Detailed Lebanese & Lebanese Related LCCC English New Bulletin For September 26/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
Paul: What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus
Acts of the Apostles 21/01-14: "When we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. When we found a ship bound for Phoenicia, we went on board and set sail. We came in sight of Cyprus; and leaving it on our left, we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. We looked up the disciples and stayed there for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. When our days there were ended, we left and proceeded on our journey; and all of them, with wives and children, escorted us outside the city. There we knelt down on the beach and prayed and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.  When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais; and we greeted the believers and stayed with them for one day. The next day we left and came to Caesarea; and we went into the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven, and stayed with him.  He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. While we were staying there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came to us and took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, "This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles." ’ When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ Since he would not be persuaded, we remained silent except to say, ‘The Lord’s will be done.’"

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 September 25-26/18
Will North Korea Take Over South Korea/Gordon G. Chang/Gatestone Institute/September 25/18
The untold story of why Israel wants to demolish Khan al-Ahmar/Ramzy Baroud/Al Arabiya/September 25/18
Michelin Stars: From perfection to conspiracy/Turki Aldakhil/Al Arabiya/September 25/18
US Yields Set to Leave Europe’s in the Rearview Mirror/Marcus shworth/Bloomberg/September 25/18
FULL TEXT: Donald Trump's Address at the 2018 UN General Assembly/Agencies/Haaretz/September 25/18
Analysis/With Russia's S-300 in Syria, Israel Will Have to Think Twice About the Next Strike/Amos Harel/September 25/18
Why Trump will be proved right on Iran/Osama Al Sharif/Arab News/September 25/18
Terrorist attack in Iran a concern for Saudis, oil markets/Simon Henderson/The Hill/September 25/18
How Tehran Might React to the Ahvaz Attack/Omer Carmi/The Washington Institute/September 25/18

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on September 25-26/18
Aoun meets President of UN General Assembly
Aoun meets Swiss President
Macron Says 'Working with Aoun, Hariri' to Return Syrian Refugees
Parliament Passes E-Transactions Draft Law
President Aoun Says Lebanon Will Not Serve as Lily Pad in Regional Conflict
Parliament Approves Arms Trade Agreement after Controversy
Parliament OKs Housing Loan Support as LF, Mustaqbal Walk Out
Hariri, al-Sayyed in Parliament Verbal Clash
Netanyahu Hails 'Great Success' in Stopping Hizbullah Shipments despite 'Exceptions'
Israeli Spies who Photographed Hizbullah Posts Sentenced to Hard Labor
Lebanese Soldier Killed in Army Raid in Hermel
Rahi Voices Calls for 'Slimline Crisis Government'
150 passengers deplaned, 100 stranded for Michel Aoun delegation to New York
Samy Gemayel: Economy Is All About Figures and Facts, Not Personal Viewpoints
Tawile: Kataeb Party Will Continue to Devise Solutions to Economic Crisis
Abu Nader: Administrative Decentralization Now Possible Amid Wide Convincement
Kataeb Party Warns of Large-Scale Collapse Amid Political Negligence
Lebanon’s parliament approves Arms Trade Treaty
Lebanon on course to return 200,000 Syrian refugees, Ibrahim says

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 25-26/18
Bahrain Accuses 169 of Forming Another Hezbollah
Trump: ‘No plans’ to meet Iran’s Rouhani ‘despite requests’
Pompeo Says Trump Ready to Meet Rouhani During UN General Assembly Sessions
Rouhani Says Trump Seeking Iran Leadership 'Overthrow'
Trump Vows U.S. Response to Any Syria Chemical Attack
Israel Says to Keep Fighting Iran in Syria, Coordinating with Russia
Mattis: It is ‘ridiculous’ for Tehran to allege US involvement in Ahwaz attack
Russia: US being ‘malicious’, electronic gadgets sent to Syria’s Hmeimim
'S-300' Air Defense System Aggravates Russian-Israeli Tension
Saudi Arabia rejects false accusations over recent incidents in Iran
Bolton: Russian Missile System Sale to Syria a 'Significant Escalation'
Khamenei Vows Revenge for Ahvaz Attack, Shamkhani Calls For Regional Dialogue
Egypt Sentences 20 to Death Over Police Killings
Iranian Military Ship Operates Under Commercial Cover off Hodeidah
Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian during Gaza protests
Hamas Denies Collapse of Egypt-Brokered Israel Truce Talks

The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on September 25-26/18
Aoun meets President of UN General Assembly
Tue 25 Sep 2018/NNA - President Michel Aoun met with President of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, during the reception ceremony hosted by UN Chief, Antonio Guterres, in New York Tuesday.

Aoun meets Swiss President
Tue 25 Sep 2018/NNA - President Michel Aoun met with the President of the Confederation of Switzerland, Alain Berset, during the reception ceremony hosted by UN Chief Antonio Guterres, National News Agency correspondent reported on Tuesday.
Macron Says 'Working with Aoun, Hariri' to Return Syrian Refugees
Naharnet/September 25/18/French President Emmanuel Macron revealed Tuesday that he is “working hard” with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri to “return the displaced Syrians to their country safely.”“I'm working hard with Aoun and Hariri to return the displaced Syrians to their country safely, until we find a drastic political solution in Syria, that's why we have started efforts to repatriate small groups,” Lebanon's MTV quoted Macron as saying.“I have helped Lebanon to organize three economic conferences,” the French leader boasted.
Parliament Passes E-Transactions Draft Law 25th September 2018/The Parliament passed on Monday a draft law pertaining to electronic transactions and personal data. The law, which was ratified without any amendments, regulates the country’s domain name and introduces a new domain name ".lb". It also grants a private-public company the authorization to regulate the domain in Lebanon and control the registration of websites. The company should obtain accreditation from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. During the session, credits were given to the head of the Information Technology parliamentary committee, MP Nadim Gemayel, and his predecessor, former Kataeb MP Samer Saade, who both exerted remarkable efforts to draft said bill.
President Aoun Says Lebanon Will Not Serve as Lily Pad in Regional Conflict 25th September 2018/President Michel Aoun reiterated that the issue of Hezbollah's arms is linked to the situation in the region, saying that the group doesn't play any military role inside Lebanon.
“The party’s weapons are now linked to the situation in the Middle East and to a solution to the Syrian war," he said in an interview with the French Le Figaro newspaper. Asked if it is possible to integrate Hezbollah fighters within the Lebanese army, Aoun said that this option might serve as a solution. "But, for the time being, some are condemning its intervention in the war against ISIS and the Nusra Front in Syria. Yet the truth is that the terrorists were attacking our land, and Hezbollah was defending it." Aoun claimed that Hezbollah doesn't place any veto on strategic decisions in Lebanon, stressing that the country is based on consensus and, therefore, anyone has the right to express his opinion. "In Lebanon, the political system is consensual; expressing an opinion does not mean putting a veto." The Lebanese president deemed sanctions targeting Hezbollah as a "political revenge" after "military revenge" had failed. "The international pressure against Hezbollah is not new, and it is increasing. Some sides are seeking to settle political accounts with Hezbollah after they had failed to do so militarily, since it defeated Israel in 1993, then in 1996, and later in 2006," he stated. "Unfortunately, some foreign public opinion insists on depicting Hezbollah as the enemy."Aoun renewed Lebanon's commitment to the policy of dissociation from regional conflicts, notably in Syria, voicing rejection of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Asked if the south of Lebanon may be used in any the confrontation between Iran and Israel, Aoun said: "No.""As long as Israel doesn't attack Lebanon, then not a single gunshot will be fired from the Lebanese territory. But in the event of any attack on Lebanon, then we have the right to self-defense," he said.

Parliament Approves Arms Trade Agreement after Controversy
Naharnet/September 25/18/Lebanon’s Parliament passed on Tuesday a draft law approving the weapons trade agreement, amid objection from several MPs including Hizbullah lawmakers who cited concerns for the Resistance’s arms, the National News Agency reported. The draft law was rebuffed by lawmakers of the Marada Movement, Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), MP Jamil Assayed, independent Sunni deputies and Hizbullah, amid the abstention of AMAL Movement and Free Patriotic Movement lawmakers. As voting for the law began, Hizbullah MP Ali Ammar walked out of the session, arguing that the draft law “aims to harm the Resistance’s arms.”Loyalty to the Resistance MPs demanded the law be returned to the committees. MP Nawaf Mousawi said: “The Israeli enemy is a partner in this treaty. Signing it would not fall in Lebanon’s interest.”The Arms Trade Treaty is the first legally-binding instrument ever negotiated in the United Nations to establish common standards for the international transfer of conventional weapons. The (ATT) is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons. It entered into force on 24 December 2014. On objection of lawmakers, PM-designate Saad Hariri said: “The treaty has no relation of the arms of the Resistance. Lebanon must sign it because it falls in its interest.”

Parliament OKs Housing Loan Support as LF, Mustaqbal Walk Out
Naharnet/September 25/18/The parliament on Tuesday approved an LBP 100 billion financial support for housing loans meant for low-income citizens in a session that witnessed a walkout by the MPs of the Lebanese Forces and the al-Mustaqbal Movement. Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned the session after the withdrawal of the lawmakers of the two parties. Sources from Berri's bloc said the session enjoyed a quorum of 67 MPs when the Speaker decided to adjourn it. The approval of the housing bill was conditional on “the government's preparation of a housing plan within six months,” NNA said. Explaining the MPs' walkout, LBCI television said the LF had demanded, from outside the agenda, the approval of a credit line for financing cancer and chronic illnesses medications. At that point, Berri was seeking the approval of two loan treaties to expand Tripoli's port. “MP Elias Bou Saab insisted on carrying on with the session according to the agenda, which prompted the LF to walk out of the session,” LBCI said. “Al-Mustaqbal's MPs followed them, which pushed Berri to adjourn the session,” the TV network added.

Hariri, al-Sayyed in Parliament Verbal Clash
Naharnet/September 25/18/Parliament's legislative session witnessed Tuesday a verbal clash between Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and MP Jamil al-Sayyed who is close to Hizbullah and Damascus. The confrontation erupted when Hariri was talking about loans related to the CEDRE Lebanon support conference. “The displaced (Syrians) will benefit from any water or electricity project in Lebanon. Let us bring the country to a halt if anytime we execute a project you will say that the displaced would benefit from it,” Hariri said. “Is this blackmail?” al-Sayyed replied. Hariri snapped back: “This is not blackmail but rather the truth.”Speaker Nabih Berri intervened at this point, telling al-Sayyed that he had not given him a permission to speak. “I'm here for the legislation of the bills that were requested at CEDRE. If you do not want to legislate these bills, I will walk out,” Hariri added. Al-Sayyed hit back by saying that “there is a disease that must be acknowledged, not concealed as Hariri is trying to do.”“Each sick person should talk about their own disease,” Hariri answered. The PM-designate's remarks followed parliament's approval of a loan treaty offered by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to execute a project for enhancing the health system in Lebanon. The MPs of the Kataeb Party voiced reservations over the bill. The project is among those recommended by the CEDRE conference. In his speech, Hariri also condemned “rumors” about Lebanon's possible bankruptcy. “Lebanon is not bankrupted and we have a golden chance through the CEDRE conference. Yes, there are mistakes and our economy needs reform, but we are not in a desperate situation,” the PM-designate added. “There is a campaign to harm the lira and frustrate the Lebanese,” he warned.

