November 25/1
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For today
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
Mark 10/17-27: "As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: "You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother." ’He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’"’"

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 24-25/18
A French spy ship reserved for trouble spots joins USS Truman in Syrian waters/DEBKAfile/November 24/18
Analysis/Shadow of Russian Plane Still Hangs: Israel Worries About Conflict in North, but Its Hands Are Tied/Amos Harel/Haaretz/November 24/18
Beyond Mohammed bin Salman’s Tour/Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al-Awsat/November 24/18
Russia and Japan Could Finally End WWII/Leonid Bershidsky/Bloomberg View/November 24/18
Baghdad has a difficult choice to make/Camelia Entekhabifard/Arab News/November 24, 2018
Why this G20 summit may be the most important in years/Andrew Hammond/Arab News/November 24, 2018
The Fracturing of France/Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/November 24/18
Iran does not work alone/Amal Abdulaziz Al–Hazani/Al Arabiya/November 24/18
The Arab project gives wings to bright ideas/Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi/Al Arabiya/November 24/18
Trump vs American media: The scene from another angle/Dr. Naif Alhadari/Al Arabiya/November 24/18

Titles For Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on November 24-25/18
President Aoun refers to elevated government formation crisis
Rahi winds up Vatican visit by meeting with the State Secretary
Parolin: Lebanon has a special place in the heart of His Holiness the Pope
Pope Francis appoints Monsignor Zakhia as Papal Ambassador to Pakistan
Jumblat says settlement necessary to avoid collapse
MP Samy Gemayell: We have a long way to build a political life based on accountability
Boustani: President of the Republic is the father of the homeland
Reception at Lebanese Ambassador's residence in Abidjan, musical performance marking Independence Day
Iranians, Lebanese among Wounded in Yemen’s Hodeidah
Report: U.S. Envoy Warns ‘No More Political Concessions for Hizbullah’
Jumblat: Settlement Necessary to Avoid Collapse
Report: Vatican Sounds Alarm as Govt Gridlock Enters Seventh Month
Ghana’s Vice President Visits South Lebanon

Titles For Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 24-25/18
A French spy ship reserved for trouble spots joins USS Truman in Syrian waters
Netanyahu Confirms Continued Israeli Actions Against Iran
Israelis Welcome at Qatar World Cup
US Refuses Trading Iran Withdrawal from Syria for Sanctions Relief
Egypt Unveils Pharaonic Tomb Found in Luxor
Aboul Gheit: No Regional Order Succeeds without Solution to Palestinian Cause
Turkey: EU Out of Line for Demanding Release of Kurdish Leader
Saudi Royal Says Crown Prince is Here to Stay
Iran Urges Muslims to Unite against US, Including Saudi 'Brothers'
May Heads to Brussels as Spain Threatens Brexit Summit
French police clash with ‘yellow vest’ protesters angry over fuel taxes

Latest Lebanese Related News published on November 24-25/18
President Aoun refers to elevated government formation crisis
Sat 24 Nov 2018/NNA - President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, referred Saturday to the augmented government formation crisis in Lebanon. The President recalled herein "the story of Solomon when two women came to him with a child, each claiming to be the mother...and when King Solomon ordered the child to be cut in half, the real mother cried out to him to spare his life and give the child to the other which instant Solomon knew who the real mother was...""Today, we wish to know who Lebanon's mother really is in order to give it to her," said Aoun, adding, "I shall suffice with that brief statement!" The President's words came before a delegation of participants in the annual "Independence Day Race", who ran from Rashaya Castle to the Presidential Palace in Baabda "in commemoration of the independence and its men and the martyrs who fought for human freedom and the liberty of Lebanon."
Aoun congratulated the delegation members on their achievement, and on the symbols that they carried from Rashaya to Baabda. Earlier, the President received in the presence of Youth and Sports Committee Head, MP Simon Abi Ramia, a delegation of representatives of the "Sympathy and Care Association" in Jbeil, and the teams of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq who participated in the 3rd Arab Sports Festival in Table Tennis and Basketball for people with special needs, which was recently held at President Michel Sleiman's Sports Stadium in Amchit. Aoun warmly welcomed the delegation, praising their achievements and their "courage in exerting more efforts, maintaining their high morale, and showing their capabilities as great as those who walk on their feet and move their hands.""The real disability is one that affects man in his heart or mind, rendering him unable to think of others or have any sympathy or passion for others...," said Aoun, stressing on the depth of appreciation for each member and promising them continuous support. Meanwhile, the President of the Republic received more congratulatory cables marking Lebanon's Independence Day, most prominently from King Philippe of Spain, in which he stressed the depth of the friendly ties that unite his country with Lebanon, hoping for peace and prosperity for Lebanon and its beloved people. Aoun also received a cable from Francophonie Secretary General Michaelle Jean, in which she expressed the "appreciation of the Francophone Organization for Lebanon in its defense of the universal human values it holds for a future of peace and prosperity based on solidarity among peoples." She hoped that the establishment of the Francophonie Regional Center in Beirut would help to consolidate this message.

Rahi winds up Vatican visit by meeting with the State Secretary
Parolin: Lebanon has a special place in the heart of His Holiness the Pope

Sat 24 Nov 201/NNA - Maronite Church Archbishops Synod headed by Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Beshara Boutros al-Rahi, held a long meeting on Saturday with Vatican State Secretary, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, in the presence of Foreign Minister Paul Richard Gallagher and other senior officials of the State Secretariat. Al-Rahi gave a briefing during the meeting on the Maronite Church, its dioceses and various challenges and aspirations under the current circumstances. In turn, Parolin stressed on the "depth of the relationship between the Holy See and Lebanon, particularly the Maronite Church," adding that "Lebanon has a special place in the heart of His Holiness the Pope." Parolin praised the role of the Lebanese Diaspora. He then explained the role of the State Secretariat within the Church and its relationship with states and churches in the world. Parolin also announced that His Holiness the Pope has appointed Monsignor Christophe Zakhia, the Lebanese Maronite Priest, as Papal Ambassador in Pakistan and promoted him to the rank of Archbishop. The Vatican Secretary introduced the new Archbishop to the Patriarch, saying, "This appointment carries an additional joy for the Maronite Church in its Apostolic visit."

Pope Francis appoints Monsignor Zakhia as Papal Ambassador to Pakistan
Sat 24 Nov 2018/NNA - Pope Francis appointed the Church Consultant of the Synod, Christophe Zakhia, as Papal Ambassador to Pakistan. The Priest was born in Beirut on 24 August 1968. Zakhia entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on June 19, 2000, and served in the Papal Embassy in Indonesia, Sudan, and Turkey and in the International Relations Department in the State Secretariat. He is fluent in the following languages: Arabic, French, Italian, English, Indonesian, Spanish, and German.

Jumblat says settlement necessary to avoid collapse

Sat 24 Nov 2018/NNA - Socialist Progressive Party Chief, former Minister and MP Walid Jumblatt, said via Twitter on Saturday that "following the speech in the Vatican by Foreign Minister Glagher in the presence of the Supreme Pontiff, and away from narrow and local considerations, compromise remains a necessity regardless of its bitterness to avoid collapse."Jumblatt attached to his tweet a photo of crumbling domino pieces bearing portraits of world figures.

MP Samy Gemayell: We have a long way to build a political life based on accountability
Sat 24 Nov 2018/NNA/"The Kataeb Party is not a profit-making company, but a cause that aims at creating a better future for the Lebanese people and the new generations," said Kataeb Party Chief, MP Samy Gemayel, in an interview marking the Party's 82nd foundation anniversary. Gemayel paid tribute to all the martyrs, fighters, and all those who contributed to building the Kataeb march over the 82 years of struggle. "Today, more than ever, we are proud of our march and of all the stances adopted by our Party throughout history," he said. "Lebanon will only achieve the cause of the Kataeb by building a state of law, and through upholding the right to achieve full sovereignty by demonstrating good governance and building a citizen who believes in this country and its development, a citizen who respects its laws and regulations," Gemayel underscored. On the government formation issue, Gemayel reiterated his Party's proposal to form a government of specialists at this stage, while the conflicting parties resolve their problems calmly and agree on their points of dispute through dialogue at the Parliament House. "Lebanon needs a government that will play its role and address its problems and save the people from the economic and social disaster we are facing today," he corroborated.

Boustani: President of the Republic is the father of the homeland

Sat 24 Nov 2018/NNA - Member of the "Strong Lebanon" Parliamentary Bloc, MP Farid al-Boustani, asserted via his Twitter account on Saturday that "eyes are pinned on His Excellency [President Michel Aoun] and his political moves to save the country from its ordeal.""Once again, the President has proved to be the father of the whole nation, and we are all convinced that he will protect Lebanon from all those who are trying to undermine its political stability," Boustani underlined.

