Detailed Lebanese & Lebanese Related LCCC English New Bulletin For November 08/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
Parable Of The The Widow & The judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people 
Luke 18/01-08: "Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, "Grant me justice against my opponent." For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, "Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming." ’And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’"

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 07-08/18
Will Lebanon join the 4th revolution or be left behind/Jean Saïfi/Annahar/November 07/18
Leader of Hezbollah-Linked Ansar Allah Leaves Mieh Mieh/The Daily Star/Wednesday 07th November 2018
That they may have life and have it less abundantly/Dan Azzi /Annahar/November 07/18
Report: Iranians With Fake Israelu Passports Detained In Bulgaria/Jerusalem Post/November 07/18
Why are extremists angry at Riyadh/Mamdouh AlMuhaini/Al Arabiya/November 07/18
Who is siding with the Iranian regime/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/November 07/18
Sanctions on Iran and their impact on Pakistan, Turkey/Ahmed Quraishi/Al Arabiya/November 07/18
Palestinian Threats to Arab Normalization with Israel/Khaled Abu Toameh/Gatestone Institute./November 07/18
How Saudi "Donations" to American Universities Whitewash Its Religion/Raymond Ibrahim/Gatestone Institute./November 07/18
Iranian regime’s hostility faces ultimate sanctions test/Dr. Theodore Karasik/Dr. Theodore Karasik/November 07/18

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 07-08/18
Aoun talks government formation, water resources with visitors
Berri: Legislation more than necessary
Hamade follows up on Lycée Abdel Kader and Antonine schools' issue
Ministry of Culture denies issuing permit to demolish heritage building in Zkak Blat
Lebanon Central Bank Says Debt Threat Growing amid Political Vacuum
Report: 'Pessimism' Grows Heralding Months of Govt. Delay
Jreissati Warns Generator Providers against 'Rebelling against State'
Protests over Reports Historic Beirut School to be Demolished, Moved to Baabda
After Shutting Power Off, Khoury Vows Measures against Generators Owners
Lebanon: Religious Authorities Seek to Resolve Government Crisis
Lebanese-Saudi Business Council Pays Solidarity Visit to KSA Embassy
Hankache Pinpoints Pitfalls of Lebanon's Political System
Will Lebanon join the 4th revolution or be left behind
Leader of Hezbollah-Linked Ansar Allah Leaves Mieh Mieh
That they may have life and have it less abundantly

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 07-08/18
Trump celebrates GOP gains, threatens House Democrats
Democrats capture US House majority in rebuke to Trump
Kremlin: Russia and US postpone summit on French request
US says to issue chemical weapons-related sanctions against Russia
Report: Iranians With Fake Israelu Passports Detained In Bulgaria
Can One Million Barrels in Oil Exports Help Tehran Survive Fierce Sanctions?
Iran First VP Calls for Proactive Measures in Face of US Sanctions
Turkey Rejects to Abide by Sanctions on Iran
Sentencing Set for Syrian Man Convicted of Making Bomb Parts
Omar and Tlaib: 1st Muslim Women Elected to US Congress
Iran’s Underground Efforts in Syria’s South Hope to Reestablish Foothold
Two Israeli Ministers Threaten to Destroy ‘S-300’ System
Palestine Accuses US of Shielding Illegal Settlement Expansion
Pull your forces out of Syria, US envoy tells Tehran
Lavrov Says Russia Warned Israel against Targeting Syria
Netanyahu Denies West Bank is under Occupation
UN Completes Food Distribution in Rukban Camp Near Jordan
Sadr’s Veto Leaves Iraq Government Incomplete
Egypt, Sudan Agree to Advance Cooperation Frameworks
Sisi Hopes Nile Project with Ethiopia Will Not Be Politicized
Moscow Slams ‘Illegal’ US Sanctions Against Iran
Sisi Pledges Military Support if Gulf 'Threatened'
Yemen Forces Push towards Hodeida as Death Toll Mounts
Rail from Israel to Gulf 'Makes Sense,' Says Minister
The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 07-08/18
Aoun talks government formation, water resources with visitors
Wed 07 Nov 2018/NNA - President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, held a series of meetings this afternoon at the Baabda Palace, which ranged between follow-up on the latest political developments in terms of forming a new government, to discussion over water resources and the developmental needs of a number of Lebanese regions, in addition to the reality of the audiovisual media in Lebanon. Politically, President Aoun received MP Fouad Makhzoumi and held a round of talks with him on the current political developments and the government updates and the need to speed up the process. In the presence of caretaker Minister of Energy and Water, Cesar Abi Khalil, President Aoun discussed the water wealth issue in Lebanon with the Chairman of the French Water Academy, former Minister Brice Lalonde, the Permanent Secretary of the Overseas Academy of Sciences in France, Pierre Gini, Director General of Water and Electrical Resources, Dr. Fadi Qumair, and Director of Sustainable Development and Productivity at ESCWA, Dr. Roula Majdalani. Mr. Lolande tackled the ongoing cooperation between Lebanon and the Water Academy in France and ways of developing it, while Prof. Geni invited President Aoun to give a lecture at the Academy of Overseas Sciences in France. The President welcomed his guests, stressing "the importance of water resources in Lebanon, estimated at 8 billion cubic meters," and underling the concern he showed towards "preserving those resources through the construction of a series of water dams to be completed in succession in the coming years."President Aoun also focused on "the importance he attaches to environmental affairs, particularly forest wealth, and his sponsorship of the Lebanon Foresting Project." During the meeting, Dr. Qumair presented President Aoun with a copy of his new book "Hydrodiplomatie et Nexus: Eau, Energie, Alimentation", which will be launched this afternoon at the Francophone Book Fair at the new Biel Center in Beirut. Among the Baabda visitors for today was the President of the National Council for Audio-Visual Media, Abdel Hadi Mahfouz, who discussed with President Aoun the general affairs and work of the Council, and the reality of audiovisual institutions in Lebanon. Aoun also welcomed the Chairman of the Lebanese National Energy Association (LNE), Fadi Jreissati, who thanked the President for his sponsorship of the "Mind the Gap" conference which focuses on the role of Lebanese women and highlighting those who have different abilities and skills. The conference will be held next Saturday at the Conference Palace in Dayeh.

Berri: Legislation more than necessary
Wed 07 Nov 2018/NNA - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, maintained that legislation was more than necessary, adding that the Parliament would continue to assume its responsibilities and that it would not allow the country's paralysis. Berri made these remarks during the regular Wednesday meeting with lawmakers. Following the meeting, Deputies quoted the Speaker as indicating that there is no breakthrough regarding the government formation.  "Legislation is more than necessary; it is normal that the Parliament assumes its national responsibilities and duties," they related on Berri's behalf. "If some sides are required to derail the country, then we do not and will not that to happen. We will shoulder our duties and our constitutional and national undertakings in all fields," Berri stressed. Lawmakers also quoted the Speaker as highlighting the necessity to establish a ministry of planning.

Hamade follows up on Lycée Abdel Kader and Antonine schools' issue
Wed 07 Nov 2018/NNA - Caretaker Minister of Education and Higher Learning, Marwan Hamade, on Wednesday contacted the Superior General of the Antonine Maronite Order, Abbot Maroun Abu Jaoude, to follow up on the affair involving Lycée Abdel Kader and Antonine schools. Within this frame, Hamade also contacted Rafik Hariri Foundation's Director General, Salwa Siniora.

Ministry of Culture denies issuing permit to demolish heritage building in Zkak Blat
Wed 07 Nov 2018/NNA - The Ministry of Culture issued a statement on Wednesday denying rumors alleging that it had issued a permit which allows the demolition of "Lycee Abd Al-Kader" heritage building, located in Zkak Balt. "The Ministry of Culture's General Directorate of Antiquities stresses the historical importance of this building and its efforts to preserve it. The Ministry has never issued any license approving the demolition of the above-mentioned property," a statement by the Ministry of Culture said, noting that no request has been received by the General Directorate of Antiquities to allow the demolition of this property.

Lebanon Central Bank Says Debt Threat Growing amid Political Vacuum

Reuters/November 07/18/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.
Report: 'Pessimism' Grows Heralding Months of Govt. Delay
Naharnet/November 07/18/Pessimism regarding the Cabinet formation grew on Tuesday in the absence of consultations to ease the latest hurdle hampering the formation process, amid concerns the delay could persist until the end of the year, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday. Not a single proposal to ease the obstacle was made, meanwhile officials traded accusations of delay, said the daily. Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, currently in Paris, is waiting for Hizbullah to submit the names of its ministers. In the aftermath, he will immediately meet with President Aoun in the presence of Speaker Nabih Berri to issue the needed decrees. Meanwhile, Hizbullah and its allies believe that Hariri must allocate a ministerial seat for a Sunni MP of March 8, which the PM strongly refuses. In light of the complexity delaying the formation, warnings that the delay has negative repercussions affecting the country’s economy and financial situation continue, it added. “The political arena witnessed yesterday a kind of collective retreat from dealing with the governmental situation. Officials and political circles did not raise any new idea that would steer the gridlock. Meanwhile, the Premier is not expected before next Wednesday,” said the daily.

Jreissati Warns Generator Providers against 'Rebelling against State'

Naharnet/November 07/18/Caretaker Justice Minister Salim Jreissati on Wednesday issued a stern warning to neighborhood power generator providers, telling them that authorities would “confiscate” their generators should they stage another cut-off protest. “We will confront the attempts to bend the state’s arm through the force of the law,” said Jreissati at a joint press conference with caretaker Economy Minister Raed Khoury. “What happened yesterday was a rebellion against the state’s authority and an encroachment on the rights of citizens,” Jreissati added. “There is a mafia controlling this sector and I call on municipalities to fine the violators,” the minister went on to say. Providers had switched off their generators for two hours on Tuesday, plunging most Lebanese regions into darkness, to protest perceived maltreatment at the hands of authorities and security forces. Authorities have been trying to implement a decree obliging providers to install meters for their subscribers amid an uproar over new tariffs and alleged technical difficulties. “There is an attempt to undermine the state’s image and this will not happen during this presidential tenure. The state is stronger than everyone,” Jreissati added. “We will escalate our measures under the applicable laws against generator owners who have not complied,” he warned. “The measures could reach the extent of confiscating the generators,” he cautioned. Jreissati also noted that the judiciary had already launched proceedings against providers who took part in Tuesday’s cut-off.

Protests over Reports Historic Beirut School to be Demolished, Moved to Baabda
Naharnet/November 07/18/The educational sector is witnessing an uproar over reports that the Lycée Abdel Kader (LAK) school in Beirut will be moved to Baabda, where it will allegedly replace the Collège des Pères Antonins (CPA) school. In Beirut’s Batrakiyeh area, LAK students and their families staged a sit-in Wednesday over reports claiming that the school’s historic building will be demolished to be replaced by a “mall.” CPA students and parents had for their part staged a protest Tuesday after reports said that their school’s building had been sold to LAK’s administration. The Antonine Maronite Order, which runs CPA, meanwhile denied any intentions to “sell, lease or shut down any school.”It however confirmed that there are “negotiations” with LAK’s administration. The Culture Ministry meanwhile issued a statement stressing “the heritage and historic importance” of LAK’s building in Beirut, noting that it has not issued any authorization for its demolition and that it has not received any request in this regard. Commenting on the reports, Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat tweeted: “Stop this criminal commercial project that is aimed at demolishing the Lycée Abdel Kader building and turning it into a mall similar to the ugly malls in Verdun and other areas.”

