Detailed Lebanese & Lebanese Related LCCC English New Bulletin For November 02/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one
Letter of James 01/09-18: "Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away. Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved. Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfilment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures."

نشرات اخبار عربية وانكليزية مطولة ومفصلة يومية على موقعنا الألكتروني على الرابط التالي

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Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 01-02/18
Aoun backs Hariri as ‘strongest Sunni leader/Arab News/November 01/18
Aoun looks back on his two years in office: Political tactics open gap that may hit unity/NNA/November 01/18
Russia Warns Of "Provocation" In Syria, Hints At Israeli "hot Heads"/Jerusalem Post/November 01/18
How Should We Read the American Press? In Arabic./Lee Smith/Tablet/November 01/18
The New Jihad: More Threatening Than Ever/Guy Millière/Gatestone Institute/November 01/18
Life Returning Slowly to Christian Homeland in Iraq/Kenneth R. Timmerman/Gatestone Institute/November 01/18
Opinion/In Just Two Years, President Trump Has Reversed the Decline of American Influence in the Middle East/Elliott Abrams/Haaretz/November 01/18
‘Doormat Christianity’ and the Islamic Invasion/Raymond Ibrahim/PJ Media/November 01/18
Brazil: A Dangerous Adventure After a Disappointing Experience/Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Al Awsat/October 01/18
Scary Effects of Climate Change/Faye Flam/Bloomberg View/October 01/18
U.S. Officials Push for Yemen Talks/Elana DeLozier and Lt. Col. August Pfluger, USAF/The Washington Institute/November 01/18

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 01-02/18
Aoun backs Hariri as ‘strongest Sunni leader
Aoun looks back on his two years in office: Political tactics open gap that may hit unity
Hizbullah Insists on Representing March 8 Sunnis, Urges Hariri to Talk to Them
Mashnouq: We Won't be 'Political Caritas', Enough is Enough
Report: Mustaqbal Hails Aoun’s ‘Supportive’ Position, Says No Popular Moves Planned
Lebanon Takes Part as Observer in Arab Military Drill
Turkish Ship with 980 Kgs of Hashish Seized before Leaving Tripoli
Getting Even with Sunni MPs of March 8, Hobeish Proposes Creation of Christian Bloc
LF Criticizes Attempts to 'Revive' Christian Obstacle
Lebanon: Condemnation Continues Over Attack Against Saudi Arabia
Electricity Crisis to Exacerbate if Fuel Funds Not Transferred to EDL
Maronite Archbishop of Beirut, Boulos Matar presides over mass venerating Christ shroud replica
Bassil meets Swiss State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
Berri, interlocutors tackle general situation

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 01-02/18
Russia Warns Of "Provocation" In Syria, Hints At Israeli "hot Heads"
Canada calls for an end to the conflict in Yemen
Rouhani Tells Iranians to Brace for Hard Times
Denmark Mulling Sanctions after Iran Plot
Trump, Erdogan Discuss Syrian Conflict
US, Turkish Troops Begin Patrolling Syria’s Manbij
260,000 Syrians Return to 'Euphrates Shield' Operation Area- Turkey
Sources: Iran Establishing Local Militias in South Syria
Jerusalemites Boycott Municipal Elections in Decades-Long Approach
EU Parliament Delegation Visits Al-Azhar, The Church to Promote East-West Relations
Russia Continues to Provide Syria with S-300, Warns of 'Provocation'
Part of Landing Gear, One 'Black Box' Recovered from Indonesia Jet
Brazil's Bolsonaro Wants to Move Israel Embassy to Jerusalem
Yemen Govt Says Ready to Re-Start Talks with Rebels
The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 01-02/18
Aoun backs Hariri as ‘strongest Sunni leader’
Arab News/November 01/18
Lebanese President Michel Aoun: Saad Hariri remains the strongest Sunni leader despite a decline in his political power. Aoun’s comments came two days after differences emerged blocking a deal over a new national unity government.
BEIRUT: Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri remains the strongest Sunni leader despite a decline in his political power, according to Lebanese President Michel Aoun. “The prime minister, whether it is Hariri or anyone else, must be strong and should not be weakened,” Aoun said. Aoun’s comments came two days after differences emerged blocking a deal over a new national unity government. he disagreement centers on a demand by Hezbollah for one of its Sunni allies to be given a portfolio in the 30-seat Cabinet to reflect gains the group made in the May 6 elections. In a televised interview broadcast by all Lebanese channels on the second anniversary of his becoming president, Aoun described Hezbollah’s demand as “a type of political tactic that is hurting our overall strategy because any delay will reflect on Lebanon.”He said: “The group that now demands a representation in the government amounts to individuals, not a bloc. We represent blocs according to certain criteria. They have formed a group, so can they have a Cabinet post when each of them has a different political orientation? “What are they going to do? We do not want to weaken the prime minister as he has responsibilities that require him to be strong without anything to shake him.”Aoun reiterated his previous comments about the representation of independent Sunni MPs. “This is a message. They may hear it if they wish to, and, if not, I cannot interfere more than I already have. I have stepped out of my reserved stance because the situation is not easy, and I do not know if everyone understands it like I do.”He said that “resorting to a de facto government does not serve Lebanon. We are building a government through mutual understanding and solidarity, and this is not possible through unilateralism and conditions.” On the possibility of the emergence of a Sunni-Shiite division, Aoun said: “Every side must understand that they should not expose national unity to any gap that can be exploited by someone.”Aoun’s stance drew praise through Twitter from Hariri, who described the president’s words to the Lebanese people as “the epitome of honesty, frankness and responsibility. “With you, we will not retreat from our march toward the advancement of Lebanon,” Hariri said. The comments by Aoun and Hariri coincided with a warning by the interior minister in the caretaker government, Nohad El-Machnouk, over Hezbollah’s demand.Machnouk said that “the large reservoir that is called the national responsibility of the Sunnis has begun to run out after it has been drained — I do not wish to say blackmailed. We are not the only ones responsible for and concerned with the covenant.“Every day they lay a new mine and create new standards which they apply selectively ... yet contradict them elsewhere. Enough is enough. Things have reached a point where we can no longer observe quietly and where we must reconsider all the rules that have been fabricated. Despite that we have confirmed that we are the people of one state and a shared life,” he said.
Aoun looks back on his two years in office: Political tactics open gap that may hit unity
Thu 01 Nov 2018/NNA
Marking two years on his election as President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun held on Wednesday evening an interview with four journalists he welcomed at the presidential palace in Baabda. The interview was broadcast live on the various television channels and radio stations.
During the interview coordinated by the director of the presidential press office, Rafic Chelala, the Head of State looked back on the achievements made along the past two years of his mandate and talks about future plans, dwelling on the process of forming a government and the hindrances that delay such a formation. "We are a democratic and pluralistic country. Therefore, the government must be formed in accordance with certain criteria concerning ministerial representation, in order to avoid the marginalization of a community or a group. If all the forces had been content with fair representation, we would have not had any problems. We even conceded to some of them a share larger than what it should be. Now, a new obstacle arises: the independent Sunnis. This delays the formation of the government and the obstacles are unjustifiable. Utilizing the delay as a political tactic torpedoes the national strategy that we direly need, especially in this delicate period. Every minute of delay is costly," said the president.
Asked about the independent Sunni deputies who demand a ministerial portfolio, Aoun said "they do not form a bloc.""These are individuals who have recently come together to formulate claims. How to have them represented within the government when they each have a different political affiliation," he wondered. The head of state then stressed that "the Prime Minister ought to be strong because the responsibility he assumes is major," stressing that his relations with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri were "good" and that he shared with him "good intentions to build Lebanon."
Aoun also put the citizens in front of their responsibilities. "Everyone should be aware of the need to avoid creating gaps in national unity. What is happening now is unacceptable," he warned.On possible mediations that could remove the obstacles to the formation of the government, the president acknowledged that "the situation is not easy". "However, I do not think that a majority government would be useful. It is unacceptable to impose one's opinions on others," he added. Asked about the relationship between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces, Aoun said the two parties were not in a state of animosity. "It's simply a difference of opinion, we are fighting in politics, but not over the country," he affirmed. As for the livelihood problems of citizens and the services that the State ought to provide to them, the President revealed the presence of certain gap that would eventually be filled, but said that several other demands were "impossible to fulfill." Tackling the electricity crisis, Aoun said some projects needed two years to bear fruit. "The problem lies in waiting for the construction of power generation plants. This waiting time must be filled (by temporary solutions). We hope the next government will facilitate the task at this level", he said. The president then listed the achievements of the first two years of his six-year term, particularly in terms of fighting corruption, addressing the economic situation and working on resolving the issue of displaced Syrians. He acknowledged that the fight against corruption will not be easy and will cause clashes, calling on citizens to support him in this endeavors.
Interrogated about fears over US sanctions against Hezbollah, Aoun said those will affect the country as a whole. The head of state also revealed that a conference on the judiciary was being prepared, with the aim of reforming the laws in accordance with the emerging recommendations. He also expressed the intention to revive dialogue on the defense strategy. Regarding the issue of Syrian refugees that Lebanon has been hosting since the beginning of the conflict in their country, President Aoun called "the organizations that deal with displaced Syrians to bring them aid and assistance in Syria and not in Lebanon."
"We will reach a stage where we will deal with the issue of the displaced in agreement with Syria, far from international organizations," he maintained, stressing that dialogue with the Syrian government in this regard would serve Lebanon's best interest and would bring no harm to anyone. The Head of State finally thanked the Lebanese for their confidence, pledging to keep the promises he made before them.

Hizbullah Insists on Representing March 8 Sunnis, Urges Hariri to Talk to Them
November 01/18/Hizbullah has called on Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri to deal with the “independent Sunni MPs” through “dialogue and not arrogance,” insisting that the lawmakers should be represented by a minister in the new government. “The party wants Hariri to talk to the Sunni opponents instead of dealing with them with arrogance,” Hizbullah sources told LBCI TV, stressing that those MPs are “an independent bloc and not subordinate to others.”“Hizbullah is still insisting on its stance on the need to appoint one of the opposition Sunnis as minister,” the sources added, noting that “the negotiations have stopped, especially that Hariri left Beirut at noon and headed to Paris on a private visit.”The Sunni grouping meanwhile announced that MP Jamil al-Sayyed's visit to President Michel Aoun at noon was aimed at discussing their demand. Asked Wednesday about the emergence of the so-called Sunni representation hurdle as the new cabinet was on the verge of formation, Aoun said: “The obstacles are unjustified and using delay as a political tactic undermines the national strategy that we are in dire need for.” “Every minute of delay in the cabinet formation process will cost us a lot,” Aoun warned. “The Consultative Sunni Gathering are individuals and not a bloc and they have grouped together lately and we want the premier to be strong because he has major challenges ahead,” he added. “As for Hizbullah's stance, we don't want any crack in national unity,” Aoun went on to say, when asked whether Hizbullah's support for the independent Sunni MPs might spark a Sunni-Shiite clash.

Mashnouq: We Won't be 'Political Caritas', Enough is Enough
Naharnet/November 01/18/Caretaker Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq stressed Thursday that Lebanon's Sunni community is not a “political Caritas.”“The Sunni community's great reserve of national responsibility has started to run out, after it was drained or rather blackmailed,” Mashnouq said. “We're not the only ones concerned with preserving the National Pact and the country,” the minister added. “We won't be a 'political Caritas', and the same as we have duties we also have rights. It is not acceptable for the premiership to alone become a specialized center for dismantling political bombs and removing the successive landmines which are increasing day after day,” Mashnouq warned. He lamented that “everyday they are creating a new landmine and inventing new standards that they implement selectively.” “Honestly, enough is enough, because things have reached an extent that we cannot remain silent about,” Mashnouq cautioned.He was apparently referring to Hizbullah's insistence on the allocation of a cabinet seat to a grouping of Sunni MPs opposed to Hariri. Hariri has warned that he prefers to step down rather than give his opponents a seat from his own share. The row is the last hurdle delaying the formation of the new government after the so-called Christian and Druze obstacles were resolved.

