September 06/17

Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For Today
Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions
“You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’”Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 12/13-21/:”Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’But he said to him, ‘Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?’ And he said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’

The Jews joined in a conspiracy and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they had killed Paul
Acts of the Apostles 23/12-22/:”In the morning the Jews joined in a conspiracy and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who joined in this conspiracy. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, ‘We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food until we have killed Paul. Now then, you and the council must notify the tribune to bring him down to you, on the pretext that you want to make a more thorough examination of his case. And we are ready to do away with him before he arrives.’Now the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush; so he went and gained entrance to the barracks and told Paul. Paul called one of the centurions and said, ‘Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to report to him.’So he took him, brought him to the tribune, and said, ‘The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you; he has something to tell you.’The tribune took him by the hand, drew him aside privately, and asked, ‘What is it that you have to report to me?’ He answered, ‘The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more thoroughly into his case. But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him. They have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they kill him. They are ready now and are waiting for your consent.’ So the tribune dismissed the young man, ordering him, ‘Tell no one that you have informed me of this.’”

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 05-06/17
Despite recent setbacks, Hezbollah's future is still bright/Yoav Zitun/Ynetnews/September 06/17
Haley lays out argument to say Iran not abiding by nuclear deal/Associated Press/Ynetnews/September 06/17
Will Jordan normalize relations with Syria/Shehab Al Makahleh,/Al Arabiya English/September 05/17
When "Progressivism" Crushes Muslim Women/A. Z. Mohamed/Gatestone Institute/September 05/17
Israeli President Rivlin: Iran Is a Threat To The World/Jerusalem Post/September 05/17
The Islamic Future of Europe/Guy Millière/Gatestone Institute/September 05/17
The Best Era for Working Women Was 20 Years Ago/Bryce Covert/The New York Times/September 05/17
Confronting Korea’s Madman/Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/September 05/17
Autumn of Iraq’s bleeding map/Ghassan Charbel/Al Arabiya/September 05/17
The reality of confronting Kim Jong-Un/Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/September 05/17
The Macron ‘doctrine’ for the Arab world/Christian Chesnot/Al Arabiya/September 05/17
How Qatar is destabilizing Africa/Jibril al-Abidi/Al Arabiya/September 05/17

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on September 04-05/17
Despite recent setbacks, Hezbollah's future is still bright
Lebanese Minister of Agriculture Heads to Damascus to Activate Agreements
Supporting Lebanese Army is Main Item in Upcoming Putin-Hariri Talks
SA Says Lebanon Bears Consequences of Hizbullah's Deeds
US Says IS Convoy Still Stranded in Syria
Army Command Says DNA Results of Slain Servicemen Wednesday
Ibrahim Discusses South Border With UNIFIL Commander
Report: Ain el-Hilweh File Pushed to the Front Burner
Kanaan hails defeat of terrorism, rebuffs preconditions involving refugee return
Russia welcomes Syrian breach of IS siege
France to arm military surveillance drones
Aoun: Victory against terrorism is promising
Hariri receives STL Prosecutor and Ray LaHood
Berri welcomes ambassadors of Russia, Switzerland
Hamadeh, World Bank loan steering committee meet over implementation of 'Race 2'

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 04-05/17
Haley lays out argument to say Iran not abiding by nuclear deal
Russian Warplanes Break Deir Ezzor Siege
Egypt, Russia Finalize Arrangements for the Completion of Nuclear Plant Agreement
Houthis Prepare to End Partnership with Yemen’s Saleh
Red Cross President to meet with Sinwar to Discuss Israeli Prisoners held by Hamas
Israel army to hold drill simulating war with Hezbollah
Russian frigate fires cruise missiles at ISIS targets near Syria’s Deir Ezzor
Syria’s Assad congratulates army on breaking ISIS Deir al-Zour siege
Two Russian soldiers killed by shelling in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province
Will Jordan normalize relations with Syria?
Israel evicts Arab family from Jerusalem home Jews claimed
Egypt to host war games with US after eight-year-hiatus
Churches condemn attempts to ‘weaken’ Christians in Jerusalem

Latest Lebanese Related News published on September 05-06/17
Despite recent setbacks, Hezbollah's future is still bright
Yoav Zitun/Ynetnews/September 06/17,7340,L-5012634,00.html

Op-ed: While losing both men and money into the Syrian civil war, Hezbollah and its beleaguered leader Hassan Nasrallah seem to be tiptoeing towards becoming the Middle East's second strongest army, after the IDF. Its cooperation with Iran, and Russia, has made it part of a growing Shiite axis in the region.
The IDF's widespread combined arms exercise that began Tuesday in the country's northern region comes on the heels of the army coming to terms with the fact the next war in the northern sector versus Israel's main enemy—Hezbollah—will differ from what was planned a few years ago in light of the rapid-fire changes in Syria, Lebanon and the rest of the Shiite axis stetching all the way to Iran.
The IDF has drawn the conclusion that Hezbollah is an organization that isn't growing nearly as much as it would have liked, thanks in part to the loss of life and resources invested in fighting the Syrian civil war alongside Assad, not to mention the frequent covert assaults against the organization, attributed to Israel.
Furthermore, IDF sees the organization's leader Hassan Nasrallah as an isolated figure surrounded by suspicious compatriots who question his ability to head of the terrorist organization following the assassination of his second-in-command Mustafa Badreddine last year.
Israel, claims the hit was intra-organizational and backed by Iran, based on Badreddine's refusal to submit himself to the organization's war in Syria. The Israeli army further notes Hezbollah is suffering harsh economic hardships with 2,000 of the group's fighters killed in Syria, only 50 in the past year. For comparison's sake, 650 of the organization's men were killed fighting the IDF during the Second Lebanon War.
Having said that, the axis that Hezbollah makes up is inching ever closer to growing in strength. Iranian plans for building factories in Syria or Lebanon intended to Hezbollah missiles more accurate are definitely in place both in Tehran and in Dahieh, all part of Iran's grand scheme to entrench itself in Syria after the civil war. This scheme, in fact, crosses over several environs and is not restricted to the area of security, as Iran also aspires to create the basis for agriculture in the war-torn country and take over mines and ports, shoring up Syria's economic fortunes as those of ISIS shrink.
Some 16,000 Shiite militants are fighting on Syrian soil right now, most of them pledging their allegiance to Hezbollah with a small number of Iranian forces and advisors standing alongside local Shiite militias. In some of the cases, those Iranian forces and Hezbollah fighters fight shoulder to shoulder with the Russian forces, and are trying to glean any information they can from the latter both on the battlefield and in command outposts.
As of today, Israel has been unable to convince Russia to abandon its partnership with Iran, seeing as Moscow considers Tehran a strategic near-term partner for removing ISIS while fortifying Assad's regime. Despite Nasrallah's misfortunes, it seems he has overseen development of some impressive independent capabilities and may no longer be considered a "puppet for the Iranians." While he's yet to receive the full brunt of Iranian assistance, on the intra-Lebanese playing field he enjoys a comfortable rapport with Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri who is pursuing a new elections law that may boost Hezbollah's parliamentary power from 12 to 15 or more seats.Ironically, Nasrallah is waging a successful war against ISIS on the Syria-Lebanon border and even closes prisoner-swap deals with them. The only difference between his deals with ISIS, unlike similar deals with Israel, is Nasrallah is willing to give away more prisoners in return for fewer of his men, due to the growing sensitivity of the families of Hezbollah fighters.
Hezbollah's learning curve, despite the difficulties, has become one of its stronger suits. The terrorist organization—deemed by some in the IDF as the "second-strongest army in the Middle East"—is now capable of waging regimental war and utilizing offensive drones, along with efficient intelligence gathering and using attack tunnels and caves. It also fires both small arms and artillery while using tanks, all the while growing its ranks rapidly and expertly by 4,000 men in a specific area—as it has done only recently against ISIS. Serving as backdrop to the above is the UN Security Council's recent decision to beef up United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)'s powers, allowing it to supervise Hezbollah activities inside Shiite villages, a decision the Israeli security establishment regards with cautious optimism. Nevertheless, the IDF is far from content with the political move pushed by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and is already seeking an increase in activities foiling Hezbollah and Hamas power plays, emphasizing stopping attempts to transfer advanced weaponry to Nasrallah.

Lebanese Minister of Agriculture Heads to Damascus to Activate Agreements
Asharq Al Awsat/September 05/17/Beirut – Lebanese Minister of Agriculture Ghazi Zoaiter announced on Monday that he will soon travel to Damascus to meet with his Syrian counterpart to follow up on talks they held weeks ago when he had controversially traveled to the neighboring country. He said while receiving popular delegations and farmer associations that he was traveling to Damascus to “activate agreements in wake of the opening of border passages between Syria and each of Iraq and Jordan.” Zoaiter and Industry Minister Hussein al-Hajj Hassan had visited Damascus last month where they attended the Damascus International Fair. The trip had stirred controversy in Lebanon with many officials opposed to talks with members of the Syrian regime. The ministers themselves said that they had headed to Syria on a personal, not official, trip. Zoaiter said on Monday that he had held talks in August with the Syrian Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Agriculture on various agreements signed between Beirut and Damascus. There are at least 36 deals between the two sides, he said, while adding that the cooperation and coordination agreement signed between them had positive results on Lebanon’s agricultural sector because Syria is the main portal for Lebanon’s exports to the Arab world. On his visit to Syria, Zoaiter said: “We are not boycotting it, but simply distancing ourselves from it. This has nothing to do with agricultural exports.”

