April 09/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani


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Bible Quotations
Listen To What They Say, But Do Not do What They Do
Matthew 23/01-12./: "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practise what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted."

Extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
Second Letter to the Corinthians 08/01-09/: "We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. Now as you excel in everything in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on April 08-09/18
Political Shameful Subservience in Iran Occupied Lebanon/Elias Bejjani/April 07/18
Terrorism and the ‘Freedom of Speech’ Argument/Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al Awsat/April 08/18
Beware Persians bearing gifts! How Iran’s banks funded terror/Baria Alamuddin/Arab News/April 08/18
Terrorism Turkish Style/Uzay Bulut/Gatestone Institute/April 08/18
On teaching philosophy in Saudi Arabia/Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran/Al Arabiya/April 08/18
Iran is on the brink of a new popular uprising/Huda al-Husseini/Al Arabiya/April 08/18
A Yemen political solution is needed, but which one/Mohammed Al Shaikh/Al Arabiya/April 08/18

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on April 08-09/18
Political Shameful Subservience in Iran Occupied Lebanon
Trump Says U.S. Firms 'Look Forward' to Investing in Lebanon
Assad sole political representative of Syria: Aoun
Aoun: CEDRE Conference outcome will help in economic progress
Rahi: Article 49 a prelude to settlementNasrallah calls for high turnout in upcoming elections: We wish to be in the position of hope and loyalty, a list that bears all signs of victory
Hariri: Elections decisive, requiring participation to raise electoral score
Sarraf says Lebanon will not allow any aggression against it
Khalil: Any enemy breach will be faced with a deterrent Lebanese position
Bassil: Lebanon requires will to survive, decision to build
Berri: World Embraced Lebanon at CEDRE Conference
UAE Pledges $200 Million to Support Lebanon Armed Forces
Sami Gemayel Casts Doubt over Link Between Budget Clause and CEDRE Funds
Sami Gemayel Attends Mass on Second Day of Keserwan Tour
Lebanon: Hezbollah Shows Reservation Towards Cedar Conference $11 Bln Pledges
Senior Iranian Clerk: Hezbollah Will Destroy Haifa & Tel Aviv
Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on April 08-09/18
Pope Francis Condemns Reported Chemical Attack in Syria
Syrian government reaches agreement with faction of Jaish Al-Islam to begin Douma evacuation
Trump Says 'Big Price to Pay' after 'Mindless Chemical Attack in Syria'
Assad's government accused of killing 40 Syrians in gas attacks on Douma
World condemns Assad’s regime chemical attacks on Douma, Moscow deny allegations
Trump called Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad an 'animal'
Turkey said there was a 'strong suspicion' the Syrian regime was responsible
Saudi Arabia condemns Douma chemical attack
Saudi Detainees May Face Terrorism-Focused Courts
New air strikes hit rebel-held areas of Syria’s Ghouta amid ceasefire talks
Israel defense minister says ‘no innocent people’ in Gaza
France Hosts Saudi Crown Prince on Global Tour
German Police Rule Out 'Political Motive' in Van Attack
Four Killed in Suicide Attack on Iraq Party Headquarters
Brazil's ex-President Lula da Silva Surrenders to Federal Police
Latest Lebanese Related News published on April 08-09/18
Political Shameful Subservience in Iran Occupied Lebanon
Elias Bejjani/April 07/18
It is so frustrating and disappointing that currently the majority of the Lebanese politicians and parties and with only few exceptions are practically and each in his own way have shamefully succumbed and happily enjoy the role of the subservient to the Iran-Hezbollah occupation.
In reality, they are merchants while their prime priorities are not the people or the country, but an evil strive to serve only and only their own selfish power agendas, riches and individual interests.
The worst among all these narcissistic politicians, and the most derailed are the Maronite politicians as well the so called Christian political parties.
In this context of deviation and derailment from all that is Lebanese patriotism, ethical codes, Faith, Hope, respect of historical roots, and appreciation of martyrdom, emerges the bizarre kind of parliamentary elections’ competition in Kesrouan – Jbeil …
A Judas like competition that presents the evil mentality and education of wide gates that leads to hell.
(Matthew 07/13 &14/”Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”)
In conclusion all that one can seen at the present time in the Keseroun-Jbeil is an ugly and dirty election campaign based on money, power and personal agendas.

Trump Says U.S. Firms 'Look Forward' to Investing in Lebanon
Naharnet/April 08/18/The White House has released a statement by U.S. President Donald Trump that acknowledges Lebanon's challenges and achievements in the wake of the CEDRE economic conference.
“I send my greetings to those who participated in the April 3 CEDRE Investment Conference on Lebanon and the Lebanese people. Lebanon is a country facing countless challenges, including an unprecedented influx of refugees and the corrosive influence of Iran and Hizbullah,” said Trump in a statement released by the Office of the Press Secretary of the White House.
“But as we can see from the success of this conference, Lebanon is also a country with many friends and enormous potential,” Trump added.
“I commend the government of Lebanon’s progress, under the leadership of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to address these pressing challenges. Lebanon has now passed a budget in two consecutive years, increased Lebanese Armed Forces deployments in the south, and defeated ISIS in Lebanon. And, it will soon hold historic parliamentary elections. These are all steps toward improved governance and a more secure Lebanon,” the U.S. leader went on to say.
Trump also welcomed Lebanon’s plans to strengthen its economy through “commitment to implement necessary reforms, including combating corruption, increasing transparency, and improving accountability and fiscal management.”
“Undoubtedly, Lebanon’s ambitious set of infrastructure projects presents great opportunities to strengthen Lebanon’s economy and enhance economic prospects for the whole country. American companies will look forward to the new opportunities that the Capital Investment Plan will offer in Lebanon,” the U.S. president added.
He also noted that the United States is proud of its “close ties with the Lebanese people” and stands in support of Lebanon’s efforts to “strengthen its legitimate state institutions and develop an open, free economy that serves all Lebanese.”

Assad sole political representative of Syria: Aoun
The Daily Star/April 08/18ظBEIRUT: President Michel Aoun said Sunday that Lebanon should “engage with” the Syrian regime as the sole authority in Syria, as the civil war in the country continues into its eighth year.
“Bashar Assad is currently the president of his country,” Aoun said in an interview with members of French news media at Baabda Palace, according to a statement released by his press office. “We must engage with the existing government - we have no other choice,” he said, responding to a question about Assad’s political future. The interview with Aoun was published a day after Assad’s forces reportedly carried out a chemical attack in the eastern suburbs of Damascus that killed at least 80 people in one of the last remaining opposition-held districts of the Syrian capital. Aoun made no mention of the chemical attack in Sunday’s statement. Aoun added that “Lebanese-Syrian relations are limited, but as long as President Assad remains in power, we recognize him.” “There is no other representative of Syria,” Aoun said. Aoun also fielded questions on a number of other issues, including the $11 billion in funds gathered at Friday’s CEDRE conference in Paris - funds that Aoun stressed would help Lebanon with a number of economic woes, including hosting more than 1 million Syrian refugees. “The Syrian refugees can return [home],” he added, “as the military confrontations are confined to small, specific areas.”
Aoun: Hizbullah Committed to Peace, Not a 'Heavy Ally'
Naharnet/April 08/18/President Michel Aoun has stressed that Hizbullah is not a “heavy ally,” as he noted that the Iran-backed party is “committed to peace and stability in Lebanon.”“Hizbullah is not a heavy ally and its members are Lebanese citizens who live in their towns on the border with Israel,” Aoun said in an interview with the French TV5Monde channel. “They have defended their towns and Lebanon and they have never attacked Israel but have rather liberated south Lebanon from Israeli occupation. This is the reason behind the rise of the Hizbullah resistance against Israel,” the president added. “No one in Lebanon is attacking Israel, it is rather Israel that is aggressing against Lebanon all the time. It launched several wars against our country in 1993, 1996 and 2006,” Aoun clarified.
He noted that the Lebanese government is “fully practicing its sovereignty across Lebanese territory, without any interference from Hizbullah.”“Hizbullah has not initiated an attack against Israel and therefore it is committed to stability and peace in Lebanon,” Aoun went on to say. Asked about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his political future, Aoun noted that Assad “is currently the president of his country.” “We have to deal with the incumbent government and we don't have another choice,” Aoun added, noting that the Lebanese-Syrian ties “are currently limited.”“As long as President Assad stays in power, we will recognize him, seeing as there is no other representative for Syria,” the president added.
Aoun: CEDRE Conference outcome will help in economic progress
Sun 08 Apr 2018/NNA - President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, stressed Sunday that the value of the loans and donations resulting from the CEDRE Conference would undoubtedly help the economic advancement of Lebanon.
Aoun, whose fresh words came during an interview to the French "TV5 Monde" Television, pointed to "the difficulty of fighting corruption because it involves all sectors, especially that there are those who protect the corrupt and the influentials; hence, the perpetrators of corruption must first be detected and held accountable." Speaking about the Lebanese-Saudi relations, Aoun deemed that Saudi Arabia's contribution to the Cedar Conference was a sign of the rapprochement between the two countries, pointing out that the "Kingdom is a friendly country to Lebanon."
Referring to Saudi Arabia's request to join the Francophone Organization, he said "Lebanon supports Saudi Arabia's demand to join the Francophonie."
Commenting on the reform process in Lebanon, the President stressed the importance of "pumping new blood in public administrations" as a fresh start towards reform.
Speaking to the French Television about the existing conflict between Lebanon and Israel at the backdrop of building the separation wall and the disputed maritime areas, Aoun said, "There is a legitimate and legal solution to the dispute over maritime laws and those relating to rights in natural resources, which must be respected. This conflict should not lead to war, especially since we accept arbitration if the UN fails to reach a solution."
Asked also about the forthcoming parliamentary elections, Aoun said, "Renewing the Parliament will take place because the new electoral law will allow the minority and the majority to be represented within the Parliament Council."
Touching on his alliance with Hezbollah, the Head of State pointed out that "Hezbollah was not a heavy ally," adding that its partisans live in their villages along the Israeli borders to defend Lebanon and their properties.
He indicated that the Party's involvement in the Syrian war came after it turned into a regional war, involving 84 countries.
"Naturally, the Party will return to Lebanon shortly after the war's end," said Aoun.
On the Syrian level, the President explained that the reason why Lebanon demanded the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland was due to the limited military confrontations in certain small areas in Syria, noting that the international aids to the displaced Syrians became inadequate.
Commenting on the status of Syrian President Bashar Assad from the Lebanese perspective, Aoun said, "As long as President Assad remains in power, we acknowledge him as there is no other representative of Syria."
President Aoun concluded by saying, "The decision of the US President to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem is the beginning of the American abandonment of this city."