Report: Mustaqbal Hails Aoun’s ‘Supportive’ Position, Says No Popular Moves Planned
Naharnet/November 01/18/Al-Mustaqbal Movement “does not plan” to take any popular movement on the ground in support of Hariri's rejection to allocate ministerial portfolio to the so-called independent Sunni MPs of the March 8 camp, as it hailed President Michel Aoun’s “supportive” stance, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Thursday. Sources close to the Movement said Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri “received a deep understanding from the President especially regarding his refusal to name a member of the March 8 camp in parliament.""It is not the first time that Aoun has shown his understanding of Hariri's position in this regard," they told the daily. Aoun said in remarks he made on Wednesday that the new “Sunni obstacle” was “unjustified.” On whether the President is willing to play a role to make Hizbullah drop that demand, they said: “It is in the President’s hands. He will not fail to express his opinion openly, he has already expressed it before and that will not change today.”Hizbullah has thrown its weight behind the MPs' demand and refrained from providing Hariri with the names of its own ministers in a bid to press him to accept giving a seat to the aforementioned Sunni grouping. Hariri’s position is “decisive,” stressed the sources, adding “the ball is in Hizbullah’s court now. Those who invented the so-called Consultative Gathering bloc of Sunni MPs are responsible to resolve this hurdle if they wish a government to be formed.”

Lebanon Takes Part as Observer in Arab Military Drill

Associated Press/Naharnet/November 01/18/Ground, air and naval units from five Arab nations are arriving in Egypt to join their Egyptian counterparts for war games, according to the Egyptian military, in the first sign that a military alliance proposed by Washington for its Middle East partners may be gaining traction. A military statement late Wednesday said forces from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan will take part in the Nov. 3-16 exercises codenamed "Arab Shield" and to be held in western Egypt. Lebanon and Morocco are taking part as observers. The announcement came a little more than a month after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in New York with the foreign ministers from the six nations participating in this month's war games plus those from Oman and Qatar to advance the idea of creating a Sunni alliance uniting America's Middle East partners against Shiite and non-Arab Iran. However, the Egyptian military statement made no link between the war games and the proposed alliance, which Egypt may be approaching with caution given its sectarian undertones. Egypt, however, has become heavily dependent on financial assistance and investments from Gulf heavyweights like Saudi Arabia and the UAE and that might in turn influence its decision on whether to join the proposed alliance. A prominent Egyptian analyst on Thursday warned against such an alliance, framing its creation as part of an ongoing process to replace Israel with Iran as the Arabs' chief enemy and emphasizing that differences between the Arabs and Iran can be politically settled. "Israel is not a friend and this is a fact despite all attempts to ignore it," wrote Abdullah el-Sinnawy in the independent al-Shorouk newspaper. "The most dangerous thing here is to create an Arab NATO that includes countries bound by diplomatic relations with Israel like Egypt and Jordan and Gulf region nations like Saudi Arabia." The U.S. proposed alliance, dubbed "Arab NATO," follows the derailment three years ago of efforts to create a joint Arab force agreed on at a 2015 Arab summit held in Egypt. That force was supposed to be led by an Egyptian and headquartered in Saudi Arabia. But a meeting of military chiefs of staff that was to iron out details of the force was canceled in the last minute and another one was never scheduled. Saudi Arabia then unilaterally announced the creation of an Islamic alliance that grouped its Gulf Arab allies along with Muslim majority countries in Africa and Asia. That also came to nothing. Egypt is a member of a Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition that has been fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen since 2015, but its role in the conflict is known to be limited to reconnaissance and the deployment of warships off Yemen's Red Sea coastline to secure shipping lanes.

Turkish Ship with 980 Kgs of Hashish Seized before Leaving Tripoli

Naharnet/November 01/18/Lebanese authorities on Thursday foiled an attempt to smuggle hundreds of kilograms of hashish out of the country. The National News Agency said Lebanese customs agents stopped the ship and prevented it from sailing out of Tripoli's port in northern Lebanon.The agency said the Turkish ship was carrying around 980 kilograms of cannabis.

Getting Even with Sunni MPs of March 8, Hobeish Proposes Creation of Christian Bloc
Naharnet/November 01/18/Al-Mustaqbal Movement MP Hadi Hobeish said to get even with demands of the so-called independent Sunni MPs of March 8 to be represented in the Cabinet, he suggested the creation of a bloc of Christian MPs from different political parties in retaliation. “Since demands for representation in the government are being proposed from a sectarian angle, I have suggested that a bloc of Christian MPs be formed in response,” said Hobeish of PM-designate Saad Hariri’s Mustaqbal Movement. The new cabinet was on the verge of formation on Monday after the Lebanese Forces accepted the portfolios that were assigned to it but a last-minute hurdle over the representation of the so-called independent Sunni MPs has surfaced. Hizbullah has thrown its weight behind the MPs' demand and refrained from providing Hariri with the names of its own ministers in a bid to press him to accept giving a seat to the aforementioned Sunni grouping. President Michel Aoun has stressed on Wednesday that he backs Hariri who rejects the Sunni MPs demands. Hobeish said Aoun’s supportive position is “normal” because the government formation standards were coordinated by the two men.

LF Criticizes Attempts to 'Revive' Christian Obstacle
Naharnet/November 01/18/The Lebanese Forces said they are not concerned with suggestions about the number of Marnoite seats allocated to the party, noting attempts of some to “revive the Christian obstacle.”“We are not concerned with all that has been raised about the redistribution of seats. The agreement is final,” LF sources told al-Joumhouria. On Wednesday, TV networks said Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil carried to Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri a demand from President Michel Aoun to “redistribute seats among sects, especially those allocated to Maronites, after the Lebanese Forces demanded that it be represented by two Maronites, a Greek Orthodox and an Armenian Catholic.”“Aoun wants the LF to be represented by one instead of two Maronites and Center House sources have said that, 'in this case, it seems that they don't want a government,” they said. The LF sources affirmed that the number of seats allocated to each sect was “in agreement with Hariri and Aoun,” assuring the matter was “settled” and that LF chief Samir Geagea was “preparing for the next phase.”After accepting the portfolios that were assigned to it, the LF decided to participate in the new Cabinet submitting the names of its ministers to Hariri as follows: May Chidiac (Maronite), Ghassan Hasbani (Orthodox), Camille Abu Suleiman (Maronite), Richard Kouyoumjian (Armenian Catholic).
Lebanon: Condemnation Continues Over Attack Against Saudi Arabia
Beirut- Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 1 November, 2018/Angry reactions continued on Wednesday over an editorial published by a local Lebanese newspaper that attacked Saudi Arabia and its ambassador in Lebanon. A delegation from the Lebanese Press Syndicate, headed by Awni Al-Kaaki, visited the headquarters of the Saudi Embassy in Beirut. They were received by the Chargé d'Affaires, Walid Al-Bukhari, UAE Ambassador Hamad Saiid Al-Shamesi, and the dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps, Kuwaiti Ambassador Abdel-Al Al-Qanaie. Bukhari highly appreciated the visit by the media delegation, “who represents the principles of moderation and moral values.” He stressed that the editorial did not reflect Lebanon's press ethics, in both content and message. Kaaki, for his part, condemned the editorial published in the Lebanese daily, noting that “it was a dark day in the history of the Lebanese press.” He expressed discontent of the Lebanese journalistic and press body in this regard, underlining that Lebanon was the country of liberties, culture, science and ethics. He also apologized to all Saudi officials and to the Saudi ambassador. Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora denounced in a statement the “flawed article against the Kingdom and its officials.”Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea issued a statement, strongly denouncing the attack against Saudi Arabia. “It is important to emphasize that freedom of opinion is one thing, and attacking Arab and foreign officials with insults and verbal abuse is something else. The latest of such incidences is inappropriately or unacceptably attacking officials in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and that has nothing to do with freedom of opinion,” he said. Former Prime Minister Tammam Salam also denounced the campaign against the Kingdom, describing it as “a moral and national disaster, as well as a violation of laws.”
Electricity Crisis to Exacerbate if Fuel Funds Not Transferred to EDL 01st November 2018/Lebanon's electricity crisis is expected to exacerbate as rationing hours will increase due to the ongoing failure to transfer the funds allocated to Electricite du Liban (EDL) to buy the quantity of fuel needed to ensure power supply until the end of the year. A decree allocating a sum of LBP 642 billion ($428 million) to EDL to purchase fuel and gasoil was published in the official Gazette in mid-October. The decree was signed by the president, caretaker prime minister, as well as caretaker ministers of energy and finance. Nonetheless, local newspapers reported on Thursday that the Finance Ministry has abstained from transferring the above-mentioned sum, arguing that such a disbursement requires a law to be ratified by the Parliament. Consequently, EDL has reconsidered its rationing schedule, being compelled to hike power outages in a way that the available stock of fuel would suffice until the end of 2018. Al-Joumhouria newspaper quoted an EDL source as saying that rationing will increase gradually as the power supply will be no more than 4 hours/day. "If this problem is not solved within ten days, EDL will be forced to further reduce power supply down to 2 to 3 hours/day," the source warned. LBCI channel also quoted EDL sources as saying that the power plants of Al-Harisheh, Zouk and Jiyyeh might stop generating power if the needed funds are not disbursed in the coming few days.

Maronite Archbishop of Beirut, Boulos Matar presides over mass venerating Christ shroud replica
Thu 01 Nov 2018/NNA - Maronite Archbishop of Beirut, Boulos Matar, presided over a holy mass to venerate a replica of the Holy shroud of Christ, which was transferred by Lebanon's Honorary Consul in Austria, Fadi Bou Daher, from Italy to Lebanon. The holy Christ's shroud replica was displayed at the "Hayda Lebanon" Complex in Zaarour. Archbishop Matar was aided by the Maronite Patriarchal Vicar of Sarba, Paul Rouhana, and the Patriarchal Vicar General of the Maronite Cultural Center, Bishop Hanna Alwan, in the presence of scores of heads of monasteries, priests and monks. The ceremony was attended by Customs Director General Badri Daher, Director-General of the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Establishment (EBML) Jean Gebran, National News Agency Director Laure Sleiman, and scores of concerned dignitaries. In his delivered sermon, Archbishop Matar spoke about prayers on mountain tops, stressing that "loving is the only means to reach God and holiness."Speaking in the name of the Maronite Cultural Center, Consul Fadi Bou Dagher, thanked all attendees for sharing the joy of celebrating this holy occasion. He also highlighted the Maronite Cultural Center's courteous role in spreading the Maronite Catholic culture to the rising generations, through visits to be paid by the students of schools, universities, parishes and Christian associations to "Hayda Lebanon" to explore the path of the Maronite Catholic history, civilization and the holy love. Bou Dagher concluded by thanking all those who contributed to the realization of this project, hoping that this event will be followed by other new ideas and activities aimed at glorifying the name of the Holy Trinity through the intercession of Blessed Virgin Mary.

Bassil meets Swiss State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
Thu 01 Nov 2018/NNA - Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, is currently meeting at Villa Boustros with the State Secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of Switzerland, Pascale Baeriswyl. Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the visiting official highlighted the "deep" bilateral relations between Lebanon and Switzerland.She also indicated that talks with Bassil featured high in the displaced Syrians' issue and the assistance Switzerland was providing in that respect.

