Detailed Lebanese & Lebanese Related LCCC English New Bulletin For October 14/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Letter to the Romans 12/09-15: "Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep".

Vote Charbel Bassil for the Catholic Separate French Trustee Board Schools In Mississauga انتخب شربل باسيل لعضوية مجلس أمناء المدارس الكاثوليكية الفرنسية في ماسيسوكا
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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 13-14/18
Hezbollah & The Majority of Those Who Allege To Oppose Its Occupation Are Two faces for the same coin/Elias Bejjani/October 12/18
Hezbollah sanctions to come into effect shortly/Georgi Azar/Annahar/October 13/18
Gloomy prospects ahead of Aoun-Hariri meeting/Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star/October 13/18
Between a strong president and a strengthened president/Nadim Koteich/Al Arabiya/October 13/18
General's Final Confession Links 1956 Massacre to Israel's Secret Plan to Expel Arabs/Ofer Aderet/Haaretz/October 13/18
Rebuilding Syria: The Responsibility Principle/Malcolm Lowe/Gatestone Institute/October 13/18
Spain: Islamic State Recruiting in Prisons/Soeren Kern/Gatestone Institute/October 13/18
From Truman to Trump: The rise and fall of a paradigm/Amir Taheri/Al Arabiya English/October 13/18
‘They studied in Western universities/Hazem Saghieh/Al Arabiya English/October 13/18
ANALYSIS: Why Iran’s truckers strike is not an isolated incident/Reza Shafiee/ Al Arabiya English/October 13/18
US Needs a Global Alliance Against Russia’s Cyberattacks/James Stavridis/Bloomberg/October 13/18
Colonel Charbel Baraka't Eulogy During Nasri Diab's Funeral Ceremonial/October 11/18

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 13-14/18
Hezbollah & The Majority of Those Who Allege To Oppose Its Occupation Are Two faces for the same coin
Hezbollah sanctions to come into effect shortly
Lebanese Anti-Iran Gathering Again Barred from Holding Annual Conference
UNIFIL Rescues 32 People at Sea Off Lebanon
Lebanon: Bassil New Stances Rein In Optimism on Govt Formation
Report: Macron Refrains from Comments on Lebanon after Aoun Meeting
Geagea: Outcome of Students Elections Reflects LF Representation
Hariri Lauds Aoun’s Speech at Francophone Summit
Berri addressing Islamic Parliamentary Group: To unify ranks in face of 'blow of century'
French Embassy denies attributed statement to its Ambassador via AlAkhbar: Distorted and out of context
Kanaan from London: Mandate a historic opportunity to restore State; We aspire for a government of accomplishments, not roadblocks!
Army units rescue 12 citizens from drowning off Deir Ammar
Bassil: Each day we face slander is worse than October 13
Gloomy prospects ahead of Aoun-Hariri meeting
Between a strong president and a strengthened president

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 13-14/18
Golan crossing point to reopen Monday: US
Hundreds Taken by IS from Displacement Camp in East Syria
Afrin Residents Accuse Turkish-Backed Factions of Violations
Russia Working on Avoiding ‘Accidents’ with US Forces in Syria
Iran Official Calls for 'Lobbying Anti-Trump Movements'
Saudi Arabia, Turkey Have No U.S. Ambassadors amid Crisis
Trump Vows 'Severe Punishment' if Saudis behind Khashoggi Disappearance
Riyadh Slams 'Baseless Lies' ahead of Talks in Turkey
Palestinian Woman Dies after Being Pelted by Israeli Settlers
Fourth Palestinian Prisoner Dies in Israeli Prison
Israel Kills Seven Palestinians in Gaza Border Protests
Hamas Pushes for Truce, PA Rejects UN Special Coordinator Mladenov

The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 13-14/18
Hezbollah & The Majority of Those Who Allege To Oppose Its Occupation Are Two faces for the same coin
Elias Bejjani/October 12/18
Hezbollah and its governing political figures, Trojans, media puppets’ team and all the subservient tools are actual national disasters.
Yes, they are the oppressive occupation, but those hypocrites and opportunists who falsely pose themselves as the opposition under the banners of sovereignty, freedoms, public representation, realism and martyrs’ sacrifices are millions of times worse than them in all domains and on all levels.. and more dangerous especially in regards to the Lebanese distinguishable identity.
Sadly both are in reality and in all political and patriotic stances two faces for the same coin.
Those politicians and political parties as well as activists who have no conscience, self respect or faith and do not fear the God or His Judgement Day, can not be a substitute to Hezbollah, the occupier or to its Trojan tools because they are real and actual threats to the Lebanese people and to all that is Lebanon and Lebanese.
Hezbollah sanctions to come into effect shortly
Georgi Azar/Annahar/October 13/ 2018/
BEIRUT: The U.S Senate unanimously passed two legislations targetting Hezbollah on two fronts, the group's global financial network and its use of civilians as human shields during wartime. Both bills were approved Friday with bipartisan sponsorship after passing through the lower chamber of Congress earlier. The human shields bill, called the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act, will now make its way to U.S President Donald Trump along with the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act. Last month, the lower chamber of Congress introduced amendments to the bill expanding its cope to target Lebanese lawmakers affiliated with Hezbollah, permitting Trump to designate officials while "blocking property and prohibiting transactions with persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism."The bill sanctions funders of the Iranian-backed militant group including government entities, companies, and individuals who partake in any sort of fundraising activities. First introduced in 2015 by Senator Marco Rubio (R-LF), the bill seeks to clamp down on Hezbollah's global revenue and financial streams by blocking the assets of anyone the U.S President determines “provides significant financial, material or technological support. “This legislation… imposes additional sanctions on Hezbollah, and targets those foreign nations, government agencies and foreign companies or individuals who would support its terrorist activities by knowingly providing arms, recruitment services and combat or financial support to its terrorist activities,” US Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo said Friday. Last week, the U.S treasury department also sanctioned Lebanese national Muhammad Abdallah al-Amin and seven of his companies for providing material support for Hezbollah, the latest in a series of penalties aimed at curtailing the militant group's finances. The Office of Foreign Assets Control said it took action "to disrupt Hezbollah's financial support networks by designating Muhammad 'Abdallah al-Amin (al-Amin) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist" as well as seven companies owned or controlled by him.
Sierra Gas SAL Offshore, Lama Foods SARL, Lama Foods International Offshore SAL, Impulse SARL, Impulse International SAL Offshore, M. Marine SAL Offshore, and Thaingui SAL Offshore are all now subject to US asset freezes.

Lebanese Anti-Iran Gathering Again Barred from Holding Annual Conference

Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat/Naharnet/October 13/18/The anti-Iran Lebanese Saydet el-Jabal gathering announced on Friday that it was again barred from holding its annual conference.Two weeks ago, it accused the Hezbollah party of preventing it from meeting at Beirut’s Bristol hotel. It attempted to hold its meeting at the Gefinor Rotana hotel, but the hotel management refused to host the event, revealed former MP Fares Souaid during a press conference at the Press Syndicate. The gathering includes members of the former March 14 camp and was set to discuss ending Iranian hegemony in Lebanon. Al-Jadeed television reported that Hezbollah’s Liaison and Coordination Officer Wafiq Safa had contacted the station to inform them that he had requested that the Bristol hotel management cancel their reservation because he had allegedly invited the gathering to a meeting in Beirut’s southern suburbs.“We interpreted this claim of responsibility as a security warning,” added Souaid. “We had previously announced that we are witnessing a phase in which political freedoms and freedom of expression are being oppressed,” he continued. On October 10, the gathering had held a meeting, with a number of political and civil society groups, at the Kataeb party headquarters in support of freedoms in Lebanon. The Saydet el-Jabal conference was rescheduled for October 14 at the Rotana hotel, but the management contacted the gathering on Thursday to say that the reservation was canceled. Souaid reiterated accusations that Lebanon’s freedoms were being suppressed by Iranian hegemony against the country. “The entire political class has succumbed to the hidden authority that is managed by Hezbollah, which is trying through direct and indirect means to eliminate all who object to Iranian tutelage,” he continued. He also accused the entire political class of yielding to this authority, “making it a partner in the crime of silencing liberties.”“Faced with this reality, we vow to wage the battle of lifting Iranian hegemony off Lebanon,” he pledged. Addressing the Lebanese people, he declared: “A Lebanese state capable of resolving your problems cannot be established as long as Hezbollah continues to usurp national decision-making powers through its illegal weapons.”

UNIFIL Rescues 32 People at Sea Off Lebanon
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 13 October, 2018/Over 30 migrants were rescued off Lebanon’s coast when the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon intercepted a boat that was smuggling them to Cyprus, the Lebanese army said. UNIFIL’s Maritime Task Force (MTF) transferred to the army a boat carrying 32 Lebanese and Syrians outside Lebanon’s territorial waters, off the coast of the northern city of Tripoli, the military command said in a statement. As for UNIFIL, it said that MTF participated in a search and rescue operation at sea after receiving reports last Wednesday of a missing boat off the coast of Lebanon. UNIFIL was informed that a small boat, allegedly heading towards Cyprus, was missing, it said. Around noon Thursday, UNIFIL’s flagship, BRS Liberal, found a small white boat northwest of Beirut in the area of responsibility of Rescue Coordinator Center Beirut. “There were 32 passengers on board: 19 men, six women and seven children. The boat was out of fuel and the passengers had been without food and water for four days,” the statement said. While waiting for the Lebanese navy to arrive, peacekeepers distributed water and food, and provided medical assistance. The passengers were then able to board the Lebanese patrol boats and arrived at Beirut port at dawn Friday, escorted by UNIFIL, it added.

Lebanon: Bassil New Stances Rein In Optimism on Govt Formation
Beirut- Caroline Akoum/Saturday, 13 October, 2018/Foreign Minister in the caretaker government, Gebran Bassil, announced a series of new positions, suppressing an optimistic atmosphere that has recently prevailed in the country about the imminent formation of the government. The minister renewed his commitment to his initial demands and added a new node – to obtain the ministry of public works, which was formerly set as the share of the Marada Party. Sources in the Lebanese Forces Party and Amal Movement agreed to hold Bassil responsible for the recent deterioration, saying that the efforts had returned to square one. On the other hand, sources close to Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri told Asharq Al-Awsat: “There is cautious hope and no turning back. In the end, the president of the republic will have the final word, and every other word is just an opinion.”Lebanese Forces MP Sethrida Geagea described Bassil’s recent statements as “full of hatred and evil,” when he talked about reconciliation between Marada Party and the LF, adding that the foreign minister was “setting standards that suit his goal to reduce the size of the LF ministerial representation."Parliamentary sources in Amal’s Development and Liberation bloc described the situation after Bassil’s speech as “not positive”, telling Asharq Al-Awsat: “It is as if Bassil meant every time to blow up all progress in the course of the negotiations by placing new obstacles to make things more complex.”“Will Bassil getting the ministry of works end the crisis in the country? What we see is misbehavior for partisan and sectarian goals that will negatively affect everyone,” the sources said. The Central News Agency quoted sources close to the head of the Marada movement, former minister Suleiman Franjieh, as saying in response to Bassil’s demand for the ministry of works, alongside the energy portfolio: “We are committed to having the ministry of works and refuse to be coerced.” “We are at an advanced stage of negotiations and Minister Bassil has put all his papers on the table in an attempt to further increase his gains, which will not be at our expense,” they added.
Report: Macron Refrains from Comments on Lebanon after Aoun Meeting
Naharnet/October 13/18/France does not want to be accused of “meddling” in Lebanon’s affairs which made French President Emmanuel Macron refrain from making a statement after his meeting with President Michel Aoun on Friday, amid dark prospects in light of a government deadlock, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday. According to information obtained by the daily, it said the meeting between the two men, on the sidelines of the Francophone Summit in Armenia, was “ordinary,” and that Macron has asserted support for Lebanon but was “frank and clear” it could lose grants allocated at the CEDRE conference if the government gridlock persists. The international community expects a positive political behavior from the Lebanese state, since there is pressure on Paris to reconsider this aid if the government is delayed, Macron has reportedly told Aoun. They said Macron has refrained from making a statement after meeting Aoun. First, so that France won’t be accused of meddling in Lebanon’s business. And second, because this meeting did not resolve the issue of forming a balanced government that justly represents the various national forces in the country which France and other Security Council countries, except Russia and China, insist on, and link the fate of their cooperation with Lebanon to the quality of the next government

Geagea: Outcome of Students Elections Reflects LF Representation

Naharnet/October 13/18/Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea on Saturday said the recent student elections reflect the wide popularity and representation of the Lebanese Forces, as he hinted at Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil saying the “main goal of some is to curtail the LF representation.”“The recent student elections gives us an idea of real popular representation of the LF. I wouldn’t talk if it wasn’t for the daily (political) cheating. Your excellency Minister Jebran Bassil if we shall talk about popular representation, this is the real representation and whoever has two ears let him listen,” said Geagea. His remarks came during a meeting with a delegation of AUB, LAU and NDU University students who succeeded in the recent university student elections. Geagea pointed out that his remarks “do not target the FPM youth, but do target Bassil” who incessantly undermines the LF representation. “The main goal (of our opponents) is to reduce the representation of Lebanese Forces in the next government,” he added. Geagea concluded saying that "the LF is under intense criticism for its ability to carry out the necessary reforms in the country."
Hariri Lauds Aoun’s Speech at Francophone Summit
Naharnet/October 13/18/Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri contacted President Michel Aoun on Saturday congratulating him on his safe return from Armenia after his participation in the Francophonie Summit. During the phone call, Hariri praised Aoun's speech at the Summit, saying it "expressed Lebanon’s message of enhancing dialogue between civilizations." In his speech, Aoun emphasized that Lebanon succeeded in embracing coexistence, asking the Francophone people to continue to underscore this message.
Berri addressing Islamic Parliamentary Group: To unify ranks in face of 'blow of century'
Sat 13 Oct 2018/NNA - House Speaker, Nabih Berri, called Saturday on the Islamic and Arab countries to close their ranks to confront the "blow of the century" targeting the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people. In his brief address before the Islamic Parliamentary Group in its meeting this afternoon at the International Conferences Palace in Geneva, Berri said: "I do not think we have been through a more difficult period in history, and a more challenging phase targeting our Islamic and Christian holy sites than what we are currently witnessing."
"Nothing can grant us hope and faith to restore something or halt the so-called 'deal of the century' or 'blow of the century' except this unity," Berri underscored, praising the wide, unanimous presence in support of the Palestinian cause. Attendees, in turn, welcomed House Speaker Berri's participation, expressing their appreciation of his delivered stances. During the meeting, conferees tackled the two Jordanian and Kuwaiti proposals over the US decision to cease financial aids to the UNRWA. It was decided to merge both proposals in one to be adopted by the Parliamentary Group of the Islamic States during the International Parliament Conference under the 'Emergency Item'. It is to note that the meeting of the Islamic Parliamentary Group was held in preparation for the 139th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which will be held in Geneva next week. Speaker Berri will be attending said meeting along with a Lebanese parliamentary delegation, comprising Deputies Yassine Jaber, Michel Moussa, Agop Paqradounian and Rola Tabesh Jaroudi.