Supporting Lebanese Army is Main Item in Upcoming Putin-Hariri Talks
Asharq Al Awsat/September 05/17Beirut- The visit of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Moscow and his meeting with President Vladimir Putin next Monday carries several revealed titles, such as supporting the Lebanese Army to face terrorism and discuss the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon. The visit also carries concealed political headings, which are very sensitive to Kremlin. Putin and Hariri are expected to tackle the fate of head of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad in the transitional political phase in Syria. Observers close to Hariri do not deny that the prime minister’s mission in Moscow would be difficult, as Hariri might not be capable to convince Putin to give up the Assad paper. Head of the Beirut-based Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs, Sami Nader told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Russian president knows that Hariri represents an Arab and regional voice. For his part, member of the Future parliamentary bloc MP Okab Sakr said that Hariri’s visit to the Russian capital plans to mainly discuss the Lebanese situation, considering that Moscow is now a main player in the Middle East and the Arab world. “Hariri hopes that Russia plays a positive role in the region, which would also reflects positively on Russia itself,” Sakr told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday, adding that the prime minister talks in Moscow will push in this direction. The deputy spoke about the importance of improving relations between Beirut and Moscow. “The Lebanese Prime Minister will have a real say in the Syrian file as Lebanon is highly affected by the Syrian crisis, and was previously occupied by the Syrian regime,” Sakr said. Despite the difficulty to change Russia’s position vis-à-vis Assad’s presence in Syria, Sakr uncovered that “in the backstage, the Russian leadership knows that Assad has no role in the future of Syria, but the problem lies in who will replace Assad during the transitional phase.” He said that Hariri has no illusion that he could change the position of Putin, but, at least the prime minister will show the Russian president the dangers of keeping Assad and their repercussions on the future of both Syria and Lebanon.

SA Says Lebanon Bears Consequences of Hizbullah's Deeds
Naharnet/September 05/17/Saudi Arabia has lashed out at what it said are “brutal crimes” of Hizbullah, meanwhile Lebanese diplomatic sources told al-Joumhouria daily on Tuesday that Lebanon will pay the price of Hizbullah's “madness” and intervention in regional conflicts. In a comment posted on Twitter, Saudi Minister of State for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan lashed out at Hizbullah accusing the party of committing “brutal crimes,” as he urged the Lebanese to stand against it. “The brutal crimes committed by the Party of Satan against our nation will inevitably reflect on Lebanon. The Lebanese must either choose to stand by the party or against it. Arabs' blood is precious,” said al-Sabhan on his personal Twitter account. Meanwhile, unnamed Lebanese diplomatic sources said in remarks to al-Joumhouria that “Riyadh considers Hizbullah a satanic and terrorist party that has killed, destroyed and trained in various Arab countries and must bear the consequences of its deeds together with its allies.”The sources expressed their belief that “Lebanon is going to pay a dear price for Hizbullah's insanity if the party is not confronted inside,” Lebanon. They assured that Saudi Arabia's position reflected through al-Sabhan is addressed “to every free Lebanese who rejects repression and terrorism,” they said.

US Says IS Convoy Still Stranded in Syria
Associated Press/Naharnet/September 05/17/The U.S.-led coalition says a convoy of hundreds of Islamic State militants and civilians is still stranded in government-held territory in Syria after it prevented them from being relocated from the Lebanon-Syria border under a deal with Hizbullah. The coalition said that it has passed a message to the Syrian government through Russia asking it to separate the fighters from civilians. It says it has not taken any action to prevent food and water from being brought to the evacuees. Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend says "the Syrian regime is letting women and children suffer in the desert. This situation is completely on them."The IS fighters and their families evacuated a week ago under a deal with Hizbullah, which agreed to give them safe passage to far eastern Syria, near the Iraqi border, in exchange for the remains of Lebanese soldiers captured in 2014.
The U.S.-led coalition and Iraq have condemned the deal, saying IS fighters should be killed on the battlefield. The coalition has carried out airstrikes to prevent the convoy from reaching IS-held territory, but has not targeted the evacuees themselves.

Army Command Says DNA Results of Slain Servicemen Wednesday
Naharnet/September 05/17/The Army Command announced on Tuesday that the official DNA results conducted to determine whether nine bodies found near the eastern border belong to Lebanese troops abducted and killed by the Islamic State group will be released on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Meanwhile, LBCI reported that DNA tests have matched samples of Abbas Medlej and Khodr Yahya. Eight bodies had been recovered last Sunday while the body of a ninth soldier was located on Tuesday as part of a Hizbullah-led deal with IS. The jihadist group offered the information about the troops’ burial site in return for being allowed to withdraw to eastern Syria. The servicemen were abducted when the army was battling the IS in the northeastern border town of Arsal in 2014.

Ibrahim Discusses South Border With UNIFIL Commander

Naharnet/September 05/17/General Security Chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim held talks on Tuesday with Force Commander and Head of Mission of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Major-General Michael Beary, the National News Agency said. Talks between the two men have reportedly focused on the situation along Lebanon's southern border after the extension of the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon. In August, the UN Security Council had extended the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon for another year amid pressure from the United States for the UN force to take action against Hizbullah. Talks have also dwelt on the means of coordination between the UN and the General Security agency.

Report: Ain el-Hilweh File Pushed to the Front Burner
Naharnet/September 05/17/Lebanon's army and authorities have conveyed a “strong” message to representatives of the Palestinian factions in the southern refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh to help in “handing over all the fugitives” taking refuge in the camp, “mainly extremists Bilal Badr and Shadi al-Mawlawi,” and end recurrent tension deviating to areas close to the restive camp, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Tuesday. “The situation in Ain el-Hilweh camp has been put on the front burner,” a Lebanese security source told the daily on condition of anonymity. “In the past few days, even during Eid al-Adha holiday, leaders and representatives of the Palestinian factions in the camp have been informed of a strong worded Lebanese message that the situation in this camp will no longer be accepted as a permanent point of tension, a source of sedition and a threat to the security of the Lebanese and Palestinians alike,“ added the source. He also pointed out that the camp is a “haven for most wanted terrorists.” The source said that Palestinian factions were requested to help in handing over all the terrorists and fugitives mainly extremist Bilal Badr and Shadi al-Mawlawi. Lebanon's security and military forces are prepared to put this at the top of priorities in their efforts to combat terrorist cells, assured the source. “Ain el-Hilweh camp contains the most dangerous terror cells. They must be in the army's and security services' grip in the end,” he added. For their part, the Palestinian factions assured that they refuse shapes of terrorism inside the camp. “The ball is now in the court of the camp's residents and Palestinian leaders to prove their credibility. We are waiting for the fugitives to be handed over,” concluded the source. The restive southern Ain el-Hilweh camp had witnessed a week of deadly clashes last month between the secular Fatah Movement and small Islamist groups led by the militants Bilal Badr and Bilal al-Orqoub. By longstanding convention, the Lebanese army does not enter Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, leaving the Palestinian factions themselves to handle security. Ain el-Hilweh -- the most densely populated Palestinian camp in Lebanon -- is home to some 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the war in neighboring Syria. Several armed factions including extremist groups have a foothold in the camp which has been plagued for years by intermittent clashes.

Kanaan hails defeat of terrorism, rebuffs preconditions involving refugee return
Tue 05 Sep 2017/ NNA - The Change and Reform Parliamentary bloc held its weekly meeting on Tuesday chaired by Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Gebran Bassil. In the wake of the meeting, the bloc's Secretary, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, said that today's meeting majorly focused on the aftermath of the Lebanese Army's victory in "Fajr Al-Jroud" battle against Daesh terrorists. "Terrorism has been defeated, and the victory of the army is clear. All the talk about the withdrawal of terrorists and so on brings us back to the following question: Was the aim of the battle against terror to kill or to liberate our land? Was the aim to inflict heavy losses among our army ranks or to try to limit damage and liberate our land? This operation has scored a 100 percent success because it led to the liberation of our land at the lowest cost possible," Kanaan said. Moreover, the lawmaker added that the blood of martyrs was not the sole property of anyone, and pushed for justice away from politics. "This is an exceptional move in a republic that had been used to submerge the truth and to reach settlements at the expense of the Lebanese only to delve in a new round of breaches all over again," Kanaan added.  "Minister of Justice Salim Jreissati announced today the adoption of measures similar to those proposed by His Excellency the President of the Republic, demanding the competent authorities to conduct full investigations," he added, explaining that the Change and Reform bloc had called back in 2014 for defining the responsibilities and conducting an investigation into the slain servicemen's issue. Touching on the simmering Syrian refugee dossier, Kanaan reiterated on behalf of Change and Reform bloc that the return of Syrian refugees was directly linked to Lebanon's sovereignty. "No conditions, whether internal or external, regional or international, should be set concerning the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland," he added. As for the rampant corruption and squandering of public funds, Kanaan stressed that the budget was the most important reform work that could be done because it was an indicator of the expenditures of the Lebanese state as a whole. "The final report on the draft budget in 2017 was completed in its final form after hard work over the span of months of difficulties and absence of quorum," Kanaan explained. "We hope that there will be a near session by the House of Parliament to approve the budget," the lawmaker concluded, stressing that there will be no compromise on public money. "We seek transparent financial accounts and respect for constitutional assets in this area, and this will hopefully protect the state's economy and public money.