Netanyahu Hails 'Great Success' in Stopping Hizbullah Shipments despite 'Exceptions'

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 25/18/Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed Tuesday what he called Israel's "great success" in preventing Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and the transfer of advanced arms to Hizbullah in Lebanon over the past three years. "That doesn't mean that there weren't exceptions, but altogether it has been very successful," Netanyahu said. "We did this with maximal and very successful security coordination with the Russian army," he added. Both Iran and Hizbullah are supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in his country's civil war alongside Russia.
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Thursday his group had acquired "precision missiles" despite Israel's extensive efforts to prevent it from developing this capability.
"It has been done. The resistance now owns precision missiles" as part of its weaponry, Nasrallah said in a televised address during the commemoration of Ashura. Israel this month acknowledged carrying out more than 200 strikes over the past 18 months in war-torn Syria.
"Attempts in Syria to block the way towards this (missile) capability" have failed, Nasrallah added. "If Israel imposes a war on Lebanon, it will face a fate that it never would have expected," he warned. Israel has fought several conflicts against Hizbullah, the last in 2006.
The Israeli military believes Hizbullah has between 100,000 and 120,000 short-range missiles and rockets, as well as several hundred longer-range missiles. Earlier this month, an Israeli raid hit Syria's coastal province of Latakia to prevent what Israel said were deliveries of materials for advanced weaponry to Hizbullah. Nasrallah denied the site was a Hizbullah post and noted that Israel has been trying to prevent the Syrian regime from acquiring an advanced missile capability.

Israeli Spies who Photographed Hizbullah Posts Sentenced to Hard Labor
Naharnet/September 25/18/The Military Court on Tuesday sentenced three men to three years of hard labor each on charges of spying for Israel, the National News Agency said. NNA identified the trio as Hassan Salameh, Karam Idriss and Kamal Hassan. It said they were also convicted of “providing enemy agents with pictures of Lebanese areas and Hizbullah posts as well as information about arms depots and military activities belonging to Hizbullah.”In addition, they possessed Israeli military communication devices. The court has also stripped them of their civil rights.

Lebanese Soldier Killed in Army Raid in Hermel
Naharnet/September 25/18/Lebanon’s army raided a suspected fugitives hideout in the outskirts of Hermel district late on Monday leading to armed clashes in which a soldier was killed and several troops were wounded, the National News Agency reported on Tuesday. The night raid on al-Barach neighborhood in Hermel’s outskirts aimed to capture fugitives but was met with gunshots which killed a soldier and seriously wounded several other military members, NNA said.

Rahi Voices Calls for 'Slimline Crisis Government'
Naharnet/September 25/18/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi called for the formation of a “slimline crisis government” to end the governmental “vacuum” and carry out reforms required by the CEDRE Conference, the National News Agency reported on Tuesday. “Because there is no progress, I insist on the formation of a crisis government independent of all the parliamentary and partisan blocs,” Rahi told NNA in an interview from Canada where he is on a pastoral visit. “It must include dignitaries capable of carrying out the required reforms of the CEDRE conference and spending the eleven billion dollars and building national unity. I insist on this solution,” stressed Rahi. The Patriarch criticized political parties for their adamant positions and unwillingness to concede demands in order to end the four months of government “vacuum,” he said. “It is shameful particularly that the International Community has agreed $11 billion in grants to assist the economy at a time when Lebanon is dying economically and financially, contrary to what the politicians claim” he said. On Bkirki’s failure to invite the conflicting Christian leaders for a meeting to agree on a mutual solution that pleases all, he said: “They are not ready.” PM-designate Saad Hariri was tasked with forming a Cabinet on May 24 but the conflict between parties mainly over the Christian and Druze representation have delayed his mission. In May, Lebanon was garnered $11 billion in pledges, including $10.2 billion in loans and $860 million in grants at the CEDRE conference-– also referred to as Paris IV.

150 passengers deplaned, 100 stranded for Michel Aoun delegation to New York
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English/Tuesday, 25 September 2018/As many as 150 passengers were deplaned from a passenger flight in Lebanon on Monday after the plane was abruptly designated to commute Lebanese President, Michel Aoun to New York. The plane belonging to Middle East Airlines (MEA), Lebanon’s national flag-carrier airline, was heading from Beirut to Cairo. Passengers were forced to disembark from the plane and, as a result, remained stuck at the airport for 9 hours. On the other end, another 100 passengers were stuck at the Cairo airport as they waited for the same fight to take them back to Beirut. The event sparked a string of messages on social media. There were posts suggesting that the plane was confiscated to join a large fleet of four aircraft allocated to transfer Aoun and his delegation to attend the UN General Assembly meetings in New York. Lebanese MP Paula Yacoubian reacted sarcastically in a reference to the Lebanese President on her twitter account: “The father of all, put everyone down and flew away”.The airline apologized to the passengers that were meant to board their midday flights. Meanwhile, the presidential media office held aviation entities responsible for the defect claiming that presidential flight procedures have not changed for decades.

Samy Gemayel: Economy Is All About Figures and Facts, Not Personal Viewpoints 25th September 2018/The Kataeb bloc on Tuesday voiced reservations about the loans being endorsed by the Parliament, arguing that they increase the public debt and affect the state's finances. Speaking during the second legislative session held this week, Gemayel stated that the problem does not lie in the loans, but rather in the uncontrolled spending. "Taking into consideration the current economic situation, the main target should be to cut spending, not to increase the state's deficit," he said, noting that the loans amount to $500 million.
Gemayel warned that most of the approved loans contribute to the settlement of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, adding that they will never think about returning to their homeland as long as favorable living conditions are provided to them in Lebanon. "Lebanon has endured much more than any other country. [...]. I don’t know how the refugees would even think about returning to their homeland with everything that is being ensured for them." Gemayel stressed that economy is based on numbers and facts, not personal analyses and viewpoints, stating that the current figures indicate that the situation is deteriorating.

Tawile: Kataeb Party Will Continue to Devise Solutions to Economic Crisis 25th September 2018/Head of the Kataeb's Economic and Social Council Jean Tawile on Tuesday stressed the need to admit that there is an economic problem in Lebanon, criticizing officials who are turning a blind eye to this fact. In an interview on Voice of Lebanon radio station, Tawile said that the problem must be acknowledged and diagnosed, assuring that the Kataeb party has been bold enough to speak up about economic hardships jeopardizing the country and to search for the right solutions. "We will put forth solutions and struggle to turn them into actions because this is the only solution to pull the country out of this crisis."Tawile revealed that the Kataeb party will be hosting a conference on Thursday to address the economic situation in the country.

Abu Nader: Administrative Decentralization Now Possible Amid Wide Convincement 25th September 2018/Kataeb leader's top adviser, Fouad Abu Nader, outlined the importance of administrative decentralization, saying that it encloses many advantages as it allows the citizens to manage the areas where they live. “Thus, one part of the collected taxes will be allocated to the establishment of local developmental projects, while the other one goes to the central authority that would manage the funds as part of a large-scale national and financial strategy,” Abu Nader told the Kataeb website. “Decentralization encourages each citizen to work and contribute to the development of his region. Therefore, good and constructive competition will prevail as regions will strive to provide prosperity, execute projects, and attract tourists,” he explained. "Regardless of the current political conflicts, administrative decentralization might be achieved in the near future, as everyone has become convinced of its benefits," Abu Nader noted.

Kataeb Party Warns of Large-Scale Collapse Amid Political Negligence 25th September 2018/The Kataeb party on Monday warned of a political and economic collapse in Lebanon, blaming the negligence of those in charge of the government formation. "In order to avoid what is worse and before it is too late, the Kataeb party renews its call for speeding up the formation of a small-scale rescue government that would include competent experts, work on drastic reforms, revive the state institutions and restore confidence in them," read a statement issued following the weekly meeting of the Kataeb's politburo.
"Otherwise, let's form a neutral emergency government. You can name it whatever you want. What is important is to have a Cabinet that rescues the country from the unknown and the looming collapse after the ruling parties' practices have paralyzed the country's life cycle and pushed the economy to the brink of deterioration, as they continue with their frenzy struggle over shares and power."The Kataeb party deemed the two-day legislative session held by the Parliament, under the so-called "urgent legislation", as the normal result of the Cabinet stalemate, warning that this must not be taken as an excuse to further procrastinate the formation process. The politburo stressed the need to consolidate Lebanon's neutrality by shielding it from the ripple effects of regional conflicts, rejecting attempts to confiscate the state's sovereignty and decision-making power by sowing discord between Lebanon and its historic allies. "Lebanon will not get out of its crises unless the Constitution and the laws are enforced and respected in order to restore the confidence of the citizens and the international community in a sovereign, free, independent and democratic state," the statement read.

Lebanon’s parliament approves Arms Trade Treaty
Associated Press/September 25/2018/BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament has ratified the international Arms Trade Treaty, angering Hezbollah legislators, some of whom walked out in protest. The 2014 treaty seeks to regulate international trade in conventional arms and prevent illicit trade. Hezbollah legislator Ali Ammar walked out of the parliament Tuesday, saying it “infringes on the weapons of the resistance.”After Lebanon’s 15-year civil war ended in 1990, Hezbollah was allowed to keep its weapons since it was fighting Israeli forces occupying parts of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah today has a massive arsenal including tens of thousands of rockets and missiles. The group sent thousands of its fighters to Syria to fight along President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Lebanon on course to return 200,000 Syrian refugees, Ibrahim says

