperated with the international community to fight terrorist organizations – Kurdish blood was shed for the sake of this mission. However, it was wrong that he conducted a referendum, whose outcome is previously known since Kurds wish to accomplish their historic dream of establishing an independent state – wrong because there is no single regional state willing to support Barzani, given that the separation represents a threat to everyone.This applies to Southern Yemen as well and other plans of separation in the region. To reach that, it is not enough to have the majority of that region vote in favor of separation but what is more important is an international recognition of the referendum’s outcome.
For this, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran crossed paths regarding this matter despite the different policies of these regional states – they opposed Kurdistan’s separation; or in political terms, the countries announced that they stand with a unified Iraq. World powers also supported them but quietly.
At the same time, there is an essential message behind failing Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s separation: local or regional powers will not be allowed to change internally, not only Kurds but also groups affiliated with Iran in the region whether in southern and central Iraq or elsewhere. The message is also directed to countries in the region that are exploiting the current chaos to impose their small republics, already scattered from wars.
The growing Saudi-Iraqi relations have contributed in correcting the foreign policy towards these areas that need to be approached rather than disregarded.
Although we are against Iraq’s division in favor of any party, this doesn’t mean to stand still towards the attempts to weaken the Iraqi-Kurdish component – a significant one in Iraq and the region. We’re not supposed to accept undermining the authority of Barzani, a key leader in Iraq and the region as a whole.
There are Kurdish forces that seek to exploit the current crisis against Masoud and his authority. Turkey, Iran and Baghdad’s government continue their pursuits to weaken him via adopting sanctions on the territory and its powers – in addition to threatening it militarily.
True, Kurds mistook in conducting the referendum and assuming that its outcome would be a green-light to establish an independent state. This step was faced with an Iraqi and regional veto. Consequently, the separation project was aborted. Later on, the Kurdish crisis should be resolved not through confrontation and escalation but reconciliation instead between Erbil and Baghdad; the project has already been aborted and came to an end.
The attempts of some Iraqi forces to hold accountable Iraqi-Kurdish leaders serve neither Baghdad nor Haider al-Abadi’s government’s interest – they actually widen the gap. Let’s remember that the Kurdish supportive stance in Baghdad contributed in terminating Nouri al-Maliki term when he refused to step down and wanted to continue as a prime minister with absolute powers for a lifetime. Kurds are essential to the balance of power in the Iraqi political system, constructed during the US occupation.
Exploiting the crisis to weaken Kurds and their government is an Iranian project and it suits armed militias such as the Popular Mobilization Forces even if they raise the Iraqi flag and present themselves as legit. They remain a militia that challenges the Iraqi army, the country’s legit forces and threatens Iraq’s unity.
Until the conflicts on the separation and the threats to marginalize the capital’s powers come to a close, the solution remains to be the implementation of promises and commitments that formed the modern state and its constitution. The Iraqi state is for all Iraqis and not for the majority, the most armed, religious references, armed tribes, and militias or foreign forces.

Germany: Full Censorship Now Official Courts Rewrite History
Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/October 21/17
Germany has made no secret of its desire to see its new law copied by the rest of the EU.
When employees of social media companies are appointed as the state's private thought police and given the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who shall be allowed to speak and what to say, and who shall be shut down, free speech becomes nothing more than a fairy tale. Or is that perhaps the point?
Perhaps fighting "Islamophobia" is now a higher priority than fighting terrorism?
A new German law introducing state censorship on social media platforms came into effect on October 1, 2017. The new law requires social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to censor their users on behalf of the German state. Social media companies are obliged to delete or block any online "criminal offenses" such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint -- regardless of whether or the content is accurate or not. Social media companies receive seven days for more complicated cases. If they fail to do so, the German government can fine them up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law.
This state censorship makes free speech subject to the arbitrary decisions of corporate entities that are likely to censor more than absolutely necessary, rather than risk a crushing fine. When employees of social media companies are appointed as the state's private thought police and given the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who shall be allowed to speak and what to say, and who shall be shut down, free speech becomes nothing more than a fairy tale. Or is that perhaps the point?
