Detailed Lebanese & Lebanese Related LCCC English New Bulletin For November 13/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
Keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us.
Second Letter to the Thessalonians 03/06-18/:"We command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labour we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right. Take note of those who do not obey what we say in this letter; have nothing to do with them, so that they may be ashamed. Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you."

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Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 12-13/18
No Salvation Unless Lebanon's Corrupted Leaders Are Replaced/Elias Bejjani/November 12/18
This Why Nasrallah Threatened To Seize Full Power In Lebanon/Dr.Walid Phares/Face Book/November 12/18
The Lebanese Warfare State/Author: Rosalie Berthier and Georges Haddad/Synaps/November 12/18
 The "Separate" Palestinian State/Khaled Abu Toameh/Gatestone Institute/November 12, 2018
The Arab Winter Is Coming/Hassan Hassan/The Atlantic/November 12/18
Trump's Iran Policy Cannot Succeed Without Allies/James Clapper and Thomas R. Pickering/The National Interest/November 12/18
A disastrous scenario stares Tehran in the face/Nadim Koteich/Al Arabiya/November 12/18
Preparing our graduates for the real world is worthwhile/Dr. Mohamed A. Ramady/Al Arabiya/November 12/18
Despite positive outlook on economy, Pakistan still looks to IMF for help/Sabena Siddiqui/Al Arabiya/November 12/18
After a century, has the ideas of World War I died?/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/November 12/18

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 12-13/18
No Salvation Unless Lebanon's Corrupted Leaders Are Replaced
This Why Nasrallah Threatened To Seize Full Power In Lebanon
Parliament Endorses Law Investigating Wartime Forcible Disappearances
Legislative Session Endorses Health Care Bill
Report: Hizbullah Says Ball is in Hariri’s Court
Saudi Embassy Issues Warning of Suspects Impersonating Saudi Figures
Rahi: Lebanon Can’t Be Ruled by Mentality of Political Militia
British Embassy Commemorates 'Remembrance Day': 2018 Marks 100 Years Since the End of WWI
Finance Minister: Not a Single Penny in Budget Reserve Fund
Sami Gemayel Calls for Technocrat Government Amid Failure to Form National Unity Cabinet
MP Elias Hankache Warns of 'Total Collapse' If Government of Specialists Not Formed
Bassil Launches Bid to Untangle Sunni MPs Knot
Alain Aoun: Hizbullah 'Can Scare', Nasrallah Remarks Indicate Solution Not Impossible
Hariri, Bassil discuss latest political developments
Future Movement supports candidacy of Hashash, Kambris to Beirut Bar Association Council
Derian, Othman tackle general situation
Sixth International meetings of Defence takes place at headquarters of Special Tribunal for Lebanon
The Lebanese Warfare State

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 12-13/18
Deadly Israeli Gaza Operation Threatens to Derail Truce Efforts
Guterres: Destruction of Yemen's Hodeida Port Would Be 'Catastrophic'
 U.S. Tells Saudi Prince Khashoggi Killers to Be Held Accountable
Putin Says Had Good Conversation with Trump in Paris
British FM in Saudi Arabia for Talks on Khashoggi Yemen
New Border Crossings Open in Divided Cyprus, First in Eight Years 
The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 12-13/18
No Salvation Unless Lebanon's Corrupted Leaders Are Replaced
Elias Bejjani/November 12/18
Sadly the puppet Lebanese politicians are mere Trojans no more no less. Their priorities are not patriotic but totally revolve only around their own personal gains. Because of the cowardice, narcissism and betrayal of these succumbing leaders Nasrallah is portraying himself as hero. He is not a hero, but the Lebanese politicians are sadly allowing him to do so because they are rotten, corrupted and evil by all means. No salvation for Lebanon as long as these selfish leaders are holding on to their leadership posts either in the political Parties or in the government