Reception at Lebanese Ambassador's residence in Abidjan, musical performance marking Independence Day

Sat 24 Nov 2018/NNA - Lebanese Ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire, Khalil Mohammad, celebrated Friday the 75th anniversary of Lebanon's Independence with a reception held at his residence, which was attended by representative of the Ivory Coast Foreign Ministry, ambassadors of foreign countries accredited in Abidjan, members of the Lebanese expatriate community, heads of associations and social and economic figures. Addressing the attending guests, Ambassador Mohammad stressed on "the firm ties that link both Lebanon and Ivory Coast together, and the important role of the Lebanese community in Abidjan in promoting these friendly bilateral relations." At the end of the ceremony, Ambassador Mohammad and members of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry attended a musical performance by Lebanese Artists Guy Manoukian and Joseph Attieh and Egyptian Singer Abo at the Cultural Palace in Abidjan, joined by some 2,000 people waving the Lebanese flag in commemoration of Lebanon's Independence Day.

Iranians, Lebanese among Wounded in Yemen’s Hodeidah
Riyadh – Abdulhadi Habtor/Asharq Al-Awsat/November 24/18/The Yemeni government revealed that four Lebanese and two Iranians were on the list of wounded provided by the Iranian-backed Houthis and whom it was trying to evacuate outside the country. This explains why the militias were insistent on not revealing the names of the injured, intelligence information said. Yemeni government spokesman Rajeh Badi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the four Lebanese were members of the Hezbollah party and the two Iranians were from the Revolutionary Guards. An agreement was recently reached with the Houthis on evacuating their wounded outside the country where they could receive treatment. This issue was among one of three last-minute conditions set by the Houthis ahead of September consultations that were held in Geneva and that ultimately failed after the militias did not show up to the talks. Reuters reported Thursday that leader of the Houthis had proposed the evacuation of his wounded to UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths during their talks in Sanaa. Information obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat revealed that the Houthis have demanded the evacuation of 50 injured and 50 companions before the start of any consultations on Yemen. A new round of UN-sponsored consultations is scheduled for early December after intense efforts exerted by Griffiths and his team that included talks with Abdul Malek al-Houthi in Sanaa on Thursday. He paid a visit to Hodeidah on Friday, saying he “received a very warm welcome from senior representatives. I am very grateful to them for organizing this visit.”“The attention of the world is on Hodeidah. Leaders from every country have called for us all to keep the peace in Hodeidah. I have come here today with my good friends and colleagues, the Humanitarian Coordinator, Lise Grande and The World Food Program Country Director of Yemen, Stephen Anderson to learn first-hand how we can help to keep that international pledge to protect the people of Hodeidah from further devastation,” he continued. He met with the Houthi leadership and “among other things, we talked about how the UN could contribute to keeping the peace in Hodeidah.”“I am here to tell you today that we have agreed that the UN should now pursue actively and urgently detailed negotiations for a leading UN role in the Port and more broadly,” Griffiths said. Al-Arabiya television reported that the militias prevented the envoy from visiting any facilities in the city, which the Houthis had transformed in a military barracks.

Report: U.S. Envoy Warns ‘No More Political Concessions for Hizbullah’
Naharnet/November 24/18/U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Levant Joel Rayburn has voiced warnings against giving Hizbullah party “any additional political gains” seeing its effect on the U.S. aid for Lebanon’s military, al-joumhouria daily reported on Saturday. Senior political sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The U.S. envoy, who visited Lebanon for 19 hours, and met with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, has voiced warnings against giving additional political gains for Hizbullah,” suggesting “significant U.S. influence on the CEDRE Support conference for Lebanon,” in response. They said the envoy’s mission was to deliver a direct message in that regard, discouraging Lebanon from taking political decisions in Hizbullah’s favor. He warned it could affect the U.S. grants provided for Lebanon at the CEDRE conference and the U.S. aid for the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Jumblat: Settlement Necessary to Avoid Collapse
Naharnet/November 24/18/Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblat on Saturday said a settlement is necessary in order to avoid collapse in light of frail efforts to form the government. Referring to the latest concerns raised by Vatican Foreign Minister about the situation in Lebanon, Jumblat said: “After the speech made by Vatican Foreign Minister Paul Richard Gallagher in the presence of the Supreme Pontiff, away from narrow local considerations, the settlement is necessary whatever its bitterness in order to avoid collapse.” The new 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 pro-Hizbullah 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 three Shiite ministers in a bid to press him.

Report: Vatican Sounds Alarm as Govt Gridlock Enters Seventh Month
Naharnet/November 24/18/No breakthrough on the horizon as the government formation gridlock enters its seventh month on Sunday, amid concerns raised by the Vatican shall the delay persist, urging Lebanese officials to resolve the hurdle, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday
In the midst of this “bleak” Lebanese atmosphere, the Holy See’s warning to the Lebanese people arises urging them to preserve their country in the face of the challenges it may face, with emphasis on the Vatican and Pope Francis’s support for Lebanon and diversity, said the daily.
This image was conveyed by several visiting Lebanese to the Vatican in recent days, including political figures, partisans and deputies such as Ali Bazzi, Alain Aoun, Nehmeh Afram, Yassin Jaber, Nadim Gemayel, Tony Franjieh, Shawqi Daccache, Nicola Nahhas and others, according to the newspaper.
The Vatican Foreign Minister has reportedly presented a detailed account of the situation in the region, including Lebanon. He touched on the Iranian file, calling “not to underestimate the importance of Iran's role in the region.”Regarding the situation in Lebanon, he stressed that the Vatican is eager to see a government formed. “I don’t want to draw pink pictures or tell you children stories, but where are you taking Lebanon, you are not envied for the situation you are in, be careful. You have to organize yourselves and your country to be able to face the great challenges ahead. The Holy See will remain supportive of Lebanon, but certainly does not have a magic wand,” he was quoted as saying. The FM also focused on the Syrian refugees file in Lebanon. “The displaced issue is a great burden in Lebanon. Certainly Lebanon can not afford the growing burden of increasing births. But it is regrettable that their return to their country may not take place. There is no one in the world who is ready to offer assistance to Lebanon on this issue. We recommend that Lebanon knocks at the door of Washington to help in this area,” he added.

Ghana’s Vice President Visits South Lebanon
Naharnet/November 24/18/Ghana's Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia visited the headquarters of the Ghanaian Contingent serving in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in South Lebanon’s Bint Jbeil, the National News Agency reported on Saturday. NNA said Bawumia was briefed on the mission of UNIFIL and the role of the Ghanaian peacekeeping forces, in addition to supporting local citizens through the projects of the Office of Civil Military Cooperation and the close cooperation with the Lebanese army to achieve security and stability in the region. The Vice-President commended the Ghanaian soldiers for their “outstanding performance and the great efforts to serve peace in southern Lebanon.”He then reiterated Ghana's continued commitment to support Lebanon since 1979. Ghana has supported UNIFIL with troops since the inception of the mission 40 years ago.
Earlier, Bawumia held talks with President Michel Aoun met, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, House Speaker Nabih Berri and UNIFIL Commander, Major General Stefano Del Col.

Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on November 24-25/18
A French spy ship reserved for trouble spots joins USS Truman in Syrian waters
DEBKAfile/November 24/18
The advanced French Dupuy de Lome spy ship has reached Syrian waters and begun operating in conjunction with the USS Harry Truman and its five-ship strike force. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Dupuy le Lome is normally reserved by the Directorate of Military Intelligence of France (DRM) for deployment to the world’s flash points ahead of or amid military flareups. During the Ukraine war and the Russian invasion of Crimea (2014-2015), the French signal intelligence ship was seen repeatedly in the Black Sea while tracking Russian military movements.
Since last weekend, the US Air Force has maintained flights around the clock over Syria, according to an earlier DEBKAfile report. Some of the aircraft take off from the Truman’s flight decks. Not much is known about the surveillance systems aboard the French spy ship, but they are believed to be state of the art. They include a radar/radiation warning system, satellite communications systems and at least two navigational radar locators. The ship also has equipment for eavesdropping on enemy communications and command centers, reading plain and coded email and listening in on mobile phone communications.
Beamed to the French ship is intelligence gathered by US reconnaissance aircraft which have been in the air over Syria since last May. These USAF MC-12S EMARSS and MC-12W Liberty planes have for some months been making passes over Syria from their base on the island of Crete. The UAF planes are equipped with an Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS-S) which can listen in on conversations among enemy command centers. They can also capture military installations on video for relay to the US Army’s DCGS-A intelligence data network

Netanyahu Confirms Continued Israeli Actions Against Iran
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 24 November, 2018/Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stressed that Israel has continued “to act” to stop Tehran from gaining influence in Syria and Lebanon. "This is my first visit here at the General Staff as the prime minister and defense minister," Netanyahu said Friday as he convened his first meeting with the Israeli army leadership in Tel Aviv since announcing that he will replace Avigdor Lieberman, who has resigned as defense minister. "In the first arena, Gaza, we are ready to act and do everything necessary to protect the security of the residents of the area and the south," added the prime minister. "The second arena is Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)," Netanyahu continued. He said the Israeli army and the Shin Bet thwarted about 500 attacks this year. “This is an opportunity to welcome the last joint action that prevented a very large terrorist attack that was directed by Hamas from Gaza,” he added. The PM said that the final threat Israel needed to tackle came from "the north, Syria, and Lebanon. We continue to act to prevent Iran's military buildup in Syria and Hezbollah's precision weapons project in Lebanon". Netanyahu on Thursday named Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir as the next deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army in one of his first acts since he also took on the mantle of defense minister. Netanyahu “approved the recommendation of the incoming Chief of Staff Gen. Aviv Kochavi and appointed Gen. Eyal Zamir as the deputy chief of staff,” the army said in a statement. The appointment comes just weeks after Kochavi was chosen for the top military job by Lieberman. Zamir had also been a candidate for the top position and was thought to be Netanyahu’s preferred candidate.