After Shutting Power Off, Khoury Vows Measures against Generators Owners

Naharnet/November 07/18/Caretaker Economy Minister Raed Khoury said that strict measures will be taken against private generators owners who enforced a two-hour shutdown on Tuesday depriving subscribers from power supply, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday. “The Ministry will legally pursue all private generators owners who cut off electricity. We will take strict measures against them, they will be called to the judiciary and the generators will be confiscated," Khoury told LBCI TV station. According to the TV station, the municipality of the neighborhood of Hadath issued more than 30 violation notices against several and referred them to the Criminal Court in Baabda. Between 5:00 and 7:00 PM on Tuesday, the owners turned off their generators in protest to what they said were “campaigns against them and unfair tariffs” set by the ministry of economy. They also refused the summons they have been receiving. Khoury had emphasized that those who were “taken into custody had made illegal practices and violations by intimidating people and attempting to steal them.”In an attempt to regulate an already illegal sector, the ministry issued a memo earlier this year ordering generator owners to install meters, and has specified a new per-kilowatt-hour rate. In theory, the ministry’s move aims to protect subscribers from exploitation by paying for the power they use instead of a flat rate for a generator subscription. Generator owners opposed the measure and described the pricing as “unprofitable.” For his part, a spokesman for the committee of generators, Ali Bawji, told LBCI: “We are ready to hand in the generators to the municipalities. We did suggest this to the municipalities, but they refused it.”
Lebanon: Religious Authorities Seek to Resolve Government Crisis
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/Lebanon’s religious authorities have joined efforts to solve the government formation crisis. Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai met with Jaafarite Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Qabalan on Tuesday in Bkirki and handed him a letter to “Hezbollah,” urging the group to facilitate the mission. The move comes days after a statement issued following the two meetings of the Council of Muftis and the Higher Religious Council - held under the chairmanship of Grand Mufti Abdullatif Derian - that called on political parties and blocs to overcome obstacles that hinder the formation of a government of national unity. “The essence of the visit today is a follow up on the periodic meetings held between religious and spiritual figures … Religious authorities call for a swift government formation,” Qabalan told reporters after his meeting with Rai. “His Beatitude relayed to our brothers in Hezbollah a solicitation to help remove the obstacles to the cabinet formation. Wisdom and enlightenment are required to help address the issues of the state and the homeland,” he added. Asked whether he expected Hezbollah to respond to these calls, Qabalan said: “The brothers in Hezbollah are not against the hasty formation of the government. They are calling for this; but the matter needs dialogue, and Hezbollah is calling for dialogue.”  The Council of Muftis has said in its statement that there were “malicious hands trying to block the efforts of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, to blackmail him politically and to delay the process of forming a government.”The Higher Religious Council, which held its periodic session under the Grand Mufti, said it was keen on the formation of the government in a calm political atmosphere away from tensions.

Lebanese-Saudi Business Council Pays Solidarity Visit to KSA Embassy
Beirut- Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/Saudi Charge d'Affaire Walid Bukhari welcomed on Tuesday at the embassy’s headquarters a delegation from the Lebanese-Saudi Business Council, headed by Raouf Abu Zaki. In a statement following the meeting, the delegation expressed its regret over the campaigns targeting Saudi Arabia and its leaders. Noting that Lebanon was facing great economic and financial difficulties, the delegation emphasized the country’s “urgent need to strengthen its relations with those who have always stood by its side, mainly Saudi Arabia, which has been and will remain a backbone of our economy and a haven for Lebanese workers and investors.”“There is a coordinated campaign targeting the Kingdom and the great efforts it is deploying to achieve economic and social reform and to combat extremism within its borders and abroad,” the council said in its statement. "It is in everyone's interest to support Saudi openness and ongoing reforms and to value Saudi efforts to provide assistance to Lebanon and many developing countries,” it added. The recent initiative by King Salman bin Abdulaziz to exempt developing and poor countries from $6 billion in debt is a model of Saudi traditional behavior in solidarity with countries, according to the statement.

Hankache Pinpoints Pitfalls of Lebanon's Political System 07th November 2018/Kataeb MP Elias Hankache on Wednesday stressed that Lebanon's political crisis does not lie in the government formation itself, noting that obstruction and unproductivity are the real pitfalls of the system. "It is time to admit the problem and solve it in depth, starting with the approval of the administrative decentralization law which would improve and facilitate our lives," Hankache wrote on Twitter.
Will Lebanon join the 4th revolution or be left behind
Jean Saïfi/Annahar/November 07/18
While technology can vary to a wide range of application, from 3D printing to Genome-Editing technologies, the general public will be directly affected in the short term by Data collection and exploration, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Automation.
BEIRUT: Technology has been around since the very first existence of human beings. Inventions made us more efficient but each new development came at a cost, from the agricultural revolution to the industrial revolution, where millions of workers had to adapt or get left behind. With the current and projected technologies, this process continues today at a much faster pace.
While technology can vary to a wide range of application, from 3D printing to Genome-Editing technologies, the general public will be directly affected in the short term by Data collection and exploration, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Automation.
True is the fact that data collection on its own is not the main game changer, but do not underestimate its effect when coupled with AI where complex analytical and predictive tasks are tackled much faster than humans could ever hope to achieve.
Two types of data mainly exist, structured and unstructured data. Structured data is made of clearly defined types that are easily searchable, like phone numbers, postal codes, city, age, gender, and any other defined info automatically generated by a machine or simply inputted by a human. Unstructured data is simply and by definition, anything else! In other terms, unstructured data can be found in text files, emails, tweets, chat conversations, digital photos, videos, audio, speech, etc.
While 90 percent of all the world digital data was created in the last 3 years, we estimate that around 95 percent of the data in the world is unstructured. The yearly evolution of unstructured data is estimated at 65 percent while the yearly growth of structured data is only 23 percent. No doubt by now that the real treasure is hidden in the unstructured data and the best way to unearth it is by using Artificial Intelligence.
Numbers aside, let us tackle a real-life case. You are in Bali and you suddenly decide to take an early AM hike to the local volcano summit to watch the sunrise from atop the mountain. Your friend manages to snap your perfect picture posing alongside the beautiful landscape, nature, and clouds. Excited about that, you decide to share your picture via Whatsapp and also post it on social media. Besides all the positive comments and likes you are getting, a machine learning algorithm (field of Artificial Intelligence) is already running and processing your digital image, applying forms of detection principles and other statistical techniques to both identify and self-learn the different objects in your shared picture. A few seconds later, the AI has already detected your sunglasses shape and model, your hiking shoes brand and their green color, your interest of carrying a bag as well as other information related to what you are wearing. Surprised no? Well, that’s not all. The AI machine will also see the clouds, the trees, and the little-unseen monkeys in the background. So what does all this mean?! It simply implies that a simple picture in a remote area is now converted into a potential business lead, by converting the unstructured data in the picture into structured data, highlighting your interest in sunglasses, green color, shoes and clothes style and brands, travel and love of nature.
After a long trip, you finally land in your hometown. Your first reflex is obviously to turn on your mobile phone (the plane is still in taxi mode) and assure your loved ones that you landed safely. You are now ready to leave the airport but face an endless traffic jam to get home. That’s great news, especially for the online retailers who were getting ready to get in touch with you when the moment is right. The AI machine can estimate that you are now back in your hometown and combines this information with the already collected data related to your demographics (age, gender, income, marital status, etc.) and behavior (historical data and past purchases, payment methods, use of social media, etc.). This will allow it to predict the next best action for getting in touch with you over the following few days. The goal of the next best action can vary from creating awareness about a product, generating interest in the product, calculating the probability that you will ultimately purchase the product, and finally increasing loyalty with the brand and related online sites for future potential sales.
Still carrying the memories of your last trip home from the airport after a long working day, while sitting comfortably in your home couch, you decide to complete the online purchase especially that a competitive price is offered. This also allowed you to avoid another trip to the mall or the high shopping street in the heavy PM traffic amplified by the start of the winter season. You’ve just added another behavioral event to your data and the cycle is only starting.
A few months later, you suddenly realize that most of your purchases are now completed online, from clothing, shoes, electronics, cosmetics, body care, bags and accessories to food and drinks without the hassle of going to the specialty shops and spending an enormous time in traffic and in stores. You are not the only one!
In the Lebanese market, we are currently witnessing some shy attempts from already established companies to create and develop an e-commerce or simply to have an online presence (when you have physical shops and an online store). The only problem is that local online stores are not just competing with each other but also with the big online giants like Amazon and AliExpress. The effect of globalization, supply chains and advancement in communication makes it impossible for local online businesses to match the selling prices and offers listed on the big retailers’ sites, while the consumer today easily has the option to compare prices and select the online store of his choice. Shopping malls and street shops in Lebanon will gradually start to feel this effect, this in addition to already high rental rates (especially for prime locations) as well as other overhead expenses.
We’ve observed in recent years a linear and steady growth in global online commerce. The percentage of online transactions vs total sales varies widely from a country to another but it is definitely on the rise. The effect on local stores could be massive and the market will need to adapt before it’s too late. Will local shops negotiate lower rents? Will marketing events and activities help increase foot traffic in the long term? Are big shopping malls more resilient than local shops to the online shopping effect? Will Lebanon’s current deteriorated infrastructure contributes positively or negatively in the growth of online shopping on the national level? The application of Artificial Intelligence and data mining extends to multiple domains. To name a few, hospital and doctors can use AI for a second opinion and disease diagnosis. In finance, an AI can analyze in real time the news related to the different stocks in a portfolio to get the overall sentiment of the market. In customer service, ChatBots can simulate a conversation with human users and execute transactions, understanding speech and typed text while detecting different emotions from the voice tones or inputted text of the human user and adapting to the situation. The effect on the workforce is still uncertain but the question is: will we adapt or will we get left behind?
*Jean Saïfi completed an engineering degree at ESIB, USJ and a masters in management at SKEMA business school. He is an expert in innovation and strategy as well as a lecturer at the faculty of engineering, USJ.

Leader of Hezbollah-Linked Ansar Allah Leaves Mieh Mieh

The Daily Star/Wednesday 07th November 2018
The leader of Ansar Allah has left the Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp, as part of a deal with the Fatah Movement after violent clashes between the groups last month, Palestinian security sources told The Daily Star Wednesday morning.
The security sources said that Jamal Suleiman and 17 of his supporters, including his family, started leaving the Sidon-area camp at around 7 p.m. Tuesday, with the process ending at 1 a.m. Wednesday. The group, which included Suleiman’s four wives and six children, is now out of the country, the sources said.
Palestinian sources within Mieh Mieh said that Suleiman fled to Syria, but that it was not yet clear what route he took. The sources said that the exit process came as a result of a lengthy security meeting that was held overnight, overseen by senior Hezbollah official Wafiq Safa.
Suleiman’s withdrawal from Mieh Mieh was part of an agreement reached Monday, in return for the Fatah Movement relaxing its pressure on the position of the Hezbollah-linked Ansar Allah inside the camp, sources had told The Daily Star.
The sources said that when Suleiman leaves, Fatah and members of the Palestinian National Security Forces would break the siege on Ansar Allah’s security zone, withdraw fighters and allow residents to return to the camp. Just before Suleiman left the camp, around 25 Ansar Allah members took over the security zone along with the group’s deputy, Maher Oweid.
Oweid is now expected to act as the interim secretary-general of Ansar Allah until elections take place. Sources in the camp predicted that Oweid would be elected to the post.
The deal between Ansar Allah and Fatah had been reached as a result of a series of meetings held over the past few days that were brokered by Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, sources said. The meetings included both Palestinian and Lebanese officials.
The deal was a continuation of the efforts previously led by Hezbollah, Amal and different Palestinian factions that led to a cease-fire between Fatah and Ansar Allah, as well as the admission of aid and food into Suleiman’s zone. Clashes between the two groups erupted mid-October in the camp, killing at least five people and wounding 26 more. A cease-fire was reached in the following weeks, helping instill calm in the camp and its surrounding areas. Nevertheless, the Lebanese Army has continued with its security measures around the camp and at its entrances.

