Detailed Lebanese & Lebanese Related LCCC English New Bulletin For October 27/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
Let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love
First Letter of John 04/07-21:"Let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also."

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

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

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 26-27/18
Donald Trump signs Hezbollah financial sanctions into US law/Joyce Karam/The National/October 26/18
White House: The President Just Signed This Law to Isolate Hezbollah/R. Mitchell/CDN/October 25, 2018
U.S. Sanctions on Iran Put Financial Pressure on Hizbullah/Associated Press/Naharnet/October 26/18/
Lebanon: October 13th 1990 Revisited/Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Al Awsat/October 25/18
Cabinet expected before Aoun marks two years as president/Timour Azhari and Joseph Haboush/The Daily Star/October. 26/18
Analysis: Six months after polls, Lebanon struggles to form a gov't/Abhishek G Bhaya/CGTN/October 25/18
Netanyahu Visits Oman, Which Has No Diplomatic Ties With Israel/Noa Landau and Jack Khoury/Haaretz/October/26, 2018
Iranian propaganda seeks to create discord and influence elections/Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Arab News/October 26/18
The painful incident and the choice of accountability/Ghassan Charbel/Al Arabiya/October 26/18
Why the mad media campaign against Saudi Arabia/Jameel al-Thiyabi/Al Arabiya/October 26/18
Fire flaring up between Trump and the Left/Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/October 26/18
Netflix: Revolution in the world of entertainment/Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran/Al Arabiya/October 26/18
Europe's Crisis of Survival/Giulio Meott/Gatestone Institute/October 26, 2018

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 26-27/18
Donald Trump signs Hezbollah financial sanctions into US law
Govt to be formed before Oct 31: Bassil
White House: The President Just Signed This Law to Isolate Hezbollah
U.S. Sanctions on Iran Put Financial Pressure on Hizbullah
STL Head of Defence Office Concludes Working Visit to Lebanon
Report: Hariri to Submit New Government Format
Berri welcomes delegation from French National Assembly, Senate
Aridi from Ein teeneh says situation critical, courageous steps needed
Rahi from Vatican: We are witnessing deviation towards allegiance to religion, party and leader at expense of homeland
Fresh Fighting at Miyeh Miyeh Camp after Truce Collapses
Shamsi, Bukhari tour Chouf district
Foreign Ministry offers condolences on Jordan torrential floods victims
New Probe in Case Linking Lebanese-Canadian to 1980 Paris Bombing
Lebanon: October 13th 1990 Revisited
Cabinet expected before Aoun marks two years as president
Six months after polls, Lebanon struggles to form a gov't
Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 26-27/18
White House invites Putin to Washington
Netanyahu Visits Oman, Which Has No Diplomatic Ties With Israel
Israel Says Netanyahu Made Rare Visit to Oman
Netanyahu Visits Oman, Which Has No Diplomatic Ties With Israel
UN Security Council to meet concerning Syria
Saudi prosecutor to visit Istanbul over Khashoggi murder: Erdogan
CIA Director briefs US President Trump on Khashoggi’s case
US praises Saudi decision on slain writer’s son
Iran small boats shadow US ship carrying top US commander
Israeli fire kills 4 at Gaza border clashes
PM Mahdi: Iraq will prioritize own interests regarding Iran sanctions
Israel Defense Minister picks new army Chief of Staff
Jordan opens probe into deadly school trip to Dead Sea
Jordan’s King Abdullah expresses grief over those killed in Dead Sea floods
U.S. Arrests Suspect over 12 Bombs, Suspicious Packages

The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on October 26-27/18
Donald Trump signs Hezbollah financial sanctions into US law
Joyce Karam/The National/October 26/18
The US President announced the new law following an event commemorating victims of the 1983 Marines Barracks bombing in Lebanon
After its unanimous passage in the House and Senate, US President Donald Trump signed into law the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (HIFPAA) on Thursday, putting into effect a new set of sanctions that targets the Lebanese militant group and its financial support network. Following an event to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Marines Barracks bombing in 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon, the US President signed the legislation into law. “Thirty-five years ago, 241 American service members were murdered in the terrorist attack on our Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon,” Mr Trump said in a gathering with survivors and the families of the victims at the White House. In a statement, the White House accused Hezbollah of kidnapping, torturing, and murdering American citizens, “including in its brutal attack in 1983 on our Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 241 American Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers, wounded 128 other American service members.” It described the Lebanese armed group as “a radical Islamist terrorist organisation and close partner and proxy of the Iranian regime.” HIFPAA, the White House said, “will further isolate Hezbollah from the international financial system and reduce its funding” and “target foreign persons and government agencies that knowingly assist or support” the group. The HIFPAA legislation could complicate funding channels for Hezbollah by going after foreign individuals and companies that voluntarily provide financial, material or technological support to the and its affiliates. It targets Hezbollah-controlled social and financial organisations such as Bayt al Mal, the Islamic Resistance Support Association, Jihad al Binaa, the Foreign Relations Department of Hezballah, Al Manar TV, Al Nour Radio, and the Lebanese Media Group with sanctions. The bill also requires the president to report to Congress on Hezbollah’s transnational activity, including any money laundering and narcotics activities across Latin America, the African continent or Asia and Europe. The bill does not exclude state sponsors of the Lebanese party whether in Lebanon or outside from its reach. This pressure may complicate matters for the party inside Lebanon, argued Randa Slim, a director of the track II dialogues programme at the Middle East Institute. Ms Slim, who has extensively studied Hezbollah, told The National that the new law “weakens Hezbollah’s financial situation which has already been weakened by four factors.” These include the costs of Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria; US sanctions on Iran which are cutting into Hezbollah’s money supply from Tehran; fears among Hezbollah’s Lebanese Shia financiers after the arrest and extradition to US of Kassim Tajeddine, a major Hezbollah financier who was arrested in Morocco last year, and worsening economic conditions in Lebanon which put more strains on the group's core constituency. Asked if the sanctions would affect Hezbollah’s share in the future Lebanese government, Ms Slim did not expect major changes on that front. “This has already been factored into their calculus” she said. The US has voiced its opposition to Lebanese officials to Hezbollah taking key ministries with high revenues such as health or public works in any future government.
Govt to be formed before Oct 31: Bassil
The Daily Star/Oct. 25, 2018/BEIRUT: Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said Thursday a government will be formed before the second anniversary of President Michel Aoun’s election, which falls on Oct. 31, in remarks published on his Twitter account.
"The government will be formed, God willing, before President Aoun's second election anniversary," the Free Patriotic Movement leader tweeted. Cabinet formation has entered its sixth month of deadlock, amid repeated warnings by top leaders that the country faces the threat of an economic collapse.Bassil also said that “[Aoun’s presidential] term implemented security and accomplished the parliamentary elections,” in remarks made during a dinner with Lebanese expatriates in Poland and published on Twitter. Bassil also addressed the Syrian refugee crisis. “Europeans cannot ask us to accept what they do not accept on themselves,” he said, adding that if the refugee crisis persisted both Lebanon and Syria will suffer. Bassil headed to Warsaw earlier Thursday on an official visit to discuss economic and bilateral ties. The caretaker foreign minister is heading a delegation that is set to meet with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz and other Polish officials

White House: The President Just Signed This Law to Isolate Hezbollah

R. Mitchell/CDN/October 25, 2018
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement late Thursday saying that President Donald Trump had signed a law that will isolate Hizbollah (Hezbollah) from the international banking system.
Today, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (HIFPAA) of 2018, which imposes additional hard-hitting sanctions on Hizballah, a radical Islamist terrorist organization and close partner and proxy of the Iranian regime. Hizballah has kidnapped, tortured, and murdered American citizens, including in its brutal attack in 1983 on our Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 241 American Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers, wounded 128 other American service members, and killed a Lebanese civilian. Another bombing against the French barracks killed 58 French peacekeepers and five Lebanese civilians.This evening, President Trump commemorated the 35th anniversary of the attack in Beirut on the Marine Barracks with survivors and family members of the victims. The United States will never forget the precious lives lost that day, and will continue to honor their memory by taking action against their murderers. Under President Trumps leadership, the United States has imposed historic sanctions on Hizballah and its chief ally: the corrupt Iranian regime. This past year, we levied more sanctions on Hizballah than we have imposed on the organization in any other year. Additionally, on November 5th, all United States nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, lifted under the horrible, one-sided Iran nuclear deal, will be reimposed in full force. The legislation that President Trump signed into law today will further isolate Hizballah from the international financial system and reduce its funding. These sanctions will target foreign persons and government agencies that knowingly assist or support Hizballah, and Hizballah-affiliated networks that engage in drug trafficking or other transnational crime. We thank Senators Crapo, Brown, Rubio, and Shaheen and Representatives Royce and Engel for working with the Administration on this important legislation to counter Irans Hizballah proxy.
U.S. Sanctions on Iran Put Financial Pressure on Hizbullah
اسوشيتد برس: العقوبات الأميركية على إيران تتسبب بضغوطات مالية على حزب الله
Associated Press/Naharnet/October 26/18/
Giant posters on the streets of Beirut's southern suburbs display an armed Hizbullah fighter in uniform, holding the group's yellow banner and Lebanon's national flag, along with phone numbers where supporters can make donations to the Iran-backed guerrilla force. "He who equips a warrior is part of the battle," the posters declare, quoting a saying from Islam's Prophet Mohammed. Hizbullah's calls for donations have intensified in past months as the group and its main backer Iran come under increasing financial pressure under sanctions from the Trump administration. Washington has imposed sanctions on the militant group for decades. But a new wave this year appears to be more serious about targeting Hizbullah's top leadership as well as businessmen and companies that Washington says are funding the group. On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation imposing new sanctions against Hizbullah at a White House event marking the 35th anniversary of the Beirut barracks bombing that killed 241 Marines. The bill expands the list of those who can be sanctioned for doing business with Hizbullah.
On Oct. 15, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions designated Hizbullah as one of five groups considered top transnational organized crime threats. Iran, facing its own financial crises, has also reportedly cut back on funding for Hizbullah and Shiite militias it supports in Iraq.
Iran touts itself as the leader of the so-called "Axis of Resistance," grouping the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, Shiite militias in Iraq, Hizbullah in Lebanon and Shiite gunmen in Yemen known as the Huthis. The U.S. State Department said in July that Iran has spent over $16 billion since 2012 supporting Assad and its proxies in Iraq and in Yemen, and it also gives $700 million a year to Hizbullah. It has also given the Syrian government $4 billion in lines of credit, it says.
Hizbullah's budget has already been hurt ever since it became heavily involved in Syria's civil war in 2013, sending fighters to back Assad's forces and helping turn the conflict in his favor. An estimated 2,000 of its fighters have been killed and thousands more wounded, some with permanent disabilities. That only adds to the costs, since the group pays stipends to families of "martyrs" and provides health care for fighters. Recently, its leadership started to publicly acknowledge the strain."I won't say that the sanctions will not have an effect ... They will have an effect for sure," Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech in August. He vowed the sanctions won't diminish the group's power. "We have the strength, infrastructure and human resources to get through these difficulties, God willing," he said.
In a closed meeting around the same time, he told Hizbullah cadres, "We have to tighten belts a bit," according to Ibrahim Bayram, an expert on Shiite affairs who writes about Hizbullah for Lebanon's An-Nahar newspaper and was informed about the meeting.
The group is taking measures to reduce expenses, such as bringing down the number of fighters in Syria, especially now that Assad's military has taken back greater territory from his opponents, Bayram told The Associated Press. But he said it was not cutting back on stipends for families, medical care and retirement payments. A Lebanese citizen who has relatives in the group said it has pulled back some fighters in Syria, though it maintains its presence in eastern Deir el-Zour province and in the south, where fighting continues with the Islamic State group, and in Quseir, a town near the border with Lebanon that has been a Hizbullah stronghold for five years.
It has also asked some full-time fighters to spend more time at home when there is no need for them and has reduced movements of vehicles to cut transportation costs, he said. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the group's internal activities.
Despite the tightening, the group hardly seems to be diminished from its status as the strongest fighting force in Lebanon -- and one of the strongest in Syria -- boasting an arsenal of rockets and a powerful political structure. Even if other funding streams are under strain, Hizbullah can still count on public contributions, which stream in through tens of thousands of metal donation boxes placed in shops, streets, mosques and schools in predominantly Shiite areas of Lebanon. Its patron Iran, meanwhile, is facing deep economic woes. Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear accord with Iran, although the United Nations has repeatedly acknowledged Tehran was living up to the terms of the deal. Trump said he wanted stricter terms to limit Iran's ballistic missile program, curtail its regional influence and forever limit its nuclear activities. Crushing U.S. oil sanctions on Iran will resume in early November and already, American allies in Asia are cutting back on their purchases of Iranian crude. While European nations say they want the deal to continue, U.S. clout in global financial markets led oil companies and airplane manufacturers to withdraw from working in Iran. Iran's currency, the rial, has plummeted in value, and the downturn has sparked protests. Another ally of Iran, the Yemeni rebels known as the Huthis, are also preparing for difficult times, especially as their opponents, a Saudi-led coalition, besieges the port of Hodeida, a major source of income for the group. The rebels have sharply increased taxes on merchants and businesses. Iranian-backed militias in Iraq are buffered to an extent from any financial crunch because they also get funding from the Baghdad government, which is nominally a U.S. ally. The militias are part of the government-sanctioned paramilitary group known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, with some 100,000 fighters, who get salaries and equipment from the state. Many of the militias also profit from businesses they run on the side. An official with Iraq's Kataib Hezbollah, one of the main groups backed by Tehran, even said his group could help Lebanon's Hizbullah financially if need be. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal workings. "We can last this way for three years," he said.
STL Head of Defence Office Concludes Working Visit to Lebanon
Naharnet/October 26/18/The Head of Defence Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), Dorothée Le Fraper du Hellen, has concluded her first official visit to Lebanon, a statement released by the STL Defence Office said on Friday. She met with President of the Republic Michel Aoun, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, and the Minister of Justice Salim Jreissati. Le Fraper du Hellen also met with members of the diplomatic community in Beirut. During this visit, she discussed with her interlocutors the role and the rights of the Defence before the Tribunal, notably during the trial in the Ayyash et al. case (STL 11-01), which has now reached the deliberation stage. Le Fraper du Hellen recalled on this occasion the role that the Defence Office has played and continues to play as a statutorily independent organ in promoting and protecting the rights of the Defence and to ensure the equality of arms with the Prosecution.Le Fraper du Hellen took this opportunity to express her gratitude to the Lebanese State for the support it has given to the work of the Defence before the Tribunal, and thereby to the Tribunal's service to justice.On behalf of the Defence Office, Le Fraper du Hellen would like to thank all those who contributed to the success of this visit.