This Why Nasrallah Threatened To Seize Full Power In Lebanon
Dr.Walid Phares/Face Book/November 12/18
Weeks ago Lebanese NGOs asked me why Hezbollah has been waiting so long to decide on its cabinet share. I told them they're waiting for the US midterms. Those who asked me the question couldn't see the link, didn't get my point it.
. Yesterday after Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, and the Iranian leadership concluded that -because of the midterms results- the US Government will be divided for two years, including on foreign policy, he threatened to seize full power Lebanon. They were waiting for the midterm. Now those who called me can see Hezbollah is trying to intimidate, if not terrorize, the Lebanese people in order to stop them from implementing the US sanctions on Hezbollah. The speech of M. Nasrallah is directed particularly at the Government, the Central Bank, the banks and other institutions. It is a threat to the "Vichy Government" itself to comply with Hezbollah, not with the US, or else.
Parliament Endorses Law Investigating Wartime Forcible Disappearances Monday 12th November 2018/The Parliament on Monday endorsed a law creating a national commission to unveil the fate of those forcibly disappeared during the Lebanese civil war, with an item that enforces accountability against those who will be found out to be responsible for this long-standing ordeal. Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel voiced full support for the ratified law, pointing out that this step should have taken place 28 years ago. Speaking during the Parliament's evening session, Gemayel said that a post-war reconciliation and dialogue was supposed to address this issue, adding that Lebanon failed to apply the concept of transitional justice which is adopted across the globe. Transitional justice measures are frequently expected to help promote peace in conflict-affected countries, through measures that rely heavily upon legal or legalized processes such as trials and commissions of inquiry. "As it is said: Better late than never,” Gemayel said. The Kataeb leader noted that the case of those forcibly disappeared must not be mixed up with the case of Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons, saying that the Lebanese officials, who have close ties with Damascus, can help uncover the detainees' fate and close this file. For his part, MP Nadim Gemayel hailed the approval of said law, saying that this move was anticipated for many years. "The law regarding those forcibly disappeared during the Lebanese civil war. Congratulations to the families who have been waiting for this bill to be endorsed for more than eight years!" Gemayel wrote on Twitter shortly after the endorsement of the bill.
Legislative Session Endorses Health Care Bill
Naharnet/November 12/18/The legislative session kicked off at the Parliament on Monday chaired by Speaker Nabih Berri where lawmakers were set to endorse several draft laws, as the government formation process continues to stall, the National News Agency reported. The Parliament endorsed a bill related to health care and medication, said NNA. During the discussion of a 75-billion LBP credit to purchase medicine, caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil indicated that there were no budget reserves. “Where will we get the revenues from to cover this amount?" he asked, saying that the bill is inapplicable. Meanwhile, Berri replied saying: “It is applicable indeed, and the government is obliged to provide the funds.”Before the meeting began, Berri held talks with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri. Talks reportedly touched on the Cabinet formation process. A debate erupted between Berri and ex-PM Najib Miqati over legislation in the absence of a government. The latter left the session afterwards. “How can we legislate in the absence of the executive authority,” Miqati asked Berri during the session. Upon leaving the meeting, Miqati said that “legislation of urgent drafts must be based on clear and specific criteria,” stressing on the lack on power balance as the current government is caretaker one. "The current executive power is not qualified to discuss bills that are not urgent," he said. "With all due respect to Speaker Nabih Berri, the Parliament has not taken the initiative to endorse urgent bills, and neither did it approve the non-urgent drafts that needed to be approved," he added. Angered by Miqati’s remarks, the Speaker said: “You can read Article 69 of the Constitution.”Efforts to line up Lebanon’s government have failed since May, amid divisions between political parties whether the Parliament should convene to legislate draft laws before the Cabinet takes shape. Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri’s mission has been delayed over several obstacles, the latest --related to the representation of the so-called Sunni MPs of March 8-- arose when the Cabinet was on the verge of formation.
Report: Hizbullah Says Ball is in Hariri’s Court
Naharnet/November 12/18/ Lebanon’s government formation continues to stall as Hizbullah "puts the ball” in PM-designate Saad Hariri’s court saying “he should save his government” by allowing the representation of so-called independent Sunni MPs of March 8, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday. “(Hizbullah chief) Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has stressed in his speech that he won’t back down on supporting the representation demands of Sunni MPs. We believe the ball now is in Hariri’s court who should meet this opportunity and save his government,” Hizbullah sources told the daily on condition of anonymity. Nasrallah threw his support behind the Sunni group on Saturday, insisting that they should be represented in the government. For their part, sources of the March 14 camp said: “The latest remarks made by Nasrallah have proven that Hizbullah does not want a government to be formed because it wants to control the country’s decisions.”They said the Sunni issue is a “heresy and some kind of political fraud that cannot be accepted. It is a clear attempt to blackmail the President (Michel Aoun) and Hariri in a bid to weaken him politically and morally,” they said.They noted that said MPs already belong to other parliamentary blocs already had a share in the Cabinet.
Saudi Embassy Issues Warning of Suspects Impersonating Saudi Figures
Naharnet/November 12/18/In a statement on Monday, the Saudi Embassy in Lebanon said that scammers have been impersonating themselves as Saudi officials, convening with Lebanese figures without any official capacity. The Embassy said: “It has been noticed that unknown persons presented themselves in Lebanon as Saudi legal figures, representatives of certain bodies, researchers, etc., and held meetings with various Lebanese personalities for unknown purposes. Some of them do not have the Saudi nationality," said the statement. The embassy warned against dealing with these unidentified individuals, welcoming any inquiry about persons claiming to be representing any Saudi group.
Rahi: Lebanon Can’t Be Ruled by Mentality of Political Militia
Naharnet/November 12/18/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi said that Lebanon could not be ruled by the mentality of political militia, highlighting the necessity to raise and educate the new generations so that they develop a different outlook, the National News Agency reported on Monday. "Now that most of the military militias have ended, it is unacceptable that Lebanon be ruled by a mentality of political militias," Rahi said in remarks during the 52nd meeting of the Catholic Archbishops and Patriarchs' Council, held in Bkirki. "Our youth and new generations must be raised on the basis of a different mentality," he added. "Lebanon has a previous civilized value that must be preserved," he underlined.
British Embassy Commemorates 'Remembrance Day': 2018 Marks 100 Years Since the End of WWI
Naharnet/November 12/18/The British Embassy in Lebanon – along with embassies all over the world – held a ‘Remembrance Day’ service at the Beirut Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in honour of the brave soldiers on all sides, who were killed during World Wars I and II, and in other conflicts, a press release said. This year marks the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice. The day will recognise the significance of the end of the First World War, and the sacrifice made by so many men and women during this period.
The service was attended by British Ambassador Chris Rampling; British Defence Attaché Lt. Col. Alex Hilton; Brigadier General Hasan Haidar, representing Lebanese Army Commander General Joseph Aoun; Col. Samer El Beaini, representing Head of the Internal Security Forces Major General Imad Osman, Brigadier General Labib Achkouti, representing the Director General of the General Security Major General Abbas Ibrahim. Ambassadors, diplomats and military attachés of US, European and Commonwealth countries were present. Lebanese and Palestinian war veterans, who served with the British army in World War II, attended with their families. At the end of the service, two minutes’ silence was held before Ambassador Rampling and Commonwealth Ambassadors laid wreaths on the memorial. Lebanese veteran Deeb El Hajj who has been attending this annual event for many years said: ‘As long as I can walk, I will never miss such a precious occasion that is dear to my heart. ’The Beirut War Cemetery is the final resting place of around 1,200 soldiers, most of whom were from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. The war graves are supervised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Finance Minister: Not a Single Penny in Budget Reserve Fund 12th November 2018/The Parliament on Monday approved the allocation of additional funds for securing cancer drugs, despite the objection voiced by Caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil who said that "there is not a single penny" in the State's budget reserve fund. Caretaker Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani has repeatedly called for providing the ministry with additional sum of money in order to provide medications to cancer patients, as he stressed that the ministry cannot go on giving free medication to chronic patients on the basis of who needs it the most. The endorsed item concerns around 25,000 chronic patients who receive free medication from the Health Ministry.
Sami Gemayel Calls for Technocrat Government Amid Failure to Form National Unity Cabinet 12th November 2018/Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Monday sounded the alarm over the alarming economic situation in Lebanon, blasting the ongoing indolence and indifference towards the pressing challenges looming over the country.
Speaking during the legislative session convened to discuss and endorse draft laws on the Parliament's agenda, Gemayel renewed his call for the immediate formation of a government of specialists to manage the country’s affairs and deal with the critical phase that the country is going through. “Meanwhile, contentious and decisive political issues would be discussed in a conference that should be held in the Parliament until a political government is established,” he explained. "Knowing that the current stalemate is politically driven and that there is no possibility to form a national unity government, technical, economic and livelihood issues must be separated from political conflicts."Gemayel addressed Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, saying: "The old Lebanon is dead. We are no longer able to form a government in a short period of time. This has become recurrent recently. Lebanon needs a structural change that must be discussed by party leaders and parliamentary blocs in the Parliament. Otherwise, we will stay put and nothing will change."“The latest figures issued by the Finance Ministry show that the State's expenditures surged while its revenues plummeted. This is a dangerous indicator signaling that the economic crisis will exacerbate,” Gemayel warned, calling for an uprising given that "Lebanon is getting closer to the threshold of a historic economic crisis".
MP Elias Hankache Warns of 'Total Collapse' If Government of Specialists Not Formed 12th November 2018/Kataeb MP Elias Hankache on Monday stressed the need to reactivate supervisory bodies in the country, deeming this as key to launching a new reformist overhaul of the fragmenting State institutions. “This is a primary topic because the Lebanese people is in distress and youth are immigrating as they are losing hope,” Hankache noted during the Parliament's session.
“Which environmental emergency plan, anti-corruption campaigns, reform promises and employment opportunities are we talking about and from where should we begin?” Hankache asked. “At a time when we were promised of administrative and economic reforms, we see that the Parliament approved $525 million in debt during the previous session, and that an additional sum of $870 million is listed on the agenda. All of this is being endorsed while we still haven’t heard of any reforms, squandering hasn’t been stopped and no supervisory bodies have been activated,” the lawmaker criticized. Hankache stressed that the situation cannot be kept unchanged, adding that the country's future generations are inheriting an exorbitant public debt, along with water and environment pollution. “If we do not opt for a government of specialists, the country will be risking a total collapse,” Hankache warned.