Berri, interlocutors tackle general situation
Thu 01 Nov 2018/NNA - House Speaker, Nabih Berri, on Thursday received at his Ain Tineh residence MP Farid Haikal Al-Khazen, with whom he discussed the general situation in the country, including government formation issue. Among Speaker Berri's itinerant visitors for today had been former Minister, Boutros Harb, with the overall situation topping their discussions.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
November 01-02/18
Russia Warns Of "Provocation" In Syria, Hints At Israeli "hot Heads"
Jerusalem Post/November 01/18
Defense Ministry briefing warns against provocations in south and north Syria and condemns US role in eastern Syria
Russian sources confirmed Thursday that a Defense Ministry briefing warning against “provocations” in Syria was directed towards Israel.
Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov warned Wednesday against “hot heads” provoking Syria and intimated that the S-300 had been deployed to defend against such action. Although Israel wasn’t mentioned, the reference to the S-300 is pointed at Jerusalem.
The statement, also tweeted by the Russian embassy in Israel, appears to reference the accidental downing by Syria of a Russian IL-20 aircraft in Syria in September following an Israeli air strike, an incident that led to a brief crisis with Moscow.
The wide-ranging Defense Ministry presentation focused on the situation in northern and eastern Syria. Russia claimed that Syrian rebel groups in Idlib may be preparing a “false flag” chemical weapons attack. In mid-September Russia and Turkey signed a deal that prevented a battle in Idlib, and called for extremists to withdraw from a demilitarized zone in the northern province that has been held by Syrian rebels for five years. Turkey is a key backer of some of the rebel groups and has sought to prevent a massive flight of refugees from Idlib. Moscow now said the “Turkistan Islamic Party”, a rebel group, is preparing a “false flag” attack. Russia said the Idlib agreement has gone well so far.
The ministry then turned its attention to southwest Syria on the Golan Heights border, saying “Russian soldiers are monitoring the situation at six observation posts along the line of separation.” It was in this context that Moscow noted that the S-300 had been deployed to Syria. “In order to increase the level of security of the Russian military personnel, aviation flights and the protection of objects in Syria.”
The spokesman then warned “Russian advisers are preparing Syrian military personnel for combat work on these modern air defense systems. We believe it is advisable for ‘hot heads’ to adequately assess the current situation in the region and refrain from provocative actions on the territory of Syria.”
While the statement appears directed at Israel, Moscow did not mention Israel in the briefing. Instead the Defense Ministry said that the US was being irresponsible in “illegally occupying a vast Syrian region,” and was causing a “disastrous humanitarian situation.” Russia was concerned the US was training armed units in Syria and claimed that these included “militants” and “gangs” threatening Syrian civilians. In Raqqa, liberated from Islamic State a year ago by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, Russia warned that the city was at a disaster. “In this city, as in other areas controlled by the coalition, anarchy, famine and devastation flourish which, of course, is a breeding ground for the restoration of the activities of terrorists
The statements show Russia is now focusing on three files in Syria, one of which is the situation in southwest Syria and particularly involving the S-300 systems that were sent to Syrian in the wake of the downing of the IL-20 espionage plane. The statement also reveals that the Syrian crews are still training to use the advanced version of the S-300 that Russia sent. The downing of the IL-20, which Russia blamed on Israel’s actions, was due to Syrian air defense crews targeting the wrong aircraft with their S-200. The training of these crews is supposed to prevent that, but it is also supposed to be a message to Israel about further air strikes.
According to a statement in September, Israel carried out 200 air strikes in Syria in the 18 months, mostly against Iranian targets. A statement last year indicated Jerusalem had carried out 100 air strikes between 2012 and 2017. Israel says Iran is building bases in Syria and transferring weapons to Hezbollah, including precision guidance for Hezbollah’s massive arsenal of missiles. Jerusalem has continually warned Iran to leave Syria, demanded its forces be distanced from the Golan border, and cautioned about Iranian support for Hezbollah.
Amid the tensions and as the S-300 crews are trained, Russia hopes cool heads will prevail in Jerusalem and not create a new incident in Syria.
Canada calls for an end to the conflict in Yemen
November 1, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development, today issued the following statement:
“Canada calls on all parties to bring a permanent end to the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which has had an unacceptable and devastating impact on children, women and men in the country.
“We deplore the ongoing violence, which has led to mass malnourishment, severe food insecurity, death and the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Since the beginning of the conflict in 2015, Canada has provided $130 million of life-saving humanitarian aid to affected communities. “We remain deeply concerned by reports that all parties to the conflict have repeatedly contravened international law and have obstructed humanitarian assistance. Canada calls for rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance, and urges all parties to the conflict to fully comply with international humanitarian law.
“We join the call from allies in urging the international community to stand united in demanding a swift end to the violence. Canada worked diligently with other countries during the United Nations Human Rights Council in September 2018 to renew the mandate of the Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts investigating the human rights situation in Yemen. “Canada welcomes the important work of Martin Griffiths, the UN’s Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, and fully supports efforts to resume talks toward a permanent and peaceful end to this conflict.”

Rouhani Tells Iranians to Brace for Hard Times

London - Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 1 November, 2018/Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has warned Iranians they face hard times when new US sanctions take effect on Sunday but said the government would do its best to alleviate them.
Rouhani called the new sanctions that the US is set to impose on Iran’s oil industry "a new injustice" which the government did not fear. But he added: "In the past few months our people have faced difficult times and it's possible that the next few months will be difficult. But the government will use all its power to reduce these problems."Washington reimposed a number of sanctions on Iran in May after pulling out of an international 2015 agreement intended to curb Tehran's nuclear program. US officials have said they aim to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero. US national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday the Trump administration wants sanctions on Iran's crude exports to strain Tehran, but does not want to harm countries that depend on the oil. "We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don't want to harm friends and allies either," Bolton said in a talk at the Hamilton Society. Bolton said the administration understands that a number of countries, some close geographically to Iran which he visited last week, and others "may not be able to go all the way, all the way to zero immediately." Iran began selling crude oil to private companies for export on Sunday as part of a strategy to counter the planned sanctions. “You will not be able to reach any of your goals with regard to Iran’s oil,” Rouhani said, according to The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). “You will not be able to bring it to zero or reduce it.”
Denmark Mulling Sanctions after Iran Plot
Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 1 November, 2018/Denmark announced Wednesday that it was consulting with its allies about possible sanctions against Iran after it uncovered on Tuesday a Tehran plot to target Iranian dissidents living in the Scandinavian country. "We are going to reach out to our European allies in the coming days to try to find a united response," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told reporters during a meeting of Northern European leaders in Oslo. British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her support for Denmark at the meeting. Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen was to begin contacting his European counterparts on Wednesday to discuss possible sanctions against Iran -- most likely economic ones, a diplomatic source told AFP. "We want to preserve the nuclear agreement," Lokke Rasmussen said, referring to how possible sanctions would approach the 2015 international accord on Iran's nuclear program. Denmark on Tuesday announced it was recalling its ambassador to Iran after the Danish intelligence service PET accused the Iranian intelligence service of "planning an attack in Denmark" against three Iranians suspected of belonging to the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz or ASMLA. A Norwegian of Iranian origin was arrested on October 21 for planning the attack and spying for Iran. Iran has denied the allegations, saying they were part of a European conspiracy against it. Tehran summoned the Danish ambassador on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said. "In this meeting the (senior foreign ministry) official strongly denied the biased reports on a foiled attack plot on an Iranian dissident in Denmark and its attribution to the Islamic republic of Iran," Ghasemi said. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday Iran is the leading actor conducting assassination attempts in Europe. "That kind of behavior needs to stop, and we have offered our support and effort to help the Europeans in preventing these kinds of assassination attempts from taking place," he told Fox News Radio. In Oslo for a meeting of the Nordic Council, Northern European leaders were prudent. "We are looking at the situation in Denmark as being very serious and not least because there is a Norwegian of Iranian descent involved," Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg said. Her government had not yet decided what it would do pending a Norwegian police probe, she added. "We are following this very closely together with our Danish friends and when we know more we will make a decision about possible measures," Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said. In September, Tehran accused Denmark, along with the Netherlands and Britain, of "hosting several members of the terrorist group" that Iran holds responsible for an attack in the city of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran that killed 24 people.

Trump, Erdogan Discuss Syrian Conflict
Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 1 November, 2018/US President Donald Trump held telephone talks Thursday with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the latest developments in Syria. The news came shortly after it was announced that Turkish and American troops had begun conducting joint patrols in the northern Syrian city of Manbij. The leaders discussed the cooperation agreement in Manbij, which is held by a US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that Turkey deems a terrorist group, a statement from Turkey's presidency said. Trump and Erdogan also discussed the Idlib province, the last major opposition-held stronghold in Syria, where a demilitarized zone has been planned. The presidents agreed to maintain "close contact" and maintained their "determination" to "further strengthen bilateral relations", according to the statement. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed the call, saying the two leaders discussed a desire to work together, especially regarding Syria. Erdogan also "expressed his condolences for the tragic loss of life at the Synagogue in Pittsburgh," Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, referring to the shootings last Saturday of 11 people inside a Jewish temple. Turkey and the United States have a long-standing alliance as members of NATO, but Washington's support of the YPG in the fight against the ISIS terrorist group in Syria has strained already tense relations. Ankara considers the YPG to be a "terrorist offshoot" of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a bloody insurgency in Turkey since 1984 with the goal of forming an independent Kurdish state. To ease ties, the countries agreed to a roadmap in June that included the YPG withdrawing from Manbij and establishing the joint patrols in the city. However, Turkey has repeatedly threatened a new offensive in northern Syria and has shelled YPG positions there in the past couple of days. The US-led coalition against ISIS said on Thursday it was working to "de-escalate" fighting between Turkey and the YPG.

US, Turkish Troops Begin Patrolling Syria’s Manbij
Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 1 November, 2018/The United States and Turkey kicked off on Thursday joint patrols of the northern Syrian city of Manbij, announced Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, according to state-run news agency Anadolu. "The joint patrol in Manbij between Turkish armed forces and the US began today at 3.53pm (1253 GMT)," he told lawmakers. The city is controlled by the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers a terrorist group. The patrol took place around the Sajur River that divides Manbij and the region of Jarabulus, which was captured by Turkish-backed Syrian opposition factions from the ISIS terrorist group in 2016 during Ankara's first offensive in northern Syria. A Reuters journalist saw a convoy of six military vehicles, some flying the US flag and others flying the Turkish flag, driving on Thursday about 20 km from Manbij city.
Sharfan Darwish, spokesman of the Manbij Military Council, told The Associated Press earlier that the patrols were taking place on the front lines between his group and those of Turkey-backed factions in the operation called Euphrates Shield.
Manbij was captured from ISIS by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group dominated by the YPG. Ankara has repeatedly threatened to attack the city and earlier this week President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had completed preparations for a new operation to "destroy" the YPG in northern Syria. There are US forces in the Manbij -- which lies just 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of the Turkish border -- and Washington has been closely working with the YPG in the fight against ISIS. Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, deputy commander of operation Inherent Resolve, said recent training by Turkish and coalition forces will help them to protect Manbij civilians. "We're fully supportive of the roadmap and the combined joint patrols, and I am confident they will be very effective," he said. The US support of the YPG has strained relations with Turkey. Ankara says the YPG is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a bloody insurgency in Turkey since 1984 with the goal of forming an independent Kurdish state. The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Turkey, the US and the European Union. Earlier this year, Turkey and the US agreed the YPG would withdraw from Manbij. As part of the roadmap, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the time said the agreement would ensure the YPG leaves Manbij, then Turkey and the US would work together to establish a local security structure and decide who will govern the city. Akar warned earlier Thursday that "the terror group (YPG) will be buried in the trenches it has dug".

260,000 Syrians Return to 'Euphrates Shield' Operation Area- Turkey

Ankara- Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 1 November, 2018/A total of 260,000 Syrian nationals have returned to a swathe of land in northern Syria where Turkey carried out a cross-border operation dubbed “Euphrates Shield”, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday. Turkey launched Euphrates Shield in 2016 to drive away ISIS militants and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia from its border with Syria. Ankara regards the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization. The operation ended in 2017. Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees who fled the conflict in their homeland. Some Turks view them as an economic burden and a threat to jobs. “As a result of the infrastructure work and security and stability in the region provided by the Turkish Armed Forces, around 260,000 Syrian nationals have returned to the Euphrates Shield Operation area,” Akar said in a speech. Akar also said Turkish military operations in northern Iraq will continue in light of Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)'s failure to take necessary steps against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group that Turkey deems terrorist. "In this context, our operations will continue until the end of the terror threat originating from Iraq," the minister stressed as he was speaking after a week of airstrikes in the area that have targeted PKK bases. On Tuesday, the Turkish military said in a statement on Twitter that it killed seven Kurdish militants in airstrikes in northern Iraq as they were preparing to launch an attack on regions were Turkish bases are located.

Sources: Iran Establishing Local Militias in South Syria

Beirut - London - Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 1 November, 2018/Iran started to establish local militias in the south of Syria after it withdrew non-Syrian fighters from the same area upon Moscow’s request, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday. “A few days ago, a batch of 60 members have completed their training in al-Lujat camp, northeast of Daraa, under the supervision of trainers from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah,” the sources explained. They added that Iranian officers had visited refugee camps from where they chose members to join their military units. Meanwhile, chairman of the High Negotiation Committee Nasr Hariri told Ashraq Al-Awsat that during their meeting last Monday in London, he informed the Small Group on Syria, which included representatives from the US, Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan that, “while they were busy discussing Syria’s constitutional committee and the situation in Idlib, Iran was taking advantage to enhance its presence and to infiltrate in military and civil state institutions in government-controlled areas.”
Hariri said Iran has reportedly transformed military positions into bases to graduate new batches of local militias and to establish centers near the Nassib border crossing between Syria and Jordan. Meanwhile, a western diplomatic source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Russia and Turkey agreed to hold early presidential and parliamentary elections in Syria in 2020 and not change the situation in Idlib for another year, with the possibility of launching a “limited military operation against extremists.” Also on Wednesday, the Turkish TRT television channel said four Kurdish militants were killed after Turkish forces fired howitzer shells across the border into Syria's Ayn al Arab region. The missiles were launched from Turkey's southeastern province of Sanliurfa, along the Syrian border. TRT added six other militants were wounded in the strikes on the region, which is also known as Kobani.