Report: Hariri to Submit New Government Format
Naharnet/October 26/18/Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is reportedly expected to submit a new government format to President Michel Aoun in the “next 24 hours,” after previous formats failed to meet the President’s approval, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Friday.
Quoting Baabda sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the daily said the atmospheres regarding efforts to complete lining up the government are “positive”. The sources said Hariri is expected to visit Baabda Palace in the “coming hours, or tomorrow at the latest.”The new draft format has taken into consideration the latest observations that helped ease some of the obstacles except for the one related to the share of the Lebanese Forces, namely an alternative ministerial portfolio of the justice ministry, they said. Wrangling over Christian shares is the main obstacle delaying the formation of the new government after the so-called Druze hurdle was resolved. The Lebanese Forces demand the allocation of the justice ministry which the President insists is part of his share in the government. Hizbullah-backed Sunni MPs opposed to Hariri's al-Mustaqbal Movement have also demanded that they be allocated a seat in the government but Hariri has played down the issue and noted that it does not represent an obstacle.

Berri welcomes delegation from French National Assembly, Senate
Fri 26 Oct 2018/NNA - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Friday welcomed at his Ein Teeneh residence a delegation from the French National Assembly and Senate, in the presence of French Ambassador to Lebanon, Bruno Foucher. Talks reportedly touched on the situation in Lebanon and the region. For its part, the delegation expressed satisfaction concerning cabinet formation developments, emphasizing as well the French government’s enthusiasm to implement CEDRE decisions. The meeting had also been an occasion to hold a tour de horizon on the situation in Lebanon and Syria, as well as on the Middle East peace process, the Palestinian cause, and the demarcation of the southern Lebanese maritime border. Separately, Berri met with the new German Ambassador to Lebanon, Georg Birgelen, and then with MP Farid Boustani.

Aridi from Ein teeneh says situation critical, courageous steps needed

Fri 26 Oct 2018/NNA - Former Minister, Ghazi Aridi, expressed hope in the wake of his meeting with Speaker of the House Nabih Berri on Friday that efforts underway would eventually lead to the birth of a new cabinet, calling on all the country’s political parties to beware the delicate situation. "We are asking of the various political parties to follow the example of former MP Walid Jumblatt in a bid to form the government as soon as possible.”However, Aridi couldn’t help but wonder what was left for his political party and the Druze sect after their many initiatives in this regard. He also criticized the flurry of errors that have hindered the government formation process. “The situation is serious, and we must take positive steps like those of Walid Jumblatt,” he added.

Rahi from Vatican: We are witnessing deviation towards allegiance to religion, party and leader at expense of homeland
Fri 26 Oct 2018/NNA - Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rahi, participated on Friday in the 15th ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, with the theme "Youth, Faith and the distinction of Advocacies." The General Assembly will conclude its sessions upcoming Sunday, October 28, with a mass presided over by Pope Francis at the St. Peter's Basilica square in the Vatican. During the last week of the General Assembly meetings, Bishops will discuss the Synod's final document and the draft letter to be addressed to the youth of the world. On Friday afternoon, bishops will elect the central committee to draft the final text and prepare for the next synod meeting. In his word at the General Assembly dwelling on eastern churches, Patriarch Rahi called on "the sons of these churches, wherever they may be, to preserve their liturgical, spiritual, theological and organizational heritage and traditions, so that they enrich the communities to which they migrated.""This requires the existence of pastoral and ecclesiastical structures," Rahi corroborated. He also dwelt on the situation of Eastern Christians, including Maronite, in multicultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic societies, as in Lebanon, and challenges facing them. "Our youths must be educated on the proper concept of citizenship and social and political commitment," the prelate said, stressing allegiance to the nation should be based on the concept of citizenship. However, the Patriarch said "we are witnessing nowadays deviation towards allegiance to the religion, sect, confession, party and 'leader' at the account of the nation."

Fresh Fighting at Miyeh Miyeh Camp after Truce Collapses
Naharnet/October 26/18/Clashes renewed Friday afternoon at the Miyeh Miyeh Palestinian refugee camp after a brief ceasefire. "The sounds of gunshots and rocket-propelled grenades are being heard after the renewal of clashes," the National News Agency said. It said the brief truce had been reached after a "broad meeting between delegations from the Fatah and Ansarullah movements at the headquarters of Hizbullah's Political Council."Cautious calm had prevailed in the morning after deadly clashes a day earlier that left two dead and several others injured, NNA reported. Intermittent clashes had broken out after midnight amid attempts to reach a ceasefire by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri during a meeting held at night at the AMAL headquarters in Haret Saida. It was held in the presence of representatives of Fatah and Ansarullah, NNA said.
The clashes killed one of the Palestinian National Security Forces and wounded another four including two Lebanese Army soldiers.

Shamsi, Bukhari tour Chouf district

Fri 26 Oct 2018/NNA - Saudi Minister Plenipotentiary Charge d'Affaires in Lebanon, Walid al-Bukhari, and UAE Ambassador to Lebanon, Hamad Saeed Al-Shamsi, on Friday visited the Chouf district, touring a number of institutions in the region. The last stop over within Bukhari-Shamsi tour had been at the residence of "al-Arfan" Foundation head, Sheikh Ali Zeineddine, who hosted a lunch banquet in both diplomats' honor, in the presence of Druze Sheikh Akl Naim Hassan, Progressive Socialist Party head, Walid Jumblatt, and Democratic Gathering head, MP Taymor Jumblatt. Shamsi and Bukhari's tour included visits to the Ain Wazein Medical Foundation and its integrated medical and academic complex in Al-Shouf, and Prince Shakib Arslan Mosque in Mukhtara to perform Friday prayers. Speaking in the wake of the tour, Bukhari underlined the deeply entrenched historical relations between the Saudi Kingdom and the Druze community sect in Mount Lebanon, deeming these relations as excellent deeply rooted brotherly relations. The Saudi envoy said the visit comes to voice the Kingdom's support to Lebanon in all its sects, communities and segments of society, notably the Druze community as an "essential guarantee for Lebanon's patriotism and its Arabism." "The Kingdom always seeks to maintain the security and stability of Lebanon," Bukhari said, hoping the new government would be formed in the coming days, as PM-designate Saad Hariri expects. "It is due time to form a balanced government to encourage friendly countries and donors to implement projects that safeguard Lebanon's economy and prosperity," Bukhari corroborated. Bukhari brought to attention the Kingdom's support to Lebanon demonstrated during three conferences, notably: Rome 2, Brussels and CEDRE.

Foreign Ministry offers condolences on Jordan torrential floods victims

Fri 26 Oct 2018/NNA - The Foreign Ministry on Friday expressed its sincere condolences to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, its King Abdullah Bin Al Hussein, and the Jordanian people, on the fallen victims of yesterday's torrential floods in the Dead Sea.