Rahi: Article 49 a prelude to settlement
Sun 08 Apr 2018/NNA - Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Beshara Boutros Rahi criticized on Sunday the Lebanese officials for approving Article 49 in the 2018 Budget, deeming it as an "introduction to settlement." "We don't know what is the reason behind approving Article 49 in the 2018 budget that grants Arabs and foreigners, who buy an apartment in Lebanon, a temporary residence for the husband, wife and their minor children...," Rahi said during a Mass service in Bkirki today, adding that "such process is a preface to settlement and grants them the right to citizenship." Speaking to believers, Rahi also expressed his gratitude to "the 50 States and international organizations that participated in the Paris Conference, particularly French President Emmanuel Macron, who hosted and organized said conference." The Prelate called on the Lebanese officials "to fulfill their promises in carrying out necessary political, structural, administrative, financial, electrical and water reforms, or else the public debt will be exacerbated and the deficit will double." Rahi, who did not lose hope in making serious reforms in Lebanon, renewed his confidence in "the new power coming after the parliamentary elections." Finally, the Patriarch said, "The Lebanese State is facing challenges that are reflected in demonstrations and strikes in each sector, as a result of accumulated negligence and the preoccupation of political officials with their personal, partisan, sectarian and private interests at the expense of the State and public benefits."

Nasrallah calls for high turnout in upcoming elections: We wish to be in the position of hope and loyalty, a list that bears all signs of victory
Sun 08 Apr 2018/NNA - Hezbollah Secretary-General, Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, addressed the Lebanese on Sunday at an electoral rally to announce the joint Hezbollah-Amal Movement list for the district of Nabatieh in South Lebanon.
Appearing in a televised speech to a huge crowd of supporters who gathered at the Imam Al-Hussein Square in the Southern city of Nabatieh this evening, Nasrallah indicated that the goal of the rally is to declare support to the "Hope and Loyalty" electoral list in South Lebanon's third district.
"We wish to unanimously be in the position of hope and loyalty, and to continue in this list that brings together all political forces, bearing all signs of victory," said the Secretary-General.
"Hope springs from faith in God, and in you, in such lively people who proved in all experiences to be above despair...resembling the high mountains of Lebanon...and deeply rooted in the ground," said Nasrallah.
"We say this based on all the experiences which you have patiently endured...for desperation is a deadly factor of the individual, the community and the nation...Our culture is one of hope in the Lord, and in the return of Christ to this world to expel all thieves from all structures...and hope in the emergence of the descendant of Prophet Mohammed to establish justice in this land," he went on.
Nasrallah stressed the need to widely participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, and to choose wisely whom to elect, highlighting "the importance of the Parliament Council in drawing the policy and future of the country...being the mother of institutions."
"Hence, each person has to monitor the challenges ahead," he said.
The Secretary-General outlined in his speech two main issues of concern, the first being the ongoing Israeli threats and conflict. "We are faced with an enemy who has greedy desires in our region, our water and our land," said Nasrallah.
He summarized the long-sufferings of the people of the South and West Bekaa in confronting the Israeli aggression, and the endless sacrifices of the resistance in liberating the land from Israeli occupation, despite all attempts to undermine its capabilities and existence.
Nasrallah deemed that "the unity of the people is the guarantee of the resistance, and this needs political protection so as not to drag the country towards sedition." He stressed herein "the importance of the electoral process, and the election of those who protect the resistance."
The Secretary-General then tackled the financial and economic dossier as a second main issue of concern. "I join the voices of officials who say that the country is not bankrupt, but if we continue in the same pattern as before, we are certainly heading towards bankruptcy and difficult conditions," he warned.
"Every year, the public debt service increases, which renders us before a new situation that requires us to act in a new manner," explained Nasrallah.
"We need deputies who are familiar with the people's situation," he went on, calling for the rejection of new taxes, especially that alternative options were submitted to government but were not approved.
"We are in need of deputies who would confront any new tax hikes that would burden the people," he reiterated, referring to the possibility of taking to the streets in the event of any tax increase "for the people can no longer bear any additional taxes."
Nasrallah declared his rejection of any boycotting or withdrawal from government since the country is subject to open risks at both the financial and resistance levels.
Addressing his supportive crowd, Hezbollah Secretary-General urged them to vote massively in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, saying, "The importance of the upcoming elections depends on your participation and your choice...They will do anything that comes to mind to prevent you from that, so your presence on the election day of May 6 should be strong."
"Our goal is to ensure the success of all members of the 'Hope and Loyalty' list, and to work to provide preferential votes to our allies as if they were candidates of Hezbollah," added Nasrallah, stressing that his Party will not compete over preferential votes.
In his concluding word to supporters, Nasrallah said, "To those who created hope and proved to be up to the level of loyalty and is your duty, on May 6, to be widely present and to vote sincerely for all those who shoulder your causes and preserve your trust and confidence."

Hariri: Elections decisive, requiring participation to raise electoral score
Sun 08 Apr 2018/NNA - Prime Minister Saad Hariri stressed Sunday that "the upcoming parliamentary elections are crucial, so every citizen ought to partake in the electoral process in order to raise the electoral score, so that we do not allow anyone to seize Beirut's decision from its people."
Addressing a crowd of supporters in a popular gathering held at noon at the "Grand Cafe" in Beirut, Hariri said, "Beirut is the jewel of Lebanon and the Arab world, and we will restore its glory, God willing." "This march was started and completed in Paris, and there will be a large share of the projects of the Cedar Conference for Beirut and its people," vowed the Prime Minister.

Sarraf says Lebanon will not allow any aggression against it
Sun 08 Apr 2018/NNA - Minister of Defense Yacoub Al-Sarraf asserted Sunday that Lebanon will not allow any act of aggression towards it, while strongly condemning the daily violations committed by the Israeli enemy against Lebanon's sovereignty. "Lebanon will not allow any aggression against its land or economy," reiterated Sarraf, referring to the "Israeli enemy's ambitions in terms of the Lebanese oil wealth, which will contribute to the recovery of the Lebanese economy, and is desperately needed under the current circumstances." Speaking to his interlocutors who came to express their well-wishes on the Easter occasion, Sarraf said, "Today, on this holy occasion, we hope for the resurrection of a strong Lebanon, a country free from corruption, and for the progress of the economic and social situation and the consolidation of security and political stability." Sarraf stressed the role of President Michel Aoun "as the Head of State and the father of the whole nation, who carries the concerns of the country and its citizens in his mind, heart and conscience."Sarraf praised "the achievements made during the current mandate, especially in strengthening the capabilities of the army, whose sacrifices will never be forgotten, and the projects that the Ministry of Defense is seeking to implement in order to develop the military institution."The Defense Minister also emphasized "the important outcome of the recent Rome Conference II in supporting the army and security forces," noting that "forty-one countries have confirmed that the stability of Lebanon is an important factor in the stability of the Middle East."Minister Sarraf concluded by denouncing "Israel's dangerous acts pursued in the Palestinian territories," calling on the international community and the Arabs "to put an immediate end to these crimes."

Khalil: Any enemy breach will be faced with a deterrent Lebanese position
Sun 08 Apr 2018/NNA - Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil asserted via Twitter on Sunday that "any violation by the Israeli enemy would be confronted by an exceptional and significant curbing Lebanese position." "We are in an open challenge with the Israeli enemy today, and what is happening confirms Israel's inability to confront Lebanon with the points of reservation that we consider our legitimate borders," said Khalil, noting that the Israeli enemy is further isolating itself through its actions. Khalil had earlier visited the Kfarkila-Adaysseh border axis, where he observed the Israeli concrete wall construction works currently underway along the borders.

Bassil: Lebanon requires will to survive, decision to build
Sun 08 Apr 2018/NNA - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Gibran Bassil highlighted the need for Lebanon "to have the will to survive and the decision to build." Bassil's words came in his delivered speech during the dinner banquet hosted by Lebanon's Ambassador to France, Rami Adwan, at the Westin Paris - Vendome Hotel at the end of the Lebanese Diaspora Energy Conference held in the French capital. "Despite the difficult conditions that accompanied the conference, culture turns out to be the real source of power in Lebanon," said Bassil. In this context, the minister indicated that, "The Lebanese people pin great importance on culture and have the determination to constantly fight to preserve their homeland; thus, defeating terrorism and unilateralism which are now found in many nearby countries." "Today's meeting is in the name of Lebanon and in the name of diversity, which is the biggest victory for Lebanon, thanks to your participation in the upcoming elections that will increase the level of political culture in Lebanon and will lead to the improvement of the democratic life," Bassil went on. "I hope that our new meeting on May 10th, 11th and 12th will pave the way for more deliberations and discussions in order to strengthen our solidarity," he added. "Your participation in the forthcoming elections will be an expression of your desire to return to Lebanon and practice your citizenship right, which will allow you to be more engaged in everything related to Lebanon," Bassil concluded.

Berri: World Embraced Lebanon at CEDRE Conference
Naharnet/April 08/18/The world “embraced Lebanon” at the CEDRE economic meeting, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has said. “Through France's hosting of the CEDRE conference and the presence of the participating countries, the world embraced Lebanon,” Berri told al-Hayat newspaper in remarks published Sunday.“Implementation is now the responsibility of the Lebanese,” the Speaker added. “Prime Minister Saad Hariri's remarks on Friday on the importance of our cooperation and the role of political accord in reaching the plan that was presented to the conference indicate that we can reach the required results,” Berri went on to say, adding that he endorses Hariri's statement. International donors pledged $11 billion in low-interest loans and aid for Lebanon at the CEDRE conference to try to avert an economic crisis in a country hard hit by the fallout from the Syrian war. Lebanon's growth has plummeted due to political instability, with the effect compounded by the Syrian conflict which has sent a million refugees across the border -- equivalent to a quarter of the Lebanese population before the conflict. Some 40 countries sent representatives to the conference in Paris along with officials from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund where an aid package, made up 90 percent of low-interest loans, was agreed. Praising the "exceptional generosity of the Lebanese people" with regard to Syrian refugees French President Emmanuel Macron said the world needed to show "full solidarity" with Lebanon.