Jerusalemites Boycott Municipal Elections in Decades-Long Approach
Ramallah- Kifah Zboun/Asharq Al Awsat/October 01/18 /Palestinians in Jerusalem boycotted municipal elections in the city, insisting on a decades-long approach despite the nomination of an Arab list this time. Israeli figures showed that less than two percent of the Arabs who have the right to vote in Jerusalem, around 250,000 Palestinians, participated in this year’s elections.This fact has reflected a near-total commitment to calling for a boycott of municipal elections in Jerusalem. According to Israeli media, the boycott was not individual or spontaneous; instead, it was the result of political pressure and popular and national efforts. Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee Saeb Erekat praised the "historic and steadfast position of our Jerusalemites in refraining from the participation in the municipal elections in Jerusalem and their refusal to grant legitimacy to the occupation authority, which implements colonial policies in the city.”He stressed that they have established the national approach, which has been existing and inherited throughout generations since the occupation of the city in 1967. He explained that this approach lies in the fact that Jerusalem will remain Palestinian Arab and the capital of the State of Palestine, no matter how long the occupation remains. “Participating in the elections will help the Israeli establishment in promoting its ‘Greater Jerusalem’ project… and play a complementary role in implementing its colonial settlement plan and ethnic cleansing operations,” Erekat said in a statement in June. "Although Israel and the US have been adopting illegal policies against the holy city and desperately attempting to pass the Greater Jerusalem project, the only historical, legal and political fact is that Jerusalem is an occupied Palestinian land and an integral part of the occupied state of Palestine and only its people have the right to decide their destiny," Erekat stressed. “The participation rate of Jerusalemites in the recent elections, which did not exceed 1.5 percent and has been decreasing throughout the years, demonstrates the great people’s will, adherence to all their inalienable rights, awareness of the dangers of this stage, attempts to involve them in the legitimization of occupation, annexation, settlement and Judaization, and the abolition of the Palestinian presence from the city,” Erekat explained. Erekat has always called on people to refrain from voting. His calls were supported by a fatwa issued by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, Mohammed Hussein. He stressed that the Supreme Fatwa Council in Palestine decided to issue the edict prohibiting the participation in the municipal elections on the basis of clear evidence.

EU Parliament Delegation Visits Al-Azhar, The Church to Promote East-West Relations
Cairo - Waleed Abdul-Rahman/Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 1 November, 2018/A delegation from the European Parliament, representing the Committee on Relations with Mashreq States, visited on Wednesday the headquarters of the Al-Azhar Sheikh in Cairo and the headquarters of the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasiya, east of the capital, to discuss confronting extremism and strengthening the East-West ties. The delegation of the European Parliament has kicked off its visit to Cairo on Tuesday to hold meetings and talks with a number of Egyptian officials and deputies. “The meeting with members of the Egyptian parliament came within the framework of continuous dialogue and communication between the Egyptian deputies and their European counterparts, in order to clarify some misconceptions among some members of the European Parliament on Egypt,” said Karim Darwish, head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Egyptian parliament. Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar, received the EU delegation. He said that the European Parliament “has a very important role in solving the contemporary crisis in the East-West relationship, which should be based on cooperation and scientific and cultural exchange.”He said he hoped that the European Union and the European Parliament would take serious steps to promote peace and stop conflicts in the world. On the other hand, members of the European delegation praised Al-Azhar’s invitation to consolidate the concept of citizenship in societies and expressed their aspiration to cooperate with Al-Azhar to promote ethics, values and human rights. The delegation also met with Pope Tawadros II inside the papal headquarters at the Cathedral of St. Mark in Abbasiyah. “I have been privileged to meet with Pope Tawadros and Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the heads of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Al-Azhar, the voice of tolerance in Egypt and abroad ... The Mashreq delegation discussed the situation in Egypt and the region and the efforts to tackle extremism,” the EU ambassador to Cairo said during the meeting.

Russia Continues to Provide Syria with S-300, Warns of 'Provocation'
Moscow - Raed Jaber/Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 1 November, 2018/The Russian Defense Ministry warned Wednesday against “provocations” and “hot heads” provoking Syria, stating that the S-300 surface-to-air missile system has been deployed to defend against such action. Although the Ministry’s Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, did not mention any state, the reference to the S-300 clearly is pointed at Israel. The statement appears to reference the downing of a Russian IL-20 aircraft in Syria in September during an Israeli airstrike, an incident that led to a brief crisis with Moscow. The jet was accidentally downed by Syrian regime air defenses during an Israeli raid on the country. This coincided with the Kremlin’s hint that Russian President Vladimir Putin may hold a "short" meeting in Paris this month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of their participation in a massive event organized by France to commemorate the centennial of World War I. Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, stated that Putin and Netanyahu may meet on the sidelines of the event, without giving further details. Israel has repeatedly expressed in the past two months Netanyahu's desire to meet Putin to put an end to the issue of the plane downing. Konashenkov said Russian advisors are preparing Syrian military personnel for combat work on the S-300 system. “We believe it is advisable for ‘hot heads’ to adequately assess the current situation in the region and refrain from provocative actions in Syria,” he stated. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed the need and asserted Russia’s support for a political settlement in the Syrian crisis. Speaking at the Sixth World Congress of Russian Expatriates, Lavrov thanked all Syrians who are contributing to spreading the Russian language. “I would like to point out the presence of delegates from Syria, with representatives of the younger generation among them, in this very hall. You have managed to preserve your touch with Russia during the hard times of the intra-Syrian conflict. We will continue to support you in every possible way we can when it comes to your noble efforts in promoting the Russian language and disseminating unbiased information about our country in all strata of the Syrian society,” said Lavrov. The minister stressed that the participation of delegates from Syria in the conference is proof that life in Syria is going back to normal and peace. Russia will go on making its contribution to the settlement of the Syrian crisis on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, he continued, adding that decisions taken at the Astana talks and results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.

Part of Landing Gear, One 'Black Box' Recovered from Indonesia Jet
Associated Press/Naharnet/November 01/18/Divers have found a piece of landing gear from a crashed Lion Air jet, Indonesian authorities said Thursday, following the discovery of a critical black box that could explain why the brand-new plane plummeted into the sea, killing 189 people. Search teams have been scouring the seabed for the fuselage of the Boeing-737 MAX 8, which plunged into the waters off Indonesia's northern coast shortly after takeoff on Monday despite only being in service a few months. Referring to the landing gear, search and rescue agency head Muhammad Syaugi said late Thursday, "we have found part of it", as authorities piece together what caused the crash. "Separately, we have found bigger parts of the plane than we have seen in previous days," he added, hours after officials announced the recovery of a data recorder from the plane. There were no known survivors and only body parts have been found so far. Relatives are desperate to be able to say goodbye to their loved ones and the first funeral for one of the passengers was held on Thursday. But many others have yet to be located and analysts hope more victims could still be found with the bulk of the wreckage. "I assume that there will be a lot of bodies still strapped into the seats," aviation analyst Dudi Sudibyo told AFP. Dozens of divers are taking part in the massive recovery effort along with helicopters and ships, but the authorities have all but ruled out finding any survivors.
Cockpit recorder still missing
The plane's black boxes, which airlines are required to install, offer investigators their best chance of discovering why such a new jet crashed. The devices record information about the speed, altitude and direction of the plane as well as flight crew conversations. "The good news is we have found one of the black boxes," Syaugi told reporters earlier Thursday. Authorities said a flight data recorder was recovered, but they were still looking for the cockpit voice recorder. On a Jakarta dockside Thursday, Boeing and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board officials joined the Indonesian team in sifting through twisted metal plane parts and piles of passengers' torn clothing, shoes, wallets and phones. The single-aisle Boeing plane, which was on its way from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang city, is one of the world's newest and most advanced commercial passenger jets. Despite the name, black boxes are in fact bright orange with reflective stripes. They are built to survive at vast depths and in extreme heat, and are fitted with a beacon which can emit a signal for one month. Black boxes help explain nearly 90 percent of all crashes, according to aviation experts."Data from the plane -- the engine, all the instruments -- are recorded there," Sudibyo said. "If there is an anomaly, some technical problem, it is recorded there too."
First funeral
Passengers' remains are being sent to hospital for DNA identification. Forensic experts identified Jannatun Cintya Dewi as the first victim of the crash Wednesday evening. The 24-year-old civil servant's coffin was carried by pallbearers through the streets of her East Java hometown Sidoarjo on Thursday. Dewi's mother collapsed and had to be carried into their home, with friends and relatives weeping as the casket was laid in a freshly dug grave sprinkled with flowers. A bowl of fruit and two palm branches lay at one end. Some relatives have shared heart-wrenching tales of their final contact with loved ones.  A selfie taken by a newlywed husband, Deryl Fida Febrianto, and sent to his wife some 30 minutes before the jetliner crashed has gone viral online. Aviation experts are puzzled by the accident but say it's too early to determine what caused it. Lion Air's admission that the jet had an unspecified technical issue on a previous flight -- as well its abrupt fatal dive -- have raised questions about whether it had faults specific to the newly released model, including a speed-and-altitude system malfunction. The accident has also resurrected concerns about Indonesia's poor air safety record which until recently saw the country's carriers facing years-long bans from entering European Union and U.S. airspace. Lion Air has been plagued by safety concerns and customer complaints over unreliable scheduling and poor service. The budget carrier has been involved in a number of incidents including a fatal 2004 crash and a collision between two Lion Air planes at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport. In 2014, an AirAsia crash in the Java Sea during stormy weather killed 162 people.

Brazil's Bolsonaro Wants to Move Israel Embassy to Jerusalem
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 01/18/Brazil's president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has told an Israeli newspaper he intends to defy the Palestinians and most of the world by moving his country's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Brazil would become the second major country after the United States to do so. Asked in an interview with Israel Hayom published Thursday if he would move Brazil's embassy, as he had indicated during his campaign, Bolsonaro said Israel should decide where its capital is located. "When I was asked during the campaign if I'd do it when I became president, I said 'yes, the one who decides on the capital of Israel is you, not other nations'," he told the paper, which is a firm backer of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, with international consensus being that the status of the whole city must be negotiated between the two sides. Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community. In December, President Donald Trump reversed longstanding U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, prompting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to boycott his administration. The embassy was officially transferred on May 14, with Guatemala and Paraguay following suit, though the latter announced last month it would return its embassy to Tel Aviv. Bolsonaro, 63, who won a run-off election on Sunday, has outraged many with his overtly misogynistic, homophobic and racist rhetoric. Following his victory, Netanyahu told Bolsonaro he was certain his election "will lead to a great friendship between our peoples and the tightening of links between Brazil and Israel." An official in Netanyahu's office told AFP the Israeli premier was "very likely" to attend Bolsonaro's inauguration ceremony in January.

