Detailed Lebanese & Lebanese Related LCCC English New Bulletin For October 17/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
Who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted
Luke 14/07-11/"When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. ‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, "Give this person your place", and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, "Friend, move up higher"; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

Vote Charbel Bassil for the Catholic Separate French Trustee Board Schools In Mississauga انتخب شربل باسيل لعضوية مجلس أمناء المدارس الكاثوليكية الفرنسية في ماسيسوكا
نشرات اخبار عربية وانكليزية مطولة ومفصلة يومية على موقعنا الألكتروني على الرابط التالي

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

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 16-17/18
Victories/Dr.Walid Phares/Face Book/October 16/18
US Designates Hezbollah as Transnational Criminal Organization/Washington, Beirut /Asharq Al-Awsat/October, 16/18
Pompeo Meets Saudi King Salman Over Missing Journalist/Reuters/Jerusalem Post/October 16/18
What Multiculturalism Hides/Jan Keller/Gatestone Institute/October 16/18
Now Europe Should Worry About Higher US Yields/Mohamed El-Erian/Bloomberg/October 16/18
Saudi Arabia: Challenges for "Vision 2030"/A. Z. Mohamed/Gatestone Institute/October 16/18
For peace campaign among religions/Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran/Al Arabiya/October 16/18
Thucydides Trap and trickle-down effect of US-China ties/Sabena Siddiqui/Al Arabiya/October 16/18
Zero Hunger: Our actions today are our future tomorrow/José Graziano da Silva/Al Arabiya/October 16/18

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 16-17/18
US Designates Hezbollah as Transnational Criminal Organization
Lebanese Welcome Reopening of Jordanian-Syrian Border Crossing
Berri from Geneva: Security in Syria safety net for Iraq and Lebanon, gives hope to Palestinians
Future bloc praises new political climate and hopes it leads to national entente government
Sahnawi after Strong Lebanon bloc meeting: Our hand is extended to all, we will put differences aside in next stage
Bou Assi signs agreement with Italian ambassador to extend child-friendly cities project
Kataeb: Everything built on short-term interests remains dependent on them, falls upon their clashing
Jumblatt after Aoun meeting: There must be a settlement
Aounist-LF Dispute Contained as Lebanese Govt. Lineup Close to Completion
Lebanon Launches Reform Workshop Based on Cedre Conference Conditions
Jumblat Hands Aoun 'List' to Resolve Druze Minister Spat
Report: Druze Obstacle Likely ‘Eased’ Paving Way for Government Lineup
Aoun, Hariri Meet Parties in New Govt. Formation Drive
President Meets Iraqi Foreign Minister
Clashes in Palestinian Refugee Camp Wound 6
Satirist Hisham Haddad Questioned for 'Insulting Judiciary'

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 16-17/18
U.S. Announces Sanctions on Key Iranian Paramilitary Force
Pompeo Meets Saudi King Salman Over Missing Journalist
Pompeo Holds Crisis Talks in Riyadh on Missing Journalist
Turkey Official Says Journalist Murder 'Evidence' Found in Saudi Consulate
Top U.S. Senators Scold MBS, Vow Action over Khashoggi Debacle
Trump Says MBS Vows 'Full' Probe into Missing Journalist
Syria: Bulldozers Scoop Slow Way to Recovery in Yarmouk
450 Jihadists Killed in Egypt Sinai Offensive
Iraqi PM Presents Incomplete Govt. Lineup
Koreas and UN Command Discuss Demilitarising Border
Frenchman Held in Yemen Released with Saudi Help

The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 16-17/18
Dr.Walid Phares/Face Book/October 16/18
One human failure among Lebanese leaders and politicians during the war and the Taef era is to measure the national interest with their own well being. If they find themselves happy, stable, surviving, and with a minimal base to stay around, then this would be considered a victory, even if the country was invaded, dominated, its leaders assassinated, and economically crushed...

US Designates Hezbollah as Transnational Criminal Organization
Washington, Beirut /Asharq Al-Awsat/October, 16/18
The US Department of Justice designated on Monday the Lebanese “Hezbollah” party as a transnational criminal organization.
The designation was part of an announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the creation of a new task force aimed at zeroing in on the three of the world's most notorious drug cartels and the brutal MS-13 street gang. Hezbollah has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the US. This is the first time it was labeled as a transnational criminal organization. In 2015, the US Treasury accused Hezbollah of drug smuggling and money laundering, charges denied by the party’s chief Hassan Nasrallah. Speaking to a group of federal prosecutors on Monday, Sessions designated groups as top transnational organized crime threats and said the new task force will "develop a plan to take each of these groups off of our streets for good."  The task force will allow federal prosecutors to better target priority organizations and make prosecutions "more effective," he said. As part of initiative, prosecutors will lead specialized subcommittees focusing on each of the organizations. The groups include the Sinaloa Cartel, Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion and Clan del Golfo and Hezbollah. The subcommittees investigating the drug cartels are led by prosecutors who have charged drug kingpins and led cases that resulted in the seizures of millions of dollars. The subcommittee on Hezbollah will be led by Assistant US Attorney Ilan Graff of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Graff is overseeing the prosecution of two members of Hezbollah’s External Security Organization, the first such operatives to be charged with terrorism offenses in the US. Sessions has ordered each of these subcommittees to provide specific recommendations within 90 days on how to disrupt and dismantle these organizations, whether through prosecution, diplomacy, or other lawful means.

Lebanese Welcome Reopening of Jordanian-Syrian Border Crossing
Beirut - Nazeer Rida/Asharq Al-Awsat/October 16/18/Lebanon welcomed the official reopening of the Nassib border crossing between Jordan and Syria after its three-year closure. Monday’s development is expected to revitalize Lebanon’s agriculture and industry sectors, as well as transit activity. President Michel Aoun hailed the reopening of the crossing, saying it will restore Lebanon’s connection to Arab countries. He noted that the reopening will reduce the cost of exports to Arab countries, calling on all sides to take advantage of the opportunity and revive the economy. Head of the Bekaa farmers’ association Ibrahim Tarshishi said that General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim had confirmed to him that Lebanon could now return to exporting products to Arab countries through the Nassib crossing. “After contacting Syrian authorities, Ibrahim said that the road is open for Lebanese products and the situation has returned to the way it was before the eruption of the border crisis in 2015,” he added. Caretaker Agriculture Minister Ghazi Zoaiter said the return of Lebanese trucks through the Syrian border was restored without any complications. “The reopening will greatly revive the agriculture sector,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat. He said it would be “ideal” if agricultural exports reached $200 million, an amount equivalent to 60 percent of exports to Arab Gulf countries that was reached before the eruption of the Syrian crisis in 2011. “We would be able to compensate farmers’ losses if we are able to reach these figures,” he explained. Prior to its closure, 85 percent of Lebanese agricultural exports used to pass through the Nassib crossing. Its closure halved these figures and negatively impacted exports. Lebanon resorted to exports by sea, which cost it $27 million. Despite this alternate route, said Zoaiter, Lebanon was unable to meet its projected goals and the agricultural exports dropped. “Lebanon has a great interest in restoring exports by land. It may even be the greatest beneficiary from the reopening of the crossing,” he remarked. Lebanon’s industrial sector is also set to witness a revival with the reopening. This is related to the food industry and old partnerships between Beirut and Arab countries. Sources following up on the file told Asharq Al-Awsat that the resumption of transit through Jordan will revive Lebanese industrial production to meet market demands.

Berri from Geneva: Security in Syria safety net for Iraq and Lebanon, gives hope to Palestinians

Tue 16 Oct 2018/NNA - Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is participating in the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, while remaining in contact with Beirut in the context of following up on the formation of the government.
Berri told the accompanying media delegation that there is progress in the government formation process, expressing hope to agree, soon, on the full composition of the cabinet. In Geneva, Berri met with the Iranian parliamentary delegation participating in these meetings, headed by MP Fatima Husseini, in the presence of MPs Yassin Jaber and Michel Moussa. The head of the Iranian parliamentary delegation praised the relations between Lebanon and Iran, and the role played by Speaker Berri in addressing many issues in Lebanon and the region.
"Iran supports Lebanon in all areas and in its battle against the Israeli enemy and terrorism," she said. Berri, in turn, reiterated appreciation to Iran's "support for the resistance in Lebanon, which is an important factor along with the unity of the Lebanese." "The existence of terrorism represented by Daeh and Al-Nusra was aimed at distracting us from the political Qibla of Muslims and Christians, ie, Al-Quds and the Palestinian cause, and the aim was to change the compass through this terrorism and sedition among Muslims," he said, stressing the need "to be aware that the plan is continuing to target unity in Iraq, so as to create something similar to a border strip in northern Syria.""Safety in Syria is a safety net for Iraq and Lebanon, and at least gives hope to the Palestinian brothers to recover their land and their rights," Berri concluded.
The Speaker later met with Francophone Parliament Speaker, Jacques Chagnon, with talks touching on strengthening cooperation between Lebanon and the Francophonie.