Georgi Azar/Annahar/September 25/18 /In an interview with Reuters, Ibrahim maintained that 50,000 refugees have returned thus far in coordination with the Syrian authorities.
BEIRUT: Major General Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate, argued Tuesday that Lebanon is on course to return 200,000 Syrian refugees by next year. In an interview with Reuters, Ibrahim maintained that 50,000 refugees have returned thus far in coordination with the Syrian authorities. Lebanon is home to 976,000 registered Syrian refugees according to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) yet the government has continuously alluded to a number of 1.5 million scattered across its territory. Lawmakers have called for their return, arguing that they are posing a significant burden on the country's infrastructure while contributing to the anemic economic state. Coordination between Damascus and Beirut is ongoing he said, with around 10 percent on average of those wishing to return being rejected by the Syrian government. Anyone wanted by the Syrian authorities is told so they can decide whether to stay or go home to “settle their affairs," he said.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 25-26/18
Bahrain Accuses 169 of Forming Another Hezbollah
Reuters/Tuesday 25th September 2018/Bahrain charged 169 people on Tuesday suspected of forming "Bahrain's Hezbollah", a local version of the armed Shi'ite group, which prosecutors said was trained and backed by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. The announcement follows scores of arrests and harsh penalties imposed in the Western-allied Gulf state on defendants accused by the authorities of militancy, who activists say are mostly peaceful opposition members. Bahrain, a strategic island where the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is based, has a Shi'ite Muslim majority population but is ruled by a Sunni royal family. It has long accused mainly Shi'ite Iran of stoking militancy, which Tehran denies. A statement carried by the state news agency BNA said the prosecutor charged 169 defendants, including 111 who had already been arrested. They were accused of forming a terrorist group, planning assassinations and receiving training in handling weapons and manufacturing explosives. "The Public Prosecution had been informed by the Department of criminal investigation ...that Iran's Revolutionary Guards have ordered some of their members to work on unifying different Bahraini militant groups," the statement said."(The groups) would get involved in one terrorist organisation which they called Bahrain's Hezbollah," it said, adding the group was planning to send Bahrainis to Iraq, Lebanon and Iran for military training. A trial is set for Oct. 3, BNA said. Bahrain has stepped up a crackdown on critics, shutting down two main political groups, revoking the citizenship of the spiritual leader of the Shi'ite Muslim community and jailing rights campaigners. The kingdom has seen occasional unrest since 2011 when authorities crushed pro-democracy protests mainly by the Shi'ite community demanding a bigger role in running the country. Demonstrators have clashed frequently with security forces, which have been targeted by several bomb attacks. U.N. and rights groups accused Bahrain's government of crushing dissent and violently cracking down on protests and members of a peaceful political opposition.
Trump: ‘No plans’ to meet Iran’s Rouhani ‘despite requests’
AFP, New York/Tuesday, 25 September 2018/President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had no plans to meet with Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations “despite requests” to do so. “Maybe someday in the future. I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!” Trump tweeted just hours before both leaders were set to speak at the UN General Assembly, and four months after the US president ditched the Iran nuclear deal. Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in May to the dismay of European allies, Russia and China which had invested years in negotiations to achieve a milestone agreement on keeping Iran’s nuclear ambitions in check.Rouhani earlier said that as a precondition for any dialogue, Trump would need to repair the damage done by exiting the nuclear deal. “That bridge must be rebuilt,” he told NBC news.The United States maintains that it is seeking to ramp up pressure on Iran which it accuses of sowing chaos in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. In his General Assembly address, Rouhani was to stress that Iran continues to stick to the 2015 deal and portray the United States as a pariah for breaking its international commitments.

Pompeo Says Trump Ready to Meet Rouhani During UN General Assembly Sessions
Asharq Al- Awsat/Tuesday, 25 September, 2018/US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said in an interview released on Sunday that President Donald Trump was ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and meet him at the UN General Assembly in New York this week.
“He’s happy to talk with folks at any time...,” Pompeo said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” one of two appearances on Sunday political talk shows. “The President has been pretty clear about that.” The onus is on Rouhani to reach out, Pompeo added. On “Fox News Sunday,” Pompeo said that if Trump sat down at some point with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei -- however remote that might be -- it would represent “an important and interesting conversation.”“The leader of the country is Ayatollah Khamenei,” he said. “The President said he’ll talk with anyone if we can have a constructive conversation.”Khamenei, who has final say over state matters in Iran, has called for no talks with the US until it returns to the nuclear deal. Notably, Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, signed in 2015 with Iran and five other countries. On the sidelines of the General Assembly, Trump is scheduled to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Iran's nuclear issue and Trump's willingness to conclude a new deal are expected to lead the talks. Many European companies have pulled out of deals and trade relations with Iran to avoid risking their trade ties with the United States. “When you have a security incident at home, blaming others is an enormous mistake and the loss of innocent life is tragic,” Pompeo said, referring to similar comments from Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Under UN rules, Iran, which isn’t currently a member of the Security Council, can attend a meeting if it’s going to be the main subject of discussion. Trump’s characterization raises the prospect of an encounter, chance or otherwise, between Trump and Rouhani. The rhetoric shows the US pressure campaign is working, and Iran’s economy is faltering, said Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations. The US position remains not to do business with European countries that engage with Iran, and they’re making that decision, Haley said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“If you look, they are dropping business from Iran left and right,” Haley said. “Iran’s economy is plummeting.”
Rouhani Says Trump Seeking Iran Leadership 'Overthrow'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 25/18/Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump of trying to topple his government Tuesday as he poured cold water on the idea of resuming talks with Washington after its pullout from an international nuclear accord. "It is ironic that the U.S. government does not even conceal its plan for overthrowing the same government it invites to talks," Rouhani said in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly. "For dialogue to take place, there is no need for a photo opportunity. The two sides can listen to each other right here in this Assembly. "I am starting the dialogue right here, and state, in unequivocal terms, that the question of international security is not a toy in American domestic politics."

Trump Vows U.S. Response to Any Syria Chemical Attack

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 25/18/President Donald Trump warned Tuesday that the U.S. would respond to any new chemical weapons attack by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's regime as he called for fresh momentum to be injected into international peace efforts
"The ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking. Our shared goals must be the de-escalation of military conflict, along with a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people," Trump said in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly. "In this vein, we urge the United Nations-led peace process be reinvigorated. But, rest assured, the United States will respond if chemical weapons are deployed by the Assad regime," added Trump who ordered air strikes on Syria earlier this year after one such suspected attack.

Israel Says to Keep Fighting Iran in Syria, Coordinating with Russia

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 25/18/Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Tuesday to continue combating Iranian "entrenchment" in Syria and coordinating with Russia after the downing of one of Moscow's planes. "We will continue to act to prevent the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria, and continue the security coordination between the Israel Defense Forces and Russian army," Netanyahu told reporters. On September 17, Syrian air defenses mistakenly shot down a Russian military plane following an Israeli raid in Syria, killing 15 people. Moscow has blamed the friendly fire incident on Israeli pilots using the larger Russian plane as "cover."Israel disputes the Russian findings and says its jets were back in Israeli airspace when the plane was downed. Russia announced new security measures to protect its military in Syria, including supplying the Syrian army with an S-300 air defense system and jamming radars of nearby warplanes. Those moves prompted Netanyahu on Monday to warn Putin against "transferring advanced weapons systems into irresponsible hands."Speaking at the airport before traveling to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, Netanyahu stressed Israel's "great success" in preventing Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and the transfer of advanced arms to Hizbullah in Lebanon over the past three years. "That doesn't mean that there weren't exceptions, but altogether it has been very successful," Netanyahu said. "We did this with maximal and very successful security coordination with the Russian army," he added. Netanyahu also noted he had agreed with Putin to have Israeli and Russian military teams meet soon to enhance the coordination. Russia and Israel set up a hotline in 2015 to avoid accidental clashes in Syria. Israel is now concerned Russia will seek to limit its actions there. Israel's main enemy is Iran and it has pledged to stop it from entrenching militarily in neighboring Syria. Iranian-backed Hizbullah is also one of its enemies. Both Iran and Hizbullah are supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in his country's civil war alongside Russia.
Mattis: It is ‘ridiculous’ for Tehran to allege US involvement in Ahwaz attack
Agencies/Tuesday, 25 September 2018/US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday dismissed Iran’s threats of revenge after Saturday’s deadly attack at a military parade in southwestern Iran and said it was “ridiculous” for Tehran to allege US involvement. When asked by reporters at the Pentagon if Iran’s threat worry him, Mattis said: “No it does not. We’ve been very clear that they shouldn’t take us on like that. I am hopeful that cooler, wiser heads will prevail,” Mattis said. Earlie US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized his Iranian counterpart Mohamed Javad Zarif’s remarks, in which he accused regional states and the United States as behind the attack which 29 people were killed and scores injured. Pompeo described Zarif's remarks as an enormous mistake as the incident happened inside Iran, regretting the fall of innocents in the attack, calling on the Iranian regime to focus on maintaining the security of its people rather than causing insecurity around the world. On Monday, Iranian media quoted Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp, as saying that the attack, exposed the dark face of the US-led coalition and its allies to counter Iran’s influence in the region. It is, however, highly unlikely the Guards will strike any of its foes directly and risk setting off a regional conflict. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani engineered Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that ushered in a cautious detente with Washington before tensions flared anew with US president Donald Trump’s decision in May to pull out of the accord and reimpose sanctions on Tehran. Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi, said a network of suspects had been arrested in connection with the attack, the judiciary’s news agency Mizan reported. He did not elaborate. Karim Dahimi, a human rights activist in London, told Reuters local sources had said more than 300 people had been arrested in the cities of Ahvaz, Khorramshahr and Abadan in recent days, mostly from the Sunni Muslim community. (Reuters)

Russia: US being ‘malicious’, electronic gadgets sent to Syria’s Hmeimim
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English/Tuesday, 25 September 2018/Despite American condemnation and the Israeli state of alert with the Russian Defense Ministry announcement on Monday that it will supply the Syrian regime with S-300 defense missiles, it seems that Russia is determined to proceed with its project.
According to Russian newspaper Izvestiya, the first group of electronic warfare devices was delivered on Monday on an El-76 plane, to Syria’s Hmeimim military base. This is despite the warning that it will disrupt the functioning of radars and communications systems on aircraft trying to approach the Syrian shores. The Interfax news agency said that the work of these groups will aim to disrupt the work of radars and communications systems and control aircraft that will attack Syrian territory. The means of electronic warfare would disrupt the work of satellite navigation systems. This development, comes after a Russian reconnaissance plane was shot down on September, 17, off Lattakia, killing 15Russian servicemen on board. The Russian Defense Ministry blamed the Israeli air force for that incident and described Israeli conduct as “deliberate.”On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that supplying advanced weapon systems to “irresponsible players” would increase dangers in the region, Netanyahu’s office said. Full story
Russia foreign ministry: US is being ‘Malicious’
At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that the arguments of Russia’s partners, who previously demanded that Syria should not get the S-300 missile defense system, are no longer convincing, stressing that any country has the right to provide technical military support to its partners. The ministry stressed that the supply the S-300 missile defense system to Syria will not lead to escalation in Syria, but to stability, noting that this system is defensive, and the United States is being “malicious” when it says that Russia’s export of the missiles threaten the US security. The Russian Foreign Ministry explained that the S-300, which will be received by Syria will be able to cover the Syrian airspace, where it requires doing so.

'S-300' Air Defense System Aggravates Russian-Israeli Tension
Moscow, Tel Aviv, New York - Raed Jaber, Nazeer Majli, Hiba Al-QudsiAsharq Al- Awsat/Tuesday, 25 September, 2018/Moscow announced on Monday it would supply Damascus with modern S-300 missile defense systems, signaling a new round of crisis between Russia and Israel. Russian President Vladimir Putin defended Moscow’s move during a telephone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the Russian move was “aimed primarily at fending off any potential threat to the lives of Russian servicemen,” according to the Kremlin.”The announcement of the S-300 delivery came one day after Russia accused Israel of “criminal negligence” in dealing with Moscow, and one week after the Syrian regime accidentally shot down a Russian military plane, killing more than a dozen people. Later, the Israeli military denied the accounts. On Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the S-300 systems would be delivered to Damascus within two weeks. He said Russia is now going to go ahead with the shipment because “the situation has changed, and it’s not our fault.”The Minister also said his country would equip Syrian air defenses with a new automated control system to enhance its efficiency and help identify Russian aircraft. “We are convinced that these measures will calm down some hotheads and keep them from careless actions which pose a threat to our troops,” Shoigu said. Practically, the delivery of the S-300 means that Russia has decided to shut the Syrian air traffic in the face of Israeli planes. A decision to hand over the S-300 missile defense systems was taken in 2010. However, Russia never delivered them due to Israel’s continuous rejection, as Tel Aviv feared Syria could use them against it. After Netanyahu called Putin Monday, his office said the Israeli prime minister “stressed once again that the responsibility for the unfortunate incident lay on the Syrian army that shot it down and on Iran, whose aggression is destabilizing the region.”Referring to the S-300, the Prime Minister was quoted as telling Putin that “transferring advanced weapons to irresponsible hands will increase the dangers in the region.” For his part, US national security adviser John Bolton said the delivery of the Russian S-300 would be a “significant escalation.” Speaking at a press conference on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York, the advisor announced that more than 2,000 US troops stationed in Syria would remain in the war-ravaged country “as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders.”