New Probe in Case Linking Lebanese-Canadian to 1980 Paris Bombing
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 26/18/A French court Friday ordered a new probe into evidence allegedly linking a Lebanese-Canadian academic to the 1980 deadly bombing of a Paris synagogue before deciding whether to put him on trial. The October 3, 1980, bombing of a synagogue on 24 Rue Copernic in Paris, which killed four people and injured 46, was the first fatal attack against Jews in France since the Nazi occupation in World War II. On Friday, the appeals court said it would grant an anti-terrorist investigating magistrate until February 15 to further analyze a handwritten hotel registration form, which prosecutors claim was filled out by Hassan Diab, the only identified suspect in the case.Diab, 64, was extradited from Canada to France in 2014, but then released earlier this year after French magistrates ruled evidence against him was "not convincing enough" to hold him. Prosecutors had appealed the decision and the Paris court had been expected to decide on Friday whether to drop all charges or proceed with a trial. Prosecutors and defense lawyers have already long haggled over results of previous handwriting analysis carried out on five words left on a hotel registration form.
The form was filled out in the name of Alexander Panadriyu who, investigators believe, was a false identity used by Diab who is currently living in Canada. "The court still has a doubt (...) and it wants to close all loopholes before reaching a decision," Diab's lawyer William Bourdon said.
Diab has always denied involvement, saying he was taking exams in Beirut at the time of the bombing. Diab, a former professor of sociology at Ottawa University, was accused of planting the bomb inside the saddle bag of a motorbike parked outside the packed synagogue close to the Champs-Elysees, where hundreds of people had gathered for Sabbath prayers. Evidence presented against him also included a sketch of the bomber which resembles Diab and the discovery of a passport in his name with entry and exit stamps from Spain, where the bomber is believed to have fled. There were also testimonies from witnesses that Diab was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) at the time of the bombing.

Lebanon: October 13th 1990 Revisited
Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Al Awsat/October 25/18
To many young Lebanese men and women, the events of October 13, 1990, mean nothing. Those who were little children surely do not remember the day when General Michel Aoun was adamant in rejecting ‘The Accords of the National Entente’ (in short ‘The Taif Accords’) that were signed in the Saudi city of Taif in 1989.Aoun, who was then the head of a ‘military government’ consisting of three army officers, not one of whom was Muslim, regarded all national agreements as null and void. His claim then was that Lebanon was living under Syrian military hegemony, and these agreements were reached through regional and international deals. In fact, Aoun was opposed to key constitutional reforms included in the ‘Accord’, aiming to eliminate the primary causes of the Lebanese War of 1975-1990.
The core issue in those reforms was eradicating the feeling of injustice long suffered by the Muslims, and the obsession of fear long haunting the Christians. To that end, the ‘Accords’ instituted an equal division of parliamentary seats instead of the old 6 to 5 advantage for the Christians, and re-defined the powers of the highest offices in the Lebanese state. The wide powers that were enjoyed by the President (whose post was reserved for the Maronite Christians) were scaled down in favor of the cabinet as a whole; thus, the Prime Minister (always a Sunni Muslim) became a true major partner in government, not merely a ‘senior’ minister. The powers of the Speaker (a Shiite Muslim) were also enhanced, by being elected for the whole term of the parliament.
However, those reforms, which Aoun viewed as “weakening and marginalizing the Christians”, provided very significant advantages to the Christians; perhaps the most important of which was that the power-sharing apportionment became a written item enshrined in the Constitution as opposed to being only an unwritten convention. Furthermore, although the powers of the President were scaled down and the Muslims’ parliamentary representation increased, the Christians kept almost all their top posts despite being a population minority making up only 40% against Lebanon’s Muslim majority of 60%. The Christians, actually, retained the posts of President, Army Chief, Governor of the Central Bank, and Chief Justice.
The finely-tuned equation reached and spelled out in ‘The Taif Accords’ was accepted then by the Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir and Dr. Samir Geagea the commander of the strongest Christian militia. Still Aoun rejected it openly, and went on to fight the ‘Accords’. In the meantime, the ‘Accords’ were verbally welcome – but tacitly opposed and undermined – by both the Syrian regime and Hezbollah, the entity founded by Iran but nurtured and cared for by Damascus.
Indeed, the roots of what happened on October 13, 1990, go back to the 22nd/23rd of September 1988 at the end of President Amin Gemayel’s term in office. At the time, Lebanon was in the throes of a deep political crisis, as a result of a conflict between President Gemayel and Prime Minister Dr. Salim Al-Hoss which led to the latter’s resignation.
Hence, fearing a power vacuum, Gemayel asked ‘The Supreme Military Council’ made up by six senior officers from the country's largest six sects to become an interim government with then the Council’s head and Army Chief General Aoun (a Christian Maronite) to become an interim Prime Minister. However, no sooner had the Presidential made the announcement that the three Muslim Council members (a Shiite, a Sunni and a Druze) resigned, refusing to serve in the new cabinet.
Aoun ignored the significance of these resignations, as he did not believe that having no Muslim ministers was contrary to both the Constitution and the ‘National Pact’ convention; and to justify his position he claimed that they only resigned under Syrian pressure.
This development aggravated the situation, as the country became divided between two cabinets: one a civilian cabinet that had already resigned headed by al-Hoss, the other military without Muslim representative led by Aoun who insisted it was ‘legitimate’, and consequently regarded himself as a legitimate Prime Minister. As such, he refused to acknowledge the election of the late Rene Moawad as President on November 5, 1989, and refused to leave the Presidential Palace to the newly elected President.
After 17 days of his election, Moawad was assassinated in an explosion in central Beirut on Independence Day (Nov 22nd). Within two days, Lebanon’s parliamentary deputies elected Elias Hrawi as a new President, and a decision was taken to end Aoun’s mutiny, while the latter continued to resist local, regional and international pressures, and mobilize his supporters.
By October 13, 1990, after all advice, cautions and threats proved futile, Syrian army tanks attacked both the Presidential Palace and the nearby Ministry of Defence, while Syrian fighter-bombers strafed the two compounds where Aoun conducted his mutiny. Almost immediately, the General gave up the fight and sought refuge in the close by French Ambassador’s residence, and so the mutiny was ended.
Later on, Aoun left to live in exile in France, and from there lead an incessant ‘war’ against the Damascus – Hezbollah axis. He even took ‘war’ against the Syrian regime and the party that would become Iran’s power base in Lebanon to Washington. There, he attended hearings in the Congress in 2003, after which he would claim that he was the ‘father’ of the ‘Syria Accountability Act’ and the UN Security Council Resolution 1559.
Despite all this, however, the end of Syria’s military presence in Lebanon came only after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic al-Hariri on February 14, 2005. That crime brought most of the Lebanese together, as they stood up against hegemony, and set in motion internal and foreign pressures that forced the forces of the Syrian regime out. The crime also led to two more very important developments:
1- The emergence of the true nature and role of Hezbollah, as well as Iran, in Lebanon.
2- The return of Aoun from exile after striking a ‘deal’ with both Damascus and Tehran; and soon after his return, citing his former allies refusal to recognize his ‘real political following’, he reached an ‘understanding’ with Hezbollah based on which he would become President.
Today, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) – Aoun’s party – is very much the ally of those who fought him on October 13, 1990!

Cabinet expected before Aoun marks two years as president

Timour Azhari and Joseph Haboush/The Daily Star/October. 26/18
BEIRUT: Lebanon will have a new government before the second anniversary of President Michel Aoun’s election on Oct. 31, as the problem of Christian representation appears to have been resolved, political sources said Thursday.
“Our government will be formed very soon, and, God willing, before the second anniversary of President [Michel] Aoun’s election,” Aoun’s son-in-law and Free Patriotic Movement leader, Gebran Bassil, tweeted Thursday night. Meanwhile, a source at Baabda Palace told The Daily Star that Lebanon will have a new government by early next week, expressing optimism that politicians were on the cusp of finding solutions to the few remaining obstacles, after five months of political wrangling over Cabinet shares.
A ministerial source told The Daily Star that “forming a government is as good as done,” adding it would be formed “in the next few days, and maybe even Friday.”
“There are no obstacles to forming the government after negotiations reached their end,” the source said, adding, “In the past week, we’ve begun discussing the content of the policy statement.”
Speaker Nabih Berri told visitors at his Ain al-Tineh residence Thursday, “The Prime Minister-designate is optimistic, but it is yet to be seen how things will be concluded, and we hope for positive results.” This came after Berri’s aide, Caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, held an unpublicized meeting with Hariri Thursday, the ministerial source said.
Local channel MTV reported that Hariri would soon present a Cabinet lineup to Aoun. This would mark the first time that anything more than a framework formula laying out the respective shares of each party would be taken to Baabda Palace.
While optimism over an imminent government formation has been repeatedly reported, and ultimately proved unfounded, the Baabda source mentioned a specific solution to the feud between the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement, which has been a major obstacle in the formation process.In line with its long-standing demands, the LF would be given four portfolios, the source said, along with the post of deputy prime minister.
These portfolios would include the Social Affairs, Labor and Culture ministries, and a fourth one he did not name. He said this fourth portfolio would likely be given from Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri’s share marking an outside solution to the issue, as the FPM had previously refused to cede any of the 11 ministerial portfolios it has demanded.
The source said the LF had asked the Progressive Socialist Party for the Education Ministry, but the party had refused. He said the Justice Ministry, coveted by the LF, would also remain part of President Aoun’s Cabinet share.
Meanwhile, a source close to Hariri told The Daily Star that there had been no developments revealed after a meeting between the premier-designate and Youssef Fenianos, the Marada-affiliated caretaker public works minister.
And despite the across-the-board optimism, the source close to Hariri said there was “nothing new” in the formation process. “We have to wait for the political meetings to take place,” he said.
Corroborating that point, Caretaker Information Minister Melhem Riachi, a close adviser to LF leader Samir Geagea, told The Daily Star there was “nothing new” regarding Cabinet formation and that they were “waiting for our meeting with [the] premier[-designate] in the coming days,” either Friday or Saturday.
Hariri notably only had one political publicized meeting Thursday upon his return from Riyadh, where he had been attending a foreign investment conference. It had previously been reported that Hariri would head to Baabda Palace to meet with Aoun to discuss the Cabinet formation process, which Wednesday entered its sixth month of deadlock.
Striking a less promising tone, the Baabda source added: “Whoever doesn’t enter the government that will be his or her decision.”
Voicing a similar point of view, FPM MP Alain Aoun earlier Thursday said, “No one is going in the direction of” excluding the LF from participating in the next government, “but if they voluntarily choose not to participate, this would be unfortunate.”
Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan was quick to hit back, saying there would be no government formed without the LF.
MP Aoun told The Daily Star that Cabinet formation “is with Hariri now, and the main issue is the Lebanese Forces share.”
Asked whether Hariri would soon meet President Aoun, MP Aoun said: “It’s all tied to Hariri: If he succeeds in solving the problem of the LF’s share, it makes sense. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
MP Aoun had earlier in the day said the entire government was being “held up” over a single portfolio, in a clear reference to the LF’s demand for four ministerial portfolios, rather than the three that the FPM are willing to facilitate. However, he told The Daily Star that the issue of the Public Works Ministry, which the FPM wants to take from the Marada Movement, “is also still present.”
Meanwhile, government formation is weighing on Berri’s plans to hold this Parliament’s second legislative session, for which the speaker did not set a date at a preparatory meeting of Parliament’s secretariat Thursday.
“A legislative session will be called for at the closest time possible, probably Nov. 4 or 5, but it’s tied to the government [formation],” Deputy Speaker Elie Ferzli told The Daily Star. “If it’s formed, then we’ll hold the legislative session directly after Parliament gives the new Cabinet confidence,” he added. Parliament’s Secretary-General Adnan Daher told The Daily Star that the agenda for the session had already been decided upon and that it included a large number of provisions, though he refused to say what exactly they were tied to “until next week.”
Political factions are in disagreement over whether Parliament should even convene while the government is in caretaker mode. Despite this, Berri last month brought together lawmakers for a two-day legislative session to endorse what was deemed “legislation of necessity,” namely laws tied to the CEDRE donor conference held in April, where the international community pledged more than $11 billion for infrastructure and economic projects.