Future bloc praises new political climate and hopes it leads to national entente government
Tue 16 Oct 2018/NNA - Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri chaired this afternoon at the Center House a meeting of the Future parliamentary bloc. At the end of the meeting, it issued the following statement read by MP Sami Fatfat:
First - The bloc discussed the formation of the government and the calming down of the political debate after the waves of escalation in recent days. In this regard, it praised the continuous cooperation between the Prime minister-designate and the President of the Republic and the work under way to create the necessary conditions for the birth of a national entente government, which would be productive in its work and serve the citizens and the interests of the State and its institutions.
The bloc also praised the appreciation of the concerned leaders of the sensitivity of this phase and the importance of working to calm the political discourse. This was clear in the calls to stop the campaigns and make the logic of dialogue and convergence prevail over the atmosphere of escalation.
The bloc expressed its satisfaction with the developments in the past 24 hours, the results of the meetings held at the Center House and the stances expressed by those concerned with following-up government affairs.
The bloc hopes optimism will continue and counts on the efforts of the Prime Minister-designate this week to reach a government formula that will have the largest consensus and get confidence of the Lebanese who eagerly await the birth of their government.
Second- The bloc discussed stances taken by some about the political settlement, and considered they do not help protect the political stability and cooperation that the Lebanese desire in facing internal and external challenges.
The settlement broke the wall blocking the presidential elections and opened the way for the election of General Michel Aoun as president and without it, the country would still be hostage of the work to suspend applying the constitution.
The settlement achieved political stability that allowed a new government to be formed that restored respect of constitutional and governmental institutions.
The settlement extinguished the fire of sedition, which threatened to result from surrounding conflicts and wars, and put the country on the brink of a civil conflict, chapters of which we experienced in Beirut, Tripoli, Sidon and others.
The settlement achieved parliamentary elections, in which we made sacrifices, for the national accord and the integrity of the democratic system.
When the Future bloc says that it is committed to this settlement, it simply means that it is committed to the obligations and the mechanisms that led to it, first and foremost to protect political stability and the basics of national entente.
The Future bloc stresses that the settlement was not, and will not be under any circumstances, a mean to revise the constitutional, national and administrative rules stipulated in the Taif Agreement, and any directions otherwise mean turning back time and disagreeing again about the requirements of the national entente. Third- The Future bloc expresses its solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the face of the campaigns against it, and stresses that any threat against it will directly threaten regional stability and security and will lead to confrontation with many Arab and Islamic societies.

Sahnawi after Strong Lebanon bloc meeting: Our hand is extended to all, we will put differences aside in next stage

Tue 16 Oct 2018/NNA - Deputy President of the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Nicolas Sahnawi, stressed, in a statement in the wake of the Strong Lebanon's weekly bloc meeting headed by Minister Gebran Bassil, on the necessity of "forming a government that respects the minimum of fair representation, which requires forming a government of national unity that includes all the parliament components.""It is important that the government be productive, dominated by consensus between the basic blocs on pressing issues such as displacement, the economy and fighting corruption," he said. "Our hand is extended to all and we will put aside the differences in the next stage, as we do not want those to affect the work of the cabinet," he added. Sahnawi touched on the clashes in the Mieh w Mieh camp and its repercussions on neighboring areas. He called on the concerned parties to "spare the Lebanese the dangers resulting from the Syrian displacement so that we do not end up with clashes in the camps of displaced Syrians, similar to those we see currently in Mieh w Mieh." He praised the opening of the Naseeb crossing, saying that it is "a good first and positive indicator of Lebanese goods transit towards the Arab countries." He wished in conclusion "to open the border between all Arab countries so as to revive the Lebanese economy," stressing that his words "comes from a purely patriotic background, not political, and that it makes no sense not to let Lebanon benefit from the process of reconstruction of Syria."

Bou Assi signs agreement with Italian ambassador to extend child-friendly cities project
Tue 16 Oct 2018/NNA - Caretaker Minister of Social Affairs, Pierre Bou Assi, and Italy's Ambassador to Lebanon, Massimo Marotti, signed an agreement this Tuesday to extend the "Mosaic" project for child-friendly cities, within the framework of the program "Strengthening Lebanese Institutions and Supporting the Most Marginalized Groups at the Local Level", executed by the Ministry of Social Affairs, funded by the Italian Development Agency, in partnership with the municipalities of Chiah, Jdeideh-Bouchrieh-Al-sedd, Ajaltoun, Bebnin, Rashaya and Tyre. Through the project, children's municipal councils were established to ensure their integration in their communities. The meeting was attended by the director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Lebanon, Donatella Proseci, Heads of the participating municipalities and the children participating in the municipal councils.
"This initiative has several dimensions and it was implemented upon the contribution of the Italian people by paying taxes in their country to implement this project in Lebanon, so we have to invest this program in the best possible way," said Minister Bou Assi.
"The participating children are a 'Mosaic' from Lebanon because they are from different sects and regions of Lebanon, what gave the project richness. It brings together a wider range of humanity and common values that combine the components of the society and preserve its continuity," he added. "Respect for the human being, his dignity, his freedom, his life and his well-being are a red line. He has the right to express his opinion and make the right decisions, but he is also entitled to pursuing happiness, and this is the goal of this program," Bou Assi maintained. Ambassador Marotti, in turn, stressed that "the Italian aid policy is centered around the individual and his rights, which helps the Mosaic project to create good citizens and to strengthen the potential of the Ministry of Social Affairs to implement its social development plan in support of the spread of Lebanese human capital."

Kataeb: Everything built on short-term interests remains dependent on them, falls upon their clashing
Tue 16 Oct 2018/ NNA - President of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, MP Sami Gemayel, headed the weekly meeting of the Political Bureau at the Central House in Saifi, during which discussions touched on the latest political developments and the overall situation. After the meeting, the party called in a statement "on the influential economic actors in the society to exert real pressure on those concerned, so as to form a government of specialists freed from the logic of quotas and able to begin a comprehensive reform process to save the financial and economic situation before it is too late.""Given the tumult, the campaigns and the counter-campaigns between political parties, there is evidence that all that is built on short-lived interests, away from the higher national interest, remains dependent on these interests and falls by their fall or their clashing," the statement read. Conferees warned against "the repression of the freedom of opinion and expression and the freedom of political action of groups and individuals, which requires the Lebanese to be fully aware of the seriousness of the stage and what can be harbored for Lebanon under several pretexts, which could bring it back to the practices of the time of trusteeship.""In order to preserve Lebanon's relations with the Arab and international societies, and in light of the dissociation decision, the Kataeb Party refuses to drag Lebanon into the blazing regional fires, and to make the country a platform to launch media and political attacks on friendly Arab countries, especially those in Saudi Arabia; the country which helped Lebanon in the darkest days and supported its institutions and opened its labor markets to hundreds of thousands of Lebanese," the statement concluded.

Jumblatt after Aoun meeting: There must be a settlement
Tue 16 Oct 2018/NNA - Leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, said after his meeting with President Michel Aoun that "several issues were tackled with the President Aoun, and the atmosphere was very positive. The Druze knot is nonexistent. Politics are all about compromise." "There are specific demands that are acceptable and there must be a settlement," he said, stressing that he has handed over the President, as others did, "a list of the solution to the third Druze minister, and the decision is in the hands of the President."
"We insist on the Ministry of Education, and we do not want any ministry over which there is rivalry," Jumblatt said.

Aounist-LF Dispute Contained as Lebanese Govt. Lineup Close to Completion
Beirut - Paula Astih/Asharq Al-Awsat/October 16/18/The tension that prevailed last week between the Free Patriotic Movement and Lebanese Forces officials was contained this week, signaling the near birth of a new cabinet, four months after Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri was tasked with the mission. Meetings and contacts were intensified on Monday to eliminate the last obstacles hindering the formation of the new government. “The new government will see the light probably in the coming two days,” Sami Fatfat, a deputy from the Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc told Asharq Al-Awsat. He said the latest government lineup allowed leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, to name two Druze ministers, on condition that all concerned parties back the candidacy of the third minister. As for the Christian disputes, Fatfat said the LF will receive the position of deputy prime minister and three other portfolios, including the Culture Ministry. The Mustaqbal Movement, he continued, should obtain three portfolios, the position of a state minister and the premiership. Meanwhile, sources close to President Michel Aoun told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Contacts and negotiations are underway to facilitate Hariri’s mission.” They said some obstacles have already been resolved, but others remain. “The overall picture will become clearer in the next hours, although the general climate signals the near completion of a new ministry,” the sources said. LF sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that contacts were held between the Central House (Hariri’s headquarters) and Maarab (LF leader Samir Geagea’s residence) at the end of last week to discuss the latest developments concerning the government formation process. Late on Monday, Hariri received former Prime Ministers Fouad Siniora, Najib Miqati and Tammam Salam to discuss the situation and the latest developments, particularly the formation of the government. Hariri separately met with caretaker Minister of Displaced Talal Arlan and caretaker Information Minister Melhem Riachi. Following the meeting, Arslan said: “Our duty is to support Hariri and facilitate his mission in forming the government, but not by eliminating ourselves from the political map.” Asked if he heard from Hariri that a government will be formed in the next few days, Riachi replied: “Probably not in the next few days, maybe a little more, but the way he is working can lead to a government soon. He is very serious and he is overcoming numerous obstacles to form the government.”