That they may have life and have it less abundantly
Dan Azzi /Annahar/November 07/18
AUB claims that “the university believes deeply in and encourages freedom of thought and expression and seeks to foster tolerance and respect for diversity and dialogue.
BEIRUT: Last week, a Halloween party by a group of American University of Beirut students was canceled. The party was titled “Queer Mixer / Speed Dating Night.” After some significant verbal and physical harassment, the students released a communique stating that the decision was because their “safety could not be guaranteed.” The next day, undercover security personnel were spread so densely all over campus that one would have thought they were reacting to a bomb threat — except they weren't — they were trying to identify the organizers.
To its credit, as far as I know, the AUB administration refused to disclose their names. However, I think that AUB missed a chance to take a leadership role in backing this group of students in fighting prejudice and stigmatization. AUB claims that “the university believes deeply in and encourages freedom of thought and expression and seeks to foster tolerance and respect for diversity and dialogue.” Those words are part of its mission statement. The mission also states that “Graduates will be individuals committed to creative and critical thinking, life-long learning, personal integrity, civic responsibility, and leadership.”
As a graduate of this venerable institution founded in 1866, whose motto is “That they may have life and have it more abundantly,” etched boldly on its entrance for all to see, this was disappointing. In this instance, I feel it failed on most of the elements of its own mission statement — it failed in fostering dialogue, freedom of expression, respect for diversity, and did not provide leadership. And if AUB does not take the lead on this, then who will?
When I attended AUB, there were four courses, called Civilization Sequence, that were mandatory for most majors. They were my favorite — more so than the “job-related” courses and a critical part of what made me and my generation what we are today. The first course started with Gilgamesh, the oldest known human manuscript, the Iliad of Homer, and other chefs-d'œuvre. The second course covered the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, and the Koran. The third course covered major philosophers like John Locke, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant. This was where I learned about “Tabula Rasa” (clean slate of the mind) and “Cogito, ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am). The final course contained works by the likes of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. This basically gave you an education in some of the major works of the greatest philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, and thinkers in the history of humanity. In my mind, that was the most significant part of the education that AUB provided. During the civil war, there was a movement by a small minority of students to cancel these courses, on the grounds that “they started with multiple deities, moved to the presence of a monotheistic god, and concluded with atheism.” Fortunately, and despite the war years providing fertile ground for this type of censorship and closed-mindedness, including the assassination of President Malcolm Kerr on campus, these courses survive today. Despite the odds, tolerance was victorious then.
But not today. The Morality Police stepped in and objected. They objected, not to the absence of 24-hour electricity by the government 28 years after the end of the civil War. Not to the lack of potable water in our taps. Not to the 37% unemployment rate among youth. Not to the $83 billion of debt racked up with nothing to show for it. Not to the ridiculous squabbling over the constituency of another impotent government, while the nation’s economy is collapsing. After being conspicuously absent for these crucial matters, they stepped in on this private and minor issue and declared war on these youngsters, mobilizing the media and security apparatus to crush their dreams and aspirations.
I won’t get into the nature versus nurture debate, nor the morality discourse, and certainly not the religious argument. This has been done profusely in Europe and America over the past decades, culminating in the US Supreme Court decision in 2015, which probably ended the global debate on this topic anywhere that matters. My stance is more pragmatic. Pretty much all of us in this country are minorities in some past or future permutation of alliances. Even a group who in this era may feel invincible, due to their extra-governmental weapons, is actually a minority, just as other minorities, when they were armed, may have had the same illusion of invincibility in years past. My stance is simply to protect these students because protecting them is protecting us ... from someone coming in and questioning our own right to exist.
As Martin Niemöller said over half a century ago:
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."
**Dan Azzi is a regular contributor to Annahar. He has recently been invited to be an Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University, a program for senior executives to leverage their experience and apply it to a problem with social impact. Dan’s research focus at Harvard will be economic and political reform in a hypothetical small country riddled with corruption and negligence. Previously, he was the Chairman and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Lebanon.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
November 07-08/18
Trump celebrates GOP gains, threatens House Democrats
The Associated Press, Washington/Wednesday, 07 November 2018/President Donald Trump on Wednesday celebrated Senate Republican gains in the midterm election but immediately threatened Democrats, who won back control of the House and with it the power to investigate the president’s personal and professional conduct. Trump has long felt aggrieved by the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He took to Twitter the morning after the split election outcome for the GOP to put Democrats on notice about their threats to investigate him and the administration. Democrats are also interested in Trump’s tax returns, which he has declined to make public. “If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!” Trump said. Hours earlier, the president had tweeted that “now we can all get back to work and get things done!”
Prospect of endless investigations
Trump faces the prospect, starting next year, of endless investigations after Democrats formally take control of the House, along with stymied policy efforts and fresh questions about the resilience of his unorthodox political coalition. Still, he celebrated GOP success in expanding the party’s majority in the Senate and seemed to blame losing candidates for distancing themselves from him and his unorthodox methods. “Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well. Those that did not, say goodbye!” Trump said in a tweet that did not mention the loss of GOP control of the House. “Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!” he added. Trump was expected to address the results in greater detail at a White House news conference later Wednesday.
Phone call to Pelosi
On Tuesday, the president telephoned House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, a conversation that her office said included congratulations and a nod to her pitch for bipartisanship. And on Wednesday, he said she deserves to be House speaker. “In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by the Democrats,” Trump tweeted. “If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor!” Widely viewed as a referendum on Trump’s presidency, Tuesday’s results offered a split decision that revealed deep tensions in the American electorate - a rift that could easily widen during two years of divided control of Congress. Trump’s aggressive campaign blitz, which paid off in some key victories, suggests he is likely to continue leaning into the fray. Control of the House gives Democrats the ability to launch investigations into the president and stifle his agenda. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sought to minimize Democratic gains in that chamber, but called retaining control of the Senate a “huge moment and victory for the president.”White House aides called on Democrats to work with Republicans in the next Congress.
Said Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway: “I don’t know that there will be much of an appetite for Democrat lawmakers to spend all of their time, or most of their time or even a fraction of their time investigating, instigating, trying to impeach and subpoena people.”In addition to his conversation with Pelosi, Trump called Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as other candidates he backed during the race, the White House said.
Aggressive campaign
Trump had aggressively campaigned in the closing days of the race, his focus on boosting Republicans in states he carried in 2016.
In the three races he targeted on the final day, Trump’s picks won Tuesday night, with Republican Mike Braun defeating Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Republican Josh Hawley defeating Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine defeating Democrat Richard Cordray in the race for Ohio governor. The White House for days has stressed the historical headwinds it faced: In the last three decades, 2002 was the only midterm election when the party holding the White House gained Senate seats. And only twice in the past eight decades has the president’s party picked up House seats in the midterms. Trump spent election night watching returns with family and friends at the White House, his shadow looming large over the results. Nearly 40 percent of voters cast their ballots to express opposition to the president, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate, while about 25 percent said they voted to express support for Trump. Anticipating the possibility of keeping the Senate but losing the House, aides in recent days had laid out the political reality to Trump, who could face an onslaught of Democratic-run investigations. In turn, Trump began trying out defensive arguments ahead of Election Day, noting that midterm losses are typical for the party in the White House, pointing out a high number of GOP retirements and stressing that he had kept his focus on the Senate. Aides set up televisions in the White House residence for Trump, first lady Melania Trump and their guests to watch election results come in, with the sets tuned to different cable news channels. Among those expected were Trump’s adult children, White House aides, Republican officials and presidential friends.The election served as a referendum of sorts on Trump’s racially charged appeals and the strength of the coalition that powered him to the White House - a group he will need again in just two years. Overall, more voters disapproved of Trump’s job performance than approved - a finding that is largely consistent with recent polling. Voters scored Trump positively on the economy and for standing up “for what he believes in.” But the president received negative marks from voters on temperament and trustworthiness. Still, about one-third of voters said Trump was not a factor in their votes. Trump’s scorched-earth campaigning came to define the 2018 campaign. In the final days, he sought to motivate supporters with the battle over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Returning to his immigration-heavy 2016 playbook, Trump went on to unleash his full fury on a caravan of migrants slowly making their way to the southern border. His take-no-prisoners approach troubled many Republicans seeking to appeal to moderate voters in suburban House districts, but Trump prioritized base voters in the deep-red states that could determine the fate of the Senate.

Democrats capture US House majority in rebuke to Trump

Agencies/Wednesday, 7 November 2018/Democrats have won a House majority, gaining power to investigate President Donald Trump and help shape the nation's political agenda for the next two years. Democrats picked up at least two dozen House seats Tuesday, capturing the 218 seats needed to break Republicans' eight-year hold on the House that began with the tea party revolt of 2010. While Republicans retained control of the Senate, the Democratic win in the House ends the GOP monopoly on power in Washington and opens a new era of divided government. Democratic candidates flipped seats in a host of suburban districts outside Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago and Denver, including many that were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrats also made inroads in Trump country, winning several races dominated by white working-class voters. In all, voters were choosing 36 governors and 6,089 state legislators in general and special elections that have attracted record amounts of spending from national Democratic and Republican groups. Republicans are in control more often than not in state capitols across the country, but Democrats were trying to pull a little closer in Tuesday's elections. Democrats were hoping enthusiasm among their voters also could flip the governor's seat in Iowa, as well as in traditional battleground states Nevada and Wisconsin. The political parties are trying not only to win now, but also to put themselves in strong position for the elections two years from now that will determine which party will have the upper hand in redrawing congressional and state legislative districts. Voters also were deciding ballot measures in four states - Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah - that propose to overhaul the redistricting process and reduce the likelihood of partisan gerrymandering by either major party. Republicans entered Tuesday's election with a sizable advantage, controlling two-thirds of the 99 state legislative chambers and 33 governors' offices. The GOP held a trifecta of power in 25 states, compared with just eight for Democrats.
Democrats will gain full control in Illinois by winning the governor's race, and in New York even a slight gain by Democrats could wrest the state Senate from Republicans and give them a governing trifecta. Republicans were largely on defense but also were angling for gains in a few traditionally Democratic states, such Connecticut. The governor's races have extra emphasis in 28 states where the winners will serve four-year terms with the potential power to approve or reject district boundaries drawn for Congress or state legislatures. The Democratic Governors Association had focused on nine swing states - Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - where it believes the governorships could be pivotal in congressional redistricting. Republicans currently hold trifectas in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. The rest have split partisan control. As of mid-October, the Democratic Governors Association and its affiliated entities had raised $122 million during the past two years - a record outdone only by the Republican Governors Association's new high mark of at least $156 million. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and Republican State Leadership Committee, which focus on state races, also set record fundraising targets. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder, has pumped additional money into state races viewed as critical in future redistricting decisions. Although most state lawmakers responsible for redistricting will be elected in 2020, voters on Tuesday were electing more than 800 state lawmakers in about two dozen states to four-year terms where they could play a role in approving new congressional or state legislative districts.

Kremlin: Russia and US postpone summit on French request

The Associated Press, Moscow/Wednesday, 7 November 2018/The Kremlin says Russia and the US have agreed not to hold a summit in Paris to avoid distracting attention from Armistice Day commemorations. Kremlin foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump would briefly see each other in Paris during this weekend’s events marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, but won’t have a full-scale meeting. Ushakov said France had conveyed its concern that a Putin-Trump summit would steal the limelight, and officials have decided to delay the meeting until the end of the month when both leaders attend the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. Trump said Monday he “probably” won’t be meeting with Putin in Paris, but will meet with him during the G-20.

US says to issue chemical weapons-related sanctions against Russia
Reuters, Washington/Wednesday, 7 November 2018/The US State Department said on Tuesday it would impose additional sanctions on Russia after Moscow failed to give reasonable assurances it would not use chemical weapons after a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England. The department in August had threatened Russia with added sanctions after 90 days unless it complied with the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act. Under the law, Russia had to end the use of the nerve agent Novichok, which was used in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March, commit to not using chemical weapons against its own people, and allow on-site inspections by agencies like the United Nations. “Today, the department informed Congress we could not certify that the Russian Federation met the conditions,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “We intend to proceed in accordance with the terms of the CBW Act, which directs the implementation of additional sanctions,” she added. Skripal, a former colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were found slumped unconscious on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury in March after a liquid form of Novichok was applied to his home’s front door. Both survived the attack. European countries and the United States expelled 100 Russian diplomats after the attack, in the strongest action by President Donald Trump against Russia since he came to office. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack. An initial round of sanctions in August related to the Skripal poisoning targeted Russian national-security controlled goods. The second round of sanctions would be “more draconian,” the State Department said at the time. The State Department did not say when the next batch of sanctions against Russia would be issued. Republican House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said he was not surprised that Russia had not complied with the chemical weapons law and pressed the administration to move on the next round of penalties.
“No one should be surprised that (Russian President) Vladimir Putin refuses to swear off future use of weapons-grade nerve agents,” Royce said. “It is unacceptable that the administration lacks a plan - or even a timeline - for action on the second round of mandatory sanctions required by US law,” he added. A Kremlin spokesman said on Tuesday that Putin and Trump will meet briefly in Paris next week, and US officials said such a meeting was likely.
Report: Iranians With Fake Israelu Passports Detained In Bulgaria
اعتقال 3 إيرانيين في بلغاريا يحملون جوازات إسرائيلية مزورة
Jerusalem Post/November 07/18
It is unclear, how they traveled through Turkey and why they sought to enter Bulgaria posing as Israelis.
Three Iranians traveling with fake Israeli passports were detained in Bulgaria over the weekend, The Sofia Globe reported. The men were detained at the Bulgarian border as they attempted to enter the Kapitan Andreevo crossing from Turkey – a major transit point for entering Europe, the report said.
It is unclear though, how they managed to travel through Turkey without being detected. The three men, aged 21, 28 and 32 arrived on October 31 and carried Israeli passports that had been “falsified,” the Interior Ministry told the Bulgarian media. They were detained by border police and then taken to a detention center in Lyubimets, in the southeast portion of the country where “fast-track proceedings” – a way to quickly deport the individuals – were initiated. This is not the first time Iranian citizens have been caught using fake Israeli passports. In July, an Iranian national, Esmaeil Kazem Hosseinitaghi, 42, was arrested at Dehli’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, traveling using a fake Israeli passport, and was then returned to Kathmandu, his immediate point of departure, The Himalayan Times reported. According to the report, Hosseinitaghi procured the passport in Turkey and was planning to travel to Europe.It is easier to enter Europe with an Israeli passport. I used to keep one passport in my pocket and show another passport to the airport immigration officials,” the Iranian national told immigration officials. “I faced security threats in my home country and therefore wanted to flee to Europe for my safety. I wanted to settle in Europe with my family,” Hosseinitaghi said.
In early 2016, an Iranian couple was caught in an airport in India traveling with both Iranian and fake Israeli passports. They were arrested at Chennai Airport before they could board a British Airways flight, The New Indian Express reported. The travelers arrived in Chennai on a domestic flight from Goa, where the passports were forged, and were questioned by Indian intelligence agencies. In early 2016, an Iranian couple was caught in an airport in India traveling with both Iranian and fake Israeli passports. They were arrested at Chennai Airport before they could board a British Airways flight, The New Indian Express reported. The travelers arrived in Chennai on a domestic flight from Goa, where the passports were forged, and were questioned by Indian intelligence agencies. According to the report, the woman had been living in Pune for the last ten years, while the man was working in Goa. After getting married, they planned to settle in the US and forged Israeli passports as a means to enter the country.
There have also been numerous reports of Iranians trying to enter Europe with fake passports of other nationalities. In April, an Iranian couple was arrested in Bangalore, India, trying to board a plane to Malaga, Spain, using fake Spanish passports. In February, an Iranian man was blocked from boarding a flight to the UK when it was discovered that his Danish passport was a fake. The same week, an Iranian woman was arrested en route to Britain using a fake UK passport. In November 2017, another Iranian woman was stopped at Bangkok airport, attempting to fly to the UK on a fake British passport.
In addition to individual cases of passport fraud, Reuters reported in June that numerous Iranians had bought passports from the Comoros Islands, a small nation between Mozambique and Madagascar. They included senior executives of companies working in shipping, oil and gas, and foreign currency and precious metals – all sectors that have been targeted by the international sanctions against Iran. Diplomats and security sources in the Comoros and the West expressed their concern that some Iranians acquired the passports in order to protect their interests, as sanctions crimped Iran’s ability to conduct international business. Comoros passports offer visa-free travel in parts of the Middle and Far East and can be used by Iranians to open accounts in foreign banks and register companies abroad.
International sanctions against Iran were eased following a deal struck in 2015, which aimed at preventing Iran developing nuclear weapon capability. In May, US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the agreement, saying it was “defective” and a “horrible, one-sided deal.”
Since then, the US Treasury has imposed fresh sanctions against people it links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the nation’s missile program, some Iranian airlines and money transfer services. The most recent round of sanctions, which was implemented on Monday, is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Iran to further limit its nuclear work and halt its missile program. It is also designed to end its support for its proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, as well as in other parts of the Middle East. The sanctions cover 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 persons and vessels in its shipping sector, and targets Tehran’s national airline, Iran Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft. The sanctions were coined by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as the “toughest sanctions ever put in place on the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
*Reuters contributed to this report.