Analysis: Six months after polls, Lebanon struggles to form a gov't

Abhishek G Bhaya/CGTN/October 25/18
In less than two weeks, it will be six months since parliamentary elections were held in Lebanon on May 6 this year, but the country still remains without a government leading to fears that the ongoing political crisis could push Beirut into an economic turmoil. The May 2018 parliamentary elections were held after the originally scheduled elections in 2013 was postponed thrice – in 2013, 2014 and 2017 – under various pretexts. So, these were the first elections since 2009 and also the first held under Lebanon's new electoral law passed in 2017 and therefore seen as an opportunity to bring in political stability in the country.
However, the results didn't give a clear mandate to any of the two major political coalitions. While the March 14 Alliance, led by then prime minister (and now prime minister-designate) Saad Hariri's Future Movement, saw its hold slipping in the 128-seat parliament; his main opponent the March 8 Alliance, that includes Hezbollah and led by Free Patriotic Movement, increased its strength with a good showing at the election. Following the fractured mandate, President Michel Aoun tasked Hariri to set up a new cabinet. Since then, the prime minister-designate has struggled to form a 30-member national unity government as parties reportedly continue to jostle over ministerial positions despite fears of a looming economic crisis. According to the Lebanese constitution, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim while the parliamentary speaker must be a Shiite Muslim representing the country's main ethnoreligious groupings. The prime minister-designate does not have a deadline for drawing up a new government. Also as per the 1989 Taif Accord (which ended Lebanon's 15-year civil war), the government posts are shared between the ethnoreligious groupings as well, with six cabinet portfolios reserved for Sunni Muslims, six for Shiite Muslims, and three for Druze.
Political tug of war
"What has handicapped the government's formation so far are significantly diverging interests," Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, remarked. "Mainly, there has been a tug of war between the two Christian political parties vying for future dominance over their community and for Lebanon's presidency, in particular the effort of Gebran Bassil, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, to position himself as a successor to his father-in-law President Michel Aoun once he leaves the scene. This standoff has poisoned public discourse and revived civil war-era sentiment," she elucidated.
Earlier last week, both Hariri and Aoun had expressed hope that the government would be formed by Sunday (October 21) but there were no signs of a breakthrough even as the deadline passed. "Forming the government is taking longer than expected but we will get there,” Hariri said, stressing that efforts remain "on their way to a solution."
President Aoun, who has repeatedly expressed concern over the delay, reiterated last Thursday that "the [new] government is just around the corner.""The Lebanese government formation process seems to have gone back to square one," said Hanin Ghaddar, Friedmann visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, DC. "Although Hariri stressed that all parties had made concessions, there are still none from the two leading Christian parties blocking the process. Meanwhile, Hezbollah blamed the delay on 'foreign intervention,' probably hinting at the position of the US not to allow Hezbollah to get any service ministries, mainly the Health Ministry," Ghaddar added.
Looming economic crisis
After Hariri's failure to line up a new cabinet last weekend, Aoun on Monday pressed that the circumstances required a rapid formation of the government, hinting at the looming economic crisis. On Wednesday, the Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri too warned that Lebanon will soon suffer economic deterioration without the formation of a new government, a local newspaper reported. "The government must be formed as soon as possible... to be able to avert an economic deterioration," Berri was quoted by Elnashra, an online independent newspaper, as saying. With no government in place, Lebanon risks losing 11-billion US dollars in soft loans and grants from international donors who pledged the aid at the International Conference in Support of Lebanon Development and Reforms (CEDRE) conference held in Paris on April 6.
A new government would be required to sign off the funds at the conference.
Economic growth has also plummeted in the wake of a series of political crises, compounded by the war in neighboring Syria since 2011.
Lebanon has one of the world's most indebted governments, owing about 150 percent of the gross domestic product, and the International Monetary Fund warned early this year that Beirut must urgently undertake fiscal reforms, Reuters reported. Some analysts, however, aren't yet hopeful that a new government will be able to improve Lebanon's economic situation. "The question today is whether the government is going to improve the economic and political crises in Lebanon? It almost certainly will not," Ghaddar said emphatically. "To genuinely help Lebanon recover, two fundamental processes need to be implemented: reforming state institutions, with strong accountability mechanisms; and containing Iran's hegemony over Lebanon. As long as Iran continues to dominate Lebanon's political and security decisions, and as long as corruption continues to deprive institutions from resources, Lebanon will remain isolated economically and politically, and will continue to disintegrate," she elaborated.
A compromise on the cards?
Other analysts felt that the political deadlock will be resolved soon. "I don't think the formation of a cabinet will take much more time," Sami Nader, director of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs, said. "All the stakeholders in Lebanon may finally realize that the economy is on the verge of collapse so that further delay is dangerous. I wouldn't be surprised if Hezbollah were to jump in to convince its allies of the necessity of a compromise," added Nader who's also an economist, and a lecturer at Beirut's Université Saint Joseph. Meanwhile, a gradual international pressure is building on Lebanon, nudging it to have a functional government at the earliest. French Ambassador to Lebanon Bruno Foucher on Tuesday urged Beirut to form a new "active" government very soon, according to a Xinhua report. On Wednesday, Philippe Lazzarini, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Lebanon, called on Lebanese officials to form the "much-anticipated" government to restore confidence and attract much-needed foreign investments. While addressing all these concerns may feel like squaring a circle, the urgency of putting Lebanon back on track cannot be underestimated. Declining confidence in the country's economy, increasing socioeconomic pressure, and an evident erosion in the country's institutional fabric make it paramount for the political leadership to delay no longer, Yahya concluded. (With input from agencies)
The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 26-27/18
White House invites Putin to Washington
TBILISI (Reuters) - The White House has formally invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Friday, returning to an idea that was put on hold in July amid anger in the U.S. over the prospect of such a summit. President Donald Trump held a summit with Putin in Helsinki, the Finnish capital, and then issued Putin an invitation to visit Washington in the autumn. But that was postponed after Trump faced allegations of cozying up to the Kremlin. “We have invited President Putin to Washington,” Bolton said at a news conference during a visit to ex-Soviet Georgia, days after meeting Putin and senior security officials in Moscow. Bolton said he gave Putin an invitation to visit next year during his trip to Moscow, U.S. broadcaster RFE/RL reported. It was not immediately clear if Putin had accepted the invitation. Putin last held a meeting with a U.S. president on American soil in 2015 when he met Barack Obama on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly. Trump’s earlier invitation to Putin sparked an outcry in Washington, including from lawmakers in Trump’s Republican party, who argued that Putin was an adversary not worthy of a White House visit. The topic of Putin visiting the United States is a highly-charged one, because U.S. intelligence agencies allege that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump win. Russia denies any election meddling. Trump has said it is in U.S. interests to establish a solid working relationship with Putin. Trump and Putin plan to hold a bilateral meeting in Paris on Nov. 11 on the sidelines of events to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One. Bolton said that the Paris meeting would be brief.
Netanyahu Visits Oman, Which Has No Diplomatic Ties With Israel
Noa Landau and Jack Khoury/Haaretz/October/26, 2018

Israeli PM meets sultan in first such meeting since 1996 ■ Leaders discuss ways to achieve 'peace and stability' ■ Abu Mazen also paid a visit to Oman between October 21 and 23, and called the talks a success
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an official visit to Oman, where he met with Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, his office said Friday. Oman has no official diplomatic ties with Israel, although a slight warming in relations followed the Oslo Accords in the 1990s. Palestinian reports indicated that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also paid a visit to Oman earlier this week.
Abbas paid his visit to Oman on October 21-23, and called it "successfull on all levels" in an interview to Palestinian TV. It remains unclear, however, whether he was aware Netanyahu was due to visit the country soon.
Netanyahu and his wife were invited to visit by the sultan after lengthy contacts between the two countries, the Prime Minister Office's said in a statement. The prime minister flew to Oman on Thursday and spent the night there before returning to Israel.
The meeting was the first of its kind between leaders of the two countries since 1996.
The Prime Minister's Office said the two sides discussed ways to achieve "peace and stability in the Middle East," adding that "the prime minister's visit is a significant step in implementing the policy outlined by Prime Minister Netanyahu on deepening relations with the states of the region while leveraging Israel's advantages in security, technology and economic matters."
The visit came days after an official visit to Oman by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin made the first visit by an Israeli premier to Oman in 1994. In 1996, Rabin's successor, Shimon Peres, met with the sultan. Oman's foreign minister visited Israel in 1995. In 2008, then-Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met with Oman's foreign minister.
Joining Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, were Mossad Director Yossi Cohen; National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat; Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem; Netanyahu Chief of Staff Yoav Horowitz; and Col. Avi Blot, Netanyahu's military secretary.
Earlier this week, the chief of general staff of Azerbaijan's armed forces arrived in Israel for his first official visit. Azerbaijani Chief of General Staff Najmaddin Sadigov met with his Israeli counterpart, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and other senior Israel Defense Forces officials.
Azerbaijan, Iran's northern neighbor, has maintained close ties with Israel in recent years. The decision to send the Azerbaijani chief of general staff for a first official visit to Israel is perceived in Jerusalem as a clear message being sent to Tehran.

Israel Says Netanyahu Made Rare Visit to Oman
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 26/18/Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made an unannounced visit to Oman, an Arab state with which Israel has no diplomatic ties, and met with Sultan Qaboos, the premier's office said Friday. The two leaders discussed the Middle East peace process "and other issues of shared interest," it said in a statement released after Netanyahu returned from the first such visit by an Israeli premier for more than two decades. Netanyahu was accompanied by his wife Sara and his delegation included Mossad intelligence chief Yossi Cohen and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat. The visit came at the invitation of Sultan Qaboos and followed "lengthy contacts between the two countries," the statement said. It formed part of "the policy outlined by Prime Minister Netanyahu on deepening relations with the states of the region," it said. In 1994, then-Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin visited Oman, and acting prime minister Shimon Peres also made a visit in 1996 and the two countries agreed to open trade representative offices. In October 2000, Oman closed the offices after the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada.
Netanyahu Visits Oman, Which Has No Diplomatic Ties With Israel
نيتنياهو يزور سلطنة عمان التي لا تقيم علاقات دبلوماسية مع إسرائل

Noa Landau/Haaretz/October 26/18
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an official visit to Oman, where he met with Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, his office said Friday. Oman has no official diplomatic ties with Israel, although a slight warming in relations followed the Oslo Accords in the 1990s.
In 1996, then-prime minister, the late Shimon Peres, visited Oman and Qatar and opened Israel Trade Representations in both Gulf states. His predecessor, the late Yitzhak Rabin, made the first such visit to Oman in 1994.