Bassil Launches Bid to Untangle Sunni MPs Knot 12th November 2018/Free Patriotic Movement head Gebran Bassil on Monday met with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri in a bid to help solve the latest "independent Sunni MPs" complexity that has obstructing the government formation. Following the meeting held on the sidelines of the Parliament's legislative session, Bassil said that the issue is not about encroaching on the Prime Minister's prerogatives as some are claiming, but rather about meeting the adopted standards and abiding by the concept of just representation. MPs Faysal Karameh, Abdul-Rahim Mrad, Jihad Al-Samad, Adnan Trabousli, Kassem Hachem and Walid Sukkarieh have been demanding to be included in the new government, arguing that it is no longer acceptable that Sunni representation be restricted to Hariri's Future Movement. On the other hand of the scale, the prime minister-designate is clinging to his stance to not grant said bloc any ministerial share, thus refusing to accept demands to be included in his government. "The complexity, regardless of its denomination, is a national one because it is preventing the formation of a national unity government; therefore, we are all responsible of securing a favorable atmosphere to reach a solution," Bassil stressed. "It is impossible to not form a national unity government that includes both the majority and the minority from each community. It will be formed regardless of all the obstacles," he affirmed. "No standard will prevail other than the one based on fair representation."Bassil also rejected any solution that would see Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri stepping down, adding that the latter must remain strong so that the government would itself be strong. Later, Bassil headed to the Center House where he held a two-hour meeting with Hariri.
Alain Aoun: Hizbullah 'Can Scare', Nasrallah Remarks Indicate Solution Not Impossible
Naharnet/November 12/18/MP Alain Aoun of the Strong Lebanon bloc noted Sunday that Hizbullah has the ability to “scare” others, as he said that Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's remarks on Saturday indicated that a solution to the so-called Sunni obstacle is not impossible. “The voice of the independent Sunnis should have been louder from the beginning and they should not have waited for five months. One of the weaknesses of the independent Sunni grouping is that they did not go as one bloc to the (binding parliamentary) consultations (to name the PM-designate),” Aoun said in an interview with al-Jadeed TV. And warning that “due to the clash over the independent Sunni MPs the settlement between al-Mustaqbal Movement and Hizbullah has been dealt a blow,” the lawmaker said the Free Patriotic Movement and President Michel Aoun will play a “rescue role.” “We are stuck between PM-designate Saad Hariri's stance and the remarks Sayyed Nasrallah voiced yesterday. This obstacle has been approached with very sharp-toned stances and now there is a need to address it through giving each their right,” Aoun added, stressing that no party should feel “defeated.”He added: “There is Sunni representation outside of al-Mustaqbal and the electoral law reflected this. There are also four other MPs who don't belong to al-Mustaqbal and not only the six MPs have the right to be represented in the government.” “Hizbullah can 'scare' and Sayyed Nasrallah re-acknowledged his allies yesterday and his speech indicated that a solution is not impossible and he is calling for respecting these parties,” Aoun went on to say.
Hariri, Bassil discuss latest political developments
Mon 12 Nov 2018/NNA - Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, welcomed on Monday afternoon at the Center House Caretaker Foreign Minister, Gebran Bassil, with whom he discussed most recent political developments, including government formation dossier.
Future Movement supports candidacy of Hashash, Kambris to Beirut Bar Association Council
Mon 12 Nov 2018/NNA - "Future" Movement Lawyers' Section announced Monday, in a statement, its support for the candidacy of Lawyers Elie Hashash and Jamil Kambris, to the membership of the Council of the Bar Association of Beirut. Elections for the Beirut Bar Association are scheduled to take place on Sunday, 18 November.
Derian, Othman tackle general situation
Mon 12 Nov 2018/NNA - Grand Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, on Monday received at Dar El Fatwa Internal Security Forces chief, Imad Othman, with whom he discussed the general situation. Mufti Derian hailed the efforts of Maj. Gen. Othman in maintaining security and stability in Lebanon, heaping praise on the achievements of the ISF Directorate General to protect civil peace.
Sixth International meetings of Defence takes place at headquarters of Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Mon 12 Nov 2018/NNA - In a press release by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), it said: "The Sixth International Meetings of the Defence were held from 8 to 9 November 2018 at the headquarters of the STL in Leidschendam. They were organised by the Defence Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), with the support of the Association of Defence Counsel practising before the International Courts and Tribunals (ADC-ICT), the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA), and the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence at the International Criminal Court (OPCD).
The Meetings opened on 8 November with welcome addresses from the President of the STL, Ms Ivana Hrdlickovل, the President of the ICCBA, Mr Chief Charles Taku, the President of the ADC-ICT Ms Colleen Rohan, and the Head of Defence Office of the STL, Ms Dorothée Le Fraper du Hellen. There was also a keynote speech from His Honour Judge Sir Howard Morrison. The first day included discussions before representatives from the diplomatic community on the contribution of the defence to international criminal justice and the relationship between the defence and the other actors in the field of international criminal justice. Two roundtable discussions, made up of legal practitioners, were held on these topics. One was chaired by H.E. Ms Sabine Eva Nِlke, Ambassador of Canada to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the other by H.E. Mr Abdel Sattar Issa, Ambassador of Lebanon to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Mr François Roux, the former Head of Defence Office of the STL, gave the closing speech on this first day.
On 9 November, the Meetings continued in the presence of professionals working for the defence. These mainly comprised lawyers practising before national or international criminal jurisdictions, representatives of bar associations and lawyers’ associations, and members of the defence offices of the various international criminal tribunals. Following a presentation on the legal tools available to the defence, two roundtable discussions were given over to the challenges faced by the defence over the past year before each of the international criminal jurisdictions. Working sessions in the afternoon focussed on matters relating to detention and new trials, with the aim of strengthening defence capacity in those areas. The Meetings also provided the opportunity to present an exhibition by students from the Design Academy Eindhoven, inspired by the work of the defence before the international criminal tribunals. The Meetings ended with the adoption of a joint statement delivered by Mr Emile Aoun, Defence Counsel at the STL and Representative of the Chair of the Beirut Bar Association, following which Ms Dorothée Le Fraper du Hellen thanked all those taking part for their contribution to the success of the event." --STL
The Lebanese Warfare State
Author: Rosalie Berthier and Georges Haddad/Synaps/November 12/18
Lebanon’s army and security apparatus increasingly pervade everyday life. They manifest in the proliferation of checkpoints, banners and billboards, and in the multiplication of men in arms and military garb. Many Lebanese and foreigners deem this trend desirable, as it supposedly shields the country from a long list of threats: criminality, terrorism, intercommunal strife, and the destabilizing effect of refugees, neighboring wars and external subversion. While Lebanese citizens express increasing support for the armed forces, Western governments have ramped up their financial and technical aid programs.
This visible growth runs parallel to a set of subtler but no less momentous shifts relating to expanding Lebanese public spending on the security sector. This trend—which is best illustrated by budgetary data on the Lebanese army, the Internal Security Forces, General Security and State Security—has profound implications regarding both the securitization of Lebanese society and the relative neglect of other vital sectors.
At a glance, the most striking figure concerns the combined weight of the armed forces in the Lebanese state’s annual spending—16% of all state expenditure in 2017, per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This is almost double the proportion in the United States and triple that in China—the two countries with the highest total military spending in the world.
More dramatic still is the evolution of the armed forces’ budget over time, when compared to other essential functions of the state. Published data from the Lebanese Ministry of Finance reflects that, between 2005 and 2017, public spending on military and security personnel increased four times faster than it did for civilian public servants, such as public-school teachers and administrators. Adjusted for inflation, salaries and benefits doubled for the former while remaining stagnant for the latter. Within the same timeframe, salaries and benefits for armed forces personnel, as a percentage of total state spending on human resources, went from 45% to 60%.
This expansion is all the more noteworthy given the rigidity of Lebanese public spending more broadly. The state devotes a third of its total annual budget to paying interest on its sovereign debt—the third largest in the world relative to GDP. It dedicates another estimated 10 to 15% to subsidizing its archaic electricity grid, leaving minimal room for manoeuver on other fronts. As military spending consumes an increasing share of an otherwise static budget, other key sectors inevitably suffer. As such, although Lebanon’s proportional spending on its armed forces is comparable to Jordan, it invests far less in education.
An additional concern lies in the disconnect between outsized spending, on one side, and actual performance, on the other. Since 2007, the Lebanese army’s main combat engagements—namely against militants in the Palestinian camp of Nahr al-Bared and the Eastern town of Arsal—revealed limited combat readiness. Hizbollah’s private army, which maintains a strong presence in Lebanon’s east and south, has on occasions provided backup to state forces in domestic operations. Army barracks, police stations, and checkpoints are often surprisingly run-down.
These shortcomings reflect the fact that virtually all available state funds go to human resources, by contrast with facilities, hardware, maintenance and logistics. In Lebanon, the latter categories represent only 7% of total expenditure, compared to 60% in a country like the US. As a result, Lebanon relies almost completely on external support to finance non- personnel related costs. Washington is the primary benefactor: In 2017, the US provided 250 million USD in security assistance ranging from training to helicopters and missiles.
This disproportionate spending on staff is visible in yet another budget line: allowances and benefits, which include health care, maternity leave, and compensation in the event of death, as well as domestic workers and drivers for high-ranking officers. Combined, they represent 23% of total spending on personnel in the armed forces, compared with 9% in the education sector. Some of these perks extend to family members and endure after retirement, creating a snowball effect where spending expands beyond the scope of active personnel.
Such data illuminates a largely undocumented reality: Lebanon’s armed forces are arguably at least as important for their social and economic functions as for their security role. For countless Lebanese youth, the military and security offer rare job opportunities and a desperately needed social safety net. Meanwhile, for Lebanese elites, such jobs—and especially positions higher up the security totem pole—represent a valuable form of patronage to parcel out among co-religionists. The result is that, in 2009, Lebanon’s military and security apparatus employed roughly 11% of the working population—almost 6% in the army alone. The French army, which is one of the largest in Europe, hovered around 1% that same year.
A naive observer watching a Lebanese checkpoint—where armed men casually wave cars through, day after day—would wonder how such a ritual contributes to the country’s safety. Arguably, though, the sheer number of such checkpoints across Lebanon in fact forms a core element of stability—less by deterring violence than by keeping thousands of ordinary Lebanese from destitution.
Indeed, the security sector’s socioeconomic weight is a natural—and perhaps necessary— consequence of Lebanon’s dismal politics and chronically unproductive economy, which ensure that even the most highly educated Lebanese struggle to find fulfilling employment opportunities. Lebanese politicians, unwilling to enact structural reforms that would affect their own business interests, will continue to drive resources toward a prospering security sector, which in turn provides jobs for their followers. At the same time, European and American decision-makers—obsessed with stamping out terrorism and containing refugees—will further invest in security bodies as an expedient way forward.
Of course, there are consequences to securitization. Lebanese citizens, especially young activists, are increasingly subjected to harsh, arbitrary verdicts rendered in military courts. Some demonstrators protesting the garbage crisis in 2015 were accused of terrorism. Even criticizing politicians on social media may trigger forms of intimidation by security bodies. In other words, Lebanon may be proceeding along a familiar trajectory whereby freedom of expression—and human rights more broadly—will shrink in step with the armed forces’ expansion.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 12-13/18
Deadly Israeli Gaza Operation Threatens to Derail Truce Efforts
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 12/18/A clash that erupted during an Israeli special forces operation in the Gaza Strip and killed eight people threatened on Monday to derail efforts to restore calm to the Palestinian enclave after months of unrest.