Saudi Arabia rejects false accusations over recent incidents in Iran
Riyadh, SPA/Tuesday, 25 September 2018/A senior official at the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that the Kingdom completely rejects the deplorable false accusations by Iranian officials regarding the Kingdom's support for the incidents that occurred in Iran last Saturday.
The senior official added that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's policy is clear regarding its non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, and its rejection to any interference in the Kingdom's domestic affairs. The Iranian regime, in contrast, interferes in the affairs of its neighbors, and is the leading sponsor of terrorism in the region and the world. The Iranian regime since its inception has spread chaos, destruction, sectarianism, and extremism. The regime has wasted its peoples resources in its aggression and reckless behavior that has brought nothing but chaos and destruction to the region.
The senior official also noted that the Kingdom is used to such false allegations by a regime that has no other option but to lie and place the blame on other countries to cover its shortcomings and failures to fulfill the aspirations of its people. The regime recently accused the Kingdom of causing the collapse that Iran's economy is witnessing, which in fact was the result of the regime's policies that have wasted its people's resources and capabilities to support terrorist organizations and spread ballistic missiles in the region. The senior official added, that we advise the Iranian regime to follow a new path and behave like a responsible country that seeks to achieve prosperity and stability for its people, rather than waste its capabilities in support of terrorist organizations, sectarianism, and extremism, and to engage with its neighbors on the principle of good neighborliness, respect for international laws and norms, and without interference in the affairs of other countries.

Bolton: Russian Missile System Sale to Syria a 'Significant Escalation'
The Hill/ Tuesday 25th September 2018/National security adviser John Bolton warned Monday that a Russian delivery of a missile defense system to the Syrian government is a substantial escalation. "We think introducing the S-300s [missile defense systems] to the Syrian government would be a significant escalation by the Russians and something that we hope, if these press reports are accurate, they would reconsider," Bolton said, according to The Associated Press. Russia announced earlier Monday that it would give the Syrian government the S-300 after Syria's current missile defense systems accidentally downed a Russian plane last week. Russia blamed the incident on "misleading information" from the Israeli air force. Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that Israeli command warned on the day of the incident that it would strike the "north of Syria," according to Agence France-Presse.
Konashenkov said Russia ordered its plane to return to its base, but "one minute" after the call, Israeli F-16s struck targets in western Syria, according to the news service. Israel has issued a full-throated denial of the accusation. "We have American forces that we're concerned about," Bolton said Monday. "The Israelis have a legitimate right to self-defense against this Iranian aggressive behavior, and what we’re all trying to do is reduce tensions, reduce the possibility of major new hostilities." "That’s why the president has spoken to this issue and why we would regard introducing the S-300 as a major mistake," he added. Tensions continued to worsen between the various players in Syria as the U.S. and allies prepare to respond to a possible chemical weapons attack on the remaining rebel forces in Idlib. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Sunday that the U.S. will hold anyone who uses chemical weapons in Syria accountable. When asked if that might include the use of military force, Pompeo responded that they aren't ruling out "a single thing." Earlier this month, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, indicated that President Trump had been presented with military options for Syria. The Wall Street Journal also reported several weeks ago that Trump privately threatened to retaliate with a massive attack if Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons. When asked two days later if America would respond with military force, Defense Secretary James Mattis said, "I am not going to give that clarity." The Washington Post reported three weeks ago that the president has approved stationing about 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria indefinitely. According to The Associated Press, Bolton said Monday that the U.S. military will not leave Syria until Iran is no longer active in the country. "We're not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders and that includes Iranian proxies and militias," Bolton said.

Khamenei Vows Revenge for Ahvaz Attack, Shamkhani Calls For Regional Dialogue
London/Asharq Al- Awsat/Tuesday, 25 September, 2018/Iranian officials continue to provide floundering statements, as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accused foreign parties of the attack that killed severals in Ahvaz city. In a statement published on his official website, Khamenei asserted that the perpetrators of the terrorist attack in Ahvaz are funded by foreign regimes, adding that: “We will rigorously punish the cowardly masterminds behind the attack.”He went on to say: “According to reports, the cowardly attack was carried out by the same people who, whenever trapped in Syria or Iraq, the US comes to save them. He also accused Arab states against Iran’s regional policies of funding the attackers. On Saturday, four militants attacked a parade marking the start of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, spraying the crowd with gunfire and killing 24 people. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) deputy head Hossein Salami reiterated accusations against the United States and Israel and warned the two countries to expect a "crushing and devastating" response from Tehran. Salami was speaking at the funeral of the victims which was also covered by the state-owned tv. Meanwhile, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said on Monday that terrorism is endangering the entire Middle East and leaving the region in crisis. “The danger of terrorism and its roots...have caused crisis in the region and impeded the Islamic countries’ progress,” he said, adding that Iran needs to talk to its neighbors.
“It is essential to be vigilant and increase interaction and constructive dialogues to foil destructive efforts being made by ill-wishers to cause division among regional countries,” the top security official noted. Shamkhani also criticized the US and the Zionist regime of Israel’s divisive policies in the region. He pointed to the White House’s re-imposition of sanctions indicating that such policies will just lead to more isolation of the US. On Monday, IRGC organized a funeral where thousands of people gathered in the streets of Ahvaz to mourn the victims of the attack. At the ceremony, some mourners chanted "death to Israel and America." Authorities declared a national day of mourning, and public offices, banks, schools, and universities will remain closed. IRGC’s news agency published the names of the victims of the assault included civilians and members of the Corps’ elite. Iran’s Fars news agency said on Monday that five attackers were killed in Saturday’s attack, two of which were brothers along with their cousin. The body of the fifth assailant had not been identified as it was mixed up with other casualties, Fars said without mentioning its source. A spokesman for the "Arab Struggle Movement" said that Ahvaz National Resistance was responsible for Saturday’s attack, without providing evidence. Former Labor Minister, Ali Rubaie, warned of attitudes that tended to show the process ethnically motivated, saying it was "a continuation of the work of elements of terrorism." "Nationalists, despite all the problems, always see themselves as part of Iran," he said through his Twitter account, adding: "activists are following their rights with a reformist, peaceful approach and against violence."The United States and the UAE have refuted Iranian allegations that they were involved in the attack. Asked if the United States had any role in the attack, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted Iranian leadership for blaming the US and its allies for an attack. "When you have a security incident at home, blaming others is an enormous mistake," Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday.

Egypt Sentences 20 to Death Over Police Killings

Cairo- Mohammed Abdu Hassanein/Asharq Al- Awsat/Tuesday, 25 September, 2018/Egypt’s highest court upheld on Monday the death sentences given to 20 people convicted over a deadly attack on a police station in 2013. The Court of Cassation, whose rulings are final and cannot be appealed, also confirmed the life sentences handed out to 80 defendants and 15-year prison terms for 34 others. The court issued a final verdict of executing 20 extremists who are supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi and life-imprisonment for others, after being convicted of killing 13 policemen in an attack against a police station west Cairo in 2013. This assault is known in the media as 'Kerdasa massacre'. On August 14, 2013, an attack took place on a police station in Kerdasa that is a city in Giza. The convicted were previously re-trialed, after another criminal court issued in February 2015 an execution sentence in the case of 183 accused in the case – further, a minor was sentenced 10-years in prison. However, the cassation court abolished the sentence and ordered a retrial of 156 convicted. In the second time, the criminal court issued sentences of imprisonment and execution, which were upheld by the cassation court on Monday – the court acquitted 21. International human rights organizations criticize what they call collective execution sentences in cases of political prospects in Egypt – however, the Egyptian authorities reject this criticism, affirming that the judiciary is independent and integral.

Iranian Military Ship Operates Under Commercial Cover off Hodeidah
Riyadh- Abdel Hadi Habtoor/Asharq Al- Awsat/Tuesday, 25 September, 2018/The Arab coalition fighting in support of the legitimate Yemeni government said on Monday it has spotted Iranian military using spying devices to monitor ships crossing the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb.Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the Coalition discovered that an Iranian-registered commercial ship was actually a military one named Safiz, monitoring ships passing through the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb by using listening devices and sending military experts to Yemen. "Our operations continue against suspicious ships that are threatening international shipping in the Red Sea," Maliki said. Hodeidah port is a vital lifeline for aid shipments to Yemen. Maliki accused the Iranian regime of continuing to violate international law and destabilize the security of the region and the world. The ship is assisting Houthi militias in threatening the international navigation, he added. The spokesperson said the Arab Coalition has established three safe corridors for civilians to travel between the cities of Sanaa and Hodeidah, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “The coalition is working with OCHA in Yemen to establish safe humanitarian corridors to help in the delivery of aid... between Hodeidah and Sanaa,” Maliki told a press conference in Riyadh. Yemen's civil war, which began when the Iran-backed rebels seized Sanaa in September 2014, has left 22 million people in need of assistance, according to the UN. The spokesperson explained that progress in Hodeidah has been slow because the Coalition wants to avoid harming civilians there, especially that Houthis continue to use civilians as human shields in the city of Hodeidah. Maliki concluded that the Arab Coalition has many pieces of evidence, that would be uncovered later, documenting Iran’s violation of the international law.

Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian during Gaza protests
Reuters, Gaza/Tuesday, 25 September 2018/Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man and wounded dozens of others on Monday taking part in a protest near the border between Israel and Gaza, Gaza health officials said. The Israeli military said thousands had taken part in the demonstration, throwing burning tyres, rocks and explosive devices toward the troops on the other side of the border fence. Soldiers responded with riot dispersal means according to rules of engagement, a military spokesman said. Gaza health officials said 90 people were hurt, 10 of them by live fire. Since Gazans began holding border protests on March 30, the Israeli army has killed 184 Palestinians. A Gaza sniper has killed one Israeli soldier. Israel accuses Hamas of having deliberately provoked violence in the protests, a charge Hamas denies. Israel says the blockade is intended to prevent weapons from reaching militant groups, including Hamas, which it designates as a terrorist organization and with whom it has fought three wars in the past decade. More than 2 million Palestinians are packed into tiny Gaza, which is experiencing deep economic hardship. Around 10 Palestinian boats sailed off the coast to challenge the blockade on Monday, drawing warning shots from the Israeli navy. There were no reports of Palestinian casualties.
Hamas Denies Collapse of Egypt-Brokered Israel Truce Talks
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 25/18/A senior Hamas official denied Tuesday that Egyptian-brokered talks on reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority and a lasting truce with Israel have collapsed, but admitted progress was slow. "The efforts of our Egyptian brothers continue on the file of Palestinian reconciliation and the calm with the (Israeli) occupation," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP. "We in Hamas are responsive to these ongoing efforts." Egypt has for months been seeking to broker two separate deals. One would bring Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas' secular Fatah party together a decade after a bloody split, and another would see a lasting truce between Hamas and Israel in exchange for a loosening of the Jewish state's blockade of the Gaza Strip. U.N. officials have also been involved in the indirect discussions between Gaza's Islamist ruler Hamas and Israel, which have fought three wars since 2008. Abu Zuhri accused Fatah of obstructing the talks, while Fatah has accused Hamas of being intransigent. A senior Hamas leader told AFP Tuesday that a delegation would visit Cairo to continue negotiations in the coming days. An Egyptian security delegation traveled to Gaza for a few hours on Saturday for a visit that included a meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya. Hamas has encouraged months of violent border protests against Israel. After a lull, protests have regained strength in recent weeks as talks were seen to stall
The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 25-26/18
Will North Korea Take Over South Korea?
Gordon G. Chang/Gatestone Institute/September 25/18
Throughout his visit to North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in went out of his way to downplay the legitimacy of the government he leads and the country he was elected to represent. He was not asserting South Korea's right to exist.
Up to now, the South's textbooks have stated that Seoul is "the only legitimate government on the Korean Peninsula." New textbooks, however, do not include that declaration.
Moon, unfortunately, has undermined democracy in tangible ways. Since becoming president in May of last year, he has used control of big broadcasters to reduce access to dissenting views and to promote North Korea's. Alarm is now widespread.
If all this were not enough, Moon is taking down defenses along invasion and infiltration routes into Seoul and proposing substantial reductions in the South Korean military. Americans should care because by treaty they are obligated to defend the South.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (right) guides South Korean President Moon Jae-in during his visit in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 18, 2018.
Kim Jong Un assembled a reported 100,000 people, many waving his North Korean flag or the blue-and-white unification standard, to greet Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, as he arrived in Pyongyang on September 18.
President Moon did not seem to mind that no one was holding the symbol of his country, the Republic of Korea. "What was glaringly missing was the South Korean flag," Taro O of the Pacific Forum told Gatestone in e-mailed comments. "Maybe South Korean people take comfort in seeing that Samsung's Lee Jae-yong wore the South Korean flag badge on the lapel of his jacket while in North Korea. No one in the Moon administration did."
Nor did Moon himself. In fact, throughout the trip Moon went out of his way to downplay the legitimacy of the government he leads and the country he was elected to represent. As Ms. O observed, Moon on the trip often used "nam cheuk," literally "south side" or "south," when the custom has been for South Korean leaders to say "Hanguk," literally "country of Han people." Similarly, Moon while in the North said "nam cheuk gookmin." That translates as "south side citizens." South Korean presidents would normally use "uri gookmin," literally "our citizens" and figuratively "my citizens."
In contrast, Kim Jong Un did not reciprocate Moon's rhetorical gestures. During Moon's visit, he used the communist term "uri inmin," "our people" or "my people."
Kim's Democratic People's Republic of Korea does not recognize Moon's Republic of Korea as sovereign. Similarly, South Korea does not recognize the North. Moon's choice of terms signaled -- subtly but significantly -- he was not asserting South Korea's right to exist.
Moon obviously wants to change Seoul's core position, which it has maintained since the founding of the South Korean state in August 1948. His Ministry of Education, disturbingly, has already changed textbooks. Up to now, the South's textbooks have stated that Seoul is "the only legitimate government on the Korean Peninsula." New textbooks, however, do not include that declaration. And, as Ms. O points out, the South's Unification Ministry has also deleted the critical phrase from training materials.
To pave the way for unification, Moon's long-cherished goal, he has also tried to make the South more compatible with Kim's horrific state. Most fundamentally, his Democratic Party of Korea led an attempt to remove the notion of "liberal" from the concept of "democratic" in the constitution.
Fortunately, the South's "conservatives" rebuffed the effort, but the Education Ministry in June tried to change the country's textbooks, proposing to describe the nation's political system as just "democracy." The ministry had to relent, permitting the concept of freedom to be included in the materials.Moreover, Moon's government has given only a lukewarm endorsement to the South's National Community Unification Formula, which affirms that a unified state should be a liberal democracy. Since September 1989, every South Korean president has backed the document as official policy. The Kim regime in the north rejects the label "liberal" but maintains it too is "democratic," so Moon's various changes would have reduced a high barrier to the union of the two Koreas. President Moon, unfortunately, has undermined democracy in tangible ways. Since becoming president in May of last year, he has used control of big broadcasters to reduce access to dissenting views and to promote North Korea's. "An American expert recently visiting [South] Korea was warned by a state-funded media outlet to avoid any remarks critical of Moon's approach to North Korea," Lawrence Peck, a leading expert on pro-North Korea activities in the U.S., told Gatestone this month. Now, Moon's government is going after free expression on social media. Minjoo, as Moon's party is known, is behind a "broadcast law reform" bill, which if enacted will give the government the right to take down YouTube videos it does not like. "YouTube remains the only open venue for those Koreans who want to safeguard their country as a democratic republic," writes In-ho Lee, a former South Korean diplomat and once president of the Korea Foundation, in e-mail comments.
Is South Korea becoming North Korea? It is certainly moving in that direction. Its leader, in Peck's words, "attempts to stifle dissent, both under color of law and by unofficial and more subtle forms of pressure." A favorite tactic has been, as he explains, "extremely dubious criminal defamation charges against critics." Moreover, the South Korean government is pressuring North Korean defectors to keep quiet about the North. Conservative voices, Peck says, are being "persecuted, censored, fired, prosecuted, pressured, or otherwise retaliated against or harassed."
And they are not the only ones targeted. Moon has created an atmosphere where pro-North Korea elements are waging what Lee calls "a reign of terror." In the terror, these forces feel free not only to speak but also to deny freedom to others. The North's radical proponents now hold rallies urging the arrest of "scum" -- those who have escaped from the North to live in the South. Moreover, radicals have put up in Seoul wanted posters naming two defectors, asking citizens to report on their whereabouts. Because the pair is believed to be targeted by Pyongyang for assassination, the posters put their lives in danger.
It is not clear whether "free democracy" is "currently on the verge of a collapse," as charged in the September 4 Statement of the Congress of the Republic of Korea on the National Emergency on the Situations that Face the Nation, but alarm is now widespread.
If all this were not enough, Moon is taking down defenses along invasion and infiltration routes into Seoul and proposing substantial reductions in the South Korean military. Americans should care because by treaty they are obligated to defend the South, which for decades has anchored their western defense perimeter. Many speculate as to Moon's motives, but, whatever his intentions, he has kept as senior advisors those who, as members of the so-called juchesasangpa groups, advocated North Korea's juche self-reliance ideology and have refused to disavow their views to this day. And to this day concerns continue to swirl around Im Jong-seok, Moon's radical chief of staff. Moon, according to Peck, has continued to hire far-left advisors.
Therefore, Moon's refusal to insist that the North Koreans fly his country's flag, something a host country would do as standard diplomatic protocol, is deeply troubling. As David Maxwell of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies notes, the North continually attempts to undermine South Korea with "subversion, coercion, and use of force."
And now, Kim appears to have recruited a sympathizer, Moon Jae-in.
*Gordon G. Chang is the author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World" and a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow.
© 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.

The untold story of why Israel wants to demolish Khan al-Ahmar

Ramzy Baroud/Al Arabiya/September 25/18
On September 4, the Israeli High Court of Justice gave the green light for the demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar and of the so-called “rubber tires school”, built by the Italian NGO, Vento di Terra. The school provides educational opportunities for 180 children from the Bedouin village and from adjacent villages as well. A few weeks earlier, on August 10, Israeli warplanes bombed and completely destroyed al-Mishal Cultural Center in Gaza. Among its many activities, the center was used to help children cope with trauma resulting from war-inflicted physical and psychological scars.
Targeting of Palestinian educational and cultural institutions – through bombings, demolition or property confiscation – has been a regular Israeli policy for many years. While Israel often offers the clichéd explanation, that such destruction is carried out in the name of “security”, facts demonstrate that there is no basis for this claim. In fact, Israel demolishes and destroys based on a completely different logic which dates back to Israel’s own creation over the ruins of hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages in 1948.
The Khan al-Ahmar Model
The Palestinian village of Khan Al-Ahmar, which is facing imminent Israeli demolition, is a perfect illustration of this horrific and lingering reality. The strategic location of Khan Al-Ahmar makes the story behind the Israeli demolition of the peaceful village unique amidst the ongoing destruction of Palestinian homes and lives throughout besieged Gaza and Occupied West Bank. Throughout the years, Khan Al-Ahmar, once part of an uninterrupted Palestinian physical landscape has grown increasingly isolated. Decades of Israeli colonization of East Jerusalem and the West Bank left the village trapped between massive and vastly expanding Israeli colonial projects: Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, among others. The village, its adjacent school and 173 residents are the last obstacle facing the E1 Zone project, an Israeli plan that aims to link illegal Jewish colonies in Occupied East Jerusalem with West Jerusalem, thus cutting off East Jerusalem completely from its Palestinian environs in the West Bank. Like the Neqab (Negev) village of Al-Araqib, which has been demolished by Israel and rebuilt by its residents 133 times, Khan Al-Ahmar residents are facing armed soldiers and military bulldozers with their bare chests and whatever solidarity they are able to obtain.Despite the particular circumstances and unique historical context of Khan Al-Ahmar, however, the story of this village is but a chapter in a trajectory of tragedies that has extended over the course of seventy years. Israel is engaging in a seemingly endless campaign of erasing everything Palestinian, because the latter, from an Israeli perspective, represents an ‘existential threat’ to Israel’s ‘Jewish identity’
Erasure of Palestine
It would be an error to discuss the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar, or any other Palestinian village outside the larger context of demolition that has stood at the heart of Israel’s particular breed of settler colonialism. It is true that other colonial powers used destruction of homes and properties, and the exile of entire communities as a tactic to subdue rebellious populations. The British Mandate government in Palestine used the demolition of homes as a ‘deterrence’ tactic against Palestinians who dared rebel against injustice throughout the 1920s, 30s and 40s, till Israel took over in 1948. Yet, the Israeli strategy is far more convoluted than a mere ‘deterrence’. It is now carved in the Israeli psyche that Palestine must be completely destroyed in order for Israel to exist. Therefore, Israel is engaging in a seemingly endless campaign of erasing everything Palestinian, because the latter, from an Israeli perspective, represents an ‘existential threat’ to Israel’s ‘Jewish identity’. This can only be justified with an irrational degree of hatred and fear that has accumulated throughout generations to the point that it now forms a collective Israeli psychosis for which Palestinians continue to pay a heavy price. The repeated destruction of Gaza is symptomatic of this Israeli obsession.
Israel is a “country that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild - and this is a good thing,” was the official explanation offered by Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister in January 2009 to justify its country’s war on the blockaded Gaza Strip. The Israel ‘going wild’ strategy has led to the destruction of 22,000 homes, schools and other facilities during one of Israel’s deadliest wars on the Strip. A few years later, in the summer of 2014, Israel went ‘wild’ again, leading to an even greater destruction and loss of lives. Israel’s mass demolition of Palestinian homes in Gaza, and everywhere else, preceded Hamas by decades. In fact, it has nothing to do with the method of resistance that Palestinians utilize in their struggle against Israel. Israel’s demolishing of Palestine – whether the actual physical structures or the idea, history, narrative, and even street names – is entirely an Israeli decision.
Numbers don’t lie
A quick scan of historical facts demonstrates that Israel demolished Palestinian homes and communities in diverse political and historical contexts, where Israel’s ‘security’ was not in the least a factor. Nearly 600 Palestinian towns, villages and localities were destroyed between 1947 and 1948, and nearly 800,000 Palestinians were exiled to make room for the establishment of Israel. According to the Land Research Center (LRC), Israel had destroyed 5,000 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem alone since it occupied the city in 1967, leading to the permanent exile of nearly 70,000 people. Coupled with the fact that nearly 200,000 Jerusalemites were driven out during the Nakba, ‘the Catastrophe’ of 1948, and the ongoing and gradual ethnic cleansing, the Holy City has been in a constant state of destruction since the establishment of Israel.
In fact, between 2000 and 2017, over 1,700 Palestinian homes were demolished, displacing nearly 10,000 people. This is not a policy of “deterrence” but of erasure – the eradication of Palestinian lives, livelihoods, sense of belonging and culture. Gaza and Jerusalem are not unique examples either. According to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD’s) report last December, since 1967 “nearly 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures have been demolished – displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of thousands of others.”Combined with the destruction of Palestinian villages upon the establishment of Israel, and the demolition of Palestinian homes inside Israel itself, ICAHD asserts the total number of homes destroyed since 1948 to be more than 100,000.
In fact, as the group itself acknowledges, the above figure is rather conservative. In Gaza alone, and in the last 10 years which witnessed three major Israeli wars, nearly 50,000 homes and structures were reportedly destroyed. So why does Israel destroy with consistency, impunity and no remorse? For the same reason that it passed laws to change historic street names from Arabic to Hebrew. For the same reason it recently passed the racist nation-state law, elevating everything Jewish and completely ignoring and downgrading the existence of the indigenous Palestinians, their language and their culture that go back millennia. Israel demolishes, destroys and pulverizes because in the racist mindset of Israeli rulers, there can be no room between the Sea and the River but for Jews; where the Palestinians - oppressed, colonized and dehumanized - don’t factor in the least in Israel’s ruthless calculations.
This is not merely a question of Khan Al-Ahmar - it is a question of the very survival of the Palestinian people, threatened by a racist state that has been allowed to ‘go wild’ for 70 years, untamed and without repercussions.

