November 15/18
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field
Saint Matthew 13/44-46/:"‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls;on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.
First Letter to the Corinthians 10/01-13/:"I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.’We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it."

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 14-15/18
Trump Picks U.S. General of Lebanese Descent for Ambassador to KSA/Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 15/18
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman Resigns Over Hamas Ceasfire/Jerusalem Post/November 14/18
Opinion/Why the Sultan of Oman Invited Netanyahu/Amatzia Baram/Haaretz/November 14/18
World faces continued crises as it observes World War I centenary/Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/November 14/18
Did we exaggerate hostility towards the Brotherhood/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/November 14/18
Without knowing it, Macron has kicked himself in the foot/Mamdouh AlMuhaini/Al Arabiya/November 14/18
Countdown to mullahs’ belligerence begins/Mohammed Al Shaikh/Al Arabiya/November 14/18
The West Must Offer Immediate Asylum to Asia Bibi/Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/November 14/18
The Jews of the North Africa under Muslim Rule/Ruthie Blum/Gatestone Institute/November 14/18

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 14-15/18
Nabil Berri should do something and save the Shia’a and Lebanese
Trump Picks U.S. General of Lebanese Descent for Ambassador to KSA
Reward Offered for Information Leading to Two Hezbollah Commanders
Lebanese Christian civil war foes shake hands, make up after 40 years
Geagea, Franjieh End 40-Year Rift in Historic Bkirki Reconciliation
Lebanese Leaders Welcome Geagea-Franjieh Reconciliation
Hariri praises LF-Marada reconciliation: Pages of pain, hostility and worry turned
Former President Amine Gemayel Hails LF-Marada Reconciliation
Kataeb Leader Sami Gemayel Praises Reconciliation, Says It Turns Painful Page in Lebanon's History
Kataeb MP, Nadim Gemayel: Aoun, Hariri Must Have Upper Hand in Government Formation
US sanctions four Hezbollah operatives over action in Iraq
Berri: Hariri, Nasrallah Left Door Open for Solutions
Bassil Meets Mufti Deryan over Sunni MPs Hurdle
Report: Govt. Hurdle at its ‘Peak’, Bassil Meets Grand Mufti
U.S. Takes Aim at Hizbullah Regional Role, Sanctioning Leader's Son
Jan Kubis Appointed New UN Coordinator for Lebanon
Lebanon: Law on Missing Persons Is 'Moral Victory' for Families

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 14- 15/18
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman Resigns Over Hamas Ceasfire
Israel Defense Minister Quits after Ceasefire, Government in Turmoil
Hamas Calls Israel Minister's Resignation a 'Victory for Gaza'
Iran’s president says America chose wrong path on sanctions, will be defeated
Iraq to exchange food for Iranian gas, seeks US approval
Amnesty calls on Iran to disclose fate of hundreds of detained Ahwazi Arabs
Iran Executes Two Men Over 'Economic Crimes'
Iran: Police Arrest Dozens in Dollar Crackdown
Two IRGC Members Gunned Down Near Abadan
Iran: Statements on Spread of Money Laundering Spur Anger Against Zarif
Fears over Iraqi Version of Iranian 'Revolutionary Guard'
Boko Haram kills at least 16 farmers in latest attacks in Nigeria's Borno state
Official Denies Claims of Coup in Eastern Libya
New Iraq Government Plans to Uproot ISIS Extremists- Kubis
Iraqi Sunnis Nominate Salim al-Jabouri as Defense Minister
EU Questions Fate of Refugee Aid in Turkey
Pro-Govt. Forces Halt Yemen Port Offensive as UAE Backs Talks
Kremlin Laments U.S. 'Unpredictability' under Trump

Latest Lebanese Related News published on November 14-15/18
Nabil Berri should do something and save the Shia’a and Lebanese
Roger Bejjani/November 14/18
It is pretty obvious that Iran is using the Lebanese government deadlock (created by them) as a bargaining chip they can make use of in the midst of the reinstatement of the sanctions. Hassan Nasrallah is clearly and not surprisingly using Lebanon and the Lebanese in the sole interest of his patrons: the Islamic Republic of Iran. That’s the naked truth. This domestic terrorist in chief and hostage taker is the only danger threatening this country and its future. Nabil Berri should do something and save the Shia’a and Lebanese from the abyss Nasrallah is pushing us in.

Trump Picks U.S. General of Lebanese Descent for Ambassador to KSA
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 15/18
U.S. President Donald Trump has tapped John Abizaid, a top U.S. general from the Iraq war who has studied the Middle East for years, as ambassador to Saudi Arabia amid growing friction between the longstanding allies.
Abizaid is a fluent Arabic speaker of Lebanese descent who headed U.S. Central Command -- which covers the Middle East -- during the Iraq war from shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2003 through 2007. The 67-year-old wrote his master's thesis at Harvard University about Saudi Arabia, studying how the kingdom makes its decisions on defense spending, in a paper that won acclaim in academic circles.A California native, Abizaid graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and later won a scholarship to study in Jordan, where he honed his Arabic, which he did not speak as a child.
Trump has been slow in filling key posts amid his promises to shake up Washington. But the absence of an ambassador in Riyadh, nearly two years into his presidency, has become more glaring amid rising tensions between the countries. Trump, who quickly forged a close relationship with Saudi Arabia upon taking office, has been forced to criticize the kingdom and its powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, after a team from the kingdom killed a U.S.-based critical journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Amid a U.S. souring on the heir apparent, the United States has also curbed cooperation and demanded a halt to the Saudi-led military campaign against rebels in Yemen that has contributed to a humanitarian crisis believed to be the worst in the world. But U.S. pleas -- made by telephone rather than in person by an ambassador -- have failed to sway the Saudis. Abizaid requires confirmation from the Senate, which would appear likely as the retired four-star general has long enjoyed respect in Washington. Shortly after taking over as CENTCOM commander, Abizaid told reporters that U.S. forces were facing a "classical guerrilla-type campaign" from remnants of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.His choice of words contradicted his bosses, who initially tried to portray the Iraq invasion as a quick victory, but then defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld did not move to replace him amid admiration for Abizaid's skills.And soon after retiring in 2007, Abizaid said that, while the United States should try to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, "there are ways to live with a nuclear Iran," describing the clerical state's behavior as rational and noting the United States also dealt with a nuclear-armed Soviet Union.

Reward Offered for Information Leading to Two Hezbollah Commanders 14th November 2018/The U.S. State Department on Tuesday announced it was offering a reward of up to $5 million in exchange for information leading to three leaders from Hezbollah and Hamas.
The wanted individuals have been identified as Khalil Yusif Harb and Haytham Ali Tabataba’i (Hezbollah) and Salih Al-Aruri (Hamas). According to the announcements made by the Reward for Justice program, Khalil Yusif Harb, who was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in August 2013, is a close adviser to Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, and has served as the group’s chief military liaison to Iranian and Palestinian terrorist organizations. It also added that Harb has commanded and supervised the organization’s military operations in the Palestinian territories and several countries throughout the Middle East. Since 2012, Harb has been involved in the movement of large amounts of currency to Hezbollah’s political allies in Yemen. Haytham ‘Ali Tabataba’i has been identified as a key Hezbollah military leader who has commanded the group's special forces in both Syria and Yemen. "Tabataba’i’s actions in Syria and Yemen are part of a larger Hezbollah effort to provide training, materiel, and personnel in support of its destabilizing regional activities," the announcement noted. In October 2016, the Department of State designated Tabataba’i as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. From Hamas, Salih Al-Aruri, one of the founders of Hamas's military wing known as the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, is wanted for funding and directing Hamas military operations in the West Bank and being linked to several terrorist attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings. Al-Aruri, who serves as the deputy leader of the Hamas Political Bureau, announced Hamas’s responsibility for the June 12, 2014, attack that kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, including dual U.S.–Israeli citizen Naftali Fraenkel. In September 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Al-Aruri as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

Lebanese Christian civil war foes shake hands, make up after 40 years
Reuters, Beirut/Wednesday, 14 November 2018/Christian rivals from the Lebanese civil war, Samir Geagea and Suleiman Frangieh, shook hands with each other on Wednesday, marking a formal reconciliation to end more than four decades of enmity. Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces (LF) political party, and Frangieh, head of the Marada party, have been foes since the early days of the 1975-1990 civil war. The two parties had armed militias during the conflict that battled against each other. The war, which drew in regional powers, included fighting between the country’s main sects and rival factions within those sects. The men, both Maronite Christians, met to reconcile at the seat of the sect’s Patriarch Bechara al-Rai in Bkerki, north of Beirut. They shook hands with Rai and then with each other after several failed reconciliation attempts over the years. Geagea has been accused of leading a raid in 1978 on the home of Frangieh’s father, Tony Franjieh, a rival Maronite Christian chieftain, who was killed with his wife, daughter and others. Geagea has said he was wounded before reaching Frangieh’s house, and did not take part himself. This is the second rapprochement of recent years between civil war Maronite Christian rivals. In January 2016 Geagea endorsed then presidential candidate Michel Aoun for the Lebanese presidency, ending his own rival candidacy for the position, which must be held by a Maronite Christian under Lebanon’s sectarian power sharing system. Geagea and Aoun, who fought each other in the 1975-90 civil war, have been on opposite sides of the political divide since Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2005. President Aoun is a political ally of the Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah, whereas Geagea is a staunch opponent of the group. Frangieh is a close ally of Syrian President and Hezbollah ally Bashar al-Assad. Tony Frangieh, Suleiman’s son, said the reconciliation was a good thing for all Lebanese and was not connected to any presidential aims. “We are looking forward to the future by achieving this reconciliation,” he told Lebanese broadcaster al-Jadeed at the ceremony.

Geagea, Franjieh End 40-Year Rift in Historic Bkirki Reconciliation

Naharnet/November 15/18/Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh held a reconciliation meeting Wednesday in Bkirki, turning the page on a 40-year-long rift between their two parties. The meeting was sponsored by Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi and held in the presence of a large number of officials from the two parties. Describing the meeting as “great,” al-Rahi said “all those who cherish rapprochement, dialogue and peace for the sake of the country are pleased by this meeting today.”
“We cannot think of comprehensive national unity unless Maronites are part of this unity,” the patriarch added. “I have always been against two-party, three-party and four-party alliance, seeing as we are with all the people and all state institutions,” al-Rahi went on to say.
The rift between the two parties dates back to the 1978 Ehden Massacre which resulted in the death of Franjieh’s father, mother and three-year-old sister. Dozens of Marada supporters were also killed in the carnage. Marada accuses Geagea, the LF’s military commander in the North at the time, of leading the squad that carried out the operation. Geagea denies the allegations, arguing that he had been wounded and taken to hospital prior to the carnage. A statement issued by Bkirki and the two parties after the meeting said the reconciliation “stems from a will to shoulder the historic responsibility and from concern over the fate” of the country and its Christian community. “It has nothing to do with ‘political bazars’ and does not seek to make any change to the scene of the current political alliances in Lebanon and the North,” the statement said. It also noted that as “each party holds onto its political beliefs and principles” they will seek to “lay the foundations for a permanent dialogue.”Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Geagea described the move as a “white, beautiful and historic day.”Franjieh for his part said the meeting was “Christian par excellence.”“We did not tackle the daily details but rather the sentimental values and we are opening a new chapter but not at anyone’s expense,” he added. Asked whether a “reconciliation” with the Free Patriotic Movement will follow, Franjieh said: “We don’t have a rift with the FPM and when the President invites us to Baabda we are ready.” Al-Rahi had announced prior to the meeting Bkirki is "against two-party, three-party and four-party alliances.""We are with the entire people," he added.