French Embassy denies attributed statement to its Ambassador via AlAkhbar: Distorted and out of context

Sat 13 Oct 2018/NNA - The Embassy of France in Lebanon denied in an issued a statement on Saturday the words attributed to Ambassador Pierre Duquesne in an article published in today's issue of Al-Akhbar Newspaper, deeming that "the Ambassador's words were distorted and taken out of context." "France is exerting strong efforts for Lebanon, precisely because it has all confidence in its ability to reform and meet future challenges," the statement asserted. "The commitments we made during the Cedre, Rome and Brussels Conferences attest to our will to deepen our partnership with this country, which we consider as a key interlocutor and a model of coexistence in the region," the statement went on. "France is committed to the stability of Lebanon and will therefore always remain at its side," the French Embassy statement concluded.

Kanaan from London: Mandate a historic opportunity to restore State; We aspire for a government of accomplishments, not roadblocks!
Sat 13 Oct 2018/NNA - "Strong Lebanon" Parliamentary Bloc Secretary, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, stressed Friday that the Lebanese will have a new cabinet, adding, "We want a government for achievements and not for to secure the demands and needs of the Lebanese and meet their aspirations.""Our strength lies not in the muscles of power, but in our belief in Lebanon and our struggle for the peace of our society and the consolidation of the elements of reconciliation," said Kanaan, referring to his comrades at the Free Patriotic Movement. "We want a strong economy, job opportunities for our youth, sound public finances, and effective accountability, which we are working on, because the country will remain in chaos without accountability...Building a state is not an impossible dream. We must deafen our ears to campaigns and rumors, and take constructive criticism into account in order to rectify any defects and overcome despair through work and efforts," Kanaan reassured. He deemed that the current presidential mandate is a "historic opportunity to restore the State." Kanaan's words came during a dinner hosted by the Free Patriotic Movement in the United Kingdom, in the presence of British MP Rouba Haq and Lebanese Ambassador Rami Mortada and senior Embassy Staff.

Army units rescue 12 citizens from drowning off Deir Ammar
Sat 13 Oct 2018/NNA - An Army navy patrol succeeded in rescuing a fishing boat from sinking off Deir Ammar thermal plant at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, with 12 citizens on board, a Lebanese Army communiqué indicated on Saturday. The rescued were handed over to the concerned sides for necessary measures.
Bassil: Each day we face slander is worse than October 13
Sat 13 Oct 2018/NNA - "History is written by martyrs, and martyrs write the truth, and the truth is the actual winner...and the proof is our presence here today after 28 years and General Michel Aoun's presence in Baabda," said Free Patriotic Movement Chief, Gebran Bassil, on Saturday.
Bassil's words came at the central ceremony organized by the Movement marking the October 13th Commemoration, held this evening at the "New BIEL" in Fun El-Chebbak. "Every day we are accused of fabricated slanderous statements and corruption campaigns is worse than October 13...Every day our rights are taken away, the Charter is undermined, obstacles are placed in the path of the government and projects, and powers are seized, is October 13...Corruption, injustice and forgery are other facets to October 13, and we shall oppose and resist them and reap victory in the end," said Bassil. "On October 13, 1990, war was waged against General Aoun through tanks and warplanes...and on October 13, 2018, the war is through rumors and lies. On October 12, they attempted to assassinate General Aoun by a bullet and Joseph Raad lost his life to save him...Today, they are trying to kill the mandate, i.e. to kill the country...That was a security assassination back then; this is a political assassination, and in both cases committed by the same criminals on the inside and the outside," Bassil went on.
"October 13 was a painful day. The world believed that we were defeated and expelled from our homeland, but we became more rooted. And our victory today is through you, the five thousand new members who came to say that whoever stood up to the whole world, and who did not succumb to defeat on October 13, will not be destroyed by losing a batter against corruption," the FPM Chief asserted. "We came today to say that we are the steadfastness that is not eradicated by defeat. We are the Charter that will conquer all those who conspired against it, and we are the reform that will beat all corruption," vowed Bassil. "Our battle is not limited to General Aoun's reaching presidency, for we wish to build the republic through fairness and equal partnership among its components...a partnership we have begun to achieve in the republic presidency, and in the government and parliament, and we have to complete it in the state's administration," he underscored. “We are, at this stage, insisting on a government of national unity, to bear the responsibility united and not to be taken advantage of for political gains...and having no one opposing from within to benefit at the popular and electoral levels,” emphasized Bassil.

Gloomy prospects ahead of Aoun-Hariri meeting
Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star/October 13/18
BEIRUT: Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is set to meet with President Michel Aoun in the next couple of days to discuss an amended Cabinet formula, official sources said Friday, amid gloomy signs of any major breakthrough in the deadlock.
Fears also grew that the Cabinet formation crisis, now in its fifth month, might drag on for several more weeks as political rivals refuse to budge on their demands for key ministerial portfolios.
A source close to the formation process ruled out the formation of a new government soon, citing external factors for the delay. “The new government might not be formed in the next one or two months due to external factors,” the source told The Daily Star, without elaborating.
Aoun, who returned Friday from a three-day visit to Armenia after attending the 17th summit of the International Organization of the Francophonie, said Hariri would always be welcome at Baabda Palace to try to resolve the Cabinet formation deadlock.
A source at Baabda Palace said the Aoun-Hariri get-together could take place over the weekend if the prime minister-designate managed to resolve the problem of the Lebanese Forces’ Cabinet share.
“I don’t see an imminent breakthrough [in the Cabinet deadlock] as the problem of the Lebanese Forces’ representation has yet to be resolved,” the source told The Daily Star, adding that Hariri was making efforts to untangle this knot.
“Once the Lebanese Forces’ representation problem is solved, the issue of the representation of the Druze sect and Sunni MPs outside the Future Movement will be automatically settled. It’s a link in a chain,” the source said.Aoun said after meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron Friday on the sidelines of the francophonie conference in Yerevan that Macron had expressed hope that Lebanon’s government would be formed swiftly. But Aoun also stressed that the government formation was purely the business of the Lebanese people.
“President Macron would definitely like for a government to be formed in Lebanon, especially after parliamentary elections were held,” Aoun said, according to a statement released by his media office.
Aoun, however, emphasized that the aim of his meeting with Macron wasn’t to discuss the Cabinet formation. Even though France and Lebanon “cooperate with each other as friends,” he said, the formation “is a Lebanese issue.”
Aoun and Macron held a private meeting before they were later joined by caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and Macron’s diplomatic adviser, Philippe Etienne.
Sources close to the Lebanese delegation noted that Aoun and Macron had touched on the general situation in the country and the region, including threats from Israel. “There was an agreement to keep the situation in the south stable,” the statement said.
The two presidents also discussed the issue of Syrian refugees and the need for them to return to areas in Syria that are safe and stable, as well as for the United Nations to provide them with assistance upon their return.
Ahead of the Aoun-Hariri meeting, Bassil, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, toughened his stance by reiterating that the LF should not be allocated more than three ministers, despite having boosted its MPs from eight to 15 in the May parliamentary elections.
Speaking in a TV interview Thursday night, Bassil also said he had no problem with the LF getting more than three ministries if that did not mean a reduction in the FPM’s and the president’s ministries.
Further complicating the Cabinet formation process was Bassil’s declaration that the FPM is coveting the Public Works Ministry, which is currently held by the Marada Movement, in addition to the Energy Ministry.
The Central News Agency quoted sources close to the Marada Movement headed by former MP Sleiman Frangieh as saying: “We are sticking to the Public Works Ministry and we refuse to be blackmailed by anyone. Our allies [Hezbollah and the Amal Movement] have promised us the Public Works Ministry. Any other alternative offer must be confined to the Energy or Telecommunications Ministry.”
Earlier in the day, Speaker Nabih Berri left for Switzerland to participate in the annual Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly. A source close to Berri had told The Daily Star that the speaker was ready to cut his trip short if there were any positive developments on the government formation. The 139th Assembly of the IPU is set to take place from Oct. 14-18 in Geneva.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah weighed in on the Cabinet crisis, saying there was “nothing new” in the formation process and rejected claims that Iran or Syria was interfering in it.
“I personally have nothing new [concerning the Cabinet formation], but we urge the formation of a government for the sake of the national interest. Everyone is talking about the economic and social situation. So what are we waiting for?” Nasrallah said in a televised speech during a memorial ceremony for the mother of slain Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh who died last week. “Therefore, we underline the importance of speeding up the formation of the government.”
He played down claims that Hezbollah was under pressure due to wars in the region. “Where are we pressured? We are not annoyed or pressured anywhere in the region,” Nasrallah said.
He hoped there was no foreign intervention in the Cabinet formation process. “I can assert that Iran is not interfering in the government formation process whatsoever. I can assert that Syria is not interfering in the government formation whatsoever. This is a purely Lebanese affair,” Nasrallah said.
The FPM and the LF, the country’s two major Christian parties, have been locked in a fierce struggle for more than four months for Christian representation in the next government.
Bassil has also proposed a criterion for the representation of major blocs in the new Cabinet that calls for one minister for five MPs. Bassil’s proposal seemingly appeared to target the LF, which has been pushing for a significant Cabinet share of five ministers.
MP Strida Geagea, wife of LF leader Samir Geagea, struck back at Bassil, accusing him of seeking to reduce the LF’s share with his proposed criterion.
“Minister Bassil is not authorized to set standards for the Cabinet formation. This is set either by the prime minister-designate in consultation with the president, or by all blocs making up Parliament. Despite this, Minister Bassil insists on monopolizing this right to himself,” she said.
The LF chief said earlier this week that it’s his party’s right to be represented with five ministers after gaining one-third of Christian votes in the elections.

Between a strong president and a strengthened president

Nadim Koteich/Al Arabiya/October 13/18
We are three weeks away from the completion of the second year of the term of Lebanese President Michel Aoun. His reelection was filled with headlines on Christians’ rights and on amending the partnership among the Lebanese components.
Aoun and his political and propaganda team has excelled in using the term “power” and its derivatives. The candidate Aoun was projected as the certain president because he is a “strong leader” who through his power can help Christians regain their rights. This hints to a presumed weakness of his predecessors. He is the “strong president”, supported by a wide social base and political forces which have given him the biggest parliamentary bloc. He is the “powerful era” that fights corruption, pushes the country forward and makes people happy.
Constitutional ambiguity
Aoun's management of the cabinet formation has taken advantage of the ambiguity of the constitution on the limits of his authority in forming the government, which is driven by his desire to establish a presidential system. Article 53 of the Constitution stipulates that the President of the Republic shall designate the Prime Minister on the basis of binding parliamentary consultations.
After agreement with the prime minister-designate, the government formation shall be issued in a decree. Item 2 of Article 64 of the Constitution stipulates that the prime minister-designate shall undertake parliamentary consultations to form a government and shall sign, with the President of the Republic, the decree of its formation.
President Aoun dived into the game of quotas that drained his ability to lead a national proposal that is a sincere representation of the meaning of a strong president.
The constitution does not specify whether the president's signature is just a procedure nor does it explain the issue of “agreement” between the two (the president and the prime minister) or this mechanism, and it does not address how the disagreement, if any, can be fixed. This ambiguity allowed President Aoun to turn his signature on the decree of the government formation into a “veto power” to bind prime minister-designate and make him captive of the President’s conditions.
As a matter of fact, Aoun's behavior did not come out of complete vacuum. After the Taif Accord and at the peak of the Lebanese debates over the constitution of the Second Republic, Aoun and his movement adopted the policy of appealing it because it stripped the Christian president of the enormous powers he enjoyed under the First Republic, while the Taif members, especially the Christian ones, defended the agreement and noted that the president still retains the right to sign the government formation and appoint employees, and therefore decides on the course of the composition of power, governed, of course, by the results of the parliamentary elections.
Indeed, former President Michel Suleiman rejected the first formation of President Saad Hariri after the 2009 elections, forcing him to form a second government, in line with his assessment of the national interest at the time.
President Suleiman’s precedent
However, President Suleiman's subtle exercise of power to sign the decree to form a government, and how he persuaded the prime minister-designate to adopt his standards and vision for the government did not cause the provocations that are being raised today.
After a meeting between Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri and President Aoun to discuss the formation, the presidential palace issued a statement saying that the President of the Republic made some remarks about the formation of the government stating that he made these remarks “based on the foundations and criteria that he set for the shape of the government and the interest of Lebanon.”
Former prime ministers Fouad Siniora, Najib Mikati and Tammam Salam issued a statement in response and stressed that the reference to “the foundations and criteria that the President of the Republic set for the formation of the government is out of context because it is based on a non-existent concept in the constitutional texts.”
They also emphasized that the prime minister-designate is the one who puts in place the project for the formation of government “without being constrained by prior standards, outside the provisions of the Constitution.”
Aoun’s vocal statement about the presidential standards is what provoked the former prime ministers, especially as it came in the context of a series of constitutional interpretations that are making up constraints on the prime minister. Their statement, however, overlooked that a former president of the republic has once rejected the formation presented by Hariri and demanded changing it. He certainly did so based on a criteria that remained in his mind, even if it was not inked on a presidential statement.
This is one of the gray areas in the Lebanese constitution that is causing debates over the balance of partnership between the different components, and this is a problem in itself. But the big problem is that the president has lost the opportunity to turn this important authority into a positive tool which he uses to impose the concept that all political forces must be represented in the government with the best of their own and where he commits to not signing on any formation unless it includes an elite of the competent and reputable figures in the parties and movements.
Instead, Aoun chose to include this power in the course of his battles with his opponents, to reduce the quota of one party and cancel the share of another. He dived into the game of quotas that drained his ability to lead a national proposal that is a sincere representation of the meaning of a strong president.
Chances have been wasted. Aoun chose to be the president who is strengthening himself with the power of his signature instead of being the strong president whose strength is derived from a national project and accomplishments.
May God have mercy on President Fuad Chehab, the “weak” president who gave us everything that is now in our possession of the remnants of the strong republic.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 13-14/18
Golan crossing point to reopen Monday: US
AFP/October 13, 2018/UNITED NATIONS, United States: The United Nations, Israel and Syria reached an agreement to reopen the Quneitra crossing in the Golan Heights on Monday, the United States announced Friday, urging the two Middle East countries to facilitate the work of peacekeepers in the zone. “The United States welcomes the re-opening of this crossing, which will allow UN peacekeepers to step up their efforts to prevent hostilities in the Golan Heights region,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement. The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), with about 1,000 troops, was established in 1974 and monitors a cease-fire line separating Israeli-occupied parts of the Golan Heights from Syria. UNDOF resumed its patrols in the area of the crossing point in August, after withdrawing in 2014 when Al-Qaeda-linked rebels overran the area, three years into Syria’s civil war. UNDOF’s return was made possible after Syrian government troops retook the Syrian side of the crossing in July under a deal with rebel fighters brokered by Moscow. It had been sealed completely since rebels overran it in April 2015, choking off one of the most important trade routes for the government. “We look to both Israel and Syria to provide UN peacekeepers the access they need as well as assurances of their safety,” Haley said. “We also call on Syria to take the necessary steps so UNDOF can safely and effectively deploy and patrol without interference.” Haley added that all sides must stick to a 1974 agreement and keep any military forces other than UN peacekeepers out of the zone. Israel seized much of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community. The Quneitra crossing was used by Druze living on the Israeli side traveling to Syria for higher education or weddings. Druze farmers also exported apples to Syria through Quneitra.
Hundreds Taken by IS from Displacement Camp in East Syria
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 13/18/Hundreds of people were taken by Islamic State group fighters from a displacement camp in east Syria during a jihadist counterattack against advancing US-backed forces, a monitor said Saturday. The jihadists raided the camp on Friday, taking "more than 100 families" including relatives of IS defectors and of jihadists killed in fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A number of fighters of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) died trying to defend the camp in a battle that lasted several hours, the Britain-based monitoring group said.The US-backed SDF launched a major assault on September 10 on the small stretch of the Euphrates Valley around the town of Hajin where they estimate some 3,000 jihadists are holed up. But they have sustained heavy casualties in the operation being conducted with US-led air support. Since Wednesday, 37 SDF fighters have been killed in jihadist counterattacks, the Observatory said. IS has lost 58 fighters, most of them in retaliatory coalition air strikes, it added. "IS is pressing its attacks in the Hajin area as the SDF battles to hold them off with the support of the international coalition," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. But a prolonged sandstorm has made it difficult for the coalition to carry out air strikes. IS published statements on its social media accounts describing a number of attacks by "soldiers of the caliphate" against SDF forces in the Hajin area. The battle for Hajin has claimed the lives of 176 SDF fighters and 325 IS jihadists since its launch last month, according to Observatory figures. The SDF, backed by the coalition, has ousted IS from swathes of northern and eastern Syria, including Raqa, the de facto capital of the jihadists' so-called caliphate. Founded in 2015, the SDF is spearheaded by the People's Protection Units (YPG), a powerful Kurdish armed movement. Hundreds of foreigners have joined the YPG to battle IS, which has its own notorious contingent of foreign fighters.