Can One Million Barrels in Oil Exports Help Tehran Survive Fierce Sanctions?
Tehran- Faraz Safaei/Asharq Al-Awsat/November 07/2018/Overlooking the nature of oil-dependent Iranian economy, Tehran officials stuck with downplaying US renewed sanctions set out to substantially cut the country’s oil exports, saying it wouldn't cause a major problem. Iranian MP and head of the parliamentary economic committee Ezatollah Yousefian Molla said a week ago that sanctions “did not leave a significant impact on the national budget,” that needs no more than a million barrels per day to break even. At first, Iranian officials' statements may sound reasonable given that oil revenues account for less than 25 percent of the public budget set at an approximate $ 27.4 billion. If Iran’s national budget was planned based on a $55 oil barrels, it means that the government needs to export at least 104 million barrels per day to balance the general budget and deficit for this fiscal year, which matures in March 2019.
If Iran manages to export 1 million barrels during the upcoming fiscal year at today’s oil rates, $ 72 per barrel, it would make a safe $ 26.28 billion in oil exports, setting the country on a pretty much stable course. Saying that national oil export revenues do not exceed 26%, Iranian officials fail to mention that the share is exclusive to crude only and does not cover oil derivatives, gas, and refined oil and energy sector taxes. According to a report released by research bodies in parliament, revenues brought home by other divisions of the energy sector account to 60 percent of the general budget, meaning that the whole left embargos facing Iran today cannot be filled by simply exporting one million barrels of oil a day. Even if Iran exports one million barrels of oil, the money generated by these exports will not find an easy way to enter Iran. Iranian studies show that the cost of money transactions shot up to 20 percent deductible from the transferred amount in the previous wave of sanctions, given the stern US measures affecting Iran’s banking infrastructure. However, the government can rely on managing the public budget by one million barrels of oil exports per day if several almost impossible conditions are met. Iranian economist Hossein Raghever said oil rates must remain above $80 a barrel and joined by a host of alternative income sources, such as increased taxes or foreign investment, to balance a sanctioned Iran today.

Iran First VP Calls for Proactive Measures in Face of US Sanctions
London - Adil Al-Salmi/Asharq Al-Awsat/November 07/2018/Even though Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has brazenly stated that Iran will break sanctions imposed by the United States on Tehran, First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri said Iranians must be let in on the true damage caused by Washington’s embargo. "We will proudly break the sanctions," Rouhani said during a meeting of government officials in the Iranian capital. For his part, Jahangiri stressed that the ban should not be downplayed and called on Iranian institutions to work hard on mitigating the sanctions fallout.
“It is our duty to keep some of the worries to ourselves,” IRNA quoted Jahangiri as saying. “But there shouldn’t be an issue that is hidden from the people. This is the people’s right.”Two days before sanctions came into force, Jahangiri toned down political developments significantly affecting domestic economy. The government's foreign debt is low in comparison to treasury funds, he said while reassuring the public that the country is “fairly rich.”Iran’s conservatives were outraged over names blacklisted in the US sanctions-- especially that a host of names and entities listed belonged to key facilitators that once helped Tehran dodge pre-nuclear deal sanctions. "This list includes almost everyone and every organization that helped Iran to circumvent the previous rounds of sanctions," conservative MP and former member of the Revolutionary Guard Ahmad Amirabadi said in a tweet hinting the possibility of high-level national treason. Referring to the names on the sanctions list, Amirabadi asked, “Who handed this information to the enemy?” and called on Iranian intelligence to conduct a probe. Rebuffing claims of the US sanctions targeting Iranians, not the Tehran regime, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Iranian people have suffered most because of government maladministration. Iran’s theocracy is notorious for squandering national wealth over regional proxy wars, and for corruption that travels deep into its most trusted echelons. "Treasury's imposition of unprecedented financial pressure on Iran should make clear to the Iranian regime that they will face mounting financial isolation and economic stagnation until they fundamentally change their destabilizing behavior," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a statement. The sanctions cover 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 persons and vessels in its shipping sector, and target Tehran's national airline, Iran Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft, the statement said.

Turkey Rejects to Abide by Sanctions on Iran

Ankara - Saeed Abdelrazek/Asharq Al-Awsat/November 07/2018/Turkey has said that it would not abide by the renewed US sanctions on Iran's oil and shipping industries as they were aimed at "unbalancing the world". President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the sanctions on Tuesday. "These are steps aimed at unbalancing the world. We don't want to live in an imperialist world. These issues will be put on the table at the summit (this weekend) in Paris," he told reporters. "We will absolutely not abide by such sanctions. We buy 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas. We cannot freeze our people in the cold."
Washington reimposed the sanctions on Monday, ditching a 2015 deal between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program. The US measures temporarily allow some major customers, including Turkey, to continue buying Iranian crude. Speaking in Japan earlier on Tuesday, Turkey's foreign minister said it would be dangerous to isolate Iran and it was not easy for countries like Turkey and Japan to diversify energy supplies. "We do not believe any result can be reached with sanctions. I think meaningful dialogue and talks are more useful than sanctions," Mevlut Cavusoglu said. Ankara announced in May that it would not abide by any type of trade or economic sanctions on Iran. Trade volume between the two countries amounted to 10 billion dollars last year but it dropped in 2018 as a result of the sanctions and Turkey's deteriorating economic situation.

Sentencing Set for Syrian Man Convicted of Making Bomb Parts
PHOENIX (Arizona)Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/A Syrian man accused of making a key component in improvised explosive devices used in attacks against US soldiers during the Iraq War is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday on federal conspiracy charges. Ahmed Alahmedalabdaloklah is accused of making circuit boards used to remotely detonate roadside bombs for the 1920 Revolution Brigades. Prosecutors in Phoenix, Arizona have said the group claimed responsibility for 230 attacks against American soldiers in Iraq from 2005 to 2010. He faces up to life in prison on each of his four convictions.The case stemmed from a raid a decade ago at a Baghdad apartment where soldiers discovered a large cache of bomb-making materials, though no explosives were found. Prosecutors say his fingerprints were found on several items in the apartment.
Several people have tied him to the production of IED components, including one person who said Alahmedalabdaloklah found a factory in China to make the circuit boards after he fled Iraq, authorities said. Alahmedalabdaloklah was convicted of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, conspiring to destroy US government property with an explosive, possessing a destructive device in furtherance of a violent crime and conspiring to possess a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence. He was acquitted on charges of providing support to terrorists and conspiring to commit extraterritorial murder of a US national. Defense attorneys have said Alahmedalabdaloklah never expressed any sentiments against Americans in 12 years of emails that were reviewed by investigators. They have said their client, who was brought to Iraq as a refugee when he was a child, operated a legitimate electronics shop in Baghdad and moved to China when security in Iraq deteriorated. They say he set up an electronics business in China that sold products in Iraq and elsewhere but never sent any components used in a bomb. He was arrested in May 2011 after flying to Turkey from China. He was jailed for three years in Turkey before being extradited to the United States in August 2014. The trial was held in Phoenix because authorities say Alahmedalabdaloklah got components for a wireless initiation system used in the IEDs from a company based in Arizona.

Omar and Tlaib: 1st Muslim Women Elected to US Congress

Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/Voters in Minnesota and Michigan on Tuesday elected a onetime Somali refugee and the daughter of Palestinian immigrants who become the first two Muslim women to reach the US Congress. Both women -- Ilhan Omar, 37, and Rashida Tlaib, 42 -- are Democrats and outspoken advocates of minority communities that have found themselves in the sights of US President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant policies. Omar won a House seat in a strongly Democratic district in Minneapolis, Minnesota, succeeding Keith Ellison who was himself the first Muslim ever elected to Congress. Tlaib's victory was no suprise. She ran unopposed in a congressional district that stretches from Detroit to Dearborn, Michigan. "I'm Muslim and black," the hijab-wearing Omar said in a recent magazine interview. "I decided to run because I was one of many people I knew who really wanted to demonstrate what representative democracies are supposed to be," she said. Omar fled Somalia's civil war with her parents at the age of eight and spent four years at a refugee camp in Kenya. Her family settled in Minnesota in 1997. She won a seat in the state's legislature in 2016, becoming the first Somali-American lawmaker in the country. Before that, she had worked as a community organizer, a policy wonk for city leaders in Minneapolis, and as a leader in her local chapter of the NAACP -- the African-American civil rights group. She decided to run for Congress after Ellison, who is also black, decided to give up his seat after 12 years in Congress to run for attorney general of Minnesota. Omar has forged a progressive political identity. She supports free college education, housing for all, and criminal justice reform. She opposes Trump's restrictive immigration policies, supports a universal health care system, and wants to abolish US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which has conducted deportation raids. Rashida Tlaib is the Detroit-born daughter of Palestinian immigrants -- the eldest of 14 children. A fighter who once heckled Trump during a 2016 campaign stop in Detroit, she says she didn't run to make history as Muslim. "I ran because of injustices and because of my boys, who are questioning their (Muslim) identity and whether they belong," Tlaib said in a US television interview in August. "I've never been one to stand on the sidelines."Like Omar, she blazed a trail through Michigan politics, becoming the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan state legislature in 2008. In August, she emerged as the winner of a Democratic primary for a seat vacated by John Conyers, a longtime liberal lion who stepped down in December amid sexual harassment allegations and failing health. With no Republican challenger in the race, Tlaib's election on Tuesday became a formality. The seat she won is in a predominantly African American congressional district with few Muslim voters. She says her constituents were attracted to her progressive politics, which are the polar opposite of Republicans. Tlaib has advocated for universal health care, a $15 national minimum wage, union protections, and tuition-free college education. She linked her campaign to the surge of female political activism in the United States following Trump's stunning 2016 victory, alluding to the millions of women that took to the streets of Washington and major cities across the country after his inauguration. "Today, women across the country are on the ballot. Yes, we marched outside the Capitol, but now we get to march into the Capitol," she wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. "We are coming!"