The dead from the incident late Sunday included an Israeli army officer and a local commander for Hamas's armed wing. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a trip to Paris and rushed home as tensions rose. Sirens rang out in southern Israel into the early hours of Monday after the clash, signalling rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Israel said it identified 17 launches toward its territory, three of which were intercepted by missile defences. It was not immediately clear where the others landed, but there were no injuries. While the clash threatened to upset weeks of efforts to end unrest along the Gaza-Israel border, calm returned on Monday and Israel stressed its operation was an intelligence-gathering mission and "not an assassination or abduction."The statement from Israeli military spokesman Ronen Manelis signalled that the mission did not go as planned and resulted in the clash, which Palestinian security sources said included Israeli air strikes. An Israeli ground operation to kill or abduct militants inside the Gaza Strip would be rare. Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded enclave, and its armed wing, spoke of a "cowardly Israeli attack" and an "assassination", vowing revenge. Hamas's armed wing said an Israeli special forces team had infiltrated near Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip in a civilian car. Israeli air strikes followed when the operation failed, it said in a statement.  Israel's military had not confirmed those details. Gaza's health ministry said seven Palestinians were killed. The dead included a local commander for Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the brigades said in a statement. He was identified as Nour Baraka. Five others were also Al-Qassam members, while the seventh was a member of a separate militant alliance known as the Popular Resistance Committees, according to Gazan security sources. Israel's army confirmed one of its officers was killed and another was injured.
"During an (Israeli) special forces operational activity in the Gaza Strip, an exchange of fire evolved," the army said in a statement. "At this incident, an IDF officer was killed and an additional officer was moderately injured," it added, referring to the Israel Defence Forces and identifying the officer only by his rank, lieutenant colonel, and the first letter of his name, M. Netanyahu, who had been attending World War I commemorations in Paris, arrived back home on Monday and was to convene a meeting of security chiefs. - 'Protection money' -The clash comes after months of deadly unrest along the Gaza-Israel border, which had appeared to be calming. Recent weeks have seen Israel allow Qatar to provide the Gaza Strip with millions of dollars in aid for salaries as well as fuel to help ease an electricity crisis.
Netanyahu had earlier defended his decision to allow Qatar to transfer the cash to Gaza despite criticism from within his own government over the move, saying he wanted to avoid a war if it wasn't necessary. Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu's education minister and right-wing rival, compared the cash flow to "protection money" paid to criminals. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he had opposed transferring the money to Hamas. Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and recent months of unrest have raised fears of a fourth. Deadly clashes have accompanied major protests along the Gaza-Israel border that began on March 30.
At least 227 Palestinians have since been killed by Israeli fire, the majority shot during protests and clashes, while others died in tank fire or air strikes. Two Israeli soldiers have been killed in that time. Egyptian and UN officials have been mediating between Israel and Hamas in efforts to reach a long-term truce deal.  On Friday, Palestinian civil servants began receiving payments after months of sporadic salary disbursements in cash-strapped Gaza, with $15 million delivered into the enclave through Israel in suitcases by Qatar. A total of $90 million is to be distributed in six monthly instalments, Gaza authorities said, primarily to cover salaries of officials working for Hamas. Qatar has also said it would hand out $100 to each of 50,000 poor families, as well as larger sums to Palestinians wounded in clashes along the Gaza-Israel border. The Gulf emirate has also started buying additional fuel for Gaza's sole power station, allowing outages to be reduced to their lowest level in years.
Guterres: Destruction of Yemen's Hodeida Port Would Be 'Catastrophic'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 12/18/UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned Monday that the destruction of the vital Yemeni port of Hodeida could trigger a "catastrophic" situation, after at least 149 people were killed in heavy clashes. "If the port at Hodeida is destroyed, that could create an absolutely catastrophic situation," Guterres told France Info radio during a trip to Paris.
 U.S. Tells Saudi Prince Khashoggi Killers to Be Held Accountable
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 12/18/Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday the US will hold accountable all those involved in the killing of a dissident Saudi journalist, in a telephone call that also took in the conflict in Yemen. The killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul and the war in Yemen, which has pushed the country to the brink of famine, are two of the main sources of strain in the decades-old alliance between Washington and Riyadh. Prince Mohammed is controversially linked to both: he has played a direct role in overseeing Saudi Arabia's Yemen intervention and has also been accused of orchestrating the October 2 murder of Khashoggi, who was a US resident. "The Secretary emphasized that the United States will hold all of those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable, and that Saudi Arabia must do the same," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
The top US diplomat has previously said Khashoggi's killing "violates the norms of international law," and that the US was reviewing possible sanctions on individuals identified as having been involved.  But Pompeo and US President Donald Trump have also both emphasized America's important commercial, strategic and national security relationships with the petro-state.
Upping the pressure on Saudi Arabia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that Turkey had shared recordings related to Khashoggi's murder with Riyadh, Washington and other capitals, without giving details of their specific contents. After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia finally admitted the 59-year-old journalist had been murdered at its diplomatic mission in what it termed a "rogue" operation. - Reduced US role in Yemen -Ankara has been demanding, to date without success, the extradition of those involved in the killing. Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was critical of Prince Mohammed and the country's intervention in Yemen, a conflict which also came up during the call, said Nauert.  Pompeo "reiterated the United States' calls for a cessation of hostilities and for all parties to come to the table to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict," she said. Pompeo has previously called for an end to the fighting in the impoverished Arab state, saying that Shiite Huthi rebels must stop missile and drone strikes from areas they control, and that the Saudi-led coalition must subsequently halt strikes in populated areas. Pompeo's latest remarks come just days after the announcement of the end of a controversial refueling arrangement between the US and the Saudi-led coalition carrying out strikes in Yemen -- a step that lessens American involvement in the war. Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said he supported Saudi Arabia's decision after the official Saudi Press Agency said the coalition asked for the "cessation of inflight refueling support" from the United States. The end of the arrangement comes amid ongoing international outcry over Saudi actions in Yemen, particularly after a string of high-profile coalition strikes that have killed scores of civilians, many of them children. The Pentagon had provided refueling capabilities for about 20 percent of coalition planes flying sorties over Yemen, supporting a highly controversial intervention led by Riyadh to bolster President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government in the face of an insurgency by the Huthis -- a conflict that has left nearly 10,000 people dead.
Putin Says Had Good Conversation with Trump in Paris
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 12/18/Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had a brief but good conversation with US leader Donald Trump at World War I centenary events in Paris, Russian media reported. When journalists asked Putin whether he managed to speak to Trump on Sunday, he said: "Yes," Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported. Asked how it went, Putin said: "Well."He did not provide further details, but the French presidency said the pair had a wide-ranging discussion during lunch after the commemoration. Host and French President Emmanuel Macron was there and German Chancellor Angela Merkel took part in some of the exchanges, the presidency said. Subjects discussed included the situation in the Middle East, notably Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and North Korea. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump had sat with world leaders including Putin, Macron and Merkel at lunch and the group had held "very good and productive discussions". "The leaders discussed a variety of issues, including the INF (nuclear treaty), Syria, trade, the situation in Saudi Arabia, sanctions, Afghanistan, China, and North Korea," she said. Expectations have been growing for a new Trump-Putin meeting as tensions pile up over the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and US sanctions against Moscow. Last month Trump sparked concerns globally when he said he would ditch the INF pact, as Putin warned that abandoning the treaty would unleash a new arms race and put Europe in danger. Around 70 world leaders travelled to the French capital to mark the centenary of the 1918 Armistice on Sunday.
Arriving last for the event, Putin made for his US counterpart to shake his hand before giving him a thumbs-up sign, while smiling. Speaking in an interview with the Kremlin-backed channel RT France earlier in the day, Putin confirmed the pair did not want to steal French President Emmanuel Macron's thunder. "We agreed not to violate the host's work schedule, we will not organise any meetings here at their request," he said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin and Trump had agreed to hold a more detailed discussion on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina at the end of the month. The Kremlin said earlier that the prospect of a full meeting between the US and Russian presidents had prompted huge international media interest, leading to concern from the French organisers this could overshadow the commemorations.
British FM in Saudi Arabia for Talks on Khashoggi Yemen
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 12/18/British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt held talks Monday with Saudi King Salman, state media said, during a visit to press the kingdom over journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder and the escalating Yemen war. Hunt, who is also expected to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, discussed the "latest developments in the region" with the 82-year-old monarch, the Saudi Press Agency said. The visit comes amid international outrage over the murder of Saudi insider-turned-critic Khashoggi in his country's consulate in Istanbul on October 2. "The international community remain united in horror and outrage at the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi one month ago," Hunt said ahead of his trip, which includes a visit to the United Arab Emirates. "It is clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear. "We encourage the Saudi authorities to co-operate fully with the Turkish investigation into his death, so that we deliver justice for his family and the watching world."
Hunt, who is also seeking to build support for UN efforts to end the three-year conflict in Yemen, also met Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. Britain, along with the United States, are major suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition backing the Yemen government in its fight against Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels. Britain is seeking support among regional partners for new action at the UN Security Council for peace talks in Yemen. "The human cost of war in Yemen is incalculable: with millions displaced, famine and disease rife and years of bloodshed, the only solution is now a political decision to set aside arms and pursue peace," Hunt said ahead of his trip to the Gulf. "Britain has a unique position, both as pen-holder at the UN Security Council and as a key influencer in the region, so today I am travelling to the Gulf to demand that all sides commit to this process. "We are witnessing a manmade humanitarian catastrophe on our watch: now is the window to make a difference, and to get behind both the UN peace process and current UK efforts in the Security Council."Hunt's visit comes after British undersecretary for foreign affairs Simon McDonald held talks with Prince Mohammed and Jubeir in Riyadh. During his Gulf tour, Hunt will also meet Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani. The Foreign Office also said Hunt would raise the case of Matthew Hedges, a PhD student who denies charges of spying in the UAE.
New Border Crossings Open in Divided Cyprus, First in Eight Years
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 12/18/Cypriot officials opened two new border crossings Monday for the first time in eight years, the latest push for peace by the two sides after UN-backed talks collapsed last year. Dozens of people from the island's Greek Cypriot south streamed across the eastern Dherynia border post, walking past United Nations peacekeepers into the breakaway Turkish-backed north. At the same time, the Lefka or Aplici crossing opened in the northwest of the Mediterranean island.
 The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 12-13/18