UAE Pledges $200 Million to Support Lebanon Armed Forces
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/April 08/18/The United Arab Emirates has said that it will give Lebanon's armed forces $200 million in aid to help "stabilize" the country. The foreign ministry said that $100 million would go to the army and $100 million to other state security services in Lebanon, which borders war-torn Syria. The oil-rich Gulf country said its support was a "continuation of efforts made for the stability and prosperity of (Lebanon's) people."The "resilience and strength" of Lebanon's military and security institutions was a priority given the region's "delicate circumstances," the statement said. At a mid-March meeting in Rome, the international community pledged to help strengthen the Lebanese Army. France, in particular, said it would release a credit line of 400 million euros. On Friday, the international community announced it would provide more than $11 billion to modernize Lebanon's economy and strengthen its stability, threatened by regional crises, particularly the war in neighbouring Syria. The loans and donations, announced at a conference in Paris aimed at supporting the Lebanese economy, are intended to help finance investment projects over the next five years. Fears of an economic crisis have hovered over Lebanon since the crisis in Syria began more than seven years ago, pushing more than one million refugees to flee across the border into the neighboring country.

Sami Gemayel Casts Doubt over Link Between Budget Clause and CEDRE Funds 08th April 2018/Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Sunday reiterated that the party is offering the Lebanese a new option to choose in the upcoming parliamentary elections, saying that the proposed alternative would give rise to a new reality that is much better than the one the country is witnessing nowadays. In a lunch banquet held in his honor at the residence of the Kataeb candidate in Keserwan Chaker Salameh, Gemayel deemed the Article 50 of the 2018 budget as unconstitutional, saying that it encloses an implicit consent to the naturalization of refugees in Lebanon. The Article 50 grants any foreign national who invests in a real estate starting at around $500,000 inside Beirut and $330,000 elsewhere a permanent Lebanese residency. "They are motivating the refugees to buy apartments while the Institute of Public Housing has stopped giving loans to the Lebanese youths who are now unable to acquire apartments in their country," Gemayel said."The petty interests of some are being very costly for the country." Gemayel questioned the link between the funds granted at the CEDRE conference and the Article 50 of the budget, casting doubt over the possibility that the approval of said clause was a precondition set ahead of the Paris conference. The Kataeb chief slammed the ruling authority's reckless economic policy, noting that the funds garnered at the CEDRE conference will make the country plunge into more debts that the next generations will incur. "They think that they can pay these debts thanks to the revenues from the oil and gas exploration, whereas there is still no tangible proof that this project will succeed.""If we really want to fight corruption, then we should start by eradicating the corruption of the ruling political class. The top priority now goes to stop indebtedness, reduce squandering and launch transparent tenders," he stressed.

Sami Gemayel Attends Mass on Second Day of Keserwan Tour 08th April 2018/Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Sunday kicked off the second day of his tour in Keserwan by attending a mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Zouk Mosbeh. The service was attended by the candidates for the Maronite seats in the district, Farid Haykal Al-Khazen, Yollande Khoury and Chaker Salameh, as well as scores of the Kataeb's officials and partisans in the area.
Lebanon: Hezbollah Shows Reservation Towards Cedar Conference $11 Bln Pledges
Beirut- Asharq Al Awsat/Sunday, 8 April, 2018/Lebanon’s Hezbollah party expressed reservation concerning the terms and conditions of pledges the international community announced for Lebanon at the Cedar Conference in Paris on Saturday. The soft loans exceeded $ 11.5 billion. Member of Parliament Nawaf al-Moussawi, a member of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, said that “any loan can only be passed after discussions in relevant parliamentary committees and after its adoption in the House of Representatives." “We, along with our allies, will be keen on preventing the aggravation of public debt, worsening debt service and budget deficit.”On the other hand, Future bloc Head Fouad Siniora said that the great success achieved at the Cedar conference will help Lebanon through local, regional and international difficulties, as well as improve its economy and address its growth problems. Held in Paris, the Cedar Conference brought together representatives of 51 countries, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and Arab and international financial organizations and bodies to support Lebanon. France pledged to offer 550 million euros ($673 million) to Lebanon to give a boost to the country's development, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on Friday. The pledges include $10.2 billion in loans and $860 million in grants. Lebanese officials said the aid included $4 billion in World Bank loans, $1.35 billion in loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the renewal of a previously pledged $1 billion credit line from Saudi Arabia. In the meantime, Shiite anti-Hezbollah politician Ali al-Amin announced on Saturday an electoral list in which he is allied with the Lebanese Forces Party in the third circle of the south in a faceoff with the Shiite duo, the Amal Movement and Hezbollah. “We want real competition, they want preset elections,” said Amin. “We will not repeat promises made by political parties that monopolized representation, and terrorized against any counter-candidate,” said Amin, who is the candidate for the Shiite seat in Bint Jbeil.

Senior Iranian Clerk: Hezbollah Will Destroy Haifa & Tel Aviv
Jerusalem Post/April 08/18/Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a senior member of Iran's Assembly of Experts, threatened that Hezbollah "will turn Haifa and Tel Aviv into ghost-towns" with the group's 70-kilometer range missiles in a sermon Friday. "You've tried your chances twice," and failed, Khatami said, according to an Iranian Student News Agency report. "Despite the fact that Hezbollah is stronger today than ever, if you want Tel Aviv and Haifa razed to the ground, try your chances again." The report states that Khatami was responding to a statement by Israel that conflict with Hezbollah is possible in the coming year. "This year has the potential for escalation, and not necessarily because either side wants to initiate it, but because of a gradual deterioration. This has led us to raise the level of preparedness,” the head of IDF operations, Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, told Army Radio. Commenting on the IDF's killings of Palestinians in the ongoing "Great March of Return" protests in the Gaza Strip, Khatami said: "The Zionists can only be answered with the language of resistance and force." Adding to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's threat that Israel will not survive another 25 years, Khatami added: "Perhaps it is God's will that, with all the madness they are causing, [Israel] will be destroyed even before." Hezbollah currently possesses an arsenal of approximately 150,000 missiles. Israel last fought the Lebanese Shi'ite militia group in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Khatami also denounced Saudi Arabia for its increasingly close ties with Israel in the wake of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman's statement that "Israelis have the right to have their own land."

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on April 08-09/18
Pope Francis Condemns Reported Chemical Attack in Syria
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/April 08/18/Pope Francis on Sunday condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria after a suspected attack in an opposition holdout in Eastern Ghouta killed 70 people. "Terrible news comes to us from Syria with dozens of victims, many of them women and children ... so many people are struck by the effects of the chemical substances in the bombs," the pope told thousands of people gathered in St Peter's Square.

Syrian government reaches agreement with faction of Jaish Al-Islam to begin Douma evacuation
Reuters/April 08, 2018/BEIRUT: The Syrian government has reached an agreement with the rebel group Jaish al-Islam to begin evacuating Douma after the group requested talks, state television reported, citing an official source. "Jaish Al-Islam terrorists requested negotiations with the Syrian state, which will start the talks within two hours from now (local time)," the source said. Syrian state TV says an agreement was reached to release all prisoners from Douma in return for Jaish Al-Islam departing to northern Syria.​ There was no immediate comment from Jaish al-Islam, which controls the last rebel-held enclave in eastern Ghouta, the town of Douma. New strikes pound Syria's Ghouta after alleged gas attack . Fresh air strikes hit rebel-held areas of Syria's Eastern Ghouta on Sunday, a monitor said, after more than 80 people were killed in weekend raids including an alleged chemical attack denounced by the United States.
Sunday's strikes came despite reports of a ceasefire and the potential resumption of talks between Syria's regime and Jaish al-Islam, the last rebel faction in Ghouta. Allegations of a chlorine gas attack on Saturday were causing widespread international concern, but Syrian state media and regime ally Russia denounced the claims as "fabrications". Assad's forces renewed their assault on Douma, the last rebel-controlled town in Eastern Ghouta, on Friday after talks over an evacuation of Jaish al-Islam fighters broke down. The regime has used a fierce military onslaught and two negotiated withdrawals to retake control of 95 percent of Eastern Ghouta, once the main rebel stronghold close to Damascus. It appeared last week that Douma would follow suit, with the evacuation of hundreds of rebels and their families, but there were reports of divisions among the rebels with hardliners refusing to go. At least 80 civilians have been killed since Friday after the regime launched fresh air raids, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor. (With AFP)

Trump Says 'Big Price to Pay' after 'Mindless Chemical Attack in Syria'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/April 08/18/U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday said there will be a "big price to pay" after what he called a "mindless CHEMICAL attack" in Syria, allegedly involving chlorine gas. Trump also called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad an "animal." "President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay," Trump said in a pair of tweets which began with a discussion of the attack in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, where rescue workers alleged that regime loyalists had used chlorine gas. "Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world," the president said. At least 80 civilians have been killed since Friday after the regime launched fresh air raids on rebel-held areas of Eastern Ghouta, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor. Syrian state media and the regime's ally Russia denounced claims of chemical use as "fabrications." "Open area immediately for medical help and verification," Trump said. "Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!"
The latest alleged attack came a year after the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikun in northwestern Syria was hit by an air strike. A U.N.-commissioned report said many residents of the town suffered the symptoms of an attack from an illegal nerve agent and more than 80 or them died, convulsed in agony.
Trump responded to that attack three days later, when U.S. warships in the Mediterranean fired 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase.  Assad denied ordering that attack and Russia has continued to give him diplomatic cover at the United Nations. Trump on Sunday criticized his predecessor Barack Obama for not striking after warning that the use of chemical weapons in Syria was a "red line." "If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line in The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!" Trump said.