Iran’s Underground Efforts in Syria’s South Hope to Reestablish Foothold
Daraa (Southern Syria)-Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/A delegation of senior Tehran representatives close to the Iranian Supreme Leader visited Syria’s southwestern province, Daraa. Their trip was carried out under the banner of reconstruction and empowerment of locals. Including Khamenei’s personal representative, dubbed Abu Fazzel Tabtabai, the team congratulated Daraa for being freed from the grip of terror groups, Syria pro-regime media outlets reported. Daraa officials tagged along for the delegation’s tour of the governorate. The Iranian delegation accredited Iranian and Hezbollah forces for helping achieve the eradication of “terrorism,” in the southern province, private sources said. Promising to put the best interest of Daraa locals first, Iran pledged to launch reconstruction projects in the southern region in the coming months. Iran is slowly finding its way back into Syrian southern territories after it had confirmed its withdrawal in favor of a reconciliation pact struck between rebels and the Syrian regime, South Syria resident Samer Al Musalma told Asharq Al Awsat. The deal stipulates removing Iran forces and affiliate proxies from Syria’s southern regional border area. “Iran is trying to grow its activities in Syria’s south whether it is of a civilian or military nature, even though it is trying hard to play the “reformed man’s” role away from arms and closer to culture and civil services,” Musalma said. He added that Tabtabai’s visit and his promises to locals speak volumes of Iran’s desire to reestablish foothold in the region. On one hand, Iran promises infrastructure projects, and on the other it is trying to empower its militant proxy, Hezbollah, in southern Syria, where unemployment rates and poor living conditions leave youth helplessly vulnerable before materialistic temptations. Musalma added that Hezbollah’s recruitment process is carried out by local mediators in rural villages and towns near the southwestern border city Sweida, and Daraa’s countryside. Hezbollah conscription is being sold to youth under the assumption that Hezbollah holds unmatched clout in Syria.Those joining the ranks of Hezbollah, a well-established ally of Assad, are promised impunity from regime harassment. Many draft dodgers and deserters of army reserve calls are likely to opt for the offer being presented by the Iran-linked proxy. Iran is trying to exert its influence in the south of Syria through local mediators carrying out its agenda and circumvent international understandings that called for its exit from southern Syria regions, activist Muhannad al-Abdullah from Daraa told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Two Israeli Ministers Threaten to Destroy ‘S-300’ System
Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/Two Israeli senior ministers threatened to stop the Russian S-300 missile batteries if they intercept Israeli fighter jets. "Israel is capable of destroying these missiles and will not hesitate to do so if its security is threatened," said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. "The S-300s have not yet been prepared in Syria, but if Syrians or Iranians decide to use them against us, they risk destroying them entirely," said Erdan, who was speaking at an internal meeting of police commanders. Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who is also co-chair of the Russia-Israel Intergovernmental Commission, for his part, threatened to destroy Syria’s S-300 air defense systems if an Israeli Air Force jet is destroyed during a mission. “The Syrian military are not always capable of correctly using the hardware transferred to them. In case of improper operation, civilian aircraft may be harmed,” he said. "The Syrians, if they ever want to, might use [these systems] to down an Israeli military or commercial plane over Israeli territory," he said, adding that "considering the mess that is going on in the Syrian Army, shipping S-300s might lead to destabilization of the situation."
Elkin, who failed last week to win the presidency of Jerusalem municipality, won only 20 percent of the votes. He chose the Syrian issue to return to the headlines and said he was accompanying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at every meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The S-300 systems have been shipped to Syria in response to an incident in which the Syrian military's older S-200 air defense systems shot down a Russian Il-20 military airplane while firing at four Israeli F-16 jets. Israel no longer agrees to respond to attacks targeting its territory or aircraft through international protests, instead, it will use its capabilities to protect itself and immediate operational measures to quell attacks radically, Elkin stressed. When asked whether the destruction would be carried out even if Russian soldiers were in the area, the Israeli minister replied: "We will bomb the systems by which Israeli land or aircraft will be fired. I hope there will not be Russian soldiers." On the other hand, Netanyahu met Monday in Jerusalem with James F. Jeffrey, US Secretary's Special Representative for Syria Engagement. The two discussed recent developments in Syria and joint efforts to battle Iranian aggression. Netanyahu thanked Jeffrey for his efforts and congratulated US President Donald Trump upon the beginning of his government's sanctions against Iran's fuel exports.

Palestine Accuses US of Shielding Illegal Settlement Expansion

Ramallah- Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/The Palestinian ministry of foreign affairs held the US administration responsible for the growth of Israeli settlements along the occupied West Bank. In a statement, the ministry said that the settlements were being established under the umbrella of US President Donald Trump’s administration, which is “biased to the occupation, in violation of international law and international legitimacy resolutions.” The ministry called on the UN Security Council, and countries that claim to be keen on achieving peace in the Middle East, “to act quickly to force the occupation authorities to comply with the will of the international community and to implement the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy, mainly Resolution 2334.”The ministry also condemned in the strongest terms the confiscation of large plots of land in the West Bank for settlement purposes. It pointed to the occupation forces’ seizure of lands belonging to the village of al-Lubban al-Gharbieh, near the city of Ramallah, for the benefit of a nearby illegal Israeli settlement. The ministry denounced as well Israeli authorities’ plan to seize more than 350 dunums of land in Khilet Makhoul, located in the northern Jordan Valley. The foreign ministry described the demolition of two Palestinian houses in Beit Hanina and the displacement of their families with infants as “an integral part of the policy of ethnic cleansing and an episode in a series of incursions, aimed at emptying the occupied East Jerusalem and its surrounding from indigenous citizens.”

Pull your forces out of Syria, US envoy tells Tehran
Arab News/November 08, 2018/BEIRUT: Tehran must withdraw all the forces it commands in Syria, and the US will focus on pressuring Iran financially and resisting its meddling in the region, the US envoy to Syria said on Wednesday. The 2015 nuclear deal had a malign effect on Iran’s behavior that “accelerated its activities,” ambassador James Jeffrey said. Tehran funds and arms militias in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. “Iranians are part of the problem, not part of the solution,” the envoy said. He said the Trump administration was now focusing on putting financial pressure on Tehran and “contesting more actively Iran’s activities, particularly in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.” Washington this week reimposed sanctions against Iran’s vital oil-export, banking and transport industries. Recent retreats by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting Daesh in a pocket of eastern Syria near the Iraq border were “a tactical reverse,” Jeffrey said. “It’s nothing serious. The Daesh forces there basically are still surrounded and reinforcements are coming in.”Daesh launched several counteroffensives in recent weeks against the SDF, who have been trying to recapture the area since early September. “One reason for the reverse there was unusually bad and sustained weather that limited our use of air power, which is very important for our fight against Daesh,” Jeffrey said. “As the weather changes and as additional troops are introduced, I expect the situation will change and we’ll see advances against Daesh.” Jeffrey said that when American officials say US troops will stay in Syria, “we stay until the enduring defeat of Daesh,” with the aim of establishing the conditions so that local forces, local populations and local governments can deal with Daesh as a terrorist or insurgent movement. “We’re not there yet,” he added.

Lavrov Says Russia Warned Israel against Targeting Syria
Moscow - Raed Jabr/Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has revealed one aspect of the Russian-Israeli understandings to coordinate flights in Syria, saying that Moscow has warned Tel Aviv several times that its aerial activity over Syria could have disastrous consequences. The Russian-Israeli dispute renewed this week despite a large scale public relations campaign launched by Tel Aviv to improve ties with the Kremlin ahead of an anticipated meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the end of the week in Paris. Lavrov’s remarks, which came in an interview he gave to a Spanish newspaper, indicated Moscow’s strict stance towards restoring coordination with Israel in Syria. He said that Tel Aviv has violated all the understandings previously reached between the two sides.“Unfortunately, the Israeli side hasn’t always strictly implemented its commitments, especially with regards to notifying the Russian military about combat operations in Syrian territory,” Lavrov said. “On several occasions this put the lives of our military personnel in Syria in danger. For example, the Israeli air strikes on the region of Palmyra in March 2017,” he continued. “We warned the Israelis through all means and at the highest level that such behavior could have tragic consequences … At the same time, we have emphasized that military operations contribute to rising regional tension and cannot solve the security problems that concern Israel,” said Lavrov. “However, the Israelis continued to bomb targets in Syrian territory and that led to the crash of the Russian reconnaissance aircraft Il-20 with 15 officers on board.”“After the September 17 incident, we could not leave things as they were. Russia responded in a moderate but firm manner,” he said. The downing by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, after Israeli jets attacked a suspected Iranian arms shipment to Syria, has caused a diplomatic rift between Israel and Russia.

Netanyahu Denies West Bank is under Occupation
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has downplayed warnings made by security agencies and the opposition that he was wasting peace chances with the Arab world for holding onto the “occupation.”
“Occupation (in the West Bank) is nonsense,” Netanyahu has reportedly told members of his Likud Party. “Empires have conquered and replaced entire populations and no one is talking about it.” What truly matters is strong diplomacy, Netanyahu added. “Power is key,” he said. “Power changes everything in our policy with Arab countries.” The head of Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet has described the prevailing calm in the occupied West Bank as “deceiving.” "The situation on the Palestinian front has been very unstable over the past year," Nadav Argaman told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Knesset. His remarks are a clear sign of acknowledgment that the West Bank is under occupation.

UN Completes Food Distribution in Rukban Camp Near Jordan
Amman- /Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/The United Nations has finished distribution of aid to thousands of Syrians, mostly women, and children, stranded in the desert close to the border with Jordan, an aid official said on Wednesday. A UN-led convoy of more than 70 trucks arrived on Saturday under Russian army protection after months of delay in the first such first aid delivery from inside Syria to the rebel-held camp that has over 50,000 people. In cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the convoy delivered food, health, and sanitation supplies, and other emergency items including 10,000 plastic sheets to protect people against the coming winter weather. “The overall humanitarian situation in Rukban camp remains dire, with shortages of basic commodities, protection concerns, and the death of several children who reportedly were unable to get medical treatment,” Reuters quoted a UN official with the convoy, Fadwa AbedRabou Baroud, as saying. The assistance would only provide short respite and without regular and uninterrupted access, the plight of desperate residents in harshest desert conditions would only further deteriorate as winter cold sets in, the UN official added. The UN team will complete a vaccination campaign against measles, polio and other diseases to protect some 10,000 vulnerable children in the camp before it departs, Baroud said. Previously, the UN has only been permitted to deliver aid sporadically from the Jordanian side of the border, with the last such distribution completed back in January. UN agencies have also constructed a dedicated primary health facility just over the Jordanian border close to Rukban, but access remains an issue and the clinic is unable to provide advanced medical services to the many residents suffering from chronic illnesses and other serious conditions. The US State Department welcomed the aid to the camp, located close to the Tanf US military base in the desert near where the borders of Syria, Jordan, and Iraq converge. The camp is within a “deconfliction zone” set up by US forces. Damascus says US troops are occupying Syrian territory and providing a safe haven for rebels. Washington said it hoped Moscow would continue to put pressure on the Syrian government to comply with UN resolutions on allowing humanitarian access across frontlines. The camp was last month besieged on the Syrian side of the border by the Syrian army, preventing smugglers and traders from delivering food. In the last three years, tens of thousands of people have fled to the camp from ISIS-held parts of Syria being targeted by Russian and US-led coalition air strikes.

Sadr’s Veto Leaves Iraq Government Incomplete
Baghdad - Hamza Mustafa/Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/A “veto” imposed by head of Sairoon Coalition Moqtada al-Sadr on the candidate of Binaa Coalition for the post of interior minister, Faleh al-Fayyad, and on giving the education portfolio to the Arab Project, which is led by Khamis al-Khanjar, has prevented a vote on the remaining eight candidates in the new government. The parliamentary vote on the eight ministers in Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government was postponed to Thursday as a result of the veto imposed by the Sadrist movement on Fayyad, said an informed source.
The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that attempts are underway to convince Sairoon, and Sadr in particular, to lift the veto and approve Fayyad as the only candidate for the Binaa coalition. “The problem is that Sairoon also rejects keeping the education ministry within the share of the Arab Project, which is part of al-Mihwar al-Watani Sunni Coalition and currently has the defense, education and planning ministries,” the informed source explained. He added that Binaa also insists on granting the education ministry to the Arab Project. Head of Qarar Coalition Osama al-Nujaifi is also attempting to obtain the education ministry. However, Nujaifi, being part of the Reform and Reconstruction Bloc, means that the government will find difficulty in reaching consensus until Thursday's session. The source stressed that the dispute on the remaining portfolios will likely continue.
Leader in the Arab Project Omar al-Humairi, for his part, told Asharq Al-Awsat that his party insists on obtaining the education ministry. He added that its candidate is Dr. Siba al-Taie who is competent and has the required experience. In response to a question regarding the defense ministry, Humairi said that many Sunni blocs nominated a number of candidates for this position, and therefore Abdul Mahdi should review several files before choosing the appropriate figure. “We wanted independent figures to be appointed in the ministry’s security posts and be chosen by the Prime Minister himself,” he added.