Russia welcomes Syrian breach of IS siege
Tue 05 Sep 2017 /NNA - A Kremlin spokesman says President Vladimir Putin has sent his congratulations to Syrian President Bashar Assad after government forces breached the nearly three-year Islamic State siege of the eastern city of Deir el-Zour. Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had briefed Putin on "the completion of the operation to break the siege" of Deir el-Zour. Putin hailed it as an "important strategic victory" and sent a telegram to Assad to congratulate him. Peskov says fighting in the Syrian city continues, and government forces are still advancing. Syrian state TV said earlier Tuesday that troops reached the western outskirts of the city, parts of which have been controlled by the extremists since January 2015. Russia has provided crucial aid to Assad since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, and has been launching airstrikes in support of his forces since 2015.--AP

France to arm military surveillance drones
Tue 05 Sep 2017/NNA - France is set to arm drones that are currently used exclusively for surveillance and intelligence, a first for the French military, the defense minister said Tuesday. Florence Parly said the decision will initially apply only to the six unarmed Reaper surveillance drones that France bought from the United States. Most of them, based in Africa's Sahel region, are involved in the fight against Islamic extremists. Parly did not specify a timeframe for when they would be armed or what kind of weapons would be deployed. The drones wouldn't become "killer robots," Parly said, stressing that strikes would be governed by strict national and international rules relating to the use of force. Arming the drones will give them "endurance, discretion, surveillance and strike capability at the right place and the right moment," she said in a speech in the southeastern city of Toulon, The armed drones will help France's military become "more effective" and enable it to better use its fighter jets, helicopters and other aircrafts, she added. Parly added that in the longer term, France is also jointly working with Germany, Italy and Spain to develop an armed European drone. The issue has long been sensitive in France, where some critics have expressed fears about pilots operating at a great distance from the battle ground. A report issued by French senators earlier this year concluded that drones are now "at the heart of all operational tools" in the fight against terrorism abroad. The report said many countries are already using armed drones, including the United States, Israel, Great-Britain, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.--AP

Aoun: Victory against terrorism is promising
Tue 05 Sep 2017/NNA - President of the republic, Michel Aoun, on Tuesday underlined that Lebanon's victory against terrorism on the outskirts of the Anti-Lebanon region was positive and promising. Aoun made these remarks during his meeting with a French delegation of Pierre Fabre company. The President considered this visit to be a proof on businessmen's confidence in Lebanon's future, as well as in the country's stability on the political and security levels. On a different note, President of Central Africa, Faustin Archange Touadera, will start tomorrow (Wednesday) an official visit to Lebanon, meeting Aoun's invitation.

Hariri receives STL Prosecutor and Ray LaHood
Tue 05 Sep 2017/NNA - Prime Minister Saad Hariri received today at the Grand Serail the STL Prosecutor Norman Farrell, in the presence of Deputy Prosecutor Joyce Tabet, a statement by Hariri's press office indicated on Tuesday. Hariri also received former congressman Ray LaHood, who said after the meeting: "I am Ray LaHood, former secretary of transportation for the United States and former member of congress. I just passed by to talk to the Prime Minister for a few minutes. He and I have been friends for a couple of decades, 20 years. I was a very good friend of his father and when we are in Lebanon we want to pay our respect to the Prime Minister. We talked a little bit about his visit to the United States and how successful that was. We also talked about the fact that my son is now a congressman and serving in the congress in the United States and was just in Lebanon. He will be representing as best he can the issues of Lebanon in the congress in the future. We talked about moving forward. We want to continue our friendship and continue to be helpful."

Berri welcomes ambassadors of Russia, Switzerland
Tue 05 Sep 2017/NNA - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, met at Ein Teeneh on Tuesday with Russian Ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin. Talks between the pair reportedly touched on the most recent developments in Lebanon and the region. Separately, Berri met with Swiss Ambassador, Monica Schmutz Kergus, with talks featuring high on bilateral relations and the prevailing situation at the local and regional scenes. The former minister also met former US Congressman, Ray Lahoud.

Hamadeh, World Bank loan steering committee meet over implementation of 'Race 2'
Tue 05 Sep 2017/NNA - Minister of Higher Learning and Education, Marwan Hamadeh, on Tuesday presided over the preliminary meeting of ambassadors and representatives of donor countries supporting the Ministry of Education's project "Race 2", which aims at delivering education to all students on Lebanese territories. The meeting took place in presence of the ambassadors of Britain, Germany, the European Union, Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), UNICEF Representative in Lebanon, as well as the Ministry of Education's Project Management Unit. The meeting discussed plans to launch the new academic year for Lebanese and non-Lebanese students within the deadlines set by the ministry, and to secure the financial solvency to cover expenses and fill the financial gaps resulting from the last academic year. Talks also touched on the meetings that will take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, and which will gather Education ministers and officials of international institutions with a view to securing funds for the coming years, especially for projects in support of refugee education.
Hamadeh later chaired the first meeting of the steering committee which he formed a per the loan agreement with the World Bank, in presence of the members of the committee including Ministry of Education General Director Fadi Yark, Head of the Educational Center for Research and Development Nada Aweigan, Director of Secondary Education Jamal Baghdadi, Director of the Comprehensive Education Program, Sonia Khoury, and the Minister's advisors Anwar Daw and Ghassan Shukroun. The meeting had been an opportunity to present the proposed steps to implement the loan project in accordance with the components included in the project and allocated to the Directorate General of Education, the Educational Center for Research and Development, and the project management of education programs for non-Lebanese. Discussions also featured high on the solicitation of proposals for the establishment of international and local observation committees as stipulated by the loan law, which requires the development of curricula, training teachers, improving the quality of education, rehabilitation of schools, establishment of new schools, and increasing the number of students in public schools to reach approximately 500 thousand including Lebanese and non-Lebanese.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 05-06/17
Haley lays out argument to say Iran not abiding by nuclear deal
Associated Press/Ynetnews/September 06/17
Speaking to a conservative think tank, President Trump's UN ambassador details information which may lead to US declaring Tehran to be in breach of the nuclear deal, says Trump may have to ‘move beyond narrow technicalities and look at the big picture.' President Donald Trump's envoy to the United Nations laid out an argument Tuesday for the US to potentially declare Iran in violation of the nuclear deal, but suggested the Trump administration might then leave it to Congress to decide whether to withdraw. In a speech to a conservative think tank, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said she didn't know what decision Trump would ultimately make, as a series of deadlines approach. But she said if he did decide against certifying Iran's compliance, he'd be on solid ground, but added, "What happens next is significantly in Congress' hands.""I get that Congress doesn't want this. This is not an easy situation for Congress," Haley said. "But our lives are not about being easy. Our lives are about being right."The Trump administration has been debating for months whether to scuttle the nuclear deal, as Trump threatened to do as a candidate, despite staunch opposition from US allies who negotiated the deal with former President Barack Obama's administration. Under pressure from both sides, the administration has been exploring possible halfway options, such as declaring Iran in violation but leaving its relief from nuclear sanctions in place at least temporarily. Yet while a US law passed to codify the nuclear deal gives lawmakers some oversight, the agreement is not a treaty. It's been widely assumed until now that responsibility lies with the White House, not Congress, to determine continued US participation in the deal. Kicking the issue to Congress would also echo the president's newly announced approach on immigration and another Obama-era program that shielded from deportation some immigrants brought to the US illegally as children. Trump's administration announced Tuesday the program "was being rescinded," but Congress would have six months to try to come up with a legislative fix. Under the nuclear deal and the related US law, the president must tell Congress every 90 days whether Tehran is complying with its obligations under the deal, in which Iran agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN agency that monitors the deal, said as recently as last week that Iran was complying. The Trump administration has faced two of the 90-day deadlines so far, and both times avoided the showdown and said Iran was meeting the conditions needed to keep enjoying sanctions relief. But Trump more recently has said he does not expect to certify Iran's compliance again. The next deadline is in mid-October. Questioned about the approach during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Haley insisted she wasn't preordaining what should or shouldn't happen. She also acknowledged that US allies in Europe are pushing Washington to stay in the painstakingly negotiated deal, but added: "This is about US national security. This is not about European security." "If the president finds that he cannot in good faith certify Iranian compliance, he would initiate a process whereby we move beyond narrow technicalities and look at the big picture," Haley said.

Russian Warplanes Break Deir Ezzor Siege
Nazeer Rida/Asharq Al Awsat/September 05/17/Beirut- Russian warplanes allowed on Monday the Syrian regime and its allies to reach the outskirts of Deir Ezzor for the first time in three years ahead of breaking the siege in the ISIS-controlled city. Pro-regime websites announced on Monday evening that the Syrian forces came to within 1800 meters from breaking the siege of Deir Ezzor, which populates around 93 thousand civilians. The governor of the Deir Ezzor said that the Syrian army would reach the city by Tuesday night. Mohammed Ibrahim Samra said on Sunday that the Syrian army will arrive at the ISIS-controlled city in 24-48 hours at the most. A military media unit run by Hezbollah said the advancing forces were heading to the besieged military’s garrison camp on the outskirts of Deir Ezzor. While the latest advancement was surprising, Syrian opposition sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Russian warplanes “had largely facilitated the regime’s move” towards the city of Deir Ezzor. “The Russian warplanes participated actively in attacking the ISIS militants’ travels and in targeting their vehicles, positions and booby-trapped cars,” the sources said. Meanwhile, reports revealed on Monday that the convoy of buses carrying ISIS militants, who had left the Qalamoun Jurud at the Syrian-Lebanese border last week as part of a deal between Hezbollah and the terrorist group, have already reached the towns of Anah and Rawa in Iraq at the border with Syria, taking shortcut roads in the Syrian desert. The reports also revealed that their families were still trapped inside the Syrian territories. However, military officials at the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq asserted that the convoy of 17 buses was still waiting for the seventh day under their observation near the town of Sukhnah in the desert while 6 buses from the convoy had returned to the regime-controlled city of Palmyra.

Egypt, Russia Finalize Arrangements for the Completion of Nuclear Plant Agreement
Asharq Al-Awsat/September 05/17/Cairo– Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said on Monday that his country has completed an agreement with Russia on the building of a nuclear power plant, noting that the contract was ready to sign. He stated that he has also invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Egypt to mark the start of construction. The nuclear plant will be established in the region of Dabaa, about 130 km northwest of Cairo on the Mediterranean coast. Sisi met with Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen. Alaa Youssef, spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, said that the two officials have reviewed a number of issues related to bilateral relations, including the resumption of Russian flights to Egypt. Air traffic between Egypt and Russia has been suspended since the end of 2015, in the wake of the crash of a Russian passenger plane in the Egyptian airspace on October 31, 2015, killing 224 passengers and crew. Youssef noted that the Russian president praised efforts exerted by the Egyptian authorities in securing airports. He expressed hope that Russian flights would resume soon after the conclusion of the current technical consultations between the two sides.
Putin underlined the importance of promoting close ties with Egypt in all fields, especially the economic and trade relations, praising the increase of trade exchange between the two countries by 14%, according to the Egyptian presidential spokesperson. Political sources linked Moscow’s decision to resume air traffic to Egypt with the completion of negotiations on the nuclear plant, for which a preliminary agreement was signed in November 2015. The sources added the completion of the agreement would accelerate the resumption of Russian air traffic and the flow of Russian tourists into the country.
According to the agreement, Egypt will receive a $25 billion Russian loan to cover 85 percent of the plant, with a capacity of 4,800 MW.