UN Security Council to meet concerning Syria
The Security Council meeting falls on the eve of a summit convening leaders from Turkey, United States, AFPFriday, 26 October 2018/The UN Security Council will meet Friday to discuss Syria, diplomatic sources told AFP Thursday, as no progress appears to have been made with Damascus on establishing a post-war constitution. Outgoing UN envoy Staffan de Mistura on Wednesday traveled to the Syrian capital to seek the government’s approval of a UN-backed constitutional committee that has been on the cards for months. But after a “long” meeting with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, De Mistura disclosed only that they had “a very frank and very intense exchange of opinions.”Muallem stressed that creating a new constitution must be a Syrian-led process and ruled out “any foreign interference.” De Mistura is expected to participate in the US-requested meeting via video link, the diplomatic sources said. The Italian-Swedish diplomat announced last week he would step down at the end of November, but would first seek to overcome Syrian reluctance to form the UN-backed constitutional committee. The new constitution is seen as a stepping stone to staging elections in Syria, where more than 360,000 people have been killed since war erupted in 2011 when anti-government protests broke out. The uprising has since morphed into a complex conflict with myriad armed groups, some of whom are foreign-backed. The UN-backed political process has suffered in the face of parallel efforts led by Russia, Turkey and Iran, and as the Syrian military has progressively regained control of most of the country. The Security Council meeting falls on the eve of a summit convening leaders from Turkey, Russia, France and Germany. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone with US leader Donald Trump to coordinate strategy, according to the Elysee.

Saudi prosecutor to visit Istanbul over Khashoggi murder: Erdogan
Fri 26 Oct 2018/NNA - Saudi Arabia's chief prosecutor will visit Istanbul on Sunday to speak with Turkish authorities as part of the investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkey's president said Friday. “They (the Saudis) are sending the chief prosecutor on Sunday to Turkey," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, adding that Ankara had more evidence on the killing. The 59-year-old Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and a critic of Riyadh, was killed on October 2 while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork for his marriage to a Turkish woman. Riyadh acknowledged on Thursday that the murder appeared to have been premeditated, on the basis of evidence supplied by Turkey. Turkish media have published a series of grisly revelations about the murder. Erdogan, who has so far stopped short of directly blaming the Saudi government, said Turkey had already shared evidence with countries including Saudi Arabia and added it had even more. “It is not that we don't have any other information or documents. We do. Tomorrow is another day," he said. The Turkish leader had mocked Saudi Arabia's initial explanation of Khashoggi's disappearance -- that he left the consulate alive -- as "childish" and "far from state seriousness". He pressed Riyadh to reveal who ordered the killing and the whereabouts of the body. "You need to show this body," he said. He also said that the 18 Saudis detained over the murder knew who killed Khashoggi. "The culprit is among them. If that is the case, then who is the local conspirator? You have to tell," said Erdogan. “Unless you tell, Saudi Arabia will not be free from this suspicion." Erdogan on Wednesday spoke on the phone with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the first time since the murder.—AFP

CIA Director briefs US President Trump on Khashoggi’s case
Arab News/October 26/ 2018/RIYADH: CIA director Gina Haspel has briefed President Donald Trump on her recent visit to Turkey, where she met with Turkish officials to understand what they know on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. No details of the briefing have been released. Meanwhile, The Washington Post and several other media outlets have reported that CIA Director Gina Haspel has heard a Turkish audio recording of Khashoggi’s killing during her recent visit to Ankara. Previously, the US had denied that Secretary of State Pompeo had heard or been given a copy of the alleged recording during a visit to the region, which included both Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Ever since Khashoggi’s death on 2 October, there has been several stories in international media citing anonymous Turkish sources which suggest that such a recording exists. The details of what the recording contains varied; and so did the stories on how Turkish officials obtained it which raised questions on whether or not the Saudi consulate was spied upon or whether indeed it was Khashoggi’s Apple Watch which recorded the incident. Arab News can’t verify whether such a recording exists or not.

US praises Saudi decision on slain writer’s son
Arab News/October 26/ 2018/A State Department spokesman says the U.S. welcomes a decision by Saudi Arabia to let the son of slain writer Jamal Khashoggi leave the country and come to the United States. Spokesman Robert Palladino tells reporters that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the son, Salah Khashoggi, during his recent visit to the kingdom. Palladino said on Thursday that Pompeo "made it clear to Saudi leaders that he wanted Salah Khashoggi to return to the United States, and we are pleased that he is now able to do so."
Human Rights Watch said earlier Thursday that Salah Khashoggi and his family were heading to the US after a travel ban on them was lifted. His destination was not publicly known, but his late father lived in the Washington area. Palladino says Pompeo attended a briefing on the former Washington Post writer's death by CIA Director Gina Haspel following her return from Turkey.

Iran small boats shadow US ship carrying top US commander
AP, Aboard the USS EssexFriday, 26 October 2018/The top US commander in the Middle East got an Iranian welcome as he arrived on the USS Essex in the Gulf. Soon after Gen. Joseph Votel boarded the amphibious assault ship Friday morning one Iranian fast boat raced across in front of the Essex, while another shadowed it from the side. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps routinely buzz around US ships in the region, taking photos and collecting information. The boats came within about 300 yards of the Essex, and their radio chatter questioned what a US aircraft from the ship was doing. A stealthy F-35 fighter jet had made a pass around the Essex, then hovered in the air above the deck before making a vertical landing as part of a demonstration for Votel.

Israeli fire kills 4 at Gaza border clashes
AP, GazaFriday, 26 October 2018/Gaza’s Health Ministry says four Palestinian youths have been killed by Israeli fire, the first after two prior weekly protests saw no fatalities. The ministry said they were participating in protests Friday along the perimeter fence separating the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip from Israel. Thousands of Palestinians gathered along the fence, burning tires and throwing rocks and firebombs at Israeli troops who respond with tear gas and occasional live fire. The Hamas group has scaled down the deadly protests over the past two weeks as Egypt intensified its shuttle diplomacy to secure calm. Hamas wants a full lifting of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has beleaguered Gaza since Hamas seized power in 2007. Since the marches began six months ago, 158 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have been killed.

PM Mahdi: Iraq will prioritize own interests regarding Iran sanctions

Reuters, Baghdad Friday, 26 October 2018/Iraq will prioritize its own interests and independence when it comes to helping the United States enforce sanctions against Iran, new Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Thursday. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran in May and re-impose sanctions has put Abdul Mahdi’s incoming government in a difficult position, since Iraq’s economy is closely intertwined with neighboring Iran’s. “We want to secure Iraq from any interference in issues, affairs of other countries, whether it’s a neighboring country or it’s any other country in the world,” Abdul Mahdi told a news conference in Baghdad. The United States and Iran, increasingly at odds, are Iraq’s two biggest allies, and Washington has said there will be consequences for countries that do not respect the sanctions. Abdul Mahdi’s statement on Thursday did not deviate much from the stance of his predecessor, Haider al-Abadi.In August Abadi said Iraq was against the sanctions “as a matter of principle”, but that the country would follow them.
Interests of the people
“We consider them a strategic mistake and incorrect but we will abide by them to protect the interests of our people. We will not interact with them or support them but we will abide by them,” he said. Abadi’s government later asked Washington for permission to ignore some sanctions on its neighbor. Abdul Mahdi did not say on Thursday whether his government would continue to seek the exemptions. The next wave of sanctions are due to come into effect on Nov 4. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Abdul Mahdi on Thursday to congratulate him on his swearing in. They also discussed the enhancement of bilateral relations, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s media office. Abdul Mahdi was speaking at his first news conference since being sworn in just past midnight on Thursday. He also announced that he would be moving the prime minister’s office and cabinet outside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. “All of Iraq should be a green zone. Security and beauty should be everywhere in Iraq. Officials must share everything with citizens, the good and the bad. We should share everything with our people.”

Israel Defense Minister picks new army Chief of Staff
AFP, JerusalemFriday, 26 October 2018/Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Friday he has selected Aviv Kochavi, a former military intelligence head, as the army’s new chief of staff. Kochavi, who has served as deputy chief of staff since 2017, was picked after “consultations with dozens of people” including former premiers, Lieberman’s office said. Kochavi would take up the post at the start of 2019, succeeding General Gadi Eisenkot whose term ends this year. The appointment must first be approved by a government committee due to meet on Sunday, before going before the cabinet. Kochavi has served as head of the army’s northern command and as military intelligence chief during the 2014 war against the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza. Military commentators said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had disagreed with the choice of Kochavi, a graduate of Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

Jordan opens probe into deadly school trip to Dead Sea
Staff writer, Al Arabiya EnglishFriday, 26 October 2018 /Jordan’s Ministry of Education opened an investigation on the tragic incident that saw at least 21 people killed, mostly school children in flashfloods in the Dead Sea area on Thursday, according to the ministry spokesperson Waleed al-Jallad. He said that the probe aims to assess the facts surrounding the incident and clarify it, stressing the keenness of the Ministry of Education to cooperate fully with all concerned parties in this case. Earlier reports suggested that the school which carried out the bus trip with the victims on board violated the instructions and changed the permitted route to al-Azraq region (an eco-tourism destination in Jordan’s eastern desert) not to the Dead Sea, due to the bad weather conditions. Meanwhile, the Royal Hashemite Court announced on Friday that Jordan flag at its main entrance would be flown at half-mast for three days to mourn the tragic loss of lives. Read more

