Detailed Lebanese & Lebanese Related LCCC English New Bulletin For October 03/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
Luke 12/32-34: "‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

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

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

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 02-03/18
The media stunt Gebran Bassil came up with is smart./Roger Bejjani/October 02/18
Michael Aoun’s United Nations ethical flop/Makram Rabah/Al Arabiya/October 02/18
Turkey: Building Mosques, Erasing Christianity/Uzay Bulut/Gatestone Institute/October 02/18
United States is Doing More to Fight Yemen's Humanitarian Crisis than the Press Knows/Ahmed Charai/Gatestone Institute/October 02/18
Iran Awaits Magical Solution to US Oil Sanctions/Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/October 02/18
How Conspiracy Theories Spread From the Internet’s Darkest Corners/Travis View/The Washington Post/October 02/18
UN Organizations… The Failure Continues/Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al Awsat/October 02/18
The investment that will never fail/Turki Aldakhil/Al Arabiya/October 02/18
Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries/Faisal Al-Shammeri/Al Arabiya/October 02/18

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 02-03/18
The media stunt Gebran Bassil came up with is smart.
Lebanon’s president vows to confront any Israeli aggression
Lebanon seeks to dispel Israeli allegations of rocket sites
Lebanon Holds Meeting to Save Press, Secure Funding
Austrian Foreign Minister meets President in Baabda
Report: Aoun Wants UNHCR to Reconsider Aid Halt for Returning Refugees
Aoun Warns: Israel Conceals New Violation against our Sovereignty, Ready to Fight Back
Strong Lebanon Bloc Says Israeli Threats 'Can't be Taken Lightly'
Mustaqbal: Lebanon Not an Arena for 'Regional Missile Equations'
Khoury Tells 'Angry' Generator Owners: Meters Will Be Installed
Kataeb rejects continuous Israeli threats; utters need to form government of specialists to spare Lebanon fight over power
Administration and Justice Committee endorses major part of publications law
SSNP delegation visits Bassil: His pro-active stance exposed Israeli prime minister’s lies
Bou Saab after Strong Lebanon meeting: Preemptive diplomatic measure exposed enemy's lies
Girard visits Middle East Council of Churches: Our common goal is to preserve human dignity
Michael Aoun’s United Nations ethical flop

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 02-03/18
Iran executes half-Kurdish 24-year-old woman arrested, convicted as a child
Israel Threatens to Hit ‘S-300’ Even If It Can’t Stop Its Arrival
41 detainees, including child, killed by torture in Syria in September
Paris Says Iran Intelligence Ministry behind France Bomb Plot
France announces asset freeze on Iranian intel service linked to bomb plot
Iran Denies French Accusations over Alleged Bomb Plot
Mattis: Number of US diplomats doubled in Syria as ISIS nears defeat
U.S. Defense Secretary Warns of 'Tough Fight' to Oust IS
ISIS murder kidnapped woman in Damascus after hindering negotiations
Turkey, U.S. Troops Train for Joint Patrols in Syria's Manbij
Erdogan: We will continue to seek solution with Syrian people, not Syrian govt
Iranian reformists: Wilayat al- Faqih ideology contradicts concept of a republic
IAEA Fends Off Israel Pressure over Iran
U.S. Pastor's Lawyer to Lodge Appeal at Top Turkey Court
Syrian Hassan al-Kontar Arrested After Months Trapped in Malaysia Airport
Erekat Urges Guterres to List Israel As ‘State That Violates Children’s Rights’
Kremlin Welcomes Iranian Strikes on Syria to ‘Combat Terrorism’
Sources: Ankara Understands Opposition’s Rejection of Russian Presence In Demilitarized Zone
Assassination of Iraqi Women Activists Recalls Similar Events in Tehran
Canadian Dairy Farmers Criticize New Trade Pact with U.S.
N. Korea Says Peace Treaty No Bargaining Chip for Denuclearisation
Gaza Night Protests Step Up Months of Anti-Israel Unrest
Iraq parliament elects Kurdish politician Barham Salih as president
The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 02-03/18
The media stunt Gebran Bassil came up with is smart.
Roger Bejjani/October 02/18
Evidently, it has an impact on the modest minds whose emotions are stirred by insignificant and substance-less stunts such as the picnic of some ambassadors (including the Iranian one) at a Football stadium.
The problem of Gebran is that thinking people have heard and read Nasrallah's own words where he admitted proudly of owning hundreds of thousands of missiles as well as manufacturing missiles in Lebanon. That is why the stunt has no real value but has been very well received by low IQ people (majority of people). Moreover, Israel's Mossad and military intelligence know the address of every nuclear scientist in Iran and has stolen tons of documents from Iranian revolutionary guard's sites and have proven very well informed (due to a large network of spies and serious technological and air supremacy) of what is happening in Lebanon.The ambassador's picnic was a brilliant idea but does certainly not vindicate Hezbollah from endangering Lebanon and Lebanese by harboring obsolete rusted Iranian made useless weaponry.

Lebanon’s president vows to confront any Israeli aggression
Associated Press/October 02/18/In a tweet Tuesday, Aoun said Netanyahu’s allegations were “baseless,” calling them a “new Israeli threat to Lebanese sovereignty.”
BEIRUT: Lebanon’s president says his country will confront any Israeli aggression, the latest volley in a war of words over Israeli accusations of secret Hezbollah rocket sites near the Beirut airport. In a tweet Tuesday, Michel Aoun said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allegations — made during an address to the U.N. General Assembly last week — were “baseless,” calling them a “new Israeli threat to Lebanese sovereignty.”Netanyahu had displayed an aerial shot of the area with the three alleged rocket sites labeled. Lebanese officials took ambassadors and reporters on a tour of some of the alleged sites on Monday, seeking to dispel the accusations. Netanyahu derided the tour as “propaganda” and said it skipped a nearby missile factory. Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating monthlong war in 2006.

Lebanon seeks to dispel Israeli allegations of rocket sites
Associated Press/October 02/18
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said his government would not allow rocket facilities near the airport and that Hezbollah is “wiser” than to place them there.
BEIRUT: Lebanon’s foreign minister led dozens of ambassadors to locations near Beirut’s international airport on Monday, including a golf course and a soccer stadium, seeking to dispel Israeli allegations of secret Hezbollah rocket facilities. In a speech before the U.N. General Assembly last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Lebanese militant group of setting up rocket factories near the airport and hiding them among civilians, holding up an aerial image of the area with the alleged missile sites labeled. Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said his government would not allow rocket facilities near the airport and that Hezbollah is “wiser” than to place them there. He said Netanyahu’s claims were based on “inaccurate” estimates without any “compelling evidence.”“Lebanon demands that Israel ceases its madness,” he said. Bassil dismisses Israeli claims of rocket sites near airport. Bassil said Monday’s tour, which included the ambassadors and several reporters, was not “a fact-finding mission,” but part of a “counter-diplomatic campaign” to rebut the allegations, which he said could serve as a pretext for an Israeli attack. Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating monthlong war in 2006 in which Israel bombed the runways of Beirut’s airport. Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah recently boasted that his group now possesses “highly accurate” missiles despite Israeli attempts to prevent it from acquiring such weapons. The comments prompted an angry response from Netanyahu, who said Hezbollah will “receive a lethal blow it can’t imagine” if it confronts Israel. Bassil acknowledged Hezbollah’s claims, but said “this doesn’t mean that those missiles are present in the vicinity of Beirut airport.” The first stop on the tour was a golf course near the Rafik Hariri International Airport. Then the group went to the nearby Ahed soccer club, where they toured the underground locker rooms and gym beneath the stadium and spoke to club officials. Netanyahu had said there was a missile site beneath the stadium. “We come here for soccer and for fun. We also have our kids here. That is all we have here,” said Mohammed Zriak, a player on the team, whose fan base largely consists of Hezbollah supporters. The last stop was at a warehouse in Ouzai, a Hezbollah-dominated neighborhood near the airport, which appeared to have been abandoned and was littered with plastic bags and napkins. It was not clear if the warehouse was one of the sites mentioned by Netanyahu. The tour did not go to a third site indicated by Netanyahu as a dock by the waterfront. In a statement, Netanyahu accused Hezbollah of “brazenly lying to the international community” and derided what he called Monday’s “fraudulent propaganda tour.” He accused the Lebanese foreign minister of taking the group to a soccer field but skipping a nearby missile factory. “The ambassadors should ask themselves why they waited three days before making the tour. Hezbollah always takes care to clean the area at exposed sites,” he said. At least one participant appeared to have been convinced by the tour. Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin of Russia, which along with Hezbollah is a close ally of the Syrian government, described the tour as “very good.” “On the diplomatic and political spheres, there are many statements,” he told The Associated Press. “What we saw today are facts. There is a club and stadium. I can’t imagine a secret thing happening in these places. We saw that with our own eyes.”

Lebanon Holds Meeting to Save Press, Secure Funding
Beirut- Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 2 October, 2018/Lebanon’s information minister and the heads of various newspapers warned against the ongoing press crisis after a second newspaper shut down on Monday due to financial problems. Following an urgent meeting with the heads of Lebanese newspapers on Monday evening, Melhem Riachi called for draft laws that would help the press sector. “In the wake of the current journalism crisis, we decided to refer the draft laws that I previously submitted to the Cabinet to become part of the draft laws sent to Parliament for urgent legislation,” Riachi told reporters during a news conference at the end of the meeting. He also announced the formation of a committee to follow up on the proposals and that talks would be held with the president, prime minister-designate and the speaker. “We have set up a follow-up committee to transform project laws into law proposals within 72 hours. The committee will then follow-up on contacts with the President of the Republic, House Speaker, and Prime Minister-designate to convert all the theoretical work to practical one -- to be signed later by 10 deputies. Afterward, Speaker Nabih Berri will be asked to summon MPs for an urgent legislative session to help salvage the print media as soon as possible by means of endorsing these bills,” Riachi explained. “The priority today is to provide material support to the newspapers and to ensure their continuity,” said the head of the Press Syndicate, Awni al-Kaaki, who was present at the meeting. He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “In addition to the draft laws that were presented by the minister of information, a committee was established to prepare a paper with several proposals that will contribute to support the newspapers, to be submitted to the Presidents of the Republic, the Government and Parliament for approval.” In the same context, President Michel Aoun said he regretted the situation of the press in Lebanon, according to a presidential statement on Monday. “The press [in Lebanon] was a platform for writers and journalists that made Lebanon a country [that embodies] truth. The freedom of the press formed the basis for public opinion in Lebanon. The press managed to become a judge and a partner in building the country,” he added. Aoun also expressed solidarity with all the media institutions that had shut down recently, including the members of Dar Assayad, which announced its closure on Monday.
Austrian Foreign Minister meets President in Baabda
Naharnet/October 02/18/President Michel Aoun met at Baabda palace with Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl and an accompanying delegation, the National News Agency reported on Tuesday. Talks highlighted the general political situation in Lebanon following the parliamentary elections, NNA said. Kneissl had stressed the need to “respect the implementation of UN resolution 1701,” stressing “Austria’s support for Lebanon, its sovereignty, independence and the integrity of its territory,” the Presidency media office quoted her on Twitter. Kneissl’s meeting came in line with her visit to Lebanon for meetings with senior Lebanese officials.

Report: Aoun Wants UNHCR to Reconsider Aid Halt for Returning Refugees
Naharnet/October 02/18/UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reportedly promised President Michel Aoun during their meeting in New York last week, to reconsider a UNHCR decision halting aid to displaced Syrian refugees returning back to their country, since it is reserved for them in host countries, the pan-Arab al-Hayat daily reported on Tuesday. Sources close to the President said a “major progress has been recorded regarding aid for refugees during Aoun’s presence at the UN General Assembly where he delivered a speech.” Aoun asked Guterres that the UNHCR keeps providing assistance for refugees even after they return back to their country “to help them settle in,” said the sources. They noted that the rules of international organization require that assistance be halted when the refugees return back to their country. In his talks with Guterres, the President reportedly argued that providing assistance for refugees when they return to Syria helps them face the difficult conditions. “They have lived in tents in Lebanon, and are going to live in tents in Syria. Why not keep helping them to be able to confront the difficult conditions (either because their homes are destroyed or damaged, or because of the lack of infrastructure and services ...),” the sources quoted Aoun. Guterres has promised Aoun to reconsider the UN resolution in this regard, they added. Early in September, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon suspended food rations and aid for 8,000 Syrian families. The measure will reportedly take effect starting the month of November. UNHCR stated that its mandate extended only to the most vulnerable families that were unable to afford their basic needs of food, shelter and healthcare.