Lebanese Leaders Welcome Geagea-Franjieh Reconciliation

Naharnet/November 15/18/Lebanese leaders on Wednesday welcomed a historic reconciliation between Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh. “The reconciliation between the LF and the Marada Movement is a white chapter that puts an end to chapters of pain, animosity and unease. We congratulate Suleiman Beik and Dr. Samir Geagea on this major event which was reached under (Maronite) Patriarch (Beshara) al-Rahi’s sponsorship,” PM-designate Saad Hariri tweeted. Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil said he welcomes “the Marada-LF reconciliation and every other Lebanese reconciliation,” saying the move “closes a wound that was left open for 40 years and completes a reconciliatory course that had started with the return of the General (President Michel Aoun) in 2005.”Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel meanwhile said the reconciliation “turns the page on a painful chapter in the history of Christians and Lebanon,” thanking al-Rahi for sponsoring it. He also hoped the move will be “an additional step towards building national reconciliation on the basis of real democracy and respect for diversity and pluralism.” “We cannot build a country if our relation is based on the grudges of war,” Independence Movement leader MP Michel Mouawad, who hails from Franjieh’s Zgharta region, said. The LF-Marada rift had started with the 1978 Ehden Massacre which resulted in the death of Franjieh’s father, mother and three-year-old sister. Dozens of Marada supporters were also killed in the carnage. Marada accuses Geagea, the LF’s military commander in the North at the time, of leading the squad that carried out the operation. Geagea denies the allegations, arguing that he had been wounded and taken to hospital prior to the bloodbath.

Hariri praises LF-Marada reconciliation: Pages of pain, hostility and worry turned
Wed 14 Nov 2018/NNA - "The reconciliation between the Lebanese Forces and the Marada Movement is a white page that has been turned, after pages of pain, hostility and worry," Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri said via Twitter. "We congratulate Sleiman Frangieh and Dr. Samir Geagea on this great achievement which has been made under the auspices of Patriarch Rahi."

Former President Amine Gemayel Hails LF-Marada Reconciliation 14th November 2018/Former President Amine Gemayel on Wednesday hailed the reconciliation between the Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea and Marada leader Sleiman Frangieh, saying that this reunion encloses the real national and Christian spirit that the country has been long missing. "We hope that this emotional, national event would pave the way for a new path in Lebanon's political life and lay the foundations for a new approach that is based on impartiality to overcome negative feelings regardless of its depth and motives," read a statement issued by Gemayel. The ex-president congratulated both Frangieh and Gemayel for their initiative, hoping that such a reunion would help heal the wounds from the bitter past that Lebanon had undergone.

Kataeb Leader Sami Gemayel Praises Reconciliation, Says It Turns Painful Page in Lebanon's History 14th November 2018/Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Wednesday praised the reconciliation between the Lebanese Forces party and the Marada Movement, commending the two party leaders for turning a painful page in the history of Lebanon and the Christians. "I also congratulate Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi and thank him for sponsoring this reconciliation," he said in a statement.
Gemayel stressed that the Kataeb party had constantly encouraged such reunions, voicing hope that the LF-Marada rapprochement would serve as a further step towards a broader national reconciliation that is based on real democracy, respect of each other's differences, pluralism and the freedom of political activism; all through the sole and exclusive authority of the Lebanese

Kataeb MP, Nadim Gemayel: Aoun, Hariri Must Have Upper Hand in Government Formation 14th November 2018/Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Beirut, Elias Audi, on Wednesday met with Kataeb MP Nadim Gemayel, with talks featuring high on the latest developments in the country. Following the meeting, Gemayel slammed the latest speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah as "intimidating" "threatening", voicing rejection of such a tense rhetoric which only exacerbates the political stalemate. "We call on President Michel Aoun and PM-Designate Saad Hariri to form a government swiftly so that our country can move forward because the situation has become unbearable," Gemayel said. Gemayel pointed out that the Kataeb party, despite decision to not join the new government, is not obstructing the formation process, adding that the two top officials must deal with this issue strictly because they must decide either to have the upper hand or to hand the decision-making power to someone else. “The President and the PM-designate must form the government and not to leave it in the hands of anyone else,” Gemayel stressed.

US sanctions four Hezbollah operatives over action in Iraq
The Associated Press, Washington/Wednesday, 14 November 2018/The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on four operatives linked to the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah over its actions in Iraq. In a statement Tuesday, the Treasury Department called Hezbollah “a terrorist proxy for the Iranian regime that seeks to undermine Iraqi sovereignty and destabilize the Middle East.”The sanctions targeted Ubayd Al-Zaydi, Yusuf Hashim, Adnan Hussein Kawtharani, and Muhammad ‘Abd-Al-Hadi Farhat, who were said to have provided financial, material and technological support to Hezbollah in Iraq. The action followed the Trump administration’s decision this month to re-impose oil and banking sanctions on Iran over its financing of militant groups like Hezbollah, its military engagement in Syria and its nuclear program. The sanctions freeze any assets the four operatives may have under US jurisdiction and prohibit Americans from doing business with them.

Berri: Hariri, Nasrallah Left Door Open for Solutions
Naharnet/November 15/18/Although sharp-toned, the latest stances of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah “left the door open for solutions,” Speaker Nabih Berri said on Wednesday. Quoting the speaker after the weekly Ain el-Tineh meeting, MPs also said that Berri had informed Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil of his stance on the ideas the latter has proposed to resolve the so-called Sunni obstacle that is delaying the formation of the new government. “Bassil’s ideas can be capitalized on,” Berri told the lawmakers, hoping the efforts will lead to the formation of the government as soon as possible. The government was on the verge of formation on October 29 after the Lebanese Forces accepted the portfolios that were assigned to it but a last-minute hurdle over the representation of the aforementioned Sunni MPs surfaced. Hizbullah has insisted that the six Sunni MPs should be given a seat in the government, refraining from providing PM-designate Saad Hariri with the names of its own ministers in a bid to press him. Bassil is meanwhile trying to convince the rival parties to accept a settlement based on naming a “consensus” Sunni minister.

Bassil Meets Mufti Deryan over Sunni MPs Hurdle
Naharnet/November 15/18/Caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil said on Wednesday that tampering with the Prime Minister was tampering with the tenure of President Michel Aoun, stressing the need for a “strong government and strong PM.”"We want a strong government and a strong Prime Minister, and what tampers with the PM also tampers with the tenure," Bassil said in remarks made following his meeting with Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdullatif Deryan in Dar-al-Fatwa. "The issue is not related to the PM's powers; rather, there is a problem regarding representation," he added. "The Mufti has a role to play in that respect. We are in a national crisis and need to hear the guidance of the Mufti," he stressed. "It is time to talk behind closed doors to reach a solution," he proposed. "I am upbeat that we are heading to a solution based on justice, correct representation and national agreement to solve the government formation hurdle," he said. "We have principles regarding the solution so that it should not be a random one. If everybody is convinced about these principles, then we go to discuss the ideas," he added.

Report: Govt. Hurdle at its ‘Peak’, Bassil Meets Grand Mufti
Naharnet/November 15/18/Lebanon’s government formation gridlock has reached its “peak” amid growing concerns that further delay plunges the country into a “grave crisis”, as Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil “plans an initiative” to solve the so-called Sunni hurdle, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday. Ministerial sources have warned of the consequences of delay prolonging for around six months since the designation of PM Saad Hariri. “So far, things are not satisfactory. The political and government crisis is at its peak. The economic situation has witnessed a serious shake-up in recent days, and we fear that the country has entered the countdown phase of the big fall,” the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity told the daily. Meanwhile, caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil held talks with Grand Sunni Mufti of the Republic Abdullatif Deryan over the government issue.
On Tuesday, Bassil held talks with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat. “Talks have focused on efforts to facilitate and push forward the government formation process,” FPM sources told the daily. “The two men exchanged ideas on possible solutions to solve the government hurdle. Both parties have affirmed the stability of bilateral relationship between the two, mainly in the Mountains region,” added the daily. Reports have said earlier that Bassil has presented an initiative to solve the Sunni hurdle in his talks with Speaker Nabih Berri and Hariri on Monday. “It involves an exit that calls for naming the sixth Sunni minister from those labeled as centrist Sunnis instead of him being from the (pro-Hizbullah) six Sunni MPs or provocative to the PM-designate,” they said. “It is likely that the sixth Sunni minister will be the one whom Hariri has exchanged with the President for a Christian minister, in order to keep Hariri’s share intact,” reports said. The government was on the verge of formation on October 29 after the Lebanese Forces accepted the portfolios that were assigned to it but a last-minute hurdle over the representation of the aforementioned Sunni MPs surfaced. Hizbullah has insisted that the six Sunni MPs should be given a seat in the government, refraining from providing Hariri with the names of its own ministers in a bid to press him. Aoun -- a Hizbullah ally -- threw his support behind Hariri and rejected the demand during a TV interview, noting that the aforementioned MPs are “individuals and not a bloc.”Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah later announced that his party would accept any solution that the six Sunni MPs would accept but the lawmakers have so far remained defiant.