Egypt, Sudan Agree to Advance Cooperation Frameworks
Cairo, Khartoum- Sawsan Abu Hussein and Ahmed Younes/Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 7 November, 2018/Egyptian President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir agreed to activate all frameworks of cooperation between the two countries and invest the potential to achieve a model that meets the aspirations of both peoples and reflects the historical relations between them. The agreement came during a summit held on the sidelines of the World Youth Forum in Sharm Sheikh, south of Sinai. Egypt's presidential spokesman, Ambassador Bassam Rady, said that Sisi reiterated the importance of cooperation between both countries and the “strong and sincere desire to strengthen bilateral relations at various levels in a way that bolsters the historic ties between the two brotherly people."Sisi stressed Egypt's keenness to coordinate stances with Sudan, praising the positive results of the meeting of the Egyptian-Sudanese Presidential Committee recently held in Khartoum. For his part, Bashir expressed Sudan's deep appreciation for the leadership and people of Egypt, accentuating Sudan's willingness to maintain intensive consultations and activate all frameworks of joint cooperation between the two countries.
"The meeting between the two presidents also discussed means of enhancing the various aspects of bilateral relations, especially in the field of electricity and railway projects, as well as supporting economic cooperation and increasing the volume of trade exchange,” indicated the spokesperson. He also reported that both leaders exchanged views on the latest developments on a number of regional issues. Sisi and Bashir also agreed to "continue and strengthen consultation and joint coordination to face current regional challenges in the Arab region and the African continent." Sudan’s Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative to the Arab League, Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the World Youth Forum discussed several pressing issues, namely preparing future leaders, the role of world leaders in peace-building process, post-conflict and post-war issues, sustainable peace, Africa's development agenda, and humanitarian assistance in the face of challenges. The Ambassador lauded the sessions on “Water security in the wake of climate change, Empowering persons with disabilities: Towards a more integrated world; Social Media: Saving or enslaving users?; Employment opportunities in the age of Artificial Intelligence; the role of entrepreneurs and start-ups in global economic growth; E-Sports and Games: An insight into the virtual world of electronic games; and the role of art and cinema in shaping societies.”

Sisi Hopes Nile Project with Ethiopia Will Not Be Politicized
Asharq Al-Awsat/November 07/2018/Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi hoped on Tuesday that Nile dam project with Ethiopia will not exploited for political purposes.He told reporters that he has seen “positive signs” from Ethiopia’s government in this regard. He added that Cairo wants "formal agreements" that Ethiopia will not reduce Egypt’s share of the Nile during the filling of what will be Africa's largest hydroelectric dam. “We need to turn Ethiopia's goodwill into formal agreements,” he stressed. Egypt fears the $4.8 billion dam could reduce its share of the Nile River, which provides virtually all its freshwater. Ethiopia says it needs the dam for its economic development. The two have been at odds over how quickly the reservoir behind the dam will be filled and the impact it would have on Egypt's share of the Nile.

Moscow Slams ‘Illegal’ US Sanctions Against Iran
Moscow – Raed Jabr/Asharq Al-Awsat/November 07/2018/The Kremlin slammed Tuesday the new US sanctions against Iran. The Russian National Security Council held a meeting chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which devoted a major part of its work to discussing the US move and its possible repercussions. "The meeting’s participants exchanged views on the situation in the wake of the United States’ move to introduce sanctions against Iran," Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "They emphasized the illegal nature of such actions," Peskov added. The Council, which usually determines policy moves at both the external and internal levels, has discussed the possible implications of US steps and the mechanisms to deal with them. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned Washington's decision to slap Tehran with sanctions, calling the restrictions "absolutely illegitimate" and deeply disappointing. "They are being implemented in flagrant violation of the decisions of the UN Security Council, and the way in which these measures are announced and implemented cannot but cause a deep sense of disappointment.” “We proceed from the idea that the norms of not only international law but also of international dialogue have not been repealed," Lavrov stressed during his visit to Spain. "Pursuing a policy based on ultimatums and one-sided demands is hardly permissible in our times," according to Lavrov. Moscow believes that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) remains in effect despite the renewal of US sanctions, he added. "We believe that the JCPOA remains in effect for the countries that maintain their participation in the mechanism.”“Following the United States’ withdrawal from the JCPOA, the European countries, Russia, China and Iran itself confirmed their participation in the deal," Lavrov pointed out. He said Moscow, itself a target of separate US sanctions, expected there would be ways to pursue economic cooperation with Iran despite the reimposition of sanctions on Monday on the country's oil, banking and transport sectors.

Sisi Pledges Military Support if Gulf 'Threatened'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 07/18/Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pledged military support for Gulf Arab states if their security comes under threat, the state daily Al-Ahram reported Wednesday. "If the security of the Gulf is directly threatened, Egypt will mobilize its forces to support its brothers," Sisi was quoted as saying in a meeting with the press in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. "Egypt stands body and soul by the side of our Gulf brothers," he said, without specifying the source of any outside threat. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pumped billions of dollars into Egypt's economy since its military -- then headed by Sisi -- toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Sisi successfully ran for Egypt's presidency in 2014 and has cracked down on opposition, including Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. He was re-elected with 97 percent of the vote in elections in March this year. Along with the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Egypt severed diplomatic and economic relations with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of links to extremist groups and being too close to Iran -- charges Doha denies. Shiite powerhouse Iran is Saudi Arabia's main regional rival. Egypt is also a member of the Saudi-led coalition which has since 2015 been fighting the Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen.

Yemen Forces Push towards Hodeida as Death Toll Mounts
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 07/18/Yemeni pro-government forces said Wednesday they had advanced closer to the rebel-held port city of Hodeida after fierce battles that have killed nearly 200 fighters in the past week. The clashes come as the United Nations pushes to restart negotiations between the warring parties, after planned talks in Geneva collapsed in September before they even began. In the past 24 hours, 27 Iran-backed Huthi rebels and 12 pro-government fighters have been killed on the outskirts of Hodeida city, a medical source told AFP on Wednesday.
A pro-government military source said that loyalists backed by a Saudi-led coalition made "limited advances" towards the city and its Red Sea port, through which more than 70 percent of the impoverished country's imports pass. The coalition is supporting the Yemeni troops on the ground with fighter jets and Apache attack helicopters, he told AFP. Rights groups have voiced fears for civilians after fighting intensified in the region. Save the Children reported almost 100 air strikes -- five times as many as in the whole first week of October -- at the weekend. Hodeida, one of the last Huthi strongholds on Yemen's western coast, was seized by the rebels along with the capital Sanaa in 2014. The Saudi-led coalition intervened on the side of the government the following year. Hodeida port is crucial for aid delivery and food imports to Yemen, where famine looms over 14 million people and a child dies every 10 minutes from easily preventable diseases, according to the UN. Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse Iran of using Hodeida port to smuggle missiles to the Huthis, a charge Tehran denies. The World Health Organization estimates nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen's war since 2015, although rights groups say the toll could be five times higher.

Rail from Israel to Gulf 'Makes Sense,' Says Minister

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 07/18/Israel's transport minister on Wednesday pitched plans to link the Mediterranean to the Gulf via the Jewish state, as his country pushes unprecedented public rapprochement with the Arab region. "It makes sense and is beyond political and ideological disagreements," said Yisrael Katz, whose country has diplomatic ties with only two Arab states. The "Tracks of Peace" rail link, which Katz said was supported by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, was "based on two central ideas -- Israel as a land bridge and Jordan as a regional transportation hub."Katz, who was speaking at an international transport conference in Oman, said the proposed railway was favorable to Saudi Arabia and neighboring Gulf states -- as well as the Palestinian economy. "It will create an additional trade route in the region, which is shorter, faster and cheaper, and will contribute to the economies of Jordan, the Palestinians -- who will also be connected to the initiative -- Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, and in the future Iraq as well," Katz said. A transcript of the minister's comments was provided to AFP by his office. Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory remains a major obstacle to official recognition by Arab countries, and the only ones it has diplomatic relations with are Egypt and Jordan. Katz's trip to Oman comes less than two weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to the Gulf sultanate -- the first in more than 20 years by an Israeli premier. The trip was a coup for Netanyahu, who wants to bolster ties with the Arab world in the face of the perceived expansion of Iranian influence across the region. It also follows highly publicized visits late last month by Israel's culture and communications ministers to the United Arab Emirates.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 07-08/18
Why are extremists angry at Riyadh?
Mamdouh AlMuhaini/Al Arabiya/November 07/18
For decades in Saudi Arabia, the voice of a few extremists was higher than the voice of the moderates, who were many. They spread hatred and accused those who fought hatred, whether officials, writers, intellectuals or even ordinary citizens, of infidelity. They controlled education and planted a poisonous mixture of Muslim Brotherhood and Sururist ideas in the students’ minds for the purpose of producing close-minded people who detest modern life.
The phenomenon of their rise began in 1979. They gradually managed to impose their influence on social and cultural life and sought to make radical changes in the nature of the simple society that had faith in an innate manner. To achieve this, laws and practices which conflict and oppose the society’s habits were imposed. Women were hence restrained and arts, even those related to heritage and traditions, were prohibited. The idea of the homeland was marginalized in favor of the bigger nation and anything related to the homeland was prohibited, such as chanting the royal salute and celebrating the national day. Celebrations and theatres’ and cinemas’ work came to an end and so did other means of entertainment. The names of enlightened intellectuals such as Ghazi Al Gosaibi were smeared and takfirist names such as Sayyid Qutb were praised.
Incitement and mobilization reached religious and media podiums until we saw large groups of young people selling their minds and turning into a herd who take orders from intolerant preachers who can get them to sacrifice themselves with just one word. Back then, we saw Saudis booby-trap their cars and wear explosive belts to kill other Saudis thus carrying out the schemes of al-Qaeda and ISIS to destroy the state by shedding blood and spreading chaos.
The extremists’ issues turned into crises that almost tore the society’s fabric by engaging in debates over essential topics such as women’s driving of cars, arts, women’s rights and others. Extremists silenced rational people and used takfirist fatwas and the strategies of assassinating the personality. They did not only become the street’s stars but they also became among the most influential figures on Twitter which became their strongest platform and the arena where they gather. Their influence went beyond Saudi Arabia as they offered themselves to other countries. We saw one of them deliver a speech in Cairo during the days of the so-called Arab Spring and he publicly warned that Judgment Day is near.
Who would have believed that this situation will end and become from the past during a short period of time as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman assumed his tasks? It’s a very difficult task to get rid of this legacy of extremism during a short period of time, and it’s difficult to believe this if we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes. No one would have imagined these brave and huge steps in supporting tolerance and moderation, such as allowing women to drive and stopping extremist figures.
Fanatics, hate preachers and those who called for chaos disappeared from the scene and the society got rid of this strong installing of extremist ideas which pour into the ears and silence the breath. A frequent fallacy stipulated that extremists have the right to express their opinions and this is of course not true because their ideas are poisonous and they promote a culture of hate and intolerance, hence the destruction and division of society. Therefore, prohibiting them is the right choice. Even in developed countries which have ancient traditions in freedoms are not tolerant with figures who openly spread ideas of hatred as remaining silent will lead to the explosion of society from within. With countries whose age is younger, the issue is more urgent and more important. Riyadh’s war on intolerance was not propagandist but practical ... A frequent fallacy stipulated that extremists have the right to express their opinions and this is of course not true
War on intolerance
In the Arab and Islamic world, we’ve previously heard many promises about combating extremism but politicians used that for marketing and for launching a public relations campaign against the West, and they did not implement these promises. These promises presented them as the civilized modernists but the reality was different. Exceptional leaders mean what they say, and they do not back down because it’s in the interest of their country and future generations not to. The Saudi crown prince himself announced this war on the culture of intolerance when he said his famous statement: “We will destroy extremist ideas now and immediately.” This is what happened on the ground and according to a practical plan. History taught us that countries where the ideas of intolerance spread become underdeveloped and disintegrated and that countries which adopt religious tolerance and moderation prosper and advance.
Riyadh’s war on intolerance was not propagandist but practical, and it was not local but regional and international. It’s interesting to now see Saudi Arabia, whose image was distorted by extremist preachers who spread hatred, exporting scholars whose first aim is spreading religious tolerance, such as what Secretary General of the Muslim World League Dr. Mohammed al-Issa, who is traveling the world and holding conferences and meeting with leaders from all religions and sects, is doing. Christian leaders are also visiting Riyadh and meeting with the Saudi leadership. The aim is to enhance the idea of co-existence and present a moderate image about Islam. Saudi Arabia’s great religious status gives it this great influence in the Islamic surrounding which for decades suffered from the continuous rise of the wave of extremism that produced terrorism.
With the alliance with countries that support moderate thought, such as the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, it is possible that tolerant rhetoric will reign over extremist rhetoric, which was behind the largest of crises that harmed the region through terrorism and the disintegration of countries. This is a main reason for the continuous campaign against Riyadh – a campaign that’s led by Qataris, Iranians and political Islam groups that rely on the extremist rhetoric, its organizations, media and men to achieve its political aspirations and goals.