Israelis Welcome at Qatar World Cup
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 24 November, 2018/Qatar will pave the way for new ties with Israel in the coming years and it will allow Israelis to visit during its hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, reported Israel’s Channel 2. It said that Qatari officials confirmed that Doha will allow Israeli fans and dignitaries to visit the country during the tournament. Israelis will have free access to attend matches, said Channel 2. The Palestinian Hamas movement, meanwhile, called on Friday Arab countries to cease all forms of “normalization” with Israel. “Some Arab countries’ normalization of ties with the Israeli occupation is a stab in the back against the just Palestinian cause,” said movement spokesman Abdullatif al-Qanou. “The occupation forces will remain the main enemy of our people and nation,” he declared, slamming visits by Israeli officials to some Arab countries.

US Refuses Trading Iran Withdrawal from Syria for Sanctions Relief
Moscow - Raed Jaber/Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 24 November, 2018/The Kremlin chose silence as a policy towards recent statements made by the US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey on the future of Iran’s role in the Syria crisis. Jeffrey, speaking to Russian media, had said that Washington will not use new Tehran sanctions as a bargaining chip in Syria. "Certainly, were the idea of a trade of Iranian withdrawal for American relief on sanctions on Iran to come up, that’s something that under no circumstances would we accept," he said. But he admitted that all US sanctions on Iran had a “specific Iran pressure component” linked to its concern about Tehran’s activities in the region. "But these sanctions also are focused on Iran working to help Syria out. And we believe that we need to see the political process move forward, we need to see a de-escalation of the fighting in Syria … And we’ll use sanctions, we’ll use denial of reconstruction aid, we’ll use diplomatic resources — anything we can to try to end this conflict and restore Syria to its people," he said. The State Department official stressed that sanctions on Iran were reimposed after Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and had no bearing on the Syrian war. A Russian diplomat told media outlets on condition of anonymity said that Jeffrey’s statements are interesting and worth a closer look, citing that the lack of a quick official reaction by Russia says a lot. The US will never have good relations with Syrian regime head Bashar Assad, but only Syrians get to decide who will lead them, Jeffrey said in an interview with RIA Novosti and the Kommersant newspaper. “We are committed to a political process that is with and by the Syrian people. The Syrian people get to decide who will lead them and what kind of a government they will have. We are not committed to any kind of regime change. We are committed to a change in the behavior of that regime,” Jeffrey said. As for having Iranian troops exit Syria, the US wants Russia to use its influence to influence Tehran to withdraw forces from the country, Jeffrey said. "We do urge the Russians to use whatever influence they have with the Syrian government and with the Iranians … to effect the removal of all Iranian commanded forces from the entirety of Syria as part of a solution that would have all foreign forces other than the Russians leave and return to 2011," he added.

Egypt Unveils Pharaonic Tomb Found in Luxor
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 24 November, 2018/Egypt said Saturday that archaeologists have found a pharaonic tomb in Luxor housing the mummies of a priest and his wife from the 13th century B.C.
Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anani said the tomb contains decorative sarcophagi, a thousand statuettes, as well as other treasures. The tomb, which is on the West Bank of the Nile near the Valley of the Kings, also contains several colorful paintings of pharaonic royalty. Egypt has hoped to revive its tourism sector.

Aboul Gheit: No Regional Order Succeeds without Solution to Palestinian Cause
Cairo - Sawsan Abu Husain/Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 24 November, 2018/Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit has stressed the important role the 22-member organization can play in any Arab regional order, which he said would not succeed without a solution to the Palestinian cause. “We have to revive the League of Arab states and the Arab security system as the core of the Arab region,” said Aboul Gheit as part of a panel of discussion titled “The Quest For Regional Hegemony: Preventing Escalation” in the 4th edition of the Mediterranean Dialogues held in Rome. “There has to be a settlement for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” he said. “The regional neighbors have to respect the integrity of Arab territory. Iran should think deeply on reversing its attitude and behavior in so many issues in relation to Arab countries,” he told the panel.
“If that achieved, there would be a new regional order allowing the League of Arab States to be the core to engage in whatever arrangements” there are, he added. “The destruction of the Arab world allowed others to seek intervention or hegemony,” he said in response to a question by the panel chair on what kind of overall balance could be sketched in the region in order to promote stability. “Everything in my opinion is premature. We cannot jump to arrangements in the region without understanding what is happening in” it, Aboul Gheit said. He also described the Arab region as the core of the Middle East. According to its website, Mediterranean Dialogues is the annual high-level initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and ISPI (Italian Institute forInternational Political Studies) in Rome. The event aims at drafting a “positive agenda” for the Mediterranean by stimulating debate and promoting new ideas, rethinking traditional approaches and addressing shared challenges at both the regional and the international level.

Turkey: EU Out of Line for Demanding Release of Kurdish Leader
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 24 November, 2018/Turkey criticized on Friday the European Union for going “out of line” in demanding the release of jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas. EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini made the call Thursday during a press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara. Mogherini and European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn were in the Turkish capital to discuss Turkey’s membership bid in the EU. "She exceeded her limits a little," Cavusoglu told CNN-Turk television a day after Mogherini’s comments on Demirtas, who has been held in Turkey for two years on terror charges. Demirtas, 45, one of two former co-leaders of the leftist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), was arrested in November 2016 over alleged links to Kurdish militants. The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday urged Ankara to release Demirtas -- who hailed the move as "legal acknowledgment of my status as a political hostage".The court accepted Demirtas had been arrested on "reasonable suspicion" of having committed a crime, but said the reasons given for keeping him behind bars were not "sufficient".
Demirtas denies all the charges and claims the case against him is politically motivated. Cavusoglu described the ECHR ruling as motivated by politics, not the law, and said the case would be determined by Turkey’s courts. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also rejected the European court's finding. "The decisions delivered by the ECHR do not bind us," he said. Demirtas on Friday accused the government of putting "political pressure" on the Turkish appeals court to uphold his "completely unlawful" sentence, in a statement released by his party. "We are witnessing a clear political intervention," he said. "The aim here is to sentence me with another contrived political decision to keep me imprisoned, before the ECHR implements its decision." But he remained defiant, saying: "We will never bow down, and we will stand tall with determination, our spirits high." He added: "We will, soon or later, emerge victorious in our struggle for law, justice, freedom and democracy."

Saudi Royal Says Crown Prince is Here to Stay
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 24/18/A prominent Saudi royal says whether or not heads of state gathered in Argentina next week for the Group of 20 summit warmly engage with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he is someone "that they have to deal with."Prince Turki al-Faisal tells The Associated Press the kingdom "will have to bear" that its reputation has been tarred by the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate last month. Still, he says, Saudi Arabia will continue to play a role on the world stage. He says President Donald Trump's statement of support for Saudi Arabia recognizes the importance of the kingdom. The prince, who once led Saudi intelligence, spoke Saturday during a policy briefing by the Beirut Institute Summit .

Iran Urges Muslims to Unite against US, Including Saudi 'Brothers'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 24/18/Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged Muslims worldwide on Saturday to unite against the United States and assured Saudis they were "brothers" who had nothing to fear from Tehran. US President Donald Trump abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Tehran in May and has since reimposed crippling unilateral sanction. "What the United States wants of (the Middle East) today is enslavement," Rouhani told an Islamic unity conference in Tehran. Instead of "rolling out the red carpet for criminals," Muslim governments should unite against the United States and "the region's cancerous tumour", Israel, he said. Rouhani urged Shiite Iran's Sunni rival Saudi Arabia to end its dependence on "insulting" US military aid. "We are ready to defend the Saudi people's interests against terrorism and superpowers with all our might," he said. "We do no ask $450 billion for it and will not insult you." Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran in January 2016 after protesters stormed its diplomatic missions in Iran following its execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. It accuses Tehran of fomenting unrest among Shiites in the Gulf Arab states and the two governments have supported opposing sides in devastating civil wars in Syria and Yemen.