 The "Separate" Palestinian State

Khaled Abu Toameh/Gatestone Institute/November 12, 2018

To date, Hamas and Fatah have not been able to agree on the interpretation of the "reconciliation" agreements already signed. Fatah claims that the agreements are supposed to allow its Ramallah-based government to assume full responsibility over the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for its part, remains vehemently opposed to relinquishing security control over the Gaza Strip.

Abbas's official news agency, Wafa, issued a strongly worded statement accusing Hamas of being part of a "Zionist-American conspiracy" to detach the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. According to the statement, Hamas is now cooperating with the US and Israel to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip. "There will be no Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip, and there will be no [separate Palestinian] state in the Gaza Strip," the statement quoted Abbas as saying.

Abbas can continue to present himself to the world as the "President of the State of Palestine" as much as he wants. He is only living in an illusion: it is obvious by now that he does not represent the two million Palestinians who are living in a separate Hamas-controlled entity in the Gaza Strip. Abbas has not been able to set foot in the Gaza Strip for the past 11 years, and his chances of ever returning there now seem to be zero.

For the past 11 years, a number of Arab countries have tried to end the power struggle between Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, to no avail. Several "reconciliation" agreements previously signed between Fatah and Hamas have never been implemented. Pictured: Abbas (right) and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal meet on November 24, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt, in one "reconciliation" attempt. (Photo by Mohammed al-Hams/Khaled Mashaal's Office via Getty Images)

Last week, Hamas began paying salaries to thousands of its employees after Qatar sent a $15 million grant in cash to the Gaza Strip. The money was brought to the Gaza Strip by senior Qatari envoy Mohammed El-Amadi through the Erez border crossing with Israel.

The Qatari grant is in the context of efforts by Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations to reach a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas.

The payment was the first of a total of $90 million that the emirate has pledged to send to the Gaza Strip in the next six months, according to Palestinian sources.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, however, remain opposed to an agreement; reports say that one of the reasons they are opposed to a truce accord between Israel and Hamas is because such a deal will pave the way for the establishment of a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.

On November 11, Abbas again accused Hamas of being part of a US and Israeli "conspiracy" to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. He also threatened to impose punitive measures against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on the pretext that the "conspiracy" was aimed at establishing a separate Palestinian state there.

The reality, after all, is that there already is a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, and It has been there since 2007, when Hamas violently seized control of the area and toppled Abbas's Palestinian Authority.

Abbas and the PA, all the same, have since been living in denial. They have even created an alternate reality in their head -- one that continues to believe that it is still possible to establish a sovereign and independent Palestinian state in the entire West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

For the past 11 years, a number of Arab countries, including Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have tried to end the power struggle between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah faction, to no avail. Several "reconciliation" agreements previously signed between Fatah and Hamas have never been implemented.

To date, Hamas and Fatah have not been able to agree on the interpretation of the "reconciliation" agreements already signed. Fatah claims that the agreements are supposed to allow its Ramallah-based government to assume full responsibility over the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for its part, remains vehemently opposed to relinquishing security control over the Gaza Strip. The most Hamas is willing to offer Abbas's government is limited civilian control, which means paying salaries and funding schools, hospitals and other public institutions in the Gaza Strip.

In the past few weeks, Abbas and some of his top officials in Ramallah have warned that any truce between Israel and Hamas will "consolidate" the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, thus paving the way for the establishment of an independent and separate Palestinian state in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Now that understandings appear to have been reached between Israel, Qatar, Egypt and Hamas to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Abbas and his PA officials are seething with rage.

As part of the purported understandings, Qatar sent millions of dollars in cash to the Gaza Strip on November 8. The money will be used to pay thousands of Hamas employees and needy Palestinian families. According to some reports, a senior Qatari official, Mohammed El Amadi, arrived in the Gaza Strip carrying three suitcases stuffed with $15 million.

In response, Abbas's official news agency, Wafa, issued a strongly worded statement accusing Hamas of being part of a "Zionist-American conspiracy" to detach the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. According to the statement, Hamas is now cooperating with the US and Israel to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip. "There will be no Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip, and there will be no [separate Palestinian] state in the Gaza Strip," the statement quoted Abbas as saying.

This claim, of course, is a total misrepresentation of both the reality and facts. If anyone is responsible for a separate Palestinian state that already exists in the Gaza Strip, it is Fatah and Hamas, not Israel and the US. Actually, the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah is completely unrelated to Israel, the US or any other third party. The dispute between the two Palestinian parties is the direct result of a power struggle over money and power.

Neither Israel nor the US helped or condoned Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Hamas managed to topple Abbas's Palestinian Authority in Gaza mainly because his Western-funded security forces surrendered without putting up a fight.

Since then, Hamas and its allies in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have turned the Gaza Strip into a separate and independent Palestinian state. Hamas and PIJ do not recognize Abbas as the legitimate president of the Palestinians. They have, in the Gaza Strip, their own de facto government, Hamas; their own parliament; their own security forces and militias, and even their own laws.

Abbas can continue to present himself to the world as the "President of the State of Palestine" as much as he wants.

He is only living in an illusion: it is obvious by now that he does not represent the two million Palestinians who are living in a separate Hamas-controlled entity in the Gaza Strip. Abbas has not been able to set foot in the Gaza Strip for the past 11 years, and his chances of ever returning there now seem to be zero.

Hamas says that if Abbas dares to enter the Gaza Strip, he will be put on trial for "high treason" -- a crime punishable by death in accordance with Palestinian laws and traditions. In the eyes of Hamas, Abbas is a traitor because he is conducting security coordination with Israel and imposing economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip.

Abbas undoubtedly knows that as long as Hamas and PIJ are in the Gaza Strip, he will never be able to return there. He also undoubtedly knows that he feels safer being in Ramallah than in the Gaza Strip. In Ramallah, he is safe because the IDF is only a few hundred meters away from his headquarters and residence. Were it not for the presence of Israel in the West Bank, Hamas would have toppled Abbas's government a long time ago. It is Israel's ongoing crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank that is keeping Abbas and his government in power.