Meanwhile, the district court in Munich recently sentenced a German journalist, Michael Stürzenberger, to six months in jail for posting on his Facebook page a historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a senior Nazi official in Berlin in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of "inciting hatred towards Islam" and "denigrating Islam" by publishing the photograph. The court found Stürzenberger guilty of "disseminating the propaganda of anti-constitutional organizations". While the mutual admiration that once existed between al-Husseini and German Nazis is an undisputed historical fact, now evidently history is being rewritten by German courts. Stürzenberger has appealed the verdict.
A German court recently sentenced journalist Michael Stürzenberger (pictured) to six months in jail for posting on his Facebook page a historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a Nazi official in Berlin, in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of "inciting hatred towards Islam" and "denigrating Islam" by publishing the photograph. (Image Source: PI News video screenshot)
Germany has made no secret of its desire to see its new law copied by the rest of the EU, which already has a similar code of conduct for social media giants. The EU Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova, recently said she might be willing to legislate in the future if the voluntary code of conduct does not produce the desired results. She said, however, that the voluntary code was working "relatively" well, with Facebook removing 66.5% of the material they had been notified was "hateful" between December and May this year. Twitter removed 37.4%, and YouTube took action on 66% of the notifications from users.
While purportedly concerned about online "hate speech," one EU organization, the EU Parliament, had no qualms about letting its premises be used to host a convicted Arab terrorist, Leila Khaled, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) at a conference about "The Role of Women in the Palestinian Popular Struggle" in September. (The EU, the US, Canada, and Australia, have all designated the PFLP a terrorist organization). The conference was organized by, among others, the Spanish delegation of Izquierda Unida (United Left) as part of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left bloc in the European Parliament.
In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May also said that she will tell internet firms to tackle extremist content:
"Industry needs to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content online... ultimately it is not just the terrorists themselves who we need to defeat. It is the extremist ideologies that fuel them. It is the ideologies that preach hatred, sow division and undermine our common humanity. We must be far more robust in identifying these ideologies and defeating them -- across all parts of our societies."
Prime Minister May keeps insisting that "these ideologies" are spread "across all parts of our societies" when in reality, virtually all terrorism is Islamic. Meanwhile, her own Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has refused to ban the political wing of Hezbollah. Hezbollah's hate speech, apparently, is perfectly acceptable to the British authorities. So is that of South African Muslim cleric and hate preacher Ebrahim Bham, who was once an interpreter to the Taliban's head legal advisor. He was allowed to enter the UK to speak in the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, a government building, at the "Palestine Expo" a large Jew-hate event in London in July. Bham is known for quoting Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels and saying that all Jews and Christians are "agents of Satan". Meanwhile, a scholar such as Robert Spencer is banned from entering the UK, supposedly on the grounds that what he reports -- accurately -- is "Islamophobic".
The British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) also recently stated that online "hate crimes" will be prosecuted "with the same robust and proactive approach used with offline offending". The decision to treat online offenses in the same way as offline offenses is expected to increase hate crime prosecutions, already at the highest recorded level ever. Prosecutors completed 15,442 hate crime cases in 2015-16.
Jews in Britain, who have experienced a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism over the past three years, are frequently on the receiving end of hate crimes. Nevertheless, their cases constitute less than a fraction of the statistics. In 2016/17, the CPS prosecuted 14,480 hate crimes. According to the Campaign Against Antisemitism:
"we have yet to see a single year in which more than a couple of dozen anti-Semitic hate crimes were prosecuted. So far in 2017, we are aware of... 21 prosecutions, in 2016 there were 20, and in 2015 there were just 12. So serious are the failures by the CPS to take action that we have had to privately prosecute alleged anti-Semites ourselves and challenge the CPS through judicial review, the first of which we won in March. Last year only 1.9% of hate crime against Jews was prosecuted, signaling to police forces that their effort in investigating hate crimes against Jews might be wasted, and sending the strong message to anti-Semites that they need not fear the law... Each year since 2014 has been a record-breaking year for anti-Semitic crime: between 2014 and 2016, anti-Semitic crime surged by 45%".