May Heads to Brussels as Spain Threatens Brexit Summit
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 24/18/British Prime Minister Theresa May was headed back to Brussels on Saturday to defend the planned Brexit divorce deal even as Spain threatened to boycott an EU summit meant to endorse it. May has final day talks scheduled with EU leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, although diplomats said the withdrawal agreement is finished and ready for EU leaders to approve on Sunday. Nothing in the painful 17-month withdrawal process has gone smoothly, and on Friday, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned he might not attend if the leaders do not acknowledge that Madrid holds a veto over the fate of Gibraltar in any post-Brexit negotiation of new EU-UK ties. Visiting Cuba, Sanchez said that Madrid must be allowed to negotiate directly with London on Gibraltar and give its specific assent to any changes to its relationship to the European Union in a future agreement between Britain and Brussels. "If there's no agreement, it's very clear what will happen, there very probably won't be a European Council" summit, he said. Gibraltar, a tiny rocky outcrop home to a port and around 30,000 people, is a British territory claimed by Spain and will be a bone of contention as London negotiates a new relationship with Brussels after Brexit day on March 29. Luis Marco Aguiriano Nalda, Spain's secretary of state for European affairs, said Madrid wanted London to put in writing that it shared Madrid's interpretation of the negotiated Brexit deal texts regarding its stance on Gibraltar. "We have demanded that it be published by the British authorities before the European Council on Sunday," said in Brussels. In London, however, a Downing Street source said he did not know what document Aguiriano could be referring to and added: "We have negotiated on behalf of the whole of the UK family. That includes Gibraltar and the overseas territories." In legal terms, Spain's disapproval would not halt the divorce settlement, but it would embarrass EU leaders keen to show that the 27 are united.
More uncertainty
And, as Aguiriano noted, any final relationship negotiated between London and Brussels after Brexit day on March 29 would have to be approved by all remaining member states -- giving Spain a de facto veto further down the line. May is due in Brussels later on Saturday to see EU Commission president Juncker, head of the bloc's executive, and EU Council president Tusk, whose institution represents the member states. But European diplomats told AFP no more substantive negotiations would take place and Sunday's summit would simply see leaders sign off on the fruit of 17 months of dialogue. A European diplomat said the meeting's minutes would include language stressing the importance of Britain maintaining a level playing field in trade rules during the 21-month post-Brexit transition, and on fishing rights. And the summit will make it clear that the European Council would take the lead over the Commission in negotiating future ties -- another measure to reassure Madrid that its voice will be heard before any final settlement is reached. After that, May will still have to sell the deal to the British Parliament, an even greater political challenge. May refused to say whether she would resign if parliament eventually votes down the divorce agreement that the EU is set to endorse on Sunday, alongside a shorter political framework to guide talks on future ties. "If this deal does not go through, we are back at square one. What we end up with is more division and more uncertainty," she warned.

French police clash with ‘yellow vest’ protesters angry over fuel taxes
Al Arabiya English and agencies/Saturday, 24 November 2018/Security forces in Paris fired tear gas and water cannon Saturday to disperse protesters who tried to break through a police cordon on the Champs-Elysees, an AFP journalist said. Several thousand demonstrators, wearing high-visibility yellow jackets, had gathered on the avenue as part of protests, which began last Saturday against an increase in diesel tax. Tens of thousands of people will rally in Paris on Saturday against rising fuel costs and President Emmanuel Macron’s economic policies, the second weekend of “yellow vest” protests that have led to widespread national disruption. Yellow Vests protesters who spoke to Al Arabiya News Channel said that police began to fire tear gas at demonstrators which led to clashes. Protesters said that their march began as peaceful and turned violent once police began to respond forcefully. “We began peacefully and it is our right to assemble and protest. They, the police, began to use force with water cannons and teargas canisters to disperse us. A lot of people are becoming increasingly angry and are beginning to march toward the Elysee Palace demanding Macron to take action and address the crowds,” one protester told Al Arabiya. Security forces are concerned that far-left and far-right extremists may infiltrate the demonstrations, escalating the crowd-control challenges. Around 30,000 people are expected to protest in Paris alone, Denis Jacob, secretary general of police union Alternative Police, told Reuters. “We know there are ultra-right and ultra-left infiltrators. You can also expect gangs from the suburbs and ‘black-blocks’,” he said, referring to a militant protest force. Some 3,000 police officers have been drafted in to work in Paris on Saturday, city hall said, with security forces having to handle a demonstration against sexual violence, a soccer match and a rugby game in the capital on the same day. For more than a week, protesters clad in the fluorescent yellow jackets that all motorists in France must have in their cars have blocked highways across the country with burning barricades and convoys of slow-moving trucks, obstructing access to fuel depots, shopping centers and some factories. They are opposed to taxes Macron introduced last year on diesel and petrol to encourage people to shift to more environmentally friendly transport. Alongside the tax, the government has offered incentives to buy green or electric vehicles. Last Saturday, when nearly 300,000 people took part in the first yellow vest demonstrations countrywide, retailers’ daily revenue fell 35 percent, according to consumer groups. The unrest is a dilemma for Macron who casts himself as a champion against climate change but has been derided as out of touch with common folk and is fighting a slump in popularity. In Paris, authorities have permitted a gathering next to the Eiffel Tower on Saturday but rejected requests for a protest on the Place de la Concorde, which is close to the National Assembly and the presidential Elysee Palace. The tower itself will be closed to the public.
Despite calls for calm from the government, the yellow vest protests have spread to French territories abroad, including the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, where cars were set on fire. The unrest has left two dead and 606 injured in mainland France, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday. While the movement, which has no leader, began as a backlash against higher fuel prices, it has tapped into broader frustration at the sense of a squeeze on household spending power under Macron’s 18-month-old government. French retailers warned on Friday that the protests across the country could derail the crucial Christmas shopping season that started with Black Friday discounts. Despite the disruptions, an Elabe poll for BFM TV showed 70 percent of French still approve of the yellow vest movement. Since coming to power, Macron has seen off trade union and street demonstrations against his changes to the labor rules, and overhauled the heavily indebted state rail operator. Foreign investors have largely cheered his pro-business administration. But political foes have dismissed him as the “president of the rich” for ending a wealth tax, and voters appear to be growing restless, with the 40-year-old president’s popularity slumped at barely 20 percent.

Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 23-24/18
Analysis/Shadow of Russian Plane Still Hangs: Israel Worries About Conflict in North, but Its Hands Are Tied
تحليل سياسي من الهآررتس لعاموس هاريل: شبح اسقاط الطائرة الروسية لا يزال قائماً في حين أن إسرائيل قلقة من الصراع على حدودها الشمالية لكنها مقيدة اليدين
Amos Harel/Haaretz/November 24/18
The strategic blunder caused by the plane's downing is far from over ■ Does the Israeli public agree with Bennett that lawyers are limiting the army's operations? ■ What the army warned about Culture Minister Miri Regev
In the Gaza Strip, which triggered Israel’s most recent political crisis, relative quiet actually prevailed this week. The intermediaries, members of Egyptian intelligence, asked Hamas for three weekends of quiet. During the first week the organization kept its promise. Last Friday, its security personnel were deployed near the border with Israel and prevented the demonstrators, many of them Hamas activists themselves, from approaching the fence.
The positive influence of the fuel and money from Qatar is still being felt, with the most important improvement in the situation being the tripling of the electricity supply to the inhabitants. The Israel Defense Forces, accordingly, has lowered some aspects of the high alert in the south, but remains defensively pessimistic. The army units continue to train and to prepare for a possibility of escalation, which is liable even to mushroom into a large-scale operation next time.
The leaders’ interest is still focused on the northern front. As opposed to the possible impression left by Netanyahu’s speech this week, we are not facing an immediate danger of war. On the other hand, there is also a gap between the public’s awareness and the actual severity of the situation. Israel is still deeply mired in a complicated strategic situation: The downing of the Ilyushin plane by a Syrian defense system on September 17 infuriated the Russians, changed their conduct and reduced the IAF’s freedom of activity in the skies of Syria.
If previously attacks against Iranian arms convoys and bases in Syria were approved almost routinely, now any such activity – and the Israeli leadership has already hinted that several such attacks have nevertheless been carried out – is accompanied by a great degree of uncertainty. Russia is turning a cold shoulder to Israel. Even former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was unable to arrange a meeting in Moscow with his counterpart, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, and apparently IAF Commander Norkin also had a difficult experience there.
Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot lectured on Wednesday at a conference of the State Comptroller’s Office. “The crying that I hear about the loss of Israeli deterrence,” he said, “does not accord with the intelligence material that I read every morning about Gaza, Syria and Lebanon.” On all those fronts, it should be repeated, Netanyahu has until now shown caution and responsibility. That is an essential approach in order to prevent an unwanted war.
Bennett’s CNN maneuver
During his disastrous press conference at the beginning of the week, in which he threatened to resign from the government and changed his mind, Education Minister Naftali Bennett performed a CNN maneuver. A few weeks ago U.S. President Donald Trump inflated an incident with a CNN correspondent, thereby diverting discussion from the relative Republican failure in the midterm Congressional elections.
Bennett embarked on a frontal attack against an easy target – Maj. Gen. Sharon Afek, the military advocate general. He claimed that IDF soldiers “are more afraid of the MAG than of Yahya Sinwar,” the Hamas chief. When he was criticized, the following day Bennett supported his assertion by quoting parts of the statements of Maj. Gen. (res.) Yishai Bar, former president of the Military Appeals Court.
At a conference of the Israel Democracy Institute about the status of the IDF as a people’s army, Bar said he had advised former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi “not to bring the legal advisers into the war rooms.” I asked Bar the next day about what he said. His viewpoint is more complicated than that presented by the education minister. Throughout his years in the IDF, Bar vocally advocated strict observance of the rules of international law during combat in the territories. He also believes that this obligation must be imposed on the commanders during combat. The role of the legal advisers is to supervise, not to replace the commanders. Bennett wants more than that. In his statements he claimed in effect that the restraints imposed by the Military Prosecution on the soldiers prevent the IDF from winning at war.
According to a survey presented at the conference, the nation is moving in the direction of the education minister. The survey, conducted by Prof. Tamar Hermann and Or Anavi, examined the views of the Israeli public regarding values in combat, ranging from adopting punitive measures (home demolition, the death penalty for terrorists) to the rules for opening fire. As expected, the survey indicates substantial support for the punitive policy in the territories along with a demand to take more severe steps.
The political controversy is reflected in all its gravity, in the responses regarding the IDF’s conduct in combat. While those who place themselves on the left and the center fully support the views of the senior commanders, as they were reflected for example in the affair of soldier Elor Azaria (who was convicted of shooting at an incapacitated terrorist), the attitude on the right varies.
“On the right, and especially in the ultra-Orthodox community, there is an erosion and even an oppositional attitude to these viewpoints,” write Hermann and Anavi. Half of the right-wingers (47 percent vs. 48 percent) are opposed to prosecuting a soldier for looting, and a majority (53 percent) support killing a terrorist after he has been incapacitated and does not present any danger (in brief, the Azaria affair). Among the ultra-Orthodox, a sweeping majority opposes the declared views of the army on these issues.
And yet, they write, “On every issue in which the state institutions – the IDF, political leaders, the courts and the school system – opposed a specific method of operation,” that has an influence on the public. They add a recommendation: “The discussion should be conducted not only within the army, but in public forums as well, thus providing senior commanders with public support, which is essential for preserving public confidence in the army systems.” Bennett, who this week once again declared himself a suitable candidate for the job of defense minister in the future, apparently didn’t see the email.
While in the Israel Democracy Institute they argued about IDF values, at the training base in Tze’elim the fighters of the Kfir Brigade practiced occupying a Palestinian village. The complex, which includes tunnels and shafts, looks like the outskirts of the Palestinian towns in the Gaza Strip. At the entrance to one of the houses that he is supposed to search with his fighters, the platoon commander hears a recording of a crying baby. Now he has to make a decision: How should he enter the house, knowing that there are civilians there, and perhaps enemy fighters as well?
The senior officers at the site explain that the platoon commander has to take into account considerations such as proportionality and distinguishing between terrorists and innocent bystanders – and perhaps he can take over another house, which better serves his goal. In another scenario, a barrage was fired at the soldiers from inside a building in which there was a large number of civilians. Does the platoon commander summon a combat helicopter to drop a bomb on the building, or use precise sniper fire to silence the source of the shooting?
All these scenarios, like the rules of combat, are formulated by commanders. The legal advisers are not even in evidence. Although Kfir is the brigade in which Azaria served, its commanders seem very confident and expert at the rules of combat as they are dictated to them by their superiors.
Reckless Regev
The venomous attack by Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev on former IDF chief and emerging politician Benny Gantz is evidence of the nature of the military atmosphere these days. During Operation Defensive Edge, Regev claimed in an interview with the Keshet broadcasting franchise, the former chief of staff called on the residents of the south to go out and pick anemones, and “Daniel Tragerman, the little boy, was killed.”
The connection between the two events is minimal. Gantz was expressing a future hope for quiet towards the end of the operation in the summer of 2014 (anemones actually grow in the winter and in Israel picking them is prohibited). Four-year-old Daniel Tragerman was killed in a mortar attack against his kibbutz Nahal Oz. Gantz, who was touring the area during the incident, was one of the first to visit the family.
Regev did not apologize, of course. To hell with the facts: After all, we’re living in the world of Donald Trump. She also ignored the identity of the prime minister who appointed Gantz chief of staff and was his superior during the frustrating days of Operation Protective Edge. Her attack was apparently related to the latest surveys, which indicate growing public support for appointing Gantz defense minister.
Gantz was often criticized on these pages during his tenure as chief of staff, mainly in connection with the IDF’s performance during Operation Protective Edge. It is doubtful whether the man who even now is extremely cautious about expressing even the slightest original idea will really fulfill the left’s dreams of a dramatic political change. If we measure chiefs of staff using the slogan with which the IDF approached the disengagement from Gaza – that it would be carried out “with sensitivity and determination” – Gantz for the most part has demonstrated somewhat more sensitivity than determination.
And still, the former chief of staff has more integrity in his little finger than Regev has ever demonstrated. Only a few weeks ago, after a misogynistic remark from the Knesset podium by Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, she declared that she was mortally insulted and immediately received a warm embrace from the left and from women’s organizations.
Regev has not always been a model of sisterhood. In 2002 she served as the deputy of IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ruth Yaron. The two didn’t get along, to put it mildly. The head of the Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, the most decent and compassionate member of the General Staff, was called on to decide. When Harel heard how Regev treated one of her subordinates, a female soldier in the unit, and what expressions she used, he made sure to remove her immediately from her position.
Regev had a soft landing. The “farm forum,” with which Regev had a close connection at the time (that is the period that has long since been erased from her memory, just like being a spokesperson for the disengagement), took her in. As a person on loan from the army in a new position in the bureau of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, she was appointed the coordinator of public relations for the Home Front prior to the second Gulf War. Later she returned to the Defense Ministry as the chief censor.
Two years later, when Dan Halutz, who had great political aspirations, was appointed chief of staff, she proudly returned with him to the General Staff as the IDF spokesperson. Halutz also lived to regret it. He told someone who visited him on the eve of his forced resignation from the job, about half a year after the Second Lebanon War: The appointment of Miri was a strategic mistake.
At the time Regev was not very popular in the General Staff forum. Her frequent toadying, her self-advancement that was exceptional even in an environment filled with people elbowing to get ahead, her flexible attitude towards the truth – none of this made her popular with her fellow officers. Some even discerned her far-reaching ambitions. “You’re complaining about her now. Speak to us in 10 years from now, when she’s your children’s education minister,” they said at the time. In hindsight, it seems they underestimated her. She aspires to more than that.

Beyond Mohammed bin Salman’s Tour
Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al-Awsat/November 24/18
The Saudi Crown Prince’s plane landed in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening as the first stop of a six-nation Arab tour by Saudi Arabia’s number two, in a new Saudi diplomatic path that was adopted since King Salman bin Abdulaziz took office in early 2015.
The new diplomacy is primarily based on making the most of these visits by strengthening interests and developing relations with other countries, rather than conducting mere protocol stays. As part of this diplomacy, the Saudi Crown Prince made two very successful tours that took him to Asia in August 2016 and to Europe and America in April 2018. This time the destination is Arab and will include the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Mauritania, in an effort by Prince Mohammed bin Salman to promote the country’s political, economic and military status, and to promote the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The Arab tour also aims to consolidate Saudi Arabia’s strong diplomatic presence, as the Kingdom is a key player in the world, as confirmed by the president of the world’s largest country, Donald Trump, who described Saudi Arabia as a “great ally.”
The Saudi Crown Prince’s Arab tour coincides with heading his country’s delegation to the G-20 summit in Argentina next Wednesday. This is an important opportunity to strengthen the Kingdom’s regional and international leading role as the only Arab member of the G-20, which is the most important summit of the year at the international level, even more important than the annual meetings of the United Nations. The Kingdom has always shouldered and supported Arab and regional issues. This was translated in the vision of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of a new Middle East, which he announced last month at an economic conference in Riyadh, if the region gets rid of its chronic issues and focuses on the development of its countries.
Here in Abu Dhabi, Emiratis celebrated, officially and publicly, the arrival of Prince Mohammed bin Salman as if he were visiting them for the first time; knowing that the Crown Prince maintains uninterrupted visits and continuous communication with the Gulf state. The reason is because every visit by the Saudi Crown Prince to the UAE creates a new foundation for Saudi-Emirati relations, which are witnessing their strongest stages since their establishment five decades ago. This is because Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are fully convinced of the strong strategic alliance that brings them together and which is one of the most important sources of power for both of them.
The two countries’ economies are valued at one trillion dollars, the largest in the Middle East. Their exports make them one of the top ten exporters in the world at nearly $700 billion. Today, they have more than 175 initiatives and projects that are expected to create a new reality for the region and a new phase of productive work. They also have the ability and desire for mutual integration in three important levels: the economic, the human and cognitive fields, as well as political, military and security cooperation, not to mention the great consensus that reaches the extent of conformity in the two countries’ positions and their shared vision of regional and international issues and crises. As usual, the outcome of tours and visits conducted by King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Prince Mohammed bin Salman can be clearly seen. There is a distinct Saudi diplomacy aimed at achieving and protecting national interests and strengthening the role of the Kingdom in the establishment of security, stability and prosperity in the region and the world.
There is no doubt that this Arab tour will bolster Saudi-Arab ties, which are the foundations of Saudi principles. The tour will also stand against regional efforts to achieve their destabilizing agendas, which the area can do without at the moment.

