September 02/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 14/25-35/:"Large crowds were travelling with him; and he turned and said to them, ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, "This fellow began to build and was not able to finish."Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. ‘Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’

This is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another
First Letter of John 03/11-22/:"This is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 01-02/17
Politico's Jihad against Walid Phares Tries Again, and Fails Again/Rebecca Bynum/Jerome B. Gordon/Family Security Matters/August 31/17
Khomeini or Kim? Khamenei’s Real Teacher/Amir Taheri//Asharq Al Awsat/September 01/17
Washington Remains United Behind NATO/Kay Bailey Hutchison/The New York Times//September 01/17
Action is Needed to Save Idlib before it’s too Late/Charles Lister/Asharq Al Awsat/September 01/17
What Is The Concrete & Abstract Thinking/Brain Injury Association of New York State/September 01/17
UN Chief Guterres, the Media and Palestinian Fake News/Bassam Tawil/Gatestone Institute/September 01/17

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on September 01-02/17
Macron Vows Economic Support for Lebanon in Talks with Hariri
Hariri Says He and Aoun Allowed IS to 'Cross' to Syria, Denies Presence of Missile Factories
Gemayel Slams 'Crime' of Asking Army to Stop Its Offensive
US prevents evacuation of IS fighters
Iraqi Forces Divided over Hezbollah Deal with ISIS
Nasrallah: I Met Assad over ISIS Evacuation to Syria
International Coalition Forces Still Monitoring ISIS Convoy in Syria
Muslims around world celebrate Eid as hajj enters final days
Macron receives Hariri: Two conferences to support the Lebanese economy and the return of the Syrian refugees
Derian praises work of Lebanese Army, Security Forces in fighting against terrorism
Wastnage congratulates Lebanese Army on success of "Fajr el Jouroud" operation
Mustafa Hujeiri's son arrested in Arsal
Rahi congratulates Aoun on 'Greater Lebanon' declaration commemoration, Muslims on Adha Feast

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 01-02/17
Iraq Announces Security Plan Amid Fears of Terrorist Attacks during Adha
Iraq Declares Victory Over ISIS in Tal Afar
Kuwaiti Emir Visits Washington to Meet with Trump
Israel Shuts Down Radio Station in Khalil, Launches Wide Campaign of Arrests in West Bank
Pope, Orthodox patriarch call for action against climate change
Two more Germans arrested in Turkey 'for political reasons'
Pending Trump immigration action could pressure Hill to act
Trump administration selects construction firms to build US border wall prototypes
Turkey's Erdogan says US arrest of guards involved in Washington brawl a 'scandal'
UK to Send More Troops to Iraq to Bolster Anti-IS Fight
U.S. General Says al-Baghdadi Likely Still Alive
Russia Voices 'Regret' at U.S. Order to Shut San Francisco Consulate

Latest Lebanese Related News published on September 01-02/17
U.N. Chief Affirms Support for UNIFIL Commander

Naharnet/Associated Press/September 01/17/U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the extension of a longtime peacekeeping operation in Lebanon, reiterating support for a commander who drew U.S. criticism. Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement that the peacekeeping mission, known as UNIFIL, will keep enhancing its operations and Guterres has confidence in its leadership and staff. The Security Council renewed the mission on Wednesday, with new instructions for more patrols with Lebanese forces and detailed reports when peacekeepers run into roadblocks in Hizbullah strongholds in southern Lebanon. The U.S. and Israel pushed for the changes, saying UNIFIL wasn't doing enough to stop an alleged Hizbullah buildup of illegal weapons. U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Nikki Haley also said UNIFIL's commander was "blind" to Hizbullah. The commander said he had no evidence it was happening.

Macron Vows Economic Support for Lebanon in Talks with Hariri

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 01/17/French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized Friday that France will continue to stand by Lebanon following talks in Paris with Prime Minister Saad Hariri. “France will continue to stand by Lebanon and this will be reflected in the economic ties between the two nations,” said Macron at a joint press conference with Hariri. “The visit signals the strong relation between our two countries. There are issues that we want to reinforce, especially amid the difficult situation that Lebanon is facing. We will continue to stand by Lebanon and we will follow up on the various issues during President Michel Aoun’s visit to Paris in a few weeks,” the French leader added. “We want to encourage the reinforcement of the Lebanese state and its institutions and we will lead our bilateral cooperation within this spirit,” Macron went on to say. Referring to the Lebanese army’s latest operation against Islamic State militants on the eastern border, the French president saluted the armed forces for “their constant efforts to protect Lebanon and the Lebanese border.” “I assert France’s full support for the UNIFIL forces and we will carry on with our military and security cooperation” with Lebanon, Macron added.
As for the burden of the Syrian refugee crisis on Lebanon, France’s leader said “Lebanon will remain the first recipient of French aid related to the Syrian crisis given the burden it is shouldering.”Macron also said he hoped to organize an international conference early next year in Beirut on facilitating the return of Syrian refugees, saying this was crucial for "stabilizing Syria and the entire region."Lebanon currently hosts more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees. Hariri for his part thanked France for its support for the renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate, the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the Lebanese army.
“The issue of refugees is very difficult for Lebanon and it is posing a major burden to the Lebanese economy, security and environment,” the PM added. “We must strengthen the relation (between Lebanon and France) in all fields,” Hariri went on to say. The premier had started his official visit to France on Thursday with meetings with his French counterpart and the ministers of foreign affairs, economy, finance and European affairs.

Hariri Says He and Aoun Allowed IS to 'Cross' to Syria, Denies Presence of Missile Factories
Naharnet/September 01/17/Prime Minister Saad Hariri has revealed that he and President Michel Aoun had allowed Islamic State jihadists to “cross the border” into Syria as part of a ceasefire agreement, while noting that “their transfer in buses to eastern Syria was the decision of Hizbullah and the Syrians.”
“What’s important to us was the safety of our troops,” Hariri told France’s Le Monde daily when asked how “300 IS fighters managed to leave the Qalamun region safely.”“A major anti-IS battle occurred in 2014 and a number of soldiers were abducted and killed by IS. We didn’t know where they were buried and we did not want anyone else to get killed, that’s why we tightened our siege and they (IS militants) suggested negotiations,” Hariri explained. “They gave us information about the location of the soldiers’ bodies and, in return, these fighters were able to leave Lebanese territory without fighting, along with their families,” he added. Told that Hizbullah played “a bigger role than the army in the Arsal battles in July and in Qalamun in August,” Hariri said: “This is what Hizbullah is claiming but in fact it was the Lebanese army that played the bigger role and did everything.”“I know how the army carried out its offensive… What’s important to us is that IS has no presence in Lebanon anymore,” the premier added. The controversial truce deal was negotiated between IS and Hizbullah, which fought a week-long offensive against IS on Syria's side of the border, at the same time as the Lebanese army’s assault on Lebanon’s side of the frontier. The agreement has been criticized inside Lebanon, as well by the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq and especially by Baghdad, which protested that the jihadists were being brought to its doorstep. Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has argued that the deal was necessary to acquire information about the fate of Lebanese soldiers taken hostage by IS three years ago. Separately, Hariri was asked about Israel’s allegations that Iran has built secret Hizbullah-run missile factories in Lebanon. “The Israelis know very well that there are no missile factories in Lebanon. They are used to launching these disinformation campaigns. They claim that Hizbullah is in control of Lebanon and this is not true. Hizbullah has a presence -- it is present in the government and it enjoys support in the country -- but this does not mean that Hizbullah is in control of entire Lebanon,” Hariri emphasized.
“Our problem with Israel is that its leaders always talk about war and security but never about peace,” Hariri added. Asked whether Syrian refugees in Lebanon should “return to their country,” the prime minister said: “In Lebanon, some are saying that we should restore ties with Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Look at Iraq, Jordan and Egypt. These countries have ties with the Syria regime but despite that, refugees there have not returned to Syria.”“They will not return home as long as the current regime is present there. As long as I’m not given a green light from the U.N. for a safe return by the refugees, I will not do anything,” Hariri added.

Gemayel Slams 'Crime' of Asking Army to Stop Its Offensive
Naharnet/September 01/17/Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel has slammed the ruling class for “asking the army to stop its military operation” against the Islamic State group on the eastern border. “What happened was a major victory for the army and the ruling class tried to minimize it when it asked the army to stop the military operation,” said Gemayel in remarks to al-Joumhouria newspaper published Friday. “That was the biggest crime against the army, which was achieving a full, comprehensive and flawless victory. The people must demand accountability for those who asked the army to halt the offensive,” Gemayel added. The army had seized control of 100 square kilometers of territory, besieging IS militants in the remaining 20 square kilometers, when it declared a ceasefire on Sunday morning. The army said the ceasefire was aimed at facilitating negotiations with IS over the fate of nine soldiers abducted in 2014 and eventually murdered. The Hizbullah-led agreement resulted in the recovery of the soldiers’ bodies, the evacuation of hundreds of IS militants and their families to eastern Syria, and the handover of a Hizbullah captive fighter and the bodies of several members of the Iran-backed group.“Hizbullah conducted negotiations outside state institutions while the army was fighting the battle and offering sacrifices. How can this ruling class allow that its army be offering martyrs as it cedes the responsibility for negotiations to another party?” Gemayel asked. “The political class has lied to its army and I don’t know if officials can sleep at night after what they did against the army,” he added. Gemayel’s remarks come after Speaker Nabih Berri announced Wednesday that General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim was representing the Lebanese state in the negotiations and that the general had coordinated every move with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has argued that the evacuation negotiations with the IS group were "the only way" to recover the bodies of the executed troops, describing the removal of IS from the Lebanese border as the country's "Second Liberation Day".