Afrin Residents Accuse Turkish-Backed Factions of Violations
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 13 October, 2018/From kidnappings for ransom to armed robberies and torture: residents of Syria's Afrin region say they are suffering a litany of abuses at the hands of Turkish-backed Syrian opposition factions. They say the fear of harassment has kept them shuttered inside their homes since Ankara and its allies overran the then overwhelmingly Kurdish city in March after a two-month air and ground offensive. Their testimonies, given under pseudonyms because of fear of retribution, paint a picture of a chaotic city with little protection for civilians. "They robbed my son's house and didn't leave a thing -- not even the clothes," 55-year-old resident Ahmad tells Agence France Presse. His own motorcycle and 20 gas canisters were seized by fighters, who also looted his family's liquor store. Since Turkish troops and pro-Ankara Arab rebels captured the city from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the United Nations and human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have documented widespread abuses. Half of the enclave's 320,000 residents fled, according to a recent report by the UN Commission of Inquiry, and most are unable to return. Those who have often found their homes occupied by fighters or by Arab civilians displaced from other parta of Syria, the UN said. Other returned to homes "stripped of furniture, electrical appliances and all decor," in large-scale looting. Ahmad and his family fled the fighting but came back recently to scenes of devastation with their property looted and their hometown barely recognizable. Salim, 50, owns several olive groves in the fertile agricultural land outside the city but he can no longer reach them without permission from the new authorities. "If you don't get a paper from the local council, you can't enter your own land," the father of three complains. Even with authorization, the roads are dangerous for Kurdish civilians.  "An armed faction could find you on the way to your land and kidnap you for a ransom," ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, he tells AFP. "Kurds don't dare leave their homes." Both the UN and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported cases of kidnapping for ransom. The Britain-based Observatory said it documented at least 40 people abducted and taken to "hostage houses" in recent weeks. Opposition factions have accused Kurdish residents of being loyalists of the Damascus regime, or members of the YPG or its Turkish rebel ally, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Russia Working on Avoiding ‘Accidents’ with US Forces in Syria
Moscow - Raed Jaber/Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 13 October, 2018/The Russian foreign ministry announced that it is holding contacts with US officials in Syria to avoid any “accidental military clashes” between the two sides. Head of the ministry’s North America Department Georgy Borisenko hoped that the developments in Syria would not escalate in a way that would stoke tensions with Washington. He underlined the importance Russia places in averting unintentional accidents between the Russian and American militaries operating in Syria. The current mechanism in place that is avoiding such clashes is working effectively through military channels, he stated. He did not, however, rule out the possibility of a malfunction occurring in the system, saying it was not foolproof. Coordination between the two sides has been “good” during the past three years, Borisenko added. His remarks were an attempt to contain the possible repercussions of Moscow’s delivery last week of the S-300 air defense missile system to Syria. Washington had warned that such a step would escalate tensions in the war-torn country. Israel had also expressed concerns over the new system. Israeli officials have said the system could be defeated by Israel’s stealth fighters and possibly destroyed on the ground, and they have pledged to press on with efforts to prevent military entrenchment by Iran in Syria. A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said Friday that the system will instead help ease the tensions and bolster stability in Syria. Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton was set to visit Russia where he is scheduled to hold talks with Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. The S-300 system will feature in their meetings, among other files. The spokeswoman did not rule out the possibility that Bolton may hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Iran Official Calls for 'Lobbying Anti-Trump Movements'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 13/18/One of Iran's top foreign policy officials has called for negotiations with "anti-Trump movements" in the US to dampen the impact of sanctions, local media reported Saturday. "America is not Trump," said Heshmatollah Falahat-Pisheh, a conservative lawmaker who heads parliament's influential national security and foreign policy commission, according to reformist newspaper Arman. "There is a new diplomatic atmosphere for deescalation with America and it is fitting that Iran follows negotiation diplomacy and lobbying anti-Trump movements in America," he added. He said this would help alleviate pressure caused by Washington's "extensive sanction-focused force". The US pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May and reimposed punishing sanctions on the country, hoping to pressure Tehran into what President Donald Trump calls a "better deal".
The US is due to complete the reimposition of sanctions on November 5, targeting Iran's oil sector and central bank. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has dismissed Trump's offers to talk as "a dangerous game". But Mehdi Motaharnia, a Tehran-based political analyst, described Falahat-Pisheh's proposal as "very meaningful" since it signifies a potential shift in conservatives' stance on talking with the US. "This comes from a conservative whose party members called (Foreign Minister Mohammad) Javad Zarif a traitor for negotiating with the US," Motaharnia told reformist daily Hamdeli. "But now we do not see such reactions when the head of national security and foreign policy commission proposes talks," he added.
Saudi Arabia, Turkey Have No U.S. Ambassadors amid Crisis
Associated Press/Naharnet/October 13/18/The disappearance of journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi after visiting a Saudi consulate in Turkey has thrown the large number of diplomatic vacancies under President Donald Trump into the spotlight — notably in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. It's a gap the administration says it has been trying to fix but with limited success. Khashoggi's case and the fact that there are no American ambassadors in either Ankara or Riyadh have prompted concerns about dozens of unfilled senior State Department positions almost two years into Trump's presidency. And, those concerns have sparked an increasingly bitter battle with Congress over who is to blame. Aside from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Trump has yet to nominate candidates for ambassadorial posts in 20 nations, including Australia, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Singapore and Sweden. At the same time, 46 ambassadorial nominees are still awaiting Senate confirmation, prompting angry complaints from the administration and pushback from Democratic lawmakers. A number of ambassador positions to international organizations also remain unfilled as do 13 senior positions at the State Department headquarters, for which five have no nominee. It's unclear if high-profile issues like Khashoggi's disappearance suffer from neglect in the absence of an ambassador. Indeed, Turkey freed American pastor Andrew Brunson on Friday after repeated complaints and sanctions from Washington. But the management of day-to-day diplomatic relations can languish without a personal representative of the president present. The difference between having an ambassador in country or having only a charge d'affaires running an embassy is a matter of degree but can be substantial, according to Ronald Neumann, the president of the American Academy of Diplomacy. Non-ambassadors can have trouble getting access to senior officials and may not be viewed as the legitimate voice of the president or his administration. "It's a lot harder when you're not the presidential appointee and you don't have Senate confirmation," he said. "An ambassador is the personal representative of the president. A charge is the representative of the State Department."
In addition to problems with access, some countries may resent not having an ambassador posted to their capital, Neumann said. "Countries may get grouchy without an ambassador and that may affect relations," he said. "Without an ambassador, there is a greater chance of misunderstanding and greater chance you aren't able to persuade them to do something we want." "There are real, direct impacts of not having these people confirmed," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month, making the case for the Senate to act quickly. Those remarks set off a war of words with Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who was singled out by Pompeo for blame. "I want every single American to know that what Sen. Menendez and members of the Senate are doing to hold back American diplomacy rests squarely on their shoulders," Pompeo said. He later maintained that Senate Democrats are blocking more than a dozen nominees "because of politics" and are "putting our nation at risk." Menendez fired back, accusing Pompeo of politicizing the process and blaming confirmation delays on the unsuitability of candidates for certain posts and the Republican leadership for not calling votes on the others. He also slammed the administration for failing to nominate candidates for critical posts. "We cannot confirm nominees who have not been nominated," he noted wryly, adding that some nominees had been or are currently being blocked by Republicans.
Two cases in point: The nominee for the top U.S. diplomat for Asia, a career foreign service officer, was forced to withdraw earlier this year after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he would do everything in his power to stop the nomination. The career diplomat nominated to be ambassador to Colombia is being blocked by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Pompeo responded by again blaming Menendez for holding up more than 60 nominees and using them as a "political football." ''We need our team on the field to conduct America's foreign policy," he said. Perhaps as a result of the sparring, the Senate late Thursday did vote to confirm several ambassadorial nominees, including those to Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Suriname and Somalia.

Trump Vows 'Severe Punishment' if Saudis behind Khashoggi Disappearance
Naharnet/October 13/18/US President Donald Trump has said Saudi Arabia could be behind the disappearance of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi and warned Washington would inflict "severe punishment" if that is the case. "We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment," Trump told CBS's "60 Minutes" program, according to an extract of an interview that was released on Saturday. "As of this moment, they deny it and they deny it vehemently. Could it be them? Yes," Trump said in the interview, which was conducted on Thursday. The network said it will air the interview in full on Sunday evening.

Riyadh Slams 'Baseless Lies' ahead of Talks in Turkey
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 13/18/A delegation of a dozen Saudi officials was in Turkey on Saturday for talks on the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Riyadh slammed as "baseless lies" Turkish accusations he was killed inside its Istanbul consulate. With the mystery of his fate unresolved 11 days after he walked into the consulate and failed to reappear, a pro-government Turkish daily said Khashoggi had recorded his own interrogation inside the mission on an Apple Watch. Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and lurid claims have been leaked to media that he was tortured and even dismembered. Saudi insists Khashoggi, whose writings have been critical of Prince Mohammed and entered the consulate for paperwork for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee, left the building safely but has yet to offer visual evidence of this. The outcry surrounding his disappearance threatens to not just harm brittle Turkey-Saudi relations but also alarm the kingdom's supporters in the West and tarnish the reform drive spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Top names from business and media have already cancelled plans to attend a major conference in Riyadh in October aimed at showcasing the reforms.
'Allegations and lies'
The Saudi delegation was in Turkey, due to have talks this weekend in Ankara and take part in a working group on the disappearance whose creation was announced by Erdogan's spokesman, official Turkish media said. The NTV channel said the delegation is composed of 11 people and had on Friday inspected the consulate in Istanbul. The composition of the delegation has not been made clear. Turkish and foreign media who have been camped outside the consulate all week noticed the motorcade arriving on Friday but it had not been immediately clear who the Saudi personnel entering the consulate were. Riyadh has warmly welcomed the creation of the working group but Interior Minister Prince Abdel Aziz bin Saud bin Nayef slammed the claims that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. He described the allegations as "baseless allegations and lies". Ankara has so far trodden carefully in the controversy, with the most sensational allegations splashed in the pro-government press but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan so far stopping short of directly accusing Riyadh of wrongdoing. Turkey and Saudi have an uneasy relationship with disputes over the ousting of the Islamist government in Egypt and blockade imposed on Ankara's ally Qatar. But Erdogan has generally been wary of needling the oil-rich conservative kingdom.
'Recorded by Apple Watch'
The latest claims reported by the pro-government Sabah daily said that Khashoggi had been wearing an Apple Watch when he entered the consulate which was synced with an iPhone left outside with his fiancee Hatice Cengiz. It said that the watch had recorded what happened inside the consulate and this was uploaded to his cloud, although Saudis sought to partially delete it. "The moments of Khashoggi's questioning, torture and killing were recorded on the Apple watch," said Sabah. There was no official confirmation of the report. The Washington Post, the US daily for whom Khashoggi is a contributor, had also reported that Turkey has sound recordings of what happened inside the consulate, including his killing and death. Analysts say that Turkey is hoping to find support from its NATO ally the United States in the case, although Ankara-Washington have been in crisis over the detention for the last two years of a Protestant pastor. But the pastor, Andrew Brunson, was freed on Friday and allowed to fly home by a Turkish court, in a move that could help normalise ties.
'Horrified' but still attending
Meanwhile Prince Mohammed's big October conference -- the Future Investment Initiative dubbed by media as the "Davos in the Desert" after the annual conference in the Swiss resort -- has suffered a litany of cancellations over the controversy. Key business figures like the chief executive of ride hailing app Uber -- into which Saudi's own investment fund injected money -- are no longer showing up while media groups like the New York Times, Financial Times and Bloomberg have pulled their sponsorship. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that he still planned to attend, as did IMF chief Christine Lagarde. She said she was "horrified" by the case but has to "conduct the business of the IMF in all corners in the world and with many governments."