Russia and Japan Could Finally End WWII

Leonid Bershidsky/Bloomberg View/November 24/18
For decades, every sign Russia and Japan had made progress in talks on disputed territories and a post-World War II peace treaty turned out to be a false alarm. This time may be different: Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe need a deal more than their predecessors did. Putin and Abe met in Singapore last week and agreed to speed up talks on a peace treaty their two countries negotiated after World War II but the Soviet Union refused to sign. The talks will be based on a joint declaration the Soviet Union and Japan signed in 1956, since abandoned by both sides, that required the Soviet Union to hand over to Japan the island of Shikotan and the Habomai islets once a peace treaty was signed.
Both sides have strong misgivings about a compromise based on the 1956 declaration. For Japan, it would mean losing the leverage to claim much bigger territory (Etorofu and Kunashiri account for 93 percent of the land area of the disputed islands). For Russia, a deal is important (symbolically for the most part) to make sure no US military bases are placed on Shikotan and Habomai, something Abe reportedly promised to Putin but may be unable to rule out under existing Japanese commitments to the US.
Besides, the return of any of the islands, seized by the Soviet Union in the final days of World War II, is extremely unpopular in today’s Russia. Over the years, polls have consistently shown that 70 percent to 90 percent of Russians reject such a handover. Putin’s predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, was at several points close to ceding some territory to Japan, but he always stepped back, fearing a powerful backlash from Communist and nationalist rivals.
Now, both Abe and Putin really want to put the matter behind them.
Abe’s primary interest is his legacy. If he can keep his job until the next scheduled election in 2021, he would be the longest-serving Japanese prime minister. But economic growth, spurred by his generous stimulus policies, has started to slow this year, and his tenure isn’t assured. He needs an important win to stay in power and ensure his place in history. A deal with Russia, though it would face some domestic opposition, could be perceived as such a victory when confidence in Abe’s foreign policy is flagging: Japanese voters are more open to a compromise than Russians.
Putin’s interest is both economic and geopolitical. A deal with Japan would potentially open the flow of Japanese investment to Russia’s Far East, a vast, underdeveloped region where Russia needs to counterbalance a growing Chinese influence. Improving relations with Japan would also help Putin in his search for alternatives to cooperation with the West.

Baghdad has a difficult choice to make
Camelia Entekhabifard/Arab News/November 24, 2018
Barham Salih, the newly elected president of Iraq, paid his first visit to Tehran last week. Iran has acted as a major ally of Iraq since Saddam Hussein was overthrown by the US in 2003, and in the last few years it has helped the Iraqis confront Daesh.
Both countries reportedly emphasized Iran’s importance as the first responder when Daesh expanded in Iraq in 2014. But that does not mean Iran’s agenda was noble. While it supported Iraq in confronting the terrorists, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was creating a Shiite militia, Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi, along the lines of the Tehran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is not easy to dismantle such well-invested and trained militias; this is well known by the Iraqis and Lebanese. Countries in the region are fearful of the support given to these militias, which are considered a source of division and hatred in societies with fresh memories of sectarian war. It is up to Iraqis to choose what works best for them and their national interest.
The IRGC is a good example of how a militia can become stronger than a national army, acting separately from and not accountable to the central government. Hezbollah in Lebanon is not the only example; there is also the Fatemiyoun in Syria.
US President Donald Trump this week said Iran “is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria and much more.”
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry recently asked the US Embassy in Baghdad to respect Iraq’s sovereignty after the embassy called on Iran to disband Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi. Salih faces a difficult choice: Develop relations with the US and count on its financial resources for construction, modernization and military training, or remain friendly with Tehran and be sidelined by Arab nations and abandoned by Washington. Perhaps by choosing to visit Jordan and the UAE before Tehran, Salih was showing Iranians where his priority lies: Pursuing better relations with Arab nations and the US. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei openly asked him to maintain Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi. But this is not up to Tehran; it is up to Iraqis to choose what works best for them and their national interest.
The Middle East is passing the phase of extremism and heading toward peace and prosperity, as everyone is tired of civil and ethnic wars. Trump does not need to remind us who the source of division and trouble is; the region can see for itself.
Camelia Entekhabifard is an Iranian-American journalist, political commentator and author of Camelia: Save Yourself By Telling the Truth (Seven Stories Press, 2008). Twitter: ​@CameliaFard

Why this G20 summit may be the most important in years
Andrew Hammond/Arab News/November 24, 2018
World leaders are making final preparations for this week’s G20 summit in Argentina on Friday and Saturday. The meeting, which is being billed as the moment when US-China trade tensions could come to a head, may become the most important G20 since the 2009 meeting in London during the storm of the international financial crisis.Leaders will be in attendance from the United States, China, Germany, India, Japan (which will be the G20 president next year and host the event in Osaka), Indonesia, Australia, Russia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Argentina, Mexico and the EU. Collectively, these powers account for some 90 percent of global GDP, 80 percent of world trade and around 66 percent of global population.
Last year’s summit in Hamburg was most memorable for the divisions within the G20 powers, especially the United States and key EU countries, over issues such as international trade, migration and climate change. To be sure, there was not complete disagreement in these areas with all parties, for instance, acknowledging the importance of limiting global temperature rises to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. However, given US President Donald Trump’s rejection of the Paris accord, significant differences were aired over the means to secure this ambition, and he ultimately was isolated 19-1 on this issue.
Another flashpoint was the collision between German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s push for a strong G20 re-affirmation of international trade, versus Trump’s victory in securing language in the end-of-summit communiqué that countries can protect their markets with “legitimate trade-defence instruments”.
This same topic is also likely to be central to this year’s meeting narrative, with Beijing and Washington having been locked now for several months in what could descend into a trade war, with Trump imposing tariffs of some $250 billion and China retaliating with some $110 billion of duties. Last week, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said he foresaw a confrontation between Washington and Beijing at the G20 after a growing war of words after the APEC summit earlier this month.
This year’s forum could be especially memorable given the possibility of Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping securing a breakthrough in US-China trade tensions
On Thursday, Trump expressed optimism again that a breakthrough could potentially be reached with China before Jan. 1 when a new round of US tariffs commences that will increase duties to 25 percent on a broad range of consumer goods. Yet for that to happen, Trump is clearly looking for more negotiating carrots from Beijing after he asserted earlier this month that a list of 142 concessions offered was “not acceptable.”
The potentially escalating US-China spat comes at a difficult time for the international trading system, with G20 countries applying around 40 new trade restrictive measures between May and October, covering around $481 billion of trade, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said last week. Three-quarters of the latest trade restrictions were tariff hikes, many of them retaliation to steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by Trump in March. The new restrictions were the largest since the WTO started specifically monitoring G20 trade in 2012.
The massive amount of attention on this year’s G20 highlights, yet again, that the body is widely perceived since the 2008-09 financial crisis to have seized the mantle from the G7 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation and global economic governance. It is now a decade since the G20 was upgraded from a finance minister body to one where heads of state now meet too – a move that was greeted with considerable fanfare, including from then-French-president Nicolas Sarkozy, when he claimed that “the G20 foreshadows the planetary governance of the 21st century.”
Yet the fact is that the forum has failed so far to realize the full scale of the ambition some thrust upon it at the height of the international financial crisis. A key part of the failure to deliver is that the G20 meetings have no formal mechanisms to ensure enforcement of agreements by world leaders.
There also remains concerns by states outside the G20 about the club’s composition, which was originally selected in the late 1990s by the United States along with G7 colleagues. While countries were nominally selected according to criteria such as population, GDP etc, criticism has been made of omissions such as Nigeria, sometimes called the “giant of Africa,” which has three times South Africa’s population.
Former Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Store has gone so far to call the G20 “one of the greatest setbacks since World War Two” inasmuch as it undermines the UN’s universal sense of multilateralism. Reflecting this, the UN General Assembly convened a rival UN Conference on the Global Economic Crisis in 2009 as an alternative forum. Taken overall, while the G20 has not yet lived up to some of the initial expectations of it, it continues to be a forum prized by its members as the session in Argentina will show. This year’s forum could be especially memorable given the possibility of Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping securing a breakthrough in US-China trade tensions.
*Andrew Hammond is an associate at LSE IDEAS at the London School of Economics.