Who is siding with the Iranian regime?
Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/November 07/18
After the strict economic sanctions against the terrorist Iranian regime went into effect, the regional and international scene clarified in terms of those who defend this regime, whether Arabs or foreigners and left-wing or right-wing, using different excuses.
It’s normal for the Khomeini regime affiliates such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Yemeni Houthis and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization to speak out against these sanctions. This is normal as they are part of the Khomeini body, and if one body part suffers, the rest of the body falls ill.
Those are not the ones I will address or talk about as I will talk about those who claim political or sectarian disparities. Take the Palestinian Hamas Movement, the Brotherhood’s body, mind and spirit in Palestine, as an example and how it screamed in anger against the sanctions targeting the Iranian regime. The Hamas Movement issued a statement commenting on these US sanctions saying: “These sanctions aim to weaken the factors of steadfastness.” The Movement also voiced its “solidarity” with the Iranian regime adding that it “stands by Iran and by all the vivid forces in confronting the Zionist-American arrogance.”
Let’s put Hamas aside as it’s just a “movement” even if it’s a “government” in the Gaza Strip which has been afflicted due to them and to Israel’s strikes. Let’s look at the emotions of the Turkish president and his stance from the harm targeting the protector of terrorist Shiite militias in the entire Levant.
Commenting on the sanctions, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “We don’t find the (Iran) sanctions appropriate,” adding: “These are steps aimed at unbalancing the world. We don’t want to live in an imperialist world.” It’s normal for the Khomeini regime affiliates such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Yemeni Houthis and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization to speak out against these sanctions
Temporary dispute
What seems like a dispute, even if bloody, on the Syrian arena between Ankara and whoever is with it from among the Brotherhood groups and Tehran was a “temporary” dispute, and in the essence, Iran and Turkey with their affiliates, such as Hamas, Hezbollah or the Houthis, are in one camp which spinal cord is political Islam. We all know about the mutual principles and the mutual support between the Brotherhood group and the Khomeini group. It’s well-known that Ali Khamenei, Iran’s current Supreme Leader, admired the thought of Sayyid Qutb, the famous Brotherhood preacher of extremism, and that he translated some of his books to Farsi. Anyway, this fuss over the fate of the ruling Khomeini group expresses the brutality and seriousness of sanctions and this is what Ahmad Amirabadi, an Iranian MP for the city of Qom, talked about when he said on Twitter: “All people and institutions who were active in going around the previous sanctions are included in the current sanctions.” He also asked: “Who delivered this information to the enemy?” It’s important to see the picture clearly without any ambiguity or illusions and knowing: Who is siding with whom? And why?

Sanctions on Iran and their impact on Pakistan, Turkey
Ahmed Quraishi/Al Arabiya/November 07/18
With the re-imposition of full-spectrum American sanctions on Iran, two countries have suddenly become important for Tehran: its neighbors Pakistan and Turkey.
Four days before sanctions came into effect, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif dashed to Ankara and Islamabad, accompanied by what the official news agency described as a “politico-military delegation.”While many issues were on the agenda, helping soften the impact of sanctions is a priority for Iranian government. The economy is showing signs of collapse and the public is angry at the ruling clerics as never before. In this context, it is natural for Khamenei and other senior clerics to have expectations from its two neighbors. Since coming to power in 1979, the clerical ayatollahs have had a history of using the two neighbors to dodge sanctions, both legally, with the consent of Turkish and Pakistani governments, but more often illegally, without official sanction. During the Iran-Iraq war, Pakistan broke away from its Western and Middle Eastern allies to give a breather to Iran through the seaport and business hub of Karachi on the Arabian Sea, giving the ayatollahs a valuable outlet beyond the reach of Iraqi fighter jets. But it is the informal trade – smuggling of oil, diesel and other sanctioned goods – where Iran has made the most of its borders with Turkey and Pakistan. But that was before sanctions were lifted in 2016 after the nuclear agreement. Tehran is now scrambling to restore those old channels. It will be interesting to see how Islamabad and Ankara deal with Tehran’s need to circumvent sanctions through these two jurisdictions. For one, both Pakistan and Turkey will seal their borders with Iran next year with walls and barriers.
Iran’s foreign policy, especially in the Gulf and Yemen, remains a headache for Pakistani policymakers because it threatens Islamabad’s economic and energy interests, not to mention the largest Pakistani diaspora in the Gulf region
Building walls
Pakistan is fencing the border instead of building a wall, starting with Afghanistan and ending with Iran at the sea. The Turkish wall will run 144 km when completed. Pakistan has a bigger challenge at 959 km. Pakistani officials avoid discussing the Iran fence publicly. Their Iranian counterparts, however, are also pressing ahead with fencing their side of the border with Pakistan. For Pakistan, a lot has changed since the days when it allowed Tehran to use Karachi during the war with Iraq. The clerics were still new in power in Tehran and Islamabad wanted to repent for being known as a close ally of the ousted Shah. But in 1990s, the hardline IRGC became a strategic partner of India. This meant that Iran under the ayatollahs entered a strategic competition mode with Pakistan, often working with New Delhi to undercut Pakistani regional influence. As a result, in the 2000s, Iran preferred to support India-backed factions in Afghanistan than accept Pakistan’s offer to jointly back Taliban government.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, became a new point of contention in the 2010s. In 2016, Pakistan busted a vast Indian terror network based in Iran that destabilized Karachi and Pakistani Balochistan through terrorism, exploiting ethnic and sectarian fault lines.
Iran’s foreign policy, especially in the Gulf and Yemen, remains a headache for Pakistani policymakers because it threatens Islamabad’s economic and energy interests, not to mention the largest Pakistani diaspora in the Gulf region.
Regional wars
If American sanctions succeed in curbing Iran’s role in regional wars, this could help Pakistan’s own efforts to stem IRGC recruitment of young Pakistani Shia men to fight in Syria. The Iranian paramilitary is recruiting Pakistanis and Afghans because young Iranians shun ayatollahs’ foreign adventures.
If President Trump declines India’s request to exempt Iran’s Chabahar port from sanctions, this will deal a blow to joint Iran-India plans to use the port to end landlocked Afghanistan’s reliance on Pakistan. Despite the high stakes, Islamabad has not lobbied Washington against a Chabahar exemption, though diplomats say both New Delhi and Tehran have been lobbying Beijing to shift its interments from Gwadar to Chabahar due to perennial security issues in Pakistan. While working with Iran, both Turkey and Pakistan remain wary of Iranian government’s anility to create unrest in the region if the sanctions threaten the ayatollahs’ hold on power.

Palestinian Threats to Arab Normalization with Israel

Khaled Abu Toameh/Gatestone Institute./November 07/18
"There's no place for the [Israeli] enemy on the map." — Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader, October 29, 2018.
A number of senior Fatah officials, including Munir al-Jaghoob and Mohammed Shtayyeh, have condemned Oman for hosting Netanyahu. They have also condemned the UAE for allowing Israelis to participate in the judo competition.
So, Fatah and Hamas cannot agree to pay their workers, they cannot agree on supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip, and they cannot agree on providing medical supplies to hospitals there. They do agree, however, on inflicting more harm and damage on their people. If they go on like this, the day will come when the Palestinians will discover that their friends and brothers have become their biggest enemies.
Recent statements issued by Hamas and Fatah have strongly condemned Arab countries for "rushing" to normalize relations with Israel before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. Pictured: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said, during Netanyahu's official visit to Oman, October 26, 2018. (Image source: Israel PM's Office)
For more than 10 years now, Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction have been at war with each other. Attempts by their Arab brothers, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to solve the power struggle between the two rival Palestinian groups have thus far failed and are unlikely to succeed in the foreseeable future. The gap between Hamas and Fatah remains as wide as ever: the two parties despise each other. Fatah wants to return to the Gaza Strip; Hamas says it out loud: no. Fatah wants Hamas to disarm and cede control over the Gaza Strip; Hamas says no.
On one particular issue, however, the two sides lay aside their differences and see eye to eye. When it comes to Israel, one would be hard-pressed to distinguish between Fatah and Hamas.
Both parties use the same harsh language when referring to Israel and the policies and decisions of the Israeli government. The daily statements condemning Israel that are issued separately by Hamas and Fatah sound almost identical. Both refer to Israel as the "state of occupation." They also continue to incite Palestinians and the rest of the world against Israel by accusing it of committing "war crimes" against the Palestinians and "violating international law."
The daily attacks on Israel by Hamas and Fatah have radicalized Palestinians to a point where many of them would not consider any form of compromise with it.
In the past few days, the rival Palestinian parties have again found themselves in agreement -- this time over what they perceive as efforts to normalize relations between Israel and some Arab countries.
The normalization efforts there are talking about refer to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent visit to Oman, an Arab country that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. They are also referring to the participation of Israeli athletes in a judo competition in the United Arab Emirates, another Arab country that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Separate statements issued by Hamas and Fatah have strongly condemned Arab countries for "rushing" to normalize relations with Israel before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. The statements are strikingly similar in their words and messages.
Consider, for example, what Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh had to say about the apparent rapprochement between Israel and some Arab countries. On October 29, Haniyeh was quoted as saying:
"All the attempts at normalization won't change the reality. There is no place for the [Israeli] enemy on the map. The people are sending an angry message to all those who are normalizing [with Israel]."
A statement issued by Haniyeh's Hamas movement went as far as denouncing the normalization efforts as a "stab in the back of the Palestinians." The statement accused the Arabs who are engaged in various forms of dialogue with Israel of "abandoning the Palestinians and their just cause."
In other words, Hamas is implying that any Arab leader who establishes relations with Israel will be seen as a traitor to the Palestinians and their cause. Haniyeh is brutally honest as to why he and Hamas oppose any form of normalization with Israel; it is because they believe there's "no room" for Israel on the map. In their eyes, Israel has no right to exist and should be replaced with an Islamic state, where Jews would be welcome to live as a minority.
Hamas's rivals in Fatah have taken a similar stance towards the warming of relations between Israel and some Arab countries. A number of senior Fatah officials, including Munir al-Jaghoob and Mohammed Shtayyeh, have condemned Oman for hosting Netanyahu. They have also condemned the UAE for allowing Israelis to participate in the judo competition.
"Fatah condemns the public normalization between Israel and some Arab countries," al-Jaghoub commented. He went on to claim that Netanyahu's visit to Oman was part of US President Donald Trump's yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East. Palestinians believe that Trump's plan, which no one in the Middle East has seen so far, envisages the establishment of peace treaties between Israel and the Arab countries before the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is resolved.
Hamas and Fatah are opposed to normalization between Israel and the Arab countries because they are afraid that their Arab brothers will abandon them. The two Palestinian rival parties fear that once the Arabs sign peace treaties with Israel, they (the Arabs) will forget about the Palestinians and focus on bringing prosperity and stability to the Arab countries.
The Palestinians seek to continue holding the Arab world hostage to their own unrealistic demands. They do not want to see the Arab countries move forward and build a better future for their people. This tactic, which has worked for the past seven decades, is apparently about to become less useful as one Arab country after the other opens its doors to Israeli leaders, politicians and athletes.
Hamas and Fatah seem to want to play the victim card to the bitter end. They have long claimed to be victims of Israel. Now they are seeking to convince the world that the Palestinians are victims of some kind of an Israeli-American conspiracy to make peace with Israel. In the world of the Palestinians, peace between Israel and the Arab countries is tantamount to treason, a conspiracy concocted by Israel and the US administration.
Instead of welcoming the warming up of relations between Israel and some Arab countries as a positive development that brings hope and optimism to the Middle East, the rulers of Hamas and Fatah are busy condemning and inciting against Arabs who "collaborate" with Israel. The condemnations and incitement sound a great deal like threats directed towards Arab heads of state and governments who want to do business with Israel. These threats will undoubtedly have a negative impact on some of the Arab countries that will see them as blackmail by the Palestinians.
When Hamas and Fatah call on the "Arab street" to voice its opposition to the normalization efforts with Israel, they are actually urging the people in the Arab countries to revolt against their leaders and governments. It is hard to see how any Arab leader will remain idle in the face of the Palestinian threats and denunciations. The Palestinians are once again acting against their own interests by alienating powerful and wealthy countries such as the UAE and Oman. Hamas and Fatah are indeed leading their people towards an certain end: isolation and extremism. So, Fatah and Hamas cannot agree to pay their workers, they cannot agree on supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip, and they cannot agree on providing medical supplies to hospitals there. They do agree, however, on inflicting more harm and damage on their people. If they go on like this, the day will come when the Palestinians will discover that their friends and brothers have become their biggest enemies.
**Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at 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.