Assad's government accused of killing 40 Syrians in gas attacks on Douma
AP/April 08/18/BEIRUT: Syrian opposition activists and rescuers said Sunday that a poison gas attack on a rebel-held town near the capital has killed at least 40 people, allegations denied by the Syrian government. The alleged attack in the town of Douma occurred late Saturday amid a resumed offensive by Syrian government forces after the collapse of a truce. The reports could not be independently verified. Opposition-linked first responders, known as the White Helmets, reported the attack, saying entire families were found suffocated in their homes and shelters. It reported a death toll from suffocation of more than 40, saying the victims showed signs of gas poisoning including pupil dilation and foaming at the mouth. In a statement, however, it reported a smell resembling chlorine, which would not explain the described symptoms, usually associated with sarin gas. It said around 500 people were treated for suffocation and other symptoms, adding that most medical facilities and ambulances were put out of service because of the shelling. The Syrian American Medical Society, a relief organization, said 41 people were killed and hundreds wounded. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 80 people were killed in Douma on Saturday, including around 40 who died from suffocation. But it said the suffocations were the result of shelters collapsing on people inside. Videos posted online by the White Helmets purportedly showed victims, including toddlers in diapers, breathing through oxygen masks at makeshift hospitals. The Syrian government, in a statement posted on the state-run news agency SANA, strongly denied the allegations. It said the claims were "fabrications" by the Army of Islam rebel group, calling it a "failed attempt" to impede government advances. "The army, which is advancing rapidly and with determination, does not need to use any kind of chemical agents," the statement said. Syrian government forces resumed their offensive on rebel-held Douma on Friday afternoon after a 10-day truce collapsed over disagreement regarding the evacuation of Army of Islam fighters. Violence resumed days after hundreds of opposition fighters and their relatives left Douma toward rebel-held areas in northern Syria. Douma is the last rebel stronghold in eastern Ghouta. The alleged gas attack in Douma comes almost exactly a year after a chemical attack in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun killed dozens of people. That attack prompted the US to launch several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base. President Donald Trump said the attack was meant to deter further Syrian use of illegal weapons. The Syrian government and its ally, Russia, denied any involvement in the alleged gas attack. Douma is in the suburbs of Damascus known as eastern Ghouta. A chemical attack in eastern Ghouta in 2013 that was widely blamed on government forces killed hundreds of people, prompting the US to threaten military action before later backing down. Syria denies ever using chemical weapons during the seven-year civil war, and says it eliminated its chemical arsenal under a 2013 agreement brokered by the US and Russia after the attack in eastern Ghouta.

World condemns Assad’s regime chemical attacks on Douma, Moscow deny allegations
Trump called Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad an 'animal'
Turkey said there was a 'strong suspicion' the Syrian regime was responsible
Arab News/April 08/18/LONDON: The US, UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Pope Francis condemned Saturday's chemical gas attack on Syria’s Douma, while Russia and the Syrian regime denied claims of chemical weapons use. Rescue workers said dozens of civilians had been killed in the attack and at least 80 civilians have been killed since Friday after the regime launched fresh air raids on rebel-held areas of Eastern Ghouta, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor. United States US President Donald Trump on Sunday said there will be a “big price to pay” after what he called a “mindless CHEMICAL attack” in Syria, allegedly involving chlorine gas. Trump also called Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad an “animal.”“President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay,” Trump said in a pair of tweets which began with a discussion of the attack in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, where rescue workers alleged that regime loyalists had used chlorine gas. “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world,” the president said. “Open area immediately for medical help and verification,” Trump said. “Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!"Trump also criticized his predecessor Barack Obama for not striking after warning that the use of chemical weapons in Syria was a “red line.”
“If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line in The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!” Trump said. Meanwhile, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, “these reports, if confirmed, are horrifying and demand an immediate response by the international community.” “The Assad regime and its backers must be held accountable and any further attacks prevented immediately,” she added, noting that “Russia, with its unwavering support for the regime, ultimately bears responsibility for these brutal attacks.”
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom called on the need to open an urgent international investigation into the chemical attack reports. In a press statement issued by the UK Foreign Ministry, a spokesperson said that the Assad regime and his supporters must end the violence against innocent civilians. “The reports that showed a large number of victims in the chemical attack in the city of Douma are disturbing and, if proved correct, will be further evidence of the brutality of the Assad regime and the disregard of its supporters of international laws,” the statement read.
Pope Francis
At the end of a Mass in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said that, “there is no such thing as a good war and a bad war. Nothing, but nothing, can justify the use of such instruments of extermination on defenseless people and populations.”He urged that “military and political leaders choose another path, that of negotiations, which is the only one that can bring about peace and not death and destruction.”
Turke strongly condemned what it said was a chemical weapons attack in Douma, saying there was a “strong suspicion” the regime of President Bashar Assad was responsible. “We strongly condemn the attack and we have the strong suspicion it was carried out by the regime, whose record on the use of chemical weapons is known by the international community,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement. Turkey said that the incident showed that past UN Security Council resolutions on the use of chemical weapons in Syria were “once again” being ignored. The foreign ministry called for an investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and said it expected condemnation from the international community. The foreign ministry statement did not explicitly refer to Russia and Iran, maintaining Turkey’s caution in not lashing out at its partners.But it called on “the parties who have influence over the Syrian regime” to ensure that such attacks are halted and punished.It noted that “in the past no measures have been taken against these attacks.”
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has expressed deep concern and condemned the purported chemical attack on Douma in the eastern region of Syria, according to an official source at the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Moscow, Damascus deny claims Russia’s military is rejecting claims that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons in an attack on the rebel-held town of Douma. Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko was quoted by Russian news agencies on Sunday as saying Russia was prepared to “promptly send Russian specialists in radiation, chemical and biological protection to Douma after its liberation from fighters to gather data that will confirm the fabricated nature of these statements.”Yevtushenko said “a number of Western countries” are trying to prevent the resumption of an operation to remove Army of Islam fighters from Douma and “to this end they are using the West’s pet theme of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces.”

Saudi Arabia condemns Douma chemical attack

Arab News/April 08, 2018/DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has expressed deep concern and condemned the purported chemical attack on Douma in the eastern region of Syria, according to an official source at the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The attack killed dozens of civilians, among them women and children. The source stressed the need to stop these tragedies and to pursue a peaceful solution based on the principles of the Geneva Declaration and UN Security Council resolutions. The source pointed out the importance of the international community’s responsibilities toward civilians in Syria.

Saudi Detainees May Face Terrorism-Focused Courts
SourceAgence France Presse/Naharnet/April 08/18/Dozens of Saudi detainees caught up in a government anti-graft crackdown could be referred to courts specialized in cases of national security and terrorism, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Sunday. They include individuals who refused to agree to confidential settlements with the government, and others believed to be guilty of "a greater offense," the pan-Arab daily quoted Saudi Arabia's deputy attorney-general Saud al-Hamad as saying. "Each of these cases will be dealt with separately. Some will be examined by departments specialized in money laundering, while others will be referred to courts specialized in issues of national security and terrorism," Hamad said. In November, 381 Saudi royals, ministers and tycoons were detained in an anti-corruption crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said in January that the majority had been released after agreeing to financial settlements totaling over 400 billion riyals ($107 bn) in various forms of assets and cash.
To date, 56 people are known to remain in custody, their whereabouts unknown since the initial holding place -- the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton -- was re-opened on February 11.Saudi Arabia's prosecutor general has launched fresh investigations and judicial proceedings against those detainees, Asharq al-Awsat said, quoting the deputy attorney-general. "Depending on the result, the investigation will be referred to the relevant court," Hamad said. Saudi King Salman in March ordered the creation of specialized anti-corruption units to investigate and prosecute graft cases. Officials have not made public the charges against suspects detained at the Ritz-Carlton. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old son of the king, is behind the unprecedented crackdown on corruption, as he consolidates his grip on power. Some critics have labeled Prince Mohammed's campaign a shakedown and power grab, but authorities insist the purge targeted endemic corruption as the country prepares for a post-oil era.

New air strikes hit rebel-held areas of Syria’s Ghouta amid ceasefire talks
AFP, Beirut/Sunday, 8 April 2018/New regime air strikes hit the last rebel pocket Syria’s Eastern Ghouta on Sunday, a monitor said, despite reports the fighters had struck a ceasefire deal with regime ally Russia. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said raids had resumed a day after more than 40 people were killed in other strikes on Douma, where dozens also suffered from breathing difficulties. Negotiators in Douma and the Syrian state news agency SANA said a deal had been reached for negotiations with the Jaish al-Islam rebel group, who hold Douma, the last pocket of resistance in Ghouta. On Sunday morning, a civilian committee taking part in the talks between the rebels and Russia announced “a ceasefire and the resumption of talks today” hoping it will lead to a “final accord”. SANA, citing an official source, said the “Jaish al-Islam terrorists are requesting negotiations with the Syrian government and the government will begin these negotiations within two hours”. The Britain-based Observatory said “regime aircraft have resumed bombardment of Douma” after a brief lull overnight, adding that the strikes were aimed at piling pressure on Jaish al-Islam.
It added, however, that “despite the renewed strikes, negotiations are underway”.
Civilian casualties
According to the Observatory, air raids killed 42 people in Douma on Saturday and 30 of Friday. It also reported that 70 civilians suffered from breathing difficulties on Saturday, and that 11 of them, including four children, had died. The White Helmets rescue organisation, Jaish al-Islam and Syria’s main opposition forces however claimed that Douma had been hit by a chemical attack. Syrian state media denounced the allegations as “fabrications”.The Observatory’s Abdel Rahman said he could not “confirm or deny” the claims of a chemical attack. But he said the civilians had difficulty breathing probably because of the amount of smoke that rose over Douma “after the air strikes”.A regime offensive against Ghouta since February 18 has killed more than 1,600 civilians and sliced the area into three isolated pockets, each held by different rebel factions. The first two were evacuated under Russian-brokered deals last month that saw more than 46,000 rebels and civilians bussed to opposition-held Idlib province in the northwest. But talks with Jaish al-Islam which controls Douma -- the third and last pocket -- have faltered despite a preliminary accord last week that saw nearly 3,000 fighters and civilians bussed to northern Syria.