U.S. Takes Aim at Hizbullah Regional Role, Sanctioning Leader's Son
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 15/18/The United States on Tuesday branded the son of Hizbullah's leader a "terrorist" subject to sanctions as it offered rewards to capture three militants in Lebanon with close ties to Iran. In a series of back-to-back actions, the US vowed to aggressively counter the regional ambitions of Iran a week after imposing sweeping measures intended to cripple the cleric-led country's economy. It also marked a new US pressure tactic inside Lebanon, whose prime minister-designate, Saad Hariri, has been at a political crossroads with Hizbullah -- considered a terrorist group by Washington but also a major political faction among the communally sensitive state's Shiite Muslims. The State Department declared Jawad Nasrallah, the son of Hizbullah's leader Hassan Nasrallah, to be a "global terrorist," meaning any US-based assets will be blocked and Americans will be forbidden from any transactions with him. "Hizbullah's destructive actions have endangered the Lebanese people," Nathan Sales, the US ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism, told reporters. He accused Hizbullah -- the only of Lebanon's political parties that did not disarm after the 1975-1990 civil war -- of "effectively using civilians as human shields" by hiding missiles in population centers. "Hizbullah's ability to destabilize is not confined to the Middle East, however. It is able to destabilize inside Lebanon itself," he said. - Rewards for three men -Sales also held up "Wanted" posters for three men in Lebanon for which the United States will offer $5 million for information leading to their location. They included Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Aruri, who is seen as the key liaison between the Palestinian Islamist movement and Iran and who lives in Lebanon. The United States linked Aruri in particular to the 2014 murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank including one, Naftali Fraenkel, who was a dual US-Israeli citizen. Also on the posters were Khalil Yousif Harb and Haytham Tabatabai, both accused of commanding Hizbullah's growing military operations around the Middle East. Iran's rival Saudi Arabia in 2015 imposed its own sanctions on Harb over Hizbullah's role in Yemen, where Saudi-led coalition has been pounding Huthi rebels and infrastructure in what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The United States cited the Saudi designation in its own action, despite Washington's recent criticism of the kingdom over the killing of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate. Hizbullah -- founded during the civil war by supporters of Iran's revolutionary government with a goal of ending Israel's occupation of south Lebanon -- has increasingly become a force around the region. It is believed to have sent thousands of fighters to Syria in a bid to prop up President Bashar al-Assad, an Iranian ally and member of the heterodox Alawite sect who has ruthlessly tried to crush mostly Sunni rebels and the extremist Islamic State movement.
Targeting Hizbullah in Iraq -The Treasury Department separately placed sanctions on four men it said were key to Hizbullah's activities in Shiite-majority Iraq. Those four were Shibl Muhsin Ubayd Al-Zaydi, Yusuf Hashim, Adnan Hussein Kawtharani, and Muhammad Abd-Al-Hadi Farhat. The Treasury said Al-Zaydi was a key coordinator among Hizbullah, Iran's blacklisted Revolutionary Guards and their supporters in Iraq, and that the other three provided intelligence. President Donald Trump's administration has vowed to roll back Iranian influence in the Middle East and last week snapped back sanctions, which had been lifted after Tehran entered a deal on ending its nuclear program. Sales, using a figure previously cited by the administration, said that Iran pays $700 million a year for Hizbullah. "Sadly, it is the Iranian people who are forced to pay this price," he said. Hariri earlier Tuesday accused Hizbullah of holding up a new cabinet after five months of wrangling, with the group pushing for Sunni politicians allied to the Shiite movement but opposed to Hariri to be represented.
Jan Kubis Appointed New UN Coordinator for Lebanon
New York - Ali Barada/Asharq Al-Awsat/November 14/18/UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres already obtained the needed consent to appoint former Slovakian foreign minister Jan Kubis as the new United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), informed sources in New York told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday. Kubis would succeed Pernille Dahler Kardel of Denmark, who was assigned on November 2017 as Acting UNSCOL for one year after Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands concluded her assignment on October 26, 2017. Western diplomats said in addition to Kubis and Kardel, there were three candidates for the post: Deputy UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Philippe Lazzarini, German Ambassador to Jordan, Birgitta Maria Siefker-Eberl and head of Department for Middle East and North Africa at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ann Dismorr.  The sources said Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary di Carlo had sent the candidacy of Kubis to the five UN permanent members: China, France, Russia, the UK and US to obtain their consent before Guterres sends in the next hours, a letter to all 15 members of the Security Council to inform them about his decision to appoint the Slovakian diplomat.  Another diplomat said Kardel was hoping to be permanently appointed at the position. However, he said, the delicate situation in Lebanon and in the region, particularly in Israel and Syria, forced the UN chief to choose a person with more experience in the region’s affairs.  In 2011, the UN had named Kubis as head of the key UN mission in Afghanistan. Kubis was Slovakia's foreign minister from 2006 to 2009. He then became executive secretary of UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). He has also worked with the European Union, the UN and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in duties that have included a stint in central Asia.
Lebanon: Law on Missing Persons Is 'Moral Victory' for Families
Beirut- Caroline Akoum/Asharq Al-Awsat/November 14/18/Nearly 30 years after the end of Lebanon’s civil war, the Parliament has finally passed a law to investigate the fate of thousands of missing persons and to prosecute those responsible for their disappearance. This law, which has now been put to the test of implementation in light of the political reality in Lebanon, has created a glimmer of hope for the missing persons’ families, some of whom have passed away, while others vowed to fight for their cause until the last day of their life. The adoption of the law - though welcomed by the various political forces and human rights organizations - raised many doubts over its implementation in terms of accountability, the possibility of finding all the missing, and the Syrian regime’s recognition of hundreds of detainees in its prisons. In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, former Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar described the law as a “moral victory” to the families of the missing. “Any law of such nature is meaningless if it is not coupled with the rule of non-passage of time on criminal acts,” he said, while praising at the same time the formation of a national body to investigate the fate of the missing. “Based on my experience and the meetings of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in Damascus in 2010, where we raised the case of the missing… we can be sure that the Syrian regime will repeat what it had already claimed that there are no detainees in its prisons,” Najjar said. According to Lebanese human rights organizations and official records, 17,000 people disappeared between 1975 and 1990 in a war in which the various Lebanese parties that are currently in power have engaged. The law will set up an official commission of inquiry to look into what happened to those who were forcibly disappeared. It also gives the families the right to know their sons’ whereabouts or place of burial, as well as the right to exhume their bodies and identify them. The law also stipulates that those responsible for forced disappearances can be punished by up to 15 years in jail and a fine of up to 20 million Lebanese pounds (around $13,000). Rights organizations welcomed the adoption of the law. Rona Halabi, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said on Twitter that the law was a first step towards giving the families of the missing the right to know the fate of their loved ones. The ICRC is ready to support the Lebanese authorities in enforcing this law, she said. Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil tweeted: “For the first time after the war, Lebanon enters a genuine reconciliation phase, to heal the wounds and give families the right to know.”

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 14-15/18
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman Resigns Over Hamas Ceasfire
Jerusalem Post/November 14/18
Political jostling for the Defense Ministry has already begun, with Education Minister Naftali Bennett and several Likud ministers claiming they are Liberman’s rightful heir.  Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced his resignation and his Yisrael Beytenu party’s withdrawal from the coalition at a press conference in the Knesset Wednesday.  "I am indeed here to announce my resignation from the position of defense minister," Liberman said, immediately after a faction meeting. “I have tried to remain a faithful member of the Cabinet and to make heard another view, even at a great electoral and political price," Liberman said. However, Tuesday's ceasefire with Hamas “cannot be interpreted in any way other than a surrender to terror," he added. "This will severely harm our security in the long term.” “The response that we gave to the 500 rockets shot from Gaza was not enough, to say the least," Liberman continued. "The south should come first. Our weakness is being broadcast to other fronts.”Terrorists should not feel free to riot at the border or incite against Israel, Liberman added. “Hamas isn’t talking about coexistence and recognition of Israel," he said. "They don’t want to reduce unemployment in Gaza."Liberman asked the coalition to act swiftly to decide on a date for new elections. “Don’t paralyze the country in the long term,” he said. Asked why he did not quit after earlier ceasefires with Hamas, Liberman answered: "You can't always get everything you want. As long as I could influence from the inside I stayed. There were turning points that no longer allowed me to fulfill my role in the cabinet."A senior Likud source said that there is no reason to call for elections, and that Netanyahu will retain the defense portfolio for himself, but the future of the coalition remains uncertain.  Liberman's announcement came less than 24 hours after the cabinet approved an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza. While the Prime Minister's Office said that cabinet ministers had unanimously agreed to the decision, four ministers declared that they had opposed the cease-fire —  Liberman, Jerusalem Affairs Minister and Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi). "The statement about Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's alleged support for stopping the attacks in Gaza is fake news," Liberman's office said in response to the Prime Minister's Office announcement. "The defense minister's stand is consistent and has not changed."Weeks earlier, during a meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu faction, Liberman called for a stronger approach to Hamas. “There is no path to an agreement with Hamas," he said. "We will not restore quiet and calm to the South without dealing the most severe blow we can.”

Israel Defense Minister Quits after Ceasefire, Government in Turmoil
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 15/18/Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation on Wednesday and called for early elections after a sharp disagreement over a Gaza ceasefire deal, throwing the government into turmoil. Lieberman also said his party was quitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition, leaving the premier with only a one-seat majority in parliament. Elections are not due until November 2019, but Lieberman's resignation increases the likelihood of an earlier vote. "What happened yesterday –- the truce combined with the process with Hamas -- is capitulating to terror," Lieberman told journalists in explaining his reasons for resigning. "What we're doing now as a state is buying short-term quiet, with the price being severe long-term damage to national security." He added later: "We should agree on a date for elections as early as possible." Netanyahu has defended Tuesday's ceasefire deal that ended the worst escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war. An official from Netanyahu's Likud party hit back at speculation that early elections would be called and said the prime minister would take charge of Lieberman's portfolio at least temporarily."There’s no obligation to go to an election in this time of security sensitivity," the official said on condition of anonymity.
'Begged for ceasefire'
Lieberman, a security hardliner, heads the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party, which holds five seats in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament. Before taking over as defense minister, he made a series of controversial statements, including one directed at Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.
Lieberman said he would give Haniya 48 hours to hand over two detained Israeli civilians and the bodies of soldiers killed in the 2014 war "or you're dead". He later backed off and said he was committed to "responsible, reasonable policy". The ceasefire held on Wednesday, but Netanyahu was seeking to combat criticism of the decision. Beyond Lieberman's resignation, several hundred Israelis living near the border with Gaza protested on Tuesday night to call for further action against its Islamist rulers Hamas. Netanyahu defended his strategy and said: "Our enemies begged for a ceasefire. "In times of emergency, when making decisions crucial to security, the public can't always be privy to the considerations that must be hidden from the enemy," he said at a ceremony on Wednesday morning in honor of Israel's founding father David Ben-Gurion. Hamas portrayed the ceasefire as a victory and thousands of residents of the blockaded enclave took to the streets late Tuesday to celebrate. In a statement on Wednesday, Hamas called Lieberman's resignation a "victory for Gaza."The Egyptian-brokered truce was announced by Gaza militant groups, including Hamas, on Tuesday. A diplomatic source familiar with the agreement said it involved returning to arrangements put in place following the 2014 war, but warned: "The situation remains very precarious and can blow up again. "What we have seen in the past 48 hours was very dangerous and no efforts should be spared to avoid similar flare-ups."The violence saw seven Gazans killed in 24 hours as Israeli strikes targeted militants and flattened buildings, sending fireballs and plumes of smoke into the sky. Sirens wailed in southern Israel as militants unleashed barrages of rocket and mortar fire, sending residents rushing to shelters.Around 460 rockets and mortar rounds were fired at Israel, the most ever in such a brief time period, the army said. An anti-tank missile hit a bus near the Gaza border that Hamas says was being used by Israel's army. An Israeli soldier was severely wounded.
In all, some 27 Israelis were wounded, three of them severely. A Palestinian laborer from the occupied West Bank was killed when a rocket hit a building in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Hamas Calls Israel Minister's Resignation a 'Victory for Gaza'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 15/18/Palestinian movement Hamas called Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's resignation on Wednesday following a controversial ceasefire deal a "political victory for Gaza."Lieberman described the ceasefire ending the worst escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war "capitulating to terror" and said he was quitting his post.

Iran’s president says America chose wrong path on sanctions, will be defeated
Reuters, Geneva/Wednesday, 14 November 2018/America has chosen the wrong path in sanctioning Iran and will be defeated, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, according to the Tasnim news agency. The United States announced reinstatement of sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry last week as the administration of US President Donald Trump tries to force the Islamic Republic to curb its missile program as well as its support for proxy forces in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. “The Americans will definitely be defeated in this path. The path they have chosen is wrong and incorrect,” Rouhani said. “If they are being honest and they are looking for regional security, this is not the path. If they are being honest and respect the Iranian people, this is not the path.”He added, “They have made themselves more infamous in the world and in front of our people. It’s clear for everyone that the incorrect and cruel sanctions of America will harm the dear and honorable people of our country.” US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that Washington intends to step up enforcement of sanctions on the Islamic Republic and “squeeze them very hard.”President Donald Trump re-imposed sanctions after withdrew the United States from world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, reached before he took office. The other signatories - Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China remain committed to the deal. Iran has said it will stay in it only if the other powers preserve its economic benefits against US pressure.