US prevents evacuation of IS fighters
Washington Post/August 01/17/US WARPLANES on Wednesday blocked a convoy of hundreds of Islamic State fighters who were heading to eastern Syria under the terms of a deal brokered by Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement. The 310 fighters were travelling to the Iraqi-Syrian border in a convoy of buses after Hezbollah and the Syrian government permitted them to withdraw from a besieged enclave on the Lebanese-Syrian border. The deal triggered a rare outburst of public anger against Hezbollah even among some of its closest allies, notably in Iraq, which is gearing up for an offensive to reclaim Iraqi territory adjoining the area to which the fighters were relocating. Negotiated withdrawals have been a common tactic in Syria’s six-year war and have enabled the Syrian government to reassert its authority over many of the areas that fell to opposition control. But this was the first publicly announced instance of a deal involving the IS on any battle front in Syria or Iraq since the war against the group geared up three years ago. The criticisms laid bare a widening rift between the US-led coalition battling the IS and the rival coalition fighting the extremists that includes the Shia Hezbollah movement, Syria and the Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq. On Wednesday morning, the US-led coalition moved to prevent the convoy from reaching its destination, cratering the road and blowing up a bridge leading to the Islamic State-controlled town of Bukamal on the Syrian border with Iraq, according to a US military spokesman, Colonel Ryan Dillon. The strikes took place in the vicinity of a desert town called Hamaymah, and though front lines are fluid and shifting in that part of Syria, it is the US military’s understanding that the convoy is now stuck in Syrian government-held territory, Dillon said. “Isis (IS) is a global threat, and to relocate terrorists from one place to another for someone else to deal with is not acceptable to the coalition,” he said, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State. The US military said airstrikes targeted a number of individual vehicles and fighters that were “clearly identified as Isis". The strikes and the criticisms triggered a defensive response from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who called the deal a “great victory” in a televised speech on Monday. “The number of those transferred was not big: 310 tired, broken, militants who had surrendered and lost the willpower to fight will not change the course of the battle in Deir al-Zour, where there are tens of thousands of fighters,” Nasrallah said on Wednesday, referring to the province where the IS fighters were headed. He pointed out that the fighters were being transferred from one border region of Syria to another, not to Iraq. But the planned relocation of the fighters to a town right on the Iraqi border, where they would have easily been able to reinforce militants in Iraq, infuriated many Iraqis. In addition to sending thousands of fighters to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah has provided training and advice to some of the Iranian-backed Shia militias fighting the IS in Iraq.
Anger erupted after photographs showing the armed IS fighters travelling across Syria in air-conditioned buses - one of them marked with the words “Happy Journey” - began circulating on social media. But the leader of one of the Hezbollah-allied Iraqi militias countered the criticisms. Hadi al-Amiri, who heads the Badr Organisation, said that negotiating with the IS could save lives, and that he wished there had been a similar deal to avert the high death toll in the battle for the Iraqi city of Mosul. Under the arrangement negotiated over the weekend, the fighters and their relatives were allowed to leave in return for the bodies of nine captured Lebanese soldiers, the bodies of three Hezbollah fighters and the body of an Iranian military adviser.

Iraqi Forces Divided over Hezbollah Deal with ISIS
Asharq Al-Awsat English/September 01/17/Baghdad– Disparity among Iraqi forces surfaced following the “suspicious” deal between Lebanese Hezbollah and Syrian regime from one side, and ISIS from the other.The deal granted ISIS militants a safe exit from the Syrian-Lebanese borders towards the Syrian Deir Ezzor, near the borders with Iraq’s Anbar, which prompted Peshmerga to announce their full willingness to fight Qalamoun’s ISIS. The fiercest outrage is probably that of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi which led Hezbollah’s Sec-Gen Hasan Nasrallah to issue a statement explaining the details of the deal. Abadi said on Tuesday that the deal was “unacceptable” and an “insult to the Iraqi people”. He said Iraq was battling the fighters, not sending them to Syria. The only supporting stance is possibly from Popular Mobilization Forces’ leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis who sent Hezbollah leader a letter on Thursday expressing his support. Muhandis praised Nasrallah saying they learned from him how to follow this path, adding that over three decades ago was the spark, and now Hezbollah leads a freedom project. He, however, didn’t refer to the transfer incident. “Islamic Resistance in Lebanon and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces join the same front against terrorism, extremism and Zionism,” said Muhandis in his letter. Meanwhile, Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, one of the prominent Shiites and close to Hezbollah and Iran, was accredited for a statement on Thursday condemning those criticizing the negotiation deal between Hezbollah and ISIS. The statement denounced what Maliki described as “the systematic campaign against Hezbollah, adding that transferring ISIS militants was “part of the strategy against terrorism powers”, adding that every battle has its circumstances and its tools for victory. However, his media bureau issued a statement saying that the statement published on social media outlets is not true and unofficial. PMF spokesperson Ahmed al-Assadi denied media allegations that there had been an agreement between Baghdad and Hezbollah. He explained the Iraqi government had no idea about this deal.
If Shiites were critical of what Hezbollah did, Sunni forces in Iraq were outraged with Speaker Salim Jabburi denouncing the agreement. “Iraq should not pay the price for agreements that affect its security and sovereignty,” he said Wednesday, adding that the agreement was a return to square one and a misrecognition of the martyrs’ souls. Jabouri asked the federal government to take all necessary measures to overcome the repercussions of such an agreement. He also urged the security and defense committee to issue an extensive report detailing the consequences of the deal between Hezbollah and ISIS and how it is reflected on the security and stability of Iraq. Member of parliamentary security committee Mohammed al-Karbouli said that the issue is what the state and the government will do and not the committee, which is incapable of doing anything.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Karbouli warned of an imminent attack ISIS could execute on Iraqi soil. He pointed out that transferring numbers of ISIS militants to the border with Iraqi will grant the existing militants the moral support they need after the losses they underwent in Iraq. Karbouli stated that they have contacted the US administration and they haven’t received any response yet. Muttahidoon Bloc, member of Sunni Iraq’s National Alliance, accused Iran of being behind the suspicious deal between Hezbollah, backed by Syrian regime, and ISIS.The bloc issued a statement in which its leader, Dhafer al-Ani said that they were surprised with this deal, as if Iraq is a “dumpster for terrorists.” He added that this deal, backed by Iran, is a misrecognition of Iraqis’ lives and a direct threat for the national security. Spokesman of the Kurdistan Region Presidency (KRP) Omid Sabah said the transfer of such a large number of forces from east Syria to Iraqi border was very suspicious, adding that Kurdistan region was keeping an eye on this movement.

Nasrallah: I Met Assad over ISIS Evacuation to Syria
Asharq Al-Awsat English/September 01/17/Beirut's suburbs November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Beirut- Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said on Thursday he had traveled to Damascus to meet head of Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad to request the evacuation of ISIS militants from their enclave on the Syrian-Lebanese borders. “I personally met with President Bashar al-Assad… I went to him in Damascus,” Nasrallah said in a speech in Baalbek addressed to hundreds of his supporters, whom he urged to celebrate what he called the “Second Liberation.” The evacuation convoy left the border area late on Monday to take about 600 ISIS militants and their family members to a territory the group controls in eastern Syria. In his speech on the battle of Arsal, in which the party fought against Al-Nusra Front,the Hezbollah leader outlined some details of the deal that led to the deportation of ISIS militants. “The time of defeats has ended… thanks to the equation of the homeland, the people and the resistance,” he stated. Nasrallah stressed that Lebanon’s eastern borders were now under the control of the Lebanese Army, warning that any sanctions against the party and its supporters would be reflected on the Lebanese economy, calling for facing international pressure in the spirit of cooperation. “Terrorism has taken control of our northern and eastern borders, and the army has prevented the transformation of the northern border and its villages into a haven for terrorists,” he said. “On the eastern border, the terrorists took control, and their threat was stronger on Lebanon, as they sought to establish an emirate extending from the north to the sea. The Lebanese disagreed on this, despite the clarity of the enemy,” he continued. “The Lebanese had three choices: either not to intervene, or to be positive, in the sense of facilitating their [ISIS] expansion. The third option was confrontation, which was supported by the majority of people, including Hezbollah,” Nasrallah said.

International Coalition Forces Still Monitoring ISIS Convoy in Syria
Asharq Al-Awsat English/September 01/17/A convoy of ISIS fighters and their families being evacuated into another ISIS-held territory in east Syria remained in government-held areas of Syria on Friday, US-led forces said. According to Reuters, there are about 300 fighters and about 300 civilians in the convoy, which the Syrian army and Lebanon’s Iran-backed militia group, Hezbollah, gave safe passage to after they surrendered their enclave on Syria’s border with Lebanon. “It has not managed to link up with any other ISIS elements in eastern Syria,” Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting ISIS said. But the coalition against ISIS has used air strikes to block the convoy from crossing into the group’s main territory straddling Syria’s eastern border with Iraq. The ISIS fighters in the border pocket accepted a truce and evacuation deal after simultaneous but separate offensives by the Lebanese army on one front and the Syrian army and Hezbollah on the other. It angered both the coalition, which does not want the fighters bussed to a battlefront in which it is active, and Iraq, which is fighting ISIS across the border. “We are continuing to monitor that convoy and will continue to disrupt its movement east to link up with any other ISIS element and we will continue to strike any other ISIS elements that try to move towards it,” Dillon said. The departure of ISIS and other groups from the Western Qalamoun district means the border with Lebanon is Syria’s first to be controlled entirely by its army since early in the conflict. Qara is only a few miles from the mountains delineating the frontier with Lebanon, in which ISIS and other militant groups held territory until August. Part of an agreed exchange under the truce went ahead on Thursday as wounded ISIS fighters were swapped for the bodies of pro-government forces. But the fate of the main part of the convoy is uncertain.“It was moving this morning and then they had stopped … I don’t know if they stopped for a break or were trying to figure out what to do,” Dillon said.