Almost one in three British Jews have apparently considered leaving Britain due to anti-Semitism in the past two years.
British authorities seem far more concerned with "Islamophobia" than with the increase in hate crimes against Jews. In fact, the police has teamed up with Transport for London authorities to encourage people to report hate crimes during "National Hate Crime Awareness Week", which runs from October 14-21. Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police will hold more than 200 community events to "reassure communities that London's public transport system is safe for everyone". The events are specifically targeted at Muslims; officers have visited the East London Mosque to encourage reporting hate crimes.
Last year, London mayor Sadiq Khan's Office for Policing and Crime (Mopac) announced it was spending £1,730,726 of taxpayer money policing speech online after applying for a grant from the Home Office. Meanwhile, Khan said that he does not have the funds to monitor the 200 jihadists estimated to be in London, out of the 400 jihadists who have so far returned to the capital from Syria and Iraq. (He also implicitly admitted that he does not know the whereabouts of the jihadists who have returned). When asked by the journalist Piers Morgan why the mayor could not have them monitored, Khan answered:
"Because the Met Police budget, roughly speaking, 15 percent, 20 percent is funded by me, the mayor. The rest comes from central government. If the Met Police is being shrunk and reduced, they've got to prioritize and use their resources in a sensible, savvy way."
When Morgan asked what could possibly be a bigger priority than, "people coming back from a Syrian battlefield with intent to harm British citizens", Khan did not answer. Perhaps because it is hard to admit in public that fighting "Islamophobia" is now a higher priority than fighting terrorism?
**Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.
© 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.

Iranian Aggression Intensifies/UN ambassador Nikki Haley takes the "outlaw" regime to task.
Joseph Klein/Front Page/October 21/17
Last July, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) military commander and chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, warned that "putting the Revolutionary Guard in the terrorist lists with terrorist groups can be very costly to the United States and its military bases and forces in the region." IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said on October 8th that "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." The next day the Iranian regime warned of a "crushing" response if the United States were to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. President Trump has called the Iranian regime's bluff with his announcement last week that he would do just that.
Designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization and imposing new sanctions for its aggressive actions in the region is not a restoration of the sanctions lifted by the Obama administration as part of its disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. If Iran insists it can do what it wants militarily in terms of missile launches, support of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and arms transfers without violating the nuclear deal, then the United States can certainly act to curb such activities through financial pressure. The U.S. can impose sanctions against the Iranian regime's principal instrument for projecting aggressive, destabilizing force outside of its borders without violating the nuclear deal. The Iranian regime does not see it that way, however.
With the lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions making available billions of dollars to Iran's leaders to further finance the IRGC's exploits in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere, the regime is furious that the Trump administration is tightening the financial screws again, even if for reasons not directly related to Iran's compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal. Thus, it is threatening U.S. forces and bases in the region. A couple of seemingly unrelated events this past week point to Iran's positioning itself for more aggressive military actions that could place U.S. forces in harm's way.
On Tuesday, Major General Bagheri landed in Damascus for talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad and senior Syrian officials, including the defense minister and the chief of staff of the Syrian armed forces. Bagheri is quoted as saying that his visit's purpose was to "put a joint strategy on continuing co-ordination and co-operation at the military level." Some experts on Iran believe that Bagheri's visit to Damascus at this time is intended to reinforce a message that Iran will continue to supply weaponry to Syria and to reinforce the presence of its terrorist proxy Hezbollah in Syria. This will not only serve to bolster the Assad regime, but it also will strengthen Iran's ability to follow through on its threats to the U.S. and its allies, principally Israel.
Meanwhile, following the departure of the Kurds from Kirkuk, Iraq earlier this week, the IRGC's operational Al Qods arm reportedly established a command center and five bases there. According to Debkafile, this constitutes "the first military facility Iran has ever established openly in Iraq." The Kirkuk region holds 45 percent of Iraqi's oil. The Iraqi branch of Iran's terrorist proxy Hezbollah has vowed that once ISIS is defeated it will start killing Americans, as it has done before.