Aoun Warns: Israel Conceals New Violation against our Sovereignty, Ready to Fight Back
Naharnet/October 02/18/President Michel Aoun on Tuesday slammed as “baseless” the allegations of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu about missile sites near the Rafik Hariri Beirut Airport. “Allegations of Netanyahu about military bases around the airport’s vicinity are baseless and conceal an Israeli threat to Lebanese sovereignty,” said Aoun. The President affirmed that Lebanon will fight back shall Israel decide to carry out any aggression against it. “Lebanon will confront any Israeli aggression against its sovereignty,” he said. On Thursday, during his address before the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu claimed that Hizbullah has positioned three missile sites near RHIA. Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adrai meanwhile published pictures of the alleged sites on Twitter. He said the sites include the football stadium of the Hizbullah-affiliated al-Ahed club, another site near the airport and the Ouzai fishermen's harbor.

Strong Lebanon Bloc Says Israeli Threats 'Can't be Taken Lightly'
Naharnet/October 02/18/The Free Patriotic Movement-led Strong Lebanon bloc warned Tuesday that the latest Israeli threats against Lebanon “cannot be taken lightly.”“Some stances have justified the remarks of (Israeli army spokesman Avichai) Adrai and others instead of voicing unified stances in the face of the enemy,” MP Elias Bou Saab said after the bloc's weekly meeting, referring to Israel's claims about the presence of alleged Hizbullah “missile sites” near Beirut airport. “Politicians must close ranks to defend the interest of the Lebanese whenever we face an external aggression,” Bou Saab added. “We are not scaring of the presence of an impending threat to Lebanon in light of the Israeli warnings, but we cannot deal lightly with the issue or allow anyone to divide Lebanese ranks because they are seeking political vengeance,” the lawmaker went on to say. “We condemn the downplaying of the diplomatic message that the foreign minister carried out and Lebanon's interest requires that we stand by each other,” Bou Saab said. He was referring to a tour organized Monday by caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil for the foreign ambassadors in Lebanon. Bassil accompanied the ambassadors to sites near Beirut's airport to dispel Israel's allegations about the presence of Hizbullah “missile sites” there. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the tour, saying Bassil "took ambassadors to a football pitch but not the adjacent underground precision missile plant." Calling on the international community to prevent any Israeli attack on Lebanon, Bassil said Monday that the Lebanese government would not allow rocket facilities near the airport and that Hizbullah is "wiser" than to place them there. He added that Netanyahu's claims were based on "inaccurate" estimates without any "compelling evidence."

Mustaqbal: Lebanon Not an Arena for 'Regional Missile Equations'
Naharnet/October 02/18/Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc stressed Tuesday that Lebanon should not be an arena for “regional missile equations,” after Israel accused Hizbullah of positioning three missile plants near Beirut's airport. “Lebanon will not be an arena for the conflicts of others nor an arena for regional missile equations,” the bloc said in a statement issued after its weekly meeting that was presided over by Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri. In a possible reference to caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil's reaction to the Israeli allegations, al-Mustaqbal bloc warned against “launching populist responses that contribute, intentionally or unintentionally, to isolating Lebanon from responsible dialogue with the international community.”Announcing that it condemns “in the strongest terms the threats contained in Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at the U.N.,” the bloc called on the international community and “all friends in the world” to “realize the real objectives behind these threats,” describing them as “an attempt to linking Lebanon's fate to the ongoing conflicts in the region.” Bassil on Monday led dozens of ambassadors and journalists to locations near Beirut's international airport, including a golf course and a soccer stadium. The minister said Monday's tour was not "a fact-finding mission" but part of a "counter-diplomatic campaign" to rebut the Israeli allegations, which he said could serve as a pretext for an Israeli attack. Hizbullah's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah recently boasted that his group now possesses "highly accurate" missiles despite Israeli attempts to prevent it from acquiring such weapons. Bassil acknowledged Nasrallah's claim, but said "this doesn't mean that those missiles are present in the vicinity of Beirut airport."Separately, Mustaqbal urged the political forces to “facilitate the mission of the premier-designate.”It warned that “the domestic and external challenges” require “mutual concessions” from the political parties regarding the government formation process.

Khoury Tells 'Angry' Generator Owners: Meters Will Be Installed

Naharnet/October 02/18/As the government puts into effect a consumer protection measure pressing private generator owners to install electricity meters, caretaker Economy Minister Raed Khoury emphasized on Tuesday that there will be “no backing down on the decision.”“Private generator owners have no reason to reject the ministry’s decision and install meters” to follow on energy consumption each subscriber is using, said Khoury. “We will not back down on the decision,” he stressed in remarks he made to reporters. The confrontation seems open-ended between the two parties, and some private generator owners have threatened to cut their services as they refuse to comply with the government measure aiming to regulate the sector. On Monday, the government started the installation of meters to measure the exact consumption of electricity by subscribers in order to determine the exact prices that should be paid. The move drew the ire of some private generators owners who argue that prices of services set by the government will affect their profits. Lebanon has been plagued with electricity rationing for decades amid the government incapability to provide sufficient power. The Lebanese resort to private operators to compensate for the outage.
Kataeb rejects continuous Israeli threats; utters need to form government of specialists to spare Lebanon fight over power
Tue 02 Oct 2018/NNA - The political bureau of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, headed by party chairman, MP Sami Gemayel, discussed in its weekly meeting the latest developments in the country, and issued, at the end of its deliberations, a statement saying that "the country is at the brink of crises and collapses that cannot be overlooked across the various sectors in the country.""The Kataeb Party relies on the national public awareness to meet the call of the party president, MP Sami Gemayel, to build a new Lebanon by adhering to a political and economic roadmap fit for short and long term plans, starting with the formation of a government of specialists that will separate Lebanon from the struggle of parties over power," the statement said."This shall be done in parallel with parliamentary blocs' meetings under the roof of the House of Representatives, to establish the launch of a comprehensive reform project that could protect the State from disintegration and collapse, set the basis for full adherence to the Constitution and the laws, and secure the neutrality of Lebanon from the conflicts of the region, next to political and economic stability and complete elimination of chaos and corruption," the statement read.
The Kataeb also rejected the "continuous Israeli threats which could lead to repercussions that Lebanon cannot afford, which in turn leads to a tenser situation." "The protection of the State and the preservation of its sovereignty is only valid when it [the State] alone, and no one else, owns the decision of war and peace, and when the absolute right of the army to exclusive possession of weapons on all the Lebanese territory is preserved," the Kataeb stressed.

Administration and Justice Committee endorses major part of publications law
Tue 02 Oct 2018/NNA - The Administration and Justice committee Wednesday met in session at the Parliament, presided over by MP George Adwan, in the presence of attended by Caretaker Information Minister, Melhem Riachy. Also attending had been Committee Secretary MP Nawwaf al-Mousawi, and head of the National Audiovisual Media Council Abdel Hadi Mahfouz. On emerging, MP Adwan said the Committee discussed the media and publications draft law, disclosing that major part of the draft law had been endorsed, with emphasis on liberties. The Lawmaker underlined the paramount importance of realizing an up-to-date media law in line with the modern role of media.

SSNP delegation visits Bassil: His pro-active stance exposed Israeli prime minister’s lies
Tue 02 Oct 2018/NNA - Head of the Free Patriotic Movement, caretaker Foreign Minister, Gebran Bassil, received this Tuesday Head of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Hanna Nashef, on top of a delegation, in the presence of Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Pierre Raffoul, and MP Elias Bou Saab. "We first extended to the Minister our congratulations on his solid national position over the Israeli threat, rather the clear Israeli lie as to the rocket-related accusations against Hezbollah. The position of the minister is a valued by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party; a pro-active position that revealed the Israeli Prime Minister's lies," Nashef said in the wake of the meeting. "This position is consistent with that of His Excellency the President of the Republic at the international forums in the United Nations and the European Union as well as on the Lebanese territories," he added.

Bou Saab after Strong Lebanon meeting: Preemptive diplomatic measure exposed enemy's lies
Tue 02 Oct 2018/NNA - The "Strong Lebanon" parliamentary bloc held its weekly meeting this Tuesday at its headquarters in Sin el Fil under the chairmanship of caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Gebran Bassil, with talks touching on the latest developments at the internal scene. After the meeting, MP Elias Abu Saab delivered the bloc's statement which dwelled on “the position of the Foreign Ministry in response to Israeli slanders and attacks since Netanyahu's speech at the United Nations, its repercussions and what happened in Lebanon consequently.”
The bloc "praised the preemptive diplomatic measure taken by Lebanon in the face of Israel. It served to expose the enemy's lies, on the one hand, and rebuff all of its pretexts to attack Lebanon, on the other hand." "It was mandatory, for once, to expose the lies of the Israeli enemy which, we all know, never needed excuses. Today, however, given the strength of Lebanon and the strong Lebanese position, it [Israel] is looking for pretexts to justify itself to the international community for any aggression that may occur on Lebanon," Bou Saab said, noting that "the Lebanese diplomatic measure took the enemy by surprise. (...) It revealed to the public opinion that these lies are pointless."Criticizing some Lebanese parties and media outlets for handling these Israeli allegations ad threats lightly instead of rising to the defense of Lebanon, he stressed that, regardless of the differences the best interest of Lebanon must remain above all considerations. "Lebanon's interest requires that we stand as one united front when attacked by the outside, just as we faced the danger of terrorism on Lebanon," he urged.

Girard visits Middle East Council of Churches: Our common goal is to preserve human dignity
Tue 02 Oct 2018/NNA - The Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches, Souraya Bechealany, on Tuesday welcomed at the Council's main headquarters in Beirut the UNHCR Representative in Lebanon, Mireille Girard. Discussions reportedly touched on means of cooperation and uniting efforts in the service of refugees and the displaced people. Bechealany said: "Our common interest in safeguarding human dignity pushes us both [the Council and UNHCR] to cooperate on several levels," saying the Middle East Council is committed to standing by the most vulnerable groups, refugees and displaced people. Bechealany also disclosed that The Council has programs in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine with local and international partners in this regard. "The core of our ecumenical work is caring for people, without any discrimination, and this makes our work in harmony with the goals of the United Nations and the UNHCR," Bechealany maintained. Bechealany also stressed the Council's utter keenness to protect humans' dignity and their rights. UNHCR Representative in Lebanon, Mireille Girard, for her part, said she had a fruitful discussion with Dr. Bechealany, exploring ways UNHCR and the Council can further collaborate to provide support for vulnerable refugees and Lebanese communities. "For decades, UNHCR and the Middle East Council of Churches have been partners in responding to humanitarian needs in Lebanon, and we look forward to continue this successful collaboration," Girard said. Girard added: "UNHCR is a secular organization, however, our partnership with religious organizations is not new, as we realized early on, since the creation of UNHCR, that such partnership is key for an effective response. In many of our operations around the world, we have partnered with faith-based organizations to provide relief assistance and warmth to displaced communities. Faith-based organizations can play a key role throughout the cycle of displacement of refugees, from the prevention of crises, to support in exile and safe return and reintegration in their country or relocation to another country." She added: "While we work towards solutions for refugees outside Lebanon, UNHCR highly values this continued solidarity and commitment to help vulnerable communities in Lebanon live in dignity. There lies a close link between humanitarian work and the values and principles that are at the basis of all major faiths, and that is translated in our common objective of preserving human dignity. In common with faith-based organizations, my agency, UNHCR, seeks to provide protection and care for people who are forced to flee, while also providing support to the communities hosting them. We look forward to closer cooperation with the Middle East Council of Churches in this regard." The UNHCR Representative concluded: "I would like to end with a quote by Pope Francis during a speech he gave yesterday, in which he is actually quoting Pope John Paul II: "No aid institution alone can take the place of a human heart, nor that of human compassion". His message is loud and clear!"