Israel defense minister says ‘no innocent people’ in Gaza
AFP/April 08, 2018/JERUSALEM: Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday there were “no innocent people” in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip after 10 days of protests and clashes left 30 Palestinians dead. “There are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” Lieberman told Israel’s public radio. “Everyone’s connected to Hamas, everyone gets a salary from Hamas, and all the activists trying to challenge us and breach the border are Hamas military wing activists.”Israel has faced mounting questions over its use of live fire after 10 days of protests and clashes along the Gaza Strip border in which its forces have killed 30 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry. Violence spiked again on Friday, when clashes erupted as thousands protested along the border, and nine Palestinians, including a journalist, were killed. On March 30, Israeli forces killed 19 Palestinians as a protest by tens of thousands led to clashes. There have been no reported Israeli casualties. Israel says it has only opened fire when necessary to stop damage to the border fence, infiltrations and attempted attacks. It alleges Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip and with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, is seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence. But rights groups have harshly criticized Israeli soldiers’ actions, and Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to troops. The European Union and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation, which Israel has rejected. On Saturday, the European Union raised questions over whether Israeli troops engaged in “proportionate use of force.”

France Hosts Saudi Crown Prince on Global Tour
Saudi Arabia's crown prince arrived in France on Sunday for the next leg of a global tour aimed at reshaping his kingdom's austere image as he pursues his drive to reform the conservative petrostate. Prince Mohammed bin Salman will hold meetings with President Emmanuel Macron during his two-day official visit starting Monday -- his first trip to France as the heir to the Saudi throne. Macron will walk a diplomatic tightrope with the young prince in talks set to focus on cultural ties and investments but also the war in Yemen, dubbed the world's worst humanitarian crisis, and the kingdom's arch-nemesis Iran. The 32-year-old prince, widely known as MBS, was received at the Bourget airport near Paris on Sunday morning by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. The trip follows a coast-to-coast tour of the United States as well as visits to Britain and Egypt, where the prince courted a host of business tycoons and struck multimillion-dollar deals from defense to entertainment. Around 18 memorandums of understanding in energy, agriculture, tourism and culture are set to be signed at an official Saudi-France CEO Forum on Tuesday, a source close to the crown prince's delegation told AFP. A Franco-Saudi cooperation deal to develop Al Ula, a Saudi city richly endowed with archeological remnants, is also expected to be a central highlight of the visit, the source added. Aside from meetings with the French president, prime minister and trade officials, the prince is also considering a visit to the Paris-based tech start-up campus Station F, the Arab World Institute and a concert in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence, the source said. "This is not a traditional state visit," another source close to the Saudi delegation told AFP, without revealing the time of his arrival on Sunday. "It is about forging a new partnership with France, not just shopping for deals."Macron's office said the trip would also focus on investment in the digital economy as well as renewable energy, as the world's top crude exporter pumps billions of dollars in the sector in a bid to diversify its economy.
Young, visionary, ambitious'
Prince Mohammed's tour is meant to project "Saudi Arabia is open for business," Bernard Haykel, a professor at Princeton University, told AFP.
"He is marketing Saudi Arabia as a strategic and business partner to the West and a force of stability in the region, as compared to rival Iran which he presents as a destabilizing force," he said. The tour comes after a tumultuous period at home that saw a major military shake-up and a royal purge as the prince consolidates power to a degree well beyond that wielded by previous rulers. The prince has used his global tour to project his reforms -- including the historic lifting of a ban on women driving, cinemas and mixed-gender concerts -- as part of his pledge to return the kingdom to moderate Islam. Backed by high-power lobbying and public relations firms, the prince is seeking to rebrand Saudi Arabia as a modernist oasis instead of an austere kingdom known for exporting jihadist ideology and subjugating women. Saudi officials project strong relations between Prince Mohammed and Macron, both young leaders undertaking challenging reforms to transform their countries. "Saudi Arabia is not resetting diplomatic ties with France," a source close to the Saudi government told AFP. "The leadership of both countries share much in common. They are both young, visionary and ambitious."
Underlying tensions
But the trip follows a period of underlying tensions, with Macron seeking to bolster ties with the Arab world's biggest economy while also managing other relationships with Middle Eastern nations. Macron waded into a regional crisis last November when Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri tendered his resignation on live television from Riyadh, apparently under pressure from the crown prince. Macron invited Hariri to Paris for talks and he has since rescinded his resignation, a development that analysts say exposed the limits of the prince's authority. As U.S. President Donald Trump threatens to tear up the 2015 nuclear cooperation deal with Iran, Macron also faces the challenge of convincing the crown prince that some agreement to curb Tehran's atomic ambitions is better than no deal at all, experts say. The crown prince, however, has emphasized closer ties with Washington just as Macron has sought to improve relations with Iran. Macron also faces seething criticism over French weapon exports to Saudi Arabia, including Caesar artillery guns, sniper rifles and armored vehicles, despite the kingdom's role in the Yemen crisis. Three out of four French people believe it is "unacceptable" to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to a poll last month by independent research group YouGov. Last week, 10 international rights groups implored Macron to pressure Prince Mohammed over the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, claiming it is exacerbating a humanitarian crisis for thousands of civilians.

German Police Rule Out 'Political Motive' in Van Attack
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/April 08/18/German police said Sunday they did not see an extremist motive behind a ramming attack with a van that claimed two lives and placed the driver's mental health issues in the foreground. There are "no indications of a political motive," said Hajo Kuhlisch, chief of police in western city Muenster where the attack took place. Rather, "the motive and origins (of the crime) lie within the perpetrator himself," he added. Far-right opponents of Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy suggested in the immediate aftermath of the attack it might be an Islamist act of terror, while some media reported the killer had links to right-wing extremist organizations. So far the 48-year-old German who killed two and injured 20 -- some seriously -- with a van before shooting himself has been identified only as Jens R. Prosecutors said he had faced allegations of threats, property damage and fraud in 2015 and 2016, all of which were dropped. A source close to the investigation told AFP that incidents related to the perpetrator's mental health had affected his family since 2015, and that he said in late March he wanted to commit suicide. Broadcaster NTV reported he had threatened family members with an ax in 2014 and 2015. Despite investigators' increased certainty about the perpetrator's mental health, "it will take a few more hours and days" before the case is fully cleared up, North Rhine-Westphalia state interior minister Herbert Reul said Sunday.

Four Killed in Suicide Attack on Iraq Party Headquarters
SourceAgence France Presse/Naharnet/April 08/18/A suicide attack targeting a political party headquarters in western Iraq has killed four people and injured seven others, including a candidate in polls set for May, officials said Sunday. On Saturday evening "two suicide bombers disguised as soldiers entered the Al-Hal Party headquarters", one of most prominent parties in the Sunni-majority province of Al-Anbar, a local security official told AFP on the condition of anonymity. One of the attackers "detonated his explosive belt while political leaders held a meeting" at the campaign headquarters in the city of Hit, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) west of Baghdad, General Qassam al-Mohammadi, head of army operations in the area, told AFP. "Three members of the security forces were killed and seven people, including candidate Zineb Abdel Hamid al-Hiti, were wounded," he said.  A municipal employee on Sunday also succumbed to injuries sustained in the attack, the anonymous official said. He said the second attacker detonated his belt shortly after the first, but did not cause any casualties. Medical sources confirmed the death toll of four and said Hiti had been hospitalized with light injuries. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, which took place in the tribal desert province of Al-Anbar, primarily home to Sunni Muslims. Sunnis are a minority in Iraq, where more than two-thirds of the population is Shiite Muslim. For three years, the Sunni Islamic State jihadist group ruled over the province, which stretches from the western periphery of the capital to the border with war-torn Syria. In December, Baghdad declared "victory" against IS after retaking the group's last urban stronghold in Al-Anbar. But according to experts, jihadists are still hiding along the porous border with Syria and in parts of the Iraqi desert. Elections held in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime have all been marred by deadly violence. But in the runup to the May 12 polls, the country has enjoyed a respite from violence which has significantly decreased in recent months.

Brazil's ex-President Lula da Silva Surrenders to Federal Police
CNN International/Sunday 08th April 2018/Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva turned himself over to federal authorities Saturday to begin serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption. Before Lula da Silva surrendered to police, his supporters prevented him from turning himself in by blocking his car.Lula da Silva had been holed up since Friday in the steelworker's union headquarters surrounded by many hundreds of supporters. As he tried to leave the compound Saturday through a gate, dozens of supporters surrounded the vehicle shouting "don't surrender" and "no turning back," which forced his vehicle to back away from the gate. Thursday, a federal judge ordered Lula da Silva's arrest after the Supreme Court ruled he must start serving the 12-year prison sentence. Lula da Silva, a former steelworker's union leader, remained at the union headquarters Friday, defying an order to turn himself in to police by 5 p.m. in the southern city of Curitiba. Lula da Silva, who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2011, was considered a front-runner in this October's elections. But the court's decision not to grant his request to remain free while appealing the conviction has cast doubt on his bid to regain power.
After the incident with his supporters, Lula walked himself outside the gates of the headquarters, got into another car and joined a police envoy. The convoy headed to to Sao Paolo airport where the former President was expected to board a flight to Curitiba. "I believe in justice and know I am not above the law," Lula da Silva, 72, said from a stage outside the steelworkers' union headquarters earlier Saturday. "I will prove my innocence."The union building is in the city of Sao Bernardo do Campo in Sao Paulo state, more 260 miles to the north.
Speaking to supporters from a memorial for his late wife, Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva, he said his arrest is politically motivated and that "history will prove" that he is not guilty. "I will turn myself into the authorities willingly," Lula da Silva said. "If the crime I'm guilty of is bringing food and education to the poor, then I hope I'll continue to be the biggest criminal in this country."
Shortly before Friday's deadline, Brazil's Superior Court of Justice, the nation's highest appellate court, rejected a habeas corpus request to delay the prison time. "Their dream is for me not to run, their other dream is to see my picture in prison," Lula da Silva said Saturday. "The more days I spend in jail, the more 'Lulas' will emerge in this country." In January, an appeals court unanimously upheld the corruption and money laundering charges against him, and he was handed the prison sentence. Lula da Silva was initially found guilty of the charges in July. Lula da Silva has strongly denied any wrongdoing. His defense said he was a victim of political persecution. His conviction stemmed from a wide-ranging corruption investigation into the state-run oil company Petrobras, dubbed "Operation Car Wash." The accusations against him emerged after he left office in 2011. Lula da Silva was accused of benefiting from the renovation of a triplex in a beach town near Sao Paulo by the construction company OAS. The charges were connected to 3.7 million reais' worth of bribes ($1.1 million) received from OAS through the beachfront apartment. In return, Lula da Silva helped the builder acquire contracts from the oil company, prosecutors charged. Universally known as Lula, Lula da Silva is a founding member of Brazil's only socialist political party, Partido dos Trabalhadores, the Workers' Party. He won two terms as President. He was friends with the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who supported his political career, and attended Castro's funeral. Lula da Silva left office with a 90% approval rating but was questioned by police about the corruption allegations in March 2016. Lula da Silva's wife and six others also were charged. Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva, who died in February 2017, would have turned 68 on Saturday.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on April 08-09/18
Terrorism and the ‘Freedom of Speech’ Argument

Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al Awsat/April 08/18
“We’ve asked that Osama bin Laden, should get arrested. He was outside Saudi Arabia. He should have been arrested. And The Independent answered us in ’93 that Osama bin Laden was a freedom fighter practicing free speech,” Crown Prince Mohammad told the Times magazine.
This phrase, described by the Saudi crown prince in his interview with the US-based magazine is enough to clear up any misguided ideas still resonating in Western circles on how to deal with extremism. Especially the dull repetition and an illogical connection made between al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his Saudi nationality.
“You can go back to this article in The Independent in ’93, Osama bin Laden! That was before 9/11, 10 years before 9/11. We were saying that he was a dangerous guy. He was a terrorist. That he had to be arrested immediately. We had terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia. We had terrorist attacks in Egypt in the ’90s but we were accused of repressing freedom of speech until 9/11 happened,” Times cited the Crown Prince as saying.
In contrast, no one asked this question: What if Western countries were convinced with the Saudi position on bin Laden from the start?
What if bin Laden was actually arrested as Riyadh demanded a decade before the catastrophic events of September 11?! It goes without saying that the worst 21st-century terror attacks, such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York and the bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 could have possibly been avoided.
Who could have ever pictured that those suspected by Saudi Arabia but defended by the West as "freedom fighters" would become the dagger which stabbed the West in the back!
Was this the first time that Riyadh warns of the danger of terrorism before it happens and spreads? Of course not, it also did so at the beginning of the Syrian war. The West overlooked Syria’s tragedy and the failure to resolve the ongoing crisis, which led to the proliferation of terrorist groups and their growth.
Tragedy reoccurred as the West turned a blind eye to these warnings once again. The world is surprised that a very small group, such as ISIS, would grow to become a mass “terrorist monger” not only in Egypt, Libya and Morocco, but also reaching the US and several European capitals.
Once again, the Kingdom warns against an anomaly and the West considers that this is nothing more than an exaggeration or the “stifling of freedom of expression!”
Unfortunately, the cycle of disregard hasn’t come to an end; once more the conflict in Yemen between the legitimate government and Houthi coup militias is being misinterpreted.
The support of the Saudi-led Arab coalition coming to the aid of the internationally-recognized government is also being misunderstood, and accusations are mounting against the kingdom for the dire situation in Yemen.
No one denies the presence of a humanitarian disaster in Yemen, but the West continues to overlook the main reason behind all the turmoil, the Houthi-led coup.
Most critics have completely forgotten what the outlook for Yemen would have been, had the Saudi-led Arab Coalition not answered the call for support by the internationally recognized government.
“What if the coalition and the Security Council didn’t answer the call of the Yemeni president and the Yemeni legitimate government? You would see Yemen divided between two terrorist groups: the Houthis, the new Hezbollah in the north, and Al Qaeda in the south, they are trying to take advantage of what’s happening there and they are trying to grow in 2015. So you will see Yemen split between those two terrorist groups,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Times.
Matters would have aggravated to a point worse than what was taking place in Iraq in 2013 when ISIS dominated half of the country. The fight to drive ISIS out of Iraq took five years and was only made possible by the efforts of an international coalition led by the United States.
What would it take to expel Qaeda from Yemen alone without an alliance?! Crown Prince Mohammed predicts that it will take about 20 years, require a coalition of over 60 countries and inhibit up to 13% of world trade going through Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.
The global economy will be paralyzed by two terrorist organizations, Houthis and Qaeda.
The question of the day is should regional countries, which face the threat of terror head on, repeat the same mistake of inaction for the third time--only later proving their inability to anticipate and curb terrorism before the West?! Absolutely not. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, and the rest of the region will not make the same mistake again. Everyone agrees on the universal principles of freedom of expression and human rights, but the basic dilemma is that Western societies themselves have not found consensus or fully implemented these rights. For example, of the 50 states in the United States, 31 have the death penalty, with the remaining states labeling it as “brutal punishment.” It is certainly not a condition that all societies identically match each other, given the lack of an ideal society that can impose laws and customs. And above all, it is unreasonable for a state pushing back against extremists by detaining rabble-rousers and strife inciters to be labeled as a “repressive” state.

Beware Persians bearing gifts! How Iran’s banks funded terror

Baria Alamuddin/Arab News/April 08/18
During the years of Mohammad Khatami’s presidency, many Arab states sought to mend their relationships with Tehran. The Islamic regime’s past efforts to overthrow Arab governments were glossed over. Even proxies such as Hezbollah were cautiously embraced as a bulwark against Israel — protectors of Arab territory — rather than conduits for the expansionist ambitions of a hostile regime.
When King Hamad Al-Khalifa came to power in Bahrain in 1999, his amnesty for exiles who had colluded with Iran to overthrow the established order during the 1980s and 1990s was conducted in a similar reconciliatory spirit. The fact that Tehran’s theocratic leaders claimed Bahrain and other Arab territories as their own was downplayed. Iran was a powerful neighbor. Perhaps constructive engagement was safer than open hostility.
Today it is possible to perceive the consequences of well-intentioned efforts at détente. We now know that Tehran spent the decade before 2011 putting measures in place that would be used to fundamentally destabilize the Arab world. The Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force established spy rings and sleeper cells within GCC states — lying low, yet inexorably expanding their capacity and awaiting potent opportunities. Funding for militant GCC oppositionists expanded.
During the 1990s, Saudi Shiite terrorists were used to attack Western and GCC interests; a massive 1996 blast in Khobar left 20 dead, mostly US servicemen. While parts of the Bahrain opposition engaged in the political process, radical elements received Iranian support to engage in rioting and other destabilizing actions. Documents show how Bahraini radicals in London benefited from Iranian largesse. In 2011, the Quds Force even sponsored an attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington.
From 2004 onward, Iraqi Shiite militants benefited from vast quantities of Iranian support with the aim of dragging a weakened and divided Iraqi state firmly into Tehran’s orbit. When Hezbollah was pushed into an increasingly confrontational posture, the result was the devastating 2006 war with Israel, in which Israel’s air force slaughtered over a thousand Lebanese citizens. A crippled Lebanon — where leading politicians had been murdered in Iran-sponsored assassinations — drifted inexorably into Tehran’s orbit.
We are now learning about an additional chapter of this pre-2011 Iranian meddling: The Washington Post published an exclusive report showing how Future Bank, a 2004 joint Iranian venture on Bahraini soil, laundered billions of dollars — avoiding the sanctions on Iran’s banking system and masking illicit transactions for purposes of organized crime, arms proliferation and terrorism. Auditors discovered “hundreds of bank accounts tied to individuals convicted of crimes including money laundering and terrorism financing, as well as phantom loans provided to companies that operate as fronts for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC].” The two primary Iranian shareholders, Bank Melli and Bank Saderat, had been internationally designated for channeling funds to Iran’s nuclear program and terrorism networks.
Iran has spent the decade before 2011 putting measures in place that would be used to fundamentally destabilize the Arab world.
The Bahraini authorities discovered how this “Trojan horse” bank (which was closed in 2015) “routinely altered financial documents to mask illicit trade between Iran and dozens of foreign partners.” Evidence of at least $7 billion in illicit transactions is understood to be the tip of the iceberg. As early as 2005 senior Bahraini officials briefed me about how entities such as Future Bank were funneling investment through GCC commercial properties which could then be laundered for illicit purposes. At that time, however, it was impossible to see the complete picture and the potential consequences.
Commercial networks throughout the UAE, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait were exploited as front companies for similar sanctions-busting criminality. Instead of constraining the regime, sanctions allowed the IRGC to enrich itself and bankroll regional terrorism through control of this lucrative black market. Funding was channeled to terrorist groups that in Bahrain were responsible for killing over 20 police, and countless bombings. The “godfather” of Bahrain’s militants, Ayatollah Isa Qassim, used Future Bank to hold millions of dollars in questionable funds. He now faces charges of money laundering. Leaders of Bahraini terrorist groups based themselves in Iran, engaging in campaigns of recruitment, training militants, arms smuggling and planning attacks.
Just as during the early 1980s Tehran staged coup attempts and terrorist attacks, and funded insurgent groups in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait, Yemen and Iraq, this continued pattern of activities throughout the 1990s and 2000s illustrates how the strategy of exporting revolution across the Arab world was never abandoned; although the pragmatic requirements of recovery from the devastating 1980s war with Iraq forced the ayatollahs to temporarily dial down their meddling and bide their time.
Many years ago, I had occasion to visit the Saudi royal household and see the magnificent Persian carpet given by President Khatami to King Abdullah after his 1999 visit to Riyadh. With Iran exploiting that charm offensive to shower gifts and investment upon the Arab world, I was reminded of the legend of how the people of Troy welcomed the gift of a giant wooden horse within their city walls, only to be slaughtered by the soldiers hiding within. Beware Persians bearing gifts!
Like a parasitic organism lying in wait to infect a new host and devour it from the inside, the Islamic Republic of Iran will remain an existential threat as long as it continues to exist. Even supposedly dovish figures such as Khatami and Hassan Rouhani have a merely cosmetic impact on aggressive overseas policies controlled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself.
While the Trump administration hedges its bets over whether to maintain a presence in Syria to constrain Iranian expansionism, or whether its aspirations to get tough on Iran are merely hot air and rhetoric — for the Arab world the neutralization of Iran as an active threat is increasingly a matter of life and death.
*Baria Alamuddin is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East and the UK. She is editor of the Media Services Syndicate and has interviewed numerous heads of state.