It is against this backdrop that U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley used her entire speech to the UN Security Council on Wednesday to denounce the Iranian regime on multiple grounds. The session was supposed to be devoted to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Ambassador Haley departed from the monthly ritual during which Israel is normally singled out for criticism by other Council members. She went after Iran instead. She explained why the Trump administration decided to take "a comprehensive approach to confronting the Iranian regime," which does not give the regime a get out of jail free card even if it is in technical compliance with the loophole-ridden nuclear deal agreed to by the Obama administration.
"We can't talk about stability in the Middle East without talking about Iran," Ambassador Haley said. "That's because nearly every threat to peace and security in the Middle East is connected to Iran's outlaw behavior. The United States has now embarked on a course that attempts to address all aspects of Iran's destructive conduct, not just one aspect. It's critical that the international community do the same. Judging Iran by the narrow confines of the nuclear deal misses the true nature of the threat. Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive, destabilizing, and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise would be foolish."
Ambassador Haley accused the Iranian regime of continuing to "play" the Security Council. "Iran hides behind its assertion of technical compliance with the nuclear deal while it brazenly violates the other limits on its behavior. And we have allowed them to get away with it. This must stop."
Ambassador Haley proceeded to list various violations by the Iranian regime of Security Council resolutions pertaining to the transfer of conventional weapons from Iran and the arming of terrorist groups, including the Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah. She also pointed to what she called the Iranian regime's "most threatening act" – its launch of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. "When a rogue regime starts down the path of ballistic missiles, it tells us that we will soon have another North Korea on our hands," Ambassador Haley said. "If it is wrong for North Korea to do this, why doesn't that same mentality apply to Iran? "
As for the Iran's supposed technical compliance with its commitments under the nuclear deal itself, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the UN's international inspectors are not able to visit Iran's military sites. Past work on nuclear explosive trigger devices appears to have taken place at one or more such sites in the past. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano admitted last month that when it comes to the IAEA's capacity to check whether Iran was conducting work on a nuclear explosive device, his agency's "tools are limited." The Iranian regime has also attempted to skirt the restrictions in the JCPOA on its procurement of materials, equipment, goods and technology related to Iran's nuclear activities. The Heritage Foundation noted in its recent report on the JCPOA, for example, that Iran was "caught red-handed trying to purchase nuclear technology and restricted ballistic missile technology from German companies."
U.S. intelligence had discovered North Korea's transfer of missile parts to Iran at the very same time that Iran was negotiating the nuclear deal, in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions then in effect. The Obama administration chose to look the other way. Does anybody with a modicum of sense really believe that such collaboration between the two rogue nations is not going on today? Iran is flush with cash, thanks to the JCPOA. It wants to build out its missile and nuclear enrichment capabilities. In addition to covert transfers of materials and technology to Iran in violation of the nuclear deal, the JCPOA may provide a loophole for Iran to exploit in outsourcing some of the development work to North Korea for hard currency, which North Korea desperately needs. They are a perfect match for each other.
Proponents of the JCPOA argue that exiting the nuclear deal unless it is changed to the Trump administration's satisfaction would undermine U.S. credibility with North Korea and thereby kill any chance of negotiations to resolve the crisis caused by North Korea's continued testing of sophisticated nuclear arms and ballistic missiles. "If we want to talk to North Korea now, the possible end for the nuclear deal with Iran would jeopardize the credibility of such treaties," Reuters quoted German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel as saying. Germany is one of the parties to the JCPOA. Other European allies have voiced similar concerns. So have Obama's former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.
This argument is absurd on its face. The whole point is to prevent Iran from becoming the next North Korea, not to kick the can down the road as usual. North Korea's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons and of intercontinental ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads proves that weak agreements full of front-loaded goodies rewarding rogue regimes for elusive promises are worthless.