Michael Aoun’s United Nations ethical flop
Makram Rabah/Al Arabiya/October 02/18
Very few people look towards the United Nations and its various agencies with much optimism or hope , as this post WWII institution, despite its noble objectives, have failed time and again to rise to the challenges and shed its many bureaucratic and political limitations, thus rendering it futile.
Yet perhaps one of the major reasons for the failure of the UN is the lack of commitment of many of the member states and their leaders, who take to the United Nations pulpit ever year preaching morality and self-righteousness, while in reality adopting policies and measures that are counterproductive not to say malicious.The Lebanese President Michael Aoun’s recent excursion to New York to attend the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly is a case in point. Aoun, born in 1935 ten years before the formation of the UN, addressed his peers last Wednesday urging them to take concrete measures to reform the UN, which in his opinion totally lacks transparency and balance. After distributing his wisdom, Aoun reminded his audience of the importance of respecting human rights, a matter that to Aoun Lebanon has upheld through its constitution and its various agencies chiefly amongst them the newly formed independent National Commission for Human Rights, Lebanon's National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), which includes a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). This finally tuned and humanistic rhetoric however was merely the preamble to Aoun’s real intention, as he demanded the immediate return of the Syrian refugees who in his opinion and that of his allies Hezbollah have no pretext to stay in Lebanon, nor are they under any threat from the Assad regime, which is essentially responsible for their predicament. This was rather normal coming from Aoun who for years, with the assistance of his son-in-law and political heir Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, led the charge to normalize relations and whitewash the Assad regime both locally and abroad. While Aoun stanchly championed transparency and accountability at the UN, these two concepts are nowhere to be found at home with many allegations of corruption and cronyism
Xenophobic tactics
Through a combination xenophobic tactics both Aoun and Bassil, use these refugees as a scare crew to muster populists support from the Lebanese whose abysmal economic conditions prevent them from sharing what remains of a decaying failing state. Aoun was clear in his speech that he simply wants to get rid of the refugees even if this came at the cost of throwing them back into the fires of the Syrian conflict, which contrary to what Aoun and his allies Hezbollah peddle is far from over. Yet Aoun’s refusal to work with the UN and UNHCR is one of the major factors for the current horrible crisis especially that Bassil has toiled hard to antagonize and alienate these funding agencies accusing them of planning to naturalize the refugees and preventing them from willfully returning home. Realistically however Aoun’s UN speech leads to two main conclusions, either his speechwriters are out of touch with reality or simply that they maliciously choose to disregard Aoun’s abysmal term vis-à-vis all the demands he made throughout his speech. Despite Aoun’s flaunting the Human rights commission, who is yet to become active, many Syrian refugees have been subject to unlawful detention, torture and sometimes death by the Lebanese security agencies, who have yet to conduct a serious and transparent investigation to refute these allegations. While Aoun stanchly championed transparency and accountability at the UN, these two concepts are nowhere to be found at home with many allegations of corruption and cronyism surrounding the performance of his parliamentary bloc led by his son-in-law Gebran Bassil. Both Hezbollah and their main Christian ally Michael Aoun continue to peddle the Russian initiative for the return of the Syrian refugees as the only viable and serious plan. Ironically the Russian plan as well as Aoun political term and career bear many similarities chiefly amongst them is the fact that they both bequeath ethics and morals to the public while in fact practicing the opposite. Aoun heart might perhaps be in the right place, but leadership is above all measured by ones acts and their consequences, and thus no speech can whitewash Aoun’s history and what remains of his term, nor save Lebanon from its gloomy future.
*Makram Rabah is a lecturer at the American University of Beirut, Department of History. He is the author of A Campus at War: Student Politics at the American University of Beirut, 1967-1975. He tweets @makramrabah.
The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 02-03/18
Iran executes half-Kurdish 24-year-old woman arrested, convicted as a child
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English/Tuesday, 2 October 2018/Iran on Tuesday executed a 24-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman Zeinab Sekaanvand. In a tweet, Amnesty International expressed its outrage. "24-year-old Zeinab was executed in Iran this morning. She was a child when arrested & convicted after an unfair trial. She said male police officers tortured her in detention. We’ll issue a response soon. Pls RT & tell @khamenei_ir @JZarif to stop sentencing children to death!"Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director at Amnesty International, had called on the Iranian authorities to stop the execution, which he said was a result of an “unfair trial”. Luther’s statement mentioned that Zeinab was under 18-years-old when she committed the crime, and that she was denied the right to hire a lawyer, in addition to the fact that she was tortured in detention to get her to confess unwillingly. Amnesty International says that Zeinab was arrested in February 2012, after being accused of killing her husband whom she married at 15. The accused was detained in a police station for 20 days after the crime happened, where she was beaten by male police officers and “confessed” to stabbing her husband after he abused her physically and verbally for months and rejected her requests for a divorce, according to reports from Amnesty International. Amnesty International finds Zeinab’s trial an “unfair” one that didn’t comply with the Iranian penal code, and did not provide a legitimate report that evaluates “her mental growth and maturity”. The Iranian courts did not retrial her after she turned 18, nor did they inform her that she could apply for a retrial in reference to article 91 of the Iranian penal code, according to Amnesty International.
Israel Threatens to Hit ‘S-300’ Even If It Can’t Stop Its Arrival
Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 2 October, 2018/A senior Israeli official said that Russia’s decision to provide advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense systems to Syria posed a serious challenge for the Jewish state. According to public broadcaster KAN, Syria has paid Russia a billion dollars for the anti-missile system, which will make it much more difficult for Israel to launch defensive air strikes against Iranian-linked targets in that country, as it has done over the last few years. The official added that Russia will receive this amount when the missiles are actually transferred to the Syrian regime. “The S-300 is a complex challenge for the State of Israel. We are dealing with the [decision] in different ways, not necessarily by preventing shipment [of the anti-aircraft system],” the official said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN that the move was “irresponsible” but said Israel was committed to continued deconfliction with Moscow in its military operations in the region. Notably, Russian officials withdrew plans to export an S-300PMU1 system to Syria in 2013, heeding a request from the Israeli government.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow had in the past obliged Israel by refraining from providing Syria with the S-300. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, for his part, has confirmed that S-300 surface-to-air missile systems have begun arriving in Syria, adding a new layer of complexity to an already fraught situation in the region. The decision came less than a week after Syrian gunners using a less capable S-200 SAM battery inadvertently shot down a Russian reconnaissance aircraft while attempting to target Israeli F-16s. All 15 Russian crew members aboard the Il-20 died when the aircraft crashed in the Mediterranean Sea.

41 detainees, including child, killed by torture in Syria in September
Ahd Fadel, Al, 2 October 2018 /41 detainees in Syrian regime prisons have died as a result of torture, including a child, a musician, and an athlete, according to statistics from September, a human rights source said on Tuesday. The provinces of Damascus and Daraa had the largest share in terms of those killed as a result of torture in the regime’s prisons in September, as documented by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, in the report it published Tuesday. The number of people killed and tortured in Daraa in September amounted to 11 detainees and another 11 had the same feat in the countryside of Damascus. Among those killed was 17-year-old Syrian Palestinian Ouday Sabri al-Helou. He was arrested in the Yarmouk refugee camp south of Damascus on June 6, 2016. The Syrian Human Rights Network confirmed that according to its sources, the child passed away on September 24 on account of torture while he was in detention in the regime’s prisons. The arrested athlete, Alaa Madallah al-Jundi, was a football player in the province of Daraa. The Assad forces arrested him on July 20, 2014, and it was confirmed that he passed away of torture on September 11. The Palestinian musician and artist, Mohammed Deeb Mahmoud Abu al-Raz, was killed on account of torture and his death was confirmed on September 13. Abu Al-Raz was a university student, and a member of the Palestinian heritage group Beit She’an. He previously worked in teams affiliated with the Syrian Ministry of Culture. The Syrian regime’s forces arrested him in 2014 in the Yarmouk refugee camp. Among those killed because of torture in the regime’s prisons last September were Essam Mohammed Sharaf, a university student from the city of Daraa, Mohammed al-Masri from the same city, Mudar al-Ajeel, from Raqqa and Jamal al-Jamal, a university student and a member of the Muadamiyat al-Sham in Damascus countryside. The Syrian Human Rights Network confirmed that 933 people have been killed because of torture since the beginning of this year, 911 of which were by the hands of Syrian regime forces. The report noting that the Syrian regime deliberately forced the families of victims of torture to sign documents stating that their relatives have died of natural causes, without letting them see the bodies of their dead children. Since the beginning of this year, the Syrian regime has begun to send lists of the death of its detainees and to request the civil registry departments to register them dead, without mentioning the date of death. While international and human rights organizations recognize that the enforced disappearances in Syria accounts to more than 80,000 cases, the number of detainees in Syria exceeds 250,000, according to various statistics, the last of which dates to the end of last year. The Syrian Network for Human Rights confirmed that there are currently 220,000 detainees in the regime prisons. In 2017, Amnesty International issued a report titled “Human Slaughterhouse”, stating that more than 17,000 detainees were killed between 2011 and 2015 while held in Syrian prisons, noting that many of them were hanged. They added that the death of a large number of other detainees was on account of various types of torture, or deliberate negligence with the intention of slow murder. Amnesty International has confirmed in 2015 all the documents and photographs taken by a famous person named Caesar, who had previously worked as a photographer for the Syrian regime’s army. He succeeded in smuggling thousands of photographs showing detainees who had been tortured in Assad prisons since 2011.
Paris Says Iran Intelligence Ministry behind France Bomb Plot
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 02/18/French security services believe the Iranian intelligence ministry was behind a foiled bomb plot that aimed to target an opposition group in Paris in June, a diplomatic source told AFP. "The head of operations at the intelligence ministry ordered it," the source said on condition of anonymity, referring to an alleged plot to bomb a meeting of the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) in a Paris suburb.
France announces asset freeze on Iranian intel service linked to bomb plot
By Agencies/Tuesday, 2 October 2018 /France announced Tuesday that it had frozen assets belonging to two Iranian men and Iran's ministry of security and intelligence. The decree announcing the asset freezes, published in the government gazette, identified one of the men as Assadollah Asadi, the same name as an Iranian diplomat who has been arrested over an alleged plot to bomb an Iranian opposition group in France in June. Searches took place Tuesday morning at the headquarters of a Muslim Shiite associatio, named Zahra Center, in Grande-Synthe (northern France) and the homes of 12 of its leaders in the context of a "prevention of terrorism" operation. Three people were taken into custody during this operation, including illegal possession of firearms, according to a source close to the case cited by Agence France-Presse. Eleven people were detained by the police and the funds of the intelligence service were frozen for a period of six months. Some 200 police officers participated in these searches carried out in the premises of the Zahra Center, located in the suburbs of Dunkerque. On its website, the association aims to "make known the message of Islam through the eyes of the Prophet and his family." It organizes conferences, prayer gatherings and broadcasts many messages, including videos. The Zahra Center is known for being allied to Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Iran Denies French Accusations over Alleged Bomb Plot
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 02/18/Iran on Tuesday denied French accusations that one of its diplomats was involved in an alleged bomb plot targeting an exiled opposition group near Paris in June."We deny the accusations and forcefully condemn the Iranian diplomat's arrest and call for his immediate release," the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.
Mattis: Number of US diplomats doubled in Syria as ISIS nears defeat
Reuters, Paris/Tuesday, 2 October 2018/The number of US diplomats in Syria has doubled as ISIS militants near a military defeat, US Defense Secretary Mattis said on Tuesday. The US-led coalition, along with local partners, has largely cleared the militant group from Iraq and Syria but remains concerned about its resurgence. “Our diplomats there on the ground have been doubled in number. As we see the military operations becoming less, we will see the diplomatic effort now able to take (root)” Mattis said. He did not give a specific number. A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mattis was referring to State Department employees, including diplomats and personnel involved in humanitarian assistance, and the increase was recent. The United States does not have an embassy in Syria. In a sign of the threat still posed by the militant group, security forces in northern Syria’s Raqqa said on Sunday they had uncovered an ISIS sleeper cell, which was plotting large attacks across the devastated city. Raqqa served as the de facto capital of ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliphate until it was retaken by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia alliance last October. In June, the SDF imposed a three-day curfew in Raqqa and declared a state of emergency, saying ISIS militants had infiltrated the city and were planning a bombing campaign. “We are still in a tough fight, make no mistake about it,” Mattis said. He said troops would work after the defeat of ISIS to ensure that the militant group did not return. Russia has held the balance of power in Syria, both on the battlefield and in the UN-led peace talks, for the past two years. It has helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recover huge amounts of lost territory without persuading him to agree to any political reforms. But nine rounds of talks, most of them in Geneva, have failed to bring the warring sides together to end a conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven millions from their homes. The United States has said it will pursue “a strategy of isolation”, including sanctions, with its allies if Assad holds up a political process aimed at ending Syria’s seven-year-old war.