Muslims around world celebrate Eid as hajj enters final days
Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Adha holiday on Friday as some 2 million Muslim pilgrims carry out the final rites of the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims made their way toward a massive multi-story complex in Mina after dawn on Friday to cast pebbles at three large columns. It is here where Muslims believe the devil tried to talk the Prophet Ibrahim out of submitting to God's will. Muslims believe Ibrahim's faith was tested when God commanded him to sacrifice his only son Ismail. Ibrahim was prepared to submit to the command, but then God stayed his hand, sparing his son. In the Christian and Jewish version of the story, Abraham is ordered to kill his other son, Isaac. The final days of hajj coincide with the Eid al-Adha holiday, or "Feast of Sacrifice," to commemorate Ibrahim's test of faith. For the holiday, Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor. For the final three days of hajj, pilgrims sleep in a large tent valley called Mina and for three days take part in a symbolic stoning of the devil. Mina is also where more than 2,400 people were killed two years ago in a stampede and a collision of two crowds that crushed people under the force.
The Saudi government has since widened some roads in Mina to try and improve the safety of the hajj. More than 100,000 security forces are managing the hajj this year, assisting pilgrims and directing the massive crowds that move from one location to another in the areas around Mecca for five days during the hajj. The Saudi government also offers all pilgrims free health care and access to hospitals during the hajj. Most pilgrims will remain in Mina until Monday before completing the hajj. They will then circle the cube-shaped Kaaba in Mecca, Islam's most sacred site, before departing. The Kaaba represents the metaphorical house of God and the oneness of God in Islam. Observant Muslims around the world face toward the Kaaba during the five daily prayers. The five-day-long hajj is a series of rituals meant to cleanse the soul of sins and instill a sense of equality and brotherhood among Muslims. The pilgrimage is required of all Muslims with the means to perform once in a lifetime. ---AP During the last three days of hajj, male pilgrims shave their heads and remove the terrycloth white garments worn during the hajj. Women cut off a small lock of hair in a sign of spiritual rebirth and renewal.

Macron receives Hariri: Two conferences to support the Lebanese economy and the return of the Syrian refugees
Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - Prime Minister Saad Hariri met Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron, who announced after the meeting that two conferences will be held in the first quarter of next year: the first to support the Lebanese economy and the second to discuss the issue of the Syrian refugees.
Prime Minister Hariri was welcomed at the main entrance of the Elysee by President Macron and they held a closed meeting that lasted 40 minutes. An extended meeting was then held in the presence of the Lebanese Chargé d'affaires Ghadi Khoury, Mr. Nader Hariri, advisor Basil Yared and the advisers of President Macron.

Derian praises work of Lebanese Army, Security Forces in fighting against terrorism
Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, lauded during his Adha Feast sermon Friday the exerted efforts of the Lebanese Army and Security Forces in combating terrorism and preserving security and peace in the country. Speaking at Mohammed Amine Mosque in Downtown Beirut, Derian called on all Lebanese people "to stand united alongside the Lebanese Army, which is capable of protecting Lebanon from the Israeli enemy and terrorists." "The Lebanese army is the symbol of unity, sovereignty, independence and stability of Lebanon," Derian went on. The Mufti also saluted the Lebanese Army's achievements in their military operation to liberate al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek mountains from the control of terrorists, expressing his sincere condolences to the military institution and the families of the martyr soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country.

Wastnage congratulates Lebanese Army on success of "Fajr el Jouroud" operation
Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - In a press release by the British Embassy in Beirut, it said British Chargé d'Affaires Ben Wastnage congratulated the Lebanese Army on the success of the operation 'Fajr el Jouroud'. Wastange said 'I congratulate the Lebanese Army on the military success of the Fajr el Jouroud operation. This was a complex, dangerous, but successful operation whereby the Lebanese Army demonstrated yet again that it is the sole legitimate, effective and capable defender of Lebanese security.
I offer my sincere condolences for those Lebanese Army soldiers who were killed and injured in this operation, as well as to the families and friends of those soldiers who were abducted in 2014. The UK remains committed to Lebanon's stability and to supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces as the cornerstone of Lebanese sovereignty. It is also important to stress that Daesh is a global threat to people everywhere. As such, I regret that Daesh were able to retreat across Syria, and welcome the Global Coalition's action seeking to prevent this.'

Mustafa Hujeiri's son arrested in Arsal
Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - The Intelligence department of the Lebanese army arrested Friday morning, Abada Hujeiri, the son of Sheikh Mustafa Hujeiri, known as "Abu Takiyye", in the northeastern border town of Arsal, National News Agency said. Abada was detained over many arrest warrants issued against him for alleged ties to extremist organizations and for carrying weapons in his Toyota FJ cruiser. The detainee was referred to the Military Police in Bekaa for further investigations.

Rahi congratulates Aoun on 'Greater Lebanon' declaration commemoration, Muslims on Adha Feast
Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Butros al-Rahi, congratulated Friday President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, and the Lebanese people on the 97th commemoration of declaring the Greater State of Lebanon.
"This occasion reminds us of the huge responsibility shouldered by every Lebanese, weighing also on the conscience of all civil and spiritual officials to preserve Lebanon's national unity and independence, which is only complete through liberating the land and the Lebanese administration from all occupation and external influence," emphasized al-Rahi. The Patriarch also pointed to the need of exerting efforts to lift the economic burdens off Lebanese citizens, reinforcing Lebanon's role in attracting investments, business services and tourism in order to reduce poverty and inequality in the country. Al-Rahi seized the occasion to pay tribute to the Lebanese army and security forces for their huge sacrifices, while wishing all the wounded speedy recovery and expressing deepest condolences to the families of the fallen martyrs. On the other hand and marking the coinciding occasion of Eid al-Adha, al-Rahi congratulated all Muslims on this blessed holiday, hoping that the Eid will be a season of goodness and abundance, bringing by blessings and peace for Lebanon and the region. In this context, the Patriarch contacted Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Abdul-Latif Derian; Islamic Supreme Shiite Council Head Sheikh Abdul-Amir Qabalan; Druze Sheikh Aql Naim Hasan; Islamic Supreme Council Charge d'Affaires Sheikh Mohammed Asfour, and Mufti of Tripoli Sheikh Malik al-Sha'ar, congratulating them on the Adha Feast.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 01-02/17
Iraq Announces Security Plan Amid Fears of Terrorist Attacks during Adha
Asharq Al-Awsat English/September 01/17/Baghdad – The Iraqi Interior Ministry and the Baghdad Operations Command have developed a security plan for Eid al-Adha that would cover cemeteries, markets, amusement parks and places of worship over fears of terrorist attacks that could target Iraqis and Baghdad residents in particular. Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier Saad Maan said during a press conference held at the ministry’s headquarters on Thursday that the plan was based on “securing protection for shopping areas, places of worship, entertainment and cemeteries in Baghdad.”He added that the plan included “preventing the passage of motorcycles and vehicles in crowded places and the closure of some roads during the days of Eid.”On a different note, Reuters reported that markets in eastern Mosul have returned to normal, packed with visitors as residents prepared to celebrate Eid al-Adha, which comes after the city was taken back from the grip of the ISIS. People began to flow slowly back to the homes they had abandoned during nine months of war between Iraqi government forces and militants, hoping to restore the daily life they had before the fall of the city in the grip of the terrorist organization. “This year’s Eid is better than last year,” Bassem Mohammed, a Mosul resident, said. “ISIS has been expelled and people can celebrate again,” he added. The United Nations estimates the initial cost of reconstructing Mosul at over one billion USD.

Iraq Declares Victory Over ISIS in Tal Afar
Asharq Al-Awsat English/September 01/17/Irbil, Baghdad- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared on Thursday victory over terror group ISIS’ militants in Tal Afar and the entire province of Nineveh. “Tal Afar has been liberated,” Abadi said in a statement. “We say to the ISIS fighters: wherever you are, we are coming for you, and you have no choice but to surrender or die.”The announcement came despite continued fighting in the small town of al-‘Ayadiya. Tal Afar had become the next target of the US-backed war on the extremist group following the capture of Mosul, where it declared its “caliphate” over parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014. The defeat in Mosul, Nineveh’s provincial capital, marked the latest in a string of territorial losses for the group. However, the militants still control areas on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border. This includes Hawija, a city between Mosul and Baghdad that Iraqi officials have said will be the coalition’s next target. The Iraqi army dropped millions of leaflets over Hawija on Thursday, warning residents it was preparing an offensive to recapture the city from ISIS, the military said in a statement. The leaflets urged residents to stay away from militants’ headquarters, to drop weapons and turn themselves in to avoid being killed. Iraqi forces had been waiting to clear al-‘Ayadiya, 11 km (7 miles) northwest of Tal Afar, before declaring complete victory in the offensive. ISIS militants had retreated to the town. Divisions from the Iraqi army and federal police, backed by units from Shi‘ite paramilitaries, retook al-‘Ayadiya on Thursday, military officers told Reuters, after several days of unexpectedly fierce fighting. However, pockets of resistance remained and Iraqi forces were still working to clear the remaining militants from the town. “We have to make sure that no more terrorists remain hiding inside the town’s houses,” Army Lieutenant Colonel Salah Kareem told Reuters. Two military officers whose units are leading the fight in al-‘Ayadiya on Thursday said scattered groups of militants were still hiding in houses and using tunnel networks to move through the town. Four soldiers were killed and 10 more wounded as clashes continued in parts of al-‘Ayadiya on Thursday night, despite the announcement hours earlier by the prime minister. Three soldiers were killed on Thursday evening and seven more wounded when a woman detonated a suicide vest, Kareem said. “Soldiers thought the woman was a civilian trying to escape the fighting, but as soon as she came close to the soldiers, she blew herself up and killed three,” an army officer said. In a separate incident, an ISIS sniper killed a soldier and wounded three others during a search. “We are still being shot at by snipers and coming under heavy gunfire from Daesh fighters,” Kareem said. Iraqi forces will intensify their operations on Friday, to dislodge the militants still entrenched inside scattered houses, army officers said.