The Fracturing of France
Giulio Meotti/Gatestone Institute/November 24/18
In a new program, Macron's government is offering Arabic lessons in France's public schools to children as young as six years old, purportedly to facilitate integration.
French authorities seem to ignore that the vast majority of terrorists from France have been French citizens, who spoke a perfect French and, unlike their parents, were born in France. They were perfectly "integrated". They rejected it.
Gérard Collomb (center), France's Interior Minister until last month and currently Mayor of Lyon, is apparently pessimistic about the situation in his country. "It's difficult to estimate but I would say that in five years the situation could become irreversible. Yes, we have five, six years to avoid the worst," he said recently.
US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron engaged in a public diplomatic clash just days before Trump visited France this month. The spat began when, in a radio interview, Macron suggested that Europe needed an army to protect itself from the US. "We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America," said Macron.
Protecting France from the United States? In a November 11 speech commemorating World War I, Macron in a diplomatic welcome to his guest, attacked "nationalism". President Trump had proudly called himself a "nationalist" less than three weeks before.
Macron, it seems, was using the armistice signed in 1918 to forget what is going on in France in 2018.
Gérard Collomb, France's Interior Minister until last month and currently Mayor of Lyon, is apparently pessimistic about the situation in his country, according to comments reported by Valeurs Actuelles. "People do not want to live together," Collomb lamented, continuing that the responsibility for security during the recent immigration has been "huge." Collomb also warned that there is only a "little time" to improve the situation. "It's difficult to estimate but I would say that in five years the situation could become irreversible. Yes, we have five, six years to avoid the worst," he added.
And the worst will be a "secession", or as Gilles Kepel, the French specialist on Islam, called it: "La fracture."
Macron, however, does not seem particularly receptive to Collomb's warning. A man reportedly shouting "Allahu Akbar" stabbed a police officer in Brussels this week, during a state visit by Macron to the Belgian capital -- the first for a French president since Mitterrand visited there in the 80s. Macron also went to Brussels' Molenbeek district, which he defined "a territory marked by the image of the terrorist drama and also a place of initiatives, sharing and integration". Sharing and integration?
Eight people were arrested in a March 2018 counter-terror raid in Molenbeek. A confidential report revealed last year that police in the same Brussels district uncovered 51 organizations with suspected ties to jihadist terrorism. Many of the suspects involved in the Paris and Brussels terror attacks either lived in, or operated, from Molenbeek. As Julia Lynch wrote in The Washington Post regarding Molenbeek:
"One of 19 "communes" in the Brussels metro area, the neighborhood was home to one of the attackers in the 2004 commuter train bombings in Madrid and to the Frenchman who shot four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in August 2014. The Moroccan shooter on the Brussels-Paris Thalys train in August 2015 stayed with his sister there.
If there is a place where Collomb's explanation about "secession" is not only a warning but already a reality, that place is Molenbeek. Roger Cohen, in The New York Times, called it "the Islamic State of Molenbeek." And such districts are not on a Belgian phenomenon. "Today, we know that there are 100 neighbourhoods in France that have potential similarities with what happened in Molenbeek", said France's then Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Patrick Kanner, in 2016. One is the town of Trappes, not only famous for the international soccer star Nicolas Anelka, but also for the number of jihadists from there who went to fight in Syria or Iraq.
In France, six planned terror attacks have been foiled this year, the Secretary of State to the Minister of the Interior, Laurent Nunez, disclosed. "Since November 2013, 55 planned Islamist attacks were foiled thanks to the action of the intelligence services, including six this year", Nunez said.
In the last few months, the current French scenario has not been dominated by new big terror attacks, but by a daily rain of intimidation. A Frenchman in his 60s was walking down a Paris street with wrapped Christmas gifts last week, when a stranger knocked off his eyeglasses before slapping him. "That's what we do to the infidels", the attacker said to the man. A few days before that, a French Jewish citizen was also attacked in the street by three men.
On the ideological front, "Macron is following in the footsteps of presidents who have tried, and failed, to establish an 'Islam of France'", Politico reported. According to the Wall Street Journal:
"Now President Emmanuel Macron's government is considering giving parents a secular alternative to that intertwining of Arabic and Islam by prodding more of France's public schools to offer children as young as age 6 Arabic lessons..."
Robert Ménard, the mayor of the southern town of Béziers, declared that "teaching Arabic will create more ghettos". French authorities seem to ignore that the vast majority of terrorists from France have been French citizens, who spoke a perfect French and, unlike their parents, were born in France. They were perfectly "integrated". They rejected it.
The confirmation of the Islamist wave came last September in a shocking report from Institut Montaigne entitled, "The Islamist Factory." It details the extreme level of radicalization of the French Muslim society. According to its director, Hakim El Kharoui, extremist Muslims in France are "creating an alternative society, parallel, separate. With a key concept: halal." Macron has done almost nothing to stop this expansion.
"Two or three Salafist mosques were closed in 18 months, [but] foreign funding of mosques was not banned," said National Front party leader Marine Le Pen recently. The goal of foreign funding has been detailed by the former chairman of the Christian Democratic Party, Jean-Frédéric Poisson, in his new book, "Islam, Conquering the West". "The expansion of Islam in the West is part of a strategic plan developed by the 57 states that make up [the Organisation of] Islamic Cooperation -- a sort of Muslim United Nations -- which theorized the spread of Sharia law in Europe", Poisson said in an interview this month. "They openly declared the ambition to install a 'substitution civilization' in the West."
There is, however, more than the cultural level. Philippe De Villiers, a politician and essayist close to Macron, recently evoked a phrase coined by his brother, General Pierre de Villiers, the former head of the French military. General de Villiers had warned Macron about a possible internal implosion in the volatile Parisian suburbs: "the darker sides of the City of Light". According to Philippe De Villiers, his brother would have said to Macron: "If the suburbs revolt, we would not be able to cope with it, we cannot afford to face it, we do not have the men."
Two journalists with the mainstream newspaper Le Monde, Gérard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme, recently published a book entitled Inch'allah : l'islamisation à visage découvert ("If Allah Wills: The Exposed Face of Islamization"), an investigation of the "Islamization" of the large Parisian suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis. There and in many other suburbs, anti-Semitism is rising. According to the French Prime Minister Eduard Philippe, recorded anti-Jewish "acts" rose by 69% in the first nine months of 2018. Francis Kalifat, president of the official body that represents the French Jewish communities, has called anti-Semitism "a cancer."
In a report this summer from Paris, The New York Times detailed the Jewish exodus from the multicultural suburbs: "More than 50,000 have moved to Israel since 2000, compared with about 25,000 French Jews who left between 1982 and 2000". There is also an internal exodus:
"In Aulnay-sous-Bois, the number of Jewish families dropped to 100 in 2015 from 600 in 2000; in Le Blanc-Mesnil, to 100 families from 300; in Clichy-sous-Bois, there are now 80 Jewish families, down from 400; and in La Courneuve, there are 80 families, down from 300."
"We may be living the end of a civilization -- ours," says Philippe de Villiers, a French politician and novelist. "There are two points in common between the decay of the Roman Empire and our own decay. The Roman senatorial nobility, who thinks only of adding a layer of porphyry to their bathtubs, no longer considers the limes, the border of the Empire, as an emergency to secure". It seems that Macron has been busy only in adding a layer of porphyry to the Frances "grandeur".Last year, Macron presented himself as the candidate making a "a break with the system." In five years, his presidential mandate will be over. According to his former Interior Minister, Gérard Collomb, these will probably be the last years before the real "break" could become irreversible. Not only for France, but also for Europe.
*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

Iran does not work alone
Amal Abdulaziz Al–Hazani/Al Arabiya/November 24/18
The Arab region, under the former US administration, witnessed an unprecedented situation that was not witnessed even on the eve of June 5, 1967 —chaos, market collapse, political conflicts and conspiracies. If the administration of President Barack Obama or his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were not the cause for igniting troubles in the Arab region, at least their policies contributed to the spread of the chaos the human and materialistic losses of which are still difficult to estimate. It would take decades for the region to overcome this disaster, that is if we assume that it has begun to recover today, though this is in general inaccurate.The Obama administration destroyed the Syrians’ dreams as it claimed there were red lines in its policies regarding the Syrian regime’s crimes, but it failed to act when these “lines” were violated. Russia, which ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union had been dreaming of having bases in the region, now has ground and sea bases on the Mediterranean in the most strategic locations, and it has done so right under the sight of Obama and his team.
A different President came to the White House, different than Obama, with a unique, powerful and firm personality. Although he himself acknowledges that direct spontaneous expressions sometimes betray him, he’s definitely the man for this phase
Obama empowering Iran
The Iranians, who pose the more difficult problem, expanded like cancer along with the armed organizations al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Practically, Obama left the White House after teaching the world a lesson on how to carry out mass destruction without weapons!
Obama left after making Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif happy, with the signing of a nuclear agreement that was in nobody’s interest except Barack Obama’s biography. He left after Bashar Al-Assad started to move to his resort in Latakia with no fear, and after al-Nusra front and ISIS expanded to Iraqi governorates. We were fortunate that some of the 2011 developments had boomeranged on their planners, but they cost a lot of people their lives and caused plenty of instability. It was not that some regime’s fell, but certain states collapsed with them, such as Libya and Syria with all their institutions and infrastructure. In other cases, the ruling regime fell and the state remained under the threat of collapse for a long time, as was the case with Egypt.
A different President came to the White House, different than Obama, with a unique, powerful and firm personality. Although he himself acknowledges that direct spontaneous expressions sometimes betray him, he’s definitely the man for this phase. In terms of his foreign policy which concerns us, Trump arrived at a critical time yet an appropriate one to attempt to improve the reputation of the US foreign policy, which was known as powerful with clear goals, after it was characterized by false promises and vacillations.
It is good that the new US administration is aware of the evil axes in the region, and it’s even better that it has taken action against them. Awareness of the sources of danger led President Trump to withdraw from the shameful nuclear agreement, as he describes it, and to put organizations like Hezbollah on the terror list. He even disagreed with his European friends over imposition of tough sanctions against Iran. What President Trump is doing is an important part of the political system that defends peace in the world but it is important to highlight that Iran does not work alone. It does not only have tools like the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization, Bashar Assad’s dictatorial regime and the Yemeni Houthis but it also receives political and logistical support by some countries in the region.
It is hoped that President Trump will open both his eyes. Iran alone would not be able to tamper with the region with no support or tools. Trump’s anger that was directed to Tehran should also be directed at the parties, organizations and supporting and sponsoring countries, with no hesitation and with the same power imposed on Iran.Obama used to overlook the terrorist practices of the Iranian regime, despite all the proof and evidence substantiating the fact at a time when he claimed he was fighting terrorism. Trump should not make the same mistake. States like Qatar and others are not different from any other party that tampers with the security of the region and that even contributed with Obama in destroying it. They have relations with ISIS, Taliban, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, whether commercial or logistical ones, and attempt to incite against stable regime. These practices are not secret nor an impression but well-known data possessed by Washington.
These states and organizations are Iran’s real power. The tough sanctions that Trump will impose on Iran aim to change the regime’s behavior, but he must also observe and punish the behavior of states that do not differ much from Iran – states, which like Iran during Obama’s terms, are trying to embellish their behavior with slogans and give Washington the impression that the US administration has managed to handle the Middle East in cooperation with them. If Trump chooses to confront Iran alone but ignores or accepts the behavior of other states that support or sympathize with terrorists, then he would be seeking half a victory, and half a victory is in fact half failure, which does not befit his powerful administration.