Palestinian Woman Dies after Being Pelted by Israeli Settlers

Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 13 October, 2018/A Palestinian woman was killed on Saturday in the occupied West Bank after being attacked by Israeli settlers, who pelted her with stones. Aisha Rabi, 48, was traveling with her husband and two daughters to their home in Bidya early Saturday when their vehicle was pelted with stones, said her cousin, Issam Rabi. A source at the Nablus hospital where she was brought said she was dead on arrival and that she had suffered a head injury. Her relatives said an autopsy was to be carried out at another hospital.The woman's husband said he was driving by a settlement late on Friday after dark along a main road near the Palestinian city of Nablus and that he could not clearly see who pelted the car. "The stones came from the side where the settlement is. I could hear the people speak Hebrew, but I didn't see them," he said. The area is near several ultra-nationalist Jewish settlements. Reuters was unable to independently verify the circumstances of the incident but footage of the car, which a Reuters cameraman said bore Palestinian license plates, showed what appeared to be a blood-stained broken brick at the foot of the passenger seat, which was covered in shattered glass and blood stains.Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said: "Police arrived in the area and have opened an investigation into the circumstances behind the incident reported."

Fourth Palestinian Prisoner Dies in Israeli Prison
Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 13 October, 2018/Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails Wesam Abdul-Majid Shalaldeh, 28, was announced dead in mysterious circumstances on Friday, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS said Israeli prison authorities informed Shalaldeh’s family that he died in Ayalon prison, but did not inform them about the circumstances in which he died. Shalaldeh, a father of four, has been in jail for three years and was serving a seven-year sentence. He is the fourth Palestinian prisoner to die in Israeli custody since the beginning of the year. According to PPS, Shalaldeh is the fourth prisoner to die in Israeli custody since the beginning of 2018. In February, Yasin Al-Saradih from Jericho died after being tortured and shot at short range after his arrest. Aziz Awaisat was killed on 19 May after he was subjected to torture by the occupation forces while in an Israeli detention center. He suffered a stroke and was later declared dead. While Muhammad Zaghloul Al-Khatib Al-Rimawi died in September after being beaten by Israeli occupation forces during a pre-dawn raid on his home in Beyt Reyma, northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Some 218 Palestinians have died in Israeli detention since 1967. In a related development, Israel is allegedly set to announce a dramatic worsening of prison conditions for Palestinians, local media reported Thursday. A committee launched by Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan will shortly present its conclusions which introduce a series of dramatic recommendations aimed at downgrading the conditions of Israel’s security prisoners, Israeli channel Hadashot TV reported. According to the report, the committee intends to recommend that Israel drastically reduce family visits for security prisoners. Israeli prisons would also put an end to the practice of separating prisoners based on terror group affiliations. Additional recommendations noted include limiting the available television channels, closing canteens in the prison ward, and security prisoners would no longer be allowed to cook meals in their wards or cells.The report noted that there could be dramatic repercussions from the proposed measures both inside of the security prisons as well as on the Palestinian streets. The conditions of security prisoners in Israel has long been a concern and talking point for Palestinians and prisoners have launched numerous mass hunger strikes in recent years.

Israel Kills Seven Palestinians in Gaza Border Protests
Gaza- Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 13 October, 2018/Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians on Friday in protests along Gaza’s border, Gaza health officials said. The Israeli military said it opened fire on a group of Palestinians who breached the fence and approached an army post. No Israeli troops were harmed, the army added. At least 140 Palestinians were wounded by live bullets, the ministry said. The Palestinian deaths bring to around 200 the number of Palestinians killed since the border protests began on March 30, according to Palestinian Health Ministry figures. In May, about 60 protesters were killed in a single day, making it one of the deadliest since a 2014 war between the two sides. The Israeli military said that the demonstrators, numbering around 15,000, had been “hurling rocks, explosive devices, firebombs and grenades” at Israeli troops and at the fence. Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus tweeted that one group had “detonated a bomb on the Israel-Gaza border fence”, allowing around 20 people to climb through the hole. He said around five of the group had then launched an organized attack against a military post inside Israel and all had been killed by the troops. The Palestinian protesters are demanding an end to a stifling Israeli blockade on the narrow coastal strip, which is home to around 2 million Gazans. They also seek the right to return to lands that Palestinians fled or were driven from upon Israel’s founding in 1948. The Israeli military has been criticized by Palestinians and international human rights groups for its lethal response to the protests. One Israeli soldier has been killed by a Palestinian sniper during the weekly protests, and tracts of Israeli land have been scorched by incendiary kites and balloons. Hamas seized control of Gaza from Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007 and has since fought three wars with Israel, most recently in 2014.