U.S. Defense Secretary Warns of 'Tough Fight' to Oust IS

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 02/18/The U.S.-led military alliance battling the Islamic State group faces "a tough fight" to oust the jihadists from their last holdouts in Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday. While the extremists have lost almost all of the self-declared "caliphate" they held across Iraq and Syria four years ago, Mattis warned that destroying the group completely was "still going to take some time.""Make no mistake about it, as ISIS has collapsed inward, in their own way they have reinforced the center as they've been forced into what is now less than two percent of their original territory," Mattis told reporters in Paris. "So it's going to still be a tough fight, I don't want anyone to be under any illusions," he added. "We will be successful but it's still going to take some time." Last month the military chief of France, which has troops in the U.S. alliance fighting IS, estimated the jihadists would lose their last Syrian territory by January. Francois Lecointre predicted "the end of the physical caliphate of Daesh before the end of the year, probably late autumn," using another name for IS. IS has lost all of its urban centers in Iraq and late last month U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters launched a fresh operation to oust the group from its last holdouts in southeast Syria.
ISIS murder kidnapped woman in Damascus after hindering negotiations
Staff writer, Al Arabiya/EnglishTuesday, 2 October 2018/ISIS has murdered a woman they had kidnapped in Sweida, south of Damascus, following hindering negotiations with reconciliation committees. Activists on social media said that the murdered woman was named Thuraya Abu Ammar. According to the Suwayda24 news site, the woman was 25 years old, and was kidnapped on July 25 during an ISIS attack on the Al-Shubky village east of Sweida. The murder was carried out hours after a statement was released by the negotiating committee that stated it would withdraw from negotiating with ISIS about abductees, according to Russia Today, and that it feared ISIS would kill all those kidnapped after the release of the statement.

Turkey, U.S. Troops Train for Joint Patrols in Syria's Manbij
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 02/18/Troops from NATO allies Turkey and the United States have started training together ahead of conducting joint patrols around the northern Syrian city of Manbij, a U.S. official said Tuesday. The move comes even as relations between Washington and Ankara have soured in recent months over a number of issues, including Turkey's potential purchase of a Russian air-defense system. Manbij, once in the hands of the Islamic State group, is now held by a U.S.-backed alliance dominated by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).Ankara considers the YPG "terrorists" and had previously threatened to attack the city. U.S. support for the YPG has strained relations with Turkey, which fears the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish region on its southern border. Under an agreement with the United States to reduce tensions, Turkey started military patrols around Manbij in June, while the U.S. conducted its own patrols. Now troops from both countries are training together in Turkey to conduct joint patrols, U.S. Army spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan said. "Right now, they are still operating independent, coordinated patrols but they are also starting... the joint training," Ryan told Pentagon reporters. He did not say when the joint patrols would begin. The Turkish and U.S. troops are studying communications, rules of engagement and are undergoing medical training. Fueling tensions, Turkey is embroiled in a dispute with Washington over the detention of a U.S. pastor, and is in talks with Russia to buy the S-400 missile system. President Donald Trump in August signed a defense authorization act that prohibits the delivery of F-35 stealth aircraft to Turkey if it goes ahead with the S-400 purchase.

Erdogan: We will continue to seek solution with Syrian people, not Syrian govt
By Reuters, Ankara/Tuesday, 2 October 2018/Turkey will strengthen its observation points in Syria's northwest and work with Russia against radical groups, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday. Speaking to members of his AK Party in parliament, Erdogan also said that Turkey will hold a summit with Russia, Germany and France in October or November to discuss Syria, adding that Turkey will continue to seek a solution with the Syrian people, not the Russian-backed Syrian government.
Iranian reformists: Wilayat al- Faqih ideology contradicts concept of a republic
Mousa Sharifi, Al Arabiya/Tuesday, 2 October 2018/Two prominent Iranian reformists, Abu al-Fadl Quidani, and Reza Rajai, who were imprisoned in recent years, issued a statement stressing that the Wilayat al-Faqih (Guardianship of the Jurist) ideology contradicts the concept of a republic. They highlight the importance of embracing the principal of a republic in Iran. “The Iranian regime, in its current situation, is facing various disasters ranging from social, economic, and political levels. At this point, it is unable to heal the wounds of society by masking these issues with cold-hearted role-play, and false portrayals of confidence,” the statement said. “The Iranian revolution of 1979 acknowledged the Iranian people’s aspirations, and how they sought for a republican system that thrives from the strength of its nation. The revolution prevailed as a success however; incorporating the Wilayat al-Faqih principles in Iran’s constitution, contradicts the concept of a republic”The statement added that, “the Iranian regime’s current structure allows powers to loot the country’s wealth, and exploit its economy for their own political interests. This cannot be in line with the concept of a free, democratic republic, which guarantees the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, and advocates freedom of press”The statement continued: “A certain class of people with a misinterpretation of Islam impose their will on the people. It is those people who make up the Iranian authority; a minority ruling the majority” “The extreme transformation occurred after the revolution- a false definition of a republic emerged, paving the way for the principles of Wilayat al-Faqih to be constitutionalized. Since then (in the early establishment of the Iranian Islamic Republic), the structure has gone askew, leading to problems which our society suffers from today”Iran witnessed a recent outbreak of demonstrations and protests in several Iranian cities, which consisted of hundreds shouting slogans such as “Death to the dictator” and “Death to the leader of Faqih”. This triggered political figures, both in and out of Iran, to criticize Iran’s Supreme Leader who has absolute control of the country.

IAEA Fends Off Israel Pressure over Iran
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 02/18/The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog Tuesday refused to "take at face value" Israel's claims that Iran is harboring a secret atomic warehouse, fending off pressure to inspect the allegedly suspect site. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the claim in front of the U.N. General Assembly last week. Without explicitly referring to Netanyahu's claim, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano insisted that the agency's independence was "of paramount importance" for its work. The IAEA "uses all safeguards-relevant information available to it but it does not take any information at face value," Amano said in a statement. Netanyahu accused Iran of operating a "secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and material from Iran's secret nuclear weapons program." He urged the IAEA to inspect the site. Amano said the IAEA would not be told how to do its work. "All information obtained, including from third parties, is subject to rigorous review," he said. He said the IAEA's work "must always be impartial, factual, and professional."Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to scale down its nuclear activities and submit to IAEA inspections in exchange for relief from sanctions. Israel bitterly opposes the deal and congratulated U.S. President Donald Trump for walking away from it earlier this year. The IAEA has repeatedly said that Iran is continuing to meet its commitments under the deal. Amano said on Tuesday that evaluations of Iran's compliance were "ongoing."

U.S. Pastor's Lawyer to Lodge Appeal at Top Turkey Court
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 02/18/A lawyer for the U.S. pastor whose detention in Turkey sparked a crisis with Washington will appeal Wednesday to the constitutional court for his release.The move comes ahead of an October 12 hearing in the Andrew Brunson case and amid growing expectations he will be allowed to return home. Since July, Brunson has been under house arrest at his home in the western city of Izmir. Previously, he had been held in jail after being detained in October 2016. His lawyer, Cem Halavurt, told AFP they would lodge the appeal in Ankara at 0700 GMT Wednesday. Brunson, an evangelical who runs a small evangelical Protestant church in Izmir, is the center of a bitter standoff between the Turkey and the United States. Washington imposed sanctions on Turkey over the summer and Ankara imposed sanctions of its own, leading to an escalation that prompted a crash in value of the Turkish lira. The Turkish authorities detained Brunson on allegations of assisting groups branded as terrorist, part of a crackdown by the Turkish government following the failed coup in 2016. But there have been signs the standoff could be easing. Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed his hope Turkey would release the pastor. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday Ankara hoped to rebuild relations with Washington, while adding that the pastor was on trial for his "murky relations with terror groups."The easing of tension has helped the Turkish lira recover from historic lows in recent weeks. Abdulkadir Selvi, a pro-government columnist for the Hurriyet daily, wrote Monday that the court on October 12 might rule to lift Brunson's house arrest and travel ban, allowing him to return home.

Syrian Hassan al-Kontar Arrested After Months Trapped in Malaysia Airport
Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 2 October, 2018/A Syrian man has been arrested after almost seven months stranded in a Malaysian airport, an official said Tuesday, in a bizarre saga that drew comparisons with hit movie "The Terminal". Hassan al-Kontar had been stuck at the budget terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport since March 7, when officials refused to let him board a flight to Ecuador. Kontar, reportedly sought by authorities in his homeland for failing to serve in the military, was also refused entry into Cambodia and not allowed back into Malaysia due to visa issues. The 36-year-old was left stranded in the terminal, surviving on donated airline meals and washing in the toilets. He made repeated appeals in a series of YouTube videos, lamenting that rights groups had refused him help and no one would take him in. But Malaysian immigration chief Mustafar Ali said that police had finally decided to arrest Kontar and remove him from the airport Monday, as his posts -- which were garnering growing media attention -- had embarrassed Malaysia. "His statements on social media shamed Malaysia," Ali was cited as saying by official news agency Bernama. "(He) was arrested yesterday because he was in a restricted area without a boarding pass." He added that the Syrian national would be "referred to the immigration department" after police were finished with their questioning. "We will then communicate with the Syrian embassy to facilitate deportation to his home country."A civil war has been raging in Syria for the past seven years, leaving more than 350,000 people dead. Kontar's case is reminiscent of the 2004 film "The Terminal," in which Tom Hanks plays a man who finds himself stuck in a New York airport after his government collapses, rendering his papers useless. Kontar had been working in insurance in the United Arab Emirates when war broke out in Syria in 2011. He couldn't renew his passport because he had not completed military service at home, but he didn't want to return, fearing he would be arrested or made to join the military. So he stayed on illegally in the UAE, but was arrested in 2016.
In 2017 he managed to get a new passport, but was eventually deported to Malaysia. It is one of the few countries in the world which grants Syrians visa-free entry on arrival. He was given a three-month tourist visa. When that expired he tried to go to Turkey but was refused boarding. He went to Cambodia but was sent back, and has since been living in the tiny arrivals area of the budget airport, living off food donated by airline staff. The 36-year-old from Suweida, south of Damascus, had applied for asylum in Ecuador and Cambodia, but his bids were unsuccessful.

Erekat Urges Guterres to List Israel As ‘State That Violates Children’s Rights’
Ramallah - Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 2 October, 2018/Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat has urged the United Nations to list Israel as a state that "violates children's rights" in its annual report on children and armed conflict.
This is a necessary step, said Erekat, as the United Nations have many pieces of evidence on Israel's targeting of Palestinian children in addition to the report submitted by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on this issue on August 14, 2018. He said that the report was a step in line with “our urgent request for international protection for the Palestinians."This came in an official letter sent by Erekat to Guterres on Monday, condemning Israel’s targeting of the innocent Palestinian children by assassinations and direct sniping. "From reports you have received from UN agencies working in occupied Palestine and through our bilateral channels, it becomes evident that Israel, as an occupying power, continues its grave violations of its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and other treaties, including UN Convention on Right of the Child," the letter said. Last Friday, Israeli snipers shot Abdel Nasser Musabeh, 12 years old, and Mohammad al-Hoom, 14 years old, while they were standing hundreds of meters away from the Israeli forces deployed in Gaza Strip, according to the letter. "Mohammad and Nasser were the last Palestinian children killed by the Israeli army, but they are not the last victims of the military occupation," Erekat stressed. The senior PLO official accused Israel of violating children's rights, including murdering and maiming of children, abduction of children, attacks against schools and hospitals and denial of humanitarian access for children. He also reiterated the demand for international protection for the Palestinian civilians, adding that over 350 Palestinian children are currently jailed in Israel. Erekat said that Israel's special membership in the organization, through UN General Assembly Resolution 273, was conditioned by Israel's commitment to respect the Charter of the United Nations and the implementation of its resolutions, including General Assembly resolutions 181 and 194. “The culture of impunity in Israel has allowed it to continue to violate its obligations for more than 70 years," the letter stressed.