Yemen Govt Says Ready to Re-Start Talks with Rebels
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 01/18/Yemen's government said Thursday it was ready to re-start peace talks with Huthi rebels, amid growing international pressure to end the years-long conflict. The Yemeni government said it welcomed "all efforts to restore peace" after the U.N. called for the warring parties to enter negotiations. "Yemen is ready to immediately launch talks on the process of confidence-building, primarily the release of all detainees and prisoners, as well as those who have been abducted or subject to enforced disappearance," the government said in a statement carried by the state-run Saba news agency. That came after a string of comments by key U.S. officials and by the U.N.'s envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, who called Wednesday for warring parties to come to the table "within a month." U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week called for an end to the Yemen war, including air strikes, in an implicit acknowledgment that a Saudi-led coalition was involved in the bombing of civilians.Washington backs the coalition, which is fighting alongside Yemen's government against the Iran-backed Huthi rebels. But Saudi Arabia's regional role has come under scrutiny after the killing in its Istanbul consulate last month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a former royal court insider-turned-critic who wrote columns for the Washington Post.
'People are already dying'
Yemen's war has been particularly devastating for the country's children, over seven million of whom now face food insecurity, according to the U.N. children's agency. "Today, 1.8 million children under the age of five are facing acute malnutrition, and 400,000 are affected by severe acute malnutrition," said Geert Cappelaere, regional director of UNICEF. "In the last couple of years, we see the number of severely acute malnourished children stabilizing," he told AFP late on Wednesday. But "ending the war is not enough," he added. "The war is exacerbating the situation that was already bad before because of years of underdevelopment" in the Arab world's poorest nation, Cappelaere said. According to aid organization CARE International, food security experts are determining whether famine should be declared in Yemen. "A declaration of famine would mean that the international community has already failed the people of Yemen," said Jolien Veldwijk, assistant country director for CARE Yemen. "Two of the thresholds needed to declare a famine -- death rates and acute malnutrition rates -– are lagging indicators, which means that by the time these thresholds are met, people are already dying," she said. UNICEF's Cappelaere said that over 6,000 children had either been killed or sustained serious injuries since 2015. "These are the numbers we have been able to verify, but we can safely assume that the number is higher, much higher," he said. Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the war in 2015 to bolster Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after the Iran-backed rebels took over the capital Sanaa. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict. In September, a previous round of U.N.-led peace talks collapsed after the Huthis refused to travel to Geneva, accusing the world body of failing to guarantee their delegation's return to Sanaa or secure the evacuation of wounded rebels to Oman. Previous talks broke down in 2016, when 108 days of negotiations in Kuwait failed to yield a deal and left rebel delegates stranded in Oman for three months.
A U.N. panel of experts has accused both the Huthis and the Saudi-led coalition of acts that could amount to war crimes.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 01-02/18
How Should We Read the American Press? In Arabic.
Lee Smith/Tablet/November 01/18
News of the News: Like in the Middle East, U.S. political operatives and intelligence officials are increasingly using the cloak of journalism as a tool for their aims
In his last column for The Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi explained how the lack of a free press has impoverished the Arabs.
“A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche,” he wrote, “and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change.”
Khashoggi might have also been describing the current state of the U.S. media. Over the last several years, the press here has repeatedly joined with government officials, including intelligence officers, to wage operations influencing the American public to obtain political goals, just like Middle East media.
Take Turkey, for example. As The Washington Post explained, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used leaks about the Khashoggi affair, some true some not, as a political instrument to target Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the Trump administration.
What the Post failed to disclose was that it played a role in Erdogan’s campaign. Indeed, in the last few years, a whole swath of the U.S. press and foreign policy establishment that had been openly hostile to the Turkish government suddenly began publishing almost everything the Erdogan-allied media gave them, relaying anonymous leaks from Turkish officials, often secondhand, to American audiences for the purpose of damaging a Trump ally.
Turkey has jailed more journalists than any other country in the world, thus most of what’s left of the Turkish press are journalists aligned with the president or wary of crossing him. In other words, the Turkish press is not a separate and independent institution but is instead one of the Turkish government’s political weapons.
The U.S. media meshed seamlessly with Turkish information operations because our journalists have become habituated to their new role as political assets. For two years the press has been breathlessly reporting thousands of stories sourced to unnamed U.S. officials and promising that the latest development—Russiagate, Stormygate, etc.—was certain to topple President Donald Trump. Whether you admire or disdain the so-called #resistance, the fact is that a press labeling itself as such on Twitter is one less interested in reporting facts than shaping political outcomes.
In the Khashoggi case, the press was playing the part of the pro-Iran echo chamber, originally built to sell the Iran nuclear deal. For Barack Obama, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a geopolitical instrument realigning U.S. interests with Iran, while downgrading the 75-year-old U.S.-Saudi relationship, along with the U.S.-Israel alliance. One of Trump’s first moves in office was to restore Riyadh to its privileged place as regional partner. The echo chamber used the Khashoggi affair to target Riyadh in an effort to preserve Obama’s pro-Iran policies.
Khashoggi himself was no stranger to the ways of the Arab press. His jobs in Saudi print and broadcast media were courtesy of powerful sponsors. One of them, Turki al-Faisal, had been, in addition to the ambassador to the United Kingdom and the United States, the chief of Saudi Arabia’s general intelligence directorate. As an Arab media personality, Khashoggi’s role, as Arab news consumers all understood, was to represent publicly the political interests of his patrons.
Arab papers are widely known as platforms for the views or goals of a particular regime, political figure, or intelligence service. It’s not a free press in any meaningful sense. But taking these many outlets as a whole, it’s possible to piece together a relatively accurate picture of the political game board.
There are two profound ironies at the core of the current U.S. media operation using the murder of Khashoggi to political ends. First is that Khashoggi was opposed to pro-Iran U.S. policy that unleashed Iran across the Middle East. It’s true, as Khashoggi’s U.S. supporters say, that he was critical of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. What the Iran-friendly U.S. press corps leaves out is that he was also against Iran’s Obama-funded war against Syria’s Sunni population.
And thus, the second irony is that U.S. reporting about the disappearance and death of an Arab journalist who pleaded for media transparency in his own society marks another chapter in the ongoing transformation of what was once the freest press in the world: America’s.
What can American media audiences expect now that our press has become like those of the Middle East? Here’s the prominent Lebanese journalist Michael Young writing about the Lebanese press:
For a long time, Beirut hosted a relatively free press, as governments and political figures around the region helped to finance newspapers in the Lebanese capital to advance their own political agendas. Lebanon was a lively playing field for inter-Arab rivalries, and journalists were sometimes hired hands for governments or influential figures. This hardly made for ideal journalism, but it did make for a stimulating forum to follow what was going on in the region.
In other words, you don’t read the Lebanese press for news as such. Rather, it’s a kind of bulletin board where significant political actors, working through operatives with bylines, hint at their next moves, test the waters, warn rivals, issue threats, etc. Take Ibrahim al-Amin, for instance, the editor of Al-Akhbar, a pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper. In the context described by Young, Amin is a journalist. But in reality, he’s a Hezbollah operative, running one aspect of the party’s political warfare campaign. His reports are interesting not as attempts to approach any ideal of objective truth, but for the hints they may contain about the intentions of his patrons.
Over the last several years, there have been at least three major information operations run through the American media. There was the Iran deal, which premiered the echo chamber. Next was the Russia collusion narrative, using many of the same echo chamber figures, media and government officials, to try to topple Trump. The latest is Operation Khashoggi, which is both pro-Iran and targeting Trump.
One of the main players behind this campaign appears to be a former architect of Obama’s pro-Iran Middle East policy, Robert Malley. Now president of the International Crisis Group, Malley has been arguing for months that the United States should cut support for Saudi Arabia’s war against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Thus, as the Washington policy establishment demanded punishment for Khashoggi’s disappearance and death, Malley gave their grief and anger form. He provided specific policy goals—punish the Saudis in Yemen. Eventually, others picked up Malley’s rallying cry, as here in The New York Times and here in a Washington Post editorial—“Editorial Board calls for a ban on all U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s bloody war in Yemen.”
To understand the nature of the Khashoggi campaign, it’s worth comparing Malley’s policy points now to the argument he made more than a decade ago regarding another Iran-related issue. Back then, the George W. Bush administration was reconsidering its Syria and Lebanon policy after the 2005 murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syrian President Bashar Assad was thought responsible for the crime. In this instance, however, Malley recommended that the White House not let the assassination of an Arab official color U.S. relations with his suspected murderer. Washington shouldn’t ostracize Assad, Malley wrote in 2007—shortly after then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Damascus to embrace the man suspected of murdering Hariri.
Is there a consistent principle underlying Malley’s two policy recommendations, one regarding a suspected murderer ruling Syria and another ruling Saudi Arabia? Yes. In both instances Malley advocated policies that benefitted Iran and its allies.
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials also have a stake in the Khashoggi operation. When Mohammed bin Salman replaced Muhammad bin Nayef as crown prince, U.S. spies whose ties to the Gulf and access to Gulf money went through the latter, found themselves on the outside looking in.
As former FBI agent Ali Soufan told NBC, overturning the line of succession is “the original sin of this relationship. Mohammed bin Nayef was the most important counterterrorism official in the Middle East [and] had worked with the U.S. for decades.”
Other former U.S. intelligence officials who have joined the anti-Salman campaign, include ex-CIA director John Brennan, who suggested the United States freeze arms sales to Riyadh, ex-deputy CIA director John McLaughlin, and former CIA official Ned Price. All three are MSNBC analysts, along with other former agency officers. One upside of the Khashoggi operation is that it has helped illuminate another part of the map of the new U.S. media—MSNBC appears to be a destination of choice for CIA leaks.
Blurring the lines between journalists/analysts and officials/operatives is not simply a matter of convenient nomenclature. It’s part of a conscious strategy to legitimize the nature and structure of information operations by obscuring their political character. How dare Trump strip John Brennan’s security clearance! He’s infringing on the former CIA director’s free speech rights—as a journalist.
Branding political operatives and intelligence officials as “press” is also intended to shield these newly minted “analysts” from possible prosecution. Evidence of their crimes and abuses may be found in the steady stream of classified intelligence illegally leaked to a complicit press corps for the purpose of marketing the Russia collusion narrative. By relabeling government officials as “journalists,” the media is protecting both its clandestine confederates and itself.
An analysis of Russiagate coverage also seems to suggest that the Federal Bureau of Investigation tends to favor The New York Times as a delivery mechanism while the Department of Justice prefers The Washington Post. Last month, the Times published a story sourced to memos written by FBI officials, including former deputy director Andrew McCabe, portraying Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as a conspirator plotting to bring down Trump. According to the account, Rosenstein told FBI officials that he’d wear a wire to record the president and gather evidence to remove him from office. When it was time for Rosenstein and allies at the DOJ to do damage control, their story went to the Post, published hours after the Times piece, explaining that Rosenstein was being sarcastic about spying on Trump, those FBI guys can’t take a joke!
The smart take is that the media keeps getting gamed. A gullible and inexperienced press corps can’t help but be taken advantage of by savvy political operatives, especially when they’re working in foreign lands. Most reporters don’t know Arabic, which is why the press mistranslated, for instance, a statement from the Saudi Justice Ministry saying that it had received the Turkish government’s claims that the Khashoggi murder was premeditated and was further investigating. The press reported instead that the Saudis had admitted it was premeditated.
Yet, the U.S. media did have the accurate translation. However, what seemed to appear in print were only those parts that were helpful in furthering the operation: Saudi Arabia is an instrument to damage Trump and preserve Obama’s policies. In this reading, the media is not getting gamed. It’s part of the operation—the indispensable part of the operation.
How did the U.S. press get here? As I’ve written previously in Tablet, the financial collapse of the press also led to its professional collapse. After the rise of the internet, the press spent years figuring out whether or not to charge for content in the hope that, eventually, digital advertising would make up for the loss in print advertising. So it gave its product away for free on Google, Facebook, and Twitter, thereby turning their prestige press brands into little more than blogs supplying free social media content. Among other reasons why Americans distrust journalists more than ever is that for two decades the media have been telling the U.S. public that its own product was worthless.
“Sadly,” as the late Jamal Khashoggi wrote, “this situation is unlikely to change.”