Hamas Pushes for Truce, PA Rejects UN Special Coordinator Mladenov
Ramallah- Kifah Zboun/Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 13 October, 2018/Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the movement is working with several other parties to reach an agreement with Israel for establishing a truce in return for lifting the siege on Gaza. "Today, in order to break the siege, we are seeking understandings with several parties … understandings that could bring calm for breaking the siege," Haniyeh said in a speech broadcast to the 10th conference of Jerusalem's Pioneers held in Turkey's Istanbul. However, he added that it "wouldn't have any political prices at the expense of the Palestinian unity between the West Bank and Gaza. Our responsibility is to ensure a dignified life for our people."Haniyeh's speech defied the Palestinian Authority, which rejected any attempts to reach a truce in the Gaza Strip, and required intra-Palestinian reconciliation first. The PA-Hamas dispute first erupted following the Gaza-ruling party insistence on a truce first. The PA criticized all parties endorsing Hamas’ side at talks, especially after Israel allowed a UN body transport fuel into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing. Palestinian officials have slammed Israel and Qatar, vowing to fight back against efforts to further drive Gaza away from the West Bank-based PA. West Bank officials say that Qatar and Israel negotiating with Hamas separately works against collective Palestinian interest, and betrays the Palestinian cause by empowering the militant group to go on withholding Gaza captive and not move away from intra-Palestinian reconciliation. On the other hand, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) informed the UN chief that Nickolay Mladenov has overstepped his role as Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process by pursuing negotiations with Hamas and trying to recruit aid into the Gaza Strip from other Arab countries. PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Ahmed Majdalan said Mladenov “is no longer acceptable to the state of Palestine,” local media reported. The PA is expected to soon take decisions to completely halt Gaza's funding, in response to Hamas's insistence on prioritized a truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip at the expense of reconciliation. Senior PLO official Saeb Erekat questioned the drivers behind Hamas’ sudden willingness to open up for truce mediation efforts with Israel, pointing to the recent US defunding of UNRWA. Erekat warned that the strategy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump is based on dividing Palestinian unity in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem, and dealing with Gaza as a humanitarian situation. “We are facing a terrible American-Israeli plot to destroy and liquidate the Palestinian national project,” Erekat warned.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 13-14/18
General's Final Confession Links 1956 Massacre to Israel's Secret Plan to Expel Arabs
Ofer Aderet/Haaretz/October 13/18
'Yiska' Shadmi, the highest IDF officer tried for the Kafr Qasem massacre, admitted before his death that his trial was staged to protect military and political elites. Historian Adam Raz believes that behind the horrific 1956 event was a secret plan to transfer Israel's Arabs
In mid-July, a strange performance played out in the Military Court of Appeals at the Kirya, the defense establishment’s headquarters in Tel Aviv. The judge, an Israel Defense Forces general, called Meretz MK Esawi Freige, from the Israeli Arab town of Kafr Qasem, to the witness stand, and asked him just one question: Would publication of classified documents relating to the massacre in his village in 1956 be likely to stir up its residents?
Freige, several of whose family members were among the dozens of victims killed by the Border Police, responded that the anger has not dissipated in the 62 years that have passed since the incident. However, the MK emphasized, the villagers are not looking for revenge.
“We have no interest in disrupting the security of the state or the life of any person,” he said, adding that people know exactly where Brig. Gen. (res.) Issachar “Yiska” Shadmi, the highest-ranking officer to be brought to trial after the event, lives.
Shadmi, the commander of the brigade responsible for that area at the time – and under whose orders the massacre was carried out – was not far away at the time, sitting in his spacious home in the upscale neighborhood of Ramat Aviv. He didn’t know that his name was once again being raised in connection with the affair that had hounded him for his entire adult life, like a mark of Cain imprinted on his forehead.
The trial, which is still ongoing, involves a lawsuit by historian Adam Raz, who is demanding that the IDF and Defense Establishment Archives declassify documents relating to the affair. “Most of the material is still classified,” says Raz, 35, who works for the Berl Katznelson Foundation, in a recent interview with Haaretz. “I was surprised to discover that it’s easier to write about the history of Israel’s nuclear program than about Israel’s policies regarding its Arab citizens.” The court has yet to hand down its judgment, but Raz’s Hebrew-language book “Kafr Qasem Massacre: A Political Biography,” is being published this month by Carmel Press. It is the first such comprehensive study of the affair.
Issachar “Yiska” Shadmi testifying at his 1957 trial, as reported in the weekly Haolam Hazeh. Haolam Hazeh
One of the people Raz interviewed was Shadmi, who died last month at the age of 96. Back in the summer of 2017, this writer joined Raz for the conversations with Shadmi, which took place at the latter’s home. With the frankness often reserved to those who have reached a ripe old age, Shadmi provided a rare, troubling behind-the-scenes look at one of the formative events in the history of the State of Israel, and especially of its Arab community. Among other things, the incident gave rise to the concept of a “blatantly illegal order,” and led to an exceptional apology by the president of Israel for a crime that the state’s soldiers committed against its citizens.
Now, in the wake of Shadmi’s death and the publication of Raz’s book, we are publishing the former IDF officer’s testimony for the first time. At its center is his contention that the 1958 court case against him was nothing more than a show trial, staged in order to keep Israel’s security and political elite – including Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan, and GOC Central Command (and later chief of staff) Tzvi Tzur – from having to take responsibility for the massacre.
Shadmi told us that the trial, in which he was initially accused of murder but later acquitted, was intended to mislead the international community with regard to Israel’s ostensible pursuit of justice. For his part, Raz is convinced that the background to ostensibly staging the trial was pressure from above to conceal “Operation Mole” (Hafarperet), a secret program to expel to Jordan the population of the so-called Triangle of Arab towns, located southeast of Haifa – details of which have never been revealed.
Shadmi was blessed to have been able to age in dignity. In his final years, he was lucid and enjoyed good health. When he died, he was buried in the cemetery of the kibbutz of which he had been an early member, Sdot Yam in Caesarea. In our long conversations with him, he recalled minute details of the formative incident in his life.
“This subject has always disturbed me. Why? Because when people say ‘Kafr Qasem,’ they say ‘Shadmi.’ ‘Shadmi, the guy from Kafr Qasem,’” he said. “There are those who step on a land mine and lose their legs. I stepped on a land mine. Its name was Kafr Qasem.”
‘Good Arabs, bad Arabs’
Yiska Shadmi’s life was replete with all the episodes one would expect in the biography of a member of the so-called 1948 generation, the generation that founded the state. Were it not for the stain of Kafr Qasem, he would have entered the history books as one of the first senior commanders of the IDF, and perhaps he would even have gone into politics, like his friend and peer Yitzhak Rabin.
Shadmi was born in 1922, the sabra son of two immigrants from Eastern Europe, Shoshana (née Goldberg) and Nahum Kramer. The family name, meaning “grocer” or “peddler” in German, was Hebraicized to Shadmi, a derivation of the biblical word shdema, or field. “Agriculture, not commerce and the stock market. This was the Zionist revolution,” he wrote in his memoir.
Nahum had served in the Red Army, and became one of the first commanders of the Haganah pre-state army and then of the nascent IDF. Yiska, an only child, spent his earliest years on the agricultural settlement Bitanya, near Lake Kinneret, before moving with his parents to the nearby community of Menahemia.
As a boy, he received initial training for the Haganah. In his memoir, he writes of his first military operation, serving as aide de camp to Haganah officer Yigal Allon, who would later serve as the legendary commander of the elite Palmach strike force. At about the same time, during the years of the Arab Revolt (1936-1939), Shadmi became aware for the first time of the Jewish-Arab conflict.
“I grew up together with Arab children. We were friends and would play together. To me, Arabs were not foreigners that one needed to hate or fear. I grew up with them, I spoke with them, they spoke Hebrew and Yiddish, and I spoke Arabic mixed with Yiddish,” he wrote in his personal diary. “When the riots broke out, a rift was opened. There were good Arabs, who worked, and bad Arabs, who shot guns. In the context of the fears that gave rise to the conflict, I began to discover the figure of the Jewish hero, riding a horse with a keffiyeh and an abaya [robe].”
In a different entry, from 1938, he wrote: “Today we are in a terrible situation in this land, a whirlpool of blood. Self-restraint is weakening and acts of vengeance are taking its place. We don’t have the strength to bear it any longer. The beast-like instinct within us is awakened by the scene of blood flowing throughout the land… The rifle is the tool that gives every one of us the privilege of living. Were it not for the rifle, we would not be able to stay alive in this cruel world… I respect the device that kills!!!”
In 1939, Shadmi joined Kibbutz Sdot Yam, which had initially been founded in 1936 north of Haifa but moved south to Caesarea in 1940. He served in the British Mandate’s coast guard, and later as a Palmach platoon commander at Beit Ha’arava, near the Dead Sea, and as a commander in the Haganah Field Corps in Samaria. During “Black Sabbath” in 1946 (when Mandatory forces rounded up several thousand Jewish soldiers and officials, following a spate of violent actions by Jewish forces), he was arrested and taken to a British detention camp. In the War of Independence, he commanded the Fifth Battalion of the Harel Brigade and the Seventh Battalion of the Negev Brigade. Afterward, he climbed the ranks in the IDF and served, among other positions, as commander of the Officers Training School and of the Golani Brigade.
Then 62 years ago this month, Shadmi stepped on his land mine. It all began on October, 29, 1956, the first day of what would be called the Sinai Campaign. Shadmi, then responsible for a Central Command brigade, was tasked with defending the area abutting the Jordanian border, and ordered the ongoing curfew that was then in effect, under martial law, to begin earlier than usual that day on the Arab villages in the vicinity, among them Kafr Qasem.
The soldiers accused of perpetrating the Kafr Qasem massacre. The commander of the battalion, Shmuel Malinki, is on the left.
The commander of the Border Police battalion, Shmuel Malinki, said later during the trial held for him and the soldiers involved in the events, that Shadmi’s order said to shoot at anyone who violated curfew. The words that he attributed to Shadmi have since entered the history books: “During the hours of the curfew, they can be in their homes and do as they desire… but whomever is seen outside, who violates curfew, will be shot. Better that a few go down, and then they will learn for the next time.”
Malinki also said that in response to his question: “What will be the fate of the civilians who return to the village after the curfew [takes effect],” Shadmi said: “I don’t want sentimentality; I don’t want detainees.” When Malinki persisted in his request to receive a straight answer, he claimed that Shadmi said, “Allah Yerhamu” – Arabic for “God have mercy [on their souls].”
At his trial, Shadmi denied ordering the killing of curfew violators. Whatever the case, the result was a disaster. Between 5 P.M. and 6 P.M. on that fateful day, 47 Arabs who were returning to their homes in Kafr Qasem – boys and girls, women and men – were shot to death by Border Guard troops. An additional victim, who was elderly, had a heart attack after he learned that his grandchild had been killed. In the end, according to the villagers, the total number of victims was 51.
Eight of the 11 IDF officers and soldiers put on trial for the shootings were convicted and sent to prison for varying terms, but later their sentences were commuted, by the president and chief of staff, among others. By 1960, all had been released without having served most of their jail terms. Some were even awarded desirable state jobs – Malinki, for instance, was appointed chief of security at the nuclear reactor at Dimona by Ben-Gurion.
A little more than two years after the bloody massacre at Kafr Qasem, Shadmi became the highest-ranking officer to be brought to trial for it. He was accused of the murder of 25 villagers (half of the victims, because there was no proof that the order to shoot violators of the curfew had been intended to include women and children, as it was interpreted). In the end, Shadmi was exonerated of the murder charges: The judge determined that the accusations against him were “unproven and unsubstantiated generally and in principle.” The ruling stated that “the orders to shoot violators of the curfew could not be understood in any way as orders to shoot people returning from work to the area under curfew.”
Shadmi was convicted on only one procedural and technical charge – of “exceeding his authority” and giving orders regarding the hours and parameters of the curfew, when only the military governor was authorized to do so. The punishment he received infuriated the residents of Kafr Qasem: a symbolic fine of 10 prutot, or one-100th of an Israeli pound, and a reprimand.
When he left the courthouse, Shadmi excitedly waved his hand, grasping a 10-prutot coin. A photo of this was published in the press and Shadmi’s coin thus became a watchword among Arab citizens of what they saw as the cheapness of their lives in the eyes of the regime.
Issachar “Yiska” Shadmi, after his trial, holding the 10-prutot coin he had to pay as a symbolic fine. Residents of Kafr Qasem were infuriated by the punishment.
‘Not Don Quixote’
Shadmi celebrated his “victory” with Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, who described in his own diary how “we drank to his exoneration.” A party was held at Sdot Yam, with Chief of Staff Haim Laskov and other IDF generals in attendance. Yet in retrospect, Shadmi told Adam Raz and myself, the expressions of joy were mostly for public consumption; he was not at all surprised by the verdict he received. He told us that the outcome of the trial, which he called a “play” and a “show trial,” was fixed from the start. From his descriptions – some of which also appear in his self-published memoir – it seems that the legal proceedings were conducted in defiance of all accepted norms.
From the start, he claimed, he was promised the best legal defense. The state appointed the highly respected attorney Yaacov Salomon – and paid for his services. In light of this, Shadmi said he felt the balance of power between the weak military prosecutor and the superlative defense he was awarded was always tilted in his favor.
Moreover, according to Shadmi, “I was told that I could object to the judges that were appointed if I didn’t trust them.” He also received assurances from another senior IDF and legal figure, Meir Shamgar, deputy military adjutant general at the time and later president of the Supreme Court. Shamgar, Shadmi recalled, “took me aside and said: ‘Listen, this is a show trial,’” and urged him not to worry. Shadmi added that “Shamgar whispered to me that this was to my benefit.”
Asked now for his response to Shadmi’s comment, former justice Shamgar told Haaretz that he did not remember saying such things.
Eventually, Shadmi said he understood that he had truly become an actor in a grand performance – after his attorney, Salomon, “tried to brainwash me and persuade me to take a defensive position that I didn’t like and didn’t match the facts as they were known to me. Facts that gave me moral courage in asserting the justice of my case and of my honest and simple claims.”
For some two weeks before the trial opened, he and Salomon stayed at a Tel Aviv hotel, working on their arguments “every day until 2 A.M.,” Shadmi recounted. “He wanted to break me, so that I would accept the version that he would dictate to me, what I should say in court…. He tried to plant things in my head.”
Behind his words hid Shadmi’s most serious criticism, according to which Salomon, as Ben-Gurion’s emissary, tried to use Shadmi as a means to distance senior IDF commanders and the political echelon from the Kafr Qasem massacre – as a kind of punching bag to stand trial in their stead and prevent the indictments of others.
In the center of the drama stood Tzvi “Chera” Tzur, who was Shadmi’s superior officer at the time of the massacre and later became the IDF’s sixth chief of staff. Shadmi was convinced that the judges “needed to protect Chera” and that his attorney “was not protecting me, but protecting the IDF and Tchera and the rest of those…. So this wouldn’t climb any higher,” in his words.
David Ben-Gurion. GPO
These comments may sound conspiratorial, but Raz found support for them from yet another source. In a meeting of the cabinet on November 23, 1958, about a month before the opening of Shadmi’s trial, Ben-Gurion was already predicting, “From talking with Shadmi, I assume that he will not say that he received an order like that, that one needs to fire…. Tzur isn’t on trial. Shadmi won’t say such a thing.”
Shadmi also noted that his father, who until 1958 was president of the Military Court of Appeals, was a friend of Shamgar’s: “Shamgar told my father ‘Explain to your son that they aren’t out to get him, but want to protect the IDF.”
According to Shadmi, Ben-Gurion, by means of his underlings, made sure that the military judges appointed to conduct the trial would be among those who had been under Tzur’s command in the Givati Brigade, so they would not exactly feel comfortable incriminating him. “They were not chosen by chance,” Shadmi told us. “And in their outlooks and political positions, they were aligned with the same party of which Ben-Gurion was an admired leader.”
On this point, however, Shadmi qualified his statement: “I am not at all convinced that the judges consciously saw themselves as someone else’s emissaries.” And indeed, according to him, “those who dispatched them to the court intended, quite clearly, that they would assist naturally in building an obstacle against accusations, even partial ones, involving the most senior ranks.”
Ultimately, as Shadmi admitted, he went along with his attorney’s game and adapted himself to the defense dictated to him. “I also set a barrier for myself at the beginning of the trial, because I knew the legal rule – that if someone with a higher rank than mine is implicated in the accusations, that doesn’t relieve me of responsibility. And that is also the reason I did not try to press my attorney to call the general [Tzur] to testify at the trial.”
Added Shadmi, “I was an IDF man, and if needed, I would keep silent about all sorts of things about which I knew more or differently. I didn’t sally forth like Don Quixote to fight for my justice, because I knew what they wanted from me.”
Wrapped in cotton
Shadmi thought that his trial was intended to prevent the case from reaching the International Court of Justice, which had been established by the United Nations in The Hague following World War II. “They explained to me that they needed to put me on trial, because if I had tried in my own country and convicted, even if I was fined only a penny, I wouldn’t go to The Hague…. If they didn’t prosecute me… I would be tried at The Hague. And that is something that neither I nor the country were interested in.”
It bears mentioning here that in those days, the ICJ did not operate in a way that would made it possible to put Israeli officers or politicians on trial. However, as historian Raz notes, “the fact Shadmi was mistaken about the international judicial system, didn’t mean that there wasn’t real concern in the Israeli upper echelons about an international response.” According to Raz, from Ben-Gurion’s response to the affair, it appears that the Israeli leadership was in fact “very worried about the potential international response.” But if there is any documentation of this in the state archives, it is not accessible to the public.
Shadmi’s account, as we heard it last year in his home, are borne out by the facts appearing in the archival documents. Indeed, Raz did encounter other testimony in the army archives suggesting that already then, people were calling for more senior figures than Shadmi to stand trial.
Thus, for instance, Transportation Minister Moshe Carmel wrote: “We will not be able to avoid asking questions and won’t be able to flinch from investigating if indeed the final and ultimate responsibility falls upon Col. Shadmi, and on him alone…. A commander does not operate, in the end, on his own say-so, but within a framework of plans, orders and guidelines, formed somewhere else, invented for him by a higher commanding authority…. The public seeks to know, and rightly so, what orders and guidelines were given to Col. Shadmi by his superiors, according to which he operated and dispatched subsequent, more particular directives…. And also from whom he received his orders.”
Later on, the grandson of Yitzhak Greenbaum, Israel’s first interior minister, related the following: “When the Kafr Qasem massacre occurred, my grandfather explained to me how an order for a massacre is handed down from the senior members of government to operational personnel, without the senior ranks saying anything explicit that might seem like an order.”
In 1986, in an article by Dalia Karpel in the Tel Aviv weekly Ha’ir, Malinki’s widow was quoted as saying: “Part of the trial was conducted behind closed doors and it was clear that it was impossible to go up the chain of command looking for responsible parties, and to reveal the part of the GOC Central Command, chief of staff or even the government in this affair. It would mar the image of the state in the world. Ben-Gurion told my husband: ‘I am asking for a human sacrifice on behalf of the state, just as there are sacrificial casualties, people who fall in war. I promise you that your status and rank will be returned to you.”
On the basis of testimonies, written and recorded, that he gathered, Raz is convinced of Shadmi’s version of events, according to which the whole trial was fixed: “Ben-Gurion sought an insurance policy that would enable him to point to Shadmi as the one who gave the order, and to stop there.... Shadmi would be prosecuted because Ben-Gurion and his colleagues needed to prove to the public and the political establishment that the chain of command led no further than the brigade commander. And in the end, as noted, [Shadmi] was also exonerated.”
Shadmi’s silence with respect to those above him paid off, even if not immediately. On the military level, his promising career came to an end in 1962, and he was not promoted to the rank of full general like his peers. He continued to serve in the reserves, fighting in the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War, in which he was seriously wounded in a helicopter crash.
Brig. Gen. (res.) Issachar “Yiska” Shadmi at home in Sdot Yam, in 2017. Ofer Aderet
Behind the scenes, though, as Shadmi claimed, a deal was cooked up that paid off later for both sides. “Chera wrapped me up in cotton,” he said, referring to Tzvi Tzur. “I got anything I wanted,” he recalled candidly.
The details of the entire affair, had they surfaced today, would have been tagged immediately as being tainted by corruption and liable to land people in court. Nonetheless, all these years later, Shadmi was quick to acknowledge that because of the “debt” that Tzur owed him, for not revealing all he knew in the courtroom, he was well compensated as a civilian: “I turned into a major Defense Ministry building contractor.”
Shadmi went into some detail regarding the lucrative work from his defense work, but requested that these parts of the interviews not be recorded. He added that Tzur took care of him “with an open hand” in this regard. The reason, he emphasized time and again, was that, “I kept quiet, I didn’t speak out against the IDF. Tzur understood that I saved him.”
‘Operation Mole’
Adam Raz is convinced that there was a reason that Shadmi’s trial was staged and aimed to protect his superior officers, as well as for other reasons. Raz believes there was an effort at the same time to hide the existence of a secret program called “Operation Mole,” whose goal was the expulsion of Arabs from the Triangle, which included Kafr Qasem, to Jordan.
Historian Adam Raz.
“The public is familiar with the ‘Mole’ program only as a rumor,” says Raz, noting that it has been mentioned in the press only a handful of times over the years, since the 1960s. In 1991, the journalist and linguist Ruvik Rosenthal dealt with the subject in the newspaper Hadashot, and later expanded his article in a collection of essays he edited about the Kafr Qasem massacre. But details of the program were never fully revealed, and much of the documentation remains classified in the IDF archive. The evidence includes closed-door discussions held during the Kafr Qasem trials. The speakers used only code, referring to a “famous order” dealing with “an animal of the mammalian family.”
Still Raz managed to follow the scent of the secret scheme by means of other sources, among them lawyers involved in the trial of Malinki and the soldiers, other testimony, interviews with the “heroes of the affair,” etc. In a meticulous archival investigation, he unearthed tidbits, such as: “A. Surround the village; B. announce the evacuation to the village elders and the option to cross the border within the established period (three hours).”
In addition, Raz was able to find the written testimony of Gen. (res.) Avraham “Avrasha” Tamir, the architect of the program, according to which “Ben-Gurion requested a plan to deal with the Arab population of the Triangle” in the event that a war would break out with Jordan. Tamir’s account accords with the explanation given by Ben-Gurion himself, in 1953, at a cabinet meeting on the subject of martial law – to the effect that there was a solution to the ostensible problem of the Arabs in the Triangle, and that it “depended upon whether there would be a war or not.”
Tamir’s testimony states: “The plans were more or less mine… I took what the Americans did to the Japanese in World War II [imprisoning them in internment camps out of concern that they would constitute a “fifth column”]. To put it simply, if war broke out, whoever did not flee to Jordan would be evacuated to concentration camps in the rear; they wouldn’t stay on the border. These were the plans, to evacuate them to the rear so that they wouldn’t impede the war effort…. The way to Jordan would remain open for their flight if they so chose. But whoever remained – we would need to evacuate them to the rear to facilitate freedom of action in which the defense forces could maneuver.”
To understand the historical context connecting Operation Mole, the Sinai Campaign and the Kafr Qasem massacre, one must remember that in roughly that same period, up until the Six-Day War, when Israel conquered the West Bank, Arab villages like Kafr Qasem were situated very close to the border with Jordan. In the weeks before the massacre, tensions rose and many infiltrators penetrated Israel. The IDF was increasingly worried about cooperation between the latter and their countrymen in the Israeli villages. Until 1966, martial law was in effect in those communities, among them Kafr Qasem.
The massacre occurred on the day the Sinai Campaign began: In it, Israel, England and France joined forces in fighting against Egypt, and eventually the IDF conquered the Sinai peninsula. In a certain sense, the massacre was part of that same war, but took place on a completely different front, as Rubik Rosenthal wrote in his 2000 book “Kafr Qasem: Events and Myth” (Hakibbutz Hameuchad), the first book about the massacre.
In the period prior to the Sinai Campaign, Israel launched a diversionary operation, in the context of which forces were concentrated along the Jordanian border, including the area of Kafr Qasem, to create the impression that Israel was preparing an attack on its eastern front. “The lower ranking officers and troops that participated in the operations thought that war really was breaking out on the eastern border,” writes Rosenthal.
Raz thinks one must see the Kafr Qasem massacre in this context: “The massacre wasn’t perpetrated by a group of soldiers who were out of control, as has been argued until today. From their point of view they were following orders, which in essence would lead to the expulsion of the villagers,” he says. Or, in other words, they were operating in line with the directives of Operation Mole, as they understood them.
Raz’s study presents much testimony that supports this view. In his book he reconstructs the hour-by-hour chain of events that led to the horrifying outcome on that fateful day, and thus proves his claim that there is a connection between the massacre and the secret operation.
Thus, for example, he provides authoritative documentation about meetings prior to the massacre between the battalion commander, Malinki, and other top brass, which dealt with the secret scheme – sometimes explicitly and sometimes without actually naming it. On October 24, five days before the killings in Kafr Qasem, Malinki met with the GOC Central Command Tzur.
According to Malinki’s testimony, he was told that, with war approaching, one of the missions of his battalion would be to deal with the Arab villages in the Triangle. “There is a complex portfolio at the Operations Directorate and I must prepare the mission,” he said.
On October 25, Malinki met with the military governor, Zalman Mart, who emphasized that “the issue is how to motivate them [the Arabs] to leave the country.” Several hours later, Malinki met with Tamir, then chief of Central Command’s operations branch. The latter conveyed the directives of the plan.
“A plan was conveyed to me,” said Malinki. “The general context was explained, and the urgency…. We must prepare the plan as quickly as possible so that it will be ready for immediate implementation…. This is a most secret plan.”
He later testified that on October 28, the day prior to the massacre, he met with Shadmi, the brigade commander, who asked him to wait until he received orders from Central Command about Operation Mole, “which I was supposed to execute,” as Malinki put it. “The Mole commanders discussed issues concerning the treatment of the Arab minority in the area under martial law…. Execution of arrests…. Imposition of curfew…. Complete evacuation of the villages if the need arises.”
On the morning of October 29, Shadmi announced that the plan had not been authorized in its entirety, but particular clauses would “of course” be authorized by the afternoon. As to what happened in the meeting between Shadmi and Malinki, a few hours later, it emerges that a dispute broke out that dogged them both until their final days.
הנשיא ריבלין באירוע לציון הטבח בכפר קאסם
Malinki, as noted, testified that Shadmi ordered him to fire “without sentimentality” in order to kill whoever violated the curfew. Shadmi denied this. Later on, when meeting his soldiers just before the massacre, Malinki explained to them that war was about to break out. In other words, the secret plan, whether officially or only as something hovering in the background, was in the minds of troops of every rank – from the highest commander to the lowliest foot soldier. After the massacre, Shadmi also admitted himself that “the final proposal before embarking on the day of the operation took the form of an Operation Mole directive passed down from Central Command. That order specified in detail the method of evacuation of the population from the area along the border during the first stage of the deployment of forces.”
According to Shadmi, in testimony he gave to the police, prior to being charged, “I showed [Malinki] immediately the Mole orders... according to which we were to prepare the operation. Malinki answered me … with a self-satisfied smile and informed me that the entire portfolio of the secret operation was all planned out. Therefore, I saw him at that moment as an expert about everything that had been discussed.”
Two months after the massacre, Malinki claimed that he had not been comfortable under Shadmi’s command, but didn’t do anything about it.
“I thought about calling the commander of the Border Police, but that seemed like an act of disloyalty with regard to the officer in question. I didn’t know [Shadmi], but as I was a witness to his conversations with the general [Tzur] with regard to the Mole and as I had personally received the order for that operation from headquarters – I was stunned by the drastic approach that had been decided upon, but didn’t doubt that this was a decision of the highest authority, and I saw the brigade commander as a pipeline,” Malinki later wrote to Ben-Gurion.
General Tzur himself responded to the secret plan, in testimony before the investigative commission that Ben-Gurion convened immediately after the massacre, prior to the trial. He explained that Operation Mole “relates to the entire country and all are working according to the same methodology,” adding that the operation was part of an overall plan of war vis-a-vis Jordan.
In this context, Raz believes that plans for Operation Mole “fulfilled a central purpose in motivating the troops to succeed in their mission [in Kafr Qasem].” According to him, “they correctly understood the harsh curfew order as an initial stage in the expulsion of the residents of the villages, and acted to the maximal degree to follow their orders ... They were correct in their interpretation: They indeed imposed the curfew, whose objective was the expulsion of the Arabs in the event that Israel and Jordan found themselves in a state of war.”
Here is where the staged trial that Shadmi claims was conducted, enters the picture. In its course, as noted, he covered for his superiors and did not open his mouth about Operation Mole.
Raz: “What did they want of Shadmi? They wanted him not to tell the truth. And the truth is that the plan for which the troops and officers were training, and the plan that was put into action, in large part, was Operation Mole.”
The option of expelling the Arabs of the Triangle in a future time of war with Jordan, he adds, “was a policy that could be implemented, from the perspective of Ben-Gurion, Dayan and others.” Indeed, much of the testimony the historian found from a variety of sources support that view, including that of Dayan, who said at one point: “I hope that in the coming years there will perhaps be another opportunity to effect a transfer of these Arabs from the Land of Israel.” According to Raz, “the conditions on the eve of the Sinai Campaign enabled them to progress toward realization of the plan.”
Based on the vast array of materials Raz compiled, a small portion of which are detailed here, he declares: “The fact that Shadmi ordered implementation of parts of the plan [i.e., Operation Mole] – up to the expulsion order itself – is not, according to my analysis, in doubt. But it’s clear that the order for this arrived from on high.” Shadmi, says Raz, “understood that he was being used as a main character in a performance intended to cover for those truly responsible: Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan and Tzvi Tzur.”
At present Raz is waiting for the decision of the military appeals court as to whether he will be allowed to examine all the classified documents relating to the affair of the massacre at Kafr Qasem, and more generally those relating to Operation Mole. For its part, the army claims that declassifying these documents will impair the security of the state, its relations with foreign entities, and also the privacy and well-being of various individuals.
As for Shadmi himself, he raised four children with his wife, Pnina, a math teacher who died in 2013; there are also grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Their son, Col. (res.) Yiftah Shadmi, served as a fighter pilot in the air force.
Shadmi’s memoir was eventually self-published, unlike his personal diary. Leafing through them, one finds these comments about death: “Consciously, I force myself not to be afraid [of it], and have also begun to believe that there is nothing to fear. For at the very worst, one could be killed. Indeed, it’s a pity to give up on life, but the awareness that one fell for the sake of the homeland is the reward and the atonement for the life one gives up. In one sense, I have no desire to die before I fulfill my obligation, to do the maximum in my power for the country and the nation. I want there to be no distinction between the benefit that I can bring during my lifetime, and that which I can bring in sacrificing myself upon the altar of defense.”

