Detailed Lebanese & Lebanese Related LCCC English New Bulletin For November 07/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

To Read The Detailed English News Bulletin For November 07/2018 Click on the Link below


News Bulletin Achieves Since 2006/Click on the Link Below
Click Here to enter the LCCC Arabic/English news bulletins Achieves since 2006


Bible Quotations
Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
Letter of James 02/14-26: "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith without works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’, and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead."

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

Daily Lebanese/Arabic - English news bulletins on our LCCC web site.Click on the link below

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 06-07/18
Disputes between Lebanese President, Hezbollah ‘Tactical, Not Strategic’/Paula Astih/ Asharq Al-Awsat/November, 06/18
News Analysis: Analysts differ on how U.S. sanctions on Iran influence Lebanon's economy/Shi Yinglun/Xinhua/November 06/18
How the Iran Sanctions Are Threatening the Lebanese Government Formation/Daily Star/November05/18
What Swift Is and Why It Matters in the US-Iran Spat/Al Jazeera/Tuesday 06th November 2018
Canada Upholds Allah/Muhammad’s Ban on Adoption/Raymond Ibrahim/PJ Media/November 06/18
The Three Stances Nations Have Taken on Khashoggi/Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/November 06/18
The Stock Market Bandwagon Is Filling Up Quickly/Robert Burgess/Bloomberg/November 06/18
Germany: Merkel Throws in the Towel/Stefan Frank/Gatestone Institute/November 06, 2018
A Month of Multiculturalism in Britain: October 2018/Soeren Kern/Gatestone Institute/November 06, 2018
The grace of Jamal Khashoggi’s sons/Turki Aldakhil/Al Arabiya/November 06/18/
Russia gambles on Taliban peace talks/Dr. Azeem Ibrahim/Al Arabiya/November 06/18/
Israeli Minister Elkin: Syrian S-300s will be attacked if Israeli military or commercial planes hit'/DebkaFile/November 06/18
U.S.-Saudi Security Cooperation (Part 2): Restricting Operational Support in Yemen/Michael Knights and Lt. Col. August Pfluger, USAF/The Washington Institute/November 06/18
Qatar’s architect of a new life for Gazans/Simon Henderson /The Hill/November 06/ 18
Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 06-07/18
Aoun tackles government formation updates, educational affairs with Baabda visitors
Berri welcomes French Ambassador, Economic and Social Council
Report: Aoun, Hizbullah ‘Discuss’ Sunni Hurdle
Strong Lebanon Bloc Says 'Not a Party' to Govt. Standoff, Urges Quick Solution
Disputes between Lebanese President, Hezbollah ‘Tactical, Not Strategic’
Lebanon: Hariri Has Not ‘Retreated’ to France as Govt. Formation Stalls
Hezbollah Strongly Interfering in Iraq’s Govt. Crisis
Mustaqbal Hails Aoun's 'Great Sense of National Responsibility'
Senior UK Defense Adviser Vows 'Continued Support, Friendship with Lebanese Army'
AUB Selected for WRDS-SSRN Innovation Award
Private Generator Owners Announce Two-Hour Temporary Shutdown
Offshore Drilling for Oil and Gas Begins in 2019, Says Andari
Finance Ministry: U.S. Sanctions on Iran Have No Direct Effect on Lebanon
Guidanian Apologizes after Saying Egypt is a 'Dirty Place'
Bukhari meets Lebanese Saudi Business Council
Kanaan after bloc meeting: Dialogue remains basis for resolving disputes
Baarini visits Kuwaiti ambassador: Lebanon proud of its relations with Arab brethrens
Lebanon: Health Card Endorsed by Finance Committee, to be Approved by Parliament
Lebanon Overcomes Power Shortage Crisis
News Analysis: Analysts differ on how U.S. sanctions on Iran influence Lebanon's economy
How the Iran Sanctions Are Threatening the Lebanese Government Formation
Lebanon Central Bank Says Debt Threat Growing amid Political Vacuum
Row Renews Between Generator Owners and Economy Minister
Ardo: Kataeb Delegation's Visit to Russia 'Very Successful'
What Swift Is and Why It Matters in the US-Iran Spat

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 06-07/18
Americans Start Voting in Midterm Verdict on Trump Rule
Russia Sets ‘Mechanisms’ to Confront US Sanctions on Iran
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Airforce Stage Large-Scale Wargames
Erdogan Says Joint US-Kurdish Patrols Near Syria Border Unacceptable
Sisi Says Egypt Will Defend Gulf in Case of Direct Threat
Israel Lawmakers to Debate Death Penalty for Palestinian 'Terrorists'
Algeria Frees Senior Generals Detained in Corruption Sweep
UN Report: Mass Graves of ISIS Victims Discovered in Iraq
Europe Warns Tax Cuts Could Weaken Palestinian Authority
6 Far-Right Suspects Held in 'Violence' Plot against Macron
King Tours Saudi as Khashoggi Crisis Rages Abroad
Qatar Warns of 'Long-Lasting' Impact of Gulf Crisis
French Parliament Debates Brexit Bill
Palestinian Shot Trying to Stab Israel Cops with Scissors
Iraq Parliament Holds Off Vote on Key Ministers
The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 06-07/18
Aoun tackles government formation updates, educational affairs with Baabda visitors
Tue 06 Nov 2018/NNA - The Baabda Palace witnessed this Tuesday a series of meetings that dwelled on the developments related to the formation of the government, in addition to talks on political, diplomatic and educational affairs. Politically, President of the Republic General Michel Aoun welcomed caretaker Minister of State for Planning Affairs, Michel Pharaon, with talks touching on the current political updates and the course of forming a new government, after the meeting held by minister Pharaon with PM-designate Saad Hariri, commissioned by the Patriarch of the Melkite Catholic, Youssef Abssi. Pharaon said that he discussed with President Aoun "the issue of Roman Catholics representation in the government after circulating information about the existence of a complication which may appear later in the formation stages around the portfolios assigned to Catholic ministers." The minister uttered "full confidence in the Presidents of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, and PM-designate Saad Hariri and others tasked to reach formulas that will prevent any unfairness against the Catholic community or others.""I have been assured by His Excellency the President, and before him the Premier-designate on the keenness to respect the national reconciliation document and its implications, including the rights of communities," he said. President Aoun also met, in the presence of MP Elias Bou Saab, with Metropolitan of Beirut for the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audi, and held a round of talks with him on the current political developments and the process of forming the government, in addition to matters related to the Greek Orthodox community. After the meeting, Audi said "I wished His Excellency the President, at the beginning of his third year in office, health and long life to pursue his efforts for the good of Lebanon and its stability, for growth and prosperity and for the course of fighting corruption, so as to bring back hope to the homeland and its sons. We expressed our sorrow over the constant complications faced by the government. We hope that a government will be born soon to take the country out of its stalemate and save the citizens from the prevailing despair. We wished upon the President to give the best representation to the Orthodox within the cabinet, and that their rights in the administration be preserved as long as we are a State that adopts sectarianism in recruitment.""I have raised with the President the project of setting up a crematorium in Karantina, and the risks of doubling the pollution levels in Beirut as is the case in Jounieh, which would negatively affect the health of citizens," he added. Educationally, President Aoun welcomed, in the presence of caretaker Minister of Justice Salim Jreissati and the Ambassador of France, Bruno Foucher, Head of the French secular mission, Francois Perret, Director General of the Mission, Jean-Christophe Debre, and representative of the mission in Lebanon Andre Daouk. During the meeting, Perret tackled the role played by "the French secular mission schools in Lebanon for over 110 years ago," this underlining "the attachment to Lebanon and its pioneering role." President Aoun praised the work of the French secular mission and its educational ramifications spread across Lebanon, stressing "help in overcoming the difficulties that may impede its educational role."The Baabda Palace also witnessed a meeting between President Aoun and Lebanon's Ambassador to Algeria, Mohammad Mahmoud Hassan, with talks dwelling on Lebanese-Algerian relations.

Berri welcomes French Ambassador, Economic and Social Council

Tue 06 Nov 2018/NNA - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, received this Tuesday in Ain Al-Tineh a delegation of the Bureau of the Economic and Social Council, under the chairmanship of its President Charles Arbid who briefed him on the workshop held at the Economic and Social Council. "It is imperative to speed up the government formation process," he said in the wake of the meeting. "We also discussed with Speaker Berri the work of the parliamentary committees and the need to cooperate with them and help in socio-economic matters, especially in the technical issues," Arbid added, noting that "the economic reality is difficult and delicate but we always Lebanese never lose hope."On a different note, Berri welcomed the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Bruno Foucher, accompanied by Head of the French secular mission, Francois Perret, Director General of the Mission, Jean-Christophe Debre, and representative of the mission in Lebanon Andre Daouk.
Report: Aoun, Hizbullah ‘Discuss’ Sunni Hurdle
November 06/18/Discussions about the government formation process and the “Sunni representation obstacle” were reportedly held between President Michel Aoun and Hizbullah party, the pan-Arab al-Hayat daily said on Tuesday. Hizbullah insists on allocating a ministerial seat for a Sunni MP of March 8 camp, and refuses to submit the names of its ministers to PM-designate Saad Hariri in order to form the government. The representation of said MPs of March 8 -the newest obstacle hampering the formation of Lebanon’s government- still obstructs the mission of PM-designate Saad Hariri, who is currently in Paris. President Michel Aoun is following up on the “Sunni obstacle”, said the daily, but well-informed sources close to Baabda said discussions to ease the hurdle “have not yet produced tangible results.” They also said “contacts were held between Aoun and Hizbullah,” without disclosing the content; and between the President and Hariri, and Speaker Nabih Berri on that matter. Meanwhile, sources of al-Mustaqbal Movement (of the Premier) said Hariri is taking his time in Paris to follow on the formation issue. Mustaqbal MP Mohammed Hajjar said the “adamant stances to give a Cabinet seat for said MPs is an invitation to not form the government.”“For us, the government will be complete when Hizbullah decides to submit the names of its ministers,” to Hariri, he added. Hariri has been in Paris on a private visit since Thursday according to his office. His departure after a last-minute hurdle delayed the formation of his long-awaited government has raised speculation that the PM-designate has left the country in protest at the current situation. The new cabinet was on the verge of formation last Monday after the Lebanese Forces accepted the portfolios that were assigned to it but a row over the representation of pro-Hizbullah Sunni MPs surfaced. Hizbullah has backed 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 has reportedly announced that he'd rather step down than give the MPs a seat from his own ministerial share.

Strong Lebanon Bloc Says 'Not a Party' to Govt. Standoff, Urges Quick Solution

Naharnet/November 06/18/The Free Patriotic Movement-led Strong Lebanon bloc noted Tuesday that it is “a bridge among all components” and not a “party” to the current standoff over the new government. “From the very beginning, we considered that the government issue is essential and necessary regardless of disputes and obstacles,” MP Ibrahim Kanaan said after the bloc’s weekly meeting. “From the beginning, we have called for relying on the results of the parliamentary elections and setting a unified standard to form the government, because there are major requirements and challenges,” Kanaan added.
“The bloc considers dialogue to be the main foundation for overcoming hurdles, and preserving the National Pact and the various Lebanese components is essential for preserving domestic stability. It also believes that any victory that the Lebanese might seek can only be achieved through solidarity between them,” the MP went on to say. Referring to the standoff over the issue of representing pro-Hizbullah Sunni MPs in the new government, Kanaan stressed that the bloc “is a bridge among all components” and not a party to the current crisis. Accordingly, Kanaan said the bloc calls for a “quick solution that preserves the principles and values that we have all agreed on,” noting that “preserving state institutions is a win for all Lebanese.”“The prestige of the state and its institutions is not confined to a certain party. We are facing a critical period at all levels internationally, regionally, economically and developmentally,” Kanaan warned. The government was on the verge of formation on October 29 after the Lebanese Forces accepted the portfolios that were assigned to it but a last-minute hurdle over the representation of the aforementioned MPs surfaced. Hizbullah insisted that the six Sunni MPs should be given a seat in the government, refraining from providing Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri with the names of its own ministers in a bid to press him. President Michel Aoun -- a Hizbullah ally and the FPM founder -- threw his support behind Hariri and rejected the demand during a TV interview, slamming the “use of delay as a political tactic” and insisting that the aforementioned MPs are “individuals and not a bloc.”

Disputes between Lebanese President, Hezbollah ‘Tactical, Not Strategic’

Paula Astih/ Asharq Al-Awsat/November, 06/18
The dispute that had recently erupted between the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), founded by Lebanese President Michel Aoun, and the Hezbollah party has sparked speculation that their 12-year alliance was close to crumbling. The most recent dispute centers on the party’s insistence on naming Sunni candidates from its March 8 bloc to the new government in opposition to Aoun, who is adamant that the Sunni candidates be independent figures.  The most contentious issue that threatens relations between the two allies is the ongoing political dispute and fractious ties between the FPM and Speaker Nabih Berri. Whenever differences emerge between Berri and the FPM, Hezbollah often sides with the former in order to preserve Shiite unity in Lebanon. The party has repeatedly said that it prioritizes this unity, as demonstrated ahead of the May parliamentary elections. Prior to the polls, a crisis had erupted between Berri and FPM chief and caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil when the latter described the speaker as a “thug.” The tensions between the two sides almost escalated into clashes. Hezbollah did not hesitate at the time in declaring its clear solidarity with its Shiite ally against its Christian one.
Moreover, many observers questioned at the time how Hezbollah and the FPM ran rival electoral lists in various Lebanese regions during the polls. They two allies alleged that their electoral interests forced them to field such lists.
In addition, the FPM and Hezbollah have long differed over the extension of parliament’s term. The FPM has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the extension, while the party advocated it. Political disputes and security concerns twice forced parliament to extend its term, once in 2013 and again in 2014. The thorniest issue between the two allies is that of Lebanese who fled to Israel following its withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. The FPM has supported settling their legal status, while the party has not, despite making many concessions in this file, said research specialist Mohammad Chamseddine of Information International.
These include reducing sentences against those who turn themselves in. If the unreduced sentences are imposed, then suspects would be tried for collaborating with the enemy and given harsh punishments. Chamseddine told Asharq Al-Awsat that the majority of disputes between Aoun and Hezbollah will remain “tactical, not strategic” as long as they stay in agreement on the “role of the resistance and the need to maintain it.”The party is keen to preserve its ties with Aoun because he is the only figure capable of offering it “major Christian cover” that its other Christian allies, such as Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh, cannot. Once a new government is formed, Aoun is expected to propose the issue of the national defense strategy back on the dialogue table in Lebanon. Hezbollah does not seem too eager to address this issue, which has often been a source of dispute with its opponents given their objection to its weapons arsenal and its usurpation of the state’s war and peace decision-making power. Head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc MP Mohammed Raad was quick to voice his skepticism over Aoun’s intention to address the defense strategy. “The resistance is a key factor in Lebanon’s defense strategy. It has played a planning and administrative role to that end,” he added. “This resistance, which has been embraced by our national people,” does not need texts to dictate its duties and it will remain a necessity as long as Israeli and terrorist threats exist, he declared. Chamseddine doubted that the defense strategy will spark a new dispute between Hezbollah and the FPM. “As long as Aoun maintains his support for the resistance’s defense role, then no tensions should emerge during the discussions,” he explained. In fact, Aoun’s proposal could act as a favor to Hezbollah whereby the defense strategy could offer official and political cover for its contentious role in Lebanon, he said.