Iraq to exchange food for Iranian gas, seeks US approval
Reuters, Baghdad/Wednesday, 14 November 2018/Iraq has agreed with Iran to exchange Iraqi food items for Iranian gas and energy supplies, two Iraqi government officials said on Wednesday. Baghdad is now seeking US approval to allow it to import Iranian gas which is used in its power stations, and needs more time to find an alternative source, they said. The sources are a senior government official and a member of Iraq’s ministerial energy committee. “The American deadline of 45 days to stop importing Iranian gas is not enough at all for Iraq to find an alternative source,” the first official said. “Stopping Iranian gas after the deadline will create a real power crisis. We need more time ... the Americans are completely aware of how desperately we need Iranian gas.” Washington granted Iraq a waiver to be able to import Iranian gas and energy supplies as well as food items when US sanctions were restored against Iran’s oil sector last week. But the United States has said the exemption will last only 45 days. Iraq relies heavily on Iranian gas to feed its power stations. The second official said Iraq would will submit a request to the United States to allow it to import beyond the 45-day deadline.
In exchange for the gas Iraq is to “pay food and humanitarian items for Iran ... Iran accepted this proposal,” the official said.

Amnesty calls on Iran to disclose fate of hundreds of detained Ahwazi Arabs
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English/November 14/ 2018/Amnesty International is calling on Iran to immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of hundreds of members of the Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority being held incommunicado after reports suggested some have been executed in secret. Unconfirmed reports on Sunday suggested that Iran may have executed more than 22 people, accusing them of being behind the ISIS-claimed attack on a military parade in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahwaz last October. “If confirmed, the secret executions of these men would be not only a crime under international law but also an abhorrent violation of their right to life and a complete mockery of justice, even by the shocking standards of Iran’s judicial system,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “It is difficult to imagine that these individuals could have received a fair trial within merely a few weeks of their arrests, let alone had the opportunity to appeal death sentences,” Luther added. A relative of the victims said the Revolutionary Court summoned some of the families of those who were reportedly executed and handed them death warrants, without any information about the corpses, and warned them not to hold funerals or risk prosecution. Human rights activists say the Iranian authorities used the attack that took place last October as an opportunity to attack civil society activists and intellectuals interested in the national rights of Arabs in southern Iran.

Iran Executes Two Men Over 'Economic Crimes'
London- Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 November, 2018/Iran executed two men accused of economic crimes on Wednesday, signaling zero tolerance as it tries to shore up its currency in the face of an economic crisis and new US sanctions targeting its oil sector. State TV reported that Vahid Mazloumin and his accomplice, Mohammad Ismail Ghasemi, were hanged early Wednesday. They were convicted of manipulating coin and hard currency markets through illegal and unauthorized deals as well as smuggling. An unspecified number of other accomplices went to prison. Mazloumin, dubbed the "Sultan of coins" by media, was allegedly caught with two tons of gold coins, according to the Iranian Students´ News Agency (ISNA). The second man was part of Mazloumin's network and had been involved in the sale of gold coins, Mizan reported. Both of them were convicted of "spreading corruption on earth", a capital offense under Iran´s laws. Special courts focused on financial crimes were set up in August with the approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in the country. The courts have handed out at least seven death sentences since they were set up and some of the trials have been broadcast live on television. The rial currency has lost about 70 percent of its value in 2018 under the threat of revived US sanctions, with heavy demand for dollars and gold coins on the unofficial market from ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.The cost of living has also soared, provoking sporadic demonstrations against profiteering and corruption, with many protesters chanting anti-government slogans. In August, the United States reimposed a first round of sanctions after pulling out of a 2015 deal between world powers and Iran under which international sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Iran: Police Arrest Dozens in Dollar Crackdown
London - Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 November, 2018/Dozens of “dollar traders" have been arrested in the Iranian capital, Tehran, announced Tehran Police Chief Brig. Gen. Hossein Rahimi, amid fears of a deepening Iranian currency crisis, a week after the US renewed its sanctions on Iranian oil. "Over the past few days, 130 dollar brokers have been arrested and taken to jail," he announced. The Tasnim news agency quoted Rahimi as saying that selling US dollars in the streets or the market is a crime and the police will fight it. This is the second major wave of arrests by police against dollar dealers after dozens were arrested between July and August. In August, the dollar crisis led to the ouster of the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBE), Aliullah Saif, and arrest of the bank’s forex department official Ahmed Araghchi, as well as five senior staff of the Central Bank. The Iranian rial has lost about 70 percent of its value since April because of a weak economy and strong demand for the dollar from Iranians who fear the impact of US sanctions. Last month, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani admitted the country was facing an economic and psychological war. In June, Tehran's markets saw rare protests after the devaluation of the currency, where people chanted against hiked prices. Protesters cordoned off the parliament building, but security forces used tear gas to disperse them. Last week, the US unleashed its "toughest ever" sanctions against Iran targeting oil exports, shipping and banks, all core parts of the economy. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei announced that Iranian special courts set up in a drive against economic crime have sentenced two people to death, reported Reuters. The fast-track revolutionary courts were set up in August after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for “swift and just” legal action to confront an “economic war” by foreign enemies. Judiciary’s news website Mizan reported Ejei announcing the courts had handed down death sentences against two defendants after convicting them of “spreading corruption on earth.” In September, the courts handed down three death sentences on similar charges. Ejei said on Sunday that 11 more defendants had received jail terms of up to 10 years for “economic corruption”, and a judge was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 75 lashes for taking bribes.
Ejei said 96 people had been arrested for charges linked to illegal trading in hard currencies or gold, Mizan report.
Two IRGC Members Gunned Down Near Abadan
London - Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 November, 2018/Two men from the "Basij" force, which falls under the command of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), were gunned down Tuesday close to the city of Abadan, southwest Iran, Iranian media said. Armed men showered the two members by bullets from a passing vehicle, IRNA reported.  One of them died at the scene and the other succumbed to his wounds later on. Iranian media published pictures of the two dead members, showing one of them during a military training wearing the costume of IRGC land forces.  Meanwhile, the Twitter account of Harikat an-Nidhal al-Arabi (Arab Struggle Movement) said that the victims were members of the IRGC and were shot by forces of Ahvaz National Resistance. Iranian official have not yet commented on the incident. The incident follows reports that 22 of those arrested after the attack in Ahvaz in September had been executed and their families had been informed that the bodies were buried in anonymous places. However, the Iranian authorities denied these reports. Human Rights in Iran (HRI) said around 10 days ago that the authorities arrested more than 600 people following the killing of 15 members and the wounding of more than 60 during the military parade in Ahvaz – most of the casualties were from the IRGC.
Iran: Statements on Spread of Money Laundering Spur Anger Against Zarif
London - Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 November, 2018/Recent statements by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif about the spread of money laundering in his country stirred a wave of angry reactions among opponents to Iran’s plans to join money laundering and counter-terrorism financing agreements. Zarif had pointed out in controversial statements on Monday that many were benefitting from money laundering in the country, less than a week after the guardian council refused to pass a government law adopted by parliament on combating the financing of terrorism. The Iranian government is trying to pass domestic laws enabling it to join the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF has granted Iran until February to complete necessary reforms in the area of anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism. In a statement issued following the conclusion of the group’s plenary meeting in Paris last month, the FATF announced that it had “decided at its meeting this week to continue the suspension of counter-measures.”The foreign minister’s statements coincided with the central bank's assertion that it had been cut off by the SWIFT financial network, which regulates financial relations between international banks. Official news agencies quoted Zarif as saying that money laundering was rampant in the country. His statements come amid controversy over the impact of the laws on the activity of the IRGC, Al-Quds Force, and pro-Iranian militias in the Middle East. The foreign minister asserted that those who profit from money laundering were spending millions of dollars to prevent the passage of legislation requiring more financial transparency. MP Ali Akbar Karimi said Zarif’s statements about the outbreak of money laundering were “biased and opposed to national interests”. The MP hinted at summoning the foreign minister to parliament to provide clarification about his recent declaration. “We will ask for his definition of money laundering to be aware of the case,” he said.
Fears over Iraqi Version of Iranian 'Revolutionary Guard'
Baghdad - Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 November, 2018/In May, Hassan Fada’am traded his military fatigues for a suit when he became one of 45 men from Shiite factions elected to Iraq’s 329-seat parliament. Fada’am was trained in Iran and fought against ISIS in Iraq. Now he’s a politician as paramilitary groups backed by Iran have doubled their number of seats in Iraq’s parliament. The "Fatih" Alliance bloc that represents them has become the second largest political bloc. In interviews, eight men from factions who have translated their battlefield success into electoral victories set out how they plan to use this new platform. Factions today are better placed than ever to influence policies, from domestic security to foreign policy. However, former prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, said he fears the factions will undermine efforts to unify Iraq. Iraq's young democracy is trying to balance the demands of its Sunnis, Kurds and Shi’ites after years of sectarian conflict, and the economy is only beginning to recover from the country’s war with ISIS. Abadi tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent factions' leaders from standing in the 2018 election. “How can a military outfit have a political opinion? This does not happen in any part of the world. It is prohibited,” he said at the time. The factions men responded by announcing they would quit their military roles to comply with Iraq’s electoral code. Some in Washington are also worried. Republican senators have introduced a bill that would impose sanctions on two Iranian-backed factions in Iraq, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Harakat al Nujaba. Sponsors of the (Iranian Proxies Sanctions Act) include Senators David Perdue, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Iran is unperturbed. “In the meetings we had with our Iraqi brothers, they assured us that Iraq could not be used by America,” said a former Iranian ambassador in the region, now a senior official in Tehran. Among Iran’s Iraqi allies is the Badr Organization, which won 21 seats at the election. For two decades, Badr’s leader Hadi al-Amiri led the fight against Saddam Hussein from exile in Iran. A Badr local commander, Karim Nouri, said communication with Iran was ongoing. He did not elaborate, Reuters reported. Hisham Hashemi, a security adviser to Iraq’s government said he believed that "Iran was in touch with Shiite politicians." When Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged his fellow Shiites to join the fight against ISIS in 2014, Fada’am was among the tens of thousands of Shiites who answered the call. He led the Dawn Brigades, a force of 3,400 fighters. After driving ISIS from the town of Jurf al-Sakhr south of Baghdad, Fada’am lobbied the local government in his province of Hilla to cancel the property rights of Sunnis in the area, saying they were tied to "ISIS".
The Hilla provincial council agreed to his request. Across town from his office is a hospital run by Fada’am followers. It provides free medical care for factions' fighters and members of the public. Patients have access to an orderly, well stocked pharmacy. The rooms are cleaner than most medical facilities in Iraq. “At the end of the day we must switch to politics to rebuild our country. Rebuilding the country and maintaining its security could come only through good politics,” said Fada’am, according to Reuters. Also, Some Iraqi politicians and military officers worry that through the Shiite factions Iran is trying to create an Iraqi version of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, with its parallel security apparatus and vast business empire. Iraqi militias have shares in construction, trade and car import companies. At the Safra border crossing, 90 km north of Baghdad, the "Badr Organisation", Iran’s closest paramilitary partner in Iraq, collects custom tariffs and taxes on goods transported from the Kurdish region in the north, according to a local councillor and two former senior Iraqi officials. The councillor said at least $12 to $15 million goes to the Badr group each month. Local Badr commander, Imad Jafaar, denied the group was using the crossing to generate funds.