Rebuilding Syria: The Responsibility Principle
Malcolm Lowe/Gatestone Institute/October 13/18
One is amazed by the audacity wherewith those foreign interveners who have caused the most destruction in Syria call upon the rest of the world to foot the bill for rebuilding what they themselves have demolished. So the First Clause of the Responsibility Principle is that those foreign countries which intervened in Syria to pursue their own political aims – primarily Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey – should pay up to rebuild everything that they destroyed.
The Second Clause of the Responsibility Principle is that any other country or international factor should condition any further financial assistance upon the replacement of the current Syrian regime with a plausible alternative, be it through free elections or the installation of a temporary international regime, followed by Nuremberg-type trials of the chief criminals of the current regime and the repatriation and resettlement of all refugees without any form of discrimination. The Russian Federation has the military power to keep Assad the titular president of Syria forever, but it cannot expect the rest of the world to pay for such a Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meet in Ankara, Turkey, on April 4, 2018. (Image source:
Twice during 2018, the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey met to discuss their various interests in Syria. On both occasions, their concluding joint statement called upon the rest of the world to assist in repairing the damage caused by the ongoing Syrian civil war, in which they had intervened on behalf of one faction or another. In their Joint Statement of April 4, the presidents:
"... Called upon the international community, particularly the UN and its humanitarian agencies, to increase its assistance to Syria by sending additional humanitarian aid, facilitating humanitarian mine action, restoring basic infrastructure assets, including social and economic facilities, and preserving historical heritage;"
Identical wording was included in their Final Statement of July 31.
One is amazed by the audacity wherewith those foreign interveners, who have caused the most destruction in Syria, call upon the rest of the world to foot the bill for rebuilding what they themselves have demolished. All the more so, given that after both meetings Russia resumed its bombing and Iran its land attacks in parts of Syria that had been declared "de-escalation zones" in earlier agreements that also included the United States. The Russian defense ministry indeed reported this August that its air force has killed "over 86,000 militants," a figure that -- whether or not it includes innocent civilians -- forms a substantial proportion of the total deaths in the civil war.
For the moment, the determination of Turkey to prevent this happening in Idlib, the last major area defying the regime of Bashar al-Assad, has postponed a further wave of ruthless bombings, targeting of hospitals and slaughter of hapless civilians. Turkey itself, however, is responsible for its needless military assault upon the Afrin area, leading to destruction of buildings and a mass flight of civilians.
Afrin was previously largely spared from the afflictions of the rest of Syria and provided a refuge for hundreds of thousands from elsewhere, thanks to the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hates for domestic political reasons. After driving out the Kurds of Afrin, Turkey installed there an Islamist militia that rules by Sharia law and forces religious minorities such as Yazidis to convert to Islam .
Before making any appeals to the rest of the world, those foreign countries that intervened in Syria to pursue their own political aims -- primarily Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey -- should pay up to rebuild everything that they destroyed. This we call the First Clause of the Responsibility Principle.
On August 26, 2018, Iran's Defense Minister arrived in Damascus and proclaimed that the aim of his visit was "the expansion of bilateral cooperation in the new conditions of Syria's arrival at the stage of reconstruction" and that "we are hopeful that we can have active participation in the reconstruction of Syria." The next day, however, it transpired that he had come to sign an agreement to rebuild the Syrian army and Syria's military industry. In short, yes, Iran is committed to rebuilding Syria, but understood as rebuilding the Assad regime's ability to suppress the country's Sunni Muslim majority as in the good old days before the civil war.
What, then, of the involvement of the United States and its coalition allies? This, too, included destruction of buildings and the death of civilians, especially during the recapture of the "capital" of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the 2017 Battle of Raqqa. There are two big differences.
First, Iran, Russia and Turkey intervened to impose their will upon the local Syrian population, which was rightly unwilling to tolerate further the decades-long tyranny of the Assad family; they also drove out much of that population from their homes. The American-led coalition, on the contrary, intervened to restore the local population to their homes and free it from the foreign rule of ISIS. Its role was to back up the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), composed of local Kurds and Arabs, which themselves did almost all of the fighting on land.
Second, the Obama administration already promised the SDF that there would be American funds to help in the reconstruction of their homes and lives after the expulsion of ISIS. This is a case in which the Trump administration would be well advised to keep the promises of its predecessor. Moreover, the United States can make a case for pressing its Arab allies to supply the bulk of the necessary finance, while the American role would be to guarantee a security umbrella under which that finance is duly spent.
The biggest question, however, is the conditions under which the world at large, including countries that played no role whatsoever in the Syrian tragedy, can be expected to finance reconstruction. These conditions must be drastic.
To begin with, there can be no question of using international finance to reconstruct the prewar Syrian regime. The Assads have run a police state even more brutal and deadly than Stalinist Russia. In the latter, at least, the identity of prisoners sent to the Gulag was known. In Syria, people simply vanished from one day to another, never to return except occasionally as bodies that had "died from natural causes." Also during the civil war, the Assad regime has probably killed far more people in its prisons than ISIS did in the areas under its control. According to July 26 report in the Washington Post:
"The Syrian government has begun issuing death notices for political detainees at an unprecedented rate, according to groups that monitor the prisons, in an effort to resolve the fate of thousands of missing Syrians as the regime prevails in its civil war. Since the spring, government registry offices have released hundreds of these notifications. Many of the notices report that prisoners have been dead since the early years of the conflict."
Thus the first condition for international finance must be the replacement of the Syrian regime. A meeting in August 2018 held under United Nations auspices reported:
"Discussions focused on estimations related to the volume of destruction in physical capital and its sectoral distribution, which according to ESCWA experts reached over $388 billion US dollars, while the actual physical cost of destruction was close to 120 billion dollars. These figures do not include human losses resulting from deaths or the loss of human competences and skilled labor due to displacement, which were considered the most important enablers of the Syrian economy." (Bold type in the original.)
It is unthinkable that sums of that magnitude could be spent on restoring Bashar al-Assad to his former ignominy. If that were not enough reason, one can read here how Assad has wickedly misused such relief money as has reached Syria.
If free elections cannot soon be organized, there may be a need for temporary international mandate to govern Syria. Compare Iraq. Despite the opprobrium showered upon President George W. Bush and his allies, it must be conceded that Iraq is today the only major Arab country where the mass of the population has accepted that its government must be subject to an elected parliament. What is needed is the current result of international intervention in Iraq while avoiding the mistakes that were made along the way.
The second condition is to bring the chief criminals of the Assad regime to trial. The means for doing this already exist. An April 2016 article in the New Yorker describes an organization that, taking the Nuremberg trials of the Nazis as a model, has gathered all the evidence required. Says the article:
In the past four years, people working for the organization have smuggled more than six hundred thousand government documents out of Syria, many of them from top-secret intelligence facilities. The documents are brought to the group's headquarters, in a nondescript office building in Western Europe, sometimes under diplomatic cover. There, each page is scanned, assigned a bar code and a number, and stored underground. A dehumidifier hums inside the evidence room; just outside, a small box dispenses rat poison.
Upstairs, in a room secured by a metal door, detailed maps of Syrian villages cover the walls, and the roles of various suspects in the Syrian government are listed on a whiteboard. Witness statements and translated documents fill dozens of binders, which are locked in a fireproof safe at night...
The commission's work recently culminated in a four-hundred-page legal brief that links the systematic torture and murder of tens of thousands of Syrians to a written policy approved by President Bashar al-Assad, coördinated among his security-intelligence agencies, and implemented by regime operatives, who reported the successes of their campaign to their superiors in Damascus. The brief narrates daily events in Syria through the eyes of Assad and his associates and their victims, and offers a record of state-sponsored torture that is almost unimaginable in its scope and its cruelty.
The third condition is that all the Syrians displaced by the war, whether within the country, in neighboring countries or further afield, must be enabled to return to their homes. It has been rumored that Assad wants to obstruct the return of as many Sunnis Muslims as possible in order to make it easier for his Alawite minority to regain and even strengthen its domination of the country. This must not happen.
Those three conditions, put together, constitute the Second Clause of the Responsibility Principle: Any other country or international factor should condition any further financial assistance upon the replacement of the current Syrian regime with a plausible alternative, be it through free elections or the installation of a temporary international regime, followed by Nuremberg-type trials of the chief criminals of the current regime and the repatriation and resettlement of all refugees without any form of discrimination.
During a recent visit to Germany, Russian President Vladimir Russia "called on Europe to contribute financially to the reconstruction of Syria to allow millions of refugees to return home." The same report claims that Russia had suggested "that the United States and Russia form a joint group to finance infrastructure renovation in Syria," a suggestion that "was met with an icy reception" in Washington. Rightly so. Cooperation between the two superpowers is theoretically the most effective way of establishing order and a decent form of life in Syria, but it must be conditioned on the elimination of the Assad regime and bringing its major criminals to justice. If Putin could concede so much and President Trump could respond with a turnabout like the one with North Korea, the way would be open.
Let us put the matter more plainly. The Russian Federation has the military power to keep Assad the titular president of Syria forever, but it cannot expect the rest of the world to pay for such a Syria. So the Russian government has to ask itself whether it also has the economic power to pay the immense bill for rebuilding Syria alone. Nothing can be expected from its partner Iran because the Iranian regime's involvement in Syria has already sent it hurtling toward bankruptcy, thanks to Trump's reinstatement of sanctions. Is Russia economically strong enough to avoid following Iran along that path?
The most that Russia can plausibly demand in return for the world's money is that the regime that replaces Assad must honor Russia's lease on its bases in Syria. Why Russia even needs such bases, apart from spurious prestige, is another question, which Russians can ponder for themselves at leisure once Assad has gone.
*Malcolm Lowe is a Welsh scholar specialized in Greek Philosophy, the New Testament and Christian-Jewish Relations.
© 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.