Abbas most likely does not want to acknowledge this reality. He also most likely does not want to accept any responsibility for the divisions among his people, particularly the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Instead, he is now seeking to accuse everyone else but himself for the fact that there already is a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip. Surreally, Abbas is now accusing Israel and the US of working towards establishing a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip -- when this has been the reality for the past 11 years.

The separate Palestinian state was created in the Gaza Strip the day Hamas took control over the area. It was created there the day Abbas's security forces in the Gaza Strip surrendered to Hamas in 2007.

The separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip was created the day Abbas and his enemies in Hamas failed to honor the several "reconciliation" agreements they had signed in the past decade.

What is even more surreal is that Abbas is now accusing Hamas of collaboration with Israel and the US to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip. This accusation is ridiculous, given the fact that Hamas continues to seek the destruction of Israel and considers the US an enemy of Arabs and Muslims.

Abbas, however, apparently does not want to be confused by reality. He prefers to continue his long-standing strategy of blaming everyone else but himself for the miseries of the Palestinians. The emerging truce deal only confirms the reality that Abbas has been trying to ignore for the past 11 years: that a separate Palestinian state does exist, and it is run by Hamas, PIJ and other armed groups who continue to give the Palestinian president the imperial brush-off.

*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.


The Arab Winter Is Coming

Hassan Hassan/The Atlantic/November 12/18

Three years ago, then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter attributed Iran’s growing dominance to its being “in the game, on the ground.” He urged its regional rivals to do the same, thus expressing a widely shared sentiment in policy circles at the time: Arab Gulf states needed to rely less on the United States and play a greater role in their neighborhood.

In many ways, that is exactly what these countries have been attempting to do since 2015, and now Carter and others have reason to revisit their advice.

In the absence of strong American leadership, now spanning two administrations, the future of the region hinges on what local powers define as priorities, and how they go about trying to achieve them. Even if Washington decides to wake up, it will now find it far more difficult than in the past to assert itself.

What’s happening in the Middle East today can be traced back to the 2011 Arab Spring, which sparked a desire for democratic change among ordinary people and, among governments, a countervailing desire for stability based on the status quo ante.

To go back in time, as it were, the counterrevolutionary bloc—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, and their allies in Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere—believes the future must be more authoritarian than ever. Based on extensive conversations with senior Arab officials, I’ve found that the dominant outlook could be summed up as follows: A heavy-handed domestic and regional approach may well carry risks, but the alternative is worse.

If the autocrats lost control over the masses in 2011, the thinking goes, that was because they did not go far enough in their repression. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak gave some space to the Muslim Brotherhood, political activists, and critical media. Look what happened to him.

As unrest generated by the Arab Spring shifted power away from Arab republics to richer, more stable Gulf monarchies, leaders throughout the region dropped the pretense that they would ever bow, or bend, to the popular will—whether in the direction of more democracy or of more extreme religiosity.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for example, declared in 2017: “We will not waste 30 years trying to deal with extremist ideas; we will eradicate them here and now.” In defense of moderation, he proposed simply stomping out religious radicals. (In American terms: shock and awe, rather than hearts and minds.) And MbS was probably using the term extremist conveniently; the Saudis have since designated as terrorist organizations certain religious groups, such as the International Union of Muslim Scholars, broadly perceived as mainstream.

Generally speaking, authoritarian countries seem more willing than ever before to disregard the desires of the Arab street. It is now an open secret that Gulf states have developed ties with Israel, in the absence of formal relations, including trade partnerships and security deals. Just last week, an Israeli minister toured Abu Dhabi, the national Israeli anthem was reportedly sung in Doha, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a historic visit to Muscat. Such reports, along with continued support for President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” despite his administration’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, have enraged Arab populations.

Of course, there is a constituency for such high-handedness. Elites, secular nationalists, and ordinary people exhausted by or fearful of wars were euphoric following the rise of leaders such as Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt and MbS. They are now banking on their success, convinced that any compromise will undo the “gains” made so far.

In Egypt, the campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood and any form of dissent is the fieriest it’s been in nearly 50 years. Most Islamists and critics are either languishing in jail or living in exile. The regime also consolidated control of the media, once seen as among the most vibrant in the region. To Sisi and his supporters, harsh measures are acceptable because they have stabilized the country. Even Muslim Brotherhood leaders acknowledge that the campaign against it has been effective in the sense that it has been devastating, breaking the organization into multiple pieces. Precisely because crackdowns have worked, the regime and its supporters also back their continuation. Now that a final victory against the Muslim Brotherhood is within reach, why let up?

For counterrevolutionary regimes, the top priority is to prevent a repeat of the 2011 uprisings, and they believe the best way to do that is to stay the repressive course. Which is why recent talk that MbS was doomed, or that he could be replaced after the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, was out of touch with the broad reality of the region. MbS is seen as a key member of the pack of new leaders remaking the Middle East, and the pack will stand by him. This dynamic also informs the continuing blockade of Qatar, as well as the war in Yemen; humanitarian concerns simply don’t matter next to the perceived efficacy of aggression.

Amid revolutionary fatigue, authoritarians have the support of broad segments of their society and a window to consolidate their power. But a diverse group that includes liberal democrats as well as radical Islamists believes that window won’t stay open forever—or even very long—since the economic, political, and social causes of the Arab uprisings in 2011 have largely worsened.

In their quest to consolidate power, authoritarian governments are vesting it in fewer and fewer hands—which might expose them to internal challengers. Political repression, which might crush opposition in the short term, also gives Islamists a legitimate grievance to exploit. And if authoritarians can’t improve the economic lot of their people—as so far they have not—that too hurts their ability to restore stability, and thus to remain in control. Iraq and Jordan, for example, recently saw a wave of uprisings over unpopular economic policies.

No space for reconciliation or compromise exists between authoritarian governments and their democratic or Islamist opponents. If the strongmen win—and they have a real chance—then the West will have to abandon its dream of a more politically open Middle East (the vision sparked by the Arab Spring). If they fail—and there is a compelling argument that they could—their countries could experience a period of turmoil on the scale of the Syrian civil war. In this volatile environment, the United States is ominously absent. Iran’s rivals are “in the game, on the ground,” just as Carter advised three years ago. Missing from the scene is an umpire to manage conflicts and halt the autocrats’ worst instincts. The United States seems not to care what’s happening in the region at this moment, but the real risk of apathy is that it will bring forth a future that’s even less stable than the past.


Trump's Iran Policy Cannot Succeed Without Allies

James Clapper and Thomas R. Pickering/The National Interest/November 12/18

"Then there were none” was Agatha Christie’s most memorable mystery about a house party in which each guest was killed off one by one. Donald Trump’s policy toward Iran has resulted in much the same: a vanishing one by one of American partners who were previously supportive of U.S. leadership in curbing Iran, particularly its nuclear program.

Dozens of states, painstakingly cultivated over decades of American leadership in blocking Iran’s nuclear capability, are now simply gone. One of America’s three remaining allies on these issues, Saudi Arabia, has become a central player in American strategy throughout the Middle East region. But the Saudis, because of the Jamal Khashoggi killing and other reasons, may have cut itself out of the action. The United Arab Emirates, so close to the Saudis, may also fall away.

Such paucity of international support has left the Trump administration dangerously isolated. “America First” should not mean America alone. The United States risks losing the cooperation of historic and proven allies in the pursuit of other U.S. national security interests around the world, far beyond Iran.

Who done it? It is no mystery. The Trump administration’s withdrawal last spring from the Iran nuclear agreement caused the death of support for U.S. policy. That agreement had been negotiated with Iran by six major world powers and the European Union. It was fully endorsed by the UN Security Council and received overwhelming support from the UN’s member states.

European allies share many of our concerns about Iran’s regional activities, but they strongly oppose U.S. reinstitution of secondary sanctions against them. They see the Trump administration’s new sanctions as a violation of the nuclear agreement and UN Security Council resolutions and as undermining efforts to influence Iranian behavior. The new sanctions and those applied on November 5 only sap European interest in cooperating to stop Iran. The mounting European and Asian opposition to U.S. overreach is also stirring deeply-held concerns about the dominant role of the U.S. Treasury and the overwhelming power the U.S. dollar plays over the world’s economic system. For the first time, our European allies are actively working to circumvent the U.S. Treasury, sanctions and dollar. Moreover, Russia, China and others in Asia delight in seeing further division of the Western Alliance and the loss of American leadership.