Boko Haram kills at least 16 farmers in latest attacks in Nigeria's Borno state

Wed 14 Nov 2018/NNA - Boko Haram jihadists have killed at least 16 farmers and left dozens missing in the latest attacks in restive northeast Nigeria's Borno state, militia and residents said on Wednesday. The civilian militia fighting the Islamists found 15 bodies in fields around Kazaa and Daraa villages, 5km outside the garrison town of Monguno on Tuesday. A farmer was also shot dead while working near Gremari village, 13 kms from the state capital Maiduguri. "Yesterday our members recovered 15 bodies from farms around neighbouring Kazaa and Daraa villages who were killed by Boko Haram on Monday," militia leader Ibrahim Liman told AFP. "Another 35 people have not been seen and a search will continue today (Wednesday) to find them," he said. The farmers were mostly from camps in Monguno housing people displaced by the nine-year Islamist insurgency.Monguno resident Mari Bulama said the jihadists opened fire on farmers at work, shooting them as they fled. -- AFP
 Official Denies Claims of Coup in Eastern Libya
Cairo – Jamal Jawhar /Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 November, 2018/A Libyan security official denied claims of the arrest of a number of military officers, who were planning to stage a coup in the eastern part of the country. “All reports about this issue are completely untrue,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat. The east is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar. The German news agency had quoted on Tuesday “informed” Libyan sources as saying that a number of officers were arrested for plotting a coup. It said that the LNA’s Tarek bin Zayed brigade carried out the arrest. Officer Mohammed Abdulsalam al-Musaynei clarified to Asharq Al-Awsat that the brigade and police in eastern Libya arrested soldiers, not officers, for a robbery. “The situation is normal and excellent,” he added. Meanwhile, MP Saeed Amgheb said that Haftar is “very popular among the military and everyone knows this. He is widely accepted by the people.” Social media users in Libya circulated photos of three corpses, bearing signs of torture and gunshots, that were found near a cement factory in Benghazi. The victims were identified as individuals who were previously held in custody.
New Iraq Government Plans to Uproot ISIS Extremists- Kubis
Baghdad- Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 November, 2018/Iraq's new government plans to intensify efforts to uproot cells of the ISIS extremist group and introduce "robust measures" to achieve sustainable security throughout the country, the country's UN envoy said Tuesday. Jan Kubis told the UN Security Council there are almost daily reports of the arrest or elimination of the militant group's "terrorists, their leaders, sleeper cells and hideouts."Iraq declared victory over ISIS last year, but the group continues to carry out scattered attacks, particularly in the north. The extremists have lost virtually all the territory they once ruled in Syria and Iraq, but still control small, remote pockets in eastern Syria along the border. Kubis said most ISIS movements in recent months have been to the western border with Syria and Iraq has responded by deploying thousands of troops on its side. But he said the group, also known as Daesh, remains active in other Iraqi provinces as well, notably Kirkuk, Salah ad Din and Diyala. Earlier this month, UN investigators reported discovering at least 202 mass graves in Iraq containing between 6,000 and 12,000 bodies believed to be victims of atrocities by ISIS during its three-year reign. Kubis said the UN political mission in Iraq "continues to advocate for justice and accountability for international crimes," and he told the council the head of a UN investigative team promoting accountability for IS crimes, Karim Khan, arrived in Iraq on Oct. 30. Kubis, who is stepping down in January after almost four years, said the particularly difficult period he served as UN envoy "has against all odds and skepticism ended well, with a promising future prospect for the country and our role in assisting it."
He pointed to the recent formation of a new government with veteran Kurdish politician Barham Salih as president and independent Shiite politician and former vice president Adel Abdul-Mahdi as prime minister. The new government's program outlines "specific plans for reforms, investment, and for transitioning Iraq from a crisis content to sustainable development" and recommends steps to tackle corruption in all sectors, Kubis said. The government also "intends to introduce robust measures to further improve and achieve sustainable security throughout the country, intensifying efforts to uproot Daesh terrorist cells to counter this insurgency," he said. For instance, the Iraqi parliament voted on Monday on the formation of a fact-finding mission aimed at uncovering the shortcomings that led to the security breaches in Mosul and several other western regions that saw ISIS terror attacks.
Iraqi Sunnis Nominate Salim al-Jabouri as Defense Minister
Baghdad - Hamza Mustafa/Baghdad/Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 November, 2018/Former parliament speaker and head of National Coalition Salim al-Jabouri has been nominated by Iraq’s Sunnis for the post of defense minister. Shiites, meanwhile, are yet to agree on their candidate for the interior minister post as disputes grow between Fatah alliance led by Hadi al-Ameri, and Sairoon, led by Moqtada al-Sadr. National Coalition MP Intisar al-Jabouri announced the political consensus on Salim al-Jabouri and confirmed that all political parties agreed to this nomination, which will be presented during a government session. MP Mohammed al-Karbouli, member of National Axis bloc, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the issue of the Defense Ministry has been resolved and Salim al-Jabouri is among the group of candidates, noting that candidates for other portfolios are still being debated between the political blocs. Last month, parliament approved 14 ministers out of 22 in the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. But the political differences that erupted over the remaining eight posts, particularly among Kurdish parties, prevented politicians from reaching consensus.
A source familiar with the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat that Kurds agreed on granting the justice portfolio to the Christian, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which nominated former MP Khaled Shawani. On the candidate for interior minister, Faleh al-Fayyad, and Sairoon’s insistence on replacing him, the source said the opposition to him was not personal, but rather stems from the firm position not to approve the nomination of partisan figures.
EU Questions Fate of Refugee Aid in Turkey
Brussels – Abdullah Mustafa/Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 November/18/The European Court of Auditors (ECA) expressed on Tuesday concern over how European money was spent on Syrian refugees in Turkey given Ankara's data protection laws. EU auditors said Ankara is refusing to offer information about the list of beneficiaries of two cash-assistance projects for refugees, which account for almost half of the budget.  Therefore, neither the European Commission nor the ECA was able to track project beneficiaries from registration to payment. European officials said it was the first time Turkey refuses to offer the needed documents. In a report published Tuesday, the Court’s auditors focused on the management of the first tranche of financing from the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (€3 billion) and on the results so far under its humanitarian strand. They found that, in a challenging context, the Facility rapidly mobilized €3 billion to provide a swift response to the refugee crisis. “Nevertheless, it did not fully achieve its objective of coordinating this response effectively,” the court wrote in its report. The Facility for Refugees in Turkey is the EU response to the European Council's call for significant additional funding to support refugees in Turkey. “We therefore conclude that the Facility could have been more effective, and that it could achieve more value for money,” the auditors said. Turkey has accepted 3.5 million refugees from Syria. “The Facility achieved its objective of mobilizing three billion euros in two years,” said Bettina Jakobsen, the member of the ECA. “But there is room to increase the efficiency of humanitarian projects and in particular cash-assistance projects. The Facility could still achieve greater value for money,” she said. The auditors recommend that, in the future, the European Commission should better address refugees’ needs for municipal infrastructure and socio-economic support and together with the Turkish authorities, address the need to improve the operating environment for NGOs.
Pro-Govt. Forces Halt Yemen Port Offensive as UAE Backs Talks
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 15/18/Forces loyal to Yemen's government on Wednesday halted an offensive on the lifeline port of Hodeida as the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the pro-government coalition, threw its weight behind "early" U.N. peace talks.
Three military officials told AFP that pro-government forces were "ordered" to stop their assault against the Iran-linked Huthi rebels until further notice, but would resume operations should the insurgents attack.The UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said meanwhile his country welcomed the "early convening of U.N.-led talks in Sweden" and urged warring factions to take advantage of diplomatic efforts. The U.N. is pushing for peace talks by the end of the year, and Sweden said it is ready to host them. The developments came after the offensive on Hodeida by pro-government forces and the Saudi-led coalition, including the UAE, appeared to stall. After 12 days of clashes, Hodeida was "quiet" and its port was "operating," Gargash tweeted. "We are working closely with the U.N. on expanding humanitarian assistance for all areas of Yemen," he added. On the ground in Hodeida, a relative calm was holding for a second full day, and despite the thundering sound of jets flying overhead, no major fighting was reported. Burnt out cars were seen on the streets of the city, whose port serves as a key lifeline to the impoverished country. Speaking to AFP earlier, a military official said pro-government forces had temporarily stopped their advance into the port to allow safe passage for civilians, humanitarian staff and wounded. One military official said however that the pro-government forces would be launching major operations "in the coming days.""The battles will not stop, except with the liberation of Hodeida and the whole west coast," he said. On Tuesday, a Huthi spokesman had told a news conference broadcast on the rebels' Al-Masirah TV that they were ready for "war in the streets" of Hodeida.
'Mining the port'
The Huthis, who seized the port in 2014, said they were mining across Hodeida province, airing footage late Tuesday of what they said were landmine explosions targeting pro-government forces. Three port employees reached by telephone said they had also begun to mine entryways to the port overnight. The Huthis had planted explosives near two of the port's gates, one that leads to Jizan Road, a main street in the city's north, and the other near the Alsanabel flour mill company, they said. "There is only one entrance left into the port, and that is the main gate that leads to Mina Street that trucks use," one employee, who requested anonymity, told AFP. Hodeida port came under attack late Monday for the first time since June, when government troops supported by a Saudi-led coalition launched an assault on the city.
The port's deputy director, Yahya Sharafeddine, said the main entrance to the docks had been hit, but it was fully functioning. Residents in Hodeida say they had feared a siege on the city, home to some 600,000 people, with only one major exit route in still open to traffic, on the northern edge.
Conditions 'extremely bad'
According to the U.N.'s office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Tuesday, 34 people were killed among 92 civilian casualties in the first week of November in Hodeida province. The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said about 445,000 people have fled Hodeida province since June. Nearly four years into the war, there has been an increase in international pressure to end the fighting in Hodeida, whose docks are the entry point for some 80 percent of food imports and humanitarian aid into impoverished Yemen. The U.N. has warned an attack on the port would be "catastrophic" in a country where half the population is at risk of starvation. World Food Program chief David Beasley, who is visiting the country, said up to 14 million Yemenis were on the brink of starvation, and 18 to 19 million were now "food insecure." "Conditions on the ground are extremely, extremely bad," he told the BBC on Wednesday. "Bottom line, we need for this war to end." Hodeida port is under a near-total blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies, who accuse Iran of smuggling arms to the Huthis. Tehran denies the accusation. According to U.N. figures, nearly 10,000 people have been killed since the coalition joined the conflict in 2015 to bolster President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, triggering what the U.N. calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Rights groups fear the actual toll is a lot higher.