Lebanon: Hariri Has Not ‘Retreated’ to France as Govt. Formation Stalls
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 6 November, 2018/Efforts to form a new Lebanese government after months of negotiations remained obstructed Monday by the dispute over Sunni representation, with no breakthrough in sight and amid claims that Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri had “retreated” to France. MP Bahia Hariri denied the allegations, explaining that he can take all the time he needs to form his government. Last Thursday, Hariri traveled to Paris without offering any details about the latest developments related to the cabinet formation process. Local MTV television said he will remain in Paris to attend the World War I commemorations scheduled for November 11. The channel quoted sources from the Presidential Palace as saying that no breakthrough was made in regard to solving the Sunni dispute. “There are no developments in regard to the government formation process. Things remain at a standstill,” the sources said. The issue of Sunni representation erupted in recent weeks with Hezbollah insisting on appointing these ministers from its March 8 bloc. However, President Michel Aoun said last week the independent Sunni deputies, who demand a ministerial portfolio, “do not form a bloc,” backing Hariri’s stance. Meanwhile, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi called Monday for facilitating the cabinet formation process, instead of placing obstacles and hurdles. “We all stand in solidarity with the President and we want all parties to support his position,” he said after holding talks with Aoun. He added that solutions should not take place at the expense of Lebanon, unity and internal balance. The patriarch also underlined the dire need to support Aoun and Hariri’s efforts to form a cabinet. Separately, Speaker Nabih Berri called on Monday parliament to convene in a legislative session on November 12 and 13.

Hezbollah Strongly Interfering in Iraq’s Govt. Crisis
Baghdad - Hamza Mustafa/Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 6 November, 2018/The Lebanese Hezbollah party has been interfering in internal political affairs in Iraq, especially recent government formation efforts. Iraqi sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the party’s official in charge of Iraqi affairs, Mohammed Kawtharani had informed Shiite leaderships in Baghdad of the need to support Falih al-Fayyad’s bid to become interior minister after head of the Sairoon bloc, Moqtada al-Sadr, had vetoed his appointment. “Kawtharani, with the support of Iranian and Russian high ranking leaderships, informed Shiite forces in Iraq about the need to appoint Fayyad as interior minister,” the sources said, highlighting the official’s close ties with Syrian regime head Bashar Assad. Leaderships from the Binaa coalition have already informed Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi of their support for Fayyad’s nomination, as well as Qusay al-Suhail’s appointment as justice minister. Fayyad is a member of the Binaa coalition. The Coalition also informed the PM it would not allow the Sairoon bloc to interfere and obstruct the appointment of those two figures at the mentioned ministries. Abdul Mahdi announced last week that he will occupy key cabinet posts left unfilled by parliament’s vote Thursday on the government lineup. Iraqi deputies had failed to vote on key ministries, including the defense and interior portfolios, forcing him to step in as caretaker minister. Separately, former Minister of Interior and current MP Mohammed Salem Al-Ghabban from the Fatah Alliance, led by Badr Organization founder Hadi Al-Ameri, told Asharq Al-Awsat that his bloc insists on supporting Fayyad for the interior ministry post. He added that there are no legal justifications for some parties to veto Fayyad’s nomination.

Mustaqbal Hails Aoun's 'Great Sense of National Responsibility'

Naharnet/November 06/18/Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc on Tuesday applauded the latest stance voiced by President Michel Aoun over the issue of representing the pro-Hizbullah Sunni MPs in the new government. “The bloc welcomed the president’s stance which rejected this crippling demand,” it said in a statement issued after its weekly meeting. “His stance reflects a great sense of national responsibility and keenness on the formation of the government as soon as possible in order to confront the impending threats to the Lebanese and their economy and safety,” the bloc added. “The approach through which President Aoun and Prime Minister-designate (Saad) Hariri are facing this obstruction is a sound approach, seeing as it is not right to group together MPs belonging to separate blocs which are already represented in the government,” Mustaqbal went on to say. It also noted that all parties “had known from the very beginning that such a crippling demand would be faced by a categorical and decisive rejection from the PM-designate and from large segments of the Lebanese and their political blocs.”The government was on the verge of formation on October 29 after the Lebanese Forces accepted the portfolios that were assigned to it but a last-minute hurdle over the representation of the aforementioned MPs surfaced. Hizbullah insisted that the six Sunni MPs should be given a seat in the government, refraining from providing Hariri with the names of its own ministers in a bid to press him. Aoun threw his support behind Hariri and rejected the demand during a TV interview, slamming the “use of delay as a political tactic” and insisting that the aforementioned MPs are “individuals and not a bloc.”

Senior UK Defense Adviser Vows 'Continued Support, Friendship with Lebanese Army'
Naharnet/November 06/18/Lieutenant General Sir John Lorimer, the UK's Defense Senior Adviser on the Middle East, has ended a two-day visit to Lebanon, the British embassy said on Tuesday. During the visit he held meetings with President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim and Army Commander General Joseph Aoun. This is General Lorimer’s third visit to Lebanon since November 2017. Lorimer also addressed a dinner for graduates of UK military academies and institutions hosted by the Defense Attaché Lieutenant Colonel Alex Hilton. He also visited the Land Border Regiment Training Center at Rayak Airbase, and then met the Commander of 3rd Land Border Regiment at one of the surveillance towers overlooking the Lebanese- Syrian border, where he saw first-hand how the UK support is helping Lebanon keep its border safe and maintain stability of the country,” the embassy said. At the end of his visit, General Lorimer said: “It is a great pleasure to be back in Lebanon. It is a testament of the strong and long-standing relationship with the Lebanese Armed Forces. My visit was an opportunity to see how current and future support to the Lebanese Armed Forces will reinforce Lebanon’s stability and the LAF’s vital role as the legitimate defender of Lebanon.”"I was impressed to learn that we have helped to train 10,000 Lebanese soldiers and that the Army continues to develop its capability to completely secure the Syrian border. This is a remarkable achievement in such a short time," he added. Benjamin Wastnage, the British Chargé D’affaires, said: “We are delighted to have General Sir John Lorimer back in Lebanon, as a demonstration of our continued support to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) – which every day, across the country, bravely and professionally defends Lebanon.”“In this volatile region, it is the LAF that provides for Lebanon’s security, stability and prosperity. And I am proud that the UK continues to be one of the LAF’s largest and most impactful donors, and that the UK’s relationship with the LAF continues to strengthen,” he added.

AUB Selected for WRDS-SSRN Innovation Award
Associated Press/Naharnet/November 06/18/Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS), the leading data research platform and business intelligence tool for corporate, academic and government institutions worldwide, has announced the American University of Beirut as the EMEA region winner of the WRDS-SSRN Innovation Award. A part of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, WRDS provides global corporations, universities and regulatory agencies the thought leadership, data access and insights needed to enable impactful research. The award was created through a unique collaboration with SSRN and Elsevier to honor emerging business schools. “Together, WRDS and SSRN elevate the visibility, impact and credibility of an institution’s research,” a press release said. The award was presented to Dr. Steve Harvey during the AACSB EMEA Conference in Paris. “I am very pleased to present the WRDS-SSRN Innovation Award to the American University of Beirut,” said Robert Zarazowski, Managing Director of WRDS. “Supporting and advancing research is at the heart of what we do at WRDS, and it is wonderful to be able to honor the American University of Beirut for its commitment to growth and innovation in academic research,” he added. "We are thrilled with this recognition as a school committed to high-quality research with reach and impact,” said Dr. Steve Harvey, Dean of Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. “It will serve to energize us even more to continue our focus on bringing actionable knowledge to the fore."Gregg Gordon, Managing Director of SSRN, added: “Congratulations to the American University of Beirut for this achievement. SSRN is excited to continue to partner with WRDS and provide greater visibility to business schools, like American University of Beirut through this innovation award and the WRDS Research Paper Series on SSRN.”Three universities are selected annually from across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions.

Private Generator Owners Announce Two-Hour Temporary Shutdown
Naharnet/November 06/18/Private generator owners announced a two-hour shutdown on Tuesday in protest to what they called “campaigns against them.”They said during a press conference that generators will be shutdown between 5:00 and 7:00 PM in protest to “unfair pricing” set by the Energy Ministry. In a bid to organize the already illegal sector, the Ministry had instructed them to install meters to charge subscribers based on electricity usage. “We demand the Ministry of Energy to develop a clear scientific study of the kilowatt and announce it to the public,” they said.

Offshore Drilling for Oil and Gas Begins in 2019, Says Andari
Naharnet/November 06/18/Banque Du Liban's second vice-governor Saad Andari announced during a conference that Lebanon expects to start exploratory offshore drilling for oil and gas by the end of 2019, LBCI news said on Tuesday. The exploration will take between three to four years, and will be conducted by a consortium led by French oil giant Total, Andari said. Lebanon signed in February a deal with an international consortium to start exploratory offshore drilling for oil and gas in what the country hopes will help boost its struggling economy. The three oil companies, Italy's Eni, France's Total and Russia's Novatek, have bid for two of Lebanon's 10 offshore blocks, to determine whether oil and gas exist.

Finance Ministry: U.S. Sanctions on Iran Have No Direct Effect on Lebanon
Naharnet/November 06/18/The Ministry of Finance confirmed there was no direct effect on Lebanon as the result of sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran, “because the banking and financial system in Lebanon comply with the international rules,” al-Joumhouria daily reported in Tuesday. Lebanon “has for a while taken all needed measures dismissing any urgent threat,” added the sources who spoke on condition on anonymity. However, they raised “concerns of the absence of the executive authority shall things touch the red line,” they said, referring to the delay in the government formation. “Lebanon needs to cover its expenses by the end of the year. Since expenditures are increasing and revenues are limited, Lebanon as usual will be needing loans. But, who will lend us in these circumstances and foggy political situation?” they asked. Last week the U.S. began restoring sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which President Donald Trump withdrew from in May. The administration says the renewed sanctions are meant to pressure Tehran to halt its alleged support for international terrorism, its military activity in the Middle East and its ballistic missile programs. Iran has been backing Hizbullah financially and militarily since the group was established after Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

Guidanian Apologizes after Saying Egypt is a 'Dirty Place'

Naharnet/November 06/18/Caretaker Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian on Monday apologized to Egypt after describing the Arab country as a “dirty place.”“In an interview with Lebanon's The Daily Star newspaper, I talked about the media's role in highlighting tourism's decent image, giving an example about the Arab Republic of Egypt,” Guidanian said in a statement. “It contained a phrase resulting from an unintended expression, that's why I extend my deepest apology to the Arab Republic of Egypt and its presidency, government and people, stressing the depth of the relation with Egypt and wishing prosperity for this dear country,” the minister added. In the interview, Guidanian had made a comparison between Lebanon's image and that of Egypt in the media. “We love to say in the media that Lebanon is covered in trash, that the sea is polluted and that it’s the most expensive tourist destination in the world – well, you’ve ruined Lebanon’s image,” Guidanian told The Daily Star. “I mean look at Egypt is there a place dirtier than it? People are louder than us, there is more traffic than here – people live in graves, OK? But there is tourism, because they know how to sell that country,” he added.

Bukhari meets Lebanese Saudi Business Council
Tue 06 Nov 2018/NNA - Saudi Minister Plenipotentiary Charge d'Affaire, Walid Bukhari, on Tuesday welcomed at the Embassy headquarters a delegation of the Lebanese-Saudi Business Council. The delegation included head of the Economic Committees, Mohamed Choucair, Council President Raouf Abu Zaki, and other economic magnates. The meeting also took place in the presence of Embassy Economic Advisor Marwan al-Saleh. As per a statement by the Lebanese-Saudi Business Council, it said the purpose of the visit was to express solidarity with the Kingdom and to underscore the importannce of its supportive role to Lebanon. Bukhari appreciated the solidarity initiative, announcing a qualitative leap in economic relations between the two countries after the formation of the Lebanese governmment, as per Council statement. The statement said discussions touched on 21 bilateral agreements between Lebanon and the Kingdom, pending government formation.

Kanaan after bloc meeting: Dialogue remains basis for resolving disputes

Tue 06 Nov 2018/NNA - "Strong Lebanon" bloc held its weekly meeting at the "Tayyar Center" in Sin El Fil, presided over by Free Patriotic Movement head, Caretaker Foreign Minister, Gebran Bassil. Speaking in the wake of the meeting, MP Ibrahim Kanaan said the bloc has always regarded the government formation issue as essential and indispensable, regardless of the disagreements, and in view of the challenges ahead. Kanaan brought to attention that the bloc has always called for forming the next cabinet on the basis of the outcome of recent legislative elections. The Lawmaker said "the bloc considers that dialogue remains the basis for resolving snags." "Preserving the Charter and the various Lebanese components is essential in maintaining internal stability," Kanaan said. Kanaan stressed the paramount importance of solidarity among the Lebanese, noting that the bloc has always sought to be a "bridge" amongst all components of society, under the ceiling of the Constitution and national institutions. The bloc stressed the dire need to uphold national constants and principles and to preserve constitutional institutions. Meanwhile, the bloc welcomed the endorsement of the health card, deeming it as a national accomplishment. The bloc also hoped that the health card will be endorsed by the Parliament's General Assembly.

Baarini visits Kuwaiti ambassador: Lebanon proud of its relations with Arab brethrens
Tue 06 Nov 2018/NNA - "Future" bloc MP Walid Baarini, on Tuesday visited Kuwait's Ambassador to Lebanon, Abdel Aal Kinaï, at the Embassy, on top of a delegation from northern Akkar and Minieh. MP Baarini hailed the historic brotherly relations between Lebanon and Kuwait, expressing appreciation of Kuwait's relentless support to Lebanon. The MP said Lebanon is proud of its ties with its Arab brothers who spare no effort in supporting the nation. Baarini also heaped praise on the efforts undertaken by the Kuwaiti Ambassador in furthering ties between the two countries. The Lawmaker extended an invitation to Ambassador Aal Kinaï to visit North Lebanon and Akkar. For his part, Aal Kinaï affirmed his country's keenness to support Lebanon's security and stability.

Lebanon: Health Card Endorsed by Finance Committee, to be Approved by Parliament
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 6 November, 2018/Parliament’s Finance and Budget Committee approved on Monday the remaining items of the law proposal on the health card, which would provide health coverage for all the Lebanese people. The draft-law would be referred to Parliament for approval. The head of the committee, MP Ibrahim Kenaan, said following Monday’s meeting: “The biometric card will include the health history of every citizen, which would save a lot of money and will be sponsored by the Ministry of Health, with the possibility to cover all the segments of the Lebanese people in the future.”“The health card is now in the hands of Parliament, and I hope it will be one of the legislation priorities because it affects every Lebanese and every home,” he added. He emphasized that squandering in the health sector was the result of “politics and chaos.” “We want the health card project to be the first medical and national project approved by Parliament,” he stressed. Parliamentary committees have been studying for several years the health card bill, which provides health coverage for all the Lebanese. The project was initiated by the ministry of health in 2010.

Lebanon Overcomes Power Shortage Crisis

Beirut- Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 6 November, 2018/Lebanese authorities ended a crisis that was likely to affect the electricity sector with the announcement of the Minister of Energy and Water in the caretaker government, Cesar Abi Khalil, that Algerian tanker ships would unload fuel following contacts made by the Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri with Algerian officials. Fears of a power crisis emerged last week, after two electricity plants stopped producing energy as a result of fuel shortage due to lack of funding, inability to spend additional funds without Parliament’s approval, and the absence of a government. Hariri’s press office reported that the premier-designate contacted President Michel Aoun from Paris, informing him that he agreed with Algerian officials to unload two ships for Electricite du Liban (EDL) and that he would maintain his contacts to find a lasting solution for the problem in the coming days. Following his meeting with Aoun on Monday, Abi Khalil said: “I have notified President Michel Aoun that the power barges will start supplying fuel as of today, and there will be no electricity cuts.”“The President appreciated the Algerian position and contacted Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri, who in turn, highly valued the initiative of Sonatrach company,” Abi Khalil said. Before the crisis was resolved, the energy minister attributed the problem to the refusal of Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil to implement a decree signed by Aoun, Hariri, Abi Khalil and himself, arguing that his decision comes in line with the provisions of the Budget Law, which prohibits the disbursement of any amounts except by a law issued by Parliament. Lebanese officials were working to resolve the crisis by asking the Algerian company to accept receiving the price of fuel within 90 days, exceeding the international economic practice to pay the price of fuel within 30 days after delivery.