Without international backing of its Iran strategy, the Trump administration is deprived of the political and diplomatic partnership required to achieve its objectives in the Middle East. The United States alone cannot permanently prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon; block Iran’s export of ballistic missiles; end Iran’s support for Hezbollah threats. Covert or military action won’t help us achieve our objectives. Only well calibrated multilateral political, economic and diplomatic pressure brought to bear on Iran with many and diverse partners will produce the results we seek.

More urgently, the release of American citizens from Iran’s prisons will only happen through direct, quiet U.S. diplomacy. This must be built on an improved bilateral environment, not the heightened hostility of the administration’s unilateral, extreme pressure. There is no question that the administration’s go-it-alone strategy has damaged Iran’s economy and increased internal discord. But this outsized pressure has emboldened Iran’s hardliners, other states in the region and Iran’s population, a dynamic that is not advantageous to us. In the past, such an approach has not resulted in bringing about a more reasonable, pliable or cooperative government in Tehran—much less one that will decide to return to the negotiating table with the United States.

The United States cannot provoke regime change in Iran any more than it has successfully in other nations in the region. And, drawing on strategies used to topple governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States should be wary of launching or trying to spur a military invasion of Iran. The now severely damaged partnership with the Saudi crown prince, on which the Trump administration has relied to carry out an already flawed strategy, underscores the need to return to a genuine multilateral alliance.

The United States can succeed in reaching its objectives with Tehran only through the deliberate cultivation of broad partnerships based on leveraged and patient diplomacy. And many partners are better than none.


A disastrous scenario stares Tehran in the face

Nadim Koteich/Al Arabiya/November 12/18

The 4th of November will be remembered as a glorious day of confrontation with the Iranian regime. The re-imposition of US sanctions is the last thing Tehran would have wanted to face at the moment when it is going through its largest “revolutionary” expansion in the region and one of the most critical of its domestic situations since 1979.

Iran's problem with US President Donald Trump issues from the clarity of the man. He had stated in his presidential campaign that the nuclear agreement is the worst deal in history, and that he would revoke it if he won the presidency. He has done exactly as he had promised.

The Trump offensive

Trump is also honest when he says he wants good relations with Iran. His only demand is actually quite simple: Iran should stop being the way Iran is. Trump does not know how to use Kissinger’s equations like the phrase “it is necessary for Iran to transform from being a revolution into becoming a state.” His advisors do not have the imaginative literary and narrative techniques such as those possessed by former President Barack Obama's adviser Ben Rhodes, who had written about Tehran's tight grip and Obama’s open hand to greet the Iranians.

Trump speaks a different language, a simpler and a more interactive one. You give me something and I give you something back and when this does not work, he says, as he told the North Korean president: “My nuclear button is bigger than yours.”

Trump really wishes to see an Iran that is different from the one we know now. He sees in Iran a huge market that needs everything from cotton socks to oil refineries and all that lies in between. He also sees its tourism potential and its role for bringing stability in Asia as well as a gateway to solve other intractable problems in this part of the world — from Israel's security, to solving the intractable peace crisis, alleviating the climate of extremism and terrorism and extinguishing many of the wars that have come to threaten the security of a united Europe because of their displaced victims. This is the most important transatlantic American security achievement after World War II.

Trump is not an ideological man. What he really wants is to reach a new agreement that opens the door to a new Iran. He is not seeking to change the regime, though some inkling of this idea has started to emerge in his administration via the remnants of the George Bush administration, particularly through national security adviser John Bolton. It is not his goal to provide credentials to anyone in the name of America to change its image, as Obama’s concern was and who thought that the world would change if he just finds the right words to address it.

Economic slump

Trump’s policy is as simple as the Iranian crisis. He does not have a doctrinal rhetoric that can be confronted with a doctrinal rhetoric, and he is only asking the regime the same things that the Iranians themselves are asking of their regime.

It is unfortunate for the regime that these oil sanctions –oil is the backbone of the Iranian regime as it feeds 80% of the treasury's revenues – comes at a time characterized by two factors. The first one is a global economic slowdown and a series of currency crises stretching from Argentina to Turkey. This means the decline of demand on oil. Second, expectations of surpluses in oil supplies in the first half of 2019 comes from either a rise in Saudi and Russian output to protecting prices from harmful hikes, or the introduction of new producers or barrels from non-traditional producers such as Canada and the US. The environment surrounding American sanctions guarantees drying up of Iran's oil revenues and protecting current oil prices and preventing them from going up and threatening global economic disasters. In addition, there are temporary exemptions granted by the Trump administration to eight countries to continue buying Iranian oil, which do not benefit Iran but are placed in special accounts within the procuring state and in the local currency and are only used to pay Iranian bills for food, drugs and materials that are not subject to sanctions.

Iran’s options

A disastrous scenario stares Tehran in the face and it stipulates that Tehran may resort to escalation in Bab al-Mandeb and the Strait of Hormuz to create a militarily tense environment threatening oil trade and increasing oil prices in the hope that the world will turn against the United States. About 12% of the total international trade passes through Bab al-Mandeb, and in 2016 the strait was a gateway for 4.8 million barrels of oil per day, of which 2.8 million barrels of oil per day headed towards Europe. In 2016, the Strait of Hormuz accounted for more than 30% of the total trade of crude oil and liquid gas transported overseas. But any untoward incidents in Bab al-Mandeb and the Strait of Hormuz, or any obstruction of Saudi and UAE transport pipelines in that spot and striking the bases of the Trump plan, will push Europe into America's lap and not the other way around and will prove to the world that Iran is indeed the irrational state that Trump had warned of. Tehran may thus subject itself to a direct military strike launched against it by the Trump administration.

The second option, which is the most likely one is that Iran will swallow the bitter pill of sanctions and lick its economic wounds for the next two years in the hope that the term of Trump will end and he won’t return for a second term. Tehran will then move on to negotiate with the new US administration by the end of 2020. Iran believes it has the time, but the reality on the ground indicates otherwise.


Preparing our graduates for the real world is worthwhile

Dr. Mohamed A. Ramady/Al Arabiya/November 12/18

It is just as important to prepare our undergraduate students for the real world before graduating, as it is to instil them with sound academic knowledge. For far too long in the Gulf, the emphasis has been on the latter with inadequate attention to the former leading to a mixture of initial elation after graduation followed by depression.

The feeling of hopefulness after those wonderful years at university with all the freedom it bestows, is soon turned to helplessness. The social life had been amazing for many and probably too excessive for some, with lots of new, life-long friends and potential business partners and networkers, as well as spending hours in the library on coursework and preparing for exams. For many lucky enough to be a student, this hard work has paid off, but the reality is different.

The feeling of relief and sense of achievement could soon be followed by a sense of being lost and the reason is simple – a university prepares young people for the transition from adolescence into adulthood - but does it prepare them for the realities of working life?

Graduating students feel that they come out with a good degree and then reality hits as they cannot find that dream job or even any job and they soon become quite overwhelmed. And then there is a huge pressure to succeed from their parents, even though they have the best intentions for their children.

Statistically, graduates are still more likely to be employed than people with fewer qualifications and the attraction of going to university is still there, especially for Gulf students where most fees and other upkeep costs are paid by the state, whether at local universities or though international scholarship programs.

Saudi Arabia currently has one of the worlds largest international scholarship program, the King Abdullah Scholarships with around 160,000 students enrolled in many foreign universities. The aim is to ensure that these overseas students acquire skills and knowledge that are not available in local universities so as to assist with the future economic and social development of the Kingdom.

What can universities do then to prepare their graduates for the real world? Many have instituted industry secondments whereby students spend anywhere between 3 to 7 months with companies doing real work, with the added bonus that the firm might offer these students a permanent job after graduation if they had met the placement company expectations.

That is the theory, but in reality not much thought is given as to what type of firm is most suited for the student assignment, whether that company will indeed have a meaningful mentoring and coaching program that passes on real world skills, or these firms see such student placement as a burden they have to bear for localization quotas.

Gauging the real world

Universities whose Faculty is exclusively composed by those with pure academic backgrounds, with no combined practical experience will not be able to gauge the real world market environment to guide their students. Such a combination of Faculty talent is still rare in Gulf universities.

To overcome such a deficiency, Universities do invite professionals from a wide variety of industries to deliver lectures and provide personal insights on their own career paths and the industry they work in, as well as initiating student group visits to companies.

Some have used Adjunct Professors from industry to add depth to their academic programs. Those Universities that are more involved with their graduates future, have established dedicated Career Offices run by professionals from the real world who can guide students on the evolving requirements of the labor market and current demand for graduates in many areas whether it is in statistics, petroleum and chemical engineering, IT, Artificial Intelligence, insurance, risk management, media, supply chain or renewable energy to name but a few which are in vogue in the Gulf today . The importance of setting up such world class career advisory offices, run by well paid and experienced industry professionals with contacts in all business sectors cannot be underestimated.