Lebanon Launches Reform Workshop Based on Cedre Conference Conditions
Beirut - Youssef Diab/Asharq Al-Awsat/October 16/18/Lebanon launched a workshop to implement administrative and financial reforms required by the Cedre Conference. Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri issued two decisions to state ministries and departments, in which he called for rationalizing spending and controlling squandering. In a circular issued on Monday, he called on all public administrations, institutions, municipalities, municipal councils, funds and bodies, to work for the public interest and adhere to the policy of expenditure rationalization. In another circular, he called on all public institutions to “abide by the provisions of the law on banking secrecy, for every entity, including state administrations, public institutions, municipalities and unions, and to cooperate with tax authorities and give them all the required information to carry out their tasks.” These measures intersect with the decisions of the April Cedre conference, which called on the Lebanese government to embark on financial reforms that would reduce the budget deficit and put an end to useless spending. Mustaqbal bloc MP Nazih Najm said that circulars and decisions issued by Hariri fell within the framework of the reform plan to put an end to squandering of state finances.  In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he noted that strict measures were needed to combat corruption and stop the unselective employment of public institutions. According to Economist Sami Nader, “the instructions issued by the prime minister are more than necessary.” He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the country could not survive with “a deficit amounting to $7 billion dollars a year, a deficit of around $4 billion in the balance of payments, in addition to the decline in revenues and the absence of economic growth.”

Jumblat Hands Aoun 'List' to Resolve Druze Minister Spat
Naharnet/October 16/18/Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat on Tuesday said he handed President Michel Aoun a “list” of candidates in order to resolve the spat over the so-called third Druze minister in the new government. Speaking to reporters after meeting Aoun in Baabda, Jumblat described the talks as “very positive.” “The Druze obstacle does not exist, seeing as politics is the 'science of compromises,'” Jumblat added. “We insist on getting the education ministerial portfolio and we don't want any ministry on which there are disputes,” the Druze leader went on to say. Jumblat had been seeking to get all three Druze seats for his PSP amid insistence by Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan on being allocated one of the portfolios. Media reports have said that the solution is based on the appointment of a so-called “consensus” Druze minister. Earlier in the day, Arslan had announced that he is “open to all solutions that do not involve elimination.”

Report: Druze Obstacle Likely ‘Eased’ Paving Way for Government Lineup

Naharnet/October 16/18/Efforts to lineup the government have not seized over the weekend, as meetings and contacts were intensified to ease the obstacles mainly the Druze and Christian representation. The Druze “obstacle” has reportedly been “eased”, media reports said on Tuesday, and the Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat has reportedly agreed to allocate only two Druze ministerial seats instead of three. Jumblat has "agreed" to leave naming the third minister to all concerned parties on condition that he garners consensus. Reports said MP Talal Arslan has agreed to give up his demand for the third Druze seat. Unnamed sources told al-Joumhouria daily that a meeting between PM-designate Saad Hariri and Arslan on Monday has paved way for easing the gridlock. Hariri was designated to form a government on May 24, but his mission has since been delayed because of conflict between political parties over shares and portfolios.Late on Monday, the Premier held talks at the Center House with former PMs Fouad Saniora, Najib Miqati and Tammam Salam to discuss the government formation.

Aoun, Hariri Meet Parties in New Govt. Formation Drive
Naharnet/October 16/18/President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri met with representatives of a number of political parties on Tuesday amid reported progress in the cabinet formation process. At the Baabda Palace, Aoun met with the 'Mount Lebanon Guarantee' bloc which is led by MP Talal Arslan and comprises the lawmakers Cesar Abi Khalil, Mario Aoun and Farid al-Bustani. Asked about the wrangling over the third Druze seat in the government, Arslan told reporters: “I have said what I have in this regard to the President and the PM-designate Saad Hariri, detailing what we can do in this regard. I stressed that as a parliamentary bloc in Mt. Lebanon as have the right to be represented.”“We want to facilitate the process but not on the basis of elimination,” Arslan added. Asked whether a certain solution had been reached with President Aoun, the MP said: “Any specific solution regarding Druze representation in the government has not been raised with me or with my colleagues. We have done what is needed from us in terms of the needed concessions, and today the ball in not in our court but rather in the court of others.”Also on Tuesday, Hariri met at the Center House with caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil of the AMAL Movement. The National News Agency said the two men discussed “the latest political developments and the general situations.”Hariri also met with Druze leader Walid Jumblat's envoy MP Wael Abu Faour. LBCI television said the meeting was aimed at “coordination ahead of Jumblat's meeting with President Michel Aoun.”

President Meets Iraqi Foreign Minister
Naharnet/October 16/18/President Michel Aoun received Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on Tuesday at the Baabda Presidential Palace, the National News Agency reported. After the meeting, the Iraqi Minister hailed Aoun's positions and stressed “solidarity with Lebanon's unity, sovereignty and independence.”"We rely on deepening and anchoring the ties between Iraq and the Lebanese people in all its components," the visiting FM told reporters. For his part, Aoun said: “The challenges facing the Arab countries require strengthening solidarity among them.”Jaafari arrived in Beirut on Tuesday coming from Damascus aboard a private jet with an accompanying delegation. Jaafari, on a two-day official visit, is scheduled to hold talks with senior officials over the means to bolster bilateral relations between Lebanon and Iraq, in addition to the latest regional developments.

Clashes in Palestinian Refugee Camp Wound 6
Associated Press/Naharnet/October 16/18/Lebanese security officials say clashes between rival Palestinian factions in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon wounded at least six people. The officials say the clashes broke out Monday between members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah and Jundallah, which is allied with Hizbullah. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said most of the six wounded are Fatah members. Clashes are uncommon in the camp of Miyeh ou Miyeh, near the port city of Sidon. Last year, the first official census of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon revealed that they numbered 174,422, a figure almost two-thirds less than previously estimated. The refugees include those who fled or were driven out of what is now Israel during the 1948 war and their descendants.

Satirist Hisham Haddad Questioned for 'Insulting Judiciary'