Kuwaiti Emir Visits Washington to Meet with Trump
Asharq Al-Awsat English/September 01/17/Kuwait– Kuwait’s Emiri Diwan said on Thursday that Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah would travel to Washington on Friday for talks with US President Donald Trump. According to a statement published by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the Emir of Kuwait will meet with Trump on September 7. Kuwait emerged as a key mediator after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar. As soon as the four countries suspended their relations with the Arab peninsula, Trump expressed great support for Saudi Arabia, which was confirmed on Wednesday during a telephone conversation with King Salman bin Abdulaziz, to whom he stressed that the solution to the crisis with Qatar should be based on the Riyadh summit commitments to unite in the face of terrorism and Iranian threats and to defeat terrorism, cut off its funding and combat extremist ideology. Sheikh Sabah received a telephone call on Thursday from Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. KUNA reported that the two leaders exchanged congratulations on Eid al-Adha, and discussed some important topics.

Israel Shuts Down Radio Station in Khalil, Launches Wide Campaign of Arrests in West Bank
Asharq Al-Awsat English/September 01/17/Ramallah- Israeli authorities raided and shut down a Palestinian radio station for six months for allegedly “inciting terrorist attacks” early on Thursday in the southern occupied West Bank. Israeli soldiers raided Al-Hurriya (Freedom) Media Company and destroyed, damaged, and confiscated various equipment, according to Ayman al-Qawasmi, the head of the radio station. “It is not the first time the radio is closed; but this time it was done in a barbaric way,” Qawasmi said, noting that the price of confiscated devices reached more than USD 400,000. All employees and workers have been banned from entering the building until Feb. 14, 2018, according to local media. “56 employees working in the radio and who support 56 families will not be able to work,” the head of the station stated. The Palestinian Information Ministry expressed its strong rejection of the Occupation’s decisions and practices. “The ministry will take all possible measures to stop Israeli crimes against our media institutions,” it said in a statement. The ministry also called on the United Nations, UNESCO and the International Federation of Journalists to assume their responsibilities towards the Palestinian people by stopping Israeli practices that violate all international laws and conventions. Earlier this week, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian wedding band after it performed a song about an assailant who stabbed three Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian media said the band, led by singer Mohammed Al-Barghouti, had been arrested and sound recording devices and studio equipment have been confiscated from Barghouti’s house in the village of Kafr Ein, northwest of Ramallah. Israel monitors all means of social communication and inspects government and private media, the Palestinian educational curricula, statements of officials, and even the names of institutions, centers and streets, always accusing the Palestinian Authority of incitement. The closure of the radio station coincided with a wave of arrests in the West Bank on Thursday. An Israeli army statement said that 15 Palestinians were arrested, two from the town of Marka in Jenin district, one from Ya’bad, four from Nablus, one from Tulkarm, five from Ramallah and two from Bani Naim.

Pope, Orthodox patriarch call for action against climate change

Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - The head of the Roman Catholic Church and the patriarch of Constantinople on Friday issued a joint message urging world leaders to take action against climate change and environmental destruction on occasion of the World Day of Prayer for Creation.
Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said in their missive that human dignity and welfare were deeply connected to the care for the whole of creation, but they were now imperiled by actions that have led to the deterioration of the planet's natural environment.
"We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation," read the joint statement. The two ecclesiastic leaders cited as factors for humanity's alienation from the original purpose of creation the propensity to interrupt the world's "delicate and balanced" ecosystems and an "insatiable desire" to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, as well as the "greed for limitless profit" in markets. They underscored how the planet's deterioration weighed upon the most vulnerable and how climate change's impact mainly affected those living in poverty. "The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development," the letter added. "We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service," the Catholic pontiff and the Eastern Orthodox dignitary said in their message's conclusion. ---EFE-EPA

Two more Germans arrested in Turkey 'for political reasons'
Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - Two more German citizens have been arrested in Turkey "for political reasons", Berlin said Friday, bringing the total number of German political prisoners in Turkish custody to 12, AFP reported. "On August 31, two German nationals were detained in Turkey for political reasons," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said, adding that news of the arrests was confirmed not by Ankara but by Anatolia airport police. The German authorities have yet to be allowed to see the pair, she added, declining to give further details. ---AFP

Pending Trump immigration action could pressure Hill to act
Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - As President Donald Trump weighs scrapping protections for nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, focus is intensifying on Capitol Hill on whether congressional leadership can reach a deal to continue the popular Obama-era program. It's unclear how drastically Trump may reshape DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave young people who had come to the United States illegally as kids a chance to work and study in the US without fear of deportation. Sources on the Hill increasingly believe Trump is leaning toward ending renewals and new applicants to the program, and a source familiar has said the White House is considering that option. White House discussing whether DACA deadline can be moved. If Trump were to end the program, it would force a gut-check moment for leadership on both sides of the aisle. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have to decide whether they're willing to risk angering the most conservative wing of the Republican base by allowing a vote on what some on the right consider an "amnesty" -- which would almost certainly need Democratic votes to pass. Meanwhile Democrats, led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, will be forced to decide whether they are willing to swallow a compromise that could include border wall money in in exchange for protections for "Dreamers," a population they have long advocated for.
With a hotly contested 2018 midterm election looming, and a number of moderate Republicans representing areas with high numbers of Dreamers up for re-election, lawmakers may feel compelled to act to save the program.
Trump is expected to announce a DACA decision by September 5, the deadline set by a group of Republican state attorneys general who have threatened to sue over the program. But two sources familiar with DACA discussions at the White House say the administration is looking at whether the attorneys general who are pushing this issue would be willing to extend their deadline. One source said White House chief of staff John Kelly is among those officials advocating for such a delay. But the sources did not say whether Trump will listen to Kelly on the issue as he has come under tremendous pressure from inside the White House and from outside groups to end the DACA program.

Trump administration selects construction firms to build US border wall prototypes
Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - The Trump administration has selected four construction companies to build concrete prototypes for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said on Thursday. The four companies are Caddell Construction of Montgomery, Alabama; Fisher Sand & Gravel of Tempe, Arizona; Texas Sterling Construction of Houston; and W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company of Philadelphia, Mississippi, the agency said. The four contracts range in price from about $400,000 to about $500,000, CBP said. The prototypes will be 30 feet tall and about 30 feet wide and will be tested in San Diego, it said. ---Reuters

Turkey's Erdogan says US arrest of guards involved in Washington brawl a 'scandal'
Fri 01 Sep 2017/NNA - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says the arrest of members of his security detail involved in a brawl with protesters in Washington is a scandal. US prosecutors charged a dozen Turkish security and police officers with assault after an attack on protesters in Washington during Erdogan's visit to the US capital in May. "This is a complete scandal," Mr Erdogan told reporters. The May 16 skirmish, caught on video, injured 11 people outside the Turkish ambassador's residence and further strained bilateral ties at a time when the NATO allies are in sharp disagreement over policy in Syria. Turkey blamed the violence on demonstrators linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), while the Washington police chief described it as a brutal attack on peaceful protesters. Mr Erdogan said the US had failed to provide him protection from members of the PKK during his visit, and added he would discuss the issue with President Donald Trump in his next visit. "The United States has literally become a country where the PKK terrorist organisation is under protection," Mr Erdogan said in response to the arrests. "I am having trouble understanding what the United States is trying to do with all these developments." US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the charges against some members of Mr Erdogan's security detail sent a clear message to Turkey. "[The US] does not tolerate individuals who use intimidation and violence to stifle freedom of speech," he said in a statement. Since a failed coup attempt last year, Turkey has sacked or suspended more than 150,000 officials in purges, while sending to jail pending trial some 50,000 people including soldiers, police, civil servants. The crackdown has targeted people whom authorities say they suspect of links to the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Ankara blames Mr Gulen for the coup, but he denies any involvement. ---Reuters

UK to Send More Troops to Iraq to Bolster Anti-IS Fight
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 01/17/Britain will send a small contingent of expert troops to Iraq to help coalition forces drive out Islamic State jihadists, Defense Minister Michael Fallon has said. "We are stepping up our contribution to the fight against Daesh (IS) and fulfilling Britain's role as a key player in the global coalition," Fallon said in a statement."These extra troops will help support operations to bring the defeat of Daesh a step closer."The 44 Royal Engineers are to be deployed for six months at the al-Asad airbase in Anbar Province, in western Iraq, to build infrastructure including accommodation and offices. This brings the number of British troops at the airbase to more than 300 and the total in Iraq to around 600. The airbase also houses hundreds of U.S. advisers as well as Iraqi and Danish troops. Anbar, a sprawling desert province that borders Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, has long been an insurgent stronghold, and IS already controlled parts of it when it swept through Iraq in 2014 to take control of roughly a third of the country. Pro-government forces have since retaken most towns and cities in Anbar, but the jihadists still hold several areas along the border with Syria. Earlier Thursday, Iraq declared that its forces had retaken the northern city of Tal Afar and the surrounding region of Nineveh, in another victory against the jihadist group. IS now controls barely 10 percent of the country, according to the U.S.-led international coalition ranged against the jihadists.

U.S. General Says al-Baghdadi Likely Still Alive

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 01/17/Elusive Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is probably still alive and likely hiding in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, a senior U.S. general said overnight. "We're looking for him every day. I don't think he's dead," Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, commander of the counter-IS coalition in Iraq and Syria, told reporters in a conference call. Townsend admitted he didn't "have a clue" where Baghdad is precisely, but believes he may have fled with many other IS soldiers into the Middle Euphrates region stretching from Syria to Iraq, after coalition and local force assaults on the IS bastions of Mosul, Raqa and Tal Afar. "The last stand of ISIS will be in the Middle Euphrates River Valley," Townsend said. "When we find him, I think we'll just try to kill him first. It's probably not worth all the trouble to try and capture him."With a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head, Iraq-born Baghdadi has successfully avoided an intense effort to seek him out for six years or more. Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a longtime conflict monitor, said in mid-June that it had heard from senior IS leaders in Syria's Deir Ezzor province that Baghdadi was dead. Russia's army said in mid-June that it was seeking to verify whether it had killed him in a May air strike in Syria. "I've seen no convincing evidence, intelligence, or open-source or other rumor or otherwise that he's dead.... There are also some indicators in intelligence channels that he's still alive," said Townsend.