News Analysis: Analysts differ on how U.S. sanctions on Iran influence Lebanon's economy
Shi Yinglun/Xinhua/November 06/18
BEIRUT, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- With the U.S. re-imposed sanctions on Iran's oil, transportation and banking sectors, Lebanese analysts expressed on Tuesday divergent views on how the sanctions would influence Hezbollah and the Lebanese economy.
"I do not think that these sanctions will have a major impact on Hezbollah or the Lebanese economy," Hilal Kashan, chair of the Political Studies Department at the American University of Beirut, told Xinhua. Khashan said that Hezbollah does not rely on Iranian financial assistance as it used to in the past. The U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, announced a few months ago that Iran provides upwards of 700 U.S. million dollars a year to Hezbollah. Khashan believes that Hezbollah still gets some of its funds from Iran but it succeeded during the past years in identifying its own sources of funding. He explained that there are many companies in Lebanon and abroad owned by Hezbollah but operating under independent names. Khashan also noted that Hezbollah members use cash without bank accounts. According to Kashan, U.S. sanctions against Iran will not have any impact on the Lebanese economy. "The Americans understand very well that the Lebanese government is helpless and that Hezbollah is stronger than the national army. They are well aware that Hezbollah can overthrow the cabinet. So it does not make sense for them to jeopardize the entirety of Lebanon for Hezbollah," he said. Khashan does not think that Iran will be crippled because of these sanctions. "The sanctions on Iran will gravely impact the Iranian economy but I do not think this will cripple Iran," he said, adding that the U.S. has exempted eight countries from the sanctions, some of which are major oil importers of Iran. Lebanese Political Analyst Walid Mubarak reiterated Kashan's views by saying that Iran can maneuver around these sanctions because it has a past experience on how to deal with them. According to Mubarak, Hezbollah has been dealing with such sanctions for a very long time as well. "The political party relies on cash while avoiding to deal with the Lebanese banking system," he said. However, Mubarak said that Hezbollah may be impacted in an indirect way. "Its support base could be affected because the U.S. is putting sanctions on companies and individuals that are in support of Hezbollah, which will impact the Lebanese economy," he added. He explained that individuals and companies dealing with Hezbollah will have their funds frozen in banks. "It will create a psychological environment which could lead to lack of confidence in Lebanese banking system and possible capital outflows," he said. Another impact, according to Mubarak, could be on the social services offered by Hezbollah such as hospitalization and the compensations paid for families of the martyrs. Sami Nader, director of Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs in Lebanon, said that Hezbollah's support base will be impacted by the new sanctions. "The sanctions are saying that no one can deal with a company dealing with Iran. This is how they broadened the scopes of the sanctions," he said, adding that any supplier of a company that supports Hezbollah will be hit this time. Nader believes that the new sanctions will increase the level of economic risks in Lebanon. "Lebanon needs to send positive signals to the international community that reforms will be implemented and investments as well as tourists will return to the country," he said. However, he added that these sanctions are going in the opposite direction by reducing the level of trust in the Lebanese economy. "We already have very high interest rates because of the monetary situation we are going through, which is a direct consequence of our financial distress and economic downturn," he said.

How the Iran Sanctions Are Threatening the Lebanese Government Formation

Daily Star/November05/18
Hezbollah escalated its position on the issue of representing Sunni lawmakers not affiliated with the Future Movement over the weekend, to the extent of ruling out the formation of a new government without naming one of them as a minister.
he remarks by Hezbollah’s deputy head Sheikh Naim Qassem threaten to prolong the Cabinet formation crisis, now in its sixth month, as President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri have strongly rejected a demand by the six so-called “independent” Sunni lawmakers to be represented in the new government. However, the sudden toughening of Hezbollah’s stance on the representation of those Sunni MPs coincided with U.S. President Donald Trump’s reimposition of all U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, raising questions about the Iranian-backed party’s escalatory move and giving rise to speculation that Hezbollah might have acted at Tehran’s behest.
“With the American-Iranian confrontation at its peak following the imposition of new tough U.S. sanctions, Iran, which wields great influence in Lebanon through Hezbollah, might have asked its powerful ally to respond to the sanctions by acting to delay the Cabinet formation as a message to regional and foreign countries that are keen on Lebanon’s stability,” a political source close to the formation process told The Daily Star. As the Cabinet formation remains at a stalemate over the issue of representing the independent Sunni MPs, French President Emmanuel Macron is sending a special envoy to Lebanon to urge Lebanese leaders on the need to speed up the government formation, the state-run Tele Liban television reported. Aurelien Lechevallier, Macron’s adviser for diplomatic affairs, is set to arrive in Beirut Monday on a visit during which he will meet with senior Lebanese officials, it said.
The French envoy will also underline the importance of the new government to assume its responsibility toward the implementation of reforms and recommendations adopted at the CEDRE conference, it added. Macron, whose country hosted the CEDRE conference in April to shore up Lebanon’s ailing economy, is scheduled to visit Beirut in February. The CEDRE conference raised over $11 billion in grants and soft loans pledged by countries and international organizations to finance investment and infrastructure projects in Lebanon.
Lebanon pledged at the conference to carry out structural reforms to revitalize the sluggish economy. However, the implementation of the reforms remains depended on the formation of a new government. Consultations on the Cabinet formation were at a standstill Sunday as Hariri did not return to Beirut over the weekend from a private visit to France as was widely expected. Hariri will travel again later to France in order to participate in the Paris Peace Forum, which will run from Nov. 11-13, a source close to the premier-designate told The Daily Star. Sources close to Hariri’s Future Movement reiterated his staunch opposition to the representation of the independent Sunni MPs in the new government
Al-Jadeed TV quoted the sources as saying that Hariri had accepted allocating the Health Ministry to Hezbollah “despite international threats of sanctions” on Lebanon. “We accepted retaining the Public Works Ministry with the Marada Movement despite the president’s opposition. What else does the party [Hezbollah] want?” the sources said. “Changing the current balance of power through the representation of [independent] Sunni MPs [in the Cabinet] is rejected and Hariri will not do it,” the sources said. But Hezbollah’s deputy chief said the next government would not be complete if the Sunni MPs outside the Future Movement were not represented. Qassem said the issue of the MPs’ representation was not raised recently, as claimed by Hezbollah’s critics, but had been there from the start of the Cabinet formation process, along with the problems of the Druze and Lebanese Forces’ representation, which have both been resolved. “The independent Sunnis represent a large segment of people and are therefore entitled to be represented by a minister,” Qassem said in a speech in Beirut’s southern suburbs Saturday. “Hezbollah confirms that it supports the formation of the government as soon as possible. But the solution is in the hands of the prime minister. This matter can be solved with little understanding and modesty,” Qassem said. “We stress the formation of a national unity government. But this government will not be complete unless the independent Sunni [MPs] are represented on the basis that everyone has been represented.”
Speaker Nabih Berri Sunday renewed his support for the representation of the independent Sunni MPs. Visitors at the speaker’s Ain al-Tineh residence quoted Berri as saying he had advised Hariri on the need to represent those six Sunni MPs, even from the prime minister-designate’s share.
who denied reports that he was mediating to find a solution to the problem of representing the MPs, said he was waiting for Hariri’s return to Beirut to see what he can do about the matter.
“This issue is at least more than 5 months old. Everyone knows that, including those who were surprised by it,” he said. Berri praised a statement issued by the Higher Islamic Council after its meeting Saturday chaired by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian that, he said, was “balanced” and rejected attempts to inflame Sunni-Shiite tensions over Hezbollah’s support for the six Sunni MPs. “I am confident that no one will succeed in straining this [Sunni-Shiite] relationship. “Sunni-Shiite strife happened in the whole world, but not in Lebanon. It did not happen and will not happen,” Berri said.
Hezbollah has refused to hand Hariri the names of its three candidates for the new Cabinet. In response, Hariri has stood firm on his refusal to cede a seat from the Future Movement’s share in Cabinet to those Sunni parliamentarians who are demanding to be represented in the government.
Aoun has backed Hariri’s position on the issue, saying in a televised interview last week that the six Sunni lawmakers did not have a right to representation because they were not part of a single parliamentary

Lebanon Central Bank Says Debt Threat Growing amid Political Vacuum
Reuters/Tuesday 06th November 2018/Lebanon is failing to take steps to cut its huge deficit and national debt as its leaders struggle to form a government, the second vice-governor of its central bank said on Tuesday. “Fiscal consolidation is not in the offing as we had hoped,” Saad Andary told a conference in Abu Dhabi, adding that the political stalemate had stalled the process. Infighting has hampered efforts by prime minister-designate Saad al-Hariri to form a national unity administration, leaving a vacuum at the top. Lebanon’s budget deficit is running at around 10 percent of GDP. A World Bank report said last week national debt was expected to rise on “an unsustainable path” towards 155 percent of GDP by the end of 2018. In April, international donors meeting in Paris pledged more than $11 billion of investment, but they want evidence of economic reforms first. At that meeting Hariri promised to reduce the deficit by 5 percent over five years. Lebanon, with limited resources, cannot depend on agriculture and industry to grow its economy and needed a knowledge-based economy with investments in areas such as information technology, Andari said. The economy is growing in the range of 1-3 percent, but is burdened with 1.5 million Syrian refugees, with little international help, he said. “This is creating tensions in the labour market. We are witnessing growing unemployment among basically the Lebanese,” he said. He also said Lebanon was expected to start gas exploration by the end of 2019, which will take three to four years, through a consortium led by French oil giant Total. In May, Lebanese authorities approved an exploration plan submitted by a consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek.

Row Renews Between Generator Owners and Economy Minister 06th November 2018/The Committee of Generator Owners on Tuesday carried out a two-hour shutdown to protest against the government's ongoing campaign to install meters, and against what they deemed as the "mistreatment” of owners who have not complied yet to this measure. The government ordered that private generate owners would start installing meters, thus allowing subscribers to pay based on the energy they consume rather than a flat rate as previously adopted. In a press conference, the committee called on the Energy Ministry to conduct a scientific study that determines the kilowatt-hour pricing. “We are protesting the mistreatment of the generator owners. Last week, they called in around 50 generator owners and held an investigation with them as to why they had not installed the meters,” Jad Nahle, a spokesperson for the committee, told The Daily Star newspaper.
Shortly after, caretaker Economy Minister Raed Khoury assured that there is no backing down on the decision to install meters nationwide, saying that there is no option other than applying the laws. "I am surprised that an illegal committee declares that it won't abide by the laws. The general prosecutor will be taking the necessary measures regarding that," Khoury told LBCI. “We are not seeking to make you lose, but you have to forget about the megabucks and the exorbitant profits you used to get previously. The judicial authority is ready to help the security forces enforce this decision," he stated. Khoury advised the owners of the generators to not opt for any escalatory steps, warning that this will lead to a big co confrontation "that no one wishes to happen."

Ardo: Kataeb Delegation's Visit to Russia 'Very Successful' 06th November 2018/Kataeb politburo member Fadi Ardo described the recent visit carried out by the party delegation to Russia as "very successful", saying that talks focused on the latest developments in Lebanon as Russian officials voiced commitment to helping the country overcome the manifold challenges facing it. A Kataeb delegation, that visited Moscow last week upon an invitation to take part in the Russia's National Unity Day, held a series of high-level meetings during which it discussed the latest developments in the Middle East. The delegation, headed by Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel, included the party's Deputy-President Salim Sayegh, MP Elias Hankache, former MP Fady Haber, politburo member Fadi Ardo and Gemayel's adviser Charles Saba. Speaking to the Kataeb website, Ardo pointed out that the Syrian refugee crisis was on top of the topics discussed during the talks with Russian officials, as both sides agreed on the need to address this issue in order to lift this burder off Lebanon which has been enduring massive repercussions over the past years. "We sensed the Russian officials' insistence on pursuing this matter. However, the West is required to provide funds as per Russia's proposal to secure financial support to the refugees even after they return to Syria in a bid to motivate them to go back to their homeland," he explained. Ardo also noted that meetings had also focused on the presence of Christians in the Middle East, adding that Russian officials made it clear that Lebanon's Christians must remain strong given the influence that their role has on their co-religionists in the region. "It is imperative that Christians stay put in their land because they [Russian] will not allow their elimination from the Middle East,” he said. “Unfortunately, some wish to uproot the Kataeb party from Lebanon's political life, while an 80-year-old party won’t simply vanish; it is firmly entrenched in Lebanon’s history. Hadn't it been for the Kataeb, Lebanon wouldn’t have survived,” Ardo affirmed.