Kremlin Welcomes Iranian Strikes on Syria to ‘Combat Terrorism’

Moscow /Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 2 October, 2018/The Russian comment on the Iranian missile bombardment in eastern Syria sent messages to several parties, mainly the United States and Israel, especially after Kremlin described this development as part of the fight against terrorism. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Iran's missile strikes must be treated as a step in the fight against terrorism. “The war against terrorism and terrorist organizations in Syria is continuing and will continue,” he said in reply to the question about Iran’s missile strike on Syria. Peskov also commented on the remarks made by US National Security Advisor John Bolton on Washington's intention to "stay in Syria." "As for the illegitimate presence of foreign troops and foreign armed forces in Syria, Russia’s position on this has been quite clear,” he said. Analysts said that launched “Iranian missiles” confirmed Tehran's intention “to continue its activity in Syria despite Washington and Tel Aviv’s demands.”They explained that Kremlin's comments reflect that Moscow has sought not directly support the Iranian bombardment but at the same time avoided its condemnation. It also sought to send messages to the US and Israeli sides that Iran is a partner in fighting terrorism and that its mission in Syria is not over yet. Military commentators pointed out that Tehran "informed Moscow before carrying out the strike, which means that Russia has dealt with the development in coordination with Iran."The state media quoted analysis indicating that “the launch of Iranian missiles indicated Tehran's intention to escalate the situation in Syria in the face of the escalation against it by Washington and Tel Aviv.” "Although Iran's missile strikes in Syria and Iraq targeted sites for insurgents and hostile organizations, yet the strikes hold a clear threat message against major enemies," it stressed. It seems that Iran is preparing to confront, especially after the circumstances have changed and the tension has returned sharply following Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the resumption of sanctions against it, according to analysts.

Sources: Ankara Understands Opposition’s Rejection of Russian Presence In Demilitarized Zone

Ankara - Saiid Abdulrazzak/Asharq Al-Awsat/Tuesday, 2 October, 2018/Turkish diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that Ankara is currently holding talks with Syrian opposition factions and Moscow to implement the content of the Sochi agreement, reached two weeks ago between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Some opposition factions are against the Russian presence in Idlib. Ankara understands their position,” the sources said, adding that factions of the National Liberation Front (NLF) welcomed the Sochi Agreement and asserted their readiness to begin cooperating with Turkey in this regard. “However, NLF forces do not trust the Russian side,” the sources added. On Sept. 17, Moscow and Ankara signed in Sochi an agreement on setting up a 9-12 mile demilitarized zone in Idlib along the contact line of the armed opposition and the regime forces. In return, Turkish forces and Russian police members would deploy in the zone to complete the withdrawal of factions and the handing over of heavy weapons. According to the agreement, all heavy weaponry operated by rebel groups must be pulled out of the demilitarized zone by October 10 and “terrorist groups” should be removed by October 15. On Monday, the Turkish-backed NLF alliance had officially announced it rejected any Russian presence in the demilitarized zone. Naji Mustafa, spokesman for the NLF wrote in a tweet Monday that a meeting was held with the Turkish ally to discuss elements of the Sochi Agreement and particularly the Russian presence in the isolated zones. He said Turkey promised to avoid the presence of Russian forces. The NLF was formed in August and merged Islamist groups Ahrar al-Sham and Noureddine Zanki with other rebel factions with Turkey's backing. Two days ago, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Faylaq al-Sham group "began pulling out of areas in the southern countryside of Aleppo and the western suburbs of Aleppo city with heavy weapons, including tanks and cannons.”

Assassination of Iraqi Women Activists Recalls Similar Events in Tehran
London- Asharq Al- Awsat/Tuesday, 2 October, 2018/The controversy over the assassination of Tara Fares, part of a series of events known as the “assassination of Iraqi beauties,” has not ended yet. It was the fourth case after the death of two cosmetic experts in mysterious circumstances last month, along with the assassination of Human Rights Activist Soad al-Ali in Basra. Another Iraqi beauty queen confirmed that she had received death threats, which promoted Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to issue an order to investigate the case. Tara, who was shot in the capital Baghdad, was a beauty queen of Iraq and described by some newspapers, including French Le Monde, as “too liberal in a conservative society… a society full of armed religious militias.”Various media sources hinted that those behind these assassinations might be linked to the Iranian-backed militias, recalling similar events carried out by parties within Iran in the nineties of the last century. In 1999, six young men between 19 and 25 years-old kidnapped five people and killed them in ways that the Iranian media described as “brutal”, before being arrested and later found to belong to the Basij, an armed militia of the IRGC. The defendants had Basij cards and stamps and used the militia’s headquarters as a detention center for the victims. They said in the court record that they “do not regret the killing of the victims because they were corrupting the land.” At that time, the Iranian government was headed by Reformist Mohammad Khatami, whose administration has faced accusations of complacency to the West from Iranian lobbyists.

Canadian Dairy Farmers Criticize New Trade Pact with U.S.
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 02/18/Canadian dairy farmers have castigated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government for yielding to U.S. demands for greater access to Canada's protected milk and cheese market as part of a new continental trade pact, but auto workers were pleased. The dairy concessions were made in the final hours of year-long negotiations to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, which had been stuck on U.S. President Donald Trump's insistence that Canada open its dairy market to U.S. competition. The Dairy Farmers of Canada denounced the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, warning that the concessions, which give U.S. farmers an additional 3.59 percent slice of the Canadian dairy market, "will have a dramatic impact not only for dairy farmers but for the whole sector." "This has happened, despite assurances that our government would not sign a bad deal for Canadians," it said. "We fail to see how this deal can be good for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood."Preserving the protections for dairy was politically important to Trudeau, whose Liberal party faces elections next year. Milk-and-cheese-producing Quebec holds provincial elections on Monday that are seen as an early barometer of national support for the ruling Liberals. But Trump had threatened to leave Canada out of the trade deal altogether if an agreement could not be reached by midnight Sunday, confronting Trudeau with the prospect of broader disruptions to the Canadian economy.
Auto workers happy
Jerry Dias, head of Canada's largest union representing auto workers, said he was "absolutely thrilled" that a deal was reached keeping the door open for the nation's top export. "The number one export industry in the country is the auto industry," he said, adding that Trump's threat to impose 25 percent tariffs on Canadian automobiles and parts was also off the table. He also praised keeping dispute resolution panels, an exemption for Canadian cultural industries which "prevent the United States from taking control of the media sector in Canada."A two-year extension on some drug patents to 10 years will cost Canadians more, but Dias said Ottawa is planning to introduce a nationwide pharmacare plan next year that would mitigate any direct cost increases to Canadians. Quebec's former premier Jean Charest defended the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as "a good deal for Canada on balance."
"Opening part of the market and allowing more products in while preserving supply management" was largely expected, he told public broadcaster CBC, adding that similar dairy market access was granted in recent free trade agreements with Europe and in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Canada's supply-managed system controls the production and price of milk and poultry and ensures stable incomes for Canadian farmers. The Canadian sector is worth Can$20 billion (US$16 billion).
Trump's 'gun sights'
"Dairy farmers are not happy but when Trump made that his key 'ask' over and over and over again, I don't think it could be ignored," said Jon Johnson of the CD Howe Institute, who helped negotiate the original 1994 NAFTA. "It is not win-win-win but it is a survival thing," Johnson told CBC. "We got a deal that I think most Canadians can live with. No deal is perfect."He added that Trump "can now go off and deal with China and deal with other people he wants to have trade wars with, and we are out of his gun sights for the time being.""That's really a lot better than the alternative," he said.

N. Korea Says Peace Treaty No Bargaining Chip for Denuclearisation
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 02/18/North Korea on Tuesday ruled out dismantling its nuclear arsenal in exchange for the US declaring an end to the Korean War, saying a peace treaty should "never be a bargaining chip."The North has for decades demanded that the US formally declare the end of the 1950-53 conflict that was halted only with an armistice, saying an official end to the war would ease tensions on the flashpoint peninsula. At a summit with the South's President Moon Jae-in last month, the North's leader Kim Jong Un offered to shut down its main Yongbyon nuclear complex if Washington takes "corresponding measures". Kim did not elaborate on what those measure might be, but state news agency KCNA said in a commentary that some US experts have suggested trading the end of the war for denuclearisation. It flatly described that as only the "most basic... process" to restore ties, not a point for negotiation. "The end of war... is not just a gift from a man to another at all. Furthermore, it can never be a bargaining chip for getting the DPRK denuclearised," it said, using the North's full name. KCNA said that Pyongyang was willing to take "such... steps as eternal dismantlement" of its nuclear complex "if the US takes a corresponding measure" but again did not elaborate. Cho Sung-ryul, analyst at the Institute of National Security Strategy, said the commentary may be aimed at limiting Washington's room for manoeuvre. "The North is trying to reduce the negotiating value of Washington's potential offer of a peace treaty, by suggesting that 'it's not good enough to make us denuclearise'," he told South Korea's news agency Yonhap. A landmark summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in June led to a warming of ties, but there has been little concrete progress toward denuclearisation. The North's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho also told the UN last month that there was "no way" his country would disarm first as long as the US pushes for tough enforcement of sanctions against Pyongyang. Trump however lauded Kim, saying last week the pair had fallen "in love" -- their bromance fuelled by "beautiful letters" he recently received from the young leader. The ceasefire that halted the bloody conflict that sealed the division of the Korean peninsula was signed by the North, its military ally China and the US -- which fought on the side of the South. The South did not take part as its then-leader refused to end the war unless the whole peninsula was unified.
Gaza Night Protests Step Up Months of Anti-Israel Unrest
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 02/18/It's nearly 10:00 pm when young Palestinian men begin banging drums and chanting songs, while others attach incendiary devices to balloons -- all closely watched by Israeli snipers on the border. For six months, Palestinians have gathered regularly along the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel for often violent daylight demonstrations against Israeli policies. But in recent weeks they have deployed a new tactic: "night confusion units". Protests can go on until the early hours. Organisers say they aim to force the Jewish state to ease its crippling decade-long blockade of Gaza, but residents in nearby Israeli communities say their lives are being destroyed. Israel accuses Gaza's rulers Hamas of controlling the protests. Hamas says it backs the demonstrations but is not commanding them and that the idea for nocturnal activity came from protesters themselves. "Every day the young men on the border invent ways to develop marches and the most recent was the night confusion unit," Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said. An Israeli military official, who did not want to be named, said the night protests do not pose a new challenge. "Our soldiers, including our snipers, have night vision equipment," he said. "There are a few dozen, sometimes a few hundred demonstrators (at night)... they burn tyres, throw incendiary bottles and sometimes grenades and do not represent a more important threat than the daytime demonstrations."
'I love you'
The night protests come amid a resurgence in border demonstrations following a brief lull as Egypt and UN officials pursued a long-term truce between Hamas and Israel. Those talks have stalled, along with efforts to reconcile Hamas and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas' rival Fatah group.
As a result, there have been renewed warnings of yet another conflict between Hamas and Israel, who have fought three wars since 2008. One recent night, AFP watched as several hundred protesters gathered a few dozen metres (yards) from Israeli soldiers -- separated by the fence -- near Rafah in southern Gaza. In a tent slightly further into the strip, young men inflated dozens of white balloons inscribed with "I love you". They then attached flaming devices to the balloons, and launched them towards Israeli territory. Others hurled primitively built sound grenades; the booms resonated across the border. "We will not stop launching incendiary balloons until we break the siege on Gaza," said Abu Anas, one of the orchestrators of the night's activities. Anas insisted the movement was independent of Hamas. Saqer al-Jamal, 22, said he and fellow protesters believe Israeli soldiers fear their actions.
"The goal is to confuse the occupation and send our message to the settlers nearby that there is no sleep until we achieve our demands of lifting the siege and returning to our country," he said. Rony Kissin, spokeswoman for the Israeli community of Kerem Shalom located next to the Gaza border, called the night protests a "nightmare". "Now they've started to throw sound bombs and it's very, very scary," Kissin said. "The children are very afraid of it. It's very dangerous. It is really like a weapon."
Confuse the enemy
The border protests since March 30 have been labelled the "Great March of Return" because they call for Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes inside what is now Israel. More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled in the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation. At least 194 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began. One Israeli soldier has been killed in the border area over the same period. Israel says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop infiltrations and attacks, which it accuses Hamas of orchestrating. It also points to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage caused to Israeli farmland by the kites and balloons. But Israel's use of live fire during the protests and clashes has drawn international concern. Palestinians and rights groups say demonstrators have been shot while posing no real threat. Just before midnight in one recent protest, dozens of youths approached the fence in an attempt to breach it. One of the youngsters collapsed to the ground. Medics treated the 17-year-old, who was shot in the foot. Mohammed abu Aqaleen, another 17-year-old who said he was shot three months ago and walks with crutches, vowed the demonstrators would "continue to confuse the enemy with sound grenades and horns". His family fled Jaffa -- now inside Israel -- in the 1948 war. "This confusion will bring us back to Jaffa," said Aqaleen.