How Saudi "Donations" to American Universities Whitewash Its Religion
Raymond Ibrahim/Gatestone Institute./November 07/18
Saudi funding of an American academic "doesn't mean that he's bought and paid for." Rather, "there is a kind of silencing effect. It's more about what doesn't get written about... there may be some self-censoring on certain topics you don't raise unnecessarily, topics that are sensitive to the Saudis." — from a Washington, DC "insider," quoted in Vox.
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the heartland of Islam, the birthplace of its history, the site of the two holy mosques and the focus of Islamic devotion and prayer. Saudi Arabia is committed to preserving the Islamic tradition in all areas of government and society..... The Holy Qur'an is the constitution of the Kingdom and Shari'ah (Islamic law) is the basis of the Saudi legal system." — Website of the Saudi Arabian Embassy, Washington, DC.
A Saudi fatwa — in Arabic only — entitled, "Duty to Hate Jews, Polytheists, and Other Infidels," was written by Sheikh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz (d. 1999), former grand mufti and highest religious authority in the government. It comes from the fatwa wing of the government, meaning it has the full weight of the government behind it.
George Mason University and George Washington University (pictured) in the Washington, D.C. area, have each received tens of millions of dollars in Saudi-affiliated funding, according to a report in the Daily Caller.
Why would the center of illiberalism, religious fanaticism, and misogyny ever sponsor the center of liberalism, secularism, and gender equality?
This is the question that crops up when one considers the largesse that human-rights-abusing Saudi Arabia bestows on the leading universities — those putative bastions of progressive, free thinking — in the United States.
According to a recent report in the Daily Caller: "... elite U.S. universities took more than half a billion dollars from the country [Saudi Arabia] and its affiliates between 2011 and 2017. Saudi Arabian interests paid $614 million to U.S. universities over a six-year period, more than every country but Qatar and the United Kingdom."
What would cause Saudi Arabia, which represents much that is regressive and barbarous — from having elite units dedicated to apprehending witches and warlocks, to legitimizing paedophilia — to become a leading financial supporter of America's liberal arts? Certainly, it is not because the Saudis are randomly lavish with their money and award gifts to all and sundry. Reports often criticize citizens of the kingdom for being "stingy" and not spending on causes that others consider worthy.
"These gifts and contracts," the report relates, "in some instances, are intended to influence students' and faculty experts' views on the kingdom."
While this explanation may make sense to those of Western sensibilities, who tend to think in terms of nation-states, Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is apparently influencing "views" on Islam. Saudi society and politics are virtually synonymous with Islamic society and politics — or, in a word, Sharia, Islamic canonical law that is based on the Quran and the Hadith (the acts and teachings of Muhammad).
Muhammad and Islam, born in what is today Saudi Arabia, have made the Arabs of the peninsula the descendants of Islam's first Muslims. Since the seventh century, Muslims have conquered much of the post-Roman Christian world, all of North Africa and the Middle East, and for a while, the Balkans, Greece and most of Spain — and in so doing, transforming vast swaths of land into the Muslim and Islamic world (see Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of Sword and Scimitar).
The importance of Islam to Saudi Arabia — and vice-versa — is expressed on the website of the Saudi embassy in Washington DC: For centuries the people of the Arabian Peninsula have possessed a strong identity based upon the tenets of Islam. Saudi Arabia... adheres to Islam, honors its Arab heritage and tradition, and presses vigorously forward in the service of Islam... The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the heartland of Islam, the birthplace of its history, the site of the two holy mosques and the focus of Islamic devotion and prayer. Saudi Arabia is committed to preserving the Islamic tradition in all areas of government and society..... The Holy Qur'an is the constitution of the Kingdom and Shari'ah (Islamic law) is the basis of the Saudi legal system.
That Saudi Arabia's identity — that it is "based upon the tenets of Islam; " that it "presses vigorously forward in the service of Islam," and that the "Qur'an is the constitution of the Kingdom, and Shari'ah (Islamic law) is the basis of the Saudi legal system" — should make clear that the Saudi worldview is quite antithetical to the spirit of Western liberal education.
Capital punishment in the desert kingdom still takes place (as seen in this video of a hysterical woman being incrementally beheaded); child-marriage and slave-like conditions are rampant; "apostates" are persecuted and sometimes sentenced to death; churches and other non-Muslim houses of worship are strictly banned, and Christians quietly worshipping in their homes are regularly arrested, imprisoned and tortured.
Saudi Arabia has online a fatwa, an Islamic-sanctioned opinion — in Arabic only — entitled, "Duty to Hate Jews, Polytheists, and Other Infidels." It comes from the fatwa wing of the government, meaning it has the full weight of the government behind it.
Written by Sheikh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz (d. 1999), former grand mufti and highest religious authority in the government, it still appears on the website.
According to this governmentally-supported fatwa, Muslims — that is, the entire Saudi citizenry — must "oppose and hate whomever Allah commands us to oppose and hate, including the Jews, the Christians, and other mushrikin [non-Muslims], until they believe in Allah alone and abide by his laws, which he sent down to his Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him."
To prove this, Baz quotes a number of Koran verses that form the doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity — the same doctrine every Sunni jihadi organization evokes to the point of concluding that Muslim men must hate their Christian or Jewish wives (though they may enjoy them sexually).
These Koran verses include: "Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your friends and allies" (5:51) and "You shall find none who believe in Allah and the Last Day on friendly terms with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger [i.e., non-Muslims] — even if they be their fathers, their sons, their brothers, or their nearest kindred" (58:22; see also 3:28, 60:4, 2:120).
After quoting the verses, Baz reiterates: Such verses are many and offer clear proofs concerning the obligation to despise infidels from the Jews, Christians, and all other non-Muslims, as well as the obligation to oppose them until they believe in Allah alone.
It is hard, therefore, not to conclude that the Saudis are awarding large gifts to institutions against whom they are openly preaching hate — universities in the liberal West — in order to mold perspectives and produce future leaders. In other words, they seem to be bribing and winning over people who are in positions to criticize and expose things about Islam and its greatest sponsor, Saudi Arabia.
In fact, the Saudis simply seem to be following a page from Muhammad's playbook. During the "Battle of the Trench" (627), when Muhammad and his Medinan followers were surrounded by the Meccans and other hostile tribes, the Muslim prophet bribed the Ghatafan, the largest tribe, to break from the Meccans by offering them one-third of Medina's date harvest. Osama bin Laden cited this anecdote when legitimizing the bribing of hated infidels, as you can see in The Al Qaeda Reader, pp. 26-27.
Just as Muhammad's bribe saved Islam then, the hope may be that Saudi Arabia's gifts will save Islam's image in American universities, from where policy-shapers and worldviews emerge. As the Daily Caller report states:
"Much of the international affairs literature that informs the U.S. posture toward foreign nations is developed at elite institutions like George Mason University and George Washington University in the D.C. area, whose experts are widely cited. Those universities are among the top recipients of Saudi government funds."In an article from Vox, "How Saudi Arabia captured Washington", a DC "insider," discussing Saudi largesse and American universities, states that Saudi funding of an academic "doesn't mean that he's bought and paid for." Rather, "there is a kind of silencing effect. It's more about what doesn't get written about... there may be some self-censoring on certain topics you don't raise unnecessarily, topics that are sensitive to the Saudis."
In short, no matter how important scholarly inquiries may be from a Western perspective, everything that might present Islam in a negative light is presumably to be ignored. Rather than honest examinations and exposés on subjects such as the role of Islam in terrorism, gender inequality, or hostility toward religious minorities, universities that receive, or hope to receive, Saudi funding, are, it would seem, expected to set aside or whitewash all such topics.
As documented in Simon Ross Valentine's book, Force and Fanaticism: Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and Beyond, the desert kingdom, America's "friend and ally," has spent $100 billion to spread radical Islamic teachings and materially support Islamic terrorists around the world (15 of the 19 suicide-hijackers who orchestrated the terror strikes of 9/11 were Saudi citizens).
Thus, Saudi Arabia appears to give with one hand and take away with the other. It gives money to the supposed intellectual elite of America with one hand, and takes away knowledge of Islam from the public with the other.
*Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
© 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.

Iranian regime’s hostility faces ultimate sanctions test

Dr. Theodore Karasik/Dr. Theodore Karasik/November 07/18
The Trump administration’s crippling new sanctions on Iran are now in place. With a presidential meme to warn Iran of what is coming and daily infographics from the State Department, the US is saying: “Enough.”
The drivers of this round of sanctions are multiple. Primarily, Iran’s perfidious behavior around the world, but especially in Arab lands, has reached a new level of threat that must be pushed back. The Gulf states were never happy with the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran because of their exclusion from the negotiating process. Arab and specifically Arabian Peninsula voices were ignored. With the Trump administration, however, these voices found a home at the highest levels of the White House, with officials who recognize the serious threat that Iran presents not only in the Middle East, but also in the West from nodes in Latin America, Europe and Southeast Asia.
Another critical driver is the residual nature of recent historical memory in Washington, and elsewhere in the country, concerning the 444 day US-Iran hostage crisis in 1979-1981, plus the Iranian bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut in 1983. Sending a clear message to Tehran about intent and resolve, the second round of sanctions started on the 39th anniversary of the start of the hostage crisis.
In addition, other acts of Iranian hostility — assassinations, bombings, drug trafficking and cyberwarfare — in the past 10 years added to the administration’s current push to strangle Iran’s economy at this historic juncture. Tehran’s ability to use its Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) networks from Europe to Latin America to Southeast Asia has helped give the Islamic Republic a global reach for terrorism. Moreover, Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) that killed many Americans in Iraq have only added to Iran’s deadly tradecraft and capability.
These EFPs and their toll on American troops is a driver unto itself. At least an estimated 500 US military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are directly linked to Iran and its support for anti-American militias. That figure, which in reality is probably much higher given statistical measurement, underscores the controversy surrounding Washington’s now torn-up deal with Tehran. The Iranian-made EFPs first appeared in Iraq in 2005 and for years were the most lethal weapon that US troops faced during the eight-year Iraq War. Unlike the typical improvised explosive devices the US troops encountered, the EFPs used a more sophisticated technology and required more skilled milling to produce. Also known as “shaped” explosives, they used curved copper plates to direct or “shape” the bomb blast. Many EFPs were powerful enough to destroy US Humvees or breach tank hulls.
Those supporting the Islamic Republic in Europe and elsewhere by not agreeing with the new sanctions are likely to find themselves going along with the program.
A final and important driver behind the sanctions is the confrontational discourse within the Beltway and in capitals around the world, including in Europe, about their impact. Reactions to these sanctions come from multiple corners on the world stage, regional outlooks, and divisions within America’s capital.
Naturally, in Washington, advocates for both sides are at each other’s throats trying to one-up each other on the potential impacts and outcomes on the Islamic Republic. America’s dystopia is driving the arguments into a new level of false narratives and loss of expertise, driven by hysteria. Regardless, the bottom line is that the Trump administration is moving forward with anti-Iranian sanctions in order to put the Islamic Republic out of business unless it meets demands that include ending its support for terrorism and its military engagement in Syria, as well as completely halting its nuclear and ballistic missile development.
Reactions to the new round of sanctions moving forward are filled with rhetoric about their impact on average Iranian citizens. Those supporting the Islamic Republic in Europe and elsewhere by not agreeing with the new sanctions are likely to find themselves going along with the program. New alignments in Europe between France, Italy and Germany, and Turkey and Russia, to name just a few, will certainly provoke disdain for the sanctions, but economic interests will trump political goodwill toward the Islamic Republic.
On the other hand, America’s partners against Iran, notably Israel and several Gulf Arab countries, see an opportunity to influence the Islamic Republic’s historical path as an aging leadership begins to die off, while systemic pressures are building and lashing out across the country’s socio-religious landscape. In turn, regime forces are fighting back against this new age of discontent in Iran. Shared mutual interests in terms of Iran’s future means robust support for the Trump administration’s Iran policy is found more outside the US than within. The historical shift in the Middle East and its relationship with the Islamic Republic over Tehran’s behavior is allowing for a coalescence around White House policy.
In the coming months and into next year, the pressure on Iran will continue to draw reactions of various types, including hand-wringing over images and terrified voices that will be projected by the Iranian media. While some may argue that the Tehran government may actually benefit from an excuse to “crack heads” and reorganize the political field, the systemic problems in the theocratic state signal real and significant pressure from the US upon the Islamic Republic. Next year’s 40th anniversary of the start of the 1979 hostage crisis may be quite telling in terms of the metrics of success of the Trump administration’s second round of crippling sanctions.
*Dr. Theodore Karasik is a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, D.C. He is a former RAND Corporation Senior Political Scientist who lived in the UAE for 10 years, focusing on security issues. Twitter: @tkarasik