What Swift Is and Why It Matters in the US-Iran Spat
Al Jazeera/Tuesday 06th November 2018
The Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Communications (SWIFT) financial messaging service announced on Wednesday it was suspending access for some Iranian banks "in the interest of the stability and integrity of the wider global financial system".
The move came after the United States reimposed oil and financial sanctions against Iran, significantly turning up the pressure on Tehran in order to curb its alleged missile and nuclear programmes.
Last week, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that SWIFT could get slapped with sanctions if it provides services to Iranian banks blacklisted by Washington.
What is SWIFT?
A Belgian-based messaging platform that facilitates cross-border payments.
The member-owned cooperative connects more than 11,000 banks, financial institutions and corporations in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
What is it not?
It's not a bank, it doesn't hold money or manage it. It neither initiate transfers nor clears or settles payments.
Why is SWIFT important?
Think of SWIFT as the central nervous system of international financial transactions. The messaging platform enables financial institutions to send, receive and track information about financial transactions in a secure and standardised way that facilitates the smooth flow of funds across borders.
What happens to a country when its banks get cut off from SWIFT?
It can be crippled financially because money transfer information can't be forwarded to its banks.
When a country's banks are cut off from SWIFT, it can't pay for imports and can't receive payment for exports.
What happened to Iran when it was cut off from SWIFT in 2012?
In March 2012, SWIFT agreed to not forward messages to any Iranian bank or individual that had been blacklisted by the EU.
As a result, Iran's oil exports plunged from around 2.5 million bpd in 2011 to around one million bpd by 2014.
The 2012 SWIFT ban was widely seen as instrumental in bringing Iran to the negotiating table which led to the 2015 Iran-nuclear deal.
When Iranian banks were reconnected to SWIFT following the 2015 Iran-nuclear deal, oil exports increased again.
How often are countries kicked out of SWIFT?
Rarely. SWIFT cut off a handful of North Korean banks last year.
Does SWIFT have to do what the US wants?
No. It describes itself as "a neutral global cooperative".
But there could be consequences if it resists US pressure to cut off Iran again. Richard Goldberg, senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think-tank, argued in this blog that in 2012, Congress authorised any president to impose sanctions on SWIFT's board of directors (which includes executives from some of the world's biggest banks) if it refused to disconnect Iranian banks blacklisted by Washington.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
November 06-07/18
Americans Start Voting in Midterm Verdict on Trump Rule
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 06/18/Americans started voting Tuesday in critical midterm elections that mark the first major voter test of Donald Trump's controversial presidency, with control of Congress at stake. About three quarters of the 50 states in the east and center of the country were already voting as polls began opening at 6:00 am (1100 GMT) for the day-long ballot. Republicans were keenly aware that losing their majority will hamstring his political agenda over the next two years. At stake are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate, 36 governor's posts and seats in state legislatures across the country. For almost two years, Trump's rule-breaking, sometimes chaotic administration has enjoyed a largely free hand from the twin Republican-controlled chambers, but the midterms could finally see his wings clipped. According to nearly all pollsters, the Democrats have a good chance of winning the House, while the Republicans are likely to retain the Senate. But with turnout a key unknown factor and pollsters still unsure about the effect of Trump's maverick style on voters, both parties admit that they may be in for nasty surprises. After a campaign in which Trump was accused of race-baiting with repeated and unsubstantiated references to an "invasion" of undocumented immigrants bent on rape and murder, left-right divisions in America could not be deeper. "It's a consequential election," said Yorgo Koutsogiogasi, 64, who was among 17 people ready to cast ballots at a downtown Chicago polling station when doors opened at 6:00 am. "Divisiveness in the country is really tearing the country apart," said the Greek immigrant, a company CEO. First in line was a retiree, Jerry, who did not want to give his last name and said he was voting for the first time in midterm elections. "The Dems are insane," he said. "I heard Democrats want to give illegals the right to vote."AFP reporters saw a steady flow of early voters at the Brooklyn Museum polling station in New York, and many voters at a station in Arlington, Virginia. U.S. television networks showed lines of voters at stations elsewhere, following high turnout by those who voted ahead of election day itself. Although not on the ballot, Trump made himself the focus of the entire contest, jetting around the country to hold rallies -- in three states on Monday alone. Trump declared "the Republican agenda is the American dream" and at his final event, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, he called on supporters to seize their "righteous destiny as Americans."Democrats saw the election in equally historic terms. Voters will "define the future, not just of Texas, but of this country, not just of this generation but every generation that follows," said Democrat Beto O'Rourke, a former punk band member challenging Senator Ted Cruz in traditionally deep-Republican Texas.
Hot economy, hot rhetoric
At every rally, Trump has vowed to his supporters that they will "win, win, win." But as he touched down in Indiana on Monday, even Trump conceded that the House may slip from his party's grasp. "We'll just have to work a little bit differently," he told reporters when asked how he'd live with a Democrat-controlled lower chamber. The party of a first-term president tends to lose congressional seats in off-year elections. However, a healthy economy favors the incumbent, so Trump may yet defy the historical pattern. New figures on the eve of the polls confirmed that job growth is soaring and Trump gives himself credit for the "hottest economy on Earth." But to the dismay of some Republicans he has often pivoted away from that message in the final week of campaigning to emphasize a hardline crackdown against undocumented immigrants. Trump has sent thousands of soldiers to the Mexican border, suggested that migrants who throw stones at law enforcement officers should be shot, and made wild claims about the Democrats planning to turn the country into a crime-and-drugs black hole. Stirring fear of foreigners and trumpeting American nationalism worked for the real estate billionaire in his 2016 election victory against the Democrats' establishment candidate Hillary Clinton. But the angry tone has also turned off swaths of Americans. Bernie Sanders, the leftist populist who some feel would have had a better chance than Clinton to take on Trump in 2016, lashed out Monday at the president, calling him a "pathological liar." "He is a sexist, a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe and a religious bigot. He is trying to do what we have never seen in the modern history of this country, to do what he is doing right now, to gain votes by trying to divide the American people up based on where we came from," Sanders said on SiriusXM Progress radio. Trump's ultra-loyal white base laps up his colorful style, often cheering and chanting as he makes jaw-dropping insults against opponents and factually erroneous claims. However, even some Republicans became jittery after a Florida man and ardent Trump supporter was charged with sending homemade bombs to more than a dozen senior Democrats and other high profile opponents of Trump. Days later, a gunman walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and shot 11 worshipers dead. He had allegedly lashed out online against Jews he accused of transporting Central American "invaders" into the United States -- in language that echoed Trump's attacks on impoverished migrants coming through Mexico.

Russia Sets ‘Mechanisms’ to Confront US Sanctions on Iran
Moscow - Raed Jaber/Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 6 November, 2018/Russia has taken steps to counter the repercussions of US sanctions on Iran and reiterated its unwillingness to comply with Washington’s measures, which it described as "illegitimate."The US restored sanctions lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal and added 300 new designations in Iran’s oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Washington will suffer as well, with the Russian oil sector expected to make gains due to restrictions on Iranian exports. Speaking at conference during his visit to China, Medvedev said that the United States introduced sanctions against other countries to suppress global competition, adding that Washington imposes all kinds of “restrictions, duties on China, the European Union and our country, Russia. Ultimately, I am sure that the US economy will also suffer from it.”Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that by unveiling new sanctions against Iran, the US is dealing another powerful blow to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
"A new round of anti-Iran sanctions announced by Washington is aimed at undermining the consistent efforts by the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to preserve that deal," the ministry said in a statement on its website. It added that Washington’s policy aimed at “scrapping international legal nuclear nonproliferation and arms control tools. This triggers profound disappointment and growing concern.”Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated that Russia is constantly protecting the interests of its companies, including in the situation around the US sanctions on Iran. Peskov did not disclose the nature of the measures, but asserted that “steps to protect the interests of Russian companies not only in this country [Iran], but everywhere else are taken constantly, on a permanent basis.”Russian sources pointed out that among the measures set by Moscow to bypass US sanctions, is to facilitate the transfer part of Iranian oil to Russian ports, for re-export via Russia. Media circles revealed a few days ago details of a Russian-Iranian agreement which was approved during a summit between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani in Istanbul recently. The agreement explains the mechanisms for the transfer of crude oil from Iran to Russian refineries across the Caspian Sea, to be re-exported later as part of Russian oil orders. Media leaks confirmed some of this data, pointing out that the Russian-Iranian agreements included establishing a coalition with Russian oil companies to develop four oil fields. The source did not rule out the possibility of transferring production of these fields to Russian ports for re-export later. According to media outlets, European countries seeking to maintain the nuclear agreement with Iran are ready to support the proposed mechanism. Russian experts felt that the new US sanctions package will be very beneficial to the Russian economy, especially in terms of “strengthening Russia 's positions in the international oil markets”, according to the professor of Department of International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign, Vladimir Ovatkov. He explained that the expansion of energy supply is profitable for Russia, even if the resources provided were from a third country. A geopolitical reality has arisen, linked to the fact that Russia has a great interest in strengthening security, including economic security, in the Russia-Turkey-Iran triangle, the professor went on to say. However, Russian sources pointed that Moscow has other measures within the framework of a comprehensive policy to address the new situation. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak revealed details of Moscow's measures to counter the wave of sanctions on Iran's oil sector and said Moscow should continue its work to promote "mechanisms to ensure continued cooperation between Moscow and Tehran." Novak further added that Russia seeks to “continue developing” its trading of Iranian oil under an oil-for-goods scheme. “We already live in the conditions of sanctions. We do not recognize the sanctions introduced unilaterally without the United Nations, we consider those methods illegal per se," the minister said.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Airforce Stage Large-Scale Wargames
London - Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 6 November, 2018/Air defense units of the Iranian army and the Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) staged a major joint military exercise on Monday, while the country’s Telecommunications Ministry announced the thwarting of a serious cyberattack. The military drill took place in vast areas in the country’s north, center and west, over a field that is at least half a million square kilometers in size, the German news agency (DPA) reported.The defense exercise includes forces from the Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base, the IRGC Aerospace Force and squadrons from the Air Force, Tasnim News Agency reported. Tasnim also said that the drill saw the firing of upgraded version of US surface-to-air missiles acquired by Iran before the 1979 revolution.The drill involved tactics to employ command and control systems to detect, track and intercept hostile targets, conducting air defense operations in electronic warfare, using passive aerial detection systems as well as air-based defense gear, including manned and unmanned aircraft and countering anti-radiation and cruise missiles. The wargames were staged despite Iranian President Hasan Rouhani ruling out chances of a military confrontation with the United States. Separately, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi accused Israel of launching a new cyber-attack on Iran's telecommunications network and promised to resort to legal action. "The Zionist regime (Israel), with its record of using cyber weapons, such as Stuxnet computer virus, launched a cyber attack on Iran on Monday to harm its communication infrastructures," Azari-Jahromi said. Last week, an Iranian official revealed that Tehran had detected a new generation of Stuxnet worms, which was used to target the country's nuclear program more than a decade ago. "Thanks to our vigilant technical teams, it failed," he said on Twitter. Iran would take legal action against Israel at international bodies, he added, without giving details. His deputy Hamid Fattahi said more details would be revealed in the coming days, Tasnim reported. Stuxnet, which is widely believed to have been developed by the United States and Israel, was discovered in 2010 after it was used to attack a uranium enrichment facility at Iran's Natanz underground nuclear site. In 2013, researchers at Symantec Corp uncovered a version of the Stuxnet that was used to attack the Iranian nuclear program in November 2007. Tehran agreed under a 2015 deal with world powers to curb the program but President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of it in May, with Israel's backing. Washington fully restored sanctions on Tehran on Monday.

Erdogan Says Joint US-Kurdish Patrols Near Syria Border Unacceptable

Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 6 November, 2018/Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that joint US-Kurdish patrols just over the Turkish border with Syria were unacceptable and he expected US President Donald Trump to stop them. Erdogan, set to meet Trump in Paris this weekend, told reporters he would discuss the patrols that he said were being carried out inside Syria by the United States and allied "Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)," Reuters reported. "I believe when we speak with Trump, they will probably stop this process," he said. US has backed and armed the "SDF," describing them as allies in the fight against ISIS. Joint patrols started last week in northern Syria with the aim of averting clashes between Turkey and Washington's Kurdish allies. However, according to Reuters, Ankara pressed on with a new offensive nearby on the Kurdish forces. Erdogan last week vowed to crush Syrian Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates, where some 2,000 US forces stand alongside the "SDF."

Sisi Says Egypt Will Defend Gulf in Case of Direct Threat

Cairo- Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 6 November, 2018/Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the army will come to the defense of Gulf Arabs if they face any direct threats, a pro-government newspaper said on Tuesday. Youm7 newspaper also quoted Sisi as saying in response to a question on US sanctions on Iran: “Instability affects us all and any state that has instability affects all of us.” “Our Arab peoples must remain aware and have true consciousness of what the region is going through,” Youm7 quoted Sisi as saying. “We stand by our brothers in the Gulf wholeheartedly and if Gulf security is directly threatened by anyone, the Egyptian people, even before their leadership, will not accept that and will mobilize forces to protect their brethren.”

Israel Lawmakers to Debate Death Penalty for Palestinian 'Terrorists'

Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat/November 06/18/Israel's parliament will renew debate next week on a bill that would make it easier to sentence Palestinian attackers to death, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday while vowing to have it passed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given the go-ahead for the controversial bill that allows the imposition of the death penalty for Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis. Speaking in a meeting with coalition party heads on Sunday, Netanyahu said there was nothing preventing the bill from being advanced in the Knesset (Israel's parliament). He said opposition from Israel's internal security service Shin Bet and Israeli army should not prevent lawmakers from advancing the motion. The legislation has been heavily endorsed by Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's hard-line defense minister, and was part of an earlier coalition agreement with Netanyahu's Likud party. "After over three years of a stubborn struggle, the death penalty for terrorists law will finally be brought to the law committee next Wednesday (November 14), and then for its first reading in the Knesset plenum," Lieberman said on Twitter. "We won't relent or stop until completing the mission." The bill, which passed a preliminary vote by the full parliament in January, would ease the requirements military courts in the occupied West Bank must meet to sentence Palestinians convicted of "terrorist" crimes to death. As the law stands now, a panel of three military judges must unanimously approve any death penalty in military courts. The new bill, planned by members of Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party at his behest, would change the requirement to a majority instead of unanimity. Israel has not carried out any executions since 1962, when Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was hanged. Israel abolished the use of capital punishment for murder in civil courts in 1954, though it can still in theory be applied for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, treason and crimes against the Jewish people. A law to sentence "terrorists" to death was one of Lieberman's election promises in 2015. Israeli elections are expected to be called in the coming months and politicians have been ramping up campaign rhetoric.

Algeria Frees Senior Generals Detained in Corruption Sweep
Algeria- Boualam Ghimrasah/Asharq Al Awsat/November 06/18 Algeria’s prosecutors freed six senior generals detained two weeks ago over charges of corruption and wrongdoing. The six are only a few of a large sweep, by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, that sacked dozens of officials. The former commander of the National Gendarmerie, Maj. Gen. Manad Nuba, former commander of the 1st Military Region Major General Habib Shantouf, former commander of the second district Major Saeed Bay, former commander of the Fourth Military Region Major General Abdul Razzaq Sharif, and the Director of Finance of the Ministry of Defense Major, General Bujmaa Budwar, have walked out of military detention, a judiciary source told Asharq Al Awsat. A martial law amendment allows military suspects to undergo litigation “on two phases,” just similar to civil courts, the source added. In another scope, thousands of educational institutions in Algeria received “strict” instructions from Education Minister Nouria Benghabrit-Remaoun forbidding female educators and state employees from wearing the niqab to their respective workplaces. This comes 15 days after the Ministry of the Interior ordered a niqab ban to be implemented by all civil servants. Education sector officials and employees are obliged to follow instructions issued on the civil servant workplace dress code, an official statement said without directly noting that niqabs aren’t allowed anymore. Benghabrit-Remaoun stressed that she is keen on implementing rules and requirements needed to ensure security in the workplace, which call for the swift identification of public servants. No official statistics exist for the number of women wearing the niqab in the education sector, but it goes without saying only a few female civil servants in Algeria wear the religious head and face cover. Religious headdresses and niqabs are more popular in local areas known for their conservative character.

UN Report: Mass Graves of ISIS Victims Discovered in Iraq

Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 6 November, 2018/More than 200 mass graves have been uncovered in Iraq in areas formerly controlled by ISIS terrorist group, according to a new report released by the United Nations on Tuesday. The graves containing up to 12,000 victims include women, children, elderly and disabled, as well as members of Iraq's armed forces and police. According to the UN, this could hold vital evidence of war crimes. The United Nations in Iraq (UNAMI) and its human rights office said they had documented a total of 202 mass graves in parts of western and northern Iraq held by ISIS between 2014 and 2017. More sites could be found in the coming period, the report warned, calling on Iraqi authorities to properly preserve and excavate them to provide closure for victims' families. "The mass grave sites documented in our report are a testament to harrowing human loss, profound suffering and shocking cruelty," said the UN's representative in Iraq, Jan Kubis. "Determining the circumstances surrounding the significant loss of life will be an important step in the mourning process for families and their journey to secure their rights to truth and justice," he added. ISIS overran swathes of Iraq in 2014, executing fighters and civilians en masse and using other forms of repression to seize and keep territory in the country's north and west, AFP reported.

Europe Warns Tax Cuts Could Weaken Palestinian Authority

Ramallah - Kifah Zboun/Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 6 November, 2018/The United Nations and the European Union have rejected Israeli plans to deduct funds from Palestinian tax revenues, which Israel usually collects for the Palestinian Authority (PA) in exchange for an agreed rate. UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov and European officials have warned Israel that the PA could collapse if Israel implemented plans to deduct salaries, based on the “terrorists’ salaries deduction law”, which was recently approved by the Israeli Knesset. In letters addressed to the Israeli political leadership, Mladenov and EU officials said that the implementation of any cuts would lead to a point of collapse and even undermine Palestinian institutions due to the deteriorating economic situation in the Palestinian territories in light of the PA’s fiscal deficit, in parallel with the intention of some donor countries to discontinue the provision of grants. The warnings came following an Israeli decision to deduct the value of the money paid by the Authority to the families of “prisoners and martyrs”. The secretary general of the PLO’s executive committee, Saeb Erekat, said that Israel had informed the PA of transferring funds from tax revenues for the Gaza Strip, if the Authority did not fully transfer the previous allocations to the sector. “Cutting off US aid to the Palestinian Authority and talking about humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, in addition to other measures, are only aimed at pushing for the separation of the West Bank from Gaza,” Erekat said during a conference in Ramallah. He accused the current Israeli government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, of seeking to replace the two-state solution by “the principle of the two systems based on the Apartheid regime through the enactment of racist laws in the Knesset.”