How Israel misread Lebanon, failed Ron Arad and helped Hezbollah rise to power
Haaretz/By Clinton Bailey | Nov. 28, 2016
Lebanese Shi'ites welcomed Israel's invasion with flowers. But we dismissed any possible alliance with them, a mistake of critical proportions.
On Tuesday, the Israel Democracy Institute will hold a symposium called “Commemorating 30 years since the capture of Ron Arad,” which will deal with the problem of freeing captured Israeli soldiers. Naturally, the discussion will focus on the tactical aspects, as did Amos Harel’s article “The Ron Arad file: Israel’s three major missed opportunities to recover MIA aviator.”The article, dealing with the fate of the Israel Air Force navigator captured by Shi’ite militiamen when his plane crashed in southern Lebanon 30 years ago, tries to explain why Israel was unable to find out where Arad was being held, get him back and even find out whether he was dead or alive. Harel dealt with these three failures on the tactical level, pointing to immediate events that supposedly thwarted Israeli efforts: Arad’s falling into the hands of Mustafa Dirani, who belonged to an extreme wing of the Shi’ite Amal movement, demands made by Amal for his release and our unwillingness to declare Arad dead until 2005, despite evidence to the contrary from the late 1980s. However, Arad’s disappearance and death in captivity did not result from tactical mishaps, but from a broader failure on the strategic level. The strategic failure was in our flawed understanding of the politics of southern
Lebanon; specifically, our underestimating the importance of the Shi’ites of the south and their main movement, Amal. This failure did not occur after Arad’s plane crashed, but during the three years between our invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and our withdrawal, in 1985, to the pre-war security zone
that ran along Israel’s northern border. This failure left us with no significant contacts outside the security zone who might have been able to aid in Arad's return in the critical first few weeks of his captivity. When planning the first Lebanon war, Israel's Military Intelligence and the Mossad focused solely on our Christian allies in Lebanon, overlooking the content.code.value 21/10/2017 Haaretz.Com
Shi’ites, who constituted 80 percent of the population between our border and Sidon, and Amal, which had been fighting the PLO in southern Lebanon on its own. Even after the Shi’ites welcomed our invasion with flowers (in the hope that we would remove the PLO from the south) and Amal helped in
locating the whereabouts of PLO leaders and weapons caches, and kept the peace with the IDF for two entire years, Israel dismissed the possibility of an alliance with them, however informal, continuing to consider only the Christians. In keeping with this approach, the IDF was given very few directives on how
to strengthen our contacts with the Shi’ites and Amal, leading to a neglect of their sensibilities, needs and interests. Our actions (for instance, Israeli military vehicles interrupting the sacred Shi'ite Ashura procession in Nabatiyeh) signaled to the Shi'ites they weren't high on our agenda. Thus, by the time we withdrew to the security zone in 1985, Israel’s contacts were completely gone.
On the day following the withdrawal, the senior Shin Bet security service representative in southern Lebanon called to alert me (even though I was no longer serving) of a possible phone call I might receive from Amal. He related that on the previous day he had parted from the leaders of Amal in Tyre and
raised the possibility of future contact, offering them various numbers to call. They declined to record them, saying, “If we need anything, we’ll call Dr. Bailey.” The call never came. Thus, when Arad fell captive 16 months later, there was no one to contact. This was particularly regrettable, as when his plane crashed he was held for two weeks by a regional Amal leader closely related to a main Israeli contact, the Amal commander of southern Lebanon, Mohammed Ghaddar. The  friendly relations with Ghaddar had ended only in 1984, after an overly high profile  visit by then Defense Minister Moshe Arens which attracted the attention and reprobation of Amal leader Nabih Berri. Our strategic underestimation of Amal’s role in the south led not only to the specific tragedy of Ron Arad, but also to the rise of Hezbollah and the hundreds of lives Israel lost fighting it in Lebanon. Our policy didn’t change even when Amal fought a bitter war with Hezbollah in 1987 and 1988 for predominance among the Shi’ites, and Israel refused to furnish it with supplies. The result was Hezbollah’s emergence as the leading faction in Lebanese politics and a lasting threat to Israel.