The New Jihad: More Threatening Than Ever
Guy Millière/Gatestone Institute/November 01/18
It is important to emphasize that radical Islamists use means other than terrorism to gain ground.
This week, the unelected judges of the European Court of Human Rights submitted to the demands of Sharia blasphemy laws and decided not to allow criticism of Muhammad, lest Muslim feelings be hurt. The court actually chose hurt feelings over freedom of expression and truth as a defense.
"As someone who has known what it is to live without freedom, I watch in amazement as those who call themselves liberal and progressive – people who claim to believe so fervently in individual liberty and minority rights – make common cause with the forces in the world that manifestly pose the greatest threats to that very freedom and those very minorities... We need to say to Muslims living in the West: if you want to live in our societies, to share in their material benefits, then you need to accept that our freedoms are not optional". — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 2016.
Following the destruction of the Islamic State, awareness of the danger embodied by radical Islam has been largely erased in Europe. Knife attacks and the slaughter of passers-by in France or Britain were not treated by the mainstream media as more important than road accidents. Pictured: Police officers and soldiers secure the site of a terror attack, in which a police officer was shot and killed, on April 20, 2017 in Paris, France.
When the Barcelona terror attack took place August 17, 2017, as horrible as it was (13 deaths, 130 injured), the jihadists did not consider it a success. They had a more lethal project. They wanted to drive vans packed with explosives into the of the Sagrada Familia basilica and two other tourist areas of the city. That, however, was the last major jihadist attack in a Western country. The Manchester attack had taken place two month earlier, on May 22, 2017; the attack in Nice, France, had taken place on July 14, 2016; and the in Orlando attack, in Florida, on June 12, 2016.
The destruction of the Islamic State under President Donald J. Trump has not only deprived jihadists of what had become a rear base and training camp; it also deprived them of the idea that they could quickly defeat the West.
Soon, awareness of the danger embodied by radical Islam faded in the United States and was largely erased in Europe. Knife attacks and the slaughter of passers-by in France or Britain were not treated by the mainstream media as more important than road accidents. Jihadist murderers were usually immediately defined by the authorities as mentally disturbed. In Europe, the names of the murderers were often hidden to avoid possibly firing up anti-Muslim "prejudices".
What happens in other parts of the world rarely makes headlines and is usually treated as a local problem of no global importance. Stabbing Israelis and launching rockets and incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza into Israel are looked on as strictly part of "the Middle East conflict." Attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt are defined as an Egyptian problem. More than 1,800 Christians massacred in Nigeria are barely mentioned in the news. The death sentence for blasphemy in countries such as Pakistan are not mentioned at all.
Radical Islam may be on the defensive, but its offensive has not stopped. The main Islamist organizations appear to be waiting for the moment to strike again. Al Qaeda was recently described in a January 2018 UN report as "strong," "influential," and "resilient." Islamic State may have lost territories it once ruled in Syria and Iraq, but, according to the UN report, "The group continues to transform into a terror organization with a flat hierarchy, with cells and affiliates increasingly acting autonomously."
Groups of Islamist jihadis are still active in Libya, where they control people-smuggling activities and infiltrate their operatives among the migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. The police keep seizing components used to make explosive devices and have foiled attempted attacks on European soil, but instructional videos still circulate.
What is important to emphasize is that radical Islamists use means other than terrorism to gain ground. The Muslim Brotherhood, the main Sunni Islamist organization, has never rejected violence, but says it prefers da'wa (proselytizing, infiltration and influence) to attain power in the Muslim world and beyond. Sayyid Qutb, its leader in the 1950's, said that the aim of the Muslim Brotherhood was to "establish Islamic rule" wherever it was possible, by "any means available". Its members may have thought they were achieving their objective during the uprising journalists called the "Arab spring." Unfortunately for them, former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's attempt to make Egypt an Islamic totalitarian state, and the economic collapse that resulted, led to a takeover of the government by Egypt's current president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and to a crackdown that eradicated the organization there. The Muslim Brotherhood, however, has not vanished. It still has the support of Turkey and Qatar, and Hamas was founded as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Reports show that members of the Muslim Brotherhood can rely on a network of affiliates in over 70 countries. They keep up their hope of winning throughout the Muslim world, but their main target seems to be to transform the West.
Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood appear to think that if the West falls, the rest of the world will fall thereafter. In the US, the Muslim Brotherhood has unofficial branches that try to hide what they actually are, but that are extremely active: these include the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
The Muslim Brotherhood is deeply implanted in Western Europe, where it controls many organizations and charities that also do their best to hide what they are. These include the "The Islamic Community of Germany," the Muslim Association of Britain, and "The Muslims of France." The Muslim Brotherhood has, in addition, created vast networks of mosques and schools that recruit, indoctrinate and claim that the future of Western Europe will belong to Islam and that Europeans will continue to submit.
This week, the unelected judges of the European Court of Human Rights submitted to the demands of Sharia blasphemy laws and decided not to allow criticism of Muhammad, lest Muslim feelings be hurt. The court actually chose hurt feelings over freedom of expression and truth as a defense. It is probably time to unelect these unelected judges.
Islamist organizations are present and growing. Often, they join forces to advance intimidation campaigns that push governments, the mainstream media and universities to ban all criticism of Islam and to enforce a growing Islamization of everyday life. Examples include efforts to change academic programs to present Muslim civilization in a more attractive light; efforts to have hospitals accept that Muslim women may be examined only by female doctors, and that social service agencies must respect polygamy. Many organizations rely for support on "fellow travelers" -- mainly Westerners who hate Western civilization and may see the rise of Islam as a means of destabilizing it. They want, and get, results.
Western European politicians, left and right, increasingly rely on the Muslim vote to get elected: they see that the birthrates (now well below replacement levels) and migratory flows create a population change; they calculate that being too hostile to Islam could lead to their political defeat.
Although the Swiss Islamist author Tariq Ramadan remains jailed in France over rape accusations, his books are still move up bestseller lists. Islamic bookstores are becoming more and more numerous. They sell anti-Semitic and anti-Western books that incite violence. No-go zones continue to proliferate in France, Britain and now in Germany. In his book No Go Zones, Raheem Kassam shows that female genital mutilation, sexual assault, and sometimes honor killings take place in these areas.
A few politicians -- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz -- are trying to defend European civilization. They are dragged in the mud by Merkel, May, Macron and other Western European leaders. The chance of Orbán, Kurz and Salvini to win the fight in the short term is limited by the rapid aging of their country's populations.
Authors criticizing Islam are still allowed to write in Western Europe, but, with some exceptions, such as Éric Zemmour in France or Thilo Sarrazin in Germany, they are now almost totally ignored by the mainstream media. All of them are harassed by Islamists and sometimes by prosecutions. Anyone who has left Islam risks being killed. Some have chosen to escape to a safer part of the world. Ayaan Hirsi Ali left the Netherlands in 2006 and is now an American citizen. Others, who stayed in Western Europe, have to live under police protection. Hamed Abdel-Samad, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who now lives in Germany, is the author of Islamic Fascism. Abdel-Samad says what Western European leaders refuse to see: "Islam is a religion of war". In a recent interview, he added that when a non-Muslim country is strong, "Islam can end up agreeing to coexist", but when a non-Muslim country is passive, "war comes back" on the horizon. This war, he added, "can be violent. It can be non violent". Western European countries show all the signs of being passive.
The United States is stronger. Will it remain a safe haven for ex-Muslims and freedom of speech? The Islamists are at work. Some in mosques incite violence. They find support. They intimidate institutions. In April 2018, M. Zuhdi Jasser, a practicing physician and founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which advocates the separation of religion and state, was invited to speak at Duke University. Under pressure from Islamist students, the invitation was cancelled; it was then reinstated.
In 2014, when Brandeis University wanted to honor Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an author who abandoned Islam, Islamic organizations and "progressives" demanded that Brandeis to revoke the invitation. She was "disinvited" and the invitation not extended again. Hirsi Ali said:
"As someone who has known what it is to live without freedom, I watch in amazement as those who call themselves liberal and progressive – people who claim to believe so fervently in individual liberty and minority rights – make common cause with the forces in the world that manifestly pose the greatest threats to that very freedom and those very minorities... We need to say to Muslims living in the West: if you want to live in our societies, to share in their material benefits, then you need to accept that our freedoms are not optional".
*Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.
© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Life Returning Slowly to Christian Homeland in Iraq
Kenneth R. Timmerman/Gatestone Institute/November 01/18
"Something specific occurred here that requires a specific response. It is called genocide... It is important for these communities to understand that they have a superpower behind them. This is a White House priority. Our goal is to help those communities return to their historic lands." — Max Primorac, Special Representative for Minority Assistance Programs at USAID, who is responsible for aiding Christians and Yazidis targeted by ISIS.
While roughly a third of the Christians who fled from ISIS in 2014 are returning, the future of their communities in northern Iraq needs political support and a surge of security and economic development. For Christians worldwide, this is our homeland. This is where we began. These are the people we need to protect and help to prosper.
QARAQOSH, Iraq — Christians are gradually returning to their historic homeland in northern Iraq, after three years of ISIS occupation.
The lucky ones managed to flee before the ISIS onslaught in the pre-dawn hours of August 6, 2014, and returned to find their houses intact. Most, however, are facing tremendous damage to their homes and families from a war that pitted neighbor against neighbor, community against community, tearing apart bonds forged over generations.
Yohanna Younis Towaya, 54, a prominent businessman and farmer, returned to find his home burned and looted. "One wall, next to my father's house, was completely blown out but we repaired it," he says. His father's house, next door, he says, has been flattened by an allied air strike: ISIS fighters turned it into a fighting post.
Towaya says he doubts he will ever rebuild his father's house, like the 116 such buildings in this once-thriving Christian economic center. "ISIS fighters are buried there beneath the rubble," he says. "Sometimes, you can smell them."
The smell of the unburied dead is pungent. You can smell it from here in the Christian heartland all the way into ancient Mosul, 12 miles to the west. The area was totally devastated in the final battle to crush ISIS hold-outs fighting from tunnels and underground bunkers.
No one really knows who provided ISIS with their tunneling machines, but there are many of them. On the outskirts of Qaraqosh, members of ISIS had dug a maze of tunnels beneath a Syriac Orthodox monastery at Qortaya to an ancient Assyrian mound 150 meters away. Those firing positions, high enough for an ordinary person to walk upright, allowed them to dominate the surrounding plains.
Most of the returnees have not visited these tunnels or want to visit them: they are visible reminders of the barbaric presence of the ISIS fighters who looted and burned their homes.
Instead, they seek to create new rituals and forge new bonds.
Father Behnam Benoka, 39, is the Syrian Catholic priest in nearby Bartella, another ancient Christian town in the Nineveh Plain outside Mosul.
Around one-third of the town's 3,000 Christian families have returned since ISIS transformed Bartella into a military compound for three years, from 2014-2016.
He invites us to a graduation ceremony for the church music school, where more than 100 students, from first grade to high school, will receive their diplomas.
"Our goal is to build an orchestra, the first Christian orchestra in Iraq," he says. "This is our third group of graduates."
The ceremony, which takes place in a church social hall, would be familiar to most Americans. Indeed, were it not for the languages spoken -- ancient Aramaic, the language of Jesus, and Arabic, the secular language of the region -- the ceremony could be taking place in Bethesda, Maryland, or Sewanee, Georgia.
"This gives us hope," Father Benoka says afterwards. "Instead of thinking all day about their problems, they think about music. Instead of carrying a gun, they carry a musical instrument."
The most astonishing thing about the visit to this area are the smiles. Despite the trauma, the destruction, the genocidal mania of the ISIS fighters who wanted to tear down every stone of one of Christianity's earliest communities, the people we meet on the streets and in the churches are smiling.
They are happy, they say, to be alive. They are happy to return. They are happy to start over again. They also, however, say they realize that their hold on this historic Christian homeland is tenuous, at best.
"If we don't get help now, we are finished," says Father Noel, 56, an aide to the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain. "We have local Shabak Shiites, supported by Iran, who have surrounded us. They are buying houses and changing the demography of this area."
Wissam Gedjo, 42, returned after the liberation in late 2017 to find his toy store in downtown Qaraqosh in ruins. "ISIS set everything on fire," he says, showing us pictures of the devastation. "They even took the floor tiles." All that survived was a group of painted Easter eggs, intact amid the rubble.
"This is how I found it in October 2017, when I returned. But I rebuilt this shop and reopened for business that Christmas."
As we are speaking, a young bride-to-be, her mother, and her fiancé are looking at a bridal bouquet of artificial white roses and angel spray. She says she is from nearby Karamles, and he is from Qaraqosh, which the local inhabitants also call Baghdeda.
She picks at the angel spray, so Gedjo keeps adding more. Finally, she seems happy and bursts into a big smile.
"Are you glad to be getting married and staying here in Qaraqosh," we ask.
She looks radiant. "Oh, yes!" she says.
Most of these Christian towns and villages are secured by armed guards from the Nineveh Protection Units (NPU), a Christian component of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), who man checkpoints at the entries.
The Christian guards number fewer than two hundred, and are dwarfed by some 4,000 Shiite Muslim guards of Battalion 30, reportedly supported by Iran.
"I carry a gun but I do not feel secure," says 25-year old Ronay, an NPU security guard.
"It took us seven years to build my father's house." Ronay says. "When I returned, I saw it burned by ISIS. You do not know what I feel when I see that. We cannot live there."
Although Ronay has returned and has a job, he says he dreams of leaving for America. "We can do nothing here," he says. "We have no future, no hope."
Hope is the name of the game -- not just for local Christians, but for the U.S. government, the Iraqi government, and for aid agencies seeking to convince Iraqi Christians and Yazidis to return to their historic homelands.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has repeatedly announced that the American government is focused on making sure the aid it sends reaches Iraqi minorities targeted by ISIS genocide.
"Something specific occurred here that requires a specific response," said Max Primorac, Special Representative for Minority Assistance Programs at USAID, who is responsible for aiding Christians and Yazidis targeted by ISIS. "It is called genocide."
Primorac and his team say they have been given special authority to streamline USAID projects in ways never before seen in Iraq or elsewhere. "It is important for these communities to understand that they have a superpower behind them. This is a White House priority. Our goal is to help those communities return to their historic lands."
While roughly a third of the Christians who fled from ISIS in 2014 are returning, the future of their communities in northern Iraq needs political support and a surge of security and economic development if they are to flourish and attract others to join them in this ancient Christian land, proselytized by St. Thomas in the 1st Century AD.
For Christians worldwide, this is our homeland. This is where we began. These are the people we need to protect and help to prosper.
*Kenneth R. Timmerman was jointly nominated with Ambassador John R. Bolton for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. His latest book is ISIS Begins: A Novel of the Iraq War
© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Opinion/In Just Two Years, President Trump Has Reversed the Decline of American Influence in the Middle East
اليوت إيراهام من الهآررتس: خلال سنتين فقط تمكن الرئيس ترامب من وقف تدهور وضعف التأثير الأميركي في الشرق الأوسط
Elliott Abrams/Haaretz/November 01/18
Trump’s policy has been grounded in realism, in reasserting that the U.S. knows who its friends are - and who are not: A simple, old-fashioned, yet absolutely indispensable stance for a world power.
When Donald Trump arrived in office U.S. influence in the Middle East was in broad decline. In the previous eight years, Iran and Russia had established vast influence and an on-the-ground presence in Syria, Iran was seen to be the rising power throughout the region, and U.S. relations with both Israel and the major Sunni Arab states were strained.
In two years Trump has turned that around.
U.S. power has been used to decimate Islamic State in Syria and shrink its geographical presence. Relations with Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf states are much closer. The U.S. has withdrawn from the deeply flawed Obama nuclear agreement (JCPOA) that Israelis of all major parties had opposed, and has reimposed full economic sanctions on Iran aimed at damaging its economy and reducing the cash available to it for aggression, subversion, and terrorism.
The U.S. military presence in Syria has helped prevent Iran’s consolidation of control through the Assad regime, and Trump administration officials have recently said expelling Iran is a key American goal.
Relations between the United States and Israel are excellent, and the U.S. no longer shies away from the toughest possible defense of Israel in the United Nations system, including vetoing all biased resolutions in the Security Council. In protest against maltreatment of Israel, the U.S. has resigned from the UN Human Rights Council and from UNESCO.
Trump’s policy has been grounded in realism. The decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem reflects that attitude: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, so why should the embassy be anywhere else? The president saw the issue as a simple one and was not cowed by Arab threats or State Department predictions of doom.
Similarly, he saw UNRWA as manufacturing new generations of purported "refugees" rather than solving the refugee problem, so his conclusion was clear: we will contribute no more American money to that organization. He has also cut off funds for the PA, in the face of both its absolute refusal to end the payments to terrorists and their families, and the PA/PLO refusal to negotiate seriously with Israel and the United States over a possible peace agreement.
There are two cases where relations with the United States have suffered: the PA/PLO and Iran.
While the JCPOA was being negotiated Iran’s terrible conduct in the region - support for Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, putting IRGC and Hezbollah troops in Syria, subverting Bahrain, arming the Houthis in Yemen with missiles to shoot at Riyadh and at ships in the Bab el Mandab - was largely ignored.
No longer. So the tone of U.S.-Iran relations has become more hostile. This is a reflection of reality, and will not change unless Iran’s conduct does.
The U.S. now sees Iran as the region does: A country led by a malevolent regime that continues to promote terror and regional instability, while maintaining the ability to relaunch its nuclear weapons program. Trump has stated that he would be willing to negotiate with Iran as he has with North Korea, but it will not be a phony negotiation producing anything like the JCPOA, nor will he believe or argue that "moderates" in Tehran are in charge and are great partners.
There remain serious challenges in the two years ahead in Trump’s first term.
Refugees are still leaving Syria rather than returning to it, and there has been no progress on a political settlement that would ultimately allow Syrians to choose their country’s leadership. Iran and Russia have made far greater investments in supporting Assad than the U.S. and its allies have in opposing him.
Similarly, in Yemen, the U.S.-supported efforts of Saudi Arabia and the UAE have not yet changed the balance of power and a political solution is therefore not yet possible. In Iraq, the new government appears likely to seek a balance between Iran on one side, and the Sunni Arab states and the U.S. on the other, because it does not want Iranian domination.
In all these cases, the president’s desire to avoid being dragged into more Middle East ground wars will conflict with his wish to support friends and allies and his intention to push back against Russia and Iran.
Diplomatic outcomes will always reflect the real balance of power on the ground, and (as we saw in the various failed Kerry negotiations) the United States and its allies cannot win at the conference table what they have not won on the ground. Trump administration officials and the president will be facing many difficult decisions as they balance military and diplomatic goals with his desire for a light footprint.
What Trump has achieved already is a reassertion of the American presence, diplomatic in some cases (think of Jim Jeffrey’s efforts now as the new Syria envoy) and military in others. He has reasserted that the U.S. knows who its friends are and who they are not, a simple, old-fashioned yet absolutely indispensable stance for a world power.
Ask Israeli officials about that - and then ask the ayatollahs.
*Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. He served as deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration

‘Doormat Christianity’ and the Islamic Invasion
ريموند إبراهيم:الخضوع والقبول بالظلم المسيحي والغزو الإسلامي
Raymond Ibrahim/PJ Media/November 01/18
A Catholic archbishop recently touched on an unspoken but highly subversive phenomenon: How anti-Christian forces exploit Christian teachings to empower those who seek to dismantle Christian civilization, Muslims being chief among them.
In an interview published last summer by the Italian outlet, Catholic Archbishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan said: The phenomenon of so-called “immigration” is an orchestrated and long-prepared plan by international powers to radically change the Christian and national identity of the peoples of Europe. These powers use the enormous moral potential of the Church and their structures to achieve their anti-Christian and anti-European objective more effectively: To this end, the true concept of humanism and even the Christian commandment of charity are abused.
To understand how these forces exploit “the enormous moral potential of the Church to achieve their anti-Christian and anti-European objective,” one must first understand the symbiotic relationship between liberalism and Christianity.
It is often forgotten, but tolerance, human rights, a desire for peace, accommodating the other, and all similar concepts secular liberalism claims to champion did not develop in a civilizational vacuum; they developed from the singular teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Over the course of some two thousand years, these precepts have had a profound influence on Western epistemology, society, and culture to the point that they are now taken for granted.
Somewhere or other, however, Western Christians came to believe that the entirety of their faith rested exclusively in those passive values — particularly forgiveness and non-judgmentalism for the other, and introspection and accountability for oneself. These now manifest as blanket “tolerance” and self-guilt. Whereas Christ tolerated sinners but did not tolerate sin — always calling on sinners to “repent,” and invoking the torments of hell more than any other biblical figure — today most Western Christians believe they must tolerate (or “celebrate”) both sinner and sin. The latter, thanks to entrenched moral and cultural relativism, no longer even seems to exist.
Such is the “Doormat Christianity”© that those who despise traditional Christianity call friend (or Useful Idiot). Muslims and other elements are persecuting innocents around the world? Show love and tolerance, turn the other cheek, say a prayer, and feel guilty for your own crimes — or even your ancestors’ crimes.
Doormat Christianity was regularly on display during Barack H. Obama’s presidency: “On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love,” he said in 2015 — three days after a terror attack targeting Christians killed 147 people in Kenya, provoking a few American Christian groups to express anger. “And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned.”
Similarly, during the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, 2015, Obama directly invoked Doormat Christian tenets to shame Christians from being too critical of Islamic State atrocities: “Lest we get on our high horse and think this [Islamic beheadings, sex-slavery, crucifixion, roasting and burying humans alive] is unique to some other place,” the American president admonished, “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”
That Obama had to go back almost a thousand years for examples by referencing the Crusades and the Inquisition did not trouble most Americans. Nor did most Americans even know that the Crusades and Inquisition were defensive responses to Muslim aggression and subversion, respectively (read Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of Sword and Scimitar).
After all, Americans had been miseducated to believe that their Medieval European ancestors were false Christians who mangled the faith to persecute peaceful Muslims. As the former nun, now self-described “freelance monotheist” Karen Armstrong once put it, “During the 12th Century, Christians were fighting brutal holy wars against Muslims, even though Jesus had told his followers to love their enemies, not to exterminate them.”
The notion that Christianity begins and ends with “loving one’s enemy” — all too often a lofty way to justify cowardice in front of evil — has become mainstream among Western Christians. In 1999, to mark the 900th anniversary of the crusader conquest of Jerusalem, hundreds of devout Protestants participated in a “reconciliation walk” that began in Germany and ended in Jerusalem. Along the way, they wore T-shirts with the words “I apologize” — in Arabic.
From their official statement: Nine hundred years ago, our forefathers carried the name of Jesus Christ in battle across the Middle East. Fueled by fear, greed and hatred … the Crusaders lifted the banner of the Cross above your people … On the anniversary of the First Crusade, we … wish to retrace the footsteps of the Crusaders in apology for their deeds … We deeply regret the atrocities committed in the name of Christ by our predecessors. We renounce greed, hatred and fear, and condemn all violence done in the name of Jesus Christ.
The First Crusaders only went to Jerusalem because Muslims had been slaughtering and enslaving literally hundreds of thousands of Christians in the East in the preceding years. The much-recounted Crusader sack of Jerusalem was a mere drop in the bloody bucket of Islamic atrocities. But this never seems to matter to such lofty-minded Christians.
It should be noted that Doormat Christianity is a distinctly Western phenomenon. Several Eastern European nations reject it, refusing to play along by opening their doors to Muslim “refugees.” On November 11, 2015, two days after the Paris terror attack that left 130 dead, tens of thousands of Poles demonstrated against Muslim immigration; it was Poland’s largest march in history. They chanted that they would defend their homeland — where “Christ is king” and where there is “no place for Islamic Sharia or terror” — against Muslim invaders and “Leftist traitors.”
Two months earlier, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán expressed similar sentiments, if more diplomatically:
Those [migrants] arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity…. We don’t want to criticize France, Belgium, any other country, but we think all countries have a right to decide whether they want to have a large number of Muslims in their countries. If they want to live together with them, they can. We don’t want to, and I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country. We do not like the consequences of having a large number of Muslim communities that we see in other countries, and I do not see any reason for anyone else to force us to create ways of living together in Hungary that we do not want to see.
Then, Orbán did the unforgiveable: He invoked Islam’s occupation of Hungary from 1541 to 1699:
I have to say that when it comes to living together with Muslim communities, we are the only ones who have experience, because we had the possibility to go through that experience for 150 years.
(For an “idea” of how those 150 years went, read Chapters 7 and 8 of Sword and Scimitar.)
Just how outrageous citing Europe’s actual history with Islam in the context of rejecting Doormat Christian sensibilities can be seen in how the Guardians of the Narrative — beginning with the UK’s aptly named Guardian — responded:
Hungary has a history with the Ottoman empire, and Orban is busy conjuring it. The Ottoman empire is striking back, he warns. They’re taking over! Hungary will never be the same again!… Hence the wire; hence the army; hence, as from today, the state of emergency; hence the fierce, unrelenting rhetoric of hatred. Because that is what it has been from the very start: sheer, crass hostility and slander.
For simply maintaining an accurate view of history and unapologetically seeking to preserve his nation’s Christian identity and heritage, numerous Western media and politicians characterized Orbán as “xenophobic,” “full of hate speech,” and Europe’s “creeping dictator.” Another Guardian piece simply referred to Orban as a “problem” that needs to be “solved.”
Meanwhile, the indigenous citizens of European nations that have taken in large numbers of Muslim migrants — including France and Germany — are fleeing to and seeking refuge in Hungary, a fact which speaks for itself.
Incidentally, lest it seem that only “liberal Protestants” are devotees of Doormat Christianity, it bears mentioning that the man who holds the same office that historically spearheaded the defense of Christianity against Islam is one of the greatest representatives of passive Christianity: The Catholic pope, Francis.
He repeatedly calls on Western nations “not to create walls but to build bridges,” including by taking in millions of Muslim refugees. Yet his Vatican residence is surrounded by walls built over a millennium ago to prevent ongoing Muslim raids. One of those raids sacked two of Christendom’s greatest basilicas, St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s (read Chapter 3 of Sword and Scimitar).
Nonetheless, according to the Vicar of Christ:
When I hear talk of the Christian roots of Europe, I sometimes dread the tone, which can seem triumphalist or even vengeful. It then takes on colonialist overtones.
How the desire to preserve the national, cultural, and religious integrity of one’s homeland can have “colonialist overtones” remains to be explained.
Yes, Europe has Christian roots and it is Christianity’s responsibility to water those roots. But this must be done in a spirit of service as in the washing of the feet. Christianity’s duty to Europe is one of service. … Christianity’s contribution to a culture is that of Christ in the washing of the feet.
Here, then, is Doormat Christianity at its finest, existing only for the “washing of feet” — or, in this context, taking in millions of Muslim migrants, many of whom are openly hostile to Christians.
For the record, yes, Christ served and washed his disciples’ feet and preached mercy and compassion — but that was hardly the sole or even primary purpose of his mission. He offered an entire worldview founded on theological assertions of eternal significance. When people erred by profaning the temple, he did not “turn the other cheek” (let alone wash their feet) — he whipped and cast them out. When he himself was slapped, Jesus did not offer the other cheek but rather challenged his abuser (John 18:23). He praised a Roman centurion without calling on him to resign from one of history’s most brutal militaries (Matt. 8: 5–13). In short, he did not call on his followers to be doormats — but to be “wise as serpents.”
Why do Christians everywhere fail to remember these biblical positions that at least balance out those on “unconditional” tolerance and forgiveness? Because they were born and bred on Doormat Christianity, an oxymoronic caricature developed to orchestrate Western civilization’s own suicide, including at the hands of jihad.