Houthis Prepare to End Partnership with Yemen’s Saleh
Riyadh – It appears that former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is nicknamed the “fox” due to his expertise in political maneuvering with his friends before his enemies, is approaching a new phase in his career, this time in regards to his ties with his allies, the Houthi insurgents.The Houthis announced on Monday the termination of the reconciliation reached with Saleh in September 2014, marking the beginning of possibly one of the most dangerous chapters in the former president’s political career. Informed Yemeni sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the situation in Sana’a has reached a boiling point and that the next 48 hours may witness “a heavy blow” dealt by one side to the other. According to the obtained information, armed Houthis have come very close to Saleh’s al-Sabeen security zone, while pro-Saleh forces have started to depart Sana’a in anticipation of a possible siege against them. These developments come at a time when a Yemeni source said that the Houthi militia decided to end its alliance with Saleh and prepare to implement a plan that will see his arrest and transfer to the Saada province. No official information has been released to confirm this scenario. Yemeni security and political researcher Mohammed al-Walas said that this information may have been deliberately leaked to test Saleh’s alliance. What is certain however, he added is that Saleh’s arrest and transfer to Saada has become one of the main options for the Houthis in order to uncover the former president’s secret files that he still keeps to himself in regards to his local and foreign ties. Walas said that Saleh is “now besieged in Sana’a.”

Red Cross President to meet with Sinwar to Discuss Israeli Prisoners held by Hamas
Asharq Al Awsat/September 05/17/Gaza- The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, is expected to meet with Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar to discuss the Israelis detained by the movement, well-informed Palestinian sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. The sources added that the file of missing Israeli soldiers and civilians in Gaza “will be at the top of the agenda of the meeting between Maurer and Sinwar.” Israel has officially accused Sinwar of obstructing the completion of a swap deal because of “Hamas’ exaggerated demands.”
Maurer begins on Tuesday a three-day visit, during which he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah and other officials in Gaza. A statement by the ICRC said: “The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrives in Israel and the occupied territories tomorrow, Tuesday September 5, to take stock of the humanitarian situation.” “In the course of his three-day visit, Peter Maurer will meet with Israeli and Palestinian authorities at the highest level in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gaza and Tel Aviv to discuss various topics of concern to the ICRC. Mr. Maurer will also undertake a number of field trips to witness the situation on the ground,” the statement added. It also noted that the ICRC president would share observations from his visit and from his exchanges with the authorities and with civil society representatives during a press conference that would take place on September at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem. Maurer is expected to meet with families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. However, it is still unclear whether he will meet the families of missing Israelis in the Gaza Strip, who have recently demanded that the ICRC intervenes and pressures Hamas to determine their fate.

Israel army to hold drill simulating war with Hezbollah
AFP, JerusalemTuesday, 5 September 2017/Israel’s army will begin Tuesday a massive exercise simulating conflict with Lebanese movement Hezbollah in the country’s north, military sources said, in what would be the largest drill in nearly two decades. The drill will last 10 days and simulate “scenarios we’ll be facing in the next confrontation with Hezbollah”, a defense source said Monday, referring to the Iran-backed Shiite movement. Military sources said tens of thousands of soldiers, including thousands of reserves, would take part. Aircraft, boats and submarines would be deployed, and the army’s canine unit would also participate, they said. The army would set up two field hospitals and test unmanned trucks and helicopters to evacuate casualties. Israel and the United States last month accused a UN peacekeeping mission of turning a blind eye to Hezbollah smuggling arms and amassing forces on Lebanon’s southern border with Israel in preparation for war, after a conflict between both sides in 2006. Preparations for the drill, however, have been ongoing for more than a year and a half, the sources said. The last time the Israeli army held a drill of this volume was in 1998, when it simulated a war with the Syrian army for a week.

Russian frigate fires cruise missiles at ISIS targets near Syria’s Deir Ezzor
Reuters, MoscowTuesday, 5 September 2017/The Russian frigate Admiral Essen fired Kalibr cruise missiles at ISIS targets near the Syrian city of Deir al-Zor on Tuesday to help a Syrian army offensive in the area, the Russian Defence Ministry said. The strike, which was launched from the Mediterranean, destroyed command and communications posts, as well as ammunition depots, a facility to repair armored vehicles, and a large group of militants, the ministry said. The strike had targeted ISIS militants from Russia and the former Soviet Union, it added.

Syria’s Assad congratulates army on breaking ISIS Deir al-Zour siege
AFPTuesday, 5 September 2017/Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday congratulated government troops who broke a years-long ISIS group siege on the government enclave of Deir al-Zour city, his office said. "Today you stood side-by-side with your comrades who came to your rescue and fought the hardest battles to break the siege on the city," Assad said in a call with the commanders of troops who had been besieged in a base in Deir al-Zour. Syrian forces and allied fighters arrived on Tuesday at the Brigade 137 base on the western edge of Deir al-Zour, effectively ending a siege of more than two years on part of the city.

Two Russian soldiers killed by shelling in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province
Reuters, Moscow Tuesday, 5 September 2017/Two Russian servicemen have been killed in Deir al-Zor province after ISIS militants shelled a convoy they were escorting, the Russian Defence Ministry was cited as saying on Monday by the Interfax news agency. The convoy was transporting Russian ceasefire monitoring military staff when it came under mortar attack, the ministry was quoted as saying. One soldier was killed on the spot and the other died in hospital after sustaining serious injuries. Both were awarded posthumous military awards, the ministry said. Russia said earlier on Monday that its air force was helping the Syrian army push ahead with an offensive on the Euphrates city of Deir al-Zor, where Islamic State has besieged 93,000 civilians and an army garrison for years.

Will Jordan normalize relations with Syria?
Shehab Al Makahleh,/Al Arabiya English/September 05/17
Jordan has expressed optimism over the reopening of its border crossing in southern Syria, with government spokesman Mohammed Momani affirming that relations between the two sides were “heading in the right direction”. Expressing satisfaction at increased ‘stability’ in southern Syria, the Jordanian spokesman noted late last month, “If the current situation continues and southern Syria stabilizes, it would allow for the reopening of the crossing points between the two states.”An ‘incipient’ Jordan-Syria bonhomie . Meanwhile, a top aide to Bashar Al-Assad praised relations between the two sides in glowing terms: “Hearts in Syria and Jordan still beat for each other and this reflects the Arab people’s longing for the project of reawakening and liberation”. The political and media adviser to Bashar Al-Assad Bouthaina Sha’aban added: “We must look at the future with optimism and this necessitates reading events that our Arab nation went through with critical eyes, without repeating mistakes of the past”. Shaaban issued these statements on receiving a delegation from Arab Lawyers Union late last month. For his part, head of the delegation Samih Khreiss said that he only hears positive and reassuring statements from officials of the Assad regime and nothing that might adversely affect bilateral ties.The Jordanian head of the delegation stressed that there was a common refrain among all the delegates who visited Syria. “The rejection of all that has happened in Syria thus far.” He reiterated that “If the Jordanian government would take any positive steps toward Syria, we (the Lawyer’s Union) are ready and we would support such a move to cement ties further”. Khreiss added that during his visit to Syria he spoke with several officials of the Assad regime including Hilal Hilal, Assistant Regional Secretary of the Syrian Regional Branch of the Ba'ath Party, and Bouthaina Sha’aban.
Syrian war to be ‘over by year-end’
The head of the lawyers’ delegation also disclosed that sources in the Assad regime told them that the war in Syria will be over before the end of the year, which should raise prospects for the early reopening of the Jordanian-Syrian borders. Jordan shares over 380 kilometer-long border with Syria, and is one of the Arab states that did not sever its diplomatic relations with the Assad regime due to “the special and unique ties between the people of both countries”. The country also played a role in brokering a truce in south western Syria, along with US and Russia, which entered into force on July 7, 2017.
The optimism of the Jordanian government over the eventual “normalization of relations” is said to have risen with a noticeable fall in the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan since the truce has come into effect.

Israel evicts Arab family from Jerusalem home Jews claimed
The Associated Press, JerusalemTuesday, 5 September 2017/Israeli officials have evicted a Palestinian family from their home in east Jerusalem to make way for new Jewish tenants. Municipality officials backed by security guards enforced a court order Tuesday to remove the six-member Shamasneh family from a home claimed by heirs of a Jewish family forced to abandon it in 1948 when it came under Jordanian control. Israel took control of the area after the 1967 war and continued existing renting arrangements with Arab tenants. But a law allowing Jews to reclaim former homes or repurchase them have set up such conflicts. Ayoub Shamasneh, 79, said his case was still pending. "How can they do this to us?" he said.Palestinians claim the evictions aim to alter east Jerusalem's demography. Israel says it is merely enforcing the law.

Egypt to host war games with US after eight-year-hiatus
The Associated PressTuesday, 5 September 2017/Egypt’s military says it will host war games with US troops later this month for the first time in eight years.
Col. Tamer el-Rifai, a military spokesman, said Tuesday that the 10-day military exercises, known as “Bright Star,” would begin September 10. The bi-annual exercises date back to 1981, but the Obama administration postponed them in 2011, following the uprising that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak, and scrapped them in 2013, after Egyptian security forces killed hundreds of protesters while breaking up a mass sit-in. US President Donald Trump has praised Egypt as a key ally against terrorism, although last month the United States cut or delayed some $300 million in military and economic aid.