Jordan’s King Abdullah expresses grief over those killed in Dead Sea floods
Staff Writer, Al Arabiya EnglishFriday, 26 October 2018/Speaking on the tragic flood that left at least 20 people dead near the Dead Sea, King Abdullah II of Jordan said “my grief is great and deep, and nothing equates to it except the anger I feel towards those who failed to take measures that could have prevented this painful incident.”Jordan’s King said in a speech on Friday: “My condolences to the people of Jordan at the loss of our family members. The pain of every father, mother, and family is my pain as well.”King Abdullah also expressed his condolences to the leaders of Iraq regarding the death of two Iraqis who were killed in the flood near the Dead Sea. The King will chair a meeting with the National Policy Council to discuss the ramifications of the flood. At least 20 people, mainly schoolchildren and teachers, were killed on Thursday in a flash flood near Jordan's Dead Sea that happened during a school field trip, rescuers and hospital workers said. Heavy rains hit Jordan on Thursday afternoon, causing floods in several areas which led to the worst disaster in years. The Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth, is surrounded by steep valleys that frequently witness flash floods and landslides.
U.S. Arrests Suspect over 12 Bombs, Suspicious Packages
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 26/18/The U.S. government on Friday announced a suspect had been arrested in connection with 12 suspicious packages and pipe bombs sent to critics of Donald Trump in a days-long spree that has inflamed the United States ahead of key midterm elections. A Department of Justice spokeswoman announced the arrest on Friday morning, saying a news conference would be held at 2:30 pm (1830 GMT).  U.S. media said the suspect was taken into custody in Florida, where a huge nationwide manhunt mobilizing hundreds of agents, had reportedly concentrated in recent hours. Since Monday homemade bombs and other suspected explosive devices have been addressed to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Hollywood megastar Robert De Niro and a litany of figures loathed by the U.S. president's supporters. Early Friday, an 11th package to Cory Booker, a New Jersey senator often touted as a Democratic presidential hope, was intercepted in Florida, the FBI confirmed. A 12th package, identified by police as a pipe bomb similar to others found across the country, was found at a U.S. Post Office in Manhattan and the bomb squad were dispatched, New York police said. James Clapper, among a string of former intelligence chiefs critical of Trump, was the addressee of the 12th package, sent care of CNN. On Wednesday, the news network evacuated its New York bureau after a similar package was found in the mail room addressed to another frequent CNN guest, former CIA director John Brennan. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have branded the packages -- intercepted in New York, Maryland, Florida, Delaware and Los Angeles -- domestic terrorism, but Trump has come under fire for his response. "Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this 'Bomb' stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics," Trump tweeted Friday in remarks bound to enrage his opponents.
Trump under fire
"Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!" New York's state Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo was unimpressed. "Leaders have to be more responsible and the American public have to demand that responsibility," he told CNN. Even before his Friday tweet bemoaning slacking Republican momentum, Trump came under criticism from the left for tempering calls for unity in the wake of the attacks, by lashing out at the press for stirring up "anger." The White House has been forced to defend the president over accusations that he was not taking the attempted bombings seriously enough. Trump recently endorsed the body-slamming of a reporter, routinely denounces the press as "fake news" and has leveled toxic remarks in the past against the pipe bomb targets. Cuomo insisted that the investigation was making "significant progress" despite the dearth of leads announced publicly and no known arrests. U.S. media has reported that much of the investigation has focused on Florida, where officials believe that at least some of the packages were dispatched.
De Niro urges voting
"The focus on Florida is going to bear through," Cuomo told CNN. "My instinct is they are going to have results there on the specifics of the manhunt."Cuomo disputed speculation that the devices were not rigged to explode. "No one can say there were fake bombs, they were dangerous," he said. "There may be questions about the levels of sophistication."The packages were sent in manila envelopes with bubble wrap, marked with computer-printed address labels. Each listed Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, as the sender, including misspellings of her last name, the FBI said. Double Oscar winner and biting Trump critic De Niro on Friday urged people to vote in the November 6 elections, one day after a device was discovered at the Manhattan offices of his production company. "I thank God no one's been hurt, and I thank the brave and resourceful security and law enforcement people for protecting us," he said. "There's something more powerful than bombs, and that's your vote. People MUST vote!" "This is definitely domestic terrorism," Clapper told CNN Friday, hitting out at Trump saying he bore "some responsibility" for a decline in civility. "I'm not suggesting a direct cause and effect relationship between anything he's said or done and these -- and the distribution of these explosives," Clapper told CNN. "But I do think he bears some responsibility for the coarseness of civility in this country. He needs to remember that his words count."

The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 26-27/18
Iranian propaganda seeks to create discord and influence elections
الدكتور ماجد ربيزاده: الدعاية الإيرانية تسعى إلى خلق الخلافات والتأثير في الانتخابات الأميركية

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Arab News/October 26/18
The 2018 midterm elections in the US will be held in less than two weeks. These elections are critical because many seats in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, as well as state governorships, will be contested. The results of the midterm elections are important due to the fact they will have an enormous impact on both US domestic and foreign policy for many years to come.
As a result, it is crucial that confidence in the democratic process is guaranteed by making sure that free and fair elections are held without the interference of other state and non-state actors.
While Russia has grabbed the media spotlight for the part that it may be playing to influence the outcome of the midterms, the Iranian regime’s role has received much less attention. It is important to point out that, in the last few years, Iran has made significant technological advances, which are partially being directed toward affecting the results of elections both domestically and in foreign nations.
Domestically speaking, the Iranian leaders enjoy significant control over their own elections. Generally only a few candidates, who have been selected by the regime’s apparatuses, are permitted to run for office. The ruling mullahs fulfill this task through the Guardian Council, which is loyal to the fundamentalists and particularly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The 12 members of the council are all appointed directly or indirectly by the supreme leader — six directly and the other six nominated by the head of the judiciary, who is, in turn, appointed by Khamenei.
Iran is spreading dishonest, fake news and misinformation in various languages on popular social media outlets.
But, since the theocratic establishment cannot exercise such control over other nations’ elections, it resorts to other, more sophisticated means. One approach that Iran has been increasingly relying on is to launch disinformation campaigns by spreading dishonest, fake news and misinformation in various languages on popular social media outlets, which have hundreds of millions of users. The regime also generates and disseminates fabricated headlines and videos, and propagates inaccurate pictures.
In fact, Iran has already been engaged in such propaganda campaigns ahead of the US midterm elections. In a joint statement, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Justice Department, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security recently stated that: “We are concerned about ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran, to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies.”
The Iranian regime is using propaganda in an attempt to influence voters to elect candidates who are in favor of pursuing appeasement policies toward Tehran and maintaining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, which provides the regime with sanctions relief, extra revenues and lucrative business deals with Western firms. Iran is also trying to undermine people’s confidence in the democratic institutions and norms, create deep division and discord in the US, and ultimately shape the political discourse in a way that advances the ruling clergy’s ideological and geopolitical interests.
One of the popular outlets Iran uses in order to inflict damage on other nations’ internal politics is Twitter. Twitter recently released a treasure trove of data that demonstrates in detail the underlying role the Iranian regime plays. According to the bevy of data, suspect tweets had come from “3,841 accounts affiliated with the IRA (Internet Research Agency), originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran… They include more than 10 million tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos and Periscope broadcasts.”
In addition, although Facebook is banned in Iran, the Tehran regime has become skillful at targeting people from other countries who use this giant social media outlet. In fact, Facebook acknowledged in a statement that it had removed “652 pages, groups and accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated in Iran and targeted people across multiple Internet services.”
The Iranian regime is engaged in inauthentic behavior, spreading propaganda and disinformation campaigns on social media platforms in many countries. But it is worth noting that two key targets of the Iranian leaders are the US and Saudi Arabia. American voters and the US government must be extremely cautious about Iran’s disinformation campaigns in the upcoming midterm elections. Iran must be held accountable for its propaganda campaigns in other nations.
One way to counter the Iranian regime’s malignant activities is to raise awareness among the public about the accuracy of the information they gain access to on various social media outlets and the role that the Iranian regime’s agents may be playing in distorting the facts and the truth. In addition, engineers, journalists, scholars, policy analysts and politicians ought to cooperate and set up a joint institution that can effectively detect and reverse engineer Iran’s destructive behavior.
• Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. He is a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy, a businessman and president of the International American Council.

The painful incident and the choice of accountability
Ghassan Charbel/Al Arabiya/October 26/18
In the life of states, as in the life of individuals, there are days that carry difficult or painful news. Experience shows that the best way to deal with this kind of days is to confront them with courage, responsibility and transparency. The only option is to deal with painful news very seriously… to know the circumstances and reasons that led to their occurrence, identify the causes and liabilities, and hold those involved accountable. At the same time, it is important to learn lessons from what has happened to ensure that the same incident is not repeated.
Anyone, who reads through experiences of individuals and states, knows that errors can occur and can be particularly dangerous. Individuals make mistakes because they misjudge, exaggerate, surpass the authority, or think they can escape accountability. Members of an organ or an institution sometimes commit an act of misconduct or misjudgment, disregarding the limits of authority and ignoring the restrictions that are supposed to govern the behavior of persons in a body or group.
Talking about mistakes does not mean justifying them; on the contrary, it is a way to stress that mechanisms must be put in place to prevent them from happening again, and to minimize the emergence of difficult or painful news due to violations of laws, norms and powers.
Those who know Saudi Arabia, are aware that the news of the disappearance of colleague Jamal Khashoggi was extremely painful for his family, friends and country. Jamal, before being a journalist and holder of critical and opposing stances, is a Saudi citizen. It is not Saudi Arabia’s habit to wash its hands of the fate of any of its citizens, regardless of their position on this or that issue. Broad-mindedness is part of the Kingdom’s policy at home and abroad.
Those who follow-up on developments in Saudi Arabia in the last two decades, certainly know that opponents have returned from abroad, resumed their normal lives in their own country, and that some of those who practiced excessive violence at home have reintegrated into their society after a rehabilitation process. It is clear that the Saudi internal and external policy is based on dialogue, narrowing the scope of disagreement, and searching for common grounds.
Following the painful incident at its consulate in Istanbul, Saudi Arabia took a series of steps to clarify the fate of Khashoggi and to reveal the truth behind what has happened. The Kingdom dispatched a security team to cooperate with the Turkish side in the investigations and opened the doors of the consulate and the consul’s house to the Turkish investigators.
By adopting the choice of justice and accountability, Riyadh re-directed the painful incident to its legal and judicial context. It is the logic of the state, responsibility, rule of institutions, learning of lessons and restructuring of bodies under the umbrella of law.
In parallel, it launched an internal investigation, asserting that it had nothing to hide and would act in the light of facts and information. Based on these steps, Riyadh announced the death of Khashoggi, the discharge of senior officials and the arrest of 18 persons under investigation.
Among those dismissed are senior officers from the intelligence service. A Saudi official statement indicated that those involved in the incident have “tried to cover up what happened.” This was accompanied by the announcement that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has ordered the formation of a ministerial committee under the chairmanship of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to restructure the general intelligence in the Kingdom. This means dealing with the painful incident on the basis of justice and accountability and the adoption of transparency in informing public opinion on the findings of the investigations. In parallel, the restructuring of the presidency of the intelligence body allows the establishment of strict controls that would prevent the recurrence of such painful incidents in the future.
In the period between the incident and the release of the Saudi statement, screens, sites and newspapers were crowded with news, rumors and scenarios. Attention to the incident was natural because of the person concerned and where it happened. It was easy to distinguish between two groups: the first is really concerned about Jamal Khashoggi and his fate; while the second considered the painful incident a golden opportunity to target Saudi Arabia based on accounts that have nothing to do with what happened at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
With the actions undertaken by Riyadh, the first team is supposed to have attained its demands, namely dealing transparently with the painful incident and revealing the circumstances and facts to the public opinion. As for those, who targeted the Kingdom, hoping to weaken it, accountability alarms them because they wanted to see a deep crisis in Saudi Arabia’s international relations.
The second team’s problem is that it deliberately merges two files together. They want at any price Khashoggi’s disappearance to contribute to a clash between Saudi Arabia and major powers, with whom it has alliances, cooperation and a wide network of interests. The team forgets that Saudi Arabia had passed tough tests in its international relations, including, for example, attempts to exploit the September 11 attacks to harm the Kingdom. At the same time, they forget that Jamal Khashoggi himself would not have accepted to use his name or what he was subjected to, to harm his own country.
By adopting the choice of justice and accountability, Riyadh re-directed the painful incident to its legal and judicial context. It is the logic of the state, responsibility, rule of institutions, learning of lessons and restructuring of bodies under the umbrella of law.