Michelin Stars: From perfection to conspiracy

Turki Aldakhil/Al Arabiya/September 25/18
I usually leave my old friends with a fixed date to take me away from work pressure whenever I visit the countries they live – although our chats always include talk about work. Some see me in the café where they usually sit. Another one of my generous friends whom I visited years ago took me to his mother’s house and when I ate from the food which I found delicious and couldn’t stop eating from, this specific dish made by his mother – may God prolong her life – became a habit which I don’t hesitate accepting an invitation for. Sometimes I find myself telling him before the others that I am visiting so I guarantee my renewed old date. Among these are a friend I don’t forget and who told me: “Close your eyes and place your finger anywhere on the menu of my favorite restaurant, and I bet that there’s nothing you won’t like!” He did this over and over again, and he was very confident. I ordered two plates and I found myself drowning in delight. Then it was time for dessert. There were only three options on the menu. I closed my eyes and wished that when I open them, I can taste all three. When we finished this strange dining experience, he said: “Do not thank me. You can do this with any friend on condition that you select a restaurant from the list of restaurants which are ‘worthy of a special trip.’”I now confess to this latter friend that what he said to me cost me a lot later as first of all I spent my entire day looking into what he meant until I found it in the restaurants which have three Michelin stars. Ever since, I am like the truck drivers whom brothers Andre and Edouard relied on to collect data at the beginning of issuing their guide as they wrote in the first edition: “We cannot do anything without the help of drivers, and we can do everything with them.” These are the Michelin Brothers, the most famous tire manufacturers in the world.
At the time, there were only 3,000 cars in France, and the two brothers were thinking of a way to make roads more tempting for drivers so they relied on truck drivers as a credible source to evaluate restaurants in nearby roads and cities. The guide which made roads more tempting for drivers was free, until one of the brothers found a way to add a fourth leg to a table that’s missing a leg! He swore that the guide will not be free anymore and he actually laid out a basic rule in the world of marketing: People do not respect what’s free. If you can sell your merchandise with loss, go ahead. Never, ever present it for free to others!
Painful losses
The guide which derived its power from truck drivers became the most important tourist guide which the best chefs in the world brag about its stars. It’s reason enough to collapse in tears if one loses a single star like what happened to Gordon Ramsay, whose restaurants have a total of 16 Michelin stars, as he wiped away his tears as he spoke of the pain of losing one star and said it was a very painful loss that resembles losing someone you love. Some may say I am exaggerating this but one of the reasons that one of the most famous chefs in the world committed suicide few years ago – according to analysts – was losing a Michelin star. This huge pressure which these stars put on chefs is much more than the pressure which celebrities face during the Oscars ceremony! Who said only Arabs believe in conspiracy theories?! What makes the theory that chef Benoît Violier, 44 years old, committed suicide under the pressure of possibly losing a Michelin star is that another famous French chef shot himself in the head after his restaurant lost two stars that same year. The Michelin Guide, however, is accused of being bias to French restaurants and this conspiracy theory is spearheaded by the Americans. In 2014, one restaurant in Chicago got three stars, four restaurants got two stars and 20 restaurants got one star. The evaluation seems ordinary but then you find out that the competition was among 500 restaurants in one city! Like many others, I thought that people ate to live until I traveled a lot and realized that this truth in luxurious countries is very different. Some people actually fulfill the wish of the Michelin Guide and go on a special trip for a unique dining experience in a faraway restaurant thus confirming the theory that they live to eat! I have no doubt that humanity came a long way beginning with uncooked food and up until the decisive and major phase when man discovered fire. Since fire is a source of warmth, it’s also a good friend of the hungry. Ever since man began to cook, the size of his jaw began to decrease, and ever since we began pasteurizing and boiling milk, we became less fearful and fonder of all forms of milk. The fireplace did not know that one of the fanciest and most profitable jobs in the world today will rely on cooking and that generations will cross roads and find time to make evaluations – for free – hence honoring a chef with a star that puts him on the map and that one single complaint can end the life of a famous chef. A few years ago, I was accompanying King Salman – at the time he was crown prince – on a trip to Japan. It was a huge banquet on which representatives of the most important categories of the Japanese people sat across. It was neither strange nor surprising – after I had spent a long time on the Michelin Guide – to see chefs sitting on the other side of the table alongside politicians and economists!
Last week, I was in Amsterdam where the International Broadcasting Convention was held. I went to a hotel, and one of the employees told me the good news, as if his baby was just born, that one of their restaurants received a Michelin star. I later asked an employee in the same hotel where the restaurant that got the star is. She almost broke in tears as she told me it was taken away from them. She then justified why and said it’s because a conspiracy was weaved against them to withdraw the Michelin star from them.
Who said only Arabs believe in conspiracy theories?!
US Yields Set to Leave Europe’s in the Rearview Mirror
Marcus Ashworth/Bloomberg/September 25/18
Where the US leads, the world will follow. That has been the case in the bond market for the past month as American yields have climbed steadily. But Europe is unlikely to follow the leader much further if U.S. Treasuries move up to a higher yield range; there’s simply not enough high-quality European debt to go around. The reasons for rising US government bond yields are easy to rattle off: A Federal Reserve intent on raising rates and reducing its quantitative-easing holdings at a faster pace.
Robust economic growth. A widening federal budget deficit, which means the Treasury needs to sell more bonds. An inflation rate rising steadily toward 3 percent. The risk that China, the largest holder of US Treasuries, decides to use them as ammunition in an intensifying trade war.
All these are chilling for bondholders. The reverse is largely the case for Europe: The European Central Bank’s negative 40 basis points deposit rate is on hold for at least another year. The ECB’s QE, though tapering off, will continue through the end of the year. Growth in Europe is half that of the US. Net issuance from the German government over the next few years is set to be around zero, according to Unicredit analysts. Core euro-area inflation is stuck at just 1 percent. This doesn’t make a compelling case to buy European bonds, but it suggests yields are unlikely to move much either way. Another dynamic is holding down German yields: scarcity. Demand for super-safe debt has only increased just as the pool of core European government bonds has contracted thanks to the ECB’s vast QE program. The ECB holds more than a quarter of outstanding issuance — as it does for other euro-area government bonds — with no plans to liquidate. Foreign central banks and sovereign wealth funds hold about 37 percent, according to Unicredit. These are long-term holders, so there is not much of a free float.The spread between German and US Treasuries has widened steadily from level in the aftermath of the financial crisis to more than 250 basis points now. That looks set to continue to widen further as the US and Europe move in different directions.
FULL TEXT: Donald Trump's Address at the 2018 UN General Assembly
Agencies/Haaretz/September 25/18
Trump slams Iran, insists Israeli-Palestinian peace has advanced, attacks ICC and says U.S. won't return to Human Rights Council.
U.S. President Donald Trump sharply attacked Iran during his remarks at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, the first day of the high-profile international gathering in New York. Below is the full text of his address:
One year ago I stood before you for the first time in this grand hall, I addressed the threats facing our world, and presented some options to reach a better future.
Today I want to share the extraordinary progress we made.In two years my administration has achieved more than any admninistration had achieved before in history.
The American economy is booming like never before, the stock market is thriving, unemployment is at a historic low. We operated the biggest tax cuts and reforms in american history. We strenghtened our border security, our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before
The United States is stronger, safer and richer than when I assumed office two years ago. We are standing up for America and the american people and for the world.
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This is great news for our citizens and for peace loving people everywhere. When nations respect each other, they can work together for prosperity and peace. Each of us here is an emissary of the own culture, history, values that make our homeland like nowhere else on earth.
America chooses indipendence and cooperation over global government, each must pursue its own customs. The U.S. won’t tell you how to live work, or worship. We ask you to honor our sovereignty in return. My highest honor is to represent the U.S. abraod . I forged strong alliances with the leaders of many nations.
We have engaged with North Korea to replace the spectre of conflict with a bold new push for peace. In June in Singapore I met with the leader of North Korea and had a highly productive conversation. We agreed that denuclearization was in both countries’ interests. A number of encouraging measures were taken since. Missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction. Some militaty facilities were dismantled. Hostages were released. I would like to thank Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken though much work is yet to be done. Sanctions will stay in place till deneclearization occurs. This moment is far greater than people would understand. I thanks the Presidents of South Korea, Japan and China for their support.
In the Middle east historic change has happened thanks to our appraoch. Gulf counties are enforcing new sanctions to identify and track terrorist networks and extremists in their own region.
The UAI and Saudi Arabia and Qatar have pledged billions of dollars for Syria and Yemen, and are attempting multiple avenues to end the horrific civil war in Yemen. It is up to the nations to decide what kind of future they want. U.S. is working with the Gulf cooperation council, with Jordan and Egypt to increase prosperity.
Thanks to the U.S. military and its partnership with many of your nations, ISIS was driven out from territories in Syria and Iraq. We will continue to work to deny them funding and means of infiltrating. The ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking. De-esclaation is needed as well as a political solution that honors the Syrian people. The UN peace process must be reinvigurated. If chemical weapons are deployed, there must be a response.
People in Jordan and around Syria must be praised for hosting refugees from this brutal civil war. Being as close to home as possible the refugees can be part of the rebuilding process. Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must include a strategy to address brutal regime.
Another issue is the corrupt dictstorship of Iran. They cause chaos, death and destruction, they do not respect neighbours’ borders and the sovereign rights of nations. They plunder nations’ resources to enrich themselves and spread bad across the region. Their leaders have embezzled millions of dollars from the Iranian treasures, sent proxies to wage wars, not good! Their regional agenda is aggression and expansion. That’s why many supported me in withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal and in reimposing nuclear sanctions. The deal was a win for Iran leaders, their military budget grew 40 percent since deal was reached, they increased internal repression, financed terrorism, in Syria and Yemen. U.S. launched a campaign of economic pressure on Iran to deny the regime funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda.
We began reimposing the sanctions lifted after the deal, on November 6 there will be more sanctions, and more will follow. We want countries that import iran crude oil to stop.
We cannot allow a regime that chants death to america and threatens Israel of annihilation to deliver a nuclear warhead. Just can’t do it. We ask to isolate regime as long as the aggression continues. We need to support people in reclaiming their relgious destiny.
I took other significant steps in the recognition of every state’s right to establish its own capital. I moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem which advances hopes of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. That aim is advanced not harmed by acknowledging facts. It is principled realism, we are not hostages to dogmas, experts who were proven wrong over the years time and time again. Not only in matters to do with peace but also to do with prosperity. We believe that trade must be fair and reciprocal. U.S. will not be taken advantage of any longer. For decades US opened its economy with few conditions. Wer allowed goods to fly in freeely yet other markets were not open in return. Countries dumped their products, subsidized their goods, manipulated currencies.
As a result trade our deficit balooned. For this reason we are systematically renegotiating trade deals. Last month a U.S. mexico trade agreement was announced.
skip - Trump forced to pause amid laughter at the 2018 UN General Assembly address
Trump forced to pause amid laughter at the 2018 UN General Assembly address - דלג
Yesterday I stood with President of South Korea. A brand new US Korea trade deal announced. Many nations will agree that world trading system in dire need of change. Countries in WTO violate every single principle on which organization is based, U.S. instead and others play by rules, but some rig system in their favour. They do product dumping, forced technology transfer, theft of intellectual property. The U.S. lost a quarter of steel jobs after China joined the WTO. We had 14 trillion dollars in trade deficit. But those days are over. We will no longer tolerate such abuse. Our workers are not to be victimised, our wealth not to be plundered, America will never apologize for protecting its citizens.
There will be new tariffs to chinese groups, as our trade imbalance is not acceptable. The way they deal cannot be tolerated. America will always act in its national interest. I warned that the UN human rights council became a great embarassment to this institution, shielding human rights abusers and slashing America and its many friends. Nikky Haley laid out an agenda for reform but despite warnings no action at all was taken. So US took the only possible course, withdrew from the human rights council, will not return till reform is enacted. And will not give recognition to the International Criminal court. ICC has no legitimacy and no authroity. It claims universal jurisdiction violating due process, violating justice , we will never surrender to this unaccountable global bureacracy. We reject globalism and embrace patriotism, around the world responsible nations must resist threats to sovereignrty. In America we believe strongly in energy security for ourselves and our allies.
We are the largest energy producer on the face of earth. Clean coal oil, natural gas. Opec and Opec nations as usual are ripping off rest of world, and I don’t like it, nobody should like it, we defend many of these nations for nothing, and they give us high oil prices. NOT GOOD. We want them to start lowering prices, they must contribute to their own military protection from now on. These are horrible prices. Relying on a single supplier leaves nations vulnerable to distortion. Polond is building the baltic pipeline so nations are not dependent on russia anymore for energy needs.
Germany will be dependent to russia if it does not change course. We need indipendence from encroachment and we welcome cooperation with countries that wish to do the same. U.S. is also working with Latin America to confront threats of uncontrolled migration, tolerance for human smuggling and trafficking is not humane, it’s a horrible thing going on at levels unseen before.
Illegal immigration finances criminal networks, and the flow of deadly drugs. It produces a vicious circle of crime and poverty. Only by upholding national borders, can we break the cycle, we recognise the right of every nation to have own immigration policy according to its national interest. This must be respected. US will no participate in the new Global compact of migration, it is a global body unaccountable to our own pople. People to build more hopeful future in own country.Make their countries great again.
We are witnessing a human tragedy in Venezuala. Two million people fled anguish inflicted by Madhuro and his Cuban sponsors. Venezuele used to be one of richest countries, now poeple driven into abject poverty. Virtually everywhere socialism and communism has produced decay, socialism’s thirst of power leads to expansion and oppression. All nations of the world must resist socialism. In that spirit we ask nations to join us in restoring democracy in Venezuala. We are announcing new sanctions against the repressive regime. We are greatful for all work UN does to help people build better lives for themselves and families.
UN is the world’s largest giver of foreign aid. But few aid is given to us, that’s why we are looking into our assistance. We will examine what is working and not working and whether countries that recieve our dollars and protection have our interest at heart. Only to those who are our friends we will continue. We expect countires to pay a fair share for their own defence. The UN must become more effective and accountable. The UN has unlimited potential. As part of reform efforts we said we won’t pay more than 25 percent of pece keepign budget, sharing in this large burden.
Only when each of us contributes our share can we realise the UN highest aspirations. We must pursue hope without despair, security without apology. Looking around this hall we think of the many before who came here, and thoughts turn to the same question, the question of what kind of world we will leave to our children and what kind of nations they will inherit. Answers are as diverse as people who have stood at this podium. Great progress was made by India lifting people from poverty, from Saudi Arabia with its reforms, Israel is celebrating 70 years as a thriving democracy in the holy land. Many countries pursue own unique visions building own future and pursuing wonderful dreams. The whole world is richer, humanity is better because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each unique shining brightly in its part of the world. As Americans we know what kind of future we want, what nation America wants to be.
We believe in the majesty of freedom and dignity of individual, self government and rule of law, culture built on strong families, fierce indipendence. We celebrate our heroes, love our country. Inside this great chamber each patriot feels the same powerful love for his own nation, the same loyalty to your homeland. Passion has inspired reform and revolution, sacrifice, scientific breakthrough and magnificent works of art. We must not erase it, but embrace it, draw on its wisdom, find a way to make our nations greater, the regions safer, the world better. To unleash potential of our people, sovreign and indipendent nations are the only vehicle where freedom succeeds. We must protect sovreignty and indipendence above all. When we do we will find new avenues for cooperation unfolding before us, new ways of peace making, new purpose, new spirit flourishing more around us. Making this a more beautiful world. Let us choose the future of patriotism, let us come here to stand for our people and for their nations, forever strong, sovreign, just, thankful for the grace and the glory of God, God bless the nations of the globe.