Kremlin Laments U.S. 'Unpredictability' under Trump
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 15/18/The Kremlin hit out Wednesday at the "unpredictability" of the United States under the Trump administration, saying it was causing "deep global concern". "The fact that America has become unpredictable lately is no secret to anyone," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Dozhd TV during a visit by President Vladimir Putin to a regional summit in Singapore. "Such unpredictability from the largest country, the most powerful economy in the world, is the subject of deep global concern," he added. Peskov's comments come two weeks ahead of a slated face-to-face between President Donald Trump and Putin at a G20 summit in Argentina. Relations between the two countries have hit new lows with American officials planning to roll out fresh sanctions against Moscow in response to the botched poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britain. Western governments have accused Russia of being behind the plot which saw Skripal and his daughter poisoned with a nerve agent. Two British citizens were also poisoned, one of whom died. Moscow has denied being behind the brazen hit and has condemned efforts to sanction it over the incident. "We do not recognise these unilateral restrictions... and we consider them illegitimate," Peskov said of the threatened sanctions, adding they would only "further complicate" Russia-US relations. World leaders are currently meeting in Singapore, which is hosting the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. Trump is not at the gathering and has sent Vice President Mike Pence instead. Peskov said "no separate meeting" was currently planned between Putin and Pence. But he added that there was no need for a face-to-face given Trump and Putin will soon meet in Buenos Aires.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 14-15/18
Opinion/Why the Sultan of Oman Invited Netanyahu
من الهآررتس للدكتور أماتازيا برام: لماذا وجه سلطان عُمان، قابوس الدعوة لنيتنياهو
Amatzia Baram/Haaretz/November 14/18
The sultan, who is not likely to pay a domestic price for the Netanyahu's visit, is trying to promote an arrangement that will cool off the Israeli-Palestinian crisis while keeping a distance. In February 2018, Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi made his first official visit to the Palestinian Authority and an unofficial visit to Israel. The visit to Israel was defined as a religious pilgrimage to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the media did not report it. But what he said in Ramallah was astonishing, and even more far-reaching than the impressive peace declarations by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and King Hussein of Jordan in their time. About two years ago, I was invited by the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said, to visit his country with a small international group. He is the longest-reigning ruler in the Muslim world and I was told that I was the first person to arrive in Oman with an Israeli passport since the outbreak of the second intifada. Even then there were signs that Oman’s policy toward Israel was changing; the foreign minister’s visit in February merely reinforced them.
Bin Alawi did not condemn the occupation, nor mention the 1967 borders or right of return, although it is clear that his support for a Palestinian state means some kind of Israeli withdrawal. He did not condemn the United States for moving its embassy to Jerusalem, or demand a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem.
What he did say was, “The need to establish a Palestinian state today resembles the urgency that was felt at the time for establishing the State of Israel after the two world wars.” Then, he said, “there was an international desire to establish Israel,” just as today “the establishment of a Palestinian state has become a strategic need for the entire world.” So why did the sultan agree to an official visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two-and-a-half weeks ago?
Oman produces a million barrels of oil a day and an amount of gas that brings in similar income. That’s not a lot, but the modest size of the population (about 3 million citizens and 1.5 million foreign workers living in a land 12 times the size of Israel), the lack of government corruption and prudent economic policies mean that Omanis have a good standard of living. That’s what I heard and saw in Oman, including from the “man on the street” and the security guards at the official guest house where we stayed.
Oman’s stability also stems from its neutrality regarding all the conflicts in the Arab and Muslim world. Almost all Omanis are Muslims, but the vast majority are neither Sunni nor Shi’ite but rather Ibadis, a fascinating incarnation of the extreme Kharijite community from the seventh century.
Today they are among the most moderate Muslim communities. The status of women is relatively good and you can get alcoholic drinks in any hotel. Qaboos has good ties with the Muslim world and acts as a mediator and conciliator. His interest in facilitating reconciliation stems from the prestige this position brings, but also from the fact that a major regional shake-up – a Saudi-Iranian or an Iranian-American conflict – could capsize his own ship, which is now sailing on quiet waters.
The sultan is trying to promote an arrangement that will cool off the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, and mediating without direct talks is not mediating. That’s why Abbas visited Oman before Netanyahu’s visit. More broadly, his foreign minister’s mission in February and Netanyahu’s recent visit were aimed at trying to reconcile the PA and the Trump administration.
Oman can help U.S. President Donald Trump precisely because it keeps its distance from the conflict. That’s also why the sultan can discuss options with Abbas that the latter wouldn’t be willing to hear from anyone else.
Helping Trump is important because he can provide Oman with American security guarantees. After all, American-Iranian tensions are escalating; last week the U.S. imposed a new phase of economic sanctions. Due to its economic and political ties with Iran, Oman is exposed to American retaliatory measures. It is therefore important for the sultan to show Trump that Oman can help his administration in the Israeli-Palestinian context. If the sultan is indeed trying to also mediate between the United States-Israel and Iran, as some media have reported, such a move has no chance now and he knows it. But there is value to the offer, which could be useful the moment something changes in the United States, in Iran or both.
The sultan will probably not pay a domestic price for Netanyahu’s visit; my impression when I was there is that his control is absolute or virtually absolute. Iran wasn’t happy about the visit, but it needs Oman. In the Arab world, Qaboos has been castigated by Islamists and extremist intellectuals, but not by the regimes.
The chances of Oman’s mediation advancing the peace process are low, but even if it fails, Qaboos’ move has already helped his country’s security. It is also possible that technological and intelligence cooperation with Israel will help Oman, and in exchange there will be trade relations. The visit improved Netanyahu’s position and eroded Abbas’ status. It will also encourage similar steps by other countries. All this might lower Palestinian expectations, though that may be an unattainable goal.
*Dr. Amatzia Baram is a professor emeritus of the University of Haifa.

World faces continued crises as it observes World War I centenary
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/November 14/18
Around half a million Arabs fought in World War I which ended 100 years ago. Arabs fought with both camps. Arab soldiers fought and died from Sudan to the Levant and Morocco. Some were transported by ships to Europe to serve the combating armies. The Ottoman Turks used around 300,000 Arabs in their armies to fight with Germany, Austria, Hungary and Serbia, they were called central powers, against Britain, France, the US, Russia, China and others from the Allies. Most of the fighting was in Europe and most of those killed, whose number reached 10 million, were also in Europe. The destruction, however, reached most of the world, including Arab countries. The authority’s greed, the illusion of expansion and the emergence of extremist European nationalism were the reasons behind the war. As for Arabs, they had no causes in this war, except for the Arabs in the countries which were under Ottoman rule and who suffered from the “humiliating taxes” and mismanagement, especially that the Turkish rule back then was underdeveloped and weak, and could not keep up with the industrial progress in European colonial countries. As a result, Arab countries under Ottoman’s rule became poor unlike the countries that were governed by the British or French empires. At the end of WWI, Turkey itself became the first victim and the target of the victorious countries which wanted to seize it and not just seize its Arab colonies. Russia, Greece, Britain and France targeted Turkey. However, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk emerged and was able to manage the battles and save most of the Turkish Anatolia. This is what makes Ataturk the greatest figure in modern Turkey, in addition to his modernist and industrial project.
Sykes-Picot Agreement
The management of the Arab region was transferred to European colonials who won the war. The Sykes-Picot Agreement which was reached before the war had nothing to do with the results, although this is what is commonly known in history. Dividing the region came as a result of defeating the Turkish colonizer and succeeding it in its colonies. Neither the victors nor the losers learnt from the lessons of WW I. The nationalist intellect that dominated Europe had a major role in feeding hostility and pushing events towards World War II in which more than 60 million people died. Lessons from great wars are often forgotten and all that’s left from them are military academic papers on how to mitigate losses and achieve victories. Europe which was the reason behind the two world wars was the loser and it finally accepted the concepts of the free market over the policy of colonization which had its motive in securing raw material resources and guaranteeing markets for their products, as buying one barrel of oil for $1 is not better than a barrel of oil for $100 because it leads to the continuity of fighting. Countries like South Korea or Sweden influenced world markets without sending a single soldier beyond their borders.The 100th anniversary of the end of WWI comes at a time when the world is facing more crises as a result of the conflicts between the Russian and American powers and amid escalating suspicions and fears due to the Chinese dragon’s expansion beyond its territories and amid indicators of divisions within the European Union which was based on the concept of cancelling single nationalism and on the concept of regional unity. World wars ended but they did not die.

Did we exaggerate hostility towards the Brotherhood?
Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/November 14/18
I have noticed attempts by those who are “fond of the Brotherhood” to curb the Saudi momentum towards the Brotherhood and its branches, both the public and secret ones, and aren’t they many!
This attempt aims to benefit from the loud fuss against Saudi Arabia due to the campaign using the Jamal Khashoggi case. The last thing they care about is attaining the criminal judicial truth as all they want is to employ the case “for needs in the soul of Jacob.”
A Jacob here or Jacobs! They want to obstruct the Saudi prowess in combating the Brotherhood, the most dangerous international “network” in the world and they’re doing so via the approach of: “Enough you people, enough talk about the Brotherhood. We have exaggerated this a bit or too much!”
Reality is opposite of that as we – and we’ve talked about this problem here for years – have plenty to say about the Brotherhood’s threat and this is good; however, a few work on establishing real and permanent awareness regarding the Brotherhood’s culture and ideology, which means the prevalence of how many over how to.
Ongoing war
Anyway, the Saudi Crown Prince, the architect of the Saudi vision and the leader of the war against extremism, said at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh in his first statement following the vehement media campaign against Saudi Arabia after the Khashoggi problem that the war against extremism is ongoing. His words were clear. Of course, the Brotherhood is the first womb of extremism, via deceit at times, soft talk and gibberish about freedoms at other times or via frank and rough remarks when the time is suitable. The time was actually appropriate during the wakefulness of the secret Brotherhood dream during the season of chaos or the Brotherhood Spring that lasted from December 2010 until the dream ended in 2014.  Of course, the Brotherhood is the first womb of extremism, via deceit at times, soft talk and gibberish about freedoms at other times or via frank and rough remarks when the time is suitable. Let’s recall some of it. In July 2012, Hamas Brotherhood official “Sheikh” Ismail Haniyeh could not control his emotions and spoke in Gaza during a Friday sermon saying: “The Brotherhood’s accession of power in Egypt and Tunisia is the beginning of the Islamic caliphate.”
On November 13, 2011, at a ceremony for Ennahda Movement in Sousse, Tunisian Ennahda official Hamadi Jebali hailed the beginning of “sixth caliphate.” In that same year, Yemeni Brotherhood official Abdul Majeed al-Zindani told crowds in Sanaa that he sees the morning of the Islamic caliphate rising from every place in the Islamic world, adding that Mursi’s accession to power was a sign of the caliphate.
Confronting the Brotherhood
Truth is, Saudi Arabia’s journey in confronting the Brotherhood is not something of this current era but of the era of King Abdullah as on March 7, 2014, the Saudi commission issued its famous list that was based on the former royal order of late King Abdullah and categorized certain parties as terrorist, and the Muslim Brotherhood was at the forefront. Is it possible to say: “Enough talk and work on confronting unemployment, corruption and pollution! That’s enough, you’ve annoyed us!?” It’s the same thing as the same determination and same continuity must be adopted when it comes to protecting people from the Brotherhood’s ideological and psychological malaise.  A final word: Confronting the Brotherhood, in terms of its culture, politics and upbringing, is not an occasional matter or a tactical political move but it’s the “philosophy” of a permanent and new life.