Spain: Islamic State Recruiting in Prisons
Soeren Kern/Gatestone Institute/October 13/18
The group — which Spain's Interior Ministry described as a jihadi "Prisons Front" ("frente de cárceles") — was engaged in recruiting, indoctrinating and radicalizing other inmates, as well as in plotting new jihadi attacks.
"We want to prepare ourselves for the jihad for Allah. I have good news: I have created a new group, we are willing to die for Allah at any moment. We are waiting to be released from prison so that we can begin working. We have men, we have weapons and we have targets. All we need is practice." — Mohamed Achraf, in a letter written from prison to another inmate.
"The majority of the individuals being investigated, far from being deradicalized, have not only remained active in jihadi militancy, but have become even more radical during their incarceration." — Spanish Interior Ministry.
On October 1, Spanish counterterrorism police searched Mohamed Achraf's prison cell in Campos del Río penitentiary in Murcia and discovered that he was running a "disciplined and organized" network of jihadi inmates dedicated to recruiting and radicalizing other inmates, as well as to plotting attacks against specific targets. (Image source: Spanish Interior Ministry)
Spanish police have dismantled a jihadi network operating inside and across more than a dozen Spanish prisons. The network, allegedly linked to the Islamic State, was established and operated by one of the most implacable jihadis in the Spanish prison system — apparently under the noses of prison authorities.
The network's existence has called into question not only the effectiveness of security procedures in Spanish prisons, but also of Spanish "deradicalization" programs, which are aimed at "rehabilitating" Islamic militants for eventual "reinsertion" into society.
The group's core members included 25 jihadis in 17 different prisons (accounting for more than half of the 30 Spanish prisons equipped to house jihadi convicts), according to the Interior Ministry, which provided de
The group — which the Interior Ministry described as a jihadi "Prisons Front" ("frente de cárceles") — was engaged in recruiting, indoctrinating and radicalizing other inmates, as well as in plotting new jihadi attacks.
The network's members included convicted jihadis as well as common inmates who were radicalized in prison. Among them were several Spanish citizens who are converts to Islam. Some members were nearing the end of their sentences and were waiting to be released from prison.
The group's ringleader, Mohamed Achraf, a 44-year-old Moroccan whose real name is Abderramane Tahiri, was serving a 14-year prison sentence for plotting truck bomb attacks against high-profile targets in Madrid, including the Spanish Supreme Court and the Príncipe Pío railway station.
Achraf was scheduled to be released from prison on October 14, 2018 — almost four years early. He was incarcerated in 2008 and served most of his sentence by being moved from one prison to another, a standard protocol aimed at preventing Islamists from establishing a foothold in any one facility and radicalizing other inmates. In February 2018, Achraf was transferred to the Campos del Río penitentiary in Murcia, where he was held in solitary confinement.
On October 1, counterterrorism police searched Achraf's prison cell and discovered that he was running a "disciplined and organized" network of jihadi inmates dedicated to recruiting and radicalizing other inmates, as well as to plotting attacks against specific targets.
The Interior Ministry said that the network carried out its activities through physical interaction between inmates within the same prisons, as well as through "epistolary relationships" among inmates located in different prisons. The network evaded monitoring mechanisms by carrying out communications through the use of inmates who were not subject to special surveillance.
The Murcia-based newspaper La Verdad, quoting police sources, reported that Achraf will likely be prosecuted for new terrorism offenses and, rather than be released early, will be held in preventive detention.
Achraf has a long history of jihadi militancy in Spain. During an earlier prison sentence, served between 1999 and 2002 at the Topas penitentiary in Salamanca, Achraf organized a similar jihadi network — called "Martyrs for Morocco" — which operated inside and across at least five Spanish prisons. The network consisted of four cells that were, according to prosecutors, "perfectly structured and connected to each other."
After the 2004 Madrid train bombings, in which 193 people were killed and 2,000 others injured, Spanish authorities launched a nationwide crackdown on Islamic fundamentalists. A counterterrorism operation — Operation Nova — resulted in the arrest of 36 jihadis, including several members of Achraf's network. Investigators found correspondence which revealed that Achraf was plotting to bomb the Audiencia Nacional, the upper court in Madrid where judicial authorities were investigating the Madrid train bombings.
Investigators also found correspondence between Achraf and other jihadis, including a letter that stated: "Muslims now have two places to go: jail or jihad." Another letter read:
"We want to prepare ourselves for the jihad for Allah. I have good news: I have created a new group, we are willing to die for Allah at any moment. We are waiting to be released from prison so that we can begin working. We have men, we have weapons and we have targets. All we need is practice."
In April 2005, Achraf was extradited to Spain from Switzerland, where he fled after his release from prison, and where he unsuccessfully sought asylum by claiming to be Palestinian.
In February 2008, Achraf was sentenced to 14 years in prison for "promoting and directing a terrorist group." During his trial, the court learned how Achraf, who referred to himself as "Emir," used a makeshift mosque in a prison gymnasium to "indoctrinate" other inmates in the hardline Salafist-takfiri jihadist ideology promoted by the Islamic State.
Given Achraf's history of Salafi-jihadism, and his previous efforts to proselytize and indoctrinate inmates during his first stint in prison, it remains unclear why Spanish authorities allowed him to establish another, even larger jihadi network during his second time in prison.
The newspaper La Verdad reported that Achraf's network "was very organized... and already had specific targets" and "had threatened certain prison officials, some of higher rank." The group had "its own iconography and slogan" and "was perfectly structured, with precise orders of action in prison courtyards and in methods of training."
Achraf's network may be just the tip of the iceberg. A recent analysis of official prison data by the online publication El Independiente found that more than 150 inmates are currently serving time in 28 different Spanish prisons for jihad-related crimes.
Nearly half (72) of the jihad-related convicts are Moroccans, followed by Spaniards (57). Other inmates are from Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Denmark, Egypt, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The most frequent crime among jihad-related convicts is membership in a terrorist group, followed by recruitment, indoctrination and training for terrorism and support for an armed group.
In addition, another 120 inmates serving time for non-jihad-related crimes are being monitored for signs of "Islamist fanaticism," according to the newspaper El País, quoting sources from the Interior Ministry.
Achraf's network has also cast a spotlight on the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of Spanish deradicalization programs for jihadi inmates. According to human rights protections guaranteed by the Spanish Constitution, such programs can only be applied on a voluntary basis.
Of the roughly 270 inmates being monitored for jihadist tendencies, only 20 are participating in deradicalization programs, according to the Spanish news agency EFE. The Interior Ministry admitted:
"The majority of the individuals being investigated, far from being deradicalized, have not only remained active in jihadi militancy, but have become even more radical during their incarceration."
*Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.
© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

From Truman to Trump: The rise and fall of a paradigm
Amir Taheri/Al Arabiya English/October 13/18
Because of their intense dislike of President Donald Trump, the mainstream media seem to have missed the potential importance of his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Parts of the media either ignored it while some dismissed it as a consignment of Trumpian balderdash.
However, leaving aside its sentimental approach and provocative lexicon, the address merits attention for at least two reasons. The first is that, in it, Trump signaled what he sees as the looming end of globalization, a paradigm that, with varying degrees of intensity, has dominated international life for seven decades.
The second reason is that the alternative that Trump implicitly suggested, albeit in a round-about-way, could put the so-called world order on a new trajectory with unknown consequences. According to some historians the average life of a paradigm is around eight decades. It starts as a seductive novelty before morphing into received wisdom on its way to inevitable decline and eventual atrophy.
The globalization paradigm was an invention of the ruling elite in the United States when faced with the challenge of creating a new world order in the aftermath of the Second World War. A handful of American statesmen, known as the “Egg Heads”, emerged as the architects of what became Pax Americana. They included George Marshall, Dean Acheson, Cordell Hull, Charles Bohlen, Averell Harriman, John McCloy and Robert Lovett with Presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and then Harry S Truman in the helm.
Addressing the first UN General Assembly in 1945 in San Francisco, Truman highlighted the need for multinationalism.
He said: “We fully realize today that victory in war required a mighty united effort. Certainly, victory in peace calls for, and must receive, an equal effort. Man has learned long ago, that it is impossible to live unto himself. This same basic principle applies today to nations. We were not isolated during the war. We dare not now become isolated in peace. “
Truman went on to urge the creation of a “sensible machinery for the settlement of disputes among nations. Without this, peace cannot exist.”
However, he was quick to point out that the creation of such a machinery did not mean the effacement of differences among nations.
He said: “Differences between men, and between nations, will always remain. In fact, if held within reasonable limits, such disagreements are actually wholesome. All progress begins with differences of opinion and moves onward as the differences are adjusted through reason and mutual understanding.”
The new world order needed to establish Pax Americana succeeded in creating its mechanisms in a record time. The United Nations and its various addenda were fully in place within a few years along with The International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, The General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) and more exclusive outfits such as the Atlantic Council and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
By the 1980s, the American gospel of fee trade, pluralist democracy and market economy had been established as the paradigm of the international order when even the Soviet Union, through its massive reliance on loans from Western banks, and the People’s Republic of China with its switch to capitalism appeared as new converts at least in part.
However, by the end of the last century, the established order was beginning to show fundamental weaknesses. The United Nations was exposed as a dilatory mechanism that merely froze international problems. One stark example was the Israel-Palestine problem which the UN danced around for almost five decades eventually putting it on the backburner. The UN was also absent when one of the worst genocides in history was enacted in Rwanda. Nor did the UN provide leadership in ending the tragedies triggered in the heart of Europe, by the disintegration of Yugoslavia.
The free-trade ideology did help raise hundreds of millions out of poverty but produced a reduction in the living standards of some strata in the older industrial societies, fomenting anger and despair.
Globalization enabled even the medium and small nations to secure enough resilience to stand up to the diktats of the World Bank and the IMF. In the 1980s, the twins dictated the economic policies of more than 60 nations across the globe. In 2018 they were active in fewer than a dozen and expelled from several others, most recently Turkey.
The decline in the power of international organizations was partly due to the dramatic rise in the economic and financial clout wielded by global business empires based on modern technology.
Exerting meaningful control
The globalization paradigm enjoyed the support of most countries for as long as the very relevance of the nation-state was not challenged. However, the 2008 global financial crisis revealed the inability of nation-states to exert meaningful control through the international mechanisms in place.
Trump won the presidency at a time that the global system fathered by the American “Wise Men” had entered its phase of decline. Together with elections in a dozen other countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, Trump’s election was an emotional response to a malaise felt across the world.
But what is to be done?
The British tried to provide an answer with their Brexit.
The Hungarians, Poles, Czechs, Swedes, Germans, Austrians and Italians have opted for various forms of nationalism with a taste of xenophobia.
In Russia, Vladimir Putin has embarked on a strategy of power projection to hide fundamental weaknesses.
In Xi Jinping’s China, sino-centrism rather than classical Maoism now sets the tone.
Trump has tried to offer a mixture of strategic isolationism and tactical activism with “America First” as ideological topos.
Some Western luminaries, for example German philosopher Jurgen Habermas and former Pope Benedict, preach a return to “Christian culture” as the backbone of an alternative global order, at least for Europe and the Americas.
Both Truman in San Francisco and Trump in New York tried to attract world attention to a real problem. Truman had a solution in the form of the global architecture the US erected around the concept of globalization.
Trump, in contrast, has confined himself to guerrilla attacks on aspects of globalization to attract interest in the problem. That in itself merits the quest for a new paradigm.