Terrorism Turkish Style/الإرهاب بنموذجه التركي
Uzay Bulut/Gatestone Institute/April 08/18
"Erdoğan has cynically referred to these students as 'terrorists,' vowed to expel them from Boğaziçi University, and to deny them the right to study at any other university. We have heard this kind of verbal attack from Erdoğan before and it was followed by the detention of thousands of academics, journalists, artists, and human rights advocates." — Open Letter signed by over 1,800 renowned academics from around the world, including Nobel and Pulitzer Prize laureates.
Ankara does nothing to prevent ISIS from selling Yazidi women and children in Turkey; allows unspecified numbers of people to use Turkish territory as a point of entrance into Syria and Iraq to join ISIS or other jihadist groups; hosts and aids Hamas, a terrorist organization that proudly targets civilians and vows to obliterate Israel; and enables jihadi terrorism through the oil trade.
Turkey, a NATO ally that considers itself a worthy candidate for EU membership, warmly welcomes and assists terrorists who commit genocidal crimes against humanity, yet persecutes non-violent academics and journalists whose opinions differ from those propagated by the regime.
On March 19, a group of students at Istanbul's Boğaziçi University, Turkey's leading institute of higher education, demonstrated against an event on campus. The event against which they were demonstrating, organized by the Society for Islamic Research, was to champion the Turkish soldiers who had participated in the Afrin invasion. While the pro-government students distributed Turkish delight sweets, the counter-demonstrators unfolded a banner reading: "Invasions and massacres are not [to be celebrated] with delights."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by having the anti-war students arrested for spreading "terrorist" propaganda. On April 3, a Turkish court jailed nine of them and freed the other six, pending their trial.
To protest what they called a "disturbing trend of criminalizing political speech and dissent in Turkey," over 1,800 renowned academics from around the world, among them Nobel and Pulitzer Prize laureates, signed an "Open Letter of Support for Students Arrested at Boğaziçi University". The letter reads, in part:
"The arrests on campus, as well as subsequent police raids of student homes and dormitories, continue a disturbing trend of criminalizing political speech and dissent in Turkey.
"Erdoğan has cynically referred to these students as 'terrorists,' vowed to expel them from Boğaziçi University, and to deny them the right to study at any other university. We have heard this kind of verbal attack from Erdoğan before and it was followed by the detention of thousands of academics, journalists, artists, and human rights advocates.
"We call upon the Turkish government to immediately cease all investigations and arrests of students exercising political speech."
The curtailing of free speech is nothing new in Erdogan's Turkey. Anyone who dares to challenge the government's accepted narrative runs the very real risk of being targeted and punished. Non-Turkish residents of the country are no exception.
Take the case of the American academic Norma Jeanne Cox, for example. After receiving a postgraduate degree from Boğaziçi University in 1983, Cox worked as a lecturer at Istanbul University, and subsequently at the Middle East Technical University in southern Turkey, where she engaged in discussions with her students and colleagues about the 1915 Armenian genocide, the forced assimilation of Kurds, and protested against the film The Last Temptation of Christ. For these "crimes," she was arrested, fired from her job and ultimately deported. The Ministry of the Interior claimed that Cox had been expelled and banned from re-entering Turkey due to "her separatist activities, which were incompatible with national security." In a suit she filed with the European Court of Human Rights -- which in 2010 convicted Turkey of violating her freedom of expression -- Cox argued that her rights had been violated by Turkey because of her Christian faith and dissenting opinions.
Since then, little has changed. On January 11, 2016, members of "Academics for Peace" -- who signed a declaration calling for non-violence between the Turkish government and the Kurds -- were detained by police, banned from going abroad, exposed to administrative investigations and dismissed from their jobs for "making propaganda for a terrorist organization," among other perceived offenses.
On January 13, 2017, an Armenian MP, Garo Paylan of the opposition party HDP, was suspended from three sessions of parliament for delivering a speech in which he warned against repeating the mistakes of the past. "Between 1913 and 1923, Armenians, Greeks, Syriacs, and Jews... were either exiled with genocides and major massacres or subjected to population exchanges," he said. All mentions he made of the Armenian genocide were removed from the parliamentary minutes.
On January 5, 2018, during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace in Paris, Erdogan accused members of the media of nurturing terrorism, in response to Macron's concern over the Turkish government's crackdown on students, teachers and journalists:
"Terror doesn't form by itself. Terror and terrorists have gardeners. These gardeners are those people viewed as thinkers. They water ... from their columns on newspapers, and one day, you find, these people show up as a terrorist in front of you."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently accused members of the media of nurturing terrorism, and had anti-war students arrested for spreading "terrorist" propaganda. (Photo by Defne Karadeniz/Getty Images)
Erdogan's definition of terrorism is as skewed as Turkey's anti-terrorism laws, frequently used and abused by the government to arrest and imprison peaceful demonstrators -- a practice criticized in a 2010 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report entitled: "Protesting as a Terrorist Offense."
Meanwhile, Turkish authorities turn a blind eye to actual terrorist activities in, and on behalf of, the country. Ankara does nothing to prevent ISIS from selling Yazidi women and children in Turkey; allows unspecified numbers of people to use Turkish territory as a point of entrance into Syria and Iraq to join ISIS or other jihadist groups; hosts and aids Hamas, a terrorist organization that proudly targets civilians and vows to obliterate Israel; and enables jihadi terrorism through the oil trade.
Turkey, a NATO ally that considers itself a worthy candidate for EU membership, warmly welcomes and assists terrorists who commit genocidal crimes against humanity, yet persecutes non-violent academics and journalists whose opinions differ from those propagated by the regime. The inversion is not only surreal; it is deadly.
*Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist born and raised in Turkey. She is presently based in Washington D.C.
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On teaching philosophy in Saudi Arabia
Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran/Al Arabiya/April 08/18
Philosophy’s relation with societies has not always been cordial as philosophy has been resisted by society from the very beginning as a process that seeks to create wisdom, a spark of continuous amazement and a never-ending flame over gloomy questions. Some have confronted philosophy because they believed it led towards misguidance. It’s said that Imam al-Shafi ruled in favor of striking philosophers with leafless palm branches and with shoes. However, if it hadn’t been for Aristotle’s logic, al-Shafi would not have been able to write ‘Al-Risala’ which is the most important book in the history of establishing the principles of jurisprudence.It’s been 70 years since philosophy has been taught in the Arab world. Results have not been satisfactory mainly because teaching it relies on memorization techniques or sanctifying information. Philosophy sessions did not allow students to think freely and ask whatever questions came to their minds
Teaching philosophy in the kingdom
These days, amid the current social transformations in the kingdom, there have been calls in the media for the education ministry to devise a plan to begin teaching philosophy in high schools and universities. This is an important call as teaching philosophy is essential at the level of education. Several Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and even some Gulf countries, teach philosophy. Teaching philosophy is a necessity in education. However, there are few points in this regard that pertain to obstacles and problems in the teaching of philosophy.
Philosophers have propounded theories since the days of minor Greek academics, until universities and teaching halls were established. Teaching halls transformed philosophy’s trajectory over three centuries for Hegel, Schopenhauer, Schelling, Fichte, Feuerbach, Habermas, Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida, Rawlsand and others. However, philosophy does not take the word “teach” well, and this is where confusion rises from observing philosophy’s effects and from teaching it.
The philosophical field consists of a series of questions, dialogue and discussions. During philosophical deliberations, everyone is equal and ‘truth’ is absent. Education’s structure requires a minimum level of facts for repetition and promotion. This does not apply to philosophy — whose history consists of 2,500 years of conflict over varied issues like the fire, the universe, the sun, astronomy, existence, language, time and death.
Philosophy is not about any one subject to be taught, as each theory is a philosophy on its own. Philosophy is a subject of possibilities, mistakes, experiments, confrontations and failures. When some philosophical waves were populistically tamed, they became famous but this fame soon decreased, as seen with existentialism, logical positivism and analytic philosophy and other waves that intersect with philosophy like structuralism.
Freedom of thought
It’s been 70 years since philosophy has been taught in the Arab world. Results have not been satisfactory mainly because teaching it relies on memorization techniques or sanctifying information. Philosophy sessions did not allow students to think freely and ask whatever questions came to their minds. I think Arab and Islamic societies reject this and it’s sometimes even strictly punished. Philosophy sessions at schools need an atmosphere where students can freely ask any question and respond to theories or reject them. This environment is what makes philosophy a developed field. Only then we can notice reasonable results from teaching philosophy.
Gilles Deleuze, an influential French philosopher who passed away in 1996, first taught at high schools then became a lecturer at Sorbonne. He has videos on YouTube which show how he conducted a philosophy class. Students gathered around his table and did not stay in their allocated seats. Sometimes, he sat with his legs crossed on the table and students did not sit at all.
His book ‘What is Philosophy?’ is regarded a classic reference in renewing philosophical definition, which he wrote with Félix Guattariis. In addition to its famous definition of philosophy, as a creation or production of concepts, the book also tackles the distinction between philosophy and science. In the book, Guattari and Deleuze say: “The object of science is not concepts but rather functions that are presented as propositions in discursive systems.
The elements of functions are called (functives). A scientific notion is defined not by concepts but by functions or propositions. This is a very complex idea with many aspects, as can be seen already from the use to which it is put by mathematics and biology respectively… Science does not need philosophy for these tasks.” Martin Heidegger says: “Science does not think.” This is not a condemnation of science, and it does not aim to derogate the scientific field. However, the aim is to note differences of the overlapping between these two fields that have two different structures and tasks. Philosophy as Deleuze puts it has “a permanent genealogical task.”
This is why philosophy sometimes resists classifications and categories which suffocate it via scientific definitions or confinement to classes. Philosophy is an ally of rebellion. It’s with the wind, waves and fire and not with stillness, stagnation and ashes. Teaching is rigid when you examine its roots. What actually enhanced the inclusion of philosophy at schools and universities in America and Europe was some philosophers’ amazing success at discussing the philosophical concept and meaning and developing their lectures based on their discussions with their students in class.
This is what German philosophers did as they mastered the technique of transforming a teaching hall into an arena to create, examine and overlap theories even in the public domain. This is what Gadamer, Heidegger’s student, who has been acquainted with prominent German philosophers, noted in his book ‘Philosophical Apprenticeships.’
The journey of philosophy
In brief, teaching philosophy requires a free atmosphere - colleges in Islamabad, Kabul and Tehran teach philosophy, but it’s important to liberate the atmosphere from oppressing knowledge. To do so, one must begin with teaching eastern philosophies of India, China and the ancient east.
Then they must transition to the Socratic stage, Plato and Aristotle, Stoicism and Epicureanism and up until the Middle Ages and teach about Augustinus, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham and Nicholas of Cusa. Then comes the Renaissance, the beginning of establishing the theory of knowledge beginning with the Baconian method developed by Francis Bacon and all the way to Descartes, Leibniz, Hobbes,Locke, Berkeley, David Hume, Smith, Pascal, Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau. Then there’s Kant and German philosophers who followed up until Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Dilthey.
The 20th century witnessed the rise of philosophies that are important to be discussed in academies and high schools, like phenomenology developed by Husserl, analytic philosophy developed by Russel and the philosophy of language developed by Wittgenstein. This is in addition to the philosophies of difference which was known as the postmodern wave. As such, the process will take a possible and preliminary educational path which, despite its scarcity, one can base work on towards establishing and deepening questions. And as Deleuze puts it: “Concepts are flat surfaces without levels, orderings without hierarchy; hence the importance in philosophy of questions.”