Why the mad media campaign against Saudi Arabia?
Jameel al-Thiyabi/Al Arabiya/October 26/18
The mad media campaign and continuous lies and fabrications – even after the announcement of the preliminary results of the ongoing investigations – confirm that their goal is to weaken the Kingdom and prevent it from achieving its ambitions and the aspirations of its youth, who form over 70 percent of its total population. The population of Saudi nationals is 21 million and those involved in a condemned operation were only a few. Hence, this does not justify condemning all of these millions by crafting headlines promoting hatred and incrimination and disparaging the Kingdom’s image leaving it open for blackmailing.
Saudi Arabia is facing an unjust campaign with calmness and composure. This is the policy of major countries. The Kingdom has left no stone unturned in cooperating with Turkey in an attempt to unearth the facts and reveal them to global public opinion. This emanates from the Kingdom’s self-confidence and from pursuing policies that have led to relieving several senior officials from their posts, investigating 18 Saudi suspects, restructuring the General Intelligence apparatus and specifying the responsibilities and powers of their senior officials.
Saudi Arabia is a big country and is unperturbed by this loud noise and barking. It possesses the qualities of capably facing adversities and challenges however grave or numerous they might be. The Kingdom will never accept such an ugly crime and its history is testimony to this. What Riyadh has announced and will announce subsequently about the death of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi proves this.
As to tendentious and dubious media outlets attacking the Kingdom’s credibility, they will surely fail. These include media like those of the “Two Hamads regime” or the other controlled media that aim to make political gains. The reason is that Saudi Arabia is much too big to be blackmailed or insulted.
Justice will be served, those involved will be brought to book and the investigations will continue. Everyone involved in the incident will receive his appropriate punishment.
As to those who harbor malice and hatred against the Kingdom, their main concern will be to distort the image of the Kingdom and attempt to blackmail it. Their schemes, conjectures and conspiracies will not stop because they are working in line with dubious agendas to appease parties that want to weaken our nation and commit aggression against it. They will continue to fan the fire whenever it is about to die out.
However, in the coming days, the “self-confident” Kingdom should silence the dwarfs and expose the goals behind the lies and fabrications they are spreading. The Kingdom should restore confidence by providing information to force those lying in wait to retreat in disgrace, in search of a new issue, in which they will be slapped left and right.
The ‘New Saudi Arabia’
The “New Saudi Arabia” knows that it will be subject to attacks, conspiracies, lies and ugly attempts to disparage it. However, all these plots hatched against the Kingdom will not affect it.
On the contrary, the Kingdom will counter them with all firmness. As is its usual custom, the Kingdom will continue in its policy of honesty, integrity and transparency. It will forge ahead with its development and reform projects.
Undoubtedly, members of the public are waiting for the announcement of the final results of the investigation, but those who harbor hatred and malice against the Kingdom will continue to fan the fires of the crisis by circulating lies and rumors.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom has more brethren, friends and allies. Saudi Arabia expects stronger and more courageous stances from them.
Some might ask: “Has the Kingdom sustained harm due to what has happened?”
Nobody can deny that the Kingdom’s reputation has suffered some harm due to the painful incident. However, Saudi Arabia’s reputation will not be shaken by one mistake, as it is a major and influential country. It is the fate of big countries to face challenges and surprises. If Saudi Arabia were a minor country lacking any influence, the world would not have cared about what it does or says. Nor would it have been the talk of the East and West.
It is true that some of the media campaigns were biased. They were not searching for the facts because they liked Khashoggi, but rather their objective was to condemn the Kingdom and disparage it to achieve cheap goals and political gains.
However, those involved in such campaigns must remember that Saudi Arabia is a leading Arab and Islamic country. It is a pivotal country that has won the confidence and trust of the international community. Saudi Arabia occupies a respectable position in the Arab and Muslim world. It has the Holy Kaaba in the Grand Mosque of Makkah, toward which all Muslims in the world perform their prayers. The Kingdom has one of the largest economies in the world and is the topmost oil producer. Hence, it is capable of facing challenges and of hindering the dreams of the greedy and malicious.
Since the disappearance of the late Jamal Khashoggi on Oct. 2, the Kingdom has pledged that it will not give up its responsibility toward its citizen in seeking justice and transparency. This is what it did, after the suspects were placed behind bars. Justice will take its course. It is the courts that will have the final say. The law will be implemented on whoever is found guilty.
With regard to Jamal Khashoggi’s death in his country’s consulate at the hands of his fellow countrymen, we must remind the world of the following:
First: It would be better before announcing the final results of the investigation to invite news agencies and correspondents of the Arab and world media to a press conference transmitted live where questions will be answered. All the latest developments related to this case should be announced. As this case has preoccupied world public opinion, this live press conference would be an opportunity for explaining the truth and dispelling all doubts, in implementation of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s statement: “We’ve nothing to hide and be fearful about.”
Second: They must not compare the Kingdom with countries that violate laws and conventions by harming their citizens within the country and abroad. We are a moderate and reliable country that is concerned with protecting its reputation and presenting an internal and external image in line with a respectable and transparent policy and tangible facts.
Third: One must understand that an ordeal can in fact be a blessing. In other words, such crises can be a blessing in disguise, as they sort out one’s friends from one’s enemies and those who are sincere from those who are hypocrites. Therefore, after such a sorting out process, stronger and closer ties can be forged. Fourth: Such crises make it clear to the Kingdom those who are lying in wait for it, the hypocrites and those harboring hatred and other bad intentions against it. At this point, we can learn lessons from crises and hasty reactions.
Fifth: Major nations know that crises are the gateway to rectification and revising policies so as to design policies that suit the current time and the future. This is what the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques did upon the recommendations of the Crown Prince on restructuring the intelligence apparatus, relieving several leading and senior officials from their posts, specifying responsibilities and powers, and referring those involved in the incident to the courts to face the consequences of their deeds.
Sixth: Admitting one’s mistake is a courageous attribute, characteristic of normal and moderate people. Moreover, one scores a point by doing so and do not lose a point. History will register that the Kingdom did this. When moderate, self-confident countries admit their mistakes, they can rectify matters fast, win confidence and change public opinion in their favor.
Seventh: Some Arab countries are lagging behind in supporting the Kingdom and expressing solidarity with it. This is at a time when the Kingdom stood by all in times of crisis with all force. This crisis calls for them to express more support for the Kingdom than merely issuing statements full of rhetoric.
Eighth: It is necessary to strengthen Saudi media institutions and develop their professional work mechanisms. The war in such big crises is between media institutions. These institutions can be supported by providing them with information and not leaving them to carry stories leaked by foreign news agencies or newspapers. Simultaneously, work must start fast in opening media outlets in other international languages, run and managed by qualified Saudi youth.
As to tendentious and dubious media outlets attacking the Kingdom’s credibility, they will surely fail. These include media like those of the “Two Hamads regime” or the other controlled media that aim to make political gains. The reason is that Saudi Arabia is much too big to be blackmailed or insulted.
Such attacks will merely crash on the boulder of the truth.
Surely, Saudis should be optimistic and have confidence in their leadership. They should rally behind them so as to repulse those mad attacks. Those harboring malice and hatred against the Kingdom do not know that Saudis stand steadfast and firm in the face of adversity. They stand together, united and proud against everyone who targets their country. The greater the challenge, the more that sacrifice is evident, and this is the best example of loyalty and national cohesion. This is what the largest newspapers in the world have experienced. They have written on this while posing many questions indicating their astonishment and amazement! May Allah Almighty have mercy on the soul of our colleague Jamal Khashoggi and may He grant his family and relatives patience and solace.

Fire flaring up between Trump and the Left

Mashari Althaydi/Al Arabiya/October 26/18
The series of the attacks via suspicious packages that targeted figures and institutions that are extremely hostile to American President Donald Trump clearly show the extent of the deep division in the American society as we near inflamed mid-term elections.
President Trump logically commented on these attacks as a president and said that the federal government is conducting an advanced investigation and they will find those responsible and refer them to the judiciary, voicing hope that this will happen quickly. At the same time, Trump scolded the leftist media over its misleading hostile approach.
What’s interesting is that the suspected packages – which seem like a warning and not like anything that aims to carry out anything – were mainly sent to the icons of extreme hostility towards the Trump administration, Trump as a figure and his policy.
This hostile attitude is unprecedented in the history of American media and CNN is one example. This in addition to figures like Hollywood celebrity Robert De Niro who has not stopped directing nasty insults at Trump.
There are of course figures like the godfather of the new leftist wave in America, Barack Obama, his successor, Hillary Clinton, who failed in her presidential campaign against Trump and other figures. Aren’t the media and art forts in the world, and not just in the US, in the hands of the liberal left or the leftist liberalism, which declared a mad war on Trump’s entire political path?
The campaign of explosive packages is a condemned terrorist attack. This is undebatable. However what made the situation reach this extent of tension in relations between the two main camps in America and how did the media and celebrities who belong to the liberal left reach this hysterical edge of “war”? Trump announced from the beginning that these institutions and figures, especially those in the fields of media and art, have abandoned the minimum of professional credibility and transformed into war “drums” and military horns against him in such an unreasonable and emotional approach.
“Fake News” is the stigma which Trump stamped on the forehead of the hostile liberal media, and the description has become a fixed “sign” to describe all this global media hysteria by the loud leftist camps.
The strangest comment I heard about this incident was reported by the British BBC that said President of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker said Trump and the White House press secretary “must understand their words matter”. Zucker added: “There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media.”We have to ask this journalist who wants Trump and his supporters to beware of the seriousness of words, who actually needs this advice, really?
Aren’t the media and art forts in the world, and not just in the US, in the hands of the liberal left or the leftist liberalism, which declared a mad war on Trump’s entire political path?
The Arab poet was right when he said: “The war’s principle is words.”