Naharnet/October 16/18/Mount Lebanon First Examining Magistrate Nicolas Mansour on Tuesday interrogated prominent TV host and comedian Hisham Haddad over a segment of his show that was deemed insulting to the Lebanese judiciary, the National News Agency said. Haddad's lawyer Ashraf al-Moussawi said his client was released after questioning and that the file was referred to the Baabda court of publications. Haddad for his part clarified that he did not have “the criminal intention to insult the state prosecutor or the judiciary,” noting that he had committed “an uncalculated and unintentional mistake that was not aimed at insulting the public prosecutor.”Haddad's 'Lahon W Bass' show on LBCI TV is among the most watched programs in Lebanon.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
October 16-17/18
U.S. Announces Sanctions on Key Iranian Paramilitary Force
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 16/18/The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday slapped sanctions on an Iranian paramilitary group along with a network of businesses that were providing it financing, as part of Washington's campaign of maximum economic pressure against Tehran. In announcing the sanctions, Treasury said a network of more than 20 businesses known as the Bonyad Taavon Basij was financing the Basij Resistance Force, a component of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It also accused the militia of sending child soldiers to Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad's regime. "The international community must understand that business entanglements with the Bonyad Taavon Basij network and IRGC front companies have real world humanitarian consequences," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The Basij, a paramilitary force formed soon after the 1979 revolution, is one of the Iranian regime’s primary enforcers of internal security with branches in every province and city of Iran, according to the US Treasury. "In addition to its involvement in violent crackdowns and serious human rights abuses in Iran, the Basij recruits and trains fighters ... including Iranian children, who then deploy to Syria to support the brutal Assad regime," it said. It added that in addition to Iranians, the militia recruited Afghan immigrants to Iran through coercion, some of whom had fled to Europe as a result, as well as Pakistani nationals. "Children recruited by Basij have tragically fought and died on the battleground in Syria," a senior administration official told AFP. The Bonyad Taavon Basij is said to provide the Basij militia social welfare services, including housing and financial support, and manages economic activities by funding small companies. "Bonyad Taavon Basij has expanded its reach into Iran’s economy by establishing several investment firms through its financial and investment offshoot Mehr Eqtesad Bank," the Treasury statement said. Among the other companies singled out was Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company (ITMC), the largest tractor manufacturer in the Middle East and North Africa which predates the Iranian revolution, that generates millions of dollars in profit for the investment firms that represent the Basij. Also targeted was Iran's Zinc Mines Development Company, described as the country's "preeminent, multibillion-dollar zinc and lead mining and processing holding company."
Pompeo Meets Saudi King Salman Over Missing Journalist
Reuters/Jerusalem Post/October 16/18
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Tuesday to discuss the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as Turkish police prepared to search the Saudi consul's residence in Istanbul in a widening probe. Khashoggi, a US resident and leading critic of the Saudi crown prince, vanished after entering the consulate on Oct. 2. Turkish officials say they believe he was murdered there and his body removed, which the Saudis strongly deny. President Donald Trump, who dispatched Pompeo to Riyadh amid strained ties with the key ally, has speculated that "rogue killers" may be responsible after speaking with King Salman. After talks with king, Pompeo met Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and will have dinner with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He may go on to Turkey. Overnight, Turkish crime scene investigators entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the last place Khashoggi was seen before vanishing, for the first time and searched the premises for over nine hours, Reuters witnesses said. A Turkish foreign ministry source said the police would search the consulate again on Tuesday as well as the consul's residence, which Turkish television has previously reported could be linked to Khashoggi's disappearance. The case has provoked an international outcry against the world's top oil exporter, with media and business executives pulling out of an investment conference next week. During the initial consulate search, CNN reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia was preparing to acknowledge Khashoggi's death in a botched interrogation, after denying for two weeks any role in his disappearance. The New York Times, citing a person familiar with the Saudi plans, reported the crown prince had approved an interrogation or abduction of Khashoggi. It said the Saudi government, which could not be reached immediately for comment on the reports, would shield the prince by blaming an intelligence official for the bungled operation. Turkish authorities have an audio recording indicating that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, a Turkish official and a security source have told Reuters, and have shared evidence with countries including Saudi Arabia and the United States. Pompeo was greeted at the airport by officials including Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Khaled bin Salman.
Some 10 Turkish investigators left the consulate before 5 a.m., and a Turkish prosecutor departed around 1-1/2 hours later, followed shortly after by a Saudi team, witnesses said. Forensic vehicles took away soil samples as well as a metal door from the garden, the Reuters witness said. A police dog was part of the search team. "The Turkish crime scene investigators carried out searches in the consulate and took the things deemed necessary," a senior Turkish official said, after acknowledging the difficulty of collecting evidence 13 days after the alleged incident. The UN human rights chief on Tuesday said immunity on diplomatic premises and officials should be lifted for the Khashoggi investigation. Trump has threatened "severe punishment" if it turns out Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, but ruled out canceling arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars. European allies have urged accountability for those responsible. Many members of the US Congress, which has long had a testy relationship with Saudi Arabia, have issued strong criticism of the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has said it would retaliate against any pressure or economic sanctions "with greater action," and Arab allies rallied to support it. The Saudi riyal, rebounded early after falling to its lowest in two years over fears that foreign investment could shrink. Saudi stock index was down 3 percent in early Tuesday trade before it recouped some losses for a decline of 0.5 percent by 0949 GMT. The chief executive of Clariant, which has Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) as its anchor shareholder, said rising tensions about Khashoggi could hit the Swiss speciality chemicals maker.
Khashoggi, a familiar face on Arab talk shows, moved to Washington last year fearing retribution for his criticism of Prince Mohammed, who has cracked down on dissent with arrests. The insider never shied away from criticizing Saudi policies but gained prominence in many circles, including as an adviser to former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal. Members of Khashoggi's family have called for "an independent and impartial international" investigation. Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate the day he disappeared, tweeted a Koranic verse warning those who kill on purpose, with the hashtag "Jamal is the Martyr of the Word." A pro-government Turkish daily published preliminary evidence last week from investigators who it said had identified a 15-member Saudi intelligence team that arrived in Istanbul on diplomatic passports hours before Khashoggi disappeared. One of the names matches a LinkedIn profile for a forensic expert who has worked at the Saudi Interior Ministry for 20 years.

Pompeo Holds Crisis Talks in Riyadh on Missing Journalist
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 16/18/US top diplomat Mike Pompeo held talks with Saudi King Salman on Tuesday seeking answers about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, amid US media reports the kingdom may be mulling an admission he died during a botched interrogation. "Rogue killers" could be to blame for the disappearance of Khashoggi, who has not been seen since he walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to sort out marriage paperwork, US President Donald Trump said after telephone talks with the king.
Trump dispatched Pompeo to Riyadh for what the State Department described as "face to face meetings with the Saudi leadership". After his talks with the king, Pompeo held talks with his powerful son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A U.S. spokeswoman meanwhile said Saudi Arabia agreed Tuesday on the need for a "thorough" investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance. Heather Nauert made the statement following a meeting between Pompeo and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. Turkish police on Monday searched the consulate for the first time since the disappearance of Khashoggi, a Saudi national and US resident who had become increasingly critical of Prince Mohammed. Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed -- a claim Saudi Arabia has denied -- with the controversy dealing a huge blow to the prince's efforts to showcase a reform drive and burnish the kingdom's image.
US media reported on Monday that the kingdom is considering an admission that Khashoggi died after an interrogation that went wrong during an intended abduction. The UN human rights chief called Tuesday for the lifting of the immunity of officials who might be involved in Khashoggi's disappearance. "In view of the seriousness of the situation surrounding the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, I believe the inviolability or immunity of the relevant premises and officials... should be waived immediately," Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.
Until Monday, Riyadh had not allowed Turkish investigators to search the consulate -- officially Saudi territory -- with reports both sides were at odds over the conditions. The investigators, who searched the premises for eight hours into Tuesday morning, took samples with them, including soil from the consulate garden, one official at the scene said. Istanbul police are now also planning to search the nearby consul's residence, a diplomatic source said.
No knowledge
Trump's comments came after a telephone conversation with King Salman, father of the crown prince, the first such talks since the crisis erupted. "Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened 'to our Saudi Arabian citizen'," Trump tweeted. Riyadh's most recent comments have focused on having no knowledge of any killing or denying that any order to kill Khashoggi had been given. "The denial was very, very strong," Trump later told reporters at the White House. "It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?" But CNN cited two sources as saying the Saudis are preparing a report that his death resulted from a botched interrogation, while the Wall Street Journal said the kingdom was weighing whether to say that rogue operatives killed Khashoggi by mistake. After his crunch talks in Riyadh Tuesday, Pompeo was expected in Turkey on Wednesday to meet Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the state-run Anadolu news agency said. The search came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Salman also had their first telephone talks since the controversy erupted.
'Davos in Desert' unravels
The controversy has troubled Saudi's traditional Western allies, who are key arms suppliers to the kingdom, and also undermined efforts by Mohammed bin Salman to present himself as a modernising ruler. An investment conference seen as a platform for the crown prince and dubbed the "Davos in the Desert", scheduled to take place in Riyadh next week, has been hit by a string of prominent cancellations. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Ford chairman Bill Ford and Larry Fink, the head of investment giant BlackRock, were among the latest business barons to cancel plans to attend. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he still plans to attend but would "take (it)... into account" if more information came out. The controversy meanwhile threw into doubt a $400 million deal the Saudi Public Investment Fund negotiated with Hollywood's most powerful talent agency as part of the crown prince's drive for a foothold in the entertainment industry. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said the Khashoggi case was "very, very concerning", although he stopped short of pronouncing the deal was dead. Trump has threatened the kingdom with "severe punishment" if it is shown that Khashoggi was killed inside its Istanbul mission. But he has also made clear he is reluctant to curb all-important arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Britain, France and Germany also released a rare joint statement saying they were treating Khashoggi's disappearance "with the utmost seriousness" and calling for a "credible investigation". Riyadh, however, has vowed to hit back against any punitive measures imposed over the affair.

Turkey Official Says Journalist Murder 'Evidence' Found in Saudi Consulate
Associated Press/Naharnet/October 16/18/A high-level Turkish official said Tuesday that police have found "certain evidence" during their search of the Saudi Consulate showing that Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed there. The official did not provide details on the evidence that was recovered during the hourslong search at the diplomatic mission that ended early Tuesday. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.Turkish officials say Saudi agents killed and dismembered the writer at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Saudi Arabia previously called the allegation "baseless," but U.S. media reports suggest the Saudis may soon acknowledge Khashoggi was killed there, perhaps as part of a botched interrogation.