Russia Voices 'Regret' at U.S. Order to Shut San Francisco Consulate

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 01/17/Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed "regret at the escalation of tensions" after the United States told Moscow to shut its consulate in San Francisco. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Lavrov as Washington announced it was ordering Moscow to shut the consulate, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. "In response the minister expressed regret at the escalation of tensions in bilateral relations," it said. "Moscow will examine the new measures announced by the Americans in detail after which our reaction will be announced." The U.S. State Department ordered Moscow to close the consulate and two annexes in Washington and New York in two days, saying the decision was made "in the spirit of parity" following a Moscow-imposed cap on the U.S. diplomatic presence in Russia. "The Consulate General will act in accordance with the decision that will be taken by the Russian leadership regarding this decision by the Americans," the consul in San Francisco Sergei Petrov told RIA-Novosti news agency. "Right now the foreign ministry will decide on the procedure of the shut down, where people will go, and so forth," he said. Russia has had a diplomatic presence in San Francisco since 1852, according to the consulate's website. It closed in 1924 because of a lack of funds but reopened in 1934 after Washintgon established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 01-02/17
Politico's Jihad against Walid Phares Tries Again, and Fails Again
Rebecca Bynum/Jerome B. Gordon/Family Security Matters/August 31/17
Since the time when Dr. Walid Phares was appointed by Presidential candidate Mitt Romney as one of his national security advisors in 2011, the pro Iran regime and Muslim Brotherhood networks in the media have been waging one smear campaign after the other to tarnish his reputation and intimidate decision makers so they will not appoint him to any position in any administration. As soon as Donald Trump announced Phares as one of his foreign policy advisors in March 2016, he was attacked again by an even wider network of militant media across the web using the same recycled and repeatedly discredited material.After the 2016 election, Phares returned to the private sector as an expert, but the pro-Iran and MB lobby was still concerned he may be called to join the new administration. Politico ran a hit piece against him in November, filled once again with falsehoods. This August, as a number of officials were leaving the White House, it is believed that the "lobby" feared he may be invited in. Though there were no indications at all that Phares was intending to join the administration or be called upon to officially advise, Politico published another attempt to discredit Phares in a scathing hit piece. The article was authored by a former AP journalist Nahal Toosi, who has shown her support for the Iran Deal and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Dr. Phares, an expert in the field who has been testifying about country conditions in Congress, to governments, and in courts for over twenty years, had just finished a testimony at an immigration court in Detroit on behalf of an Iraqi Chaldean who was detained for deportation. Phares was called upon to explain one thing: whether country conditions today would affect this individual because of his particular family and personal circumstances. The expert spent a few hours explaining to the court and the government how things are in Iraq and then left. The court decided to release the Chaldean detainee and reinstate his status. The judge was convinced of the facts and assessment, and the government decided not to appeal. The session did not address US politics nor the policies of the administration. It focused only on what could happen now or in the near future should this individual be deported to Iraq.
However, for Politico there are only two issues at hand:
One is that Phares, having been an advisor to Trump in 2016, was sitting in court countering President Trump's order for removal. The argument is twisted in its inception. Phares did not discuss the immigration policies of the administration. He was asked only about one case-possibly impacting multiple cases in the future-of immigrants who entered legally, committed unlawful acts, lost their green cards and are now being considered for deportation. Dr. Phares was asked very specific questions based on one: How would the country conditions affect the deported person? Politico is fooling its readers by claiming anything else, as court transcripts and the many who attended the session can attest. Martin Manna, the president of the Chaldean Community Foundation, who was in attendance, has repeatedly told Politico that Phares testified on country conditions, but to no avail, for the said media was set on smearing not on reporting.
The second charge by Politico was that Phares charged for his testimony and that his fee was high. Again, Politico failed in this low-level argumentation. First, Phares offered his services, and the clients could accept or not, as all other paid experts do. Second, Phares does not have a non-profit operation similar to a number of NGOs involved in the deportation issue who receive millions of dollars from donors. Dr. Phares did charge for his time on this case, though he has offered public service free of charge for the past 27 years, including helping humanitarian groups and communities to pass their messages on to Congress, administrations, media and the United Nations. As for the fee levels, in the private sector, such fees are negotiable. But a mere calculation of the fees based on time spent, places Phares's numbers solidly within the norm for a national expert.
Walid Phares is introduced in this article as the "Lebanese American Maronite" who appears on Fox News. It would be as if Henry Kissinger was introduced as the "German Jew" or Zbignew Brejinski is presented as the "Catholic Pole." This obsession with Phares' background demonstrates how the forces behind Politico perceive American immigrants, always linked to the politics and the sectarianism of their mother countries. That's how it works in Iran or Syria, but not in the United States.
Toosi wrote, "Phares has benefited from the belief of people desperate to stay in the U.S. that his involvement in their cases might give them an edge." Jawad Sayegh, the top analyst on US affairs at the liberal Arab publication Elaph reports otherwise: "The judge is liberal, there is no chance for politics there. And the government represents the Trump administration and argues for deportation. Phares talks about Iraq not Trump."
In the end, Politico shattered its journalistic credibility by publishing this piece, only to please its backers and perhaps, as Tom Harb has argued, as an extended arm of the Iranian and Brotherhood propaganda machine. Politico is no more mainstream and respectable than radical subversive websites in the far left or far right circles. Meanwhile in the real world, the detainee is free, his family is happy and thankful for the US justice system, the court was informed, the Government didn't appeal and the communities are looking forward for more stability.
**Rebecca Bynum is the publisher and editor of New English Review Press and author of Allah is Dead and The Real Nature of Religion.
**Jerome B. Gordon is a former intelligence officer, Senior Editor of New English Review and author of The West Speaks.
**Rebecca Bynum is the editor of the New English Review and member of the American Mideast Coalition for Democracy (AMCD)

Khomeini or Kim? Khamenei’s Real Teacher
Amir Taheri//Asharq Al Awsat/September 01/17
According to the initial narrative of the Khomeinist ideology, the “perfect state” which Muslims should aspire was the brief period during which Ali Ibn Abi-Taleb exercised the Caliphate against a background of revolts and civil war. However, it now seems that Khomeinist zealots have found another “ideal model” outside the world of Islam. That model is the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, better known as North Korea, which Khomeinists present as living paragon of heroic resistance against the American “Great Satan.” The daily Kayhan, believed to reflect the views of “Supreme Guide” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recently ran editorials praising North Korea’s “brave defiance of Arrogance” by testing long-range missiles in the face of “cowardly threats” by the United States. In one editorial last month, the paper invited those who urge dialogue with the US to learn from North Korea’s “success in humiliating the Great Satan.”
The editorial provoked some critical responses from the “reformist” wing of the ruling clique with President Hassan Rouhani’s unofficial spokesman expressing regret that Iran was being asked to downgrade to the level of “a pariah in a remote corner of Asia.”
Nevertheless, last month North Korea’s nominal “president” Kim Yong-nam whose official title is Chairman of the People’s Assembly was given red carpet treatment during a 10-day visit to Tehran at the head a 30-man military and political delegation. He was granted a rare two-hours long audience with Khamenei. During his stay, he inaugurated North Korea’s new embassy which includes an expanded military cooperation section.
At first glance, the Khomeinist “republic” and the Kimist regime in Pyongyang seem to have little in common.
The Khomeinists claim legitimacy in the name of the Hidden Imam who is believed to be preparing his return at an unspecified date. The Kimists, on the other hand, base their legitimacy on the “heroic victories” of Kim Il-sung, the proto-Communist leader who, with support from the Soviet Union and Communist China, carved out a fiefdom in part of the Korean Peninsula. Also at first glance, it might appear that the only thing the two regimes share is a primitive version of anti-Americanism, an affliction that affects many others even in Western democracies, albeit in milder forms.
Seen by Khomeinists, who pretend to be sole custodians of “The Only True Religion”, the Kimists, who regard religion as “confused mumbo-jumbo”, must be regarded as adversaries if not outright enemies. And, yet, such is their mutual attraction that the little matter of religion seems to have had no effect on their love fest. The Kimists have even allowed the Khomeinists to set up a mosque in Pyongyang provided they do not try to convert North Koreans.
In the spring of 1979, Kim Il-sung, the founder of the dynasty and grandfather of the present Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, was among the first to congratulate Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini on the seizure of power by mullahs.
A few weeks later, Khomeini, then stationed in Qom, broke his rule of not talking to foreign emissaries by receiving North Korean Ambassador Chabeong Uk for a long session during which the ayatollah dictated a message of friendship to Kim Il-sung, in which, he invited “the masses of Korea” to expel the Americans from the peninsula.
When Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in September 1980, Kim Il-sung was the first to offer assistance to the Islamic Republic by supplying its version of the Soviet SCUD missiles. In January 1981, invited by Iran, the North Koreans set up a military advisory mission in Tehran to help the newly created Islamic Revolutionary Guard Crops (IRGC) develop tactics and strategies in the war against Iraq.
One tactic quickly adopted by the Iranians was the sue of “swarm attacks” by masses of teenagers sent to clear Iraqi minefields at the cost of thousands of lives, a tactic that Kim Il-sung had developed in the Korean War against the Americans.
North Korea became one of only two nations to sign a military pact of sorts, including joint staff conversations, with Iran. (The other is in Syria which signed in 2007.)
Iran’s top contact man with the North Korean military mission was Khamenei then a mid-ranking mullahs operating as Deputy Defense Minister. The new friends started “military cooperation” in 1982 with special emphasis on helping Iran develop a range of missiles.
Getting to know the North Koreans, Khamenei developed a profound admiration for their “discipline and readiness to sacrifice for their struggle”. But it was not until six years later that Khamenei, by that time named President of the Islamic Republic, could express that admiration directly in a state visit to Pyongyang.
According to those who accompanied Khamenei in the visit, the future “Supreme Guide” saw North Korea as the “ideal state” that only lacked religious faith.
“Khamenei was impressed by how everything (in North Korea) worked like the clockwork,” says Hassan Nami, a member of the entourage. “The fact that in North Korea the individual was dissolved in the collective symbolized by the Supreme Leader overwhelmed Khamenei.”
Khamenei’s visit to North Korea, in May 1989, was the first to give him the feeling that he was the rising leader of a rising new power on the world scene. The North Koreans declared a holiday for schools and factories to mobilize a million people to line the streets to greet Khamenei. In a rare gesture, Kim Il-sung himself went to the airport to greet the visitor. The North Korean despot then chaired a special session of the People’s Assembly to hear Khamenei’s speech which included a thinly disguised invitation to Koreans to return to religious belief.
In the end, however, the North Koreans adopted nothing from Khomeinism while Khamenei adopted much of Kim Il-sung’s ideology.
Kim’s “juche” (self-reliance) shibboleth became Khamenei “eqtesad muqawemati” (Resistance Economics). Khamenei also adopted Kim’s reliance on missiles, caused by the fact that North Korean had no access to modern warplanes, as the main plank of his defense doctrine. The revival of the Shah’s nuclear program, scrapped by Khomeini but revived under Khamenei, was also inspired by Kim who believed a weaker nation enhances its position by owning “the ultimate weapon.”
When it comes to Khamenei’s rejection of compromise with domestic or foreign adversaries, again Kim was the teacher.
Kim preached “absolute independence” which meant total disregard for international law, something that Khamenei has made an article of faith for the Islamic Republic.
Going down the list of Khamenei’s beliefs, including his reliance on the military for the survival of the regime, one could see that in many cases the real teacher was Kim Il-sung, not Khomeini.