Brazil: A Dangerous Adventure After a Disappointing Experience!

Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Al Awsat/October 01/18
Brazilians have elected Jair Bolsonaro as their new president.
Bolsonaro (63 years), a populist politician who is not ashamed of anything that would embarrass the post-Latin American dictatorships, entered the last day of the election campaign leading his moderate Left-wing opponent Fernando Haddad (55 years). Indeed, he was only 4% short of winning the first election round outright on October 7. In that round Bolsonaro led Haddad by no less than 17%, and then maintained a healthy lead in the polls, all the way to his resounding win in Sunday's run-off. Sure enough, classes and groups who have been targeted by Bolsonaro’s extremist policies, are quite worried by his victory. However, thus far, the popular disappointment after the lengthy rule of the Left (between 2003 and 2016) marred by chaos and widespread crime, seems to outweigh the fear felt by many of allowing the genie of racism out of the bottle, the return of the strong arm of military dictatorship, and the ever increasing role of extremist Evangelists who have supported and financed the Rightist candidate’s campaign. Among the lessons of history many hesitate to comprehend, is that populist extremism, or sectarian fanaticism, are usually doomed.
Of course this does not apply to what Samuel Huntington calls the ‘Clash of Civilizations’, when one major ‘civilization’ defeats another, and by this, rewrites history. For example, during the 15th century the world witnessed two such events; the first, was the success of the Castile-Aragon’s Christian ‘neo-crusaders’ in destroying and eventually wiping out the Moorish-Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula; the second, was the success of the Ottoman Muslims in conquering Constantinople, turning the great Byzantine capital into a capital of the Ottoman’s ‘Caliphate’.
With the above-mentioned exceptions, the world has witnessed the eventual demise of extremism and populism in many places. In Spain, ‘The Inquisition’ ended after it had outlived its usefulness; a few centuries later, Franco’s military dictatorship ended after ruling Spain for almost four decades.
Italy and Germany, the two entities created by the unification and re-formation of several feudal ingredients within Europe’s realms, paid a heavy price for the extremism of the Fascists and the Nazis. The outcome of WW2 was tragic for both countries as well as to their ally, Japan.
In fact, in the ideologically-opposed camp, Russia’s Soviet experiment did not fare much better, although it managed to re-define political concepts, shake many parts of the globe, and help in bringing down European colonialism in Asia, Africa and parts of Latin America.
When they supported Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the Germans and Italians were running away from complicated fateful questions to what they convinced themselves were simple and ideal answers. In principle, one could define ‘populism’ as being the act of presenting easy and simple answers to difficult questions. Furthermore, there would always be a certain group of people, or a particular community who would be demonized and made a scapegoat for all problems.
Italy’s Fascists demonized the Leftists, Germany’s Nazis demonized the Jews as did the ultra-nationalist Russians during the ‘Pogroms’; and today, Europe’s extremist Right is demonizing Muslims, immigrants and refugees, while its American counterpart is targeting the Hispanics and Afro-Americans, and Brazil’s extremists are rising against homosexuals, Leftists and shantytowns’ (favellas’) poor! When Brazil’s voters cast their votes, they expressed anger and disappointment at a popular experiment that had promised social justice, tolerance, job opportunities, and improvement in living conditions; which is absolutely their right. Without doubt there are no excuses for corruption. However, corruption in Brazil is not limited to one party or political current, as it exists within both sides of the political divide. Young Brazilians, who have never lived under military dictatorship, also have every right to aspire for a clean and promising future, far away from the political camp that they had tried for more than a decade, but at least some of its leaders let them down. Thus, the young men and women are entitled now to give the other camp a chance, given its promises of a better life; because experimenting and providing the chances to correct previous mistakes, policies or choices, are democracy’s most important principles. Having said this, however, trust brings with it heavy responsibility, and anger caused by disappointment may be huge in a country where everything is, truly, huge! Brazil is a giant of a country, in terms of its population (with more than 200 million inhabitants), area (more than 8 million square km), resources (GDP exceeding 3.370 trillion US dollar – ranking it 8th globally), capabilities, problems, contradictions as well as aspirations.
Brazil is almost a unique case; indeed, it is ‘Latin America’s India’, just as Nigeria would be ‘Africa’s India’.
Moreover, economic and political problems may become ever more dangerous when fault lines of poverty and wealth intersect ethnic divisions (mainly between whites and non-whites), confessional identities (particularly, Catholicism vs Evangelical Protestantism) and regional economic and developmental disparity. In fact, the poor Northwest Brazil gave the Leftist candidate a big majority! In addition, if some believe that waving the military’s ‘thick stick’ may be enough to stifle the bitterness of the disappointed, the dismay of the deprived, and the worry of the opponents, jumping from one ideological extreme to another – even through the ballot box – provides no guarantee of easy co-existence, much needed social cohesion, or promised wealth. Brazilians suffered under military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985. Then, they lived through the reign of the Left’s hero Luis Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva, which was accompanied by a healthy economic boom for 8 years (between 2003 and 2011) before accusations of corruption dominated the scene, and led ‘Lula’ to be tried, convicted and imprisoned. Last Sunday, around 150 million Brazilian faced a straightforward choice between vestiges of a corruption-blemished Leftist era and a pretty dangerous Rightist adventure, which they opted.

Scary Effects of Climate Change
Faye Flam/Bloomberg View/October 01/18
What’s so scary about climate change?
The term is not scary — at last not in a visceral, skin-crawling sense. Scientists have shown that the likely 2 degrees of global warming to come this century will be extremely dangerous, but, you know, “2 degrees” is hardly a phrase from nightmares and horror films.How about “rat explosion”?Like rats, humans are hardy animals, and we’ve adapted to all kinds of climates. So it can be tempting to brush off the prospect of 2 degrees of warming. Especially for Americans, who mostly use Fahrenheit. That 2 degree warming is Celsius. Think of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Still not scared? Fine. Many living things are sensitive to small changes in temperature, so warming of 2 degrees Celsius will transform the flora and fauna that surround us in a big way. Other life forms are also very sensitive to moisture, and so populations will crash or explode as anthropogenic climate change continues to make wet areas more sodden and dry areas, more parched.
And while extinctions may inspire a sense of tragedy, it’s the creatures multiplying in outbreaks and infestations that generate horror. As rat expert Bobby Corrigan of Cornell University has told various media outlets, rats have a gestation period of 14 days. The babies can start reproducing after a month. That means that in one year, one pregnant rat can result in 15,000 to 18,000 new rats. Warmer winters will continue to dial up rat fecundity. People in urban areas such as New York and Boston are already noticing a lot more rats, not just in downtown alleyways, but even in the posh suburbs.
Rats are just the beginning. Biologists have calculated that with the expected warming this century of 2 degrees Celsius, populations of dangerous crop-eating insects are likely to explode as temperate areas warm, reducing crop yields by 25 to 50 percent. Similar horrors lurk offshore, where biologists have found that a population explosion of purple sea urchins — “cockroaches of the ocean” — is choking out other denizens of Pacific kelp forests. There’s something deeply troubling about a single species taking over what was a diverse ecosystem.
In recent years, psychologists have accused conservatives of being more innately fearful than liberals, but that never quite squared with the fact that conservatives express less fear over environmental problems. Some social scientists are finally starting to question the broad equation of political preferences with fear, recognizing that different people fear different things depending on their upbringing, education and surroundings. But we’re all sharing this warming planet, and at the very least surely we can unite against a future filled with rats.

U.S. Officials Push for Yemen Talks
Elana DeLozier and Lt. Col. August Pfluger, USAF/The Washington Institute/November 01/18
Washington’s abrupt change in tone could bolster the UN envoy’s efforts to end the fighting and convene negotiations sooner rather than later.
On October 30, the U.S. government’s public position on Yemen appeared to shift as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis called for the parties to cease hostilities and begin peace talks in November. Mattis’s remarks were made during a U.S. Institute of Peace webcast event, while Pompeo’s were issued as an official State Department press release hours later.
Previously, the Trump administration’s position centered on cautious support of Gulf coalition efforts against the Iranian-supported Houthi rebels, with Pompeo recently certifying to Congress that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were working to reduce civilian casualties in the conflict. Specifically, the administration continued its predecessor’s combination of air refueling support, intelligence sharing related to targeting, and advisory support to help defend against ballistic missile attacks.
The change in public positions comes in the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi affair, and amid mounting congressional pressure to end the war or halt U.S. support for the coalition. Adding to the urgency, Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, suggests the country may face the worst famine the world has seen in a century by year’s end.
Prior to yesterday’s statements, senior U.S. officials had privately urged coalition partners to bring the war to a close before the United States was forced to publicly call for it. Washington is particularly concerned about the coalition’s inability to conduct precision targeting with any consistency, resulting in heavy civilian casualties. Mattis emphasized this concern in his remarks, stating that the most important U.S. contribution in training coalition forces is to improve their targeting precision to the point where “they are not killing innocent people.” He noted that the Royal Saudi Air Force was comfortable with the targeting delays that sometimes result from instituting better procedures. At the same time, he implied that the high standards and meticulous procedures set by U.S. and NATO forces might not realistically apply to others, admitting that this level of precision took decades to achieve. More important, he concluded by reemphasizing Washington’s desire to see the war end, noting that “improved accuracy of bombs is still war.”
Likewise, Pompeo’s statement called for the cessation of “missile and UAV strikes from Houthi-controlled areas” into Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as the halting of airstrikes in Yemen’s “populated areas.” His careful wording did not appear to include Houthi attacks inside Yemen or coalition airstrikes on unpopulated areas. He also failed to mention Iran—an odd omission given that Tehran has enabled Houthi missile attacks through weapons smuggling and otherwise stoked U.S. concerns about its role in Yemen.
Mattis also referred to a “pull back” from the borders, while Pompeo suggested “demilitarization of borders” as a confidence-building measure. It is unclear if they were referring to the Yemen-Saudi border alone, or to maritime borders as well. Saudi Arabia and the Houthis created de-escalation committees in 2016 to discuss the land border, so they could be prepared to do so again. Another Pompeo suggestion—concentrating “all large weapons under international observation”—may be more difficult because the Houthis perceive any suggestion to disarm as tantamount to surrender.
Regarding the call for peace negotiations in November, that timeline fits with recent comments by UN special envoy Martin Griffiths, who adamantly pushed for talks within the next month during an interview on Al-Arabiya television last week. He suggested that he would be briefing the UN Security Council in mid-November, and that he wanted talks to be either underway or scheduled by that time. And in a statement issued earlier today, he welcomed the U.S. position and reiterated that he would be promoting three confidence-building measures: “enhancing the capacities” of Yemen’s central bank, exchanging prisoners, and reopening Sana airport. During the Al-Arabiya interview, he suggested that all three proposals have been put down in writing and are underway; indeed, other recent reports indicate that some high-level prisoner releases are being carried out with Oman’s help.
If U.S. support proves genuine and durable, Griffiths has a plausible chance of convening peace talks in the next month. Mattis claimed that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are “ready” for that step, though reports of a coalition troop surge in Hodeida suggest they have other plans in the immediate term. As for the Houthis, they failed to show up for the previous round of talks, claiming they did not have guarantees of safe passage. Griffiths stated that those issues are now resolved, so the Houthis cannot use that excuse again. If talks do convene, they would represent the first real effort to end the war since the Kuwait negotiations collapsed in 2016, so Washington and its partners should do what they must to seize this opportunity.
* Elana DeLozier is a research fellow in The Washington Institute’s Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy. Lt. Col. August Pfluger, USAF, is a military fellow at the Institute.

U.S. Officials Push for Yemen Talks
Elana DeLozier and Lt. Col. August Pfluger, USAF/The Washington Institute/November 01/18
المسؤولون الأمريكيون يحثون على إجراء محادثات حول اليمن
إليانا ديلوزيي والمقدم أوغست بفلوغر، "سلاح الجو الأمريكي"
معهد واشنطن/01 تشرين الثاني/18




U.S. Officials Push for Yemen Talks
Elana DeLozier and Lt. Col. August Pfluger, USAF/The Washington Institute/November 01/18


المسؤولون الأمريكيون يحثون على إجراء محادثات حول اليمن

إليانا ديلوزيي والمقدم أوغست بفلوغر، "سلاح الجو الأمريكي"

معهد واشنطن/01 تشرين الثاني/18