6 Far-Right Suspects Held in 'Violence' Plot against Macron
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 06/18/Six people, linked to the far-right, were detained on Tuesday in connection with a "violent" plot against French President Emmanuel Macron, officials said. The six, who were not identified, were picked up by anti-terrorism units in the eastern French regions of Moselle and Isere and the northern region of Ile-et-Vilaine, officials added. The arrests followed reports of a possible plot involving "violent action" aimed at the president, a source close to the investigation said. Prosecutors have launched an investigation into a "criminal terrorist association," a judicial source said. "This investigation is looking into a plot, vague and ill-defined at this stage, involving violent action against the president of the republic," another official said. In July 2017, a 23-year-old far-right extremist was charged with plotting to assassinate Macron at France's Bastille Day military parade which the French leader attended with U.S. President Donald Trump. The man, arrested at home, told investigators he wanted to kill Macron at the July 14 national day parade in Paris, along with "Muslims, Jews, blacks and homosexuals."Three kitchen knives were found in his car and analysis of his computer found that he had conducted internet searches as part of his plot.

King Tours Saudi as Khashoggi Crisis Rages Abroad

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 06/18/Saudi King Salman embarked on an unprecedented domestic tour on Tuesday, an official said, as the country grapples with an international crisis over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The 82-year-old monarch arrived in the central province of Qassim, an official close to his entourage told AFP, as he started what Saudi media said was a tour of "several regions" in the kingdom. The king was also set to visit the northern region of Hail, in his first such tour since he ascended to the most powerful throne in the Middle East in 2015, the pro-government Sabq newspaper reported. In Qassim, the king would launch health, education and infrastructure projects as well as check on "the conditions of citizens and get acquainted with their needs", Saudi Gazette newspaper said. The tour comes as Saudi Arabia faces growing international outrage over Khashoggi's murder on October 2 in its consulate in Istanbul. After first insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, Saudi authorities said he was killed in an argument that degenerated into a brawl before finally accepting what Turkey had said virtually from the start -- that he was killed in a premeditated hit.
It is widely seen as the worst diplomatic crisis facing the kingdom since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The murder has tainted the global image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- the king's 33-year-old son and heir apparent -- even though the kingdom strongly denies he was involved. Saudi rulers appear to be shoring up support domestically, including within the royal family, following the crisis. King Salman last month ordered the resumption of annual bonus payments to all government workers from the beginning of next year. The bonuses had been suspended under austerity measures in 2016 amid low oil prices. In recent weeks, Saudi nationalists have sought to rally around the prince with adulatory poems and songs on social media as local officials dismiss the Khashoggi crisis as a Western conspiracy.

Qatar Warns of 'Long-Lasting' Impact of Gulf Crisis
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 06/18/Qatar's ruler said Tuesday "crises pass" but warned of "long-lasting" scars from an acrimonious diplomatic dispute that has seen Doha isolated by Saudi Arabia and its allies for more than a year. In an annual address to the nation, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani pointedly called on other Gulf states to respect Qatar's sovereignty and not "interfere" in other countries' affairs. "History teaches us that crises pass, but their mismanagement may leave behind long-lasting effects," Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said. Once allies, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have imposed a near-total embargo on Qatar since June 2017 over allegations the emirate supports radical Islamist groups and seeks closer ties with Riyadh's arch-rival Tehran. Qatar denies the charges, accusing its neighbors of seeking regime change. The emir said the crisis had exposed the weaknesses of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the regional political bloc of which the rival countries are members. "It's truly regrettable that the continuation of the Gulf crisis revealed the failure of the GCC to achieve its objectives and meet the aspirations of our Gulf people." He said Qatar had suffered no economic damage from the boycott and predicted it would retain its position as the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. "Our oil and gas exports have not been affected by the blockade," he said. "The state has been keen on fulfilling all its obligations under the existing contracts and has signed several long-term contracts, the latest of which was with Petro China." The crisis has thrown into the spotlight Qatar's preparations for the 2022 World Cup, which have been plagued with allegations of labour rights violations. Sheikh Tamim said maintaining the huge expenditures necessary to host international football's showpiece tournament was "not easy" but the government had done so despite the hit state revenues had taken from the sharp fall in world energy prices from 2014. Qatar has previously said it is spending around $500 million a week to prepare for 2022. Sheikh Tamim, who has been in power since 2013, also had a warning for the population, saying that the country's astonishing wealth must be matched by ethics and morality. "The high standard of living of the citizen must be accompanied by a development of values," he said. If this does not happen, a "state of social corruption" could emerge.

French Parliament Debates Brexit Bill
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 06/18/French lawmakers began debating a bill Tuesday dealing with the fallout from Brexit, which would empower the government to issue emergency decrees if needed after Britain leaves the European Union next year. France and other EU countries have begun planning for Britain crashing out of the EU on March 29 with no deal as negotiations between Brussels and London appear stuck. This would leave a number of key issues in limbo, including the future of Britons living in Europe and EU citizens living in Britain. The French bill is being considered by the upper house Senate, before it goes to the chamber of deputies. "The bill is only a first stage in preparing for Brexit," said Jean Bizet, chair of the French Senate's Brexit committee. Some 300,000 French people live in Britain, while at least 150,000 British citizens reside in France, raising concerns for their future residency status. The bill will seek to protect French citizens returning from Britain from possible problems over pension rights or having their diplomas recognized in the EU. The movement of trade is also key, especially at Channel ports and through the Channel tunnel. Some 30,000 French companies export to Britain, according to the French finance ministry, with goods worth some 31 billion euros ($35.5 billion) in 2017. France has already begun recruiting extra customs agents to be deployed in Channel ports post-Brexit, and businesses have been warned to prepare for the sudden imposition of trade barriers if the two sides fail to reach a deal.Ladislas Poniatowski, a conservative overseeing the Senate committee's Brexit report, stressed the government was not being given "a blank check" despite the fact it could be allowed to issue emergency decrees. The committee has already amended the government's original bill, including to add a clause on protecting French and British citizens' employment rights in both countries. Rights groups representing Britons living in Europe and EU citizens in Britain formed a human chain outside Downing Street on Monday, demanding the government guarantee their status in a no-deal scenario.

Palestinian Shot Trying to Stab Israel Cops with Scissors
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 06/18/A Palestinian woman tried to stab Israeli officers with scissors in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday before being shot and wounded, police said, the second such incident in as many days. "Female terrorist attempted to stab border police officers at the petrol station near Mishor Adumim," a desert area east of Jerusalem, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. "Female terrorist neutralised at the scene. No injuries to officers," he said in a statement. A separate police statement identified her as a 37-year-old Palestinian from Yata, a town south of Hebron in the southern West Bank. Police had been alerted to the scene after a civilian reported she was acting in a suspicious way at a falafel shop in the gas station complex and located her, the statement said. After calling on her to stop, she pulled out scissors from her bag and ran at the officers while yelling in Arabic, it said. She was shot in the leg and moderately wounded, police said, noting she had also been in possession of a knife. A wave of mainly lone-wolf Palestinian attacks against Israelis broke out in 2015. The number of attacks has decreased since, but still occur sporadically. On Monday, a Palestinian man tried to stab Israeli civilians and a soldier at a gas station near Hebron before being shot and lightly wounded by a soldier. On October 22, a Palestinian was shot dead when attempting to stab soldiers in Hebron.

Iraq Parliament Holds Off Vote on Key Ministers
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 06/18/Iraq's parliament convened on Tuesday without lining up a vote on who would head several key ministries, including defense and the interior, several months after polling. On October 25, lawmakers gave their stamp of approval to 14 of the country's 22 ministries, with the finance, foreign affairs and oil ministers named. Due to deep divisions, the remaining eight portfolios were not put to a vote at the time, and parliament announced it would reconvene on November 6. But as lawmakers gathered for Tuesday's session in Baghdad's Green Zone, a copy of their agenda distributed to AFP did not include a vote of confidence on the empty posts. Instead, they were to discuss the 2019 budget, form parliamentary committees and address the mysterious deaths of thousands of fish in the Euphrates. No new date was announced for a vote of confidence. In Iraq, major political decisions are typically taken by consensus after drawn-out negotiations among different coalitions jockeying for power. Those rivalries are widely blamed for the delay in completing the ministerial lineup. The interior and defense portfolios, key ministries in Iraq which has just emerged from a three-year fight against the Islamic State group, are being temporarily headed by Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi. Some parliamentarians have insisted that nominated ministers be vetted by Iraq's "debaathification" council, to ensure none were members of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's ruling party. Iraq held elections in May for the 329-member parliament, which has selected Barham Saleh as president. The new government faces an immense task in rebuilding a country ravaged by the war against IS, fierce sectarian infighting and the U.S.-led 2003 invasion. It will also have to deal with the scourges of corruption, power shortages and decaying public services. Iraq is governed by a power-sharing arrangement which reserves the post of prime minister for a Shiite Muslim, parliament speaker for a Sunni, and the presidency for a Kurd.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 06-07/18
Canada Upholds Allah/Muhammad’s Ban on Adoption
Raymond Ibrahim/PJ Media/November 06/18
Many in the West were shocked to learn that, in recently ruling that criticism of Muhammad is tantamount to incitement to hatred and thus not protected free speech, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had effectively adopted Islamic Sharia’s ban on free speech — a formerly prized and zealously guarded Western right.
The greater shock, however, is not that the ECHR ruled in compliance with Sharia, but that many Western nations intentionally uphold Sharia stipulations that contradict one-time Western values — even as most of their citizenry have no clue.
Take, for instance, a Canadian law which — in accordance with Sharia — essentially banned the adoption of children from Muslim nations.
As last week’s CBC report explained, back in 2013 “Canada banned adoptions from Pakistan without warning”: Canada quietly extended the same restriction to virtually all Muslim countries. The reason: According to the federal government, adoptions aren’t permissible under Shariah law …
Documents obtained through access to information legislation reveal the extent to which Canadian officials were delving into the particulars of Shariah law and in the process, bringing adoptions from Muslim countries to a near-halt.
Indeed, documents from 2013 indicate that Canadian federal officials had become preoccupied with the question of adoption in the context and according to the intricacies of Islamic law. “It is reasonable to assume,” reads one from June 2013, “that … a change in the child’s parentage is strictly prohibited under Shariah law.” “In the Islamic view,” it continues, “the child does not become a true child of the ‘adoptive’ parents.”
Accordingly, per the report:
Canadian officials have been restricting adoptions from various Muslim countries on an ad hoc basis for at least a decade — saying those countries don’t allow adoption and citing Shariah law.
The reason Sharia bans adoption revolves around Muhammad.
In the Koran, when the prophet once went to visit his adopted son Zayd bin al-Haritha in his tent, Muhammad’s eyes fell upon Zayd’s unveiled wife, Zaynab, whom Muhammad had earlier pressured into marrying his adopted son. (Koran 33:36 — which commands Muslims always to obey Allah/Muhammad without objection — was “revealed” in this context.)
Muhammad was instantly enamored by the sight of his scantily clad daughter-in-law. It was not long before Zayd realized that the prophet desired his wife. So he humbly offered to divorce her; but Muhammad, knowing how bad it would appear to his followers if he added his own son’s wife to his already burgeoning harem, refused.
But then Muhammad received another “revelation” (Koran 33:36-42): Allah ordered him to marry Zaynab. This was the Islamic deity’s will all along — to expose the problems with adoption.
Allah further chastised Muhammad; of all people surely a prophet should concern himself only with Allah’s will, not other people’s opinions. Finally, to guard Muhammad from the stigma of marrying and copulating with whom was considered his daughter, Allah abolished the traditional notion of adoption (see also Koran 33:4), thereby allowing men to have the ex-wives of their one-time but no longer adopted sons.
Needless to say, of all the impieties attributed to Muhammad in Islamic scriptures — and these are not a few — nothing so underscored his imposture among non-Muslims as much as this Zayd/Zaynab affair.
Virtually every Christian polemic against Islam from the Seventh Century on cites it, if not highlights it. For instance, in his exchange with Caliph Omar II in 718, Byzantine emperor Leo III cited it in the context of how Muhammad always imputed his carnal behavior to God. Wrote Leo:
Nor do I wish to pass over in silence the abominable authorization given you [Muslims] by your legislator [Muhammad] to have with your wives a commerce that he has compared, I am ashamed to say, to the tilling of fields [e.g., Koran 2:223]. As a consequence of this license, a goodly number of you have contracted the habit of multiplying their commerce [sex] with women, as if it were a question of tilling fields. Nor can I forget the chastity of your Prophet and the manner full of artifice whereby he succeeded in seducing the woman Zaynab.
Of all these abominations the worst is that of accusing God of being the originator of all these filthy acts, which fact has doubtless been the cause of the introduction among your compatriots of this disgusting law [treating women as “tilling fields”]. Is there indeed a worse blasphemy than that of alleging that God is the cause of all this evil? (Sword and Scimitar, p.63.)
Here, then, is a reminder of just how far Western civilization has abandoned its rational and humanistic roots in order to appease irrational and inhuman practices. Thanks to entrenched relativism and “multiculturalism,” Western ethics are now deemed no better than — maybe not even as good as — Sharia.
Gone are men like British General Charles Napier (b. 1853): When Indian priests insisted on the custom of sati — burning the widows of deceased Hindu men with them — he responded by saying: “My nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them.”
Whereas once the Zaynab episode and its fruits — including an inhuman and irrational ban on adoption — epitomized all that was wrong with Islam in Western eyes, today it is on its way to epitomizing all that is wrong with the West itself.

The Three Stances Nations Have Taken on Khashoggi
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/November 06/18
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, came to Riyadh and sat in the front row at the Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh, even when no high-ranking or senior guests were yet present.
Actually, he cut his vacation short and joined the conference in response to the boycott calls that were heard in international news agencies. He even agreed to participate in the discussions and not just attend the conference, which extended over three days. Many political figures also joined the conference to show their support for the Saudi leadership.
In major crises, neutrality is also a position.
Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi also took a firm stand in support of Riyadh. He directly warned Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Ennahdha Party in Tunisia, after the latter’s alleged statement endorsing Qatar and Turkey in their media war against Saudi Arabia, waged over the killing of our late colleague Jamal Khashoggi. “We regard what happened to Khashoggi as quite terrible, but it is not acceptable to exploit it in order to undermine Saudi Arabia and its stability, as this would affect the stability of the entire Arab world,” Essebsi said. For Saudi Arabia, this is an “existential war,” and stances are measured accordingly. Indeed, there have been three types of stance: The first is taken by adversaries, led by Qatar and Turkey, who seek to politicize the crime and exploit it to overthrow, or at least undermine, the Saudi regime.
The second is taken by the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and others, who have sided with Riyadh against Qatar and Turkey. For instance, the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah quickly made the position of his country clear in a special meeting held with members of the National Assembly. He told them that he was supporting Saudi Arabia in this crisis, and that “Kuwait would not hesitate to stand by its big sister Saudi Arabia in good and bad times, because the coming phase is difficult and its repercussions will not exclude any country in the region.” Kuwait itself had faced chaotic and hostile Qatari activity back in March 2015. As for the third stance, it is taken by neutral governments that have not adopted clear-cut positions, preferring instead to follow the developments from a distance.
At the international level, the Russian and Chinese stances were clear: They rejected the politicization of Khashoggi’s death. The two countries showed enough signs to confirm their positions. The US, on the other hand, became a media battleground, mainly with positions against Saudi Arabia. However, the US administration has cautiously dealt with the issue, confirming its special relationship with the Riyadh government and announcing the ongoing calls between the two countries. But, at the same time, it did not want to turn the Saudi crisis into an internal US crisis given the heated midterm elections campaign. Despite all the pressures, President Donald Trump was clear in distinguishing between the higher interests of the US in its relations with Riyadh and dealing with the crime itself. His position is extremely important because it has thwarted Qatar and Turkey’s attempts to escalate the issue.
There remain two more important and influential countries in the region: Iran and Israel. They dealt with this issue in different ways.
Iran, which considers itself an outspoken opponent of Saudi Arabia, kept a neutral position for two weeks, hinting that it would be ready to support Saudi Arabia if Riyadh made the first move. However, when Iran saw that Washington stood by Saudi Arabia, it waged a media war against the latter.
As for Israel, it considered that this single issue was being over-exploited, given the bad record of many countries in the region regarding such issues. Israel has, thus, warned that continued escalation may threaten the stability of the already troubled region, saying that, despite its disagreements with Saudi Arabia, the current attack on the latter was unacceptable. This means that Israel’s scope is no longer limited to the conflict over Palestine, as it has become an important regional player in all issues.
Most policymakers are aware about the need to draw a line between the heinous crime and the regional conflict; since the crime will not last but the dispute will. The higher interests of countries must not be sold cheaply just because Turkey and Qatar have decided to exacerbate the crisis.
Hence, after the midterm elections in the US finish, and because Turkey is now reaching the end of its “game of leaks” that lasted for a whole month, the crime will return to its natural place, i.e., the judiciary, while politicians return to their other business.