Washington Remains United Behind NATO
Kay Bailey Hutchison/The New York Times//September 01/17
Partisanship and contentiousness typically dominate Washington news. In the clamor, it’s easy to overlook the national consensus on a significant issue: the need to revitalize America’s most crucial security alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
I was nominated as United States ambassador to NATO by President Trump in late June. As I made my rounds of congressional offices before my confirmation hearing, I found near unanimity from Republicans and Democrats alike on NATO’s future.
There is no appreciable difference of views among the president, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and senators of either party on the need to revitalize NATO so it can meet today’s security needs while maintaining the fundamental principle of Article 5 of the organization’s founding treaty — that an attack on one is an attack on all. There is a strong consensus that a renaissance of NATO offers the best hope to unite our Western allies against threats including intolerable Russian aggression in Ukraine, international terrorism, nuclear and missile capacities of rogue nations, and efforts to wipe out religious and individual freedoms around the globe. NATO is the most successful alliance in world history. It was founded on the conviction that a potent joint effort by the democracies of Europe and North America was the most effective way to deter and counter Communist expansion and prevent World War III. That idea held the alliance together more than 40 years, through many changes of government, and it won the Cold War. After the Soviet Union dissolved in the 1990s, NATO’s future was uncertain. With the immediate military threat reduced, was NATO even needed any longer? In a brief era of good feelings, security concerns appeared less important and reductions in defense preparation were widespread. Some voices even called for Russian membership in NATO.
Those days are long gone. New security challenges have appeared, and not only in the form of Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine. We also face attacks aimed at the heart of our democratic institutions, and terrorism has become a worldwide threat, notably in Europe, as the recent attack in Spain demonstrated.
As an essential start to revitalization, all NATO members must meet the defense-spending pledge made at the 2014 summit meeting in Wales — namely, 2 percent of gross domestic product should be spent on defense and 20 percent of each member’s national defense budget should be devoted to major equipment and modernization. If all 29 NATO countries were already meeting this level of funding, more than $100 billion in defense funding would have been generated in 2016, spreading a burden now being carried disproportionately by United States taxpayers. Allies must increase their investment because their own security and our collective security require it. Under Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s leadership, NATO members agreed to outline concrete plans for reaching their 2 percent military spending goal. In June, members individually agreed to take on, for the first time, the full set of military capability targets assigned to them by NATO. For America’s part, President Trump has proposed spending nearly $4.8 billion on the European Deterrence Initiative, an effort to shore up security in NATO’s eastern edge, as a demonstration of our will to defend our allies. But I know well from my time in the Senate that this cannot continue if the other NATO members do not meet their obligations. In my meetings with senators this summer, I was heartened to see unified bipartisan commitment to NATO. There was no space between the priorities of Republicans and Democrats about our duty to defend our common values of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Congress and the Trump administration believe that an alliance of 29 Western democracies is far more effective at ensuring our security than one country acting alone. That unity sends an important message to friends and adversaries alike.
**Kay Bailey Hutchison is the United States ambassador to NATO.

Action is Needed to Save Idlib before it’s too Late
Charles Lister/Asharq Al Awsat/September 01/17
While actions undertaken by external states are defining the trajectory of the conflict in many parts of Syria, it is the lack of any action or decision by external states that is defining the fate of Idlib. After six years of operations in Syria, during which it has behaved both pragmatically and ruthlessly, al-Nusra Front’s long-term strategic plan is beginning to enter its final stages. Having destroyed or subdued all of its potential rivals, the group now known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is exploiting its military dominance in Idlib governorate in order to forcefully guarantee the establishment of a civil administration body heavily under its control. If it achieves sufficient buy-in for this initiative, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham will have won a significant victory for its project in Syria. This is an objective that Jabhat al-Nusra has long spoken about, as the necessary step that would precede the creation of an emirate. Though most mainstream Syrian opposition figures continue to resolutely reject the prospects for Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s Idlib-wide administration, it is hard to ignore the likely inevitability of its introduction at some point in the future. After all, who in Idlib is willing or capable to step in and scupper it? And who abroad has an interest in preventing its formation, when its very creation would then represent the necessary grounds for intervention?
It is almost certainly impossible to roll-back Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s gains altogether, but it is still possible to prevent the group from winning what would be its greatest victory. Despite al-Nusra’s long history of coordinating with Syria’s opposition on the battlefield, evolving geopolitical dynamics have forced the group’s successors (first Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and now, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) to act in increasingly aggressive ways through 2016-2017, thereby eroding the trust won by the group in previous years. Today, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is far from a popular actor within Syria’s mainstream opposition, but it is an actor whose sheer strength has frequently demanded subservience.
That Syria’s opposition was so openly willing to cooperate with al-Nusra for so long was a poisoned chalice that has arguably damaged the Syrian revolutionary cause more than any other factor. Over time, that history of cooperation meant that a critical mass of fighters simply refused to consider confronting al-Nusra or its successors. Today, more Syrians than ever stand in open opposition to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, but they no longer have the capacity to push back against the group’s unequalled power. But this does not mean they do not want to. As has been said before, combating Al-Qaeda’s influence in Syria is not merely a military fight – it should be defined by a struggle to outcompete the group’s influence through the creation of more attractive and socially representative alternatives.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham proponents have boasted recently that the group has acquired pledges of support for its civil administration project from more than 70 local councils across Idlib. However, what they have failed to reveal is that many of those councils proposed their support in exchange for Hayat Tahrir al-Sham agreeing to dissolve itself. Moreover, most of Idlib’s largest, elected local councils – in Idlib city, Saraqeb, Marat al-Numan and Jarjanaz – all refused to support Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s project, while the opposition Interim Government, the ETILAF, the Free Syrian Army, Euphrates Shield and many other bodies and prominent individuals have similarly rejected it. Such widespread skepticism is unlikely to stop Hayat Tahrir al-Sham from pursuing its objective – Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s attack on the Idlib city local council on August 28 underlined that clearly. However, this reality unquestionably underlines that any Hayat Tahrir al-Sham “success” would be far from popular.
Some influential Syrians who are personally concerned about Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s intentions in Idlib, are nonetheless embracing the civil administration initiative with open arms. Why? As some of them have told me recently, they believe that a majority of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members are not deserving of great concern, but that a minority of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is indeed very dangerous. These Syrians tell me that therefore, the best way of constraining the behavior of the committed extremists is to engage with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham; to integrate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham into larger opposition bodies; and to empower civil initiatives that will depend on genuine popular support to succeed. This is precisely the same logic employed by many of the same people in their attempts to encourage al-Nusra to rebrand to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in the Summer of 2016. It should be clear now that that logic failed – Jabhat Fateh al-Sham turned out to be a more confident and aggressive actor towards Syria’s opposition than al-Nusra before it.
Today, the immediate decision to be made is for Syria’s opposition: reject Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s civil administration initiative, or risk total abandonment by the international community. Unite under a representative and credible political, civil and military leadership, or watch individual components of your revolution defect, surrender or join the extremist camp.
But it is also the civilized international community that now faces a choice: between protecting and bolstering mainstream opposition elements in northern Syria who genuinely represent their people, or leaving them to weaken, fade away and be replaced by extremists whose ultimate enemy is us, in London, Paris, or Washington.
Policymakers must begin to look beyond the surface-level reality and beyond the short-term. Nobody would challenge the assertion that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is the dominant actor in Idlib today. But similarly, nobody should challenge the assertion that reversing that state of affairs is something achievable with jets and missiles. Should Idlib be abandoned to the fate bestowed upon it by the Assad regime, Russia and Iran, one thing will certainly result: popular support for Hayat Tahrir al-Sham will grow, not decline. Does it make sense to pursue a policy that strengthens the narratives of our terrorist enemies? Does any serious policymaker think that a coalition of Russia-Iran-Hezbollah-Assad will bring peace and stability to Idlib? Does anyone really believe that Syria’s opposition will not realize that an eventual campaign of Russian carpet bombing in Idlib would only have been possible if the ‘Friends of Syria’ had not chosen to close their eyes to it?
Terrorism is not something that can be defeated through weapons alone. If we are to have any chance of effectively challenging a group like Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, we must develop, protect and empower a superior counter-narrative and socio-political alternative to take its place. Our potential partners in such an endeavor are hardly strangers – our governments have supported them for six years. If we were to abandon them now, we only guarantee more death, destruction and instability, and sadly, a great deal more terrorism. Such an effort would take time, substantial resources and a not insignificant amount of risk, but that may well be a more favorable prospect than leaving Idlib to its current fate.
**Charles Lister is Senior Fellow & Director of Counter-Terrorism Middle East Institute, Washington DC