The Arab project gives wings to bright ideas
Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi/Al Arabiya/November 24/18
There are frequent claims by the hasty stipulating that terrorism has ended, fundamentalism has been defeated and extremism has been eliminated. These opinions present a positive picture of changes taking place in Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt against political Islam and terrorist organizations. However, the time and effort required to achieve these successes is not given due attention, nor is the wider picture studied. Earlier this month, a Chechen girl blew herself up near a police station in the capital Grozny. Although terrorist operations in Chechnya have been recently rare, there are still some every now and then. The case is even more severe in Afghanistan where bombings and assassinations by the terrorist organization the Taliban have been escalating. Fighting this brand of terrorism was limited to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Arab Coalition in Yemen. Then came the United States’ and President Trump’s administration’ involvement in the regional and international scene against the destruction carried out by the Iranian regime
Lurking terrorism
In the Arab world, Iraq appears to be the most noticeable hub of confronting ISIS activities as although the organization has suffered a defeat in Syria, it continues to hold pockets of territory in western Iraq, along the borders with Syria, and inside Syrian territory. A week ago, ISIS assassinated nine people, including an official of a Sunni tribal force. The Iraqi prime minister recently stated that hundreds of ISIS members in Deir ez-Zor in Syria are trying to infiltrate Iraqi territory, and the organization is still able to move its forces from Kurdistan to the western regions of Iraq.
In Egypt, the organization of the “Sinai Province”, heir to the Ansar Bait al-Maqdis organization, is still operating in Sinai. Despite continuous gains made by Egypt’s security forces, it is still carrying out bombings and assassinations of which the most recent one was the assassination of a Christian doctor. The situation is worse in Libya, where armed terrorist organizations continue to cause problems for the country’s political and security situation, as they receive support from Qatar and others. Their activities stall the prospect of any political solution, and the situation there is not that different than the situation in Somalia.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Here, we are not even mentioning the terrorism of Shiite groups linked to the Iranian regime, ranging from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria, and the Houthi militias in Yemen. Fighting this brand of terrorism was limited to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Arab Coalition in Yemen. Then came the United States’ and President Trump’s administration’ involvement in the regional and international scene against the destruction carried out by the Iranian regime, and not just against Iran’s nuclear program.
The moderate mission
Based on all this and other wider aspects, one can affirm that the war against fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism is a long and strategic war that requires decades to finalize. The recent achievements are victories in battles on this long path. We must of course celebrate these victories as they culminate in victory of war. The moderate Arab mission led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE along with a number of other Arab countries is the only lifeline for those who support stability in the region since it opposes both fundamentalist and sectarian terrorist projects with firmness, through the promotion of values of tolerance, coexistence, peace, and development. Any country in the world that supports modern civilization and universal human values has no choice but to align itself with this moderate Arabic project, which abides by international law and supports modern human values. This ambitious project offers creative and constructive solutions to millions of young people in both the Arab and Islamic worlds. Confronting elements of backwardness, extremism and terrorism is carried out through two parallel routes: a building process and a demolition process. In the first process, we spread the culture of tolerance and development while in the second process we target the projects of backwardness and terrorism. These are the wings of the bird which the latter can only fly with both of them.

Trump vs American media: The scene from another angle

Dr. Naif Alhadari/Al Arabiya/November 24/18
The fierce confrontation between American media and president Trump, is an unprecedented phenomenon in American modern history, with the clashes between the president and the media taking front page news even in international media these days, especially in the aftermath of president Trump's news conference in the White House which saw a strong verbal altercation between the president and a reporter of CNN (Jim Acosta) followed by Acosta being banned from the White House and his pass withdrawn. Then matters became more complicated when a court in Washington, the past few days, ordered the White House to reinstate Jim Acosta, a kind of victory for the media in its face-off with Trump.
There is no doubt that the scene of hostility between Trump and American press brings back memories of the enmity and confrontation that was there, between former president (Franklin Roosevelt) and the American press in the thirties and beginning of the forties of the last century. The common thing between the two presidents (Roosevelt and Trump) is that both were victorious in their confrontation against the press, Roosevelt in the 1940 elections in spite of a ferocious attack on him in newspapers, and Trump in the 2016 elections, in spite of the enormous media support for Hillary Clinton. Another thing linking the two – and is of special interest to us interested in political media – is that both presidents used an "alternative media" in his confrontation, Roosevelt used the "radio" as he delivered his messages to the nation through his own program which he himself presented, called " Fireside chats" and gained the admiration and trust of the American citizen. Meanwhile, Trump used "Twitter" as his alternative media to face American media, and was able to send a direct message to the American citizen.
The victory of Trump in the 2016 elections, in spite of the enmity of the media towards him, raises a question regarding the effect liberal media in America has on the ordinary American, and whether there is a trust crisis between Americans and their media, leading to the credibility of this media witnessing a relapse in recent years. On the other hand, the media in America is attempting, in its fight with the president, to play on the sensitive string of "press freedom" and is trying to prove that their battle with trump is for the sake of the most important article of the American constitution, the article relating to press freedom and matters related to that. Another fact worthy of not overlooking, is that there are hot issues of the Trump years, such as investigations carried out by "Muller" regarding Russia's interference in the elections of 2016, something the American media has been using to make the confrontation take on a stronger edge.
Does this whole media campaign against Trump have to do with defending the freedom of press, and freedom of speech and critique in American media? Or are there other reasons, to do with gains that certain companies and lobbies might obtain, besides special interests of certain money moguls who have stake in major media corporations.
The partisan of the liberal press was obvious during the last presidential race, where there was obvious biased against Trump. Approximately 200 American newspapers supported Hillary Clinton, while Trump got the support of only two papers amongst the 100 most circulated in America. Also the New York Times, and some other papers, had done opinion polls before the elections by days, in which it predicted a landslide victory for Trump. From his side Trump had cleverly used this, to remind the public every time of the failure of these newspapers to predict properly, or to spread the truth.
In its battle with Trump, the media in the US has attempted to use tactics and theories of "effect" in its campaign to apply pressure. For example the "conditioned reflex" theory of Pavlov the Russian scientist, where they have tried to connect the midterm elections of Congress in November, with the impeachment of Trump, if it is established that there was possible collusion in the Russian interference in the presidential elections. All of this to influence public opinion, as well as Congressional elections!
Media war against Trump
In reality, the war against Trump in most major American newspapers, make us - the neutrals – want to know the reasons for this, and look at it from another perspective. In other words, does this whole campaign have to do with defending the freedom of press, and freedom of speech and critique in American media? Or are there other reasons, to do with gains that certain companies and lobbies might obtain, besides special interests of certain money moguls who have stake in major media corporations. For instance, there is animosity between Trump and the owner of the Washington Post, millionaire Jeff Bezos who also owns Amazon, and had previously been accused by Trump of using Amazon –and selling via internet– to destroy major American private companies in the retail sector. This allows for a different explanation for this paper –The Washington Post- publishing negative news of the president, all the time.
Thus, we may wonder: does American media still enjoy any level of credibility with the ordinary American?
And has the ordinary American reached a certain conviction regarding his media, a media that is dribbling after hype, fun and profit, and regarding a liberal media that only cares about the elite, their interests and the interests of their companies and their parties?
In one of his tweets, President Trump says:
"The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!"
Finally, the confrontation between Trump and the media is a clash between a president who has been attacked like no president before, from his own countrymen, a president who has spoken like no president before, about (media manipulation, fake news, and the bias of the major media corporations). We may summarize the scene very plainly, as follows: two contestants, the first won the initial round with a knock out (the 2016 elections) and surprised the public with his victory, while the second contestant is trying to cast doubt over this victory by stirring and creating everything it can put its hands on, to affect the morale of its opponent before the next round (the 2020 elections).