Analysis/With Russia's S-300 in Syria, Israel Will Have to Think Twice About the Next Strike
عاموس هاريل من الهآررتس: إسرائيل مضطرة لإعادة حساباتها بما يخص غارراتها على سوريا بوجود النظام الروسي للصواريخ اس 300 فيها
Amos Harel/September 25/18
The new missile system provided by Russia is not a total barrier to airstrikes, but Israeli jets' freedom of action will be significantly curbed.
The two latest developments in Moscow – the Defense Ministry’s report that placed full responsibility for last week’s downing of a Russian plane over Syria on Israel, and the announcement of the transfer of advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to the Assad regime – shouldn’t surprise anyone in Israel except maybe a few foolish supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. No matter how good his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin may be, Netanyahu can’t make the problem disappear.
Russia suffered an embarrassing blow when Assad’s anti-aircraft fire shot down the plane, and it still has widespread interests to promote in Syria. It was quite clear that the affair would lead to a Russian condemnation of Israel and to demands of Israel. The bottom line still depends on Putin, who initially sufficed with a cautiously worded statement the day after the incident. For the time being it seems the result of the Russian steps will be a significant restriction of Israel’s freedom of action over Syria.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Monday that his country would supply Syria with S-300 ground-to-air missiles. Russia, he said, would also use electronic warfare systems to prevent the activation of satellite tracking systems along Syria’s coast, making it harder for Israel to conduct airstrikes. And Russia will equip Syrian anti-aircraft units with Russian tracking and guidance systems to prevent mishaps in which Syria downs Russian aircraft.
The transfer of S-300 missiles to the Syrians, along with even more advanced systems (like the S-400) that the Russians are deploying near their bases in Syria’s northwest, don’t constitute a total barrier to Israeli attacks. According to foreign media, the Israel Air Force has trained for missions in which Israeli jets must contend with S-300 batteries – which the Russians sold to Cyprus and are now in Greece's hands. It’s reasonable to assume that the air force can figure out how to reduce the risk when facing these systems.
In April, after an American attack and a number of Israeli attacks, Moscow announced that it would sell the S-300 systems to Syria, but it didn’t follow through. This time the Russians seem more determined to follow through, though it’s doubtful the weapons will be delivered in two weeks as promised by Shoigu, and it could take the Syrians a while to learn to operate the technology.
The test for Israeli-Russian relations is sure to come soon when a new intelligence warning pops up about an Iranian attempt to smuggle arms into Lebanon on a route near the Russian bases in northwestern Syria. Because Iran is determined to continue with its arms shipments to Hezbollah, and Israel has insisted on its right to attack such shipments, Jerusalem is bound to face a dilemma: Should it attack once again near the Russians and risk further exacerbating the crisis and even the downing of an Israeli plane?
Russia’s announcement of the decision to supply the S-300s and its report Sunday on the circumstances of the downing of the Ilyushin plane underscore one point. Moscow can’t accuse the main culprit responsible for the incident – its ally, the Assad regime. (It’s amazing to see that blame for the Syrian anti-aircraft forces doesn’t even appear in the Defense Ministry’s official statement.)
It was therefore clear from the beginning that the responsibility would be placed on Israel. It’s also interesting that all the blame is directed at the Israeli military, which the Russians accuse of being unprofessional or “criminally negligent, at the very least.” The Israeli political leadership isn’t mentioned except for one general claim about Israel’s alleged dangerous offensive policy in Syria.
The Russian inquiry seems dubious; some of its claims are odd. For instance, the Russians say Israel gave them a warning of only one minute (it’s surprising that Israel hasn’t stated the real time lag, which was much longer). According to experienced Israeli pilots, the claim that the Israeli jets hid behind the Russian intelligence-gathering plane is unreasonable and not in keeping with accepted operational practices.
The accusation that Israel deceived the Russians about the location of the planned attack also seems illogical. According to Russia, the IAF informed it about an attack in northern Syria, while the attack occurred in western Syria. Latakia is in northwest Syria, as a quick glance at a map reveals. And because the military coordination has been working successfully for three years now, during which hundreds of Israeli attacks have taken place, it’s hard to believe that the two sides haven’t yet cleared up some basic terminology.
The Russian announcement accuses Israel of ungratefulness in light of Moscow’s steps on behalf of Israeli interests such as keeping Iranian forces from the Israeli border in the Golan Heights. (The Russians say they’ve kept them 140 kilometers [87 miles] away, while actually it’s 85 to 100 kilometers, a buffer zone that doesn’t include Damascus, where Iranian soldiers remain.)
In recent years, Russia has been caught lying or spreading disinformation about its role in a number of incidents, the most recent being its involvement in the U.S. presidential elections, the poisoning of the former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain, and the invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. So it’s hard to believe that anyone but Syria and Iran will adopt the Russian version of last week’s events.
But it’s unlikely that this will matter. Moscow has the last word on the plane affair. It seems Putin waited for an Israeli blunder to put Jerusalem in its place.
This isn’t the end of an era for Israel’s military operations in Syria, where it has conducted hundreds of attacks in the north over the past six years. But for now, it appears the situation on the northern front won’t return fully to the conditions before the Russian plane was shot down.
Israel has operated freely in northern Syria for years thanks to the combination of offensive actions and good diplomatic relations with the Russians. Mostly, Israel acted shrewdly, achieving many of its goals.
In this handout video grab released by the Russian Defense Ministry speaks to the media next to the screen showing the scheme of the incident during a briefing in Moscow, Russia, September 22, 2018.
But in recent months Israel has displayed excessive confidence in Syria. It’s unlikely that the Russians were happy with the Israeli military's announcement this month that it had conducted more than 200 attacks in Syria since the beginning of last year. It seems Jerusalem hasn’t fully grasped the implications now that the Assad regime, with the help of the Russians, has regained control of most of the country, including the region bordering Israel.
Israel isn’t a superpower and isn’t invincible. It will have to take into account Russian considerations and maybe even adapt its offensive model. Senior defense officials say they ascribe great importance to the latest incident. Those who still claim that this is just a mild shudder on the wing must be so busy defending Netanyahu’s image that they’re no longer capable of analyzing reality objectively.