Iraq parliament elects Kurdish politician Barham Salih as president
MEE and agencies/October 02/18/Iraq's parliament elected on Tuesday veteran Kurdish politician Barham Salih president, state television announced. "Today is a remarkable day for Iraq. Democracy won," lawmaker Rebwar Taha from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party that nominated Salih, told Reuters. Salih won the votes of 219 lawmakers, according to state television. Iraq's presidency, traditionally occupied by a Kurd, is largely a ceremonial position but the vote is a key step towards the formation of a new government, which politicians have failed to do since an inconclusive national election in May. Under Iraq's constitution, the new president has 15 days to task the largest parliamentary bloc's nominee with forming a government. The prime minister-designate would have 30 days to form a cabinet and present it to parliament for approval.
Since Saddam Hussein was toppled in a 2003 US-led invasion, power has been shared among Iraq’s three largest ethnic-sectarian components. The prime minister has traditionally been a Shia Arab, the speaker of parliament a Sunni Arab and the president a Kurd.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on
October 02-03/18
Turkey: Building Mosques, Erasing Christianity
يوزي بولوط: تركيا تبني الجوامع وتمحي المسيحية
Uzay Bulut/Gatestone Institute/October 02/18
While Turkey's latest mosque is being inaugurated in Germany, the greatest Christian Orthodox theological school has remained closed for almost 50 years by the order of the Turkish government. Moreover, less than a kilometer away from the shuttered Christian seminary, a major new center of Islamic studies spanning a total area of 200 acres is scheduled to be built.
The Greeks of Turkey -- the remnants of the once great Byzantine Empire -- are a severely persecuted and even almost completely exterminated people. They have been exposed, among other crimes against humanity, to a genocide, pogroms and forced deportations at the hands of multiple Turkish governments. As a result, there are only around 1,300 Greeks left in Istanbul. But in spite of its tiny size, the dying Greek community still suffers from discrimination and violations of its rights.
The Turkish government, which keeps the country's greatest Christian theological school closed, is spending a large portion of its annual budget on the worldwide construction of mosques.
On September 29, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the Turkish government's latest European mosque, "The Cologne Central Mosque," located in the Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
The Turkish government spends hundreds of millions of dollars building mosques as part of a long-term effort to promote Islam around the world. Many Muslims hope that new mosques throughout Europe will advance and facilitate their wish to spread Islam to non-Islamic countries and persuade the Christian "infidels" to abandon their faith in favor of Islam.
On September 29, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated Turkey's latest European mosque, "The Cologne Central Mosque," located in the Cologne, Germany.
The Turkish government-funded Anadolu Agency reported on September 25:
The Cologne Central Mosque, built by Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) after eight years of construction work, has a capacity of 1,200 people.
"It will be the most important and one of the largest mosques in Europe and Germany. It has a symbolic meaning for our Muslim brothers living here," Nevzat Yasar Asikoglu, chairman of the DITIB, told reporters. "Our mosque also symbolizes peace, brotherhood as well as the culture of co-existence," he said.
The 17,000 square-meter mosque complex also has a shopping center, an exhibition and a seminar hall, a 600-people capacity conference hall, a library, working offices and a car park on the ground floor.
Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country's nearly 4.7 million Muslims, three million are of Turkish origin.
Meanwhile, as a huge new mosque is being inaugurated in Germany, the greatest Christian Orthodox theological school, located on the island of Halki (Heybeliada) in the Sea of Marmara, has remained closed for almost 50 years by the order of the Turkish government. Moreover, less than a kilometer away from the shuttered Christian seminary, a new center of Islamic studies spanning a total area of 200 acres is scheduled to be built.
DITIB, the group that built the new Cologne mosque, runs more than 900 mosques across Germany. These mosques are linked to the Turkish government's Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, which provides imams to DITIB mosques.
The German media recently reported that the country's intelligence service is pondering putting DITIB under surveillance, following its involvement in several scandals, such as its imams spying for Turkish diplomatic posts, its refusal to attend an "anti-terrorism march" in Cologne, its calls on worshippers to pray for a Turkish military victory against Kurds in northern Syria, and holding a military re-enactment involving Turkish flags and fake guns handed to child "martyrs."
Opposition to DITIB's activities in Germany is also growing. "Those who spread nationalism, hatred of Christians, Jews or people of no religious affiliation and spy here at the behest of the Turkish government cannot be a partner in the fight against religious extremism in Germany," a member of the parliament, Christoph de Vries, said.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government is continuing to annihilate the Christian heritage in Turkey. For instance, the Orthodox Theological Seminary has become a symbol of the systematic discrimination that Christians have been exposed to in Turkey.
The only school for training the leadership of Orthodox Christianity, the Halki seminary was closed by the Turkish government in 1971. Since then, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has been unable to train clergy and potential successors for the position of Patriarch.
According to the Order of Saint Andrew Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate:
"Since its closure, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has had to send the young men from its community desiring to enter the priesthood to one of the theological schools in Greece. In many instances, they do not return given the onerous restrictions in getting work permits and the general climate of intimidation. Despite promises by the Turkish government to re-open our theological school, there has been no progress. Left unresolved, the administrative functioning and future of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is imperiled."
In 2016, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America listed other violations against the Orthodox Church by Turkey:
The Turkish government imposes restrictions on the election of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Hierarchs who vote for him by requiring that they must be Turkish citizens. In fact, the government arbitrarily can veto any candidate for the position of Ecumenical Patriarch.
With the dwindling population of Hierarchs and Orthodox Christians in Turkey, we may not be able to elect an Ecumenical Patriarch in the not too distant future.
Turkish authorities do not allow the use of the term or title of "Ecumenical" for any religious activity whatsoever despite the fact that it has been used since the 6th century A.D. and recognized throughout the world. Turkey regards the Patriarchate as an institution whose leader is seen as the spiritual head of Orthodox Christians in Turkey alone rather than the leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has no legal identity or bona fide legal personality in Turkey.
The lack of a legal identity is a major source of problems for the Ecumenical Patriarchate including non-recognition of its ownership rights and the non-issuance of residence and work permits for "foreign" (meaning non-Turkish) priests who are essential to the continuity and functioning of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Turkish authorities do not allow the Ecumenical Patriarchate to own any property -- not even its churches. The Patriarchal house itself is not recognized as the Patriarchate's property and even the Girls and Boys Orphanage Foundation on the Island of Buyukada (Prinkipos) for which the Patriarchate has held a deed since 1902 is not legally recognized by the Turkish government. The inability to secure work permits by "foreigners" who work at the Ecumenical Patriarchate results in these individuals having to leave the country every three months to renew tourist visas which disrupts the operation and productivity of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and discourages staffing from abroad.
Through various methods, the Turkish authorities have confiscated thousands of properties from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox community over the years, including our monasteries, Church buildings, an orphanage, private homes, apartment buildings, schools and land.
To add insult to injury, instead of reopening the school, Turkish authorities have recently announced a plan to erect a new massive Islamic educational center in the middle of the Halki island.
Halki is one of the few places in Turkey that still has a Greek community. It seems no coincidence that the Turkish government picked Halki to build a major Islamic center. This appears yet another Turkish government policy of Islamization that will further the eradication of the Greek cultural heritage and Orthodox Christianity in the region.
The Greeks of Turkey -- the remnants of the once great Byzantine Empire -- are a severely persecuted and even almost completely exterminated people. They have been exposed, among other crimes against humanity, to a genocide, pogroms and forced deportations at the hands of multiple Turkish governments. As a result, there are only around 1,300 Greeks left in Istanbul. But in spite of its tiny size, the dying Greek community still suffers from discrimination and violations of its rights.
The Turkish government, which keeps the country's greatest Christian theological school closed, is spending a large portion of its annual budget on the worldwide construction of mosques.
Diyanet is the government agency that is planning to build the Islamic center next to Halki Orthodox Seminary. Diyanet's total annual budget last year amounted to 8.1 billion liras ($1.38 billion), surpassing the budgets of 12 ministries, including the ministry of health and the ministry of the interior, according to the Turkish press.
The activities of Diyanet include building of mosques across the world. According to its official website, Diyanet has completed the construction of mosques in places such as the United States, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Somalia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, and Gaza. New mosques are currently being built in Albania, Kyrgyzstan, Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, Djibouti, Sweden, and England.
Diyanet is also planning to build mosques in Kosovo, the Karachay-Cherkessia region of Russia, Chad, Cote D'Ivoire, Venezuela, Mauritania, Niger, and on the campus of Georgetown University in the United States. A "Turkish cultural center" is also being built in Tokyo, Japan.
According to the Diyanet Foundation, Diyanet has also built mosques in Lebanon, Mali, Philippines, and Crimea.
The Turkish government is promoting Islamization worldwide through its activities, which include constructing mosques, yet Turkey's deeply rooted Christianity is a dying religion. Turkey, which today contains Asia Minor or Anatolia within its borders, has more Biblical sites in it than any other region in the Middle East except Israel. Many Christian Apostles and Saints, such as Paul of Tarsus, Peter, John, Timothy, Nicholas of Myra, and Polycarp of Smyrna, among others, either ministered or lived in Turkey.
The Islamization of the region was started by the Turkic tribes from Central Asia, which invaded the Greek Byzantine Empire in the eleventh century. Today, only 0.1 percent of Turkey's population of nearly 80 million is Christian -- a result of centuries-long persecution against Christians.
The modern Turkish republic, founded in 1923, has nearly completed the annihilation of the remaining Greek Christians in the country through various crimes and pressures.
Today's Turkish government, apparently acting in line with its own determined jihadist ideology, is building mosques in Europe and beyond, and using many of them for its own Islamic fundamentalist agenda and outreach. A weak, misguided and misled Europe seems to be eagerly submitting to this ideology.
*Uzay Bulut, a journalist from Turkey, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute. She is currently based in Washington D.C.
© 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.