Churches condemn attempts to ‘weaken’ Christians in Jerusalem
AFPTuesday, 5 September 2017/The leading churches in Jerusalem issued a rare joint statement Tuesday condemning what they called “systematic” Israeli attempts to “weaken the Christian presence” in the city. The statement, signed by the heads of the Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Lutheran and other churches, condemned an Israeli court decision allowing a pro-settlement group to take control of church land in a mainly Palestinian area of annexed east Jerusalem, as well as a bill in the Israeli parliament relating to church land. “We see in these actions a systematic attempt to undermine the integrity of the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and to weaken the Christian presence,” the statement said. On July 31, a Jerusalem court upheld controversial real estate deals involving Israeli pro-settlement organization Ateret Cohanim and the church for two hotel properties near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. The Greek Orthodox church has denied selling the land and called the ruling “politically motivated”. Separately a proposed bill in the Israeli parliament would transfer to the state all previously church-owned land that was sold to private investors, in exchange for compensation, Israeli media have reported. The bill has yet to be passed but could damage future church property deals. The statement said the two measures threatened a decades-old agreement between religions about the governing of sites in Jerusalem. “We cannot stress strongly enough the very serious situation that this recent systematic assault on the status quo has had on the integrity of Jerusalem and on the well-being of the Christian communities of the Holy Land,” it said. They called for support from Christians across the world.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on
September 05-06/17
When "Progressivism" Crushes Muslim Women
A. Z. Mohamed/Gatestone Institute/September 05/17
It seems illogical for self-described "progressives" to turn a blind eye to the misery of fellow females forced to endure the kind of unimaginable treatment documented by best-selling authors Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Azar Nafisi.
The reason for that is rooted in a regard for "multiculturalism" in which anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism are considered more vital than the victimization of women.
There is, of course, never any mention of the "people who suffered under Eastern colonialism," such as the Iranian victims of the current regime, or the victims of al-Qaeda and ISIS, or the nearly 11,000,000 Muslims killed since 1948. Of these, 90% by other Muslims; only 3% by Israel.
In spite of repeated and verified accounts of the physical and sexual abuse of women and girls throughout Muslim parts of the world, Western feminists at best remain silent, and at worst supportive of the male oppressors.
It seems illogical for self-described "progressives" to turn a blind eye to the misery of fellow females forced to endure the kind of unimaginable treatment documented by best-selling authors Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Azar Nafisi. The reason for that is rooted in a regard for "multiculturalism" in which anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism are considered more vital than the victimization of women.
In such a value system, the highest priority is the ultimate goal of destroying pluralistic and democratic Western values, which the far-left views as a euphemism for conservative, capitalist, colonialist, imperialist ideals that must be eradicated. They do not even bother to realize that throughout history, Muslim conquests -- not even speaking of Asia -- but of the Christian Byzantine Empire, the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, Greece, Spain and Northern Cyprus have been even more repressive, brutal and absolute. According to this "liberal," essentially totalitarian, worldview, the United States and Israel are what the Iranian ayatollahs call the "Great Satan" and the "Little Satan," while radical groups and regimes that oppose America and the Jewish state are supposedly allies.
It is thus that Judith Butler, professor of comparative literature at University of California, Berkeley and a "gender and third-wave feminist queer theorist," justifies her support for Islamist terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which she referred to at a 2006 anti-Israel teach-in as "social movements that are progressive... part of a global Left."
This view is exactly upside-down and backwards. Hamas, the Sunni terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Shiite terrorist group based in Lebanon and with a foothold in Syria, are not only mass murderers, but would subject Butler herself to Sharia (Islamic) law and deny her all human rights, let alone those associated with her womanhood and lesbianism. Butler is living in a fantasy world if she considers radical Islamists "progressive" in any shape or form.
As far back as 2001, Bronwyn Winter, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney and the Director of the Faculty of Arts International and Comparative Literary Studies program, noted that the "'multiculturalist' discourse... legitimates even the most fundamentalist Islamic voices in the name of 'cultural difference.'"
This well-intentioned but sadly misguided view -- which then would presumably approve of Aztec human sacrifice, slavery and the former Indian practice of suttee, in which widows were thrown live on their husband's funeral pyre -- was expounded upon by Kay S. Haymowitz in an in-depth 2003 analysis of left-wing feminist attitudes to radical Islamism. Among the groups she examined were the postcolonialists, according to whose outlook:
It is not men who are the sinners; it is the West. It is not women who are victimized innocents; it is the people who suffered under Western colonialism, or the descendants of those people, to be more exact. Caught between the rock of patriarchy and the hard place of imperialism, the postcolonial feminist scholar gingerly tiptoes her way around the subject of Islamic fundamentalism and does the only thing she can do: she focuses her ire on Western men.
To this end, the postcolonialist eagerly dips into the inkwell of gender feminism. She ties colonialist exploitation and domination to maleness; she might refer to Israel's "masculinist military culture"—Israel being white and Western—though she would never dream of pointing out the "masculinist military culture" of the jihadi. And she expends a good deal of energy condemning Western men for wanting to improve the lives of Eastern women.
There is, of course, never any mention of the "people who suffered under Eastern colonialism," such as the Iranian victims of the current regime, or the victims of al-Qaeda and ISIS, or the nearly 11,000,000 Muslims killed since 1948. Of these, 90% were killed by other Muslims; only 3% by Israel.
Phyllis Chesler, professor emerita of psychology and women's studies at the College of Staten Island (CUNY), put it this way: "Western feminists have become totally Stalinized and Palestinianized." The author of 14 books -- most recently An American Bride in Kabul: A Memoir (2013), about her 1961 marriage to an Afghani and her time spent in his harem -- Chesler strongly counters the message that leftist feminists are conveying to persecuted Muslim women: that the road to their salvation lies in the defeat of Western civilization, rather than in the overthrow of Sharia-dominated cultures and regimes that degrade and dehumanize them.
If not for genuine feminist warriors, such Chesler, Hirsi Ali, and Nafisi, Muslim women the world over would feel completely abandoned and betrayed, and justifiably so.
If not for genuine feminist warriors, such Phyllis Chesler, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Azar Nafisi, Muslim women the world over would feel completely abandoned and betrayed, and justifiably so. Pictured: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, on April 7, 2016. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
*A. Z. Mohamed is a Muslim man born and raised in the Middle East.
© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Israeli President Rivlin: Iran Is a Threat To The World

Jerusalem Post/September 05/17
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Rivlin cautioned that Europe will “have to be very precise” in determining relations with Iran, because Iran is a supporter of terrorism.
Iranian support of terrorism is a threat not only to the region but to the world, President Reuven Rivlin told Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Antanas Linkevicius on Monday.
Rivlin insisted that Iran cannot be allowed to threaten the very existence of Israel. Aware that some European countries have close relations with Iran, Rivlin cautioned that Europe will “have to be very precise” in determining relations with Iran, because Iran is a supporter of terrorism.
Linkevicius said that he wanted to hear more on the Iran issue “because there seem to be some differences in perception of agreements with Iran,” and there is also the need to diminish the threat. “This is something that must be addressed,” he said.
The conversation touched briefly on Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, with Rivlin explaining that negotiations can be conducted only among parties that trust each other. “They don’t trust us, and we don’t trust them.”
The overall situation is very complex, he said, and each problem must be tackled individually.
“But they’re all related,” Linkevicius said.
Rivlin agreed, but insisted nonetheless that each problem be dealt with as a stand-alone.
Their discussion focused mainly on security issues but also on their common backgrounds, and on sport.
When hosting foreign dignitaries, Rivlin often introduces a sports element into the conversation.
On Sunday, he and the prime minister of Macedonia chatted about soccer, and on Monday, Rivlin and the foreign minister of Lithuania bantered about basketball.
Linkevicius told Rivlin that Tel Aviv was chockablock with Lithuanian basketball fans who had come to Israel for the FIBA EuroBasket 2017 games. Local Litvaks (meaning immigrants from Lithuania), he said, had been “splitting their hearts” over which team to support in the match between Israel and Lithuania.
At one point, Rivlin mentioned that he would inform Defense Minister and former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman that Linkevicius, whom he knows well, was in the country.
“We already met at the basketball [game]. I imagine he supported Israel,” responded Linkevicius, prompting Rivlin to remark that Lithuanian basketballers are among the best in the world, and to recall that Lithuanian hoopster Sarunas (Saras) Jasikevicius was a star player for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Linkevicius updated the president with the information that Jasikevicius is now a coach.
In greeting his guest, Rivlin said, “I welcome you as a Litvak, as the president of Israel and as a Jerusalemite, adding that Jerusalem is connected to Vilna, which was long known as the Jerusalem of the north. He also suggested that Linkevicius, who is known to be a good friend to Israel, could give UNESCO the facts about that connection.
Claiming descent from the Gaon of Vilna (Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Shlomo Zalman), who sent his disciples to Jerusalem, Rivlin said that the idea of a Jewish democratic state had been set down by the Vilna Gaon in 1776, long before Theodor Herzl had conceived of political Zionism.
Linkevicius smiled and told Rivlin that he would always be welcome in Vilnius.