Top U.S. Senators Scold MBS, Vow Action over Khashoggi Debacle

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 16/18/An influential U.S. Senate ally of President Donald Trump pledged Tuesday that Congress would take decisive action against Saudi Arabia over a missing writer, calling for the ouster of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "This guy is a wrecking ball. He had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told "Fox and Friends," one of the president's favorite news broadcasts. Graham, discussing the feared killing of Saudi journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the monarchy, was backed by Marco Rubio, another of the top Republicans in the upper house, who described the crown prince as "young and aggressive." On Monday after speaking by telephone with King Salman, Trump was far less direct, suggesting that the October 2 disappearance of Khashoggi, who had been working with The Washington Post, could have been at the hands of "rogue killers." But Graham, who has recently ingratiated himself with Trump, launched a tirade against Riyadh. "I was on the (Senate) floor every time defending Saudi Arabia because they're a good ally," Graham told Fox. "There is a difference between a country and an individual," he added. "The MBS figure is to me toxic. He can never be a world leader on the world stage." Graham added that he felt "personally offended" by the kingdom's leadership. "They have nothing but contempt for us. Why would you put a guy like me and the president in this box after all the president has done?" Graham fumed. "This guy has got to go." As for the steps Trump should take, Graham pledged that Congress would "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia."Rubio swatted away Trump's reservations about sanctions that might freeze tens of billions of dollars worth of Saudi arms sales. "There are other countries we could sell that to," Rubio told CNN. "I don't care how much money it is, there isn't enough money in the world to purchase back our credibility on human rights and the way nations should conduct themselves," he added. "This is a fear we've had for a long time... that the crown prince is a young and aggressive guy that would overestimate how much room he had to do things." Congress "will act" in a way that will likely alter the U.S.-Saudi relationship for the foreseeable future, Rubio asserted. "What those specific measures are obviously is going to be up for debate, but they will be strong and meaningful," he added. "We will see what the administration does. it sounds to me in the end of the day they will also follow suit."

Trump Says MBS Vows 'Full' Probe into Missing Journalist
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 16/18/U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and been assured that a "full" probe into the disappearance of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was underway. "Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate," Trump tweeted. He "told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly."
The disappearance and suspected murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has embarrassed the kingdom and strained relations with Washington. Trump sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh to talk directly with Saudi Arabia's royals amid strong pressure in Congress and the U.S. media to prevent the vanishing of Khashoggi from being swept under the carpet. Turkish sources allege that Kashoggi was lured into the consulate and murdered, then dismembered. Saudi officials say he left the building, but have provided no evidence to support this. For Trump, the issue is extremely delicate. At the prompting of his son in law and adviser Jared Kushner, his administration has made good relations with Prince Mohammed -- portrayed as a Saudi modernizer -- a priority. Saudi Arabia is one of the closest U.S. partners in a bid to undermine Iran and also a massive client of the U.S. weapons industry.
Syria: Bulldozers Scoop Slow Way to Recovery in Yarmouk
Damascus /Asharq Al-Awsat/October 16/18/Once home to 160,000 Palestinian refugees, the camp of Yarmouk in the Damascus suburbs has been besieged, emptied of its inhabitants and pounded to rubble in Syria's seven-year war.
But five months after regime forces expelled the last militants in the area, soldiers now stand guard at the camp's entrance, wearing face masks to protect themselves against the dust billowing up into the air, Agence France Presse reported. On a narrow street inside the camp where he grew up, Mahmoud Khaled has returned to help oversee bulldozers and diggers engaged in joint Palestinian-Syrian clean-up operations. "When we first entered, we were horrified by what we saw," said the 56-year-old engineer, wearing a light grey and white checkered shirt. "But after we started the clean-up, it all started to look up," Khaled said. "We have shifted 50,000 cubic meters of rubble and reopened all the main roads," Khaled said. But "it will be a while before families can come back", he added. With about a fifth of Yarmouk reduced to rubble, according to an initial estimate, Khaled said there is still much work to be done. And although he estimates 40 percent of the buildings could be lived in, another 40 percent need major work before their residents can return. Set up in 1957 to house Palestinian refugees, Yarmouk grew over the decades into a bustling district of the capital. But the area has seen some of the worst suffering since Syria's conflict erupted in 2011, and today lies largely abandoned. In 2012, around 140,000 residents fled clashes, leaving the rest to face severe food shortages under government siege. Two years later, a harrowing photograph of gaunt-looking residents massing between bombed-out buildings to receive aid sparked global outrage. Off Yarmouk's main artery, recently cleared side streets are flanked by buildings ravaged by years of fighting, the AFP reporter said. Some have been reduced to mountains of grey rubble and mangled rebar. In others, entire floors dangle dangerous

450 Jihadists Killed in Egypt Sinai Offensive
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 16/18/The Egyptian army said Tuesday that 450 jihadists are estimated to have been killed in its eight-month offensive against the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula. The military launched a large-scale operation dubbed "Sinai 2018" in February to rid Sinai of IS jihadists after an attack on a mosque in the north of the peninsula that killed more than 300 people. Since the start of the campaign, 450 jihadists were presumed to have been killed "in the north and the center of Sinai by (soldiers) and police," army spokesman Tamer al-Rifai told AFP. According to army figures, around 30 soldiers have been killed during the operation. Jihadists began an insurgency in Egypt after the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was forced out by the military in the face of mass protests against his rule and that of his Muslim Brotherhood. The army on Tuesday rejected criticism from rights groups over the impact on civilians of its campaign in Sinai. It says that people in the peninsula support its operation and receive humanitarian aid. "All air strikes are carried out by the army outside residential areas," Rifai said on Tuesday. Journalists are barred from going to areas targeted in the Sinai 2018 campaign, although the army organized a rare visit to the North Sinai capital El-Arish in July. A countrywide state of emergency was imposed in April last year, following two suicide bombings at churches which were claimed by IS. On Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi extended the measure by a further three months.

Iraqi PM Presents Incomplete Govt. Lineup

Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa/Asharq Al-Awsat/October 16/18/Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi is continuing his consultations with political blocs over the formation of a new government. He is currently caught between his proposal for candidates to submit their nomination through a dedicated website and political blocs that emerged victorious in the parliamentary elections and that want to be fairly represented in the new government based on their electoral gains. Mahdi is expected to present an incomplete version of his proposed government to political blocs in the upcoming three days, informed Iraqi sources confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday. The remaining ministerial positions will be occupied by new figures, they said. They will be chosen either electronically or from a list of candidates suggested by the political blocs. Several of these blocs, however, want to keep the old ministers, challenging Mahdi. Former MP Kamel Al-Dulaimi announced that he had presented his electronic candidature by filling an application form for the post of Defense Minister. He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “I was informed by Mahdi’s office that I was chosen from among the 601 candidates chosen to head ministerial portfolios.” More than 36,000 candidates had presented their candidacies. Dulaimi said he ran for the post after one political bloc had asked him to present his nomination and because he was a former lieutenant at the army. He said he was nominated twice for this post during the previous government formation processes. Omar al-Hamiri, a leading official at the Arabic Project, led by Khamis al-Khanjar, told Asharq Al-Awsat that he is running for a ministerial post. He said there is an agreement inside the Arabic Project not to support the candidacy of any deputy for a ministerial post, because the party wants to separate parliamentary and ministerial works. “Party members who won a seat in parliament should draft laws and monitor the government’s performance while candidates for the next ministry should be technocrats,” he said.

Koreas and UN Command Discuss Demilitarising Border

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 16/18/The two Koreas and the US-led United Nations Command held talks Tuesday on demilitarising a section of the heavily fortified border dividing the peninsula, as a diplomatic thaw gathers pace. "The three parties examined the progress in removing landmines at the Joint Security Area (JSA)...and discussed other practical matters regarding steps toward disarming the area," Seoul's defense ministry said in a statement. The JSA, also known as the truce village of Panmunjom, is the only spot along the tense, 250-kilometre (155-mile) frontier where troops from the two countries stand face to face. It was a designated neutral zone until the "axe murder incident" in 1976, when North Korean soldiers attacked a work party trying to chop down a tree inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), leaving two US army officers dead. South and North Korea -- which are technically still at war -- agreed to take measures to ease military tensions on their border at a meeting in Pyongyang last month between President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un. Earlier this month, the two sides began removing landmines at the JSA -- which is now often used for talks between the two Koreas -- as part of the deal, and are due to withdraw "unnecessary" surveillance equipment once the landmine work is completed. The September summit was the third this year between the leaders as a remarkable rapprochement takes hold on the peninsula. Moon has advocated engagement with the isolated North to nudge it toward denuclearisation. During his summit with Kim last month, the two men also agreed to remove some guard posts at the border by the end of the year and to halt military drills in the area from November. Tuesday's talks were the first meeting of a trilateral JSA commission made up of the two Koreas and the UN Command, which is included as it retains jurisdiction over the southern half of the JSA. Its chief, US general Vincent Brooks, told reporters in August that as UN commander he supported initiatives that could reduce military tensions. But he added that as commander of the combined US-South Korean forces -- one of his other roles -- he felt there was a "reasonable degree of risk" in Seoul's plans to dismantle guard posts near the DMZ.