Without knowing it, Macron has kicked himself in the foot
Mamdouh AlMuhaini/Al Arabiya/November 14/18
While speaking in front of 70 world leaders, French President Macron did not just recall past tragedies and remember the victims of World War I but he criticized nationalism and viewed it as betrayal of patriotism. His reprimanding address was directed to one man present in front of him, Trump who days before said: “Really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, ok? I’m a nationalist.” Macron’s speech however stirred wide uproar in terms of the concept and reality. What’s the difference between nationalism and patriotism? Did he mean globalization or universality? What is Macron’s concept of liberal globalization? There is this confusion in definitions and terms and part of it is due to Macron’s passion for linguistic gibberish and speeches that are delivered the academic way.
It’s clear that ties between the US and French presidents are at their worst since the honeymoon period ended, when Trump announced the US's withdrawal from the nuclear deal. It’s difficult to imagine Macron saying these words a year ago when he aspired to influence the US president with logic and embraces to stay in the deal. However he decided to anger his guest by talking about the European army to protect Europe, not just from China or Russia but also from America, the country that saved Europe from itself twice. No one took Macron’s talk about the European army seriously, including Trump who mocked the idea and said first pay your share to the NATO then build whatever army you want.
However what does Macron mean by nationalism and patriotism?
If we take direct definitions, we cannot find a clash between nationalism and patriotism. A nationalist character is based on a patriotic sentiment. We live in the era of the nationalist state or what’s called the nation state. It’s difficult to exit this concept, i.e. imagine a president who does not put his country first otherwise why was he elected? To serve the interests of other countries? Macron himself puts France’s interests before other states on several levels. He embellishes its language, promotes its companies and defends its sovereignty. Would that make him a traitor of patriotism? Of course not.
It’s clear that ties between the US and French presidents are at their worst since the honeymoon period ended, when Trump announced the US's withdrawal from the nuclear deal. It’s difficult to imagine Macron saying these words a year ago when he aspired to influence the US president.
Nationalism is not evil within its correct borders. It played a strong role in the liberation and salvation of countries from tyranny, like what happened in eastern European countries which destroyed the Soviet iron curtain by first relying on the national sentiment and second by relying on the religious sentiment like what happened in Poland. It’s understandable if this statement was made by a leader who believes in anarchy or chaos that opposes the national state but it’s difficult to comprehend that this is said by a president whose country changed the concept of the world after the French Revolution and whose country had an important role in the 1648 Peace of Westphalia which planted the first seed of the modern national state. Macron hinted the emergence of figures like Hitler, but the German dictator spread chaos by relying on racist and ethnic theories. With all the changes in the world since 70 years, it’s difficult to imagine a new Mussolini in 2018.
Macron may be saying the famous statement “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel” in another way. The sentence means that patriotism or nationalism is a fabricated product and an alternative to the tribal and religious identity, i.e. after the religious and tribal identity which was the reason behind wars disappeared, the national identity was created to play the same role. Hence, after we were religious and tribal clans, we turned into nationalist clans whose fate is eternal conflict. This is a perfect speech that suits lecture halls but the reality is different. We live in a world of nationalism and countries and it’s difficult to overcome this with the political concept. It’s difficult to imagine a country without a nationalist identity even if individuals are capable of abandoning it or replacing it with a different form of nationalism.
Macron was reprimanding Macron
The other explanation is that Macron may have meant extremist and not soft nationalism, i.e. putting your country first and destroying other countries. He is right in terms of this but this reprimanding does not apply to Trump and his foreign policy. It’s clear that there’s a difference between Twitter Trump and the real Trump. Twitter Trump is angry and isolationist and he does not want to pay money and he demands other countries to pay, like he said two days ago while addressing rich European countries. However, the real Trump is different. He did not exit NATO like he threatened he would and he did not isolate himself from the world as he sealed a deal with North Korea, the world’s most isolated regime. The slogan America First did not prevent him from imposing the harshest sanctions on the Iranian regime. America did not turn into a colonial country that occupies other countries and steals their wealth. America’s nationalism is moderate despite the fuss of alerts on its president’s Twitter account.
The third interpretation of exiting nationalism and patriotism may refer to the liberal world order. A condition to preserve this liberal order is the presence of a nationalist state that believes in it and protects it, like Great Britain did before and America did after World War II. Once again and apart from the Trumpism political rhetoric, what Pompeo and Bolton are doing these days in terms of suffocating Tehran maintains this liberal order and protects it from cracking and also protects it from the emergence of other powers that spread terrorism and shed blood – unlike the French president who fought to protect the Iranian regime for several reasons of which the most important is protecting the interests of French companies, i.e. for the sake of nationalist financial French interests, even if this leads to supporting the force that destroys globalization and universality and the co-existence he preaches. Without actually knowing it, Macron was reprimanding Macron. This is the harmful and isolationist nationalism which Macron was talking about, in which he was alluding to Trump. He is making the same mistake of President Barack Obama and he’s singing the same tune, using different lyrics. The rhetoric is global and the approach is isolationist. The words are eloquent as they call for peace and humanity while children in eastern Ghouta powerlessly and helplessly suffocate by poisonous gas.

Countdown to mullahs’ belligerence begins
Mohammed Al Shaikh/Al Arabiya/November 14/18
It seems that the United States is serious this time in putting pressure on the Iranian regime in a way that leaves the latter with three options: change its hostile behavior towards its neighbors, comply with US conditions, or collapse.
According to the US, the present round of sanctions is the toughest in its history against rogue states, as they put it. Here, I want to clarify a point regarding the eight states exempted from boycotting the Iranian oil trade. This exemption is not permanent but time bound. It means that it would end within a few weeks, as emphasized by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. The other thing regarding these exemptions is that the financial return of these sales will be deposited in a bank account outside Iran to ensure that it is spent in the form of goods and services within Iran, so that it is not spent on Iranian militias abroad. The question here is: Will the sanctions have an immediate effect on Iran’s economic conditions? I do not think so. I do not believe that the Americans expect that either. It seems that the Iranian regime had prepared itself for these sanctions long ago, by stockpiling oil outside its territory. This would enable it to absorb the impact of the crisis for some time. However, this resistance would definitely weaken over time, in a way that would make the sanctions fulfill its goals.
Dangerous repercussions
The US, as its politicians mentioned, does not seek to completely overthrow the whole regime; but rather to correct its behavior and curb its ambitions, whether by preventing it from owning nuclear power or ballistic missiles which are an integral part of the these nuclear capabilities. At the same time, the US wants to cut off its militant arms which it uses to threaten its neighbors and fund terrorism with. As for overthrowing the whole regime, I do not believe that the Americans seek that. Overthrowing the regime like what happened with Saddam’s regime in Iraq would create a similar situation to what happened in Iraq, but it would be the Shiite version. This would have dangerous repercussions on the region’s stability and security.
The retreat of the mullahs’ regime in Iran from its ambitions and its resorting to rationality as well as peaceful coexistence with its neighbors is what the entire world, including the neighboring countries which this regime has harmed for over four decades, hopes for.
As I said in previous articles, the first people who are going to benefit from clipping the wings of the mullahs’ regime are the Iranians themselves. These strict sanctions would convince them that having this expansionist mentality of the Middle Ages and the neglect of human beings almost completely is impossible in today’s world, and that religious countries with an expansionist mindset cannot be accepted in the modern age. Sooner or later this would make the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist come back to its senses, oblige it to protect the state from failing and forget about exporting the revolution. This latter task was one of Khomeini’s most important wills before he died. It’s also possible for the situation to aggravate as the mullahs may insist on resistance and steadfastness. This is however hardly possible.
The retreat of the mullahs’ regime from its ambitions and its resorting to rationality as well as peaceful coexistence with its neighbors is what the entire world, including the neighboring countries which this regime has harmed for over four decades, hopes for.