What Is The Concrete & Abstract Thinking/ما يجب أن تعرفه عن التفكير الباطوني وعن التفكير المجرد
Abstract thinking is a level of thinking about things that is removed from the facts of the “here and now”, and from specific examples of the things or concepts being thought about. Abstract thinkers are able to reflect on events and ideas, and on attributes and relationships separate from the objects that have those attributes or share those relationships. Thus, for example, a concrete thinker can think about this particular dog; a more abstract thinker can think about dogs in general. A concrete thinker can think about this dog on this rug; a more abstract thinker can think about spatial relations, like “on”. A concrete thinker can see that this ball is big; a more abstract thinker can think about size in general. A concrete thinker can count three cookies; a more abstract thinker can think about numbers. A concrete thinker can recognize that John likes Betty; a more abstract thinker can reflect on emotions, like affection.
Another example of concrete thinking in young children is a two or three year old who thinks that as long as he stays out of his bedroom, it will not be bed time. In this case, the abstract concept of time (bedtime) is understood in terms of the more concrete concept of place (bedroom). The abstract idea of bedtime comes to mean the concrete idea of being in my bedroom.
Another example that applies to two or three year olds is the following. One of the favorite Dr. Seuss books is Green Eggs and Ham, which ends with the narrator changing his mind from rejecting green eggs and ham under any circumstances to trying them and actually liking them. At a concrete level of understanding, the story is about a stubborn person changing his mind. At a more abstract level of understanding, it is about people in general being capable of modifying their thoughts and desires even when they are convinced that they cannot or do not want to do so. This more abstract level of understanding can be appreciated by two and three year old children only if the higher level of meaning comes out of a discussion of the book with a more mature adult. At older ages and higher levels of thinking, this same process of more mature thinkers facilitating higher levels of abstraction in less mature thinkers characterizes the process of teaching abstract thinking. For example, this is how great philosophers, like Socrates and Plato, taught their pupils how to think abstractly.
An example of concrete versus abstract thinking in adolescence is the following. A concrete thinking adolescent can recognize that a good strategy in football is to make maximal use of the team’s most talented players. An abstract thinking adolescent can recognize that this strategy in football is the same as using ones cognitive strengths in studying for an exam. In general, abstract thinkers are able to perceive analogies and relationships that others may not see and thereby understand higher levels of abstraction.
The term abstraction also applies to uses of language. Abstract language is said to include terms that refer to entities other than physical objects and events, for example, “justice” and “freedom” as opposed to terms that refer to actual physical things, like “chair” and “car”. Abstract language also includes indirect uses of language, such as metaphors and figures of speech. For example, a concrete thinker would interpret “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones” to refer literally to breakable panes of glass. An abstract thinker, in contrast, would understand that the figure of speech means that people who have faults of their own should not criticize others. One should be careful, however, not to equate metaphor with abstract. Metaphors that were well understood before the injury (e.g., “Go take a hike”) may be just as concrete and easy to understand as their literal equivalents (“Please leave”). Sometimes metaphors come to be so commonly used and easy to understand that we forget that they are metaphors, like “He’s a barrel of laughs.”
The terms concrete and abstract are also used to suggest how practical or impractical an idea might be. In this sense, concrete ideas are those that have relevance to action (e.g., a recipe is concrete because it states how to cook a dinner; a differential equation is abstract because it is not tied to action in this way). This connection to action offers teachers and parents a way to make abstract ideas more concrete (and therefore more understandable) by showing their relevance to action. For example, chemistry can be connected to cooking or medicine; mathematics can be connected to construction. These connections with practical activity help concrete thinkers understand and appreciate abstract concepts.
Abstraction is a relative concept, related to the age of the child. For a two year old, “the day after tomorrow” is a highly abstract concept. For a college student, the day after tomorrow is relatively concrete, as opposed to highly abstract ideas like Heisenberg’s Indeterminancy Principle. And of course there are many degrees of abstraction between these two extremes. A major component of intellectual development is this process of gradually moving from extremely concrete thinking to increasingly abstract thinking in an ever increasing array of content areas.
To some extent, concrete and abstract are domain specific For example, for a mathematician, concepts like exponent and equation are second nature and relatively concrete in their meaning. However, that same mathematician might find concepts like value as used in political economy to be quite abstract. The reverse might be true for a political economist. Familiarity with the content in a given domain or speciality area dictates to some extent what will be considered concrete (and therefore easy to understand) and what will be considered abstract (and therefore hard to understand).
The ability to think concretely and abstractly is also associated with the ability to transfer what is learned from one context to another. For example, a student who is a reasonably abstract thinker might learn the organization of an essay in English class and then transfer that learning to her writing in social studies class. In contrast, a concrete thinker might need to be specifically taught in both classes.
It is often said that individuals with TBI have difficulty with abstract levels of thinking. Frontal lobe injury is typically identified as the source of this difficulty. In students with brain injury, impaired abstract thinking is frequently associated with reduced foresight, judgment, insight, reasoning, creativity, problem solving, and mental flexibility.
Indeed, one popular theory of frontal lobe function maintains that many of the symptoms associated with injury to the frontal lobes can be grouped under the general heading “stimulus-bound”. In addition to the difficulties listed in the last paragraph, these individuals tend to be impulsive (directed in their actions by whatever is most salient in the here and now) and distractible (attending to events in the here and now, however irrelevant). They have difficulty with multi-step activities and in general have difficulty sustaining goal-directed activity. Within this theory, difficulties at the level of abstract thinking have the same underlying cause as impulsive behavior and difficulty modifying behavior as a result of experience.
There are other theories that account for difficulty with abstract thinking after TBI. However, most investigators agree that these difficulties are common and need to be attended to in rehabilitation and special education. Brain injury-related difficulties must, of course, be distinguished from normal developmental phenomena. In section 1 above, emphasis was placed on gradual development in childhood and adolescence from very concrete to increasingly abstract thinking. The concrete thinking of a child with brain injury may be developmentally normal, not a result of the injury.
There are no simple solutions to the problem of concrete thinking. Indeed, many intelligent and successful adults would probably be classified as concrete thinkers in many areas of functioning. Despite their intelligence and many abilities, the likelihood that they could be trained to be theoretical physicists or philosophers is not large. With these common sense observations as background, staff and parents should enter the world of facilitating a student’s abstract thinking skills with modest expectations. (See Tutorials on Cognitive Rehabilitation, Attention, Memory and Memory Problems, Organization, Problem Solving, Transfer of Training, Conversation and Cognition.)
Understanding the Problem
As always, the first task for teachers and parents is to correctly understand the problem. The concrete thinking associated with brain injury can easily be misidentified as mental retardation or a general problem with learning. Students with abstract thinking problems might be reasonably effective learners and processors of information in select domains.
Having identified the difficulty with abstract thinking, parents and educators should become familiar with the compensations they can implement and procedures to gradually improve the student’s ability to think abstractly.
Environmental Compensations and Strategies
Competent and Sensitive Communication Partners: Knowing that a student is a concrete thinker, communication partners, including teachers and parents, should adjust their language accordingly. They should either avoid the use of language that is at too high a level of abstraction, or link abstract language with its concrete equivalent. For example, in encouraging a student to study hard, a parent might say, “You’ve got to give it your best shot – study real hard.” “Give it your best shot” is a metaphor that might be too abstract; “study real hard” is a literal or concrete equivalent.
Using Concrete Meanings to Support Comprehension of Abstract Concepts: When learning to add and subtract, first graders commonly rely on their fingers or other physical objects to represent the abstract numbers. The children’s conceptual transition into the world of abstract numbers is supported by the representation of those numbers in physical things that can be seen, held, and moved. Similarly, concrete thinking high school students might be able to understand an abstract social arrangement, like the caste system in India, by comparing it to social cliques they are familiar with in their school. Discussing similarities and differences between that which is unfamiliar and distant (i.e., abstract) and that which is familiar and close to home (i.e., concrete) is a valuable way to help students grasp the abstract concept.
Facilitating the Development of Abstract Thinking
There are no known “exercises” in abstract thinking that have the effect of turning a concrete thinker into an abstract thinker across domains of content. Sometimes practice with “brain teasers” or math and logic problems is suggested as a means to facilitate more abstract thinking. However, there is no evidence that practice of this sort enhances abstract thinking in a generalizable way. That is, a person can improve performance with brain teasers, math problems, and logic problems with no transfer to other domains of thinking.This failure of transfer is connected with the theme of “domain specificity” introduced earlier: a person can be a reasonably flexible and abstract thinker in one area (e.g., sports) and remain a concrete thinker in another area (e.g., literature). Therefore, attempts to facilitate increasingly abstract thinking should be made within all relevant academic areas (e.g., math, literature, science, social studies), without expecting that improvements in one area will yield improvements in another area. If possible, similar language and analogies should be used (e.g., by parents and teachers) across areas so as not to overwhelm students with too much information or too many comparisons. Schools should not expect that exercises in abstract thinking in a therapy context (e.g., a speech-language therapist using workbook exercises in abstract thinking) will transfer to other academic or social domains.
An alternative to “exercises” (like brain teasers) is to consider how the great thinkers of the past successfully taught their students how to think more deeply and abstractly, and how parents of young children facilitate the development of their child’s thought processes. In the latter case, there is considerable evidence showing that parents who think out loud with their children in ways suggested by the following list facilitate their child’s cognitive development. That is, parents who think out loud with their children in these ways have children who, other things being equal, develop organized, deep, and abstract thinking more quickly than comparable children who do not spend time with adults who think out loud with them in these ways. Teachers can play the same thinking-out-loud role with students. In effect, adults are taking children on as “apprentices in thinking” as they think out loud with the children. As adults think out loud with children, they should routinely seek feedback from the student to ensure that the adult’s “out-loud thinking” is being understood and perhaps even triggering the student’s thought processes.
Think out loud with the student: Great teachers of thinking, like Socrates, spend much of their time thinking through issues with their students, leading them gradually to ever higher levels of understanding and abstraction. Similarly it is known that parents who think out loud in an organized and compelling way with their young children facilitate the child’s development of systematically higher levels of thinking, better organized thinking, and better problem solving. In home and classroom discussions, this out-loud thinking about important topics can be organized around the following thought processes:
searches for explanations (e.g., why and how questions)
searches for analogies to make the subject matter more understandable (e.g., “Let’s think about what this might be like in your life; what are other examples of this?”)
searches for alternative perspectives (e.g., “Are there other ways to think about this? How might other people think about this?”)
ways to organize the topic and make connections (e.g., “I think there are three separate issues here that we should consider in order”; “Let’s try to think about what this might be connected to”)
ways to evaluate (e.g., “How can we decide if this is a good thing or not?”)
ways to draw inferences (e.g., “If this is true, then what else must be true?”)
Think out loud with the student about issues that are interesting and important: Issues that can be jointly thought about include topics from the student’s curriculum and school books as well as issues of personal importance. There are few issues that do not lend themselves to thinking about at a somewhat higher or more abstract level. These think-out-loud sessions can be lively and enjoyable dinner time conversations.
Highlight the thinking process: In connection with abstract thinking, discussions with adolescents should highlight the words concrete and abstract (e.g., “That is how the story might be interpreted in a concrete way.... But now let me give you a more abstract understanding.”). Similarly, adults should not only explore explanations, but also explicitly describe this explanatory thought process as a way to derive explanations; they should not only explore analogies, but also explicitly describe this analogical thought process as a way to see connections; they should not only make organized connections, but also explicitly describe this organizational thought process as a way to become more organized in thinking. Talking about the thought processes and giving them a name facilitates an understanding of those thought processes, how to use them, and when to use them.
Use illuminating and motivating analogies: Just as finger counting makes abstract numbers and arithmetic operations more concrete for six year old children, so also meaningful analogies make abstract material more concrete for older students. For example, in explaining the three branches of government to a concrete thinking high school student, a teacher might say, “When your parents create rules for you, they are functioning like the legislative branch of government. When they enforce those rules, they are functioning like the executive branch. When they try to resolve conflicts between you and your sister, they are functioning like the judicial branch.” This use of analogies connects the unfamiliar with the familiar, thereby making the abstract and unfamiliar more concrete and understandable.
Use external supports as needed: In logic, Venn diagrams (overlapping circles) are used to “concretely” represent logical relationships among propositions. Similarly, a time line flow chart might be used to represent relationships among events in time. Models of the solar system are used to represent relationships among the sun, planets, and moons. When a product that needs assembly is opened, there is usually a sequence of pictures showing exactly how to put the object together. Each of these two- or three-dimensional representations of the organization of that which is represented can be considered a “map” – a concrete representation of more abstract relationships. The map guides one through unfamiliar territory and if you don’t know the territory, you need a map!
Other graphic organizers can be used to represent other relationships and organizational systems. [See Tutorials on Organization; Advance Organizers; Reading Comprehension; Written Composition.]
Gradually remove the supports: Just as primary grade teachers try to gradually remove their students’ reliance on fingers and other objects as they do simple adding and subtracting problems, so also teachers at every level – and parents – should gradually remove the concrete supports that they use to facilitate the child’s more abstract thinking skills. For example, a graphic organizer with boxes and connecting arrows, used to represent narrative organization for elementary school students, might be gradually transformed into a simple outline for middle schoolers.
Specialists in cognitive development and intervention may be able to assist school staff in their attempts to facilitate development of abstract thinking in students with brain injury.
**Written by Mark Ylvisaker, Ph.D. with the assistance of Mary Hibbard, Ph.D. and Timothy Feeney, Ph.D.
A program of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, and funded by the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.
Copyright 2006, by
The Brain Injury Association of New York State
10 Colvin Avenue, Albany, NY 12206 - Phone: (518) 459-7911 - Fax: (518) 482-5285