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**-Dr. Clinton Bailey served as a liaison to the Amal movement and Advisor on Shi'ite Affairs in Israel's Ministry of Defense.

Exposing mainstream media: America’s Iraq antics in North Korea
Ramzy Baroud/Al Arabiya/October 21/17
Propaganda is afoot. The US mainstream media is back to its old familiar self, pursuing the same pattern of war propaganda it used against Washington's enemies in the past. Its attitude towards the conflict with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program mirrors its behavior during the US-manufactured crisis that led to the Iraq war in 2003.
War propaganda replayed
Manufacturing consent among US citizens, most of whom are unable to understand the complexity of the situation, or even locate North Korea on a world map, has become something of a fixed science. Edward Barneys, who injected the art of propaganda through the veins of US political and media establishment in the early and mid-20th century, would have been proud of the perfect harmony between journalists, government officials and military men in drumming up a case for war.
Menacing headlines, the likes of, "Congress warned North Korean EMP attack would kill '90% of all Americans'," are the recycling of old headlines of Iraqi threats during previous wars, including such false reports as Iraqi soldiers tearing babies from hospital incubators and killing them during the first Iraqi war in 1990-91.
'Expert' witnesses are being flaunted and rushed before TV cameras, Congress committees and townhall meetings, all parroting sinister warnings of a world that is about to collapse if President Donald Trump does nothing to remedy the terrifying situation.
Despite the use of complex language that ordinary US citizens cannot fully fathom, they can feel the dread in its palpable meaning written on the front pages of newspapers and magazine across the country:
"The Trump administration has no plan for dealing with a North Korean electromagnetic pulse weapons attack," decried Foreign Policy.
North Korea is not Iraq - the media tricks of the past will not work anymore
North Korean defectors gained celebrity status, although temporarily, each dishing out the horror of living in that supposedly unlivable place where oppressed people are praying for US liberators.
"'The lifestyle is brutal': North Korean defectors take risky journeys out and fear for their family left behind," bemoaned a CBS headline.
The assumption is that these defectors are now, of course, safe - that they have reached the land of democracy and a perfect human rights record. The fact that Black people are shot by police, often at will, that Muslims are targeted and often turned back at border crossings, that the US human rights records in every war it has started is horrifying at best, are all seemingly frivolous facts.
Iraqi defectors too were used and later discarded when their usefulness ran out. These were the 'native informants' as late Edward Said pithily dubbed them.
In the case of the Iraq war in 2003, they were Ahmad Chalabis and Fouad Ajamis among scores of others. The latter was often hailed by George W. Bush and his Vice President Dick Cheney as an uncontested academic and moral authority.
When Iraq was destroyed, they hovered around its corpse seeking position, contracts and prestige. Likewise, the North Korean experience is also attracting its own salesmen, peddlers, and native informants.
When Trump, using the world's highest legal platform, the United Nations, threatened to “totally destroy North Korea”, his ghastly statement registered among US leading media outlets as mere words of caution. His was a matter-of-fact-statement, but still not deserving of complete and unconditional disavowal.
Few are pointing to the blatant contradictions in the US discourse.
Recently in Seoul, US Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, said that "Washington continues to view diplomacy as the primary means for solving the crisis," but added that the “allies” must be prepared for “any eventuality.”
Sullivan’s statement is oblivious to the fact that Trump himself had tweeted, not long ago, that his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson “is wasting his time,” trying to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
But what kind of diplomacy is Tillerson actually pursuing? The country’s top diplomat told CNN on October 18 that, "diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops."
But if a Trump war in North Korea takes place, what would it look like?
US Newsweek magazine took on this very disturbing question, only to provide equally worrying answers.
"If combat broke out between the two countries, American commanders in the Pacific would very quickly exhaust their stockpiles of smart bombs and missiles, possibly within a week," military sources revealed.
It will take a year for the US military to replenish their stockpile, thus leaving them with the option of "dropping crude gravity bombs on their targets, guaranteeing a longer and bloodier conflict for both sides."
One million people are likely to die if a conventional war breaks out.