Frenchman Held in Yemen Released with Saudi Help
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 16/18/A Frenchman held captive in war-torn Yemen for over four months after his boat ran into trouble near the port of Hodeida has been released, the French presidency announced Tuesday. Alain Goma, 54, dropped anchor in Hodeida on June 3 after running out of water while sailing to India. Hodeida is under the control of Iranian-backed Huthi rebels, who took him prisoner. It is not clear whether they made any demands of France in return for the release of Goma, who is in his fifties. In a statement President Emmanuel Macron thanked authorities in Oman and Saudi Arabia for helping obtain his release. He described Oman's role as "decisive" but said Saudi Arabia had also provided "assistance." Goma was flown to neighboring Oman, his sister Christine Goma told AFP without being able to say when he would return to France. "The important thing is that we know he is safe," she said. Goma's release comes as Saudi Arabia battles allegations that officials murdered a U.S.-based Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi was critical of some of the policies of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In 2015 Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the Yemen government's fight against the Huthi rebels. Nearly 10,000 people have been killed and more than 56,000 injured since then, resulting in what the U.N. has called the worst humanitarian crisis.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on
October 16-17/18
What Multiculturalism Hides
Jan Keller/Gatestone Institute/October 16/18
The policy of multiculturalism, which emphasizes the benefits of cultural diversity for society and the state, is an example of the exploitation of others based on a fantasy of virtue. Those at whom the sweet talk of multiculturalism is aimed, can see that it has done nothing to improve their lot, and are now realizing that their future is bleak.
If we bring in highly qualified immigrants to our workforce, we would be taking away from poorer countries the best they have to offer, and the situation in those countries will further deteriorate. The result will be an even greater flow of unskilled migrants escaping those countries.
The proponents of the new multiculturalism want to share their welfare states with masses of refugees who -- through no fault of their own -- will be unable to participate in financing themselves for a long time to come.
Multiculturalism is not a manifestation of Europe's generosity, or some noble embodiment of love and truth. Multiculturalism is what remains after mass migration reveals itself as a threat, rather than a benefit, to the economies of European countries.
Take, for instance, the example of France. After the Second World War, when France underwent a boom of economic growth, waves of migration were viewed favorably: there were many job opportunities for unskilled and medium-skilled laborers, and the native French population aspired to work in the tertiary sector, which offered more qualified, better-paid jobs. From the end of the war until the mid-1970s, foreign workers tended to come to France temporarily, without their families, and return to their countries of origin. These workers were generally recruited from former French colonies to do menial and low-paying jobs -- not in order to enrich the culture of the host country.
At the end of the 1970s, that situation changed. Foreign workers began coming to France with their families and also having children after arriving in the country. At the same time, however, there were changes in the economy that ended up leaving descendants of the recruited workers hopeless. While their parents had experienced some upward mobility, they themselves -- even those with a higher level of education than their parents -- were left with fewer job opportunities and became a surplus on the labor market; they also did not have another place to go. In other words, they had been born in a country that suddenly had nothing to offer. The only thing that the government could come up with was a rationale for the dire situation -- a mission for these children of migrants: that they should enrich themselves culturally in the country to which their parents had migrated. This new policy of multiculturalism, which emphasizes the benefits of cultural diversity for society and the state, is an example of the exploitation of others based on a fantasy of virtue. Those at whom the sweet talk of multiculturalism is aimed, can see that it has done nothing to improve their lot, and are now realizing that their future is bleak.
Now let us look at those who favor multiculturalism for the Czech Republic, in Eastern Europe, which has been resistant to it. What they do not grasp is that the Czech Republic today does not resemble France in the early part of the 20th century. We Czechs do not need to recruit foreign workers to perform menial jobs. On the contrary, we need to develop an economy based on skilled labor. It also does not make sense for us to seek highly skilled migrants for this purpose. Such migrants prefer countries whose languages they speak and in which they can earn higher wages than those offered in the Czech Republic. Furthermore, given the problematic nature of our current education system, which is unable adequately to prepare graduates for jobs in tech companies, it would be absurd for us to rely on technology experts from developing countries to rescue our economy.
Some politicians claim that we need a mass wave of immigrants to care for our elderly. This is controversial: in a new country, if they are unskilled, they will barely be able to care for themselves, let alone for others, and will present an additional burden to our already overburdened social security system. If, on the other hand, we bring in highly qualified immigrants to our workforce, we would be taking away from poorer countries the best they have to offer. What right do we have to use them to solve our own problems? If we take them away from their countries of origin, the situation in those countries will further deteriorate. The result will be an even greater flow of unskilled migrants escaping those countries. These new arrivals will create an even greater burden on the social security system than it will incentivize economic development. That consequence is not because migrants are lazier or less ambitious than the local population. Their disadvantages are due to other factors, such as difficulty with a new language and that they tend to have larger families.
For decades, there has been a debate in Europe between the effort to slim down the welfare state, as opposed to continuing it to meet the needs of various disadvantaged sectors of the population. This debate has intensified sharply as the mass wave of refugees from North Africa and the Middle East has threatened to increase significantly the number of welfare recipients in Europe.
Under these circumstances, the nature of multiculturalism has changed. It has become a means to exert fierce psychological pressure primarily on the middle- and lower-income sectors in Europe. One form this pressure has taken is the equating of the plight of the current refugees to emigrants escaping to the West from behind the Iron Curtain. The comparison, however, does not really apply. The Eastern European at that time emigrants did not aspire to achieve "multicultural status". Their goal was to integrate -- to adapt to a society that was so generous as to have accepted them.
In short, mass waves of migrants represent statistically significantly greater risks than opportunities. They do not serve to boost prosperity. Our insurance systems, which were founded by, and developed for, the nation states whose populations they were meant to serve, were simply never designed to cover them.
The proponents of the new multiculturalism want to share their welfare states with masses of refugees who -- through no fault of their own -- will be unable to participate in financing themselves for a long time to come.
Prof. Jan Keller is a Czech Social Democrat Member of the European Parliament, sociologist, analyst, commentator and author of more than 30 books, including Sociology of the Organization and Bureaucracy (2007) or The Three Social Worlds (2011). He studied at the universities of Bordeaux (1985), Aix-en-Provence (1988) and Sorbonne (1992) in Paris. He has lectured sociology at the University of Lille, Poitiers, Trento, Lodz and Barcelona.
This article is based on a speech delivered at the seminar, "Is Mass Immigration a Condition for Prosperity of Europe?" held by the Institute Vaclav Klaus in Prague on March 19, 2015 and is published here with the kind permission of the author. It was translated into English by Josef Zbořil.
© 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.

Now Europe Should Worry About Higher US Yields

Mohamed El-Erian/Bloomberg/October 16/18
As higher growth and inflation, together with Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes, have pushed Treasury yields higher, commentators have pointed to a changing US landscape.
Savers can now secure higher interest income; mortgage seekers face funding costs not seen for many years; investors can gain somewhat better portfolio diversification benefits by owning fixed-income securities; and for stock pickers, financials have benefited while home builders have been hit.
But in terms of systemic importance, these developments could pale in comparison to the effect of recent US interest-rate moves on the paradigm for determining rates in the advanced world. There are growing indications of a potential reversal in causality in the relationship between US and European financial conditions.For quite a while, Europe’s ample liquidity has put downward pressure on US rates overall and contributed to what had been a notable flattening of the yield curve for Treasuries, including a spread between two-year and 10-year bonds that even fell below 20 basis points. But now, European monetary conditions can no longer contain the overall rise in US yields, and are being tightened by events across the Atlantic. This has implications not only for Europe, which hasn't yet adopted a sufficiently pro-growth approach, but also for the emerging world.
Over the last few weeks, yields on short-dated US bonds have risen to levels not seen for many years. This has been accompanied by two other notable developments: This time, the yield curve has tended to steepen rather than flatten. And internationally, rather than just widen the yield differential between US and benchmark German bonds to even more elevated levels (the spread for 10-year bonds topped 260 basis points at the end of last week), German yields have been pulled up more and, in the process, have broken some notable benchmarks (including an increase above minus 50 basis points for two-year securities).
This ongoing change in the yield regime makes sense because of a divergence between the US and Europe that has become more multidimensional. For example:
- US growth has accelerated, powered by both consumption and investment, while Europe has been facing stronger headwinds.
- Trade tensions, both direct and indirect, are less harmful to the US because of its more diversified and entrepreneurial economy, which is also less open to trade compared with European nations.
- The US is pursuing a significantly more expansionary fiscal policy.
- The Federal Reserve raised rates on Wednesday for the eighth time since December 2015, and the central bank could go beyond what markets expect.
- The stagflationary impact of higher oil prices is likely to be less pronounced for the US than for many other advanced countries. This has already led European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to signal his expectations for higher inflation.
- Without more determined pro-growth measures on the part of Europe, it is hard to see any of these trends easing soon. As a result, Europe could face a tightening of financial conditions that go beyond what the ECB was anticipating.
If current trends intensify, the change in outlook could even undermine the ECB's guidance for quantitative easing (including another reduction of purchases on Oct. 1 that would lead to the elimination of the security-buying program three months later). It would also undermine the bank's guidance for the first interest rate hike (the end of the summer). This increases the complexity of the policy challenges facing the ECB.
Although this theme of greater divergence is most directly applicable to advanced countries, the emerging world also has a stake in what seems to be a change in the international interest rate regime. The combination of higher rates and possible dollar appreciation would place greater pressure on the fragile economies -- those with large funding needs, high short-term debt, big currency mismatches and vulnerability to renewed outflows of portfolio investment.
And the more they are disrupted, the greater the risk of unfavorable contagion for other emerging economies. The answer to all this is not for the Fed to stop hiking or, even worse, for the US to come down to a lower growth path. Rather, Europe should move more boldly on pro-growth policies. Otherwise, the continent could be on the receiving end of a monetary tightening that the ECB would only be able to counter by incurring the risk of additional unintended consequences and collateral damage.