The Stock Market Bandwagon Is Filling Up Quickly

Robert Burgess/Bloomberg/November 06/18
The US stock market as measured by the MSCI USA Index just posted its best two-day performance since February, rising 1.58 percent Tuesday and 1.13 percent Wednesday. What’s notable is that the gains, in the wake of a nasty sell-off that left equities on the cusp of a correction, aren’t coming with the usual caution from prominent Wall Street strategists about “dead cat bounces.” Instead, they are expressing a remarkable sense of enthusiasm. First, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s all-world analyst Marko “Gandalf” Kolanovic issued a report Tuesday talking up the possibility that the October “rolling bear market” turns into a “rolling squeeze higher” into the end of the year. Then on Wednesday, Fundstrat Global Advisors’ Tom Lee — another analyst known for making exceptionally timely calls — went even further. He wrote in a research note that “the potential for a violent upside rally is substantial.” While a big part of Kolanovic’s thesis focused on fundamentals such as a likely surge in stock buybacks by companies, Lee honed in on the technicals. The percentage of stocks in the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 that are above their 50- and 200-day moving averages is “unusually low,” and that has often signaled a bottom when it has happened outside of a bear market but in a correction, reports Bloomberg News’s Kriti Gupta. As Lee points out, returns over the following three and six months — when the markets have become as “oversold” as they are now — have averaged 13 percent and 19 percent, with positive gains in eight of nine cases. Cynics might say that now would be the perfect time to sell given such unbridled optimism among strategists.
But there are signs that all those who wanted to sell have already done so. State Street Global Markets came out Wednesday with its monthly index of global institutional investor confidence. The measure has some authority because unlike survey-based gauges, it uses actual trades and covers 15 percent of the world’s tradeable assets. For October, the index dropped to 84.4, the lowest in almost six years. The index has been this low in only two other periods in the history of the series going back to 1998 — late 2012 and late 2008, and each time stocks went on to rally. Who wants to play those odds?
I would be remiss to talk about the good feelings that have suddenly permeated equities markets not only in the US but globally without mentioning China’s role. As the world’s second-largest economy, significant fiscal and monetary announcements there tend to ripple through global markets. There have been countless times in the past few years when China’s stock and bond markets looked to be in freefall only for the authorities to announce plans to stimulate the economy, bolstering risk assets worldwide. Well, it just so happens that on Wednesday a statement from a Politburo meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping said that the nation’s economic situation is changing, that downward pressure is increasing, and that the government needs to take timely steps to counter all this.

Germany: Merkel Throws in the Towel

Stefan Frank/Gatestone Institute/November 06, 2018
It was the policy of unchecked mass-immigration against which Chancellor Angela Merkel's party finally revolted.
The race to succeed Merkel as the party's chair is wide open, and these days, being a Merkel confidante is a liability rather than an asset.
The next party leader's sole role will be to share the blame for any new election defeats, starting with the elections to the European Parliament in June 2019 -- unless he distinguishes himself from Merkel and presents a set of convincing ideas for Germany's future.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 29, 2018, announced her resignation, a day after her party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), suffered yet another crushing election defeat. Pictured: Merkel leaves after a press conference at a retreat of the CDU leadership on November 5, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 29, 2018, announced her resignation, a day after her party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), suffered yet another crushing election defeat. Merkel said she would step down as leader of her party in December and would not seek re-election in 2021.
In the state election in Hesse, Germany's two biggest parties received their worst results in more than half a century. The CDU dropped from 38% to 27%, the Social-Democrats (SPD) from 30% to less than 20%. Both parties continue a losing streak that shows no sign of reversal. Rather, the downturn seems to be accelerating. In last year's general elections, Merkel's party and its ally, the Social Democrats, recorded their worst results up to then in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany. Throughout much of Germany's postwar history, the CDU and SPD each used to achieve about 40% of the votes. In last autumn's general elections, the CDU and SPD combined barely managed to surpass the 50% threshold to form a government. Recent polls see them combined at barely 40% (24% for the CDU and 15% for the SPD).
"The time has come to open a new chapter," Merkel said. In a letter to the party, Merkel admitted mistakes that her government may have made "in recent weeks and months". According to Merkel, the voters did not acknowledge the current government's "decent" achievements due to the latter's wrong "work culture" that "doesn't meet" Merkel's "personal standards" -- apparently referring to the public feud between her and the CDU's Bavarian sister-party CSU over immigration policy.
Merkel went on to say, "For the rest of the election period, I'm ready to continue to work as Chancellor," meaning that she will step down as chancellor in 2021 at the latest, or maybe a bit earlier, if there is a chance to enthrone her protégée, CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, before the next elections.
Kramp-Karrenbauer's success, however, is far from guaranteed. The race to succeed Merkel as the party's chair is wide open, and these days, being a Merkel confidante is a liability rather than an asset. For months, pundits in Germany and abroad had speculated about the "end of the Merkel era", even more so after she had lost a key supporter in a party rebellion earlier this year. On September 25, in a surprising vote among members of the CDU and CSU parties, Merkel's longtime ally Volker Kauder was ousted after 13 years as parliamentary group leader of the combined faction.
The day Kauder lost, every political observer in Germany knew that the end of Merkel's chancellorship was close.
Ever since Merkel took office in 2005, Kauder had chaired the party caucus and pushed the party's MPs to rubber stamp all of Merkel's ideas, many of which were contrary to what the party used to stand for: the sudden nuclear phase-out after the tsunami in Japan in March 2011 (only months after Merkel's government had passed a law for a lifetime extension of Germany's nuclear power plants); Greece's bailouts, and especially opening Germany's borders to more than a million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East in 2015.
Kauder had been known as someone who suppressed internal debates, even if he had to resort to threats and outbursts of fury to silence dissenters. When, in August 2015, 60 MPs of the CDU/CSU voted against yet another Greek bailout (the third one), Kauder shocked his party fellows by saying that the nay-sayers could no longer be trusted with any important parliamentary committees. "I couldn't believe what the chairman of my caucus had said", Detlef Seif, a CDU MP told a newspaper.
Christian-Democrat MP Andreas Mattfeldt wrote on Facebook, "I sincerely hope that the CDU caucus won't follow such statements!"
In November 2015, Christian Democrat MP Andreas Mattfeldt addressed a parliamentary session regarding the unchecked mass-immigration that had begun in September, saying:
"The biggest challenge -- and I think we have to be careful not to overstretch ourselves – is dealing with the refugee movement... This is the first time I have the impression that we as state authority have lost control in the refugee crisis. We have lost control, perhaps because we are afraid of discussing unpopular facts and of making sure that that this country's capacity to take in refugees is not exceeded. Rejections must not be a taboo."
Germany's biggest newspaper, Bild, described Kauder's reaction: "Volker Kauder couldn't sit on his chair anymore. He walked through the ranks like a captive tiger in his cage, supposedly to make sure that nobody applauded."
When Mattfeldt had finished, Kauder yelled at him: "You should be ashamed of yourself!"
While Merkel is known for never attacking anyone -- not even during election campaigns -- she used aides like Kauder to bring the party into line and quell dissent. Kauder was also among the main proponents of the open-borders policy. In April 2015, he suggested that Germany could take in up to 16 million migrants: "In Kurdistan, there are five million residents with one million refugees. We in Germany can absorb considerably more refugees."
Only weeks ago, Merkel had insisted that she would run again for the position of party chair at the CDU congress on December 6, 2018.
At that time, only three outsiders, none of whom enjoyed the backing of a regional association, dared to challenge Merkel. Their candidacies were ridiculed; one of Germany's public broadcasters ran the headline "Revolt of the dwarves". While none of these candidates was expected to have a chance against Merkel, it would have been entirely possible that, given that the vote is secret, the delegates would have punished Merkel with a weak result -- a humiliation she has now avoided by not seeking re-election.
Now that Merkel is out of the way, many party bigwigs are expected to throw their hats into the ring: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (who would probably emulate Merkel's policies and government style); the more conservative Minister of Health Jens Spahn, and possibly Friedrich Merz, a former chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary caucus. Merz announced in 2009 that he would "take a break from politics," and has not held any office for 14 years.
Whoever succeeds Merkel as party chair will not inherit any real political power. According to Germany's constitution, it is the Chancellor who "determines the general guidelines of government policy". So the next party leader's sole role will be to share the blame for any new election defeats, starting with the elections to the European Parliament in June 2019 -- unless he distinguishes himself from Merkel and presents a set of convincing ideas for Germany's future. It would be a boon for the party and the country if the new leader were not one of those who have been silently following Merkel's path for more than 13 years.
*Stefan Frank is a journalist and author based in Germany.
© 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.