The Islamic Future of Europe
Guy Millière/Gatestone Institute/September 05/17
European leaders accepted the transformation of parts of their countries into enemy territories. They see that a demographic disaster is taking place. They know that in two or three decades, Europe will be ruled by Islam.
Ten years ago, describing what he called "the last days of Europe," the historian Walter Laqueur said that European civilization was dying and that only old monuments and museums would survive. His diagnosis was too optimistic. Old monuments and museums might well be blown up. Look nowhere else than what the black-hooded supporters of "Antifa" -- an "anti-fascist" movement whose actions are totally fascistic -- are doing to statues in the United States.
The terrorist attack in Barcelona received the same reaction as all the large-scale terrorist attacks in Europe: tears, prayers, flowers, candles, teddy bears, and protestations that "Islam means peace ". When people gathered to demand tougher measures against the rising influence of Islamism across the continent, they were confronted by an "anti-fascist" rally. Muslims organized a demonstration to defend Islam; they claimed that Muslims living in Spain are the "main victims" of terrorism. The president of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Societies, Mounir Benjelloun El Andaloussi, spoke of a "conspiracy against Islam" and said that terrorists were "instruments" of Islamophobic hatred. The mayor of Barcelona, ​​ Ada Colau, cried in front of the cameras and said that her city would remain an "open city" for all immigrants. The governor of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, used almost the same language. Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a conservative, was the only one who dared to call jihadist terrorism by its name. Almost all European journalists said Rajoy's words were too harsh.
After the attack in Barcelona, Spain, when people gathered at the site to demand tougher measures against the rising influence of Islamism across the continent, they were confronted by an "anti-fascist" rally. Pictured: "Anti-fascists" beat a man who they claimed is a "right-wing sympathizer" at Las Ramblas, Barcelona, on August 18, 2017. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Mainstream European newspapers describing the horror once again sought explanations to what they kept calling "inexplicable". The leading Spanish daily newspaper, El Pais, wrote in an editorial that "radicalization" is the bitter fruit of the "exclusion" of certain "communities," and added that the answer was more "social justice". In France, Le Monde suggested that terrorists want to "incite hatred", and stressed that Europeans must avoid "prejudice". In the UK, The Telegraph explained that "killers attack the West because the West is the West; not because of what it does" -- but it spoke of "killers", not "terrorists" or "Islamists".
Anti-terrorism specialists, interviewed on television, said that the attacks, carried out across the continent at an ever-faster pace, will become deadlier. They noted that the original plan of the Barcelona jihadists had been to destroy the Sagrada Família Cathedral and kill thousands of people. The specialists parroted that Europeans will just have to learn to live with the threat of widespread carnage. They did not offer any solutions. Once again, many said that terrorists are not really Muslims -- and that the attacks "had nothing to do with Islam".
Many leaders of Western European countries treat Islamic terrorism as a fact of life that Europeans must get used to -- as some kind of aberration unrelated to Islam. They often avoid speaking of "terrorism" at all. After the attack in Barcelona,​​ German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a brief reproach about a "revolting" event. She expressed "solidarity" with the Spanish people, and then moved on. French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted a message of condolence and spoke of a "tragic attack."
Throughout Europe, expressions of anger are conscientiously marginalized. Calls for mobilization, or any serious change in immigration policy, come only from politicians scornfully described as "populist."
Even the slightest criticism of Islam immediately arouses almost unanimous indignation. In Western Europe, books on Islam that are widely available are written by people close to the Muslim Brotherhood, such as Tariq Ramadan. Books that are "politically incorrect" also exist, but are sold under the counter as if they are contraband. Islamic bookstores sell brochures calling for violence without even hiding what they do. Dozens of imams, similar to Abdelbaki Es Satty, the suspected mastermind of the attack in Barcelona, continue to preach with impunity; if they are arrested, they are quickly released.
Submission reigns. The discourse everywhere is that despite increasing threats, Europeans must live their lives as normally as possible. But Europeans see what threats exist. They see that life is not even slightly normal. They see policemen and soldiers in the streets, proliferating security checks, strict controls at the entrance of theaters and shops. They see insecurity everywhere. They are told just to ignore the source of the threats, but they know the source. They claim they are not afraid. Thousands in Barcelona shouted, "No tinc por" ("We are not afraid"). In fact, they are scared to death.
Polls show that Europeans are pessimistic, and think the future will be bleak. Polls also show that Europeans no longer have confidence in those who govern them, but feel they are left with no choice.
This shift in their lives has occurred in such a short time, less than half a century. Before then, in Western Europe, only a few thousand Muslims were present -- mostly immigrant workers from former European colonies. They were supposed to be in Europe temporarily, so were never asked to integrate.
They soon numbered hundreds of thousands, then millions. Their presence turned permanent. Many became citizens. Asking them to integrate grew unthinkable: most seemed to consider themselves Muslim first.
European leaders gave up defending their own civilization. They slipped into saying that all cultures should be viewed the same way. They appear to have given up.
School curricula were altered. Children were taught that Europe and the West had plundered the Muslim world -- not that the Muslims had, in fact, invaded and conquered the Christian Byzantine Empire, North Africa and the Middle East, most of Eastern Europe, Greece, Northern Cyprus, and Spain. Children were taught that Islamic civilization had been splendid and opulent before colonization supposedly came to ravage it.
Welfare states, established in the post-war period, began to create a large underclass of people permanently trapped in dependency, just when the number of Muslims in Europe redoubled.
Social-housing neighborhoods suddenly were Muslim neighborhoods. The rise in mass unemployment -- mainly affecting less qualified workers -- transformed Muslim neighborhoods into mass-unemployment neighborhoods.
Community organizers came to tell unemployed Muslims that after purportedly looting their countries of origin, Europeans had used Muslim workers to rebuild Europe and were now treating them as useless utensils.
Crime took root. Muslim neighborhoods became high-crime neighborhoods.
Extremist Muslim preachers arrived; they reinforced a hatred of Europe. They said that Muslims must remember who they are; that Islam must take its revenge. They explained to young, imprisoned Muslim criminals that violence could be used for a noble cause: jihad.
Police were ordered not to intervene lest they aggravate the tension. High-crime areas became no-go zones, breeding grounds for the recruitment of Islamic terrorists.
European leaders accepted the transformation of parts of their countries into enemy territories.
Riots took place; leaders made even more concessions. They passed laws restricting freedom of speech.
When Islamic terrorism first hit Europe, its leaders did not know what to do. They still do not know what to do. They are prisoners of a situation they created and cannot control anymore. They appear to feel helpless.
They cannot incriminate Islam: the laws they passed make it illegal to do that. In most European countries, even questioning Islam is branded as "Islamophobia". It leads to heavy fines, if not trials or prison time (as with Lars Hedegaard, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Geert Wilders or George Bensoussan). They cannot re-establish law and order in no-go zones: that would require the intervention of the army and a shift towards martial law. They cannot adopt the solutions proposed by parties they have pushed into opposition at the margins of European political life.
They cannot even close their borders, abolished in 1995 with the Schengen agreement. Re-establishing border controls would be costly and take time.
Europe's leaders seem to have neither the will nor the means to oppose the incoming waves of millions of Muslim migrants from Africa and the Middle East. They know that terrorists are hiding among the migrants, but still do not vet them. Instead, they resort to subterfuges and lies. They create "deradicalization" programs that do not work: the "radicals," it seems, do not want to be "deradicalized."
Europe's leaders try to define "radicalization" as a symptom of "mental illness"; they consider asking psychiatrists to solve the mess. Then, they talk about creating a "European Islam", totally different from the Islam elsewhere on Earth. They take on haughty postures to create the illusion of moral superiority, as Ada Colau and Carles Puigdemont did in Barcelona: they say they have high principles; that Barcelona will remain "open" to immigrants. Angela Merkel refuses to face the consequences of her policy to import countless migrants. She chastises countries in Central Europe that refuse to adopt her policies.
European leaders can see that a demographic disaster is taking place. They know that in two or three decades, Europe will be ruled by Islam. They try to anesthetize non-Muslim populations with dreams about an idyllic future that will never exist. They say that Europe will have to learn to live with terrorism, that there is nothing anyone can do about it.
But there is a lot they can do; they just do not want to -- it might cost them Muslim votes.
Winston Churchill told Neville Chamberlain, "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, you will have war." The same is true today.
Ten years ago, describing what he called "the last days of Europe," the historian Walter Laqueur said that European civilization was dying and that only old monuments and museums would survive. His diagnosis was too optimistic. Old monuments and museums might well be blown up. Look nowhere else than what the black-hooded supporters of "Antifa" -- an "anti-fascist" movement that is totally fascistic -- are doing to statues in the United States.
Barcelona's Sagrada Família Cathedral was spared only thanks to the clumsiness of a terrorist who did not know how to handle explosives. Other places may not be so fortunate.
The death of Europe will almost certainly be violent and painful: no one seems willing to stop it. Voters still could, but they will have to do it now, fast, before it is too late.
*Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.
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The Best Era for Working Women Was 20 Years Ago
Bryce Covert/The New York Times/September 05/17
The working woman was everywhere in 1980s and 1990s pop culture: The tough single gal Murphy Brown ran the news on TV every week. Dolly Parton in “9 to 5,” Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl,” and the ominously coldhearted mother in “Mrs. Doubtfire.”
We didn’t know it then, but that was the apex for the American working woman. It’s fitting that “Murphy Brown” left the airwaves in 1998. It would only be two years later that the share of American women over 16 who are in the labor force would hit its peak: 60.3 percent in April 2000.
The late 1990s — Murphy Brown’s decade — may have been as good as it gets for American women in the workplace.
The steady, seemingly inevitable march of significant numbers of American women into paid jobs began during World War II. Women certainly worked before the war, but it was usually certain groups: women of color, who have almost always had to work, and single women. During and after the war, work suddenly opened for more and more women.
In the decades after, the gender wage gap shrank, women became highly educated and the options for more prestigious careers increased. Widely available contraception allowed women to control when they became pregnant and to invest in their careers. Beginning in the late ’70s, surveys have found increasing shares of Americans accept and even support the idea of women working outside the home.
But then, in the early 2000s, the rise in the share of working women came to a halt. And since the Great Recession the figure has even fallen. Today it’s just over 57 percent.
We’ve spent a lot of time worrying about American men. Their labor force participation trend line has looked like a tumble down the side of a hill since the late 1950s. But all of this time, men have always worked at higher rates than women.
Up until the late 1990s, the United States stood out among developed countries for its higher female labor force participation rate. But that’s when the other countries started to catch up.
“We noticed right away,” said Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Her organization compiles an annual report on the economic status of women in every state, and in 1998 it sent a preview to some people in Vermont. The data showed that women’s labor force participation had fallen in that state, a harbinger of a national trend. The reviewers said “this can’t be right,” she recalled, adding, “We looked at the numbers again and we wrote back and said, ‘It is right.’ ”
Things seem to have changed around the 2001 recession. Until then, women tended to keep their onward march into employment steady even when the economy faltered. If their employment dipped, it quickly recovered. But this was the first time that the share of working women dropped without bouncing back.
A number of things may have coalesced at the time. Women are now getting even more bachelor’s degrees than men. There is much less room for them to keep getting ahead by obtaining degrees.
Husbands’ wages grew faster than wives’ in the 1990s, which may have eventually discouraged married women from staying at work. The gender wage gap has stayed relatively stuck for some time, offering women less incentive to work.
For lower-wage women, work itself has also gotten worse. Research by Robert Moffitt, a Johns Hopkins economist, has found that the decline in women’s labor force participation, especially among lower-educated women, mirrors that of their male peers.
The 1990s were a turning point, Professor Moffitt noted. Every office suddenly had a computer. “It’s an economywide thing,” he said. “It’s not gender-specific.” Just as technology has reduced the number of jobs on factory floors, it has also meant fewer secretaries, bank tellers and retail workers.
The low-wage jobs these laid-off workers found are more likely to come with variable schedules that make it difficult to arrange child care. Work hours have also stretched later and later, which hurts women more.
Even as women pushed their way into the workplace, the United States has done almost nothing to help make it easier for parents to work and raise a family at the same time. Unlike all other developed countries, the United States doesn’t guarantee parents any paid time off when they have children.
Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn, economists at Cornell University, have found that while the United States had the sixth-highest female labor force participation rate in 1990, by 2010 it had fallen to 17th place. About a third of that drop, they say, could be explained by the fact that other developed countries instituted and expanded policies like paid family leave, subsidized child care and flexible work arrangements while the United States did barely anything at all.
It may very well be that the American women who were in the best position to make it all work — who faced the lowest hurdles to arranging child care and balancing work with family — have made it into the work force, but those who have bigger challenges simply can’t swing it. “A lot of women were able to make do, and those women are in the labor force,” Professor Blau said. “How do the rest come in without some kind of change?”
It’s unlikely that the country has simply hit a ceiling for how many women want jobs. If the United States were to spend more on helping parents get child care, ensure they can take paid time off work and protect those who want or need to work flexible schedules, it would almost certainly tap into this pool of women who have stepped away from work.
Helping them isn’t just something that is nice to do. If women keep getting pushed out, the economy will suffer. In 2012, one analysis found, the economy would have been 11 percent smaller if women’s labor force participation had remained at the levels of the late 1970s.
President Trump has said he wants to reach 3 percent G.D.P. growth. He would do well to focus on increasing how many women work. “He could probably get there much faster,” said Dr. Hartmann of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “if he tried to do more on equal pay and provided subsidized child care for everyone.”
At his daughter Ivanka’s insistence, he has talked superficially about affordable child care and accessible paid leave, but so far his plans are pretty pathetic. He just took a step backward on closing the wage gap, with Ms. Trump’s blessing, by rescinding a rule requiring businesses to report pay by gender.
This is a man who said in the 1990s — that same decade when working women reached their zenith — that “putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing.”
He’ll find out how dangerous it is for the economy when the government doesn’t help put all women, married or not, to work.