Iran is on the brink of a new popular uprising
Huda al-Husseini/Al Arabiya/April 08/18
New sanctions against Iran can be viewed as a warning to Tehran to halt the activities of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. Trump has set a deadline that ends in the first two weeks of May to amend the nuclear deal with Iran. The political arena is troubled as France, Britain and Germany began to move backward in the last few weeks to please Trump in an attempt to convince him not to withdraw from the agreement. Meanwhile, these countries proposed new sanctions to restrain Iran’s activity in terms of its ballistic missiles and its regional activity in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Iran seems to be “working as usual” as it’s using the Houthis in Yemen to launch missiles that target Riyadh upon Soleimani’s orders. However, Iran cannot continue to pursue this policy of “working as usual” for a long time because the political campaign launched by some European countries is tantamount to issuing a warning to Tehran to decrease Soleimani’s military activity which may reignite the problems that Iran suffered from before the nuclear deal was sealed – or perhaps cause even worse problems.
Prospect of US withdrawal from nuke deal
Regardless of what Washington decides to do, Iran has to show relative self-control and at least act responsibly. However, internally, it is probably difficult to maintain a unified front, as all old contentions will resurface. Even if the recent wave of protests seemed to have apparently ebbed, there is an ongoing low-level public unrest against the situation in Iran. Although the regime thinks the containment of the recent protests as being a success, it’s only a matter of time before fresh wave of strong protests erupt again. The US’ withdrawal from the deal or imposing additional sanctions may motivate a new popular uprising.
Ever since the nuclear deal was signed, Iran succeeded in attracting more than $15 billion in foreign investment. However this is not enough for the people who are in dire need of economic relief, especially when a large part of these investments need to be activated. While President Hassan Rouhani is aware of the need to translate economic growth into improving the quality of the Iranian people’s lives, Soleimani has completely different plans as he does not intend to allow Iran’s citizens to enjoy the fruits of the nuclear deal. On the contrary, Soleimani is investing massive funds which Iran secured after signing the deal for his adventures in other countries resulting in domestic and foreign criticism.
Loss of Iranian lives, capital
According to Iranian reports, the country has spent around $20 billion on fighting in Syria since 2011. It sent a large number of Revolutionary Guard members to Syria, funded Shiite militias from Afghanistan and Pakistan, supplied huge quantities of ballistic missiles, military equipment and arms to the Syrian army and Hezbollah, continued to invest in civil infrastructure in Syria and provided financial aid to the Assad regime.
Soleimani did all this to save the Syrian regime and Iran has got nothing in return. Therefore, Iran intends to attain return on its investment and resume the series of civil agreements with the Syrian government. Since the regime in Syria has relatively stabilized, it preferred to rehabilitate itself without relying on Iran and has headed more towards Europe. Given the competition between Russia and Iran on civil and economic resources there, Syria sees itself more committed to Russian President Vladimir Putin as Iranian presence has become more of a burden than an advantage. It’s been recently noticed that the Syrian government is creating obstacles and obstructing financial cooperation with Iran to prevent it from attaining financial gains. However, this has not prevented Soleimani from expanding Iran’s investment in Syria, which are expected to grow when the fighting is over. This is in addition to millions that are given to Syria at the expense of restoring the Iranian economy.
The story of Iran with Yemen will not be tragic if the end is not known in advance like Syria. Iran has been deeply involved in the Yemeni swamp for years. A UN report in 2015 said Iran has been transferring weapons shipments to the Houthis since 2009. Ever since 2011, Iran has increased its aid to the Houthis, including transferring millions of dollars to them. The tragedy is that after all these years of fighting in Yemen, no solution has been reached to justify Iran’s large investments there.
In addition to the financial cost, Iran has also suffered human losses. So far Soleimani has sacrificed many of “his proxy fighters” and thousands of Houthis have been killed in Yemen. Many Hezbollah and Shiite militia fighters have also been killed in Syria. Last year, the number of the Quds brigade fatalities increased dramatically. Some Iranian political leaders have voiced their worry that in the light of the unrest in several related fields, Iranian human losses will increase. Therefore, Iran may soon find itself confronting direct escalation on its territories.
Soleimani’s misadventures
As for Tehran, the protests which have been ongoing for months have not succeeded in changing the concept of the security command which has not yet comprehended the hefty price the country is paying for regional reinforcements. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars are being transferred from the national treasury to build military forces, cover the activities of the Quds brigade and develop surface-to-surface missiles which are expected to be the reason for imposing more sanctions on Iran.
This Iranian activity is viewed as leading towards a collision. The millions spent will turn the engineer and executor of Iran’s foreign policy, i.e. Soleimani, into the man whose behavior will lead to approving the framework of a new agreement that imposes additional sanctions on Tehran. The momentum of international investment which began last year has in fact decreased, and it’s expected to be undermined due to concerns over the global financial system and worries of international companies regarding the consequences of additional sanctions.
Iran will continue to suffer from banking problems that will increase the international isolation it has suffered from in the past. Anyway, Iran will need Europe to go back to negotiations either in terms of the nuclear agreement or in terms of an agreement with a different framework. Following months of disputes between the two hawks, France and Britain and European countries that are more moderate, like Germany, a unified European front has now emerged in terms of a policy towards Iran. Europe agrees to keep the nuclear deal despite American pressure; however it is fully aware that Iranian military activity which is led by Soleimani cannot be ignored. This harmonizes with the general atmosphere in Washington which is demanding imposing new sanctions on Iran due to its ballistic missiles and regional destructive activities.
An American politician involved in the matter told me that the comprehensive agreement between all these parties is an important wake-up call and a chance for the Iranian people to take to the street and also a chance for reformist powers and Rouhani to halt Soleimani’s activities and save Iran from falling back into complete isolation and the consequences which this shall entail.

A Yemen political solution is needed, but which one?
Mohammed Al Shaikh/Al Arabiya/April 08/18
Iran depends on three militias to expand and “export the revolution.” The first and most important militia and probably the most successful one is Hezbollah in Lebanon. The second one is the Islamized Hamas militia in Gaza while the third, and which is so far considered the weakest, is the Houthi militia in Yemen.
Iran’s three militias
Among these militias, Hezbollah is the strongest and it’s due to former prime minister Rafiq Hariri who approved to disarm all the factions fighting in the Lebanese civil war except for Hezbollah; thus allowing it almost complete control over Lebanese territory. Thanks to Iran’s financial support, the priorities of Hamas, the terrorist militia in Gaza, focused on paving way for the Persian expansion after which they will liberate Palestine from the river to the sea as they claim. Hamas greatly contributed in turning the Palestinian cause into the “shirt of Uthman” which the Iranians use to extend their expansive influence in Arab countries. The third militia is the Houthi Militia which belongs to the Zaidi sect but it’s oriented towards Jarudiyah branch which is a very small percentage of the Zaidi sect in North Yemen. Their percentage ranges between 5 to 10% of the Yemeni people, and they almost have no influence over people in South Yemen.
Avoiding the Lebanese scenario
Due to objective reasons, Saudi Arabia and the UAE cannot allow repeating Lebanon’s mistake, i.e. replicate Hezbollah’s model in Yemen. The war in Yemen may last for 10 years or more and so be it as the Houthis’ victory there means that Iran would be at our south. The Saudi people and government totally and irrevocably reject this regardless of any pressure or arguments under the pretext that the Yemeni war destroyed everything like human rights organizations, which are generously funded by the Qatari regime, claim.
The Saudis do not reject a political solution, but they strictly reject that the political solution in Yemen resembles the solution reached during the Lebanese civil war. Hezbollah was allowed to keep its weapons thus becoming the strongest party with no competitor after the civil war ended in Lebanon. The political solution in Yemen should thus begin with the Houthi militias’ handover of their weapons to the national army which represents all the Yemeni people and not only one category. Iran of course rejects this - and the Houthis consequently do as well – because the Houthis’ coup mainly aimed to let it have the final word when directing decisions. This goal helps the Houthis achieve what they are fighting for. This is also what mainly obstructs any political solution to the ongoing war.
That’s why I believe that the political solution suggested by the Houthis is impossible and it will not be accepted by the Yemeni legitimacy or the coalition members, especially Saudi Arabia, even if the entire world takes their side. Saudi Arabia and the coalition states do not mind forming a consensus government in which the Houthis are represented as a political movement and not as a military militia. The unpoliticized national Yemeni army will be the one to protect this consensus while everyone, including the Houthis, contributes to it like all other parties. Here lies the complex that will eventually require the coalition countries to impose their perspective of a political solution with the force of arms. This is the only option.