A Month of Multiculturalism in Britain: October 2018

Soeren Kern/Gatestone Institute/November 06, 2018
There were 140 new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Birmingham between April and June 2018.
"There remains a huge problem with professionals viewing forced marriage as a cultural issue rather than a crime. Many aren't even aware there is a law." — Jasvinder Sanghera, attacking the government's failure to tackle the problem of forced marriages.
The Ministry of Justice blocked plans for an academic study into why prisoners convert to Islam and how it can lead to radicalization. "They will have been concerned about what this proposed project will discover," a source said.
A leaked letter showed that Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid agreed to hand evidence on two British jihadis to American authorities for a federal prosecution, but without assurances that the death penalty would not be used. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
October 1. So-called "cutters" are being flown into Britain to perform female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls, according to The Independent. "The practicing community talk together, saying, 'My girl needs to be cut,' and pay the cutters to come into the UK and cut the girls here," said Hoda Ali, an FGM activist who works in West London. She added: "The reality is we need to open our eyes. We don't need to think just about faraway countries because right now we have girls who are in their late teens or even early twenties who were cut in this country. They are British girls who were born here and they were cut here."
October 2. Women and girls who are coerced into marriage by their families will be allowed to give evidence in secret so they can object to their foreign spouses' visas without fear of repercussions, according to legal changes announced by Home Secretary Sajid Javid. The changes come two months after The Times revealed that the Home Office was issuing visas to known abusers in forced marriage cases.
October 3. Zakaria Mohammed, a 21-year-old drug dealer from Aston, Birmingham, was sentenced to 14 years in prison after admitting to charges of modern slavery. Mohammed groomed his victims — a 14-year-old girl and two runaway 15-year-old boys — before making them sell class-A drugs from squalid flats a hundred miles from their homes. The teens, who were transported from Birmingham to Lincoln to work as "expendable workhorses" in drug dens, were found by police in a drug-infested apartment in Lincoln. The Telegraph reported it was the first time in British legal history that a drug-dealer has been convicted for breaching the Modern Slavery Act by trafficking children.
October 4. Rahman Ullah, a 38-year-old father of two from Croydon, was sentenced to 14 months in prison for beating his estranged wife and live-streaming the battering to relatives in Pakistan. Ullah, wielding a kitchen knife, made stabbing motions at his wife and boasted to his relatives: "I'm going to kill her today." Ullah initially told police that his wife was the aggressor.
October 5. Ten baby girls, all of whom were less than a year old, underwent female genital mutilation in Birmingham between April and June 2018, according to the Birmingham Mail, citing official statistics. The data also revealed that 15 children aged between one and four were reported as FGM victims. In total, there were 140 new cases of FGM in the city in those three months. Most victims were between five and nine.
October 6. A report for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that one-third (33%) of Britons surveyed believed that efforts to provide equal opportunities to Muslim immigrants had gone "too far." The report, the first of an annual "barometer" testing public opinion, also found that 22% of Britons had negative views of Muslims.
October 7. The outgoing head of Karma Nirvana, a charity that supports victims of honor-based abuse, launched a scathing attack on the government's failure to tackle forced marriage. She said she feels "let down by the lack of leadership" and warned that more children will suffer as a result. Jasvinder Sanghera, who announced she was stepping down as head of Karma Nirvana after 25 years, said that working with the government to address the issue had at times been like "pushing a rock up a hill." She added:
"The government has not done enough to raise awareness and mainstream the issue so there remains a huge problem with professionals viewing forced marriage as a cultural issue rather than a crime. Many aren't even aware there is a law."
October 8. A leaked letter showed that Home Secretary Sajid Javid agreed to hand evidence on two British jihadis to American authorities for a federal prosecution, but without assurances that the death penalty would not be used. El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, allegedly members of a jihadi cell dubbed "The ISIS Beatles" and who beheaded a series of hostages in Syria, have been the subject of a legal dispute between Britain and the US since being captured in January 2018. Edward Fitzgerald QC, a lawyer for Elsheikh's mother, argued at the Administrative Court in London that Javid wrongly exposed the suspects to the risk of an "inhuman" punishment." Lawyers for Javid countered that there is no prohibition on providing legal assistance to another country where it may result in proceedings leading to the death penalty. "This group [the ISIS Beatles] is associated with some of the gravest offenses perpetrated against civilians in Syria during the conflict," James Eadie QC told the court. "These beheadings are notorious globally, all but one having been filmed and posted on the internet."
October 9. Teachers should look out for girls who have difficulty walking, sitting and standing, or who request to be excused from physical education lessons, according to a new guide on spotting signs of female genital mutilation (FGM). Schools should also be aware of girls who have a prolonged absence from school, noticeable behavioral changes after these absences, or girls speaking about being on holiday to their country of origin or another country where the practice is prevalent. The indicators were published by Islington Council and the Manor Gardens Welfare Trust as part of a risk assessment tool to help teachers to identify and evaluate the damage done by FGM. The 12-page workbook takes teachers through the signs that a child may be at risk, that FGM may have already taken place, and what educators should do if such a situation arises.
October 10. The British Army launched an investigation after an anti-Islamization activist known as Tommy Robinson posted a photo of himself with a group of young soldiers. The photo appeared to have been taken at a highway rest stop, and Robinson had described the group as "young recruits." Robinson wrote on Facebook, "A moment like this makes it all worthwhile. Today I met real British heroes." An Army spokeswoman said, "Far-right ideology is completely at odds with the values and ethos of the armed forces. The armed forces have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting extremist views are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve." Robinson said that he had met the soldiers by chance and they should not be "left hung out to dry" for having their photo taken with him.
October 11. The retailer Marks & Spencer sparked a row after including hijabs — head coverings worn by some Muslim women — in its school uniform section. The company's social media pages were flooded with angry messages and dozens of disgruntled customers said they would not use the store until the black headscarves removed from the stock. The founder of the Quilliam Foundation, Maajid Nawaz, said that M&S had reverted to "medievalism" by including a child-size hijab in the school-wear category.
October 13. A 29-year-old Somali, whose deportation from Britain was halted after airline passengers staged a mutiny and demanded his release, was exposed as a convicted gang rapist being deported because of his crime. Officials escorting Yaqub Ahmed on a flight from Heathrow to Turkey on October 9 were forced to abandon his deportation when around a dozen holidaymakers who felt sorry for him angrily intervened shortly before take-off. At one stage a traveler complained, "They're separating him from his family," while others chanted "take him off the plane." It later emerged that Ahmed and three other youths had gang-raped a 16-year-old in London's Leicester Square in August 2007. Ahmed served only half of a 9-year sentence. When a video of the protest was published by MailOnline, hundreds of readers expressed their outrage. One wrote, "The police should have been called and all the passengers who were interfering should have been arrested and removed from the plane." Another reader wrote, "Now it will cost a lot more to fly the man back on a private charter! Well done silly interfering, self-seeking, do-gooding idiots!"
October 14. Belal Ahmed, 24, and Mizad Miah, 24, both from Tower Hamlets, were sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison for spiking a 21-year-old woman's drink with MDMA (ecstasy), raping her after she became unconscious, and then dumping her at the side of the road in her underwear. Both men were arrested at Gatwick Airport in November 2017 when they returned to Britain after vacationing together in Morocco.
October 15. The Ministry of Justice blocked plans for an academic study into why prisoners convert to Islam and how it can lead to radicalization, according to The Times. Supporters of the three-year project said they were dismayed by the decision and believe the prison service did not want outsiders studying such a sensitive topic. "The corporate culture of the service is defensive, and they will have been concerned about what this proposed project will discover," a source said. The number of Muslim prisoners in jails in England and Wales has more than doubled in recent years, rising from 5,500 in 2002 to 12,894 this year, according to The Times, citing official data.
October 17. Lancashire County Council decisively voted to stop supplying halal (permitted according to Sharia law) meat from unstunned animals to area schools as of 2019. The decision — 49 to 23 with nine abstentions — will affect 12,000 Muslim pupils in the 27 schools in Blackburn, Nelson, Burnley, Rawtenstall, Hyndburn and Preston. The Chief Executive of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, Abdul Hamid Qureshi, said he was considering calling for Muslim pupils to boycott school meals.
October 18. A Tesco worker sued the supermarket chain for harassment and racial discrimination after a colleague "broke wind in his face." Atif Masood, 42, a customer assistant at a branch in Thornton Heath, demanded £20,000 (€23,000; $26,000) — claiming that passing wind amounts to "bullying." In legal papers submitted to a London employment tribunal, Masood claimed there was "too much racism" in the Thornton Heath store, and felt he was discriminated against by colleagues because he was a Pakistani Muslim.
October 19. The Islamist firebrand preacher Anjem Choudary, described as Britain's "most dangerous extremist," was released from prison after serving only half of the five-and-a-half-year sentence he received in 2016 for pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. Prison authorities could not prevent his release: under British sentencing guidelines, prisoners — even those who are still a risk to the public — automatically become eligible for release under license (parole) after serving half their terms.
October 20. Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, a 51-year-old Muslim cleric who runs Britain's largest network of Sharia courts, was questioned over allegations that he had raped children. West Midlands Police are investigating claims that Siddiqi raped two Dutch women in the 1980s and 1990s. The women claim they were sexually abused from the ages of 11 and 12 until they turned 16. They were sent to Britain by their parents to be educated by Sheikh Siddiqi's father, a respected Muslim scholar. Siddiqi is the head of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, an Islamic legal service in England that operates a string of controversial Sharia law courts which critics say discriminate against women. He has denied the claims, which first appeared in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, saying they are part of a campaign to discredit his family.
October 23. Nearly 2,000 young people in Britain, the vast majority of them girls, were wed before the age of 18 between 2010 and 2015, according to Thomson Reuters Foundation, citing official data. Child marriage — defined internationally as marriage under 18 — remains legal in Britain. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, teenagers can wed at 16 with parental consent. In Scotland, they do not need consent, according to Thomson Reuters. British parliamentarian Pauline Latham, who introduced a bill to raise the marriage age to 18, said it was "crazy" that Britain still allowed child marriage when it was spending £39 million (€44 million; $51 million) over five years to support efforts to end it in developing countries.
October 24. An Islamic school teaching that only Muslims and animals were saved on Noah's Ark was the first to be successfully prosecuted for operating illegally. The Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre in West London marketed itself as a study center where home-educated children could attend part-time classes, but government inspectors found that almost 60 children of compulsory school age were regularly attending the center during school hours. The case was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service after the center failed to respond to a government warning notice. The Chief Inspector of Schools, Amanda Spielman, said that the verdict sent an important message to other unregistered schools, some of which she said deny children a proper education and leave them at risk of radicalization. Photographs posted on the school's website identified Noah as a prophet of Allah.
October 25. A Muslim family complained about the use of pork gelatin in three vaccines used by the National Health Service, according to the BBC. Porcine gelatin is derived from pigs and used in vaccines against flu, shingles, measles, mumps and rubella. A spokesperson for Public Health England said the gelatin is used as a stabilizer and developing an alternative "may never happen." A parent who contacted the BBC said he was "offended" by the use of porcine gelatin in a nasal flu vaccine. He said that his wife was told about the ingredient by a doctor when she took their children to be vaccinated. She refused the vaccine because of their religion. The Muslim Council of Britain said the vaccines are not permitted in Islam unless lives are at risk and there are no alternatives. "There should be more work towards an alternative," said Dr. Shuja Shafi, the chairman of the council's research and documentation committee. "We should be trying to find a long-term solution. The needs of the people must be met."
October 26. The diocese of Oxford defended a decision by the University of Oxford to invite an imam to deliver the University Sermon at the end of a eucharist on October 21. A spokesman for the diocese said that inviting Imam Monawar Hussain to preach at the university church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford, was "a good piece of interfaith engagement." The spokesman said that the diocese had received a dozen complaints about the invitation but added, "If we had had 100 complaints we would have stood by the university's decision." A blog post by Adrian Hilton on his Archbishop Cranmer site noted that as a Muslim, Hussain would not believe in Jesus's death on a cross or in his resurrection. "By inviting an imam to preach not just a sermon, but a eucharistic sermon, it is hard to understand how this glorifies the crucified Son of God," he wrote. The Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, rejected the objections: "Hussain's work has been fundamental in deepening our understanding of Islam and combating the threat of terrorism in this country. He is promoting a charitable and wise interpretation of Islam."
October 27. Forty-three percent of Britons believe that Western liberal society can never be compatible with Islam, according to a ComRes "Islamophobia" poll. Two-fifths (43%) of the population would be concerned if a mosque was built in their neighborhood or if a family member married a Muslim. One in five (22%) would be concerned if a Muslim family moved next door and 3 in 10 (30%) would object to their child visiting a mosque.
October 28. As many as 80 jihadi brides and their children, who were detained in Syria since the fall of the Islamic State, are expected imminently to return to Britain, according to The Times, which also reported that the British Home Office has started issuing them British passports.
October 29. Seven men were found guilty of grooming and raping young girls, including one who was sexually abused by "at least 100 Asian men" before the age of 16, and another who was gang-raped in a forest and threatened with being abandoned there. Sheffield Crown Court heard how the men — Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 37, Asif Ali, 33, Tanweer Ali, 37, Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, 39, Nabeel Kurshid, 35, Iqlak Yousaf, 34, and a seventh man, who was not named for legal reasons — targeted and exploited the girls before subjecting them to acts of a "degrading and violent nature." The girls were abused over a seven-year period in Rotherham. The case was the first major prosecution arising out of Operation Stovewood, the National Crime Agency's inquiry into historical child sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town which has identified more than 1,500 victims. The inquiry will cost British taxpayers more than £90 million (€102 million; $117 million) by 2024, the date to which current planning extends, although few people think it will be completed by then.
October 30. Mohammed Ghani, a 65-year-old former imam in West Yorkshire who sexually assaulted a young child over a period of seven years, had his sentence increased. In August, Leeds Crown Court sentenced Ghani to two years in prison, but his sentence was increased after it was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme. The Court of Appeal increased Ghani's sentence to five years in prison. Speaking after the hearing, the Solicitor General said: "Ghani abused his position of authority and subjected a vulnerable child to a campaign of sexual assaults. I hope that the Court of Appeal's decision today brings the victim and their family some comfort."
October 31. Anjem Choudary was ordered to attend Britain's first compulsory deradicalization program, according to The Times. Choudary, who was released from prison on October 19, halfway through his sentence for supporting the Islamic State, was ordered to attend the Desistance and Disengagement Program (DDP) as part of his probation. The course, which requires him to receive mentoring and theological "advice," is the government's latest attempt to combat the heightened jihadist threat. Convicted jihadis are being freed from prison at a rate of one a week. More than 40% of those found guilty of terrorism offenses in the past decade, according to The Times, will be eligible for release by the end of 2018.
*Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.
© 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.

The grace of Jamal Khashoggi’s sons
Turki Aldakhil/Al Arabiya/November 06/18/
In direct and clear words during their interview with CNN, the sons of Jamal Khashoggi obstructed the path of those who want to exploit their father’s death and use it as a tool to achieve partisan and political interests, which the late Jamal and his family have nothing to do with. Truth be told, Jamal did not mean much to the majority of those who spoke about his murder as they actually sought to use the case to harm Saudi Arabia and what it represents, to avenge or to show their grudge or express their hatred or to try and embarrass political opponents here and there.
Salaheddine Khashoggi, the oldest son of Jamal, may he rest in peace, clearly and transparently said: “The King has stressed that everybody involved will be brought to justice. And I have faith in that. This will happen. Otherwise Saudi wouldn't have started an internal investigation.”The interview with Jamal’s sons Salaheddine and Abdullah, who were the closest to the late Jamal, in Washington came as a slap to those who wanted to use the case to harm Saudi Arabia’s reputation and stability by exploiting Jamal’s murder without really caring for what really happened and without respecting the family’s feelings and wishes.
Saudi Arabia has taken a clear stance towards the murder of Khashoggi and it was expressed by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as they said those involved will be punished and justice will be served. The authorities in the Kingdom have actually begun working towards this. However, Saudi Arabia’s enemies overlooked these serious and practical measures as they want the Khashoggi case to remain an open wound that they can make gains through. This is something that the political command will decisively and strongly stand against.
With such grace, patriotism and loyalty, the sons of late Jamal silenced those who are exploiting their father’s death. Salaheddine and Abdullah confirmed in their interview with CNN that they have faith in Saudi justice and that the judiciary will professionally perform its task, especially that the highest authority in the Kingdom, King Salman, told Salaheddine when he met him that those who murdered his father will stand before justice, a justice that will only be clear and transparent.
Salah voiced his disappointment of attempts to make gains using his father’s case and said: “I see a lot of people coming out right now and trying to claim his legacy and unfortunately some of them are using that in a political way that we totally don't agree with.” He refused to stand by those exploiting his father’s blood. When the interviewer asked him if he trusts the Saudi political command’s promises, he clearly answered: “Yes”; hence, blocking the path of those who are trying to fish in troubled waters and who want evil for Saudi Arabia and its people.
These attempts which many are making under the pretext of “justice for Jamal” have been a concern for Jamal’s family as it sees how this negatively influences the public opinion and how it takes a path that deviates from justice and turns into a card that countries and foreign parties seek to use to pressure Saudi Arabia and to achieve political, security and economic gains without caring what really happened to Jamal as they have their own preplanned agenda and goals that they seek to serve.
Within the same context, Salaheddine thinks: “Public opinion is important... but my fear is that it's being over politicized. People are throwing out analysis that may direct us away from the truth.” These politicized analyses are mostly not spontaneous but deliberate and they want to direct their arrows at the Kingdom to harm it, delay the journey of its renaissance and abort Vision 2030 set by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – a vision that does not only specialize in Saudi Arabia’s renaissance but also plans during the next 30 years to create a different Middle East, which can be the “new Europe” as the crown prince said few days ago. Several countries and parties whom it’s not in their interest to see Saudi Arabia as an advanced strong state with a productive economy and a giving and open society stand against this change.
Salaheddine said in the interview that he and his family plan to return to Saudi Arabia so he can resume his work in the banking sector in Jeddah, and this means that he believes in Saudi Arabia as his first and final homeland – a homeland that reassures him and that he wants his family to grow up in. He completely refused illogical explanations and rumors circulated on social media especially those that followed his meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and he voiced his surprise of what some media outlets promoted noting that analyses which negatively addressed his meeting with the king and the crown prince were “just baseless claims.”
Abdullah, Jamal’s other son, also said he was upset by the restless media and the stories and information circulating without taking the family’s feelings into consideration. He said: “At the same time, we're looking at the media and the misinformation. There's a lot of ups and downs,” in reference to the fairytales that defy logic that were promoted by regional and global media outlets without validating their accuracy, while intentionally ignoring journalism’s professional standards.
All what Khashoggi’s family wishes is that Jamal rests in peace and that he listens to its voice and its patriotic stance that rejects any foreign interference. His family has put its trust in the Saudi judiciary and rejected any attempts to politicize the case.
With such grace, patriotism and loyalty, the sons of late Jamal silenced those who are exploiting their father’s death to harm their country or to make personal gains. So will those who want to harm Saudi Arabia’s reputation and stability keep silent in compliance with the family’s wishes or will they not respect the latter and resume their destructive projects which will break before the Saudi people’s pride that embraces the sky like the Tuwaiq Mountain and that is strong and steadfast by standing by their leadership – unlike what those screaming had hoped for as they were hoping that the crisis will cause a rift between the Saudis and their King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman but their arrows have backfired against them.