Saudi Arabia: Challenges for "Vision 2030"
A. Z. Mohamed/Gatestone Institute/October 16/18
To execute the IPO of Saudi Aramco in a successful and timely way, the Saudi government needs to deal appropriately with definite issues.
These include claims that Saudi Aramco has been overvalued by Saudis; "concerns about minority shareholder rights, the transparency of oil reserves," and "how the Saudi government will balance national interests and its duty to shareholders" ; meeting the New York Stock Exchange's stringent transparency standards; and the possibility that a New York listing places the IPO at risk of being seized in lawsuits claiming Saudi Arabia's involvement in 9/11 attacks.
Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, the strategic plan of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to boost the kingdom's economy, is facing a major challenge. Its cornerstone -- the opening up of the state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco to outside investors -- is possibly being postponed by at least a year, to 2021.
Since early 2016, the Saudi government, Aramco's sole shareholder, has been working to place up to 5 percent of Aramco on the stock market. In October 2017, MBS told Reuters that Aramco's IPO was on track for 2018, and that it could be valued at more than $2 trillion. In an interview in Washington, DC in March 2018, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said, "We have prepared all documentation to be ready to do both domestic and international listings." He added, however, that the kingdom needed to be sure whether "this [is] an optimum time to execute."
Falih also said that a New York exchange is in the running for the IPO, but Saudi officials needed to weigh the potential legal risks of a listing in the United States, due to possible "frivolous lawsuits and litigation." He was likely alluding to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which states:
"Persons, entities, or countries that knowingly or recklessly contribute material support or resources, directly or indirectly, to persons or organizations that pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the security of nationals of the United States or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States, necessarily direct their conduct at the United States, and should reasonably anticipate being brought to court in the United States to answer for such activities."
In August, Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia had called off its plan to list Saudi Aramco on the stock market and "disbanded" the financial advisers working on the plan, "as Saudi Arabia shifts its attention to a proposed acquisition of a 'strategic stake' in local petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp." Al- Falih immediately denied the report. He claimed in a statement:
"The government remains committed to the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, in accordance with the appropriate circumstances and appropriate time chosen by the Government."
A month later, on September 24, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told CNBC that he wasn't sure if or when the company would go public, and that he didn't "want to talk about dates at this stage."
In a recent interview in Riyadh with Bloomberg, MBS reiterated his intention to make Aramco public, and attempted to dispel claims that the plan was not going to happen any time soon, if at all. "Everyone heard about the rumors of Saudi Arabia canceling the IPO of Aramco, delaying that, and that this is delaying Vision 2030," he said. "This is not right."
MBS continued: "So Aramco today, it produces oil, and it has a few downstream projects. But if we want to have a really strong future for Aramco after 20, 30, 40 years from today, Aramco has to invest a lot in downstream because we know that the new demand for oil 20 years from now, it will be from petrochemicals. If we see the rising demand from petrochemicals, I believe it's growing about 2-3 percent today. So definitely the future of Aramco has to be in downstream and Aramco has to invest in downstream.
"So when Aramco does that, it will have a huge conflict with Sabic [Saudi Basic Industries Corp], because Sabic is about petrochemicals and downstream. And the main source of oil for Sabic is from Aramco. So if Aramco does follow that strategy, Sabic will definitely suffer. So before we do that, we have to have some sort of agreement to be sure that Aramco benefits from Sabic and Sabic doesn't suffer in that process...
"So the deal in 2019, one financial year in 2020 and then immediately Aramco will be IPOed. We've tried to push to IPO it as soon as possible, but this is the timing, based on the situation that we have."
MBS went on to insist: "This will not harm the plans of Vision 2030... We will produce, we believe, more than 3 million barrels of petrochemicals in 2030, most of it in Saudi Arabia, part of it outside of Saudi Arabia, and that will be done by Aramco and Sabic and this will create huge opportunities for economic growth and jobs." When asked whether he still thinks that the IPO is in Saudi Arabia's interest, MBS replied, "Of course, 100 percent." To execute the IPO of Aramco in a successful and timely way, however, the Saudi government needs to deal appropriately with definite issues. These include claims that Aramco has been overvalued by Saudis; "concerns about minority shareholder rights, the transparency of oil reserves," and "how the Saudi government will balance national interests and its duty to shareholders"; meeting the New York Stock Exchange's stringent transparency standards; and the possibility that a New York listing places the IPO at risk of being seized in lawsuits claiming Saudi Arabia's involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
*A. Z. Mohamed is a Muslim born and Raised in the Middle East.
© 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.
For peace campaign among religions
Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran/Al Arabiya/October 16/18
The Islamic world is groaning under the weight of extremist rhetoric.
This community with its population in the billions has not dedicated someone who supports revival of religious discourse in a modern and balanced manner, which preserves the foundations and pillars of Muslim beliefs and removes the chains that have been placed on them.
Saudi pre-eminence
For a long time I have believed that the state which is most capable of leading this project is Saudi Arabia, as it represents the Islamic as well as the civilized state together.
It safeguards the two Holy Mosques and other sacred locations. Its prosperity makes it more capable of focusing than any other Islamic state. Furthermore, it has been affected by violence and radicalism the most. The refined rhetoric of the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa, has often attracted my attention.
The most recent thing he’s called for is: “the establishment of a peace campaign by the three faiths in the city of Jerusalem, which can promote the road to peace by finding a common ground between religions,” during the conference on the United States and the Islamic world.
This invitation must be turned into a program of action to save humanity from extremist discourse and hatred and which exists among madmen of various faiths in the world and is not limited to Muslims. Working on establishing peace between religions requires everyone to put aside aggressive discourse and deal with others who are different from them in a civilized and humane manner. This is the most desirable outcome humans could achieve after waging fierce religious and ethnic wars that claimed the lives of millions of people.
The most recent of these wars was the Second World War and the civil wars, which continue among small communities within the Islamic world as in Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere in the region. Human history, however, is also full of models of coexistence, particularly among monotheistic religions.
Working on establishing peace between religions requires everyone to put aside aggressive discourse and deal with others who are different from them in a civilized and humane manner
Religious amity
In 2006, Professor Mohammed Arkoun led an interesting project titled The History of Islam and Muslims in France from the Middle Ages to the Present Day (Michel Alban Publications), which sought to “highlight the bright areas of the Mediterranean Basin region on both its northern and southern sides or from its western and eastern sides”.
“It is well known that writing history from a sectarian or national point of view is what led to the consolidation of this ideological view that elevates one side over the other and degrades others, if not despise and reject them. Writing history following the footsteps of previous ideological myths aims to support the old favoritism view of each class, collective memory or religious sect that sanctified itself and demeaned the other within the framework of the closed dogmatic view of their own glorification”.
Arkoun took the example of Ramon Llull during the 13th century and wrote: “The cities of Mallorca and Béjaïain in Spain and Algeria situated in the Christian and Islamic spheres belonged to two groups that were free from the domination of the great authoritarian capitals on the continent. They were centers of knowledge and economic life in the western region of the basin”.
“Ramon Llull was the son of a Catalan settler. He was born in Palma Mallorca after it was annexed in 1230 by Muslims, and he thus became the greatest model of knowledge and multi-cultural discussion of cultures, religions and languages. He has become an intersection point between Christianity and Islam, Latin and Arabic languages, the European culture and the Arab-Islamic culture, his importance and fruitfulness of his multifaceted experience”.
Historical legacy
When looking at the history of Muslims at al-Tabari and Ibn Kathir and the "History of Baghdad" of Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, and the process of transformations and developments of the Islamic state we can also find bright patterns of coexistence of Muslims with other religions, depending on the political circumstances, the policy of each caliph and the path of each stage.
As such, history has interesting models of comprehension between the East and the West, but it was not solidly established, instead it was disjoint and vast without a philosophical and intellectual cornerstone that helps understanding have a solid foundation to launch projects of dialogue and discussions between the symbols of religions and their followers.
The role played by the league represented by the Secretary General is characterized by the quality of the proposed discourse. This discourse which is outside all partisan noise, historical agitation or conceptual fossilization derives from Sharia with an interest in civic character and the ability to understand the different recipients around the world.
We now rely on wise men in this world which is full of the obsession to kill, addiction of terrorism and the desire to master hatred and violence. May God be with us.