Netflix: Revolution in the world of entertainment
Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran/Al Arabiya/October 26/18
The revolution brought about by the Netflix app has had an adverse impact on the film and series industry in the world. A television broadcasting company has in fact sacked half of its employees in one of its offices because of the falling revenues.
The smart phone fetish
The popular easy-to-use application has hit the entertainment channels on television hard. In fact, Netflix has been able to turn the young and the old into its addicts. Netflix has been producing and distributing movies and television series since 1997. Its CEO Reed Hastings has been able to keep up with technological challenges right from the time of classical times up to the times of the CD-ROMs. This media services provider seems to have finally made it big by creating an extremely successful global application that is currently used by more than 100 million people worldwide.
Cinema grows like people, and the industry has been evolving for over a century now. The medium of cinema has an aesthetic appeal and a mesmerizing allure and it has its theoretical and technological revolutions as detailed in the book Aesthetics of Film by academic Jacques Aumont.
According to Aumont, cinema has an aesthetic approach. It involves a perception of beauty, and therefore it appeals to the viewer. He notes that cinema offers two aspects: a general aspect that thinks about the aesthetic effect that specializes in cinema and a qualitative aspect that focuses on the analysis of certain works, adding that it is the analysis of films or criticism in the full sense of the word as used in visual arts and the science of music.
Netflix's success cannot be measured only in financial terms with its revenues crossing $8 billion. It has also struck a chord with the consumer at the psychological level.
The technical development of cinema cannot be separated from economic trends or human and scientific transformations. In his book ‘The Stars’, the philosopher Edgar Morin describes cinema as the “bread” of dreams, as it’s like bread since it aesthetically nurtures. He avers that while the price of bread may rise only slightly more than its cost of production, “all products endowed with magic or having mystical value are sold at prices far in excess of their production costs: medicines, makeup, dentifrices, ornaments, fetishes, objects d'art, and stars too. The star is as rare as gold and as common as bread. Born in 1910 from the competition for control of the film market, she (the star) has understandably created the development of the capitalist industry of the cinema as much as this industry has created her”.
The cinematic dream-space
The most renowned philosopher in the cinematic universe is Gilles Deleuze, also called the brains behind the theory “cinema, the movement of image”, passed away one year before the foundation of Netflix in 1996. He investigated time and motion in the pictures and wrote about cinema and its evolution in an exquisite philosophical way that no one could before him.
Those intimidated by Deleuze’s difficult ideas can take recourse to the more lucid explanation of his views in the book written by Philippe Mengue, which is dedicated to the cinema of motion and time.
In spite of all the transformations of cinema and its industry, it has a common foundation, which Deleuze discussed in the first part of his book. He said: “a film is never made up of a single kind of image: thus we call the combination of the three varieties, montage. Montage (in one of its aspects) is the assemblage [agencement] of movement-images, hence the inter-assemblage of perception-images, affection-images and action-images. Nevertheless a film, at least in its most simple characteristics, always has one type of image which is dominant. One can speak of an active, perceptive or affective montage, depending on the predominant type. It has often been said that Griffith invented montage precisely by creating the montage of action. But Dreyer invents a montage and even a framing of affection, with other laws, in so far as The Passion of Joan of Arc is the case of an almost exclusively affective film.” Deleuze’s starting point in cinema is the image, its movement, its timing as a pillar of his cinematic analysis proposing that the flash of its image is an expression of the space in differences. No wonder he is the founder of philosophical differences in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Psychological connect
Netflix's success cannot be measured only in financial terms with its revenues crossing $8 billion. It has also struck a chord with the consumer at the psychological level. This has nothing to do with Skip Dine Young’s book “Psychology at the movies”, but rather with a psychological relation with the consumer in terms of speed, convenience and distinctive service. I am aware that there is more than one application for movies, even the most famous television company has tried to catch up with Netflix, but it did not work. Of course, this is not the end. The technological effervescence is at its peak and the company has succeeded through its application in satisfying the consumer and standing out among dozens of other applications.
This is cinema. it’s a world full of passion and magic, just like the description of Edgar Morin when he describes life in a movie as “spectacular, or rather a festive life, persuading, expansive, full of images, chatters and news, like flowers, a life that reaches the highest level of its historic prosperity in festivals.”

Europe's Crisis of Survival
Giulio Meott/Gatestone Institute/October 26, 2018
In facing this existential challenge, a downward spiral in which Europeans seem to be slowly dying out by failing to reproduce, it seems that Europe has also lost all confidence in its hard-won Enlightenment values, such as personal freedoms, reason and science replacing superstition, and the separation of church and state. These are critical if Europe truly wishes to survive.
In Western Germany, 42% of children under the age of six now come from a migrant background, according to Germany's Federal Statistical Office, as reported by Die Welt.
"[I]f you look through history, where the Church slept, got diverted away from the Gospel, Islam took the advantage and came in. This is what we are seeing in Europe, that the Church is sleeping, and Islam is creeping in... Europe is being Islamized, and it will affect Africa." — Catholic Bishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Cameroon.
In facing this existential challenge, a downward spiral in which Europeans seem to be slowly dying out by failing to reproduce, it seems that Europe has also lost all confidence in its hard-won Enlightenment values, such as personal freedoms, reason and science replacing superstition, and the separation of church and state. These are critical if Europe truly wishes to survive.
"The possibility that Europe will become a museum or a cultural amusement park for the nouveau riche of globalization is not completely out of the question." This thought of Europe as a vast cultural theme park was presented by the late historian Walter Laqueur, who, for his far-sighted prognosis about Europe's crisis, has been called "the indispensable pessimist." Laqueur was one of the first to understand that the current deadlock in which the continent finds itself goes far beyond economics. The point is that the days of European strength are over. Because of low birth rates, Europe is dramatically shrinking. If current trends continue, Laqueur said, a hundred years from now Europe's population "will be only a fraction of what it is today, and in two hundred, some countries may have disappeared."
Sadly, the "death of Europe" is drawing nearer, is becoming more visible and is more frequently discussed by popular writers.
"At a time when literature is increasingly marginalized in public life, Michel Houellebecq offers a striking reminder that novelists can provide insights about society that pundits and experts miss," the New York Times wrote about arguably the most important French author. Houellebecq "speaks" through his best-selling novels, such as Submission, as well as his public lectures. The last conference that Houellebecq attended in Brussels -- on the occasion of the Oswald Spengler Prize, commemorating the author of The Decline of the West -- was dedicated to that topic. "To sum up," Houellebecq said, "the Western world as a whole is committing suicide."
Why Europe has become so obsessed about its own declining demography and a surging fertile immigration from Africa?
According to Ross Douthat, writing in The New York Times, "Western-supported population control efforts in the developing world" are "creeping back into the discussion" for three reasons:
"Because African birthrates haven't slowed as fast as Western experts once expected, because European demographics are following Macron's Law toward the grave, and because European leaders are no longer nearly so optimistic about assimilating immigrants as even a few short years ago."Douthat is referring to two speeches by the French president, Emmanuel Macron. In 2017, Macron called Africa's problems "civilizational" and lamented that they "have seven or eight children per woman." In a second speech at the Gates Foundation last week, Macron said: "Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children." The question Macron implicitly raised is: How can Europe manage its own educated people with their low birth rates while confronting massive African and Middle Eastern fertility and immigration? It seems that Europe is in a demographic struggle with the rest of the world, and can only lose.
In facing this existential challenge, a downward spiral in which Europeans seem to be slowly dying out by failing to reproduce, it seems that Europe has also lost all confidence in its hard-won Enlightenment values, such as personal freedoms, reason and science replacing superstition, and the separation of church and state.
These are critical, if Europe truly wishes to survive. The distinguished historian Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote:
"Judged by the great historical determinants of civilizational power — fuel, energy, education, demography, political stability, and military power — Europe is waning. It is spending a mere 1.4% of its collective GDP on defense... And with a fertility rate of less than 1.6%, Europe is slowly shrinking and aging — hence the short-sighted immigration policy of Angela Merkel who apparently sees immigration also as a solution to the demography crisis and a shortcut to low-cost labor." However, as Walter Laqueur wrote, "even if Europe's decline is irreversible, there is no reason that it should become a collapse."
How does one avoid that collapse?
At a recent European meeting, Italy's interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who heads the anti-immigration League party, said: "I've heard colleagues say that we need immigration because the population of Europe is getting older, but I have a completely different viewpoint... I believe that I'm in government in order to see that our young people have the number of children that they used to a few years ago and not to transplant the best of Africa's youth to Europe. Maybe in Luxembourg they need to do this, but in Italy we need to help people have more children, rather than bring in modern-day slaves (from Africa) to replace the children we're not having."
Then, directly addressing an interruption from Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, Salvini added: "I calmly answer your point of view which is different from mine... If in Luxembourg you need a new immigration, I prefer to keep Italy for the Italians and start to make children again."Salvini evidently sees what to expect from Italy's future. Under unchanged conditions, Italy's population could collapse, reaching just over 16 million inhabitants compared to 59 million today. This disturbing projection emerged this year at Italy's annual "Festival of Statistics and Demography," where University of Rome professor Matteo Rizzolli said:
"Because this happens in a hundred years, even if we will be 8 million fewer in 20 years, if we keep on acting as we do, it will do nothing to promote the birth rate."
Europe's establishment is therefore perfectly divided between the so-called "Europeists," who believe that new migrants are necessary to stop the EU's demographic collapse, and the "Euroskeptics" who want to overcome it on their own. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, for instance, has called on Europeans to stop the "demographic decline" by investing more in traditional families. Meanwhile, Italian Catholic Archbishop Gian Carlo Perego has said:
"The challenge for Italy is to reconcile a country that is dying with young people who come from elsewhere, in order to begin a new history. If we close our door to migrants, we will disappear."
Salvini proposed yet another idea in an interview with The Times: "A country which does not create children is destined to die...We have created a ministry of the family to work on fertility, nurseries, on a fiscal system which takes large families into account. At the end of this mandate, the government will be measured on the number of newborns more than on its public debt."
At stake, Salvini said, is Italy's "tradition, our story, our identity" -- the left is using the fertility crisis as an "excuse" to "import immigrants." Another Catholic bishop, Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Mamfe, Cameroon, recently said about low birth rates in Europe:
"It's a very big thing. And I will dare to say that, especially with the backdrop of the Islamic invasion, if you look through history, where the Church slept, got diverted away from the Gospel, Islam took the advantage and came in. This is what we are seeing in Europe, that the Church is sleeping, and Islam is creeping in... Europe is being Islamized, and it will affect Africa."
Europe's decline and transformation can also be seen in France. According to new statistics released by the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, Mohammed and several other traditional Muslim names now top the list of most popular baby names in the French department of Seine-Saint-Denis (1.5 million residents). It is noteworthy that two journalists with the mainstream newspaper Le Monde, Gérard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme, have just published a book entitled Inch'allah : l'islamisation à visage découvert ("If Allah Wills: The Exposed Face of Islamization"), an investigation of the "Islamization" of the Seine-Saint-Denis area.
Meanwhile, an investigation published in July by the weekly L'Express showed that in France, "between 2000 and 2016, the number of children with at least one foreign parent increased from 15 to 24 percent." Die Welt reported that, according to the Federal Statistical Office, in Western Germany, 42% of children under the age of six now come from a migrant background.
Mass unvetted immigration to Europe seems to have done it more harm than good. Walter Laqueur wrote: "...uncontrolled immigration was not the only reason for the decline of Europe. But taken together with the continent's other misfortunes, it led to a profound crisis; a miracle might be needed to extract Europe from these predicaments."
Both Matteo Salvini and Michel Houellebecq have pointed out that the drama of an aging and tired Europe is not a partisan or electoral issue; it is a civilizational one. This issue will also decide the future of the European Union, which the open-borders policy might wipe out.
Time is running out. As Houellebecq said in a speech at the Frank Schirrmacher Prize:
"[T]he advance of Islam is just beginning, because demography is on its side and because Europe, which has stopped having children, has entered a process of suicide. And it is not really a slow suicide. Once you have arrived at a birth rate of 1.3 or 1.4, then in reality things go very fast."
*Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author. © 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

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