Yet, the same Newsweek edition continued to build a case for war.
“NORTH KOREA'S KIM JONG UN IS OFFICIALLY OBSESSED WITH MISSILES,” announced one of its headlines - the same obsessions, perhaps that had reportedly consumed Saddam Hussein and his ‘weapons of mass destruction’. Except, of course, the Iraqi leader had no such weapons in the first place. Over a million Iraqis were killed because of lies and war propaganda that lasted for years prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Watching the Iraqi leader dangling from a rope and the Libya leader, Muammar Qaddafi, molested and murdered, Kim Jong-Un’s ‘obsession’ with missiles may in that context sound rational.
But if one is truly to examine the evidence of who is truly obsessed with lethal weapons, one should take a trip to Washington State.
Not too far away from Seattle, Washington, there are eight ballistic-missile submarines carrying the world’s largest shipments of nuclear weapons.
The 560-foot-long black submarines are docked at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, hauling what is described by Rick Anderson in a recent Los Angeles Times article as, "the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US".
“If it were a sovereign nation,” Anderson wrote, quoting government estimates, “Washington State would be the third-largest nuclear-weapons power in the world”.
Many are haunted by this reality, especially whenever a nuclear crisis between the US and North Korea flares up, such as the one which started late July. At the time, Trump threatened Pyongyang with "fire and fury like the world has never seen before".
Visiting Kitsap-Bangor in early August, US Defense Secretary, James N. Mattis, toured the USS Kentucky and declared that the submarine is ready for action, if needed.
The nuclear load that the USS Kentucky alone carries equals 1,400 bombs, the size of which the US dropped on and which subsequently destroyed Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.
North Korea's saber-rattling in recent months - which are a repeat of previous episodes such as in April of this year and twice last year - should be cause for alarm. But far scarier is the fact that North Korea's entire nuclear stockpiles consist of up to 60 nuclear weapons, compared to 6,970 owned by the US, out of which 1,750 are operational.
To place these numbers in a global perspective, there are an estimated 15,000 nuclear weapons, worldwide.
While the North Koreans require a sixth successful test to put a nuclear warhead on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), the US had conducted 1,030 such nuclear tests, starting in July 1945.
Context, please
US media conveniently overlook history as it is rarely in the interests of Washington. They often refer to North Korea as a 'highly secretive nation'. Such references give pundits and politicians an uncontested platform to make whatever assumptions suit them.
But the legacy of the Korean War (1950-53), which divided Korea and its peoples is hardly a secret. An estimated 4 million people were killed in that most savage war, including 2 million Korean civilians.
The US and its allies fought that war under the flag of the nascent United Nations. It is not very difficult to imagine why North Koreans detest the US, distrust US allies and loathe the UN and its repeated sanctions, especially as the country often suffers from food insecurity - among other problems.
However, as long as mainstream media continue to willingly follow the script as demonstrated in their shameful depiction of the Iraq war – which has destabilized the Middle East to this day – nothing good will come of their coverage.
They also need to understand that times have changed, that the US single-handedly starting and ending wars will no longer be possible, neither in the Middle East nor the Pacific.
If a war takes place, the US will not have the kind of strong economy that will sustain their war efforts; China will not remain silent for long, and the US risks losing whatever little political capital they still possess in a region that they once fully controlled, but which is now drifting into the Chinese domain of influence.
North Korea is not Iraq - the media tricks of the past will not work anymore and Trump’s angry diplomacy will not change the situation in US favor, no matter how frequently he tweets.

Is Egypt’s religious tourism industry ready for Christian pilgrimages?
Sonia Farid Special to Al Arabiya/October 21/2017
Tourism in Egypt has been hit by successive blows that have driven several countries to warn their citizens of traveling there and have even led some, including Russia, to take strict measures towards the implementation of such warnings.
Pope Francis’s visit to Cairo in April, which went without incident, unlike many anticipated, inspired a new way out of the impasse.
Aside from beaches and historic landmarks, religious tourism would attract a different crowd and that was how the revival plan started to take shape.