But university students have to do their bit too before they graduate, and taking up a summer job, however humble, whether working as a fast food salesman , a shelf picker in a supermarket , a hospital ward assistant or a warehouse worker can only provide the student with a worldly view of less glamorous jobs and how each and every worker is a valuable person to the whole organization .

The summer jobs will teach students that to give orders later on in life, they need to learn to take orders now from others and dispense with the so called“ mudeer “ or boss syndrome that they are born as managers. International companies like to see such initiatives on graduate CV’s as many of the senior managers of these firms will share with pride their own experiences, and their feeling that it made them better managers of a diverse range of people . Taking on these interim jobs will also ensure that upon graduation, they seek all available job opportunities in the belief that it can open doors in other areas or other firms later on in entirely different career paths. The alternative is for students to become“ voluntarily unemployed“, waiting for that dream mudeer job in only a few prime, mostly public sector opportunities to turn up . To their astonishment, many others are thinking the same ,and soon they will either become disillusioned and depressed and cease looking for jobs, instead depending on their parents for financial support, or go on to pursue higher education degrees to give them a competitive job advantage, with a different set of risk –rewards in taking this route.

Gulf university students are still luckier than many of their peers in countries where these students have to pay for their tuition and upkeep fees, thus running up large debts after graduation , only adding to their misery and depression if they cannot find jobs to repay these debts . Some decide to take a “gap year” after graduation, going around the world, doing charitable work, living with exotic people and other cultures and visiting the remotest parts of the world. This hardens them and makes them even more valuable to prospective employers and is certainly far better than sitting around playing beloot and smoking shishas with the same group of friends every night.


Despite positive outlook on economy, Pakistan still looks to IMF for help

Sabena Siddiqui/Al Arabiya/November 12/18

Contrary to popular expectations that there might be no need to approach the IMF after all as the financial crisis has been averted, the Pakistan government has requested the Fund for an “economic recovery program”. As confirmed by Gerry Rice, Director Communication at the IMF, “Pakistan approached IMF in Indonesia for a fresh loan program in month of October.” Thus, it appears that going to the IMF never stopped being part of the plan.

Considering the state of the Pakistan economy, it does need corrective measures and does need IMF regulations as the current account deficit spiraled by 43 percent in the last fiscal year while the budget deficit is 6.6 percent of the economic output. Having plunged 42 percent, foreign reserves were hardly enough to provide import cover for two months.

Expected to range between six to eight billion dollars minimum, IMF support would help in carrying forward the long-term planning of the young government. Kicking off on a ‘technical level’ to formulate the previously mentioned policy, the talks with the IMF shall end on November 20 with the Pakistan government presenting an estimate of the loan package it requires. Traditionally, governments would secure a bailout without fixing the underlying issues and just hand over a worse economy every time a new party came into power.

This time round, the new government wants to fix the malaise and bring Pakistan out from its chronic financial woes. Therefore, the Pakistan government does want a reform agenda and IMF fiscal disciplines that can help boost exports

Financial woes and the IMF

This time round, the new government wants to fix the malaise and bring Pakistan out from its chronic financial woes. Therefore, the Pakistan government does want a reform agenda and IMF fiscal disciplines that can help boost exports, reduce the deficit and streamline the economy on a more sustainable pattern so that IMF bailouts are not required in the future. According to experts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Pakistan represents a litmus test of all future cases in which the IMF, United States, China, and any emerging market country are all involved.”

Apparently, this could be an emerging pattern, which might not be restricted just to Pakistan in the future. Formulating a new policy to fix the problems with Pakistan’s economy, the IMF will carry out corrective measures and suggest structural reforms while the specific conditions of the bailout package will be finalized towards the end of the visit. Reviewing economic data from several sectors, the IMF team is expected to try and fix the power sector as it is responsible for a depletion in Pakistan’s growth by three percent yearly.

Another advantage is that once the IMF gets involved, other institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank also extend their co-operation and give credit rating approval. In fact, the ADB has already committed six billion dollars for financing infrastructure development in Pakistan for the next three years.

However, keeping in mind the IMF track record of introducing strict measures to regulate economies, it might alienate the lower strata of society from the ruling party in the very first 100 days. Devaluing the country’s currency, driving up the tax ratio and introducing budget cuts, these conditions usually curb imports to bring down the trade deficit as well.

Improving the economy

Consequently, the Pakistan government wishes to take a minimal loan instead of the $12 billion package offered by the IMF on easy terms. Wanting to negotiate with the IMF from an “improved position”, the government has been trying to stabilize the economy beforehand with help from friendly countries. Ostensibly, this was to avoid any conditions placed by the IMF that might be too intrusive, controlling or against the country’s broader national interest.

Requiring an urgent capital boost as foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan dipped below $8 billion in the last week of October, Prime Minister Imran Khan had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia where he secured a $6 billion aid package. Recently, he spent three days in China but no specific results have been announced and details would be available after further discussions in the coming weeks. As reported by media before the visit, if a sizable amount had been acquired from China, there might even have been no need to approach the IMF after all. But as it has turned out, the bailout is inevitable anyway and the only debatable aspect is the size of the economic package.

Avoiding maximum fallout from the IMF package as it would impact the poor most of all, Khan has done his level best to avoid a financial squeeze. Nevertheless, the IMF is likely to insist on reduced spending, further currency devaluations and an increase in interest rates. Such measures could ultimately prove to be a hurdle in Khan’s way and slow down implementation of his planned reforms. Assessing Pakistan’s prospects, Jean-Francois Fiorina from the Grenoble Ecole de Management has said that, “Pakistan is facing economic trouble and urgently needs to find extra funds,” adding that, “This is maybe the best solution at short-term but it could create a new bomb in the future.”


After a century, has the ideas of World War I died?

Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/November 12/18

It’s true that World War I was mainly a western European war but it did not gain the title “World War” out of nothing but due to its horrific consequences which continue to this day, yes to this day, in many parts of the world including the Arabs’ and Muslims’ world.

November this year, particularly 11th November, marks an entire century since the truce went into effect and since the war ended on the military front.

There is an audiotape that consists of several recordings put together from the French-German front and which documents the last minutes of the war. It documents the sounds of the mortars at the American Front at River Moselle, a left tributary of the Rhine, one minute before and one minute after the war ended.

It’s a very touching tape especially as you hear the sound of the mortars gradually falling silent and then you hear the birds twitter as if they’re celebrating the end of war. The tape is displayed at the Imperial War Museum for the 100th anniversary of the war’s end.

However, let’s observe the consequences of World War I on us. I will not talk about the disasters it inflicted on Arabs such as famine, Ottoman compulsory recruitment, Seferberlik, the British empire’s manipulation of the Arabs’ dreams and sentiment and the European powers’ conflict on Arabs’ territories of which the Battle of El Alamein between Egypt and Libya is an example. I will talk about one repercussion. It’s well-known that the leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress toppled their dangerous Ottoman sultan in 1909 after he ruled for almost three decades (1876 – 1909). During this time, Sutlan Abdul Hamid employed propaganda to solidify the sanctity of the caliph post and to intensify marketing the idea of the caliphate.

Is World War I worth remembering and examining to us, Arabs and Muslims, after a century has now passed?

Even after the departure of Abdul Hamid and the departure of Mehmed V, Mehmed VI and Abdulmejid afterwards, the Abdul Hamid propaganda remained a main driving force of caliphate movements. Among the results of that phase was the birth of the Muslim Brotherhood itself as the caliphate occupied a main pillar in the group’s doctrinal structure and in the structure of branching groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS (ISIS caliphate is an example).

The Exalted Ottoman Empire withered like others empires of that time, Russia, Austria and Hungary, due to that war. And then came the revolution of Ottoman “invading” General Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to save the country from invaders. Ataturk was enthroned as the Turks’ hero, unlike the weak sultan in Istanbul.

We’re still there at the war fronts, and most importantly, in the ideas and principles which the war produced or which produced the war!

It was a horrific war in which around 11 million soldiers were killed by mortars and machine guns. Around 56 million recruits were dispatched for military service in the all the countries that participated in the war. Churches, mosques, hospitals, towns and cities were destroyed.

Is World War I worth remembering and examining to us, Arabs and Muslims, after a century had passed?