United States is Doing More to Fight Yemen's Humanitarian Crisis than the Press Knows
Ahmed Charai/Gatestone Institute/October 02/18
Despite hard fighting and air strikes from Saudi and United Arab Emirates warplanes, the Houthis still control about one-quarter of Yemen's sprawling desert lands, including its capital city, Sana'a.
The UAE Red Crescent Society recently distributed food aid in Southern Yemen, temporarily sparing some 1,000 families the horror of starvation. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, directed the emergency response project.
Meanwhile, the Trump Administration, has quietly met the challenge. The U.S. has shipped more than $854 million in aid since the start of fiscal year 2017. The good news about the bad news is that the U.S. in engaged and helping.
In a bid to topple the elected government of a U.S. ally, Yemen, Iran funded Houthi rebels to seize much of the country in 2015. The war has continued. (Wikimedia Commons)
"The world's worst humanitarian crisis," said U.N. World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley, is in Yemen.
He is not exaggerating. More than 75% of the country needs humanitarian aid—a greater percentage than any other nation on Earth, according to the U.S. Department of State
Some 18 million Yemenis (out of a total population of 22 million) are hungry, homeless and increasingly hopeless.
Civil war has driven them from their homes, burned their schools and bombed their hospitals. In the markets, the shelves are empty as few trucks arrive from sea ports and rebel roadblocks menace the few deliverymen that dare to take the roads into the sun-scorched interior. As a result, mothers, some too hungry to nurse their children, have flooded into refugee centers, overwhelming
international aid workers. The men, those who have not been murdered or maimed by war, wait in the shade of U.N. tents for food and medicine that too often is not enough.
In a bid to topple the elected government of a U.S. ally, Yemen, Iran funded Houthi rebels to seize much of the country in 2015. The internationally recognized government of Yemen sought help from its neighbors, mainly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the U.S. and U.N. agencies.
United Nations Resolution 2402 has called upon the Houthis to withdraw and disarm.
Despite hard fighting and air strikes from Saudi and United Arab Emirates warplanes, the Houthis still control about one-quarter of Yemen's sprawling desert lands, including its capital city, Sana'a.
The Houthis, known for their atrocities against civilians, paid as much attention to the U.N. resolution as they did to international standards of decency. The war has continued.
Yemen's economy, already fragile, began to collapse —deepening the misery of the Yemeni people. "The continued decline in the Yemeni riyal and broader economic decay are pushing people further into vulnerable situations, into poverty," said Special Envoy for Yemen to the UN Security Council Martin Griffiths in a statement to the UN on September 11th. "The frustration is rising, and this brings with it a threat of conflict in particular in the South, during the past ten days, there have been widespread demonstrations in southern governorates."
In the face of all this, the United Arab Emirates in particular, and US humanitarian efforts, have bravely continued, with the UAE stepping up efforts to meet humanitarian needs.
The UAE Red Crescent Society recently distributed food aid in the Zinjibar district of Abyan province in Southern Yemen , temporarily sparing some 1,000 families the horror of starvation. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, directed the emergency response project.
From January 1, 2018 to August 5th, the UAE alone has provided $1 billion in aid, according to the Financial Tracking Service, an independent monitoring organization.
The UAE has focused on building a humanitarian infrastructure to head off mass tragedy. It has built a string of new bakeries to provide bread, re-opened Al Khawkhah, a fishing port, and built a new hospital– one of several that the UAE has sought to quickly rebuild to ensure that Houthi rebels and Al-Qaeda terrorists do not use the lack of public services as a recruitment tool or succeed in exterminating the civilian population.
Elsewhere in the country, the U.N. World Food Program is also working to meet the needs of those in suffering. However, it often must overcome the threats of violence. Houthis have planted landmines and initiated occasional shelling. Kidnapping and sudden arrests are a constant menace. Earlier this summer, Houthi rebels kidnapped two WFP food workers in Yemen. They have not been seen since.
Meanwhile, the Trump Administration, has quietly stepped up to the challenge. The U.S. has sent more than $854 million in aid since the start of fiscal year 2017. Through USAID and the State Department's Bureau for Population Refugees and Migration, the U.S. has supplied food, medicine, vaccinations, emergency obstetric services, blankets, pots and pans for displaced families. Water-treatment filters and chemicals have been shipped in to shrink the spread of disease, such as cholera and hepatitis.
In the early 2000s, the world was moved by the sight of starvation, war, and disease in Darfur. Campuses held demonstrations, and network cameras trekked to the Sahara to record the civilized world's efforts to prevent genocide.
This time, however, the colleges and networks do not seem to notice. It is welcome that President Donald J. Trump has, and that timely action is preventing a death toll possibly equal to World War II.
The good news about the bad news is that the U.S. in engaged and helping.
*Ahmed Charai, a Moroccan publisher, is on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Foreign Policy Research institute and Center the National Interest in Washington. He is also Advisory Board member of the Gatestone Institute in New York.
© 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 Awaits Magical Solution to US Oil Sanctions
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/October 02/18
Iran currently has a fleet of supertankers roaming the seas, in what looks like the “last six weeks voyage” before the re-imposition of the second round of US sanctions. A few days ago, multiple sources noted the disappearance of 10 monitored Iranian vessels, each of which was carrying up to 2 million barrels of oil. These vessels have become untraceable, as they are believed to have switched off their transponders to make it more difficult for the “enemy” to track their movements.
So Tehran’s game of “hide and seek” is on again, as it is trying to keep its oil sales hidden, with the deadline looming for US sanctions against buyers of the forbidden oil.
Oil is among the strongest weapons; which is why directors of oil companies have to step aside and let politicians handle its management. The Iranian regime is highly dependent on oil in managing the affairs of its republic. Around 50 percent of its budget comes from external oil sales, and more than 30 percent is collected from fees and taxes, in which oil plays a big role. In addition to that, primary goods like bread and cheap fuel are also supported by oil’s US dollars. This, of course, is the case in most of the region’s oil-exporting states. However, Iran is the only state facing a ban, and it will encounter difficulties in selling 2.5 million barrels per day due to the US sanctions.
Even with the transponders being switched off, monitoring ghost tankers will not stop through ground-based and satellite tracking systems, in order to uncover who will buy, how much they will pay, the payment mechanism and the extent of the ban’s violations. In the meantime, Iran hopes to sell crude oil to Russia, which will sell it on the market after refining it. China is expected to be among the buyers.
The sanctions have been preceded by preparations by major oil-producing states to fill the supply gap of Iranian oil, and prevent fears and rumors from causing a sharp increase in prices that damages the global economy.
Oil is Iran’s weapon just as it is the Americans’, with Tehran hoping that the sanctions will cause an increase in prices. The price has already gone up to more than $80 per barrel, and hitting $100 is not unlikely. In fact, the oil price set a record 10 years ago when it reached $140. Such a sharp increase may force the Americans to back down and, thus, lose their strongest weapon.
However, Saudi Arabia is the only state that can beat Iran in meeting the supply needs of buyers; which means controlling prices and foiling Iran’s scenario of spreading panic through high price rise.
Anyway, let us not rush to conclusions. Because even if Iran’s revenues tumble, it may still refuse to bend and accept the 12 American conditions set for talks; which include abandoning its nuclear project and refraining from foreign military interventions.
Things are not as simple as that. The Iranian regime is an extremist theocratic regime imbued with a military security ideology that resembles that of the Ba’thist party of Saddam Hussein. As we recall, that regime faced long-term international economic sanctions, and yet it refused to change course, despite the suffering of its people, with money financing only the regime’s activities.
Tehran’s regime will adopt the strategy of waiting for a magical solution, leaving its people to suffer. On the opposite side, Washington is aware that Ali Khamenei’s regime’s dwindling revenues will reduce its military capacities and weaken it internally. This is when the “wait and see” becomes everybody’s game, but for the Iranian leadership, it remains a dangerous gamble.

How Conspiracy Theories Spread From the Internet’s Darkest Corners
Travis View/The Washington Post/October 02/18
On July 7, Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA and frequent Fox News contributor, published a tweet that contained startling but inaccurately sourced statistics about the alleged growth of human trafficking arrests under the Trump administration. It stated there were 1,952 human trafficking arrests through all of 2016, but in the first half of 2018 authorities had already made an astounding 5,987 human trafficking arrests. Kirk’s tweet falsely claimed these figures came from the Justice Department.
Kirk deleted the tweet shortly after the true source of its figures was revealed: the notorious imageboard 8chan, home of the QAnon conspiracy “researchers” of the /qresearch/ board. The board’s “research,” which consisted of sloppily compiling information from nationwide news reports about human trafficking and child pornography arrests and charges, seeks to support a core belief of the QAnon conspiracy theory — that Trump is secretly battling a corrupt deep state and an evil cabal of pedophile Satan-worshiping elites. QAnon believers think if they can show that more human traffickers are being arrested, it will support the baseless notion that Trump is finally putting an end to long-protected trafficking rings used by these elites.
Though Kirk may not have realized it at first, he had bought into the collective fantasy of some of the Internet’s most outré Trump fans.
People sometimes dismiss the “anons” — the term users of the chan message boards employ to describe themselves — as a group of amoral pranksters. 4chan anons, for example, gained notoriety for leading a campaign against the HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US art project and its creators. The campaign led to the vandalization of the artwork and stalking of the artists. But 8chan’s success in spreading QAnon suggests that targeted harassment is merely one of the ways they can inflict real world damage. Namely, they represent a political force that can craft resonant narratives and push them through major social media networks into the mainstream. They sometimes half-jokingly refer to their community’s combination of intense focus and tech savviness in the pursuit of real-world impact as “weaponized autism.”
But it is more than a joke. It can drive national conversations.
On Jan. 19, users of 8chan’s /qresearch/ board were rallying fellow QAnon believers for a day-old digital canvassing campaign. The campaign’s participants, who were anonymous to everyone, including each other, had specific and ambitious goals. They wanted to make the hashtag #releasethememo trend on Twitter, with the ultimate goal of making the “Nunes memo” a major point of discussion in the mainstream media. This, they hoped, would lead to the public release of the memo.
One anon wrote, “NEW MISSION FROM Q - RELEASE THE MEMES, RELEASE THE KRAKEN.” Another post laid out a “BATTLE PLAN FOR #ReleaseTheMemo.” Tactics in this battle plan included concrete steps like, “Tweet all Republican members of the House Intel Committee with memes of #releasethememo.” They also offered a suggestion for increasing visibility of their tweets: “Anon heard changing your name lifts shadowbans. Worth a try.” (“Shadowbanning” is a reference Twitter’s practice of limiting the reach of certain Twitter accounts because of spammy or abusive behavior or quality filters. Twitter does not use this term, and the practice is often exaggerated by Twitter users who claim they are being “censored.”)
The anon who authored that “battle plan” included a link to a collection of memes to spread on social media generally, plus a separate zipped file that included the same memes formatted specifically for Twitter. The post also linked to online tools to track hashtag trends, enabling other anons to monitor the campaign’s progress. Hundreds of posts from other anons offered words of encouragement, speculation and updates on individual efforts. One of these posts said, “#releasethememo is starting to pick up again . . . seeing a lot in my feed and getting retweets.”
It was, in short, a well-organized and media-savvy operation. They had a specific goal, a message about government corruption, community-generated media assets and a focused media strategy. Everyone who participated was a motivated volunteer who simply wanted to get the message out. All of these efforts were inspired by the mysterious 8chan poster known as “Q,” whom they believe is a high-level government official close to Trump and releases information in cryptic messages known as “Q Drops.” QAnon believers thought the release of Nunes memo would finally expose the corruption of the “deep state” and possibly even destroy the mainstream media.
Did the campaign work? The overall #releasethememo campaign, of which 8chan anons played only a part, was wildly successful. An analysis by the social media intelligence group New Media Frontier found that #releasethememo campaign’s movement from social media to fringe media to mainstream media was “so swift that both the speed and the story itself became impossible to ignore.” The full extent of 8chan’s contribution is unknown, but the anons’ goals for the campaign (excepting the destruction of Q’s corrupt cabal enemies in the fictional QAnon world) were fully realized.
Charlie Kirk is not the only mainstream political figure who has promoted QAnon on social media. Roseanne Barr was one of the earliest mainstream figures to promote QAnon and is still the most famous. Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling promoted a video on his Facebook page explaining QAnon. The official Twitter account for the Hillsborough County, Fla., Republican Party tweeted a link to a YouTube video titled “Q Anon for Beginners” created by a popular QAnon decoder named “Praying Medic.” The since-deleted tweet read, “You may have heard rumors about QAnon, also known as Q, who is a mysterious anonymous inside leaker of deep state activities and counter activities by President Trump.” Trump himself even quote tweeted the QAnon-promoting Twitter account MAGAPILL on Nov. 25, 2017, less than a month after Q’s first post on 8chan. That tweet has not been deleted.
QAnon made its presence known in the physical world, as well. At Trump rallies in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, QAnon believers waved Q signs for the cameras and proudly wore Q T-shirts. This visible presence inspired numerous mainstream news outlets to publish QAnon “explainers.” This was a point of pride in the QAnon community. In a Q drop on Aug. 2, following the flurry of coverage about QAnon after the Tampa Trump rally, Q gloated, “Welcome to the mainstream. We knew this day would come.” In other words, even skeptical attention feeds back into the community’s media strategy.
While QAnon is 8chan’s most visible success, anons also run many smaller campaigns. These have less obvious connections to QAnon. For example, on Sept. 5 one anon on the /qresearch/ board posted an image of a woman exchanging money and another image of the same woman being escorted out of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. The anon suggested this was evidence she was a paid protester. Another anon combined the images, along with a third close-up image of the woman’s hands holding the money, and formatted the final combined image so it could be easily shared on mainstream social networks. The final product included the snappy hashtag #activismatwork. To signal the image was ready to promote into the mainstream social media world, the anon who created the image declared, “Ready to meme.”
The image, which promoted the unsubstantiated theory that the woman was a paid protester, quickly jumped on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and on many blogs and online political forums.
How far has QAnon spread? It is hard to say how many believe in the conspiracy theory, but a Washington Post poll of Floridians found 58 percent are familiar enough with QAnon to have an opinion about it. Though QAnon was rated unfavorably by those who were familiar with it, that is still a remarkable feat when you consider QAnon’s origin. Just try hatching a new political movement today and reaching 58 percent awareness in less than a year with no budget and little more than posts on an anonymous message board.
Through crowdsourced efforts, these anons collectively command remarkable power to spread a message on social media and beyond. As social media continues to shape the ways Americans consume news and discuss politics, the chans’ power stands to grow. The issues that motivate people to vote, write their congressmen, hold protests and argue online will be set by anonymous people with unknown agendas on platforms designed to keep less tech-savvy “normies” away.
This is not speculation: The fast spread of QAnon, despite the insanity of the conspiracy theory’s premise, shows that these shadowy parts of the Internet already have influence. Many anons would no doubt find the description of them as “influential” flattering. Influence is their goal, after all. People on 8chan’s /qresearch/ board believe the country’s agenda is being illegitimately set by a compromised mainstream media or an evil cabal, so they use the power of social media to wrestle some influence away from the institutions they sometimes call the “mockingbird media.”
In the abstract sense, there’s nothing wrong with grass-roots organizers flexing their muscle to get a message out. But in the case of the chans, that influence is being used to spread claims that are, at worst, far detached from reality — and at best, merely have no evidence. Bogus statistics, satanic panic and misleading memes are being piped from online fever swamps into mainstream discourse at an increasingly rapid rate. When this happens, very few social media users know the true origin of the memes they share or the talking points they absorb from pundits. So, perhaps it is time to start paying attention to the true source of many of the claims we see online.