Thucydides Trap and trickle-down effect of US-China ties
Sabena Siddiqui/Al Arabiya/October 16/18
Managing the world’s most important geopolitical relationship is not an easy task, especially when US-China ties have a global influence and trickle-down effect to all their allies.
In recent years, the historical Thucydides’s Trap Theory has been used quite often to describe the US-China equation and its risks. Reminding world leaders that war always remains more likely than peace and it is wise to exercise restraint constantly, this theory retains some relevance.
Analyzing the background of the ancient Greek Peloponnesian war, Thucydides, a 5th century BCE historian, had concluded that it became inevitable as, “It was the rise of Athens, and the fear that this instilled in Sparta, that made war inevitable.”
Being the dominant power, Sparta had pre-emptively attacked the rising power, Athens, even though it may not have been a real threat. At the end of the day, it was the dominant Sparta that was victorious but it was a long war that lasted three decades.
Presenting the Thucydides Trap as one of the greatest mis-judgements of history, Professor Graham Allison from the Harvard University was the first to use it in reference to the US and China. Having identified 16 similar cases over the last 500 years, Allison was worried that out of those sixteen scenarios, twelve resulted in war.
Highlighting similarities, he said that the “Thucydides’s Trap is the dangerous dynamic that occurs when a rising power threatens to displace a ruling power. That is actually the best lens for understanding what’s happening in relations between a rising China and a ruling United States today.”With geo-economics determining the global power balance and the multiple dynamics at work, it is not compulsory that a growing power will be destined to conflict with a static power
Ways to avoid war
Identifying five ways to avoid war between the two, based on observations regarding the previous experience of the Cold War, Allison had stressed that, firstly, war between nuclear powers is “mutually assured destruction.”
Secondly, leaders must remember that they risk a war they cannot win. Thirdly, more space should be created to reduce risks by creating new “precarious rules of the status quo.” Fourthly, the domestic economy is most vital for both powers to maintain peace. Lastly, relying on hope is no real strategy. Alarmingly, one of the biggest examples of the Thucydides trap theory being validated in recent times has been the breaking out of World War 1. Even though Britain and Germany were the two largest trading partners globally just like the US and China, it did not prevent war.
Practically though, the absence of nuclear power probably made starting the war easier, while in the case of the Soviet Union and the US, the presence of nuclear weapons kept war at bay. But even though nuclear weapons have made great power conflict nearly obsolete, the stakes remain high. Even then, the assumption that war is inevitable is less relevant in this nuclear century and it is not practical to base foreign policy objectives on a 2400 -year old theory. Putting things in perspective, the US and China cannot fall into the Thucydides trap as many other factors determine their relations in this modern-day scenario.
With geo-economics determining the global power balance and the multiple dynamics at work, it is not compulsory that a growing power will be destined to conflict with a static power.
Nor is it definite that the power balance remains the same.Conflict is quite unlikely when both powers are co-dependent to such a huge extent that they got dubbed as ‘Chi-merica’ by historian Niall Ferguson and economist Moritz Schularick.
Dividing ‘Chimerica’ into two virtual units, they wrote, “To be sure, Chimerica is an economic but not a monetary unit; East Chimericans have the renminbi, West Chimericans the dollar. Nevertheless, the scale of the financial transactions between the two halves is comparable with the flows that traditionally have occurred within nation states rather than between them.”
Financial risk factors
Basically, divergences might have started ever since Beijing tried to reduce financial risk factors by introducing new foreign exchange policies to stabilize the yuan. Reducing China’s bilateral trade deficit with the US could still bring relations back on track to what they were in 2015 and balance the developing economic world order.Recently, Richard Weitz, Director of the Centre for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, participated in a very positive discussion at the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) in Beijing. Observing that the China-US trade dispute did not represent the beginning an economic Cold War, the expert stated that they had just “hit a rough patch.” Removing the commercial conflict of interest could lead to a breakthrough in bilateral relations, notwithstanding the wide range of smaller differences of opinion, remaining engaged and maintaining dialogue is the best way to reduce friction.
Interestingly, the year 2018 also marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and the United States, thus Sino-US ties are now four decades old and there can be no better time than this to get over their “rough patch.”

Zero Hunger: Our actions today are our future tomorrow
José Graziano da Silva/Al Arabiya/October 16/18
Just three years ago, in September 2015, all United Nations Member States approved the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The eradication of hunger and all forms of malnutrition (Sustainable Development Goal number 2) was defined by world leaders as a cardinal objective of the Agenda, a sine qua non condition for a safer, fairer and more peaceful world.
Paradoxically, global hunger has only grown since then. According to the latest estimates, the number of undernourished people in the world increased in 2017, for the third consecutive year. Last year, 821 million people suffered from hunger (11 percent of the world population - one in nine people on the planet), most of them family and subsistence farmers living in poor rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
However, the growing rate of undernourished people is not the only big challenge we are facing. Other forms of malnutrition have also increased. In 2017, at least 1.5 billion people suffered from micronutrient deficiencies that undermine their health and lives. At the same time, the proportion of adult obesity continues to rise, from 11.7 percent in 2012 to 13.3 percent in 2016 (or 672.3 million people).
Hunger is mainly circumscribed to specific areas, namely those ravaged by conflicts, droughts and extreme poverty; yet obesity is everywhere, and it is increasing all around the world. As a matter of fact, we are witnessing the globalization of obesity.
For example: obesity rates are climbing faster in Africa than any other region – eight of the 20 countries in the world with the fastest rising rates of adult obesity are in Africa. Furthermore, childhood overweight affected 38 million children under five years of age in 2017. About 46 percent of these children live in Asia, while 25 percent live in Africa.
If we do not call for urgent actions to halt the increasing obesity rates, we soon may have more obese than undernourished people in the world. The growing rate of obesity is happening at a huge socio-economic cost. Obesity is a risk factor for many non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Estimates indicate that the global economic impact of obesity is about USD 2 trillion per year (2.8 percent of the global GDP). This is equivalent to the impacts of smoking or armed conflicts.
Current global food systems have increased the availability and accessibility of processed food that is very caloric and energy-dense, high in fat, sugar and salt
World Food Day
This year, World Food Day (celebrated every 16th of October) aims to remind the international community of its fundamental political commitment to humanity – the eradication of all forms of malnutrition – and raise awareness that achieving a Zero Hunger world by 2030 (so in 12 years-time) is still possible. The experience of Brazil is a good example to have in mind.
According to FAO estimates, hunger in Brazil was reduced from 10.6 percent of the total population (about 19 million people) at the beginning of the 2000s to less than 2.5 percent in the 2008-2010 triennium, which is the minimum value in which FAO can make meaningful statistical inference.
This reduction in the number of undernourished people was mainly possible due to the firm commitment of former President Lula and the implementation of public policies and social protection programs addressing extreme poverty and the impacts of prolonged droughts in the northeastern part of the country.
In fact, governments have the most fundamental role in achieving Zero Hunger by ensuring that vulnerable people have sufficient income to buy the food they need, or the means to produce it for themselves – even in times of conflict.
However, world leaders have to bear in mind that the concept of Zero Hunger is broader and not limited to the fight against undernourishment. It aims to provide people with the necessary nutrients for a healthy life. Zero Hunger encompasses the eradication of all forms of malnutrition. So it is not just about feeding people but nourishing people as well.
Current global food systems have increased the availability and accessibility of processed food that is very caloric and energy-dense, high in fat, sugar and salt. Food systems must be transformed in a way so that all people can consume healthy and nutritious food. We need to address obesity as a public issue, not as an individual problem.
This requires the adoption of a multi-sectoral approach involving not only governments, but also international organizations, national institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector and citizens in general.
It must be a collective effort towards healthy diets that include, for instance, the creation of norms such as labelling and the banning of some harmful ingredients), the introduction of nutrition in the school curriculum, the adoption of methods to avoid food loss and waste, and the establishment of trade agreements that do not hamper access to locally grown, fresh and nutritious food from family farming.
“Our actions are our future” is the message of World Food Day 2018. It is time to renew our commitment and, even more important, the political support towards a sustainable world free from hunger and all forms of malnutrition.