The most significant step taken towards making this plan materialize was the flying of the Egyptian minister of tourism to Rome where he got the pope’s official blessing for the Holy Family’s trip to Egypt, thus putting the 25 sites by the which the family—Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, and Joseph—passed on the global Christian pilgrimage map.
While this development seems to herald a new era in Egyptian tourism, it still brings back the same old concerns about general safety together with new ones about receiving large numbers of Christians in a country that is not exactly devoid of sectarian tension.
Ishak Ibrahim, head of the Religious Freedom Unit at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, argued that it is not possible to promote Christian pilgrimage in a country where Christians are marginalized. “We can’t be that detached from reality and that is why promoting Christian pilgrimage has to be accompanied by serious steps towards acknowledging Christian presence,” he said.
Ibrahim cited the example of text books that do not focus at all on Coptic history or the role of Copts in Egyptian civilization which, in turn, does not promote cultural diversity. “Pilgrims are not going to visit sites in a country whose citizens have no respect for their religion,” he added. Former deacon at the Coptic Orthodox Church Beshoy Sami agreed with Ibrahim and said that dealing with sectarian sentiments among Egyptians is the only ways Christian pilgrimage can succeed in Egypt. “The state has to stop solving Muslim-Christian clashes customary reconciliation sessions rather than the law and the people need to stop viewing Christians as inferior,” he said. “Some countries are not even aware that there are Christians in Egypt.”
Priest murder
Melbourne-based Coptic journalist Ashraf Helmi expected the recent murder in Cairo of Egyptian priest Samaan Shehata to have a negative impact on Christian pilgrimage trips, especially that the state did not handle the situation in the right way and only referred to the murderer as mentally ill. “Added to this is the number of religious edicts from extremist preachers who incite people against Christians and teach them intolerance,” he said in a statement. Helmi warned that Shehata’s murder might, in fact, lead many European countries to ask their citizens not to go to Egypt in general and for religious trips in particular.
In fact, journalist Mayada Seif sees the attack on Shehata as a reaction to announcement of starting Christian pilgrimage to Egypt. “It is like a message to the world that Christians who come to Egypt will be killed because Egypt is only for Muslims,” she wrote.
Journalist Osama Salama notes that the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism expects to receive two to three million Christian pilgrims annually and wonders how prepared the state is for such numbers. “The minister of tourism said a film will be made about the holy sites in Egypt to be marketed across the world and pamphlets in many languages are to be printed about those sites. But then what? Is this enough?” he wrote. Salama listed a number of problems that might make pilgrimage trips a failure. “Most of the sites in the journey of the Holy Family are in a deplorable state and need a lot of maintenance.
Time for change
The tree in whose shadow Virgin Mary sat in Cairo, for example, is totally neglected and the area surrounding it is filthy.” Salama cited other issues such as lack of good accommodation in most of the governorates where the sites are located as well the unpaved roads leading to them, which leads to a lot of accidents. “As for trains going to these areas, they are notorious for never leaving or arriving on time in addition to occasional breakdowns and accidents.”
For Salama, it is also not wise to start receiving pilgrims without training a team of tour guides that can accompany them and who should be knowledgeable about this historical era. “Most guides we have are trained in ancient Egyptian history and those won’t be fit for such a job.”
Economic expert Medhat Nafea is more optimistic for he does not believe that lack of hotels is an obstacle since it is a different type of tourism. “The spiritual nature of pilgrimages allows for a simple and rather primitive atmosphere where luxury accommodation is not needed,” he wrote.
While admitting that turmoil in North Sinai can be a problem, Nafea argues that this is bound to change soon. “With the Palestinian reconciliation and the rapprochement with Hamas, normalcy is expected to be gradually restored to Sinai, which makes it safe for pilgrims to visit sits of the Holy Family journey there.”Nafea noted that Egypt does get tourists who visit holy sites, but they are few and are not part of a full pilgrimage program. “Most of them come from Jerusalem while many are already in Sinai for recreational purposes and that is why it is hard to know their exact number. They do not exceed a few hundreds in all cases.”