The West Must Offer Immediate Asylum to Asia Bibi
 Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/November 14/18
Asia Bibi is expected to remain in Pakistan until her case is once again "reviewed in an appeal process" ordered by the Prime Minister. Bibi's judicial process now looks infinite. Meanwhile, thousands of Islamists fill the Pakistani streets, calling for her execution.
Many of the values that make the West "the West" are now at stake in her fate: freedom of expression, religious freedom, freedom of movement, the rule of law, human dignity, and the separation of church and state. If the West does not fight for Asia Bibi, for whom should it fight?
"If Asia Bibi is denied asylum in the UK then what the heck is the point of the asylum system?" — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, refugee from Somalia, author and human rights campaigner.
A London where an ISIS-supporting preacher of Pakistani descent, Anjem Choudary, is free and comfortable, while a Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi, would be unsafe and threatened, is the end of the West as we know it.
Asia Bibi's family has struggled for eight years to save her life, first to get her off of death row in Pakistan, where she was falsely imprisoned for "blasphemy," and now that she has been released, to try to get asylum for her in the West. Pictured: Eisham Masih, one of Asia Bibi's daughters, is greeted by Pope Francis in 2015. (Image source: HazteOir/Wikimedia Commons)
Asia Bibi's case looks as if it is coming from "another, medieval world."
Her "guilt," as an "unclean" Christian, was for drinking water from a communal well, used by Muslim neighbors. Two Muslim women alleged that because she, a Christian, had touched the water from the well, the entire well was now haram (forbidden by Islamic law). Bibi responded by saying "I think Jesus would see it differently from Mohammed," that Jesus had "died on the cross for the sins of mankind," and asked, "What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?" She was accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad and put on trial for "blasphemy." She was told to convert to Islam or die.
Bibi spent more than eight years in a Pakistani prison, in solitary confinement, much of that time on death row. On October 3, 2018, Pakistan's Supreme Court acquitted her. Then, for a whole week, her fate remained unclear. After violent protests by "hard-line Islamists call[ing] for her execution" that "paralyzed large parts of the country for two days," the government made "concessions" to the Islamists, and capitulated to their demands. The government pledged not to oppose adding Bibi to a "no-fly list," which would prevent her from leaving the country.
So, after being found not guilty and freed from prison, Bibi is still being held against her will in Pakistan -- ostensibly for her own "safety," but in reality, it seems the purpose is to allow a mob to murder her more easily. Now, amid government concerns that her departure would spur renewed violent protests by the Islamic extremists, Bibi is apparently in an secret location. "Fake" images on social media have been circulating, purporting to show Asia Bibi leaving the country or out of Pakistan.
"For four days, all the Christians stayed inside, enclosed in their homes in the principal cities of Pakistan", said Alessandro Monteduro, director of the Italian organization Aid to the Church in Need. Meanwhile, Bibi is expected to remain in Pakistan until her case is once again "reviewed in an appeal process" ordered by the Prime Minister. Bibi's judicial process now looks infinite. Meanwhile, thousands of Islamists fill the Pakistani streets, calling for her execution.
Western countries must offer Bibi a safe haven, and pressure Pakistan's government to free her and let her leave the country. Many of the values that make the West "the West" are now at stake in her fate: freedom of expression, religious freedom, freedom of movement, the rule of law, human dignity, and the separation of church and state. The leader of the French opposition party Les Républicaines, Laurent Waquieuz, has defined Asia Bibi's case as a one involving "our conception of civilization in the face of Islamist barbarism."
If the West does not fight for Asia Bibi, for whom should it fight?
After eight years of passivity and silence, some European countries are trying to help her. Italy said it would assist Asia Bibi in obtaining asylum.
Italy's deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini told Italian media Nov. 6 that he wants "women and children whose lives are at risk to be able to have a secure future, in our country or in other Western countries, so I will do everything humanly possible to guarantee that (for Asia).
"It is not permissible that in 2018 someone can risk losing their life" for a "hypothesis of blasphemy," he added.
Salvini also noted that if given asylum in Italy, Bibi and her family would be provided with the protection afforded to those under death threats by the Mafia. Now, Bibi must be protected from religious mobsters.
In addition, Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament and a leader in Italy's opposition party, Forza Italia, invited Asia Bibi to Strasbourg and called "on Pakistan's authorities to issue the necessary documents".
More than 60,000 Italians signed an appeal asking their authorities to give asylum to Asia Bibi, which said, in part: "It is urgent that Italy, in the name of its humanistic tradition, immediately provide Asia Bibi with all the political and diplomatic protection she needs. Every day spent in this limbo is a risk to her life. Italy can not remain silent and defenseless in front of the fate of Asia Bibi, a symbol of the persecution of Christians throughout the world".
Michael Brand, a human rights expert for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party, urged that "every effort" be made so Bibi can "live in freedom and security". Bibi's lawyer, Saiful Malook, was quoted by CNN saying that "[a]n asylum application has been filed in the Netherlands" for her family and her. A Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying "The case of Asia Bibi has the fullest attention of the Dutch government... We are working closely and are in contact with other countries on the matter."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, "we are in discussions with the Pakistani government" about taking in Bibi.
Citing the "great danger" their family faces in Pakistan, Ashiq Masih, Bibi's husband, pleaded on November 4: "I am requesting [U.S.] President Donald Trump to help us to leave [the country], and I am requesting the prime minister of the U.K. help us and as far as possible grant us freedom."
Other European countries, sadly, seem to have capitulated to the Islamists' threats.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Wilson Chowdhry, of the British Pakistani Christian Association, as saying: "The fact no offer has manifested is shocking. Hundreds of thousands of people have rioted and called for her death". The UK Telegraph quoted Chowdhry as saying:
"Britain was concerned about potential unrest in the country, attacks on embassies and civilians.
"They have not offered automatic asylum, whereas several countries have now come forward. They won't be coming to Britain. The family will definitely not be coming to Britain."
The UK's refusal to offer asylum to Bibi is why 19 British MPs and Peers wrote to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, urging him to allow her to go there. Member of Parliament John Woodcock said: "The UK should be proud to be a sanctuary for those being persecuted because of their religion so it would be appalling if Asia Bibi is genuinely being denied asylum because of fears she could be targeted by Islamist hardliners over here."
"If Asia Bibi is denied asylum in the UK then what the heck is the point of the asylum system?" Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a refugee from Somalia, author of four best-selling books, human rights campaigner and a former member of the Dutch parliament tweeted from the US.
The UK gave asylum to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban. Why shouldn't Asia Bibi benefit from the same generous treatment? Britain has protected the writer Salman Rushdie since the Iranian regime's 1989 fatwa calling for his murder. Would it not be just and worthy for the UK to extend the same refuge and protection to this Pakistani Christian mother, another victim of Islamic sharia law?
Speaking to AsiaNews, Joseph Nadeem, executive director of the Renaissance Education Foundation, reported: "We have no news, we are unaware of the contacts between the [Pakistani] government and the foreign countries". However, he said, "there is a positive news: she was able to meet her husband after 10 years".
If European diplomacy is at least trying to react to the horrendous limbo in which Asia Bibi is imprisoned, most European "intellectuals', always the first to voice their "principles", have stayed extremely quiet.
A major, rare public appeal was published only by the French newspaper Le Figaro. More than 40 personalities, including Élisabeth and Robert Badinter, Luc Ferry, Robert Redeker, Pierre-André Taguieff and Jean-Claude Zylberstein, called for a mobilization to save her. These French intellectuals called Asia Bibi's situation an "abominable and retrograde sentence worthy of a different age than that of our modern democracies and of civilization in general". "We are honored to advocate religious tolerance, the plurality of ideas and, dare we also say in this circumstance, equality between the sexes", they wrote.
In an October 22 article, Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, legal advisor for the Catholic Association Foundation, wrote:
"It's time for all American women to focus their passion on the defense of a Pakistani woman waiting to be hanged for... drinking from the 'wrong' cup and speaking her mind".
Extremist Muslim vigilantes want to take "justice" into their own hands. While Britain fears for its "security", Asia Bibi risks being murdered.
There is a long history of such vigilante murders in Pakistan. Rashid Rehman, a lawyer in Pakistan who was defending a university professor accused of blasphemy, was shot dead. A Christian pastor charged with blasphemy, Zafar Bhatti, was murdered in jail by a policeman. A judge, Arif Iqbal Bhatti, who acquitted two individuals accused of blasphemy, was murdered in his chambers. Salman Taseer, a brave Muslim who was governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, was murdered by his own bodyguard, who said "he did this because Mr Taseer recently defended the proposed amendments to the blasphemy law." Pakistan's federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was murdered for defending Bibi. Recently, Asia Bibi's lawyer, Saiful Malook, fled Pakistan and is seeking asylum in the Netherlands.
At this point, the most positive outcome for Asia Bibi's would be to follow the example of another Pakistani Christian woman, Rimsha Masih. After "spending months in hiding," she found asylum in Canada. To ensure that Asia Bibi can even reach the West, however, influential people in the West need to speak out as loudly as they can, and put all possible pressure on the Pakistani government. As the French intellectuals who signed their appeal for Bibi remarked, at stake in Bibi's case is not only the fate of persecuted Christians worldwide, but also "the spirit of Enlightenment."
A London where an ISIS-supporting preacher of Pakistani descent, Anjem Choudary, is free and comfortable, while a Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi, would be unsafe and threatened, is the end of the West as we know it.
**Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.
© 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 Jews of the North Africa under Muslim Rule
Ruthie Blum/Gatestone Institute/November 14/18
David Littman, before his untimely death from leukemia in 2012, had intended this book on the Maghreb to be the first in a series that would cover the social condition of the Jews in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Iran and Turkey -- an ambitious project that he was unable to tackle in its entirety.
"To his credit, King Mohammad VI has made a point of preserving the Jewish heritage of Morocco, especially its cemeteries. He has better relations with Israel than other Muslim countries but still does not recognize Israel and have diplomatic relations with the nation state of the Jewish People." — Alan M. Dershowitz, "What Is a 'Refugee'?"
"[T]he task of completing this exploration of the historical reality of Jewish existence under the Crescent rests upon future generations of researchers, to whom, it is hoped, our modest contribution will serve as an inspiration." — David Littman.
Exile in the Maghreb, co-authored by the great historian David G. Littman and Paul B. Fenton, is an ambitious tome contradicting the myth of how breezy it was for Jews to live in their homelands in the Middle East and North Africa when they came under Muslim rule.
"Ever since the Middle Ages," the book jarringly illustrates, "anti-Jewish persecution has been endemic to Muslim North Africa."
Littman, before his untimely death from leukemia in 2012, had intended this book on the Maghreb to be the first in a series that would cover the social condition of the Jews of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Iran and Turkey -- an ambitious project that he was unable to tackle in its entirety.
The impetus for the book, which was first published in French in 2010 and in English in 2016, was to expose the misrepresentation by certain historians of the relations between the Jews of Morocco and Algeria and their Arab rulers. One such historian cited in the book was the French Orientalist, Claude Cahen, who dreamily wrote in his chapter on "Dhimma" in the Encylopaedia of Islam:
"There is nothing in medieval Islam which could specifically be called anti-Semitism... Islam has, in spite of many upsets, shown more toleration than Europe toward Jews who remained in Muslim lands."
The original idea for the book -- a massive collection of personal testimonies, photos and documents spanning ten centuries (from 997-1912) -- came to Littman when he was on a humanitarian trip to Morocco in 1961. Littman noted:
"Following the independence of their country in 1956, the Jews of Morocco had begun to redefine their hopes regarding the future. Whereas new opportunities for them began to loom on the horizon, I was astonished to observe that the Moroccan Jews were making every possible effort to leave their native land to immigrate to the struggling young State of Israel or even to Europe, whose communities were still painfully recovering from the tragedies of World War II."
In an article for the Jerusalem Post -- entitled, "Exploding the myth of Moroccan tolerance" -- Lyn Julius described an anti-Israel documentary by Al Jazeera that blamed the Mossad for "play[ing] a key role in convincing thousands of Moroccan Jews that they were in danger and covertly facilitated their departure" to the newly established state of Israel. Prior to that, according to the broadcast, "Jews first began to settle in Morocco over 2,000 years ago and for centuries they and Muslims have happily co-existed there."
Julius writes that Exile in the Maghreb provides "a corrective to this common historical distortion."
There is, for example the account of Samuel Romanelli (1758-1814), an Italian Jew who visited Morocco at the end of Sultan Sidi Mohammad III's reign (1757-1790), and wrote about his travels in Oracle from an Arab Land (1792):
"Most of them [the Jews of Morocco] never die a natural death nor do they share the lot of common mortals: execution, torture, expropriation, incarceration are their fate. Their bodies might be mutilated and their residences turned into cesspools..."
In the article, "What Is a 'Refugee'? The Jews from Morocco versus the Palestinians from Israel," published earlier this year, the renowned lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, writes:
"Jews lived in Morocco for centuries before Islam came to Casablanca, Fez and Marrakesh. The Jews, along with the Berbers, were the backbone of the economy and culture. Now their historic presence can be seen primarily in the hundreds of Jewish cemeteries and abandoned synagogues that are omnipresent in cities and towns throughout the Maghreb...
"Now they are a remnant in Morocco and gone from the other countries. Some left voluntarily to move to Israel after 1948. Many were forced to flee by threats, pogroms and legal decrees, leaving behind billions of dollars in property and the graves of their ancestors.
"Today, Morocco's Jewish population is less than 5,000, as contrasted with 250,000 at its peak. To his credit, King Mohammad VI has made a point of preserving the Jewish heritage of Morocco, especially its cemeteries. He has better relations with Israel than other Muslim countries but still does not recognize Israel and have diplomatic relations with the nation state of the Jewish People. It is a work in progress. His relationship with his small Jewish community, most of whom are avid Zionists, is excellent..."
Exile in the Maghreb is a most important book, which sets the record straight about the true plight of the Jews after the conquests of the lands in which they had peacefully resided.
To encourage the work to be continued by others, Littman quoted Rabbi Tarphon in the Ethics of the Fathers: "It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it." Littman concluded:
"[T]he task of completing this exploration of the historical reality of Jewish existence under the Crescent rests upon future generations of researchers, to whom, it is hoped, our modest contribution will serve as an inspiration."
*Ruthie Blum is the author of "To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring.'"
© 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.