Russia gambles on Taliban peace talks
Dr. Azeem Ibrahim/Al Arabiya/November 06/18/
Pakistani cleric, Maulana Sami ul-Haq, also known as the “father of the Taliban” was killed and buried on Friday in Pakistan after an attack for which no one has yet claimed responsibility. Haq was the founder of the Haqqani madrassa network where many of the leaders of the Taliban were educated – including the group’s founder – Mullah Omar. The Afghan Taliban were swift to issue a statement saying that his death “was a serious loss to the whole Muslim world”. Haq in his latter days seemed to have concluded that the remaining Taliban leadership should enter peace negotiations with the Afghan government believing that a power sharing agreement is possible – a position the Taliban leaders seemed to have accepted.
Seventeen years since the US and its allies entered the Afghan arena to remove the scrounge of the Taliban, neither side seems to be anywhere near what can be termed a decisive victory.
Despite the US now being on its third president and having tested various strategies under a series of highly capable generals, the Taliban continues to remain a formidable and resilient foe.
The Trump administration having come to the inevitable realization that the war can drag on indefinitely, appointed the highly experienced diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad as the Presidential Special Envoy to Afghanistan with the explicit task of “injecting new energy into the stalled peace process”. Any political settlement settlement with the Taliban may have unpalatable results. The Taliban’s often brutal form of conservative justice shocks the liberal sensibilities of the western electorates paying for the war.
Bringing them into the political process will mean conceding that where, for example, young brides wed older men, US troops are not the right means to change those customs and attitudes. Despite the US now being on its third president and having tested various strategies under a series of highly capable generals, the Taliban continues to remain a formidable and resilient foe
Unpalatable results
The answer to this is that we are getting these unpalatable results already - we have the worst of both worlds. President Karzai recognised this and made these kinds of concessions to bolster his legitimacy. Witness the law passed before the election allowing Shiite men to deny their wives sustenance if they do not satisfy their husbands, and which requires women to get permission from their husbands to work. These helped to shore up his power, but did not substantially neutralise the Taliban’s desire to fight by bringing them into the political process.
The pro is that bringing the Taliban into the political process will mean setting up a thoroughgoing participative process. One of the problems with the electoral system we implemented was that traditional power brokers such as warlords had such a central role in ensuring support for the candidates.
For example, the government paid insurgent leaders in exchange for their agreement not to attack voters or polling stations, according to the former head of Afghanistan’s Intelligence service, Amrullah Saleh.
Nobody expected an advanced democratic process. But we can reasonably expect that next time, votes are a better representation of opinion on the ground, rather than who has been bought to ‘deliver’ a particular province or area for a candidate.
Expressed in debate
This will require that the differences over how Afghanistan is governed be expressed in debate, rather than merely fought over, and this is the real advantage of bringing ex-militants into the process as much as possible. This process will necessarily start with negotiating with some people who the US has been fighting. That will not be easy to accept.
Moreover, earlier this week, a US government report confirmed that not only has the Afghan and US government campaign against the Taliban stalled but it is in fact gone into reverse with the Taliban making significant territorial gains along with increasing casualties amongst Afghan security forces.
However, not to be outdone, and emboldened with it’s success in Syria and the wider Middle East, Russia now sees an opportunity to reassert its influence and showcase itself as a responsible global power.
Putin as the new power broker in the Middle East wants to succeed where the US has failed. Moscow has offered to host a peace conference on Afghanistan later this week with both the Afghan government and Taliban in attendance. Also invited are delegations from the US, China, India, Iran, Pakistan and some of the Central European states making this a truly global affair.
Putin’s belief seems to be that all sides are so suspicious, weary and tired of the conflict that they will clutch onto any possibility of ending the war even if brokered by Russia.
Russia will then cement its position as a serious geopolitical power broker with Putin being hailed as the champion who brought one of the longest and deadliest wars of modern times to an end. And who knows, maybe even the Nobel Committee would take notice.

Israeli Minister Elkin: Syrian S-300s will be attacked if Israeli military or commercial planes hit'
وزير شؤون القدس والبيئة الإسرائيلي يقول بأن بلاده ستضرب نظام اس 300 في سوريا في حال تعرض للطائرات الإسرائيلية
DebkaFile/November 06/18
Israel warned publicly for the first time that its air force would strike Syria’s S-300 air defense weapons supplied by Russia and Russian personnel could be in jeopardy.
On Monday, Nov. 6, Ze’ev Elkin, minister for Jerusalem affairs and the environment said that Israel will attack Syria’s new Russian S-300 air defense systems if they are used against Israeli jets, Addressing Russian media in a rare briefing, Elkin, who is co-chair of the Russia-Israel Intergovernmental Commission, criticized Moscow, saying: “We consider the very fact of shipping S-300 to Syria a big mistake. The Syrian military are not always capable of correctly using the hardware transferred to them. In case of improper operation, civilian aircrafts may be harmed,” he said.
The minister, a member of Israel’s security cabinet, made these remarks after a month during which Israel refrained from air strikes over Syria and Russia had begun installing the first S-300s with Syrian operational teams.
“The Syrians, if they ever want to, might use [these systems] to down an Israeli military or commercial plane over Israeli territory,” Elkin said: “Considering the mess that is going on in the Syrian Army, shipping S-300s might lead to destabilization of the situation.” Pointing again at Moscow, the Israeli minister went on to say: “By shipping these kinds of weapons to Syrians, Russia bears partial responsibility for their use,” Elkin went on to warn: “Usually, Israel reacts to attacks on its territory and its aircraft not through international demarches, but with practical actions. Actions would undoubtedly take place, should [an attack] occur, against the launchers used to attack Israeli territory or Israeli planes.”
“I hope greatly that there would be no Russian military specialists [at S-300 sites],” he continued. “Israel has for all these years been doing everything it can to make sure Russian military personnel are not harmed. The Iranians have repeatedly used the Russian military as a living shield and conducted arms relocation operations under the cover of the Russian military presence.”
Elkin claimed that, according to Israeli intelligence, the Iranian military has attempted to use Russian military bases for arms shipment operations. “We have good enough intelligence regarding Iranian actions, and we know how to warn our Russian colleagues about such attempts in time.”
A response from Moscow will no doubt be coming for the first direct criticism by an Israeli minister of Russian actions in Syria.
U.S.-Saudi Security Cooperation (Part 2): Restricting Operational Support in Yemen
Michael Knights and Lt. Col. August Pfluger, USAF/The Washington Institute/November 06/ 18
The United States should keep training and advising Saudi forces if they meet certain conditions, but it should end refueling support to Saudi aircraft operating near Yemen.
This PolicyWatch is the second in a two-part series on potential adjustments to the bilateral security relationship. Part 1 offered recommendations on delaying and conditioning arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis laid out a sequence for ending hostilities in Yemen: the Houthi rebels are expected to cease border and missile attacks, after which the Saudi-led coalition is to halt high-risk airstrikes in populated areas, thus laying the ground for peace talks. Yet if the hoped-for talks wind up failing (as the previous round did earlier this year in Geneva when the Houthis refused to attend), Washington will likely intensify its scrutiny of U.S. operational support to the Saudi war effort. Since the conflict began in 2015, Congress has debated whether to end support activities such as refueling coalition aircraft and providing advise/assist functions in Saudi Arabia. Yet discussion of these missions often loses sight of their limited scale and, in the case of advisory support, their crucial defensive and diplomatic value.
Saudi operations in Yemen are evolving. The air war is slowing down and becoming more selective, with air-dropped weapon releases declining from nearly 200 per day in the early weeks of the war to less than 10 per day in 2018. On the ground, however, the Saudi military presence inside Yemen has expanded from well under 1,000 troops at the beginning of this year to around 3,000 today, comprising elements of six brigades from the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) and Royal Saudi Land Forces.
Although the U.S. military plays a very minor role in directly supporting operations in Yemen, the Saudi war effort draws indirectly on the large U.S. training missions and contractor support services that keep the kingdom’s armed forces operating. These programs, which are fully funded by the Saudi government, include:
The U.S. Military Training Mission. Operating continuously since the 1950s, the 200-strong USMTM is based in Riyadh and works directly with each branch of the Defense Ministry, fulfilling the crucial role of processing U.S. Foreign Military Sales from concept through delivery. This mission has never been withdrawn from the country during any crisis, even when the United States removed its air operations headquarters from Prince Sultan Air Base in 2002.
OPM-SANG. Another few hundred U.S. military personnel and contractors oversee the U.S. Army’s Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM-SANG). This mission has operated continuously since 1973 to organize, equip, and train SANG, a multi-brigade collection of armored infantry, helicopters, and artillery that has become the kingdom’s second-largest land force.
MoI-MAG. In 2008, the U.S. Army set up a smaller Ministry of Interior-Military Assistance Group to help the Saudis develop critical infrastructure security capabilities and build out their Facilities Security Forces, Special Security Forces, Border Guards, and General Security Aviation Command. This training mission contributes to protecting the world’s largest energy installations, fighting terrorism, and developing the Border Guards, the force that has suffered the highest casualties in the Yemen war due to Houthi raids into Saudi Arabia.
On June 8, the Trump administration acknowledged that U.S. forces “have continued to provide military advice and limited information, logistics, and other support to regional forces combating the Houthi insurgency in Yemen,” though he made clear that this was “a non-combat role.” This support includes:
Advice on lawful targeting. On February 27, the Pentagon informed Congress that a small number of U.S. personnel were providing “advice regarding compliance with the law of armed conflict and best practices for reducing the risk of civilian casualties.” Secretary Mattis confirmed this point on October 30, describing how legal and weapons advisors are working to improve the capabilities of Gulf coalition forces so that “they are not killing innocent people.”
Border and missile defense assistance. On April 17, Assistant Defense Secretary for International Security Affairs Robert Karem told Congress that “roughly 50” U.S. personnel had been deployed to Saudi Arabia to advise “on Houthi ballistic missile threats to the kingdom.” Media outlets have reported that U.S. personnel are also helping Saudi border forces reduce their casualties from Houthi roadside bombs.
The latest statistics from U.S. Central Command suggest that American forces are supporting the Saudi air campaign in Yemen with an average of 101 refueling sorties per month, or around 3 per day. In military terminology, this means that approximately 400,000 pounds of daily “offload” is available to Saudi aircraft involved in fighter missions, command and control, intelligence, and reconnaissance. The kingdom pays for the fuel and can call for deliveries as part of the bilateral Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement, which gives the United States various logistical and access rights as well.
In total, fuel deliveries to Saudi aircraft amount to less than 5 percent of the U.S. Air Force’s daily deliveries in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Moreover, Secretary Mattis recently noted that the USAF provides less than 20 percent of the fuel consumed in daily Saudi air operations over Yemen—more than 80 percent is provided by the Royal Saudi Air Force’s thirteen large air refueling platforms.
In other words, if Washington reduces or cancels this refueling support, it would have minimal effect on Saudi operations inside Yemen—with one important exception. In general, the kingdom’s air force operates relatively close to Saudi airfields, thereby reducing the overall offload requirement for air-to-air refueling. Defensive operations on the border would not be affected because they are undertaken at a range of 150 nautical miles from the main airbase at Khamis Mushait. Yet a refueling cutoff could complicate Saudi operations deeper inside Yemen, such as opportunistic airstrikes in Sana, Saada, and other urban locales that present a high risk of civilian casualties. On October 30, Secretary Pompeo stated that coalition airstrikes “must cease in all populated areas in Yemen,” suggesting that a cutoff might be a useful way of signaling Riyadh and shaping Saudi operations.
If the latest push for peace talks falls apart, U.S. officials may seek to distance America even further from the Yemen war via punitive measures against Riyadh. Yet while some of these potential measures are reversible options that offer a good means of signaling displeasure, others would damage Saudi Arabia’s legitimate defensive efforts and may prove difficult to reverse. Policymakers should be realistic about the minimal role that U.S. forces actually play in directly supporting the war. Going forward, Washington should limit itself to the following steps:
Continue military training missions. USMTM, OPM-SANG, and MoI-MAG are vital sources of U.S. influence and access in Saudi Arabia and are highly valued by both governments. Although this makes them very powerful cards to play, it also underlines how going too far could undo half a century’s worth of defense diplomacy. These missions will never be a foolproof way of preventing Riyadh from acting on its own perceived interests, but they have served as a vital channel of high-level dialogue through dozens of revolutions, wars, and energy crises.
Continue advise-and-assist support to defensive missions. According to Washington Institute data obtained from research along the Saudi-Yemeni frontier, the kingdom has suffered hundreds of fatalities each year from attacks on its Border Guards and missile strikes on southern Saudi towns. The United States should continue helping the Saudis defend their territory, including through increased defensive aid to hard-hit border units.
Keep advising Saudi forces on lawful targeting. Critics correctly argue that Saudi Arabia is not amending its targeting policies fast enough despite U.S. advice, but that does not mean giving up is the correct solution. Preventing additional civilian casualties is the most important contribution Washington can make, and this effort should not be politicized. To put more pressure on Riyadh without rescinding advisory support on targeting policy, the United States should condition future training and advise/assist efforts on Saudi forces halting their airstrikes against Houthi leadership targets and high-risk populated areas.
Stop refueling aircraft near Yemen. Although U.S. refueling support is not critical to the overall Saudi air campaign, withholding it from aircraft operating near the border might force Riyadh to reduce the number of emerging targets it attacks in Sana and Saada, where airstrikes have caused the worst civilian death tolls.
Michael Knights, a senior fellow with The Washington Institute, visited Yemen and the Gulf coalition states four times this year to observe military operations on multiple fronts. Lt. Col. August Pfluger, USAF, is a military fellow at the Institute.

Qatar’s architect of a new life for Gazans

Simon Henderson /The Hill/November 06/ 18
The Gulf state of Qatar is often accused of providing the cement that the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas uses to build attack tunnels in the Gaza Strip against Israel. The Qatari businessman who runs his country’s humanitarian support operation for Palestinians is straightforward in his response to the accusation: “This is b*******.”
Sitting in his rather rundown office in the headquarters of his construction company on a ring road in Doha, Mohammed Al Emadi initially is reluctant to speak to me, fearing that I shall twist his words, an experience he says he has suffered when meeting journalists. After a short interrogation he allows me to take notes in the hour-long conversation.
From his point of view, Ambassador Al Emadi has a good story to tell. The diplomatic title comes from his days in the Qatari foreign service. He started his career in 1983 as an architect in the projects department of the Doha municipality, but shifted to the foreign ministry when his boss — the now-retired policy meister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, known simply as HBJ — became foreign minister.
Al Emadi left in the 1990s to become head of Qatar Telecoms for more than two years but then joined the contracting group established by his father 50 years ago. Since 2012, he has combined running the family construction company with spending more than $700 million of Qatar’s huge natural gas revenues on Gaza reconstruction.
He reels off the statistics: 110 projects, 4,800 apartments, roads (including a 28-km highway between Rafah, on the border with Egypt, and Gaza City), a hospital. He is particularly proud of Hamad City (named for the former emir of Qatar, the father of the current ruler, Emir Tamim). It has 2,300 housing units, each 120 square meters, each costing $48,000, including infrastructure. Al Emadi says his costs are 30 percent less than anyone else’s and the quality is 70 percent better. Glossy official reports of the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gaza Reconstruction Committee back up his claims.
How did he do it? Al Emadi is a natural raconteur and an inveterate name-dropper. Every two or three months he has flown to the Jordanian capital, Amman, and then driven into Israel. He stays in hotels in Gaza, Tel Aviv, Herzliya or Jerusalem. The Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem is “the best.” An old friend is “General Mordechai,” the former Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). He speaks of the trust he has built with Israeli officials. But he also is trusted by the Palestinians, who are open with him. When Al Emadi set up an office in Gaza, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who lives in exile in Qatar, told him not to employ Hamas people (“They only know how to fight”).
His view of the politics of Gaza is candid: Hamas is not popular; it is doing nothing for the people. Only 35 percent support Hamas. Another 35 percent support Fatah, the more secular rival Palestinian group led by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.
He avoided any negative comments about Israel or its politicians. The Qatari-Israel relationship dates to the 1990s and is complicated. An Israeli team wearing Israeli insignia competed along with 77 other countries at the 48th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships held in Doha last week, but the world’s media concentrated its coverage on the judo competition in Abu Dhabi, the capital of Qatar’s regional rival, the United Arab Emirates, where Israel won two gold medals.
Qatar’s construction work in the Gaza Strip ended last year. The money being spent now is for “quietness” — $60 million for fuel for the power plant, other money for salaries. Gaza needs 550 MW of electricity. Its own power plant produces 50 MW; 120 MW comes from Israel, and 28 MW from Egypt, although the latter is not dependable, he says. The net result is that no one in Gaza gets more than eight hours a day. By increasing the number of turbines in the power plant, he hopes to double that.
Last Friday, three days after our interview, no violent clashes were reported on the border even though, a week earlier, full-scale war had been in prospect. A ceasefire deal, perhaps brokered by Egypt, is being mooted. I asked Al Emadi what his prescription was, reminding him that as an architect he was trained to find solutions. He smiled and said he had an idea that he discussed with “Jared” — Kushner, that is, President Trump’s son-in-law — who was “in my house here in Doha.” And he met Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special representative for international negotiations.
And what is his idea? He smiled, but refused to say. Whatever it is, it is sorely needed by Gazans and the region.
**Simon Henderson is the Baker Fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.