UN Organizations… The Failure Continues
Salman Al-dossary/Asharq Al Awsat/October 02/18
The Yemeni crisis is not only a military war between the two sides of the conflict. There is another political battle raging in a place that is thousands of kilometers away from Yemen, in the corridors of the United Nations and its affiliated organizations. Unfortunately, those corridors and platforms cannot be described but as unfair and biased, where the standards of professionalism, impartiality and neutrality have gradually disappeared, and where a blind eye is turned to the serious crimes and violations committed by the Houthis against human rights and international law.
The straw that broke the camel’s back with regards to the humanitarian standards of the UN Human Rights Commission was the latter issued a decision on the extension of the mission of the Panel of Experts in Yemen regardless of the unprecedented and major split among the Commission’s members.
This was the first time that the resolution did not receive the consensus accepted by the Commission and was made away from traditional accord. What is more puzzling, is that the decision was opposed by those who were directly concerned with it, Yemen and the Arab group. Yes, it is the first time that such division occurs in this wide discrepancy within the Commission, which is composed of 47 countries.
Twenty-six countries rejected the decision or abstained to vote to extend the work of the Group of Experts, out of their disbelief in the allegations contained in the report of the international team of experts in Yemen. On the other hand, 21 countries, including Qatar, supported the decision to extend the work of the UN Panel of Experts. The Arab Group was not surprised at Doha’s choice to stand with Iran, Hezbollah and the Houthis.
Undoubtedly, the credibility of the United Nations organizations is slowly diminishing. These organizations suffer unprecedented growing divisions, which in turn reduce their already weak effectiveness. Their reports have become unfair and clearly aligned to one of the parties to the crisis – the same party that has launched the coup against the legitimacy and brought Yemen to this situation. The reports have completely ignored a major party to the crisis, the Iranian regime, whose interventions have confirmed information and investigations issued by the UN itself.
In the case of the UNHRC and its great division, the validity of the United States’ decision to withdraw its membership from the Commission is unfortunately confirmed. If the most powerful country in the world sees the Commission as useless and “protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias”; and that it is “hypocritical and self-serving” organization, what credibility remains for the Commission among the countries of the world?! In the wake of the international commission’s non-compliance with the principles of the UN in humanitarian and relief work, and its continued bias towards the Houthi aggressors, who are incessantly violating the international and humanitarian law; and as long as reports issued are not corrected in line with the decisions of the UN Security Council and other UN reports, which are supposed to be the basis for each party’s portrayal, the ball remains in the Security Council's court, which has to take all the appropriate measures and actions to ensure the implementation of all its decisions on Yemen and work more seriously for the restoration of legitimacy in Yemen, away from the transformation of the HRC as part of the problem rather than being part of the solution.
Indeed, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was very accurate when she described the Human Rights Council as the UN’s “greatest failure.”
The investment that will never fail
Turki Aldakhil/Al Arabiya/October 02/18
he slightest knowledge in investments will ignore this article after just reading its headline. It’s one of the certainties in life that any form of investment could fail.
But let me explain this story to you. One of the most important talk show hosts in the Arab world, Mr. Amr Adib, would not end his visit to us in Al Arabiya news network a few days ago without leaving “a public opinion matter” behind him. I am not idiomatically referring to the episode in which Amr Adib participated in in the drama series Qadiyat Ra’y Am (A Matter of Public Opinion) but I literally mean his smart question to our quick-witted colleague Leen Shouman which intrigued me after that long, pleasant day with him and the Al Arabiya team. The question seemed expected, not just from Amr Adib but from anyone who meets someone who works in the business department, as Leen does, and who has gained credibility and professionalism which everyone acknowledges. The question was logical and professional, and I admit that I did not expect the question. What’s interesting though is that I did not pause for a moment from the astonishment of the answer which planted smiles and garnered admiration! Adib surprised Leen with the direct question: “What do you advise me to invest in?”She did not think twice and immediately said: “Invest in your happiness!”This kind of answer does not leave you with an opportunity to resume the conversation. You take your share of words and another part lingers with you to think about, as you try to involve others so they can think about it too – like what I am doing now writing these lines. Sometimes years pass by without one realizing what really makes him happy, let alone devise a plan to invest in it
I hope Amr Adib does not precede me in talking about this to his wide audience, and I know that he has begun since that moment in doubling the investment in his happiness, and meanwhile, we, in Al Arabiya, do not expect Leen to take a vacation to publish her first book about investment in personal happiness. Sometimes years pass by without one realizing what really makes him happy, let alone devise a plan to invest in it. But one can simply recall something he likes to do or things he is proud of having achieved or visit exhibitions he likes, and he is a new person all over again.
He can recall an old passion that never ceases. He can meet a friend talking with whom gives hours an entirely different meaning! I personally admit an old joy that’s still in its youth and when I later realized throughout the years that it means a lot to me, I’ve become more persistent in pursuing it. This joy is the acquisition of interesting headlines at book exhibitions. Sometimes I wish I can go back to be someone who can start a simple conversation with a publisher who only sold two books a day, a young man in high school whom the library seller pities and gives him a discount to encourage him to read.
Ecstasy of discovering
I may have invested more than I should in my happiness as I established a publishing house years ago and among all this, what remained is the ecstasy of discovering a great work among the piles of new publications. I also admit that I do not resist calling a young writer whose book I liked before it’s printed and tell him that I wish he chooses a certain headline, while of course he has the right to name his work as he likes. And now I acknowledge what’s funny as I feel this incomprehensible joy when I steal time and write an article or write an introduction for a book using a pen – as I’m bored of writing on the computer. Those who are very close to me know that I love poetry a lot, and I like to recite it even if for myself. When I really like a verse, I choose a pen which I am fond of and write the verses and gift them to a dear friend or keep them to myself because this really makes me happy. I consider this, even before Adib’s question to Shouman, an urgency to man’s happiness. I am thinking now and I’ve been thinking since yesterday in investing in happiness. What can we plant today so it contributes to what’s hoped for tomorrow? I do not precede Mohammed bin Rashid in anything as he has preceded us in investing in this, not just on the level of individuals as he has also launched a global alliance for happiness as his vision is far-sighted. He confirms: “Investing in happiness is an investment in security and peace and in co-existence between peoples of the world. It is the enemy of hatred and extremism.” He even looks forward to establishing the international alliance for happiness in order to produce positive change in the world!
The path to happiness
Achieving a healthy morning routine seems like a real long-term investment in happiness. There is no beautiful morning without sound sleep and no real sleep without altruism and no altruism without patience and good habits, and all this cannot exist without real faith in the necessity of finding happiness for ourselves and for those around us as it’s every man’s right on earth. A little smile is contagious and so is arriving happy to work or to a friend’s gathering. Those who surround themselves with happiness and people with good hearts will be safe and after all this they will be happy. There is something that’s very important in enjoying small things as those who are not happy with small things will not be happy with big ones! Invest in building yourself, raising your children and in connecting with those who sometimes do not expect this link. You can always take more than you give if you choose wisely and if you have fewer expectations.
And before I forget, always lower your expectations but raise the strength of your reasons so you don’t get angry at yourself if the ball backfires against you. Anyway, all this does not mean that you have to be convinced of Leen’s answer to Amr Adib as her advice to you may be different, and we also do not know if having this investment in happiness has a certain age or date! What’s important is to never predict the answers in a conversation between two media figures!

Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries
Faisal Al-Shammeri/Al Arabiya/October 02/18
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”Once there was a country with a promising future. It had a functioning democracy, a rapidly growing economy, and a growing middle class. All the important indicators, including education, health care, and foreign investment, all was working together to create a great country that the sky was the limits. It was not perfect far from it but the mood of the people looking forward for good reason. However, everything changed his country is a failed state now, empty shell of its former self.
Services like power and water are sporadic. The most basic consumer goods, from bread to toilet paper, are in chronically short supply. Crime has became an epidemic. Freedom of the press is gone. Democracy has been replaced by a strong man strong party dictatorship. The country is, Venezuela. What happened to a country that had so much potential. It can be described in one word: socialism. In 1999, then-candidate for president with so much charisma well-spoken Chavez promised to lead the people of Venezuela to a socialist promise land. His theme was “Hope and Change.” “Venezuela is Rich country,” Chavez said, “but it’s being stolen from its citizens by the evil capitalists and the evil corporations.”Elites must pay the international corporations must pay what’s wrong should be righted, he assured the voters, if they elected him. Chavez won the election became the president until his death to the everlasting regret of the majority of the Venezuelans. Chavez mentor was the Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro. Chavez had a lot in common with Castro He enjoyed giving nationalistic speeches he loved to be the center of attention he had his own TV show. Venezuela is a cautionary tale. Once a country goes down a socialist path, there’s no easy way back. And the longer a country stays socialist, the harder it is to reform it
Socialist agenda
Under Chavez rule he starts implementing his socialist agenda trying to reach what he promised to people socialist utopia the government start taking over in district private businesses, corporations the private sector cease to exist. The Venezuelan government assured the people that it would run this industry better than the private sector the profit would be shared by the people with great support, Chavez took on Multi national and international corporations, oil and gas companies and demanded that they pay much higher royalties. When they refused, he told them to leave. They did and the people took the bait.
Chavez Internationally benefited from the image projected by left leaning celebrities from the west whom travel to Venezuela to see his great work the great Socialist utopia Taking from the rich and giving it to the poor. Progressive politicians from the West also praised him as a great leader. Socialism always works in the beginning, it’s easy for governments to confiscate money, but eventually there’s no more money to confiscate or Rich people to take it from. “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money” Margaret Thatcher. In the case of Venezuela, I mean that literally: People who could get money out of the country, did. Many left the according to Venezuelan sociologist Tomás Páez. Nearly two million, the wealth creators continued to create wealth, but they created it somewhere else – Miami or Madrid and New York all over the world entrepreneurs small business as well as big businesses owners left. Ironically when you Hugo Chavez said in 1999, he would leave in two years if people weren’t happy with him.
But, like every socialist leaders throughout history, Chavez never had any intention of giving up power. He died in office in 2013, replaced by his vice president, Maduro is Chavez without the charisma or the voice. “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy,” Winston Churchill once said. Venezuela is now a disaster, shunned by the world and isolated. It’s so bad that many international airlines refuse to fly there. People stand in lines for hours just to get food. Sometimes they walk away empty-handed people eats cats and dog Caracas is running out of dogs 6 percent of the population are homeless. A recent survey found that 75 percent of Venezuelan adults lost weight in 2016 – an average of 19 pounds. This national weight-loss program is known cynically as “the Maduro diet.” Still, Maduro holds onto power. Opposition leaders and journalists who report the truth are jailed.
Venezuela is a cautionary tale. Once a country goes down a socialist path, there’s no easy way back. And the longer a country stays socialist, the harder it is to reform it.Venezuela has been socialist for two decades. That’s why you should never buy the socialist lie. Socialism is a drug and like a drug, it feels great – at first. But eventually it will ruin your country Just like it ruined Venezuela. Charles E. Wilson once said: “No one should suffer from the great delusion that any form of communism or socialism which promotes the dictatorship of the few instead of the initiative of the millions can produce a happier or more prosperous society”.