Confronting Korea’s Madman
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/September 05/17
Nobody no longer underestimates what Kim Jong-un says. Nearly everything that he pledged and threatened to do has come true, the last of which was the major nuclear test that angered the United States and the ballistic missile that terrified Japan and landed in its territorial waters.
This young man, the president of North Korea, may in a single day destroy the nearby city Seoul or kill over a million Japanese people or launch a destructive nuclear warhead towards a US military base. This is the first time since the Cold War that the world is living through a real nuclear threat.
Even though US President Donald Trump responded by threatening that all options were on the table – a phrase that usually means the use of military force – a war with this madman will not be a walk in the park. The difference between him and other owners of nuclear arms in the world is that Kim Jong-un is crazy enough to commit a crime without batting an eyelid. He has already killed his aunt’s husband and then had dinner at her house. He also executed his defense minister and later his education minister. It is because of Kim Jong-un that Japan decided to end its policy of refraining from pursuing aggressive military power that it had adopted after its defeat and surrender in World War II. It has finally been convinced that the world is no longer safe and it needs to protect itself.
Even though Washington has considered North Korea to be an enemy state and a danger to its allies in that part of the world since the rule of Kim Il-sung, then his son and now his grandson, it has only made due with the siege policy that has failed to rein in Pyongyang’s development of its military capabilities. It is now a danger to the international community, not just the US, which are caught in appeasing Pyongyang and confronting it. Yielding to the demands of the mad Korean president will encourage the rest of the madmen in the world to adopt the same policy. This includes Iran. Confronting Kim Jong-un militarily could lead to millions of casualties. This is why the world is watching and waiting to see what will happen, especially after the US had excessively used its threatening rhetoric, vowing that it will not allow Pyongyang to possess nuclear arms. North Korea has completed six nuclear tests and developed its missile capabilities to transport nuclear warheads. This was demonstrated in the missile that flew over Japan and it is now on the verge of completing a nuclear bomb!
We cannot separate the North Korean predicament from how to deal with our neighbor Iran, which has close ties with Kim Jong-un’s regime in military and nuclear cooperation. The ambitions of the Iranian command may be similar to North Korea’s. It may be aspiring to develop aggressive nuclear capabilities that it may employ to cement its rule inside Iran and impose its will on the region. Failure to decisively resolve the standoff between Trump and Kim Jong-un may embolden other world powers, such as Iran, to an extent that they may no longer be deterred or contained.

Autumn of Iraq’s bleeding map
Ghassan Charbel/Al Arabiya/September 05/17
On the way from Erbil to Kirkuk, strange feelings haunted me. For the first time in my life, I wish I were a foreign correspondent, who writes with neutrality and sangfroid and looks for a stark title for his article. When he leaves the country, he turns the page and searches for another sick country to write an interesting report.
But I am an Arab journalist.It is not simple, dear reader, to be an Arab journalist who is tasked with pursuing these successive collapses in the region, and counting the results of mud and blood hurricanes. It is not simple to have known these capitals; to have stayed in them in different eras; and to have listened to their decision-makers only to discover that the sole constant in their stories is the tendency towards downfall. I am an Arab; I love Iraq, and this has nothing to do with the identity of its ruler. As many people, I thought that this country, where various kinds of wealth are gathered, would be the lever in the way towards the Arab future. I was almost certain a decade ago that the fall of the tyrant would lead to the emergence of a civil democratic state that would serve as a model for a successful coexistence between Arabs and Kurds on one hand and Sunnis and Shi’ites on the other. I was hoping to write an optimistic article, even once, about an open window and a promising future. I was not lucky. I love Baghdad. I went there during the rule of the “Glorious Leader”. Later, I went to the Green Zone and Nuri al-Maliki told me: “The Sunnis are our partners and we will give them what reassures them.” Then, I met Haidar al-Abadi and found him interested in mending fences between the Iraqi components; however, ISIS was overshadowing Mosul, the country and the people. I also met President Jalal Talbani, who was trying to convince me that the conditions of civil war were not available in Iraq.
A bleeding map
I have regularly met with Masoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, to measure the degree of tension of the Kurdish partner in this marriage undermined by doubts and bitterness. All this talk is from the past; the Iraqi map is bleeding. After being preoccupied with the Iraqi story for two decades, here I am on the road to Kirkuk, feeling the smell of the Iraqi Autumn, while the summer flame is still burning. The winds of autumn blew early in the air. Since the announcement of the date of the independence referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan, scheduled for the 25th of this month, Iraq seemed to be rushing towards the hour of truth and it will probably be the hour of divorce between Baghdad and Erbil. I do not want to go far in my feelings as if I write that the Arabic year consisted originally of a single season that is autumn. Nonetheless, it is obvious that the Iraqi map is now in the throes of its fall; as if divorce was the inevitable end of the failed marriage concluded by the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The Arab-Kurdish tango on the Iraqi map was rickety and bloody, and now the Kurds are preparing to announce the end of the costly dance.
A short dream caught me in the way. I dreamt that Haider al-Abadi would go to the leaders of the “Shi’ite House” and tell them that time was running out; and that saving the map of Iraq needed a historic pause… Tell them that avoiding divorce required a bold historic decision that would give the Kurds full rights and tranquility in exchange for keeping the map without official and public divisions… Such as a definite agreement on a confederate regime that enables the Kurds to exercise the right to self-determination… along with an agreement on the fate of the disputed areas, including Kirkuk, for which a temporary solution is reached to maintain relations with Erbil and Baghdad, so that its residents will later decide in a calm atmosphere, on their future and destiny. I also dreamt that those present would agree on a real solution that Abadi would bring to Erbil and then Barzani would not have the choice but to adopt it.
I soon woke up from this dream. The atmosphere in Baghdad is not favorable for compromises of this magnitude. The hawks insist on policies that have brought this fall. The Kurds, for their part, have despaired of staying in the current map and consider that the cost of divorce today is lower than that in the future. Neither Baghdad nor neighboring counties accept the independence of the Kurds, especially those states where “Kurdish bombs” sleep within their territories, including Turkey, Iran and Syria.
Arabs tend to reject any change in the map of an Arab country. Washington, for its part, advises to postpone the referendum to maintain focus on the fight against ISIS. But what if the Kurds said they wanted independence? Are neighboring countries entitled to close their borders to suffocate them? Are the “Popular Mobilization Forces” entitled to punish them? Does the region tolerate the outbreak of a Shi’ite-Kurdish conflict in addition to the current Shi’ite-Sunni conflict? A journalist should not be satisfied with what he hears from the sources of decision-makers. So I went to talk with Kurds in the streets, cafes, cars and hotels. They are unanimous in supporting the independence even if some of them fear the consequences.
A number of them said they did not want to stay in Iraq, whose prime minister can “cut the salaries of the people of the province and the milk of its children”, in reference to what Nuri al-Maliki did. Many noted that the agreement on the establishment of a civil state after the ousting of Saddam has perished, and that Baghdad was moving towards a religious and sectarian state, in which Kurds have no room. They have also noticed that the PMF were not subjected to the authority of the prime minister, but to “an authority outside the Constitution and the borders of Iraq”, in reference to Iran.
The Kurdish situation is unique in each of the four countries in which Kurds are distributed. Kurds originally suffer from bitter divisions among their ranks. What Iraq’s Kurds consider as a solution to their situation cannot be generalized. Seeing Iraq’s Kurds opt for independence would be a resounding event. Change is very dangerous in a region with fragile maps. Coexistence in the terrible Middle East is not in its best days. Velvet divorce similar to that of Czechoslovakia is not an option. Our culture does not produce velvet. The picture is really vague. But it is certain that the autumn has invaded the Iraqi map, and the country will not be the same after this fall season.