UN Chief Guterres, the Media and Palestinian Fake News
Bassam Tawil/Gatestone Institute/September 01/17
One of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority (PA) chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.
The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report from the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.
The lie about "Jewish extremists" setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become so widespread and accepted that even senior Muslim scholars such as Abbas's Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, has also been spreading the blood libel. He and most Palestinians continue to describe the Australian Christian arsonist as a "Jewish extremist."
According to the Palestinian propaganda machine, nearly without exception, the terrorists were on their way to buy bread for their mothers or visit their grandmothers. These were innocent victims, the story goes, arrested or shot by Israel for no reason. Then there are the lies about Israelis "planting" knives near the bodies of terrorists who stab or try to murder Jews. Western journalists and others accept these lies as facts.
Fake news is an old story in the Palestinian world. Yet recently, fake news has been taken to new heights by Palestinian spin-doctors, who have been working overtime to mislead the international community and media. A number of stories published in the past few days in the Palestinian media demonstrate the extent to which Palestinians are prepared to go to deceive the world and impact international public opinion.
Excellence is often a virtue -- except when one excels at lying. And if there is one thing at which the Palestinians have excelled in the past few decades, it is spreading lies about its conflict with Israel. The mainstream media in the West usually takes the fake-news bait -- it sells papers! -- and demonstrates tolerance, if not sympathy, toward Palestinian-produced fake news fabrications.
The most recent case of Palestinian fake news emerged during United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's visit to Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians. The UN chief, who does not seem to be familiar with the Palestinian culture of lies, fell victim to a typical PR stunt organized by his Palestinian hosts.
According to the Wafa news agency, the official organ of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Guterres "held a meeting on Tuesday evening (August 29) with families of Palestinian martyrs and prisoners held in Israeli occupation prisons." The report said that the families called on the UN secretary-general to take rapid and serious action to save the lives of more than 6500 male and female prisoners held in Israeli prisons. Wafa then quoted Guterres as saying: "We understand the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners and we will work with the relevant parties to end their suffering."
First, it ought to be of interest that the "prisoners" and "martyrs" are Palestinians who were involved, directly and indirectly, in terror attacks. Many of the prisoners have Jewish blood on their hands and were convicted of often unspeakable crimes.
Second, it quickly became clear that the meeting between the UN chief and the Palestinian families was part of an ambush set up by his Palestinian hosts in Ramallah. According to a UN spokesman, Guterres was surprised by the sudden request of the Palestinian Authority to meet with the "mothers of detained children" but that he agreed to meet with them. To his great credit, Guterres also issued a clarification that the report in Wafa that he had expressed sympathy for the prisoners' plight was "fabricated."
Third, it is worth noting that one of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid, from the Al-Ama'ri refugee camp near Ramallah. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.
The response of the UN chief's spokesman to the "fabricated" report by Abbas's Wafa news agency and the unscheduled meeting with the families of the "prisoners" and "martyrs" is a fine example of how the Palestinian Authority manipulates the world's top diplomat. The PA and other Palestinians, however, have been getting away with this for decades.
The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report on the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during his to Ramallah, August 29, 2017. (Image source: UN Photo/Ahed Izhiman)
In another example of Palestinian fake news designed to slander Israel and win international sympathy, several Palestinian media outlets have been reporting during the past week that an Israeli female undercover agent masquerading as a nurse has been uncovered in a Palestinian hospital in Hebron.
According to the fake reports, the "nurse" was an Israeli settler who had helped the Israel Defense Forces infiltrate the hospital to arrest and shoot Palestinian fugitives. A quick check of the facts revealed that the Palestinians were apparently referring to a Western volunteer who had worked in the hospital to treat Palestinian patients. The hospital administration has strongly denied the reports, which continue to spread like fire on social media and Palestinian news websites. The purpose of the fake reports is to implicate Israel and present it as a state that shows disregard for hospitals and patients. This case shows that rumors and fake news are regularly accepted as facts in the world of the Palestinians and Arabs.
Or consider another example of how the Palestinian propaganda machine operates. On August 23, the same Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported on the anniversary of the 1969 fire at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
First, the historical facts: On August 21, 1969, an Australian citizen named Denis Michael Rohan set fire to the pulpit of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Rohan was arrested for the arson attack, tried and found to be insane. He was hospitalized in a mental institution before finally being deported from Israel in 1974.
Since 1969, however, the Palestinians have repeated the lie that Israel and Jews were behind the arson attack. The fact that Rohan was a Christian is apparently inconsequential to them.
So this year, marking the anniversary of the arson, this is what Abbas's official mouthpiece, Wafa, had this priceless piece of perjury to say: "The Al-Aqsa Mosque was torched by Jewish extremists in 1969."
The lie about "Jewish extremists" setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become so widespread and accepted that even senior Muslim scholars such as Abbas's Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, has also been spreading the blood libel. He and most Palestinians continue to describe the Australian Christian arsonist as a "Jewish extremist."
These lies are simply a few recent examples that extend a long list of Palestinian fake news and blood libels aimed at framing Israel and inciting the world against it. Take for example, the famous Palestinian lies about terrorists: according to the Palestinian propaganda machine, nearly without exception, the terrorists were on their way to buy bread for their mothers or visit their grandmothers. These were innocent victims, the story goes, arrested or shot by Israel for no reason. Then there are the lies about Israelis "planting" knives near the bodies of terrorists who stab or try to murder Jews. Western journalists and others accept these lies as facts.
The manipulation of the UN chief in Ramallah comes as no surprise to those familiar with Palestinian tactics of deception. The question, however, remains: For how long will the international community receive with equanimity the lies that Palestinians spit in its face, lies that hour after hour, day after day, only endanger the lives of both Palestinians and Jews, promote an all-too-welcomed anti-Semitism, and worst – contrary to the claims of those who purport to want to help them -- prolong the suffering of Palestinians who dream of one day living in freedom –like their neighbors, the Israelis -- with institutions of democracy like free speech, an independent judiciary and educational system, and most of all, with accountable leadership?
**Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.
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