‘They studied in Western universities’
Hazem Saghieh/Al Arabiya English/October 13/18
There is a sentence that has been repeated while welcoming Barham Salih as the President of Iraq and Adel Abdul-Mahdi as prime minister-designate and which is “he has studied in Western universities”.The same refrain was made when Omar Razzaz was tasked with forming the current government in Jordan. This sentence works like a double edged sword, as it comes in the backdrop of various revolutionary upheavals and coups over the decades, and implicitly refers to a time of “renaissance” when “education” was described as the pre-requisite for development.
As for the reference in the sentence to the “West”, it is part and parcel of the idea of “renaissance”. Didn’t the whole renaissance saga began when Rifa’a al-Tahtawi and Ahmad Faris Shidyaq, among others travelled to the West? Their approach implied a tendency that was fought for many decades – the tendency of dealing with the West as a source of knowledge and enlightenment, and not as a source of aggression and colonialism.
In this regard, studying in some of the best Western universities carries with it the tag of having good morals that are regarded as guarantees against corruption and towards protecting public money. The refrain also comes with an air of nostalgia for the times few of us lived in and most of us have only heard or read about. The other face of nostalgia is a protest over a time when the officer, security figure, preacher and suspicious millionaire replaced the graduates of Western universities.
The resumes of Salih, Abdul-Mahdi and Razzaz raise optimism, without serving the theory of optimism in the principle of studying in the West. First, there are still doubts about the real capabilities of these sincere graduates who have become politicians as long as issues of political authority and sharing it is not yet settled in any Arab country. We are aware that many Arab regimes have exaggerated the term “technocrat”, where it means holding the capabilities of power but without having any real power. Salam Fayyad’s experience in Ramallah is probably the best example in this regard.
This optimism which has its reasons points to the naivety of many. Just as a reminder, we belong to societies where rulers believe that they own and inherit the nation. Our half-baked identities stilt our progress and foment civil wars. Battles tear us apart — with their savagery, dissipation of wealth and medieval ideas. Such challenges cannot be confronted just by a bunch of educated and honest people whom optimism pictures as alternatives to much needed popular movements and broad intellectual changes. What is more dangerous is that being sanguine about “education” as the agent for “improving conditions” might end up with having people who are merely optimistic about “working” to reconstruct what “wars have destroyed,” similar to what is being said about the “reconstruction” of Syria. We should not forget that Bashar al-Assad almost became the graduate of a Western university.

ANALYSIS: Why Iran’s truckers strike is not an isolated incident

Reza Shafiee/ Al Arabiya English/October 13/18
Iran is faced with a second round of truckers’ strikes this year. It has spread to 290 cities in 31 provinces across the country.
Last round of truckers’ strike was in late July and early August. The demands remain the same because the Iranian regime is offering them a bunch of empty promises. The regime wants the truckers to break their strike and it has made hundreds of arrests so far.
Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, the regime’s Chief Prosecutor General said on September 29th: “According to the information we have, in some routes, some of the cities, there are elements who are provoking some of the truckers, or possibly blocking them and creating problems for them.They are subject to the rules and regulations of banditry and the punishment of the bandits according to the law is very severe, sometimes resulting in the death penalty.” Around 240 strikers have been arrests according to human rights activists in Iran.
On September 30th, judiciary’s spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei added: “Those provoked by the enemy to disrupt the transport system should be reminded that a heavy punishment is waiting for the rabble-rousers… All the prosecutors across the country have been called up to detain disrupters with the help of security forces without hesitation.”
Colonel Kavos Mohammadi, a deputy of the Fars provincial police force, described the strikers as “disrupters of the order,” and said: “Following the disrupting acts of some of these people on the roads of Fars ... After the visible and invisible patrol of officers, 22 thugs and disrupters of public order on the roads were arrested and, after filing a case, they were sent to the judiciary authorities and through them to the prisons. Police will deal with sensitivity and vigilance with the smallest insecurity factors in coordination with the judiciary, and the process of confronting with the disrupters of order and security of the roads and axes of Fars province will continue on a daily basis. The police monitor and control all the roads in this province, visibly and invisibly, and resolutely deal with all elements of disrupters of order and security in these areas.”
What do truckers want?
The strikers’ demands are for better pay for meeting Iran’s sky rocking living costs. They specified demands such as base charges according to “tons per kilometer”; restructuring the truckers’ guild through free elections; the decrease in truck prices; providing spare parts and tires through government rated currency (42,000 rials per US dollar); increasing drivers’ salaries and a 35 percent increase in transfer rates; increasing retirement pensions, especially considering skyrocketing inflation and prices.
They are also calling for an increase in road safety and security; supervision over fees demanded by transportation companies; decreasing commissions for loads and renovating the truck fleet; providing fuel rations for transport trucks and providing this fuel on a permanent basis to the drivers and truck owners; decreasing highway tolls; controlling the process of load terminals and providing health and recreational facilitation for the drivers at the city and border loading stations;punishing authorities that bribe the drivers.
Although the list is long but has a simple message: truckers are unhappy as are the rest of the Iranian people with this regime.
This image made from video broadcast on Iranian State Television shows trucks outside Fordo nuclear facility in Iran on Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. (Iran State Television via AP)
Growing protests
Latest reports indicate fuel truck drivers working for refineries in Tabriz, Kerman, Bandar Abbas, Arak, Kazerun, Qazvin, Sari, Ahvaz, and Abhar joined their fellow truckers in strike.
Jamal Hamidi, director of the loading station in Bandar Khomeini of Khuzestan Province (southwest Iran) said on October 3: “On Sunday, most truck drivers at the loading station went on strike. While 2,000 trucks are active in this loading station each day, only 300 accepted to load any goods on Sunday.”
Two weeks into the strikes, despite attempts by the regime to break it up, there are no signs of truckers giving in.
Domestic support
Most of Iranian workers unions unanimously voice their support for striking truckers. The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC); Haft Tapeh Sugar Refinery Workers Syndicate and teachers are supporting the strikes. The American Teamsters Union, the largest in Northern America, throws its support behind fellow drivers in Iran. This is the second time this year that the Teamsters’ Union supported the striking drivers in Iran.
James P. Hoffa General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which has 1.4 million members in the US and Canada wrote a letter to Deputy Director of Iran’s interests in the US, Abolfazl Mehrabadi and urged the Iranian Regime to listen to the demands of the striking workers.
The letter read in part: “We urge the government of Iran to listen to the grievance of striking Iranian truck drivers, address their just demands and recognize their internationally recognized rights to assembly, speech, freedom of association and collective bargaining.”
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) expresses its concern about the Iranian government’s reaction to the latest industrial action by truck drivers, which is in its second week. IFT said: “The ITF is extremely concerned that news emerging from Iran has detailed a large number of driver arrests.”
IFT’s statement added:” Most seriously, the ITF understands that Iran’s attorney general, Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri, has suggested that those who initiated the protest actions will be subject to the death penalty, citing a threat to national security. His comments have been echoed by other clerics.”
ITF head of inland transport Noel Coard said: “We are very concerned about the situation. Let it be clear that ITF unions globally voice their solidarity and stand alongside the truckers of Iran in their fight to defend workers’ rights.”
It is a big mistake to see the truckers’ strike as an isolated incident. It is well connected to other protests taking place everyday in Iran because they have the same roots. The country has been in turmoil since January and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is trying very hard to play it down.

US Needs a Global Alliance Against Russia’s Cyberattacks
James Stavridis/Bloomberg/October 13/18
While Russian hacking has been a persistent threat for several years now, the past few days shed new light on the vast scale of Moscow’s cybercrimes directed against the US, NATO and nongovernmental organizations around the world.
At the top of the list was the revelation of an attempted attack on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which has led the effort to investigate the use of banned munitions by Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator supported by the Kremlin. The plot was foiled by Dutch and British intelligence agencies, and resulted in the arrest of four men said to be members of the Russian military’s massive spy agency, the GRU.
Similarly, the US justice department indicted seven Russian intelligence operatives for hacking international doping associations, which gained the particular ire of President Vladimir Putin for getting Russian athletes banned from the 2016 and 2018 Olympics. And last Thursday Secretary of Defense James Mattis pledged more US support for NATO’s efforts to counter Russian hacking, a response to alleged Russian attacks on the alliance and its troops in recent years.
To understand the Russian cyber-apparatus, it is necessary to appreciate the degree to which it is the ultimate private-public cooperation network. Not only is there Russian offensive activity by the Kremlin via traditional military and civil structures such as the GRU, according to Western intelligence services the Kremlin uses a loosely organized network of cyber-criminals to do it dirty work for it. Think of this as the modern issuance of “letters of marque” that countries issued centuries ago to allow civilian naval “privateers” (aka pirates) to prey on their enemies. Britain’s Sir Francis Drake was a dramatic example of this strategy. Putin, who deeply appreciates all manners of so-called asymmetrical warfare, has long sought to disrupt Western powers, undermine the NATO alliance, sow division between the US and its European allies, and advance Russian interests globally. It is also a way for Putin to appeal to his support base in Russia, where his popularity is uncharacteristically dropping. And while Americans are of course aware of the Kremlin’s efforts to undermine US democracy in the 2016 presidential election, Russia has done much the same across Europe as part of a larger comprehensive strategy. So, what can the US and its allies do in response? Four key tasks: reveal, respond, rebuild and retaliate.
We must begin by revealing the extent of the damage caused not only by Russian state activity, but by those private proxies as well. This means an active, public campaign that outs Russian activity and keeps it in the news. The highly publicized Justice Department press conference announcing the indictments of Russian operatives is a good example of this. While there is justifiable hesitation concerning classified information and revealing too much of what we know and see publicly, there is still room for more aggressive effort to bring sunshine on Russian activities. And not just by the US: Interpol and other international law-enforcement organizations can be very helpful.
In addition to simply revealing the extent of Russian activity, we need to respond forcefully and in concert with our allies. This must include publicly demanding Russian behavior stop through statements by international organizations from NATO to the United Nations to the nongovernmental groups that have been attacked. The West needs to articulate that there will be significant consequences if the behavior continues, demonstrate its ability to conduct offensive cyber-actions in response, and make the point that our responses may go beyond the cyber-sphere — economic sanctions, expelling diplomats and the like.
Third, we need to rebuild our defensive structures. This means Congress, the military and the intelligence agencies devoting more resources to domestic cyber-defenses; creating a dedicated Cyber Force (more necessary at this moment than the Trump administration’s new Space Force); working more closely with our allies, partners and friends to coordinate our defensive techniques; and offering US cyber expertise to close allies outside Europe such as Japan and the Gulf states that face Russian hacking threats.
Finally, the US and its allies may need to retaliate in a creative way. While the temptation may be to respond in kind, through cyberattacks on the Russian government, the smarter course may be to broaden the level of action. In retaliation for the attack on the anti-doping organization, for example, more bans on Russian sports teams are in order. In response to anti-NATO efforts, we should work with the European Union to increase economic sanctions. After the attack on the chemical weapons organizations, we could retaliate by revealing in depth and detail the level of corruption of officials at the highest level of the Russian government, to include depth of their knowledge of Syrian chemical programs.
There is an old Russian maxim attributed to Lenin: “Probe with bayonets: If you encounter mush, proceed; if you encounter steel, withdraw." Interestingly, it was President Richard Nixon who popularized that expression in the West, and he was someone who understood Russia very well. The US and its allies will need a more steely approach in dealing with the new wave of Russian cyberattacks.

Colonel Charbel Baraka't Eulogy During Nasri Diab's Funeral Ceremonia
l/October 11/18
God be with you… He always was…
We are bidding you farewell here in Canada the country you always considered Home and once told me: “Here I was borne and here I will die” …
But your country and the nostalgia for its soil and people did not leave you…
You were always worried about everyone…
Your parents, your kids, your grandchildren, the Ain-Eblis and Lebanese in Canada…
You were one of the founders of “Our Lady of Lebanon” in Toronto and when the community grew you helped in “St Charbel Church”.
The Adventure is in your blood; from Haifa to Aden to Kuwait and to the first modern Chicken farm in Ain-Ebel, all are witnessing your enthusiasm and leadership.
You have born outside Lebanon in the near diaspora, but your belonging to Lebanon was strong and the summer days in Ain-Ebel used to attract you to the land of your ancestors…
For sure it had more meaning after you met Carmeline…
Alas nobody knows what is hidden… the international game is always stronger than the youth dreams…
This is how the first major change in your life brought you back to the village you loved…
Then the “Lamoubalat” group grew… and the long-life way started with hard work and effort…
To give, Abu Nasri, back the hope in a family that left every thing behind, you traveled to Aden and engaged in work with full activity and enthusiasm…
You came back to Beirut where you became closer to your village and your love… this is how you started the life-long way that resemble to a love story that still going after more than sixty years…
Kuwait was a successful experience, but again, the dream to build something in the mother country pushed you back… you started the chicken farm and made it a success… but the complexity of the Lebanese system did not translate your ambitions…
This is how you emigrated to faraway, this time, and reached the land of ice, but there you felt the dignity and open opportunity… since then your dream became true… you brought your family, engaged in business… and God blessed your work, love and activity, doubled your revenue, so the future smiled and the doors were opened large for you… your house welcomed everyone and ease their worries…
Your life way Nasri like a dream always flourishes with blessings and around it looms an aura of happiness… you gathered the big family, the village fellows and opened on the whole Lebanese community so we had a place in Canada. This is how, when those who run away from the war arrived to this land, they found warm houses, families and friends…
Today we are bidding you farewell while you go back to our Lord carrying your doubled treasures and the love of all who know you…
We bid farewell a respectful old man who kept his dignity until the last day… and passed away crowned with the grace of God, the love of his life mate who, with him, decorated, not only their house but the whole community…
And with the sympathy of his children, his grandchildren, his brothers and sisters who gathered, at the Thanksgiving Day, and with him, thanked the Lord for his grace and delivered the trust…
Oh, you Nasri… that brave knight coming after the effort of the big battle of life, dusted with the good will, crowned with joy, good reputation and people’s love… we ask you to pray for us so we can continue our way and finish the days, like you, with effort love and faith…
I am sure the doors of heaven will open for your and you will hear Him saying:” enter your Master’s Joy”
God have mercy on you…