The reality of confronting Kim Jong-Un
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/September 05/17
No one underestimates what Kim Jong-Un says anymore. Almost everything he threatened of happened. The North Korean regime’s most recent move was the nuclear test which angered the US. A ballistic missile had also frightened Japan after it fell in its waters. North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong-Un can destroy the neighboring city of Seoul in one day or kill a million or more Japanese people or fire a destructive nuclear head on an American base. The world confronts a real nuclear threat for the first time since the Cold War. American President Donald Trump warned that all options are on the table – which usually signifies threats to resort to military power. However, a war with this mad man will not be a walk in the park. The difference between Kim Jong-Un and other leaders who possess nuclear weapons is that he’s mad enough to commit any crime without blinking. He killed his paternal aunt’s husband then went to eat dinner at her house. He also assassinated the ministers of defense and education. It’s because of him that Japan decided to end its policy of not attaining offensive weapons – a policy that Japan has adopted since its defeat and surrender in World War II. The Japanese are finally convinced that the world is no longer safe and that they must bear the responsibility of protecting themselves.
The enemy
Washington has viewed North Korea as an enemy that has threatened its allies in that part of the world since the days of Kim II-sung. The US only settled with adopting a blockade policy against it. However, this policy did not prevent Pyongyang from developing its military capabilities which now threaten the US itself as well as the entire international community that is confused about how to confront Kim Jong-Un and whether it should confront him or please him. Submitting to the mad Korean leader’s demands will encourage other mad men across the world to adopt the same approach. For instance, there are similar leaders in Iran. Meanwhile, a military confrontation may cost millions of lives. The world is thus anticipating developments especially that Washington has excessively made threats and said that it will not allow Pyongyang to possess nuclear weapons. The latter though has carried out six nuclear tests and developed its capabilities to transfer its nuclear weapons. It proved this in the test which flew beyond Japan, and it’s saying it’s about to finish developing a nuclear bomb. We cannot separate North Korea’s crisis from the problem of dealing with our neighbor Iran which has good relations, including military and nuclear cooperation, with Kim Jong-Un’s regime.  The Iranian command aspires to be in a situation similar to North Korea’s. It aspires to be capable of developing its nuclear offensive capabilities in order to solidify its power inside Iran and subjugate the region. Iran expanded and it cannot continue to do so without a nuclear weapon that strengthens its gains. The verbal confrontation between Trump and Kim Jong-Un without decisively ending the problem may cause a bigger rebellion in which countries like Iran, and that are not possible to deter or besiege, are involved.

The Macron ‘doctrine’ for the Arab world
Christian Chesnot/Al Arabiya/September 05/17
Since his inauguration at the Elysée on May 14th, French President Emmanuel Macron has gradually unveiled his foreign policy, particularly regarding relations between France and the Arab world. Following his interactions with French ambassadors at the end of August, the broad contours and priorities of his foreign policy have started to emerge.
Substantive changes in policy
The changes are not superficial but are substantive. Macron has clearly laid out his fundamental premise: the security of the French people as the raison d'être of French diplomacy. He has also clearly designated the enemy: ISIS and Islamist terrorism. Thus, he can now frame his ‘doctrine’ on various related issues involving Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Libya based on two key terms: “realism and pragmatism”, or as his political opponents might dub it “cynicism and opportunism”. Emmanuel Macron wants a more balanced French diplomacy between its traditional allies of the Gulf and Tehran
Christian Chesnot
Basically, Emmanuel Macron based his vision from a simple but harsh observation: France’s role in the Middle East, which is strategically of immense importance for the country, has been in a steady state of decline. The young French president seems to have learnt the lessons of the Arab revolutions well. The sermonizing and self-righteous diplomacy of his predecessors, Sarkozy and Hollande, did not allow France to weigh in on the course of events in the Middle East. The Syrian crisis is the most illustrative example of the failure of the Quai d'Orsay and the Elysée in the region.
Non-partisan approach
Macron wants to set the record straight. Henceforth, the French president explained, “we must seek to end this war”. Excluded from the Astana process, Paris wants to get back in the game. The Elysee does not consider the departure of Bashar Al-Assad a prerequisite. At the next UN General Assembly in New York in mid-September, France will propose the formation of a contact group on Syria, involving the main actors in the conflict. Will Iran take part? That is the main issue. Since his election, Emmanuel Macron wants a more balanced French diplomacy between its traditional allies of the Gulf and Tehran. Paris does not intend to arbitrate the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites but rather to play the role of an intermediary, “the honest broker”. The same policy applies to the Qatari crisis. Macron wants to talk to everyone, not naively but frankly. We recognize Nicolas Sarkozy’s tropism for Qatar and François Hollande's for Saudi Arabia. But the new French president wants to take the high road and does not want to commit himself to any camp. On the whole, he has fixed his objective in the region: to obtain a level of transparency that curbs all forms of terror financing. When it comes to Libya, Macron again makes a point of speaking to all parties, whether it be with Prime Minister Sarraj or Field Marshal Hafter. Just as in the Syrian case, Paris wants to get into motion and will try at the UN General Assembly to push for the application of the roadmap approved at Le Celle-Saint-Cloud in July by the two Libyan officials.
Reversion to ‘Gaullo-Mitterrandism’
More important, the newly formulated French foreign policy seems less likely to give lessons in ethics than the previous two dispensations. It will base itself on facts and the inter-relation of forces on the ground and shall no longer focus on giving moral prescriptions or gaining brownie points. Again, what stands out for Macron is the fight against Islamist terrorism. Hence, his renewed financial and military support to Iraq and Lebanon, two countries in the front line against the Islamist militants. Can the Macron “doctrine” produce results? Only future will tell. The French president feels that he has a task at hand. The circumstances for a new role for France seem propitious. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin share Macron’s anti-terror agenda. One might say that the new French president reverts to a form of ‘Gaullo-Mitterrandism’. It is a diplomatic approach adopted earlier by General de Gaulle and François Mitterrand which has long allowed France to make its voice heard from Moscow to Washington and has resonated with local and regional actors as well. In sum, it is a policy of proving useful for resolving crises.

How Qatar is destabilizing Africa
Jibril al-Abidi/Al Arabiya/September 05/17
In order to destabilize Africa, the Qatari regime couldn’t have found a better starting country than Libya of February 2011. This was more so considering the chaos and militias in the country. Qatari regime took advantage of the situation created by the overthrow of the Libyan regime and the emergence of revolutionaries after the dictatorship was eliminated.This turned out to be in their interest and they could indulge in it without participating in the process of nation building. All institutions had crumbled under the onslaught of the chaos created by these militias. This is how they infiltrated into Africa. Some of them, especially from the political Islamist groups, were recruited to achieve the goals, even by using mantle of support for the Libyan “revolution”. Doha regime has clearly interfered in the African continent but there exists complacency among the superpowers when it comes to firm action in the face of this dangerous Qatari game
Exporting crisis
The Qatari regime have continued to export crises and destabilize the Arab region. The recent revelations by the Chadian government is the latest example. Qatar has supported the Chadian opposition militias by training, funding and supplying weapons through Libyan territory. The damage caused by Qatar in the countries surrounding Libya, including Chad, which has geographical borders and long population intersection through Ouzu strip. The Chadian government, however, handled it patiently and ultimately shut down the embassy. The Qatari government has utilized Libya’s vast borders and sea access to destabilize African countries. The militant groups supported have access to 30 million weapons and are made up of groups that are on NATO hit list. Qatar did not stop sponsoring of terrorism in Central Africa but have also done so in the Horn of Africa by supporting Somali militant groups with money and weapons. American think-tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, has published a report linking wanted Qatari businessman, Abdulrahman al-Nuaymi, who has been financing al-Shabab, with its leader Hassan Owais.
Separatist militias
The Qatari regime, through a network of terrorist organizations, has funded the Azawad separatist militias in Mali and made finance and weapons available to extremists linked to al-Qaeda. Qatar has not stopped exporting terrorism to Chad, but, like ISIS, has also extended to the Horn of Africa, supported and supplied Somali militant groups with money and weapons. And many reports confirm that the Qatari regime, supported and financed the separatist Azawad group in Mali, and as well militants associated with al-Qaeda in the region.Doha regime has clearly interfered in the African continent but there exists  complacency among the superpowers when it comes to firm action in the face of this dangerous Qatari game.