Why Trump will be proved right on Iran

Osama Al Sharif/Arab News/September 25/18
US President Donald Trump will be the center of attention at the UN General Assembly this week. Just as he was last year, he is expected to be “undiplomatic” in criticizing foes and allies on many issues: Trade, defense strategies, counter-terrorism, and non-proliferation and denuclearization, among others. But, while he will not lambast North Korea, as he did last year, he will focus on Iran; especially his decision earlier this year to unilaterally withdraw from the nuclear agreement that was meticulously negotiated by his predecessor, as well as Tehran's regional meddling and its sponsorship of terror.
Trump's view of the world is different from that of previous administrations. He appears at the UN podium as a leader who has rattled his closest allies and partners over defense spending, foreign policy, trade, immigration, Iran and military alliances. His views and positions on many foreign policy issues are in contrast with those of America's closest allies. Certainly, he has taken the side of the Israeli far right in dealing with the thorny Arab-Israeli conflict. He has punished the Palestinians while claiming that he will unveil a plan that will end decades of hostilities and hardship. No ally of the US has endorsed his departure from the two-state solution.
But, when it comes to Iran, Trump may turn out to be on the right side of history, despite the widening gap that separates him from his European partners. There is no doubt that the nuclear deal that was adopted in 2015 was the result of years of secret and open negotiations and that it delivered what was then the best possible outcome. As it has turned out, Tehran did abide by the agreement, according to international and even Trump's own experts. But, crucially, it did nothing to contain Iran's regional ambitions, its support of terrorist groups and its ballistic activities.
Crucially, the nuclear deal did nothing to contain Iran's regional ambitions, its support of terrorist groups and its ballistic activities
Today the region is in turmoil and Iran is largely responsible for this. One can point to Iraq and its dysfunctional political system due to brazen Iranian meddling in its affairs. Tehran-backed militias have become a major player in Iraqi politics and have deepened the sectarian divide that has unraveled the fabric of Iraqi society. As Iraqi politicians quibble over positions and benefits, the country continues to sink into a quagmire of corruption and mismanagement. Iran's interference in Iraqi affairs has become a source of discontent among both Sunnis and Shiites, as was evident in the recent protests in Basra.
The Yemeni crisis is a poignant reminder of Iran's irresponsible meddling and regional disruption. All attempts to end the Houthi insurgency that has destroyed Yemen's foundations and institutions have been foiled by Tehran. Iran's role in prolonging Yemen's ordeal is undisputed.
Tehran's controversial involvement in the Syrian crisis is another cause of regional instability. The Syrian civil war took a sectarian trajectory following Tehran's intervention. Iranian-backed militias, as well as members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, are complicit in countless war crimes in Syria. A just political settlement in Syria will remain elusive so long as foreign meddling continues.
Regardless of how effective the nuclear deal is, it did nothing to contain Iran's regional ambitions and its bullying of its neighbors. Trump may have wanted to derail the agreement simply because it was negotiated by Barack Obama but, now that the US has withdrawn, the world must address its aftermath.
Europe will not be able to save the agreement in its present form. Trump has taken a hardline position, threatening to punish companies and states that do business with Iran. The next batch of sanctions in November will hit Iran hard as it targets its oil exports. So far, US sanctions have dealt a heavy blow to the Iranian economy and ignited a major political crisis between President Hassan Rouhani and parliament. Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei may end up ditching Rouhani and enabling extremists. Such a move will only deepen Iran's crisis.
But, despite Trump's strong words and actions, he has left the door open for a possible settlement. He has expressed willingness to meet with Rouhani unconditionally, while a close aide has said that the US will seek to negotiate a treaty with Iran rather than an agreement.
So far Khamenei has stuck to his anti-US rhetoric, rejecting calls for a dialogue. This is a big mistake. Iranian leaders can't afford to wait as their citizens suffer; largely as a result of the regime’s foolish regional meddling. Dialogue with the US will go a long way toward addressing regional grievances. Tehran must change course if it wants to normalize its ties with its neighbors and open up to the world. Trump is right to pressure Tehran to negotiate.
*Osama Al Sharif is a journalist and political commentator based in Amman.

Terrorist attack in Iran a concern for Saudis, oil markets
Simon Henderson/The Hill/September 25/18
Reporting on Saturday’s attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahwaz is missing a significant angle – oil. Ahwaz is the capital of Khuzestan province, where Iran’s major oilfields are. Tehran could well regard the attack in which 29 died, including some children and other civilian spectators, as an attack on its oil infrastructure. It therefore may regard other countries’ oil installations as being a legitimate target for retaliation. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has vowed revenge against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well Israel and the United States. Today Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Riyadh and Abu Dhabi of financing the “perpetrators” and threatening “harsh punishment.”
Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, is a regional rival of Iran. Tehran backs proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Bahrain. All three rivals are major oil producers and exporters — though U.S. policy is to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero, if possible, from November. Together, they account for the majority of exports from the Persian Gulf through the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Last year, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the kingdom’s effective leader who usually is known as just MbS, spoke ambiguously of the contest against Iran in a television interview: “We will work so that battle is on their side, inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia.” But, as I wrote (perhaps presciently) in March for The Hill: “If Saudi Arabia tries to destabilize Iran by promoting insurrection, as MbS has said privately to visiting interlocutors, its own vulnerability may be quickly exposed.”
On Monday, the oil price jumped more than 2 percent to more than $80 per barrel for the benchmark Brent crude, a four-year high attributed to Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to persuade the OPEC cartel to agree to a production increase at the weekend’s oil summit in Algiers. Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih disingenuously claimed on Saturday that OPEC is all about production rather than price: “There is plenty of supply to meet any customer that needs it.” In narrow economic terms, that is a sustainable argument — but if there is a major political disruption in the Gulf, that is very different. Coping with production decreases in Venezuela, Mexico and Iran is one thing. Iranian disruption of Saudi production could be catastrophic, and challenging to counter if Tehran’s fingerprints were not obvious.
So far there is confusion about who was actually responsible for the Ahwaz attack. There were four assailants; two reportedly were killed, and two may have been captured. Local Khuzestan separatists — the province is ethnically Arab rather than Persian — have claimed responsibility and also denied it. The Islamic State has issued a video asserting its role, in which case it would be Shia-Sunni religious tensions which would be in play. At this stage, it is probably safer to judge neither claims, nor even denials, as either true or false. Given the Iranian Supreme Leader’s comments, it may also be irrelevant.
The Ahwaz incident brings back memories for me. In December 1978, just weeks before the revolution which overthrew Iran’s shah, I went there for the Financial Times and interviewed the American oil executive who ran the western consortium headquartered there, producing Iran’s oil. I didn’t name him in my Dec. 20 story because, a few days earlier, someone had left a note of his desk, warning, “Remember before New Year you must leave the country.” But I quoted him: “Hell, I have been in this business too long. That sort of thing doesn’t scare me.” On Dec. 27, I wrote another story saying that Paul Grimm, the man I had interviewed, had been “ambushed on the way to work in his car by three gunmen using automatic weapons.”
In January 1979, the shah left the country and, the following month, Ayatollah Khomeini returned home from exile in France.
I am hoping that what happened in Ahwaz a few days ago may be just a blip, memories of which will be lost in the news cycle over the next few days and weeks. But my fear is that things may be spinning out of control. On Wednesday, President Trump is scheduled to chair the United Nations Security Council in New York; he is reported to intend to speak on Iran. On Saturday, a State Department spokesperson condemned the Ahwaz attack as terrorism. What will the President have to say?
*Simon Henderson is the Baker Fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

How Tehran Might React to the Ahvaz Attack
Omer Carmi/The Washington Institute/September 25/18
The identity of the assailants remains unresolved, but precedent suggests Iran could respond by targeting minorities at home, assassinating oppositionists abroad, or attempting missile strikes on jihadist areas in Syria or Iraq.
On Saturday, September 22, during the annual commemorations of the Iran-Iraq War known as "Sacred Defense Week," assailants fired on a military parade in Ahvaz, capital of the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan, killing about thirty and wounding dozens more. Khuzestan is home to large numbers of the country's Sunni and Arab minorities, not to mention many of its oil fields, and most casualties were members of Iran's armed forces.
Following the strike, Iranian officials responded in typical fashion by blaming the United States and its Gulf allies for serving as sponsors. Some officials even floated a broader "Hebrew-Arab-Western" conspiracy, reflecting an inherited paranoia regarding foreign intervention and destabilizing actions in their country. Yet as the dust settled, two main sets of suspects emerged:
Local Arab groups. Soon after the incident, groups identified as the al-Ahwaz Arab People's Democratic Front, al-Ahvaziyeh, and the Arab Resistance Movement for the Freedom of Ahwaz claimed responsibility for the attack. Names of the assailants were even published by these local groups—but the regime has not confirmed them as the perpetrators. Instead, extrapolating from the details, Iranian officials linked the assault to training and support by Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States. Over the years, similar local militant groups have reportedly been responsible for minor attacks on the Iranian oil infrastructure, and ethnically charged socioeconomic tensions often rise in the province.
The Islamic State. The jihadist group joined the ranks of those taking credit for the attack. Its claim, issued hours after the event, included the suggestion that Iranian president Hassan Rouhani had himself been present. IS soon retracted this important detail, reducing its credibility as a prospective assailant. In seeking to reestablish its relevance, the group published a video depicting its fighters allegedly on their way to the Ahvaz parade. This video has drawn much skepticism, but if IS does prove to have been the actor, this will be its second major strike on Iranian soil—after its successful operation in June 2017 in Tehran.
While reliably assigning blame to the United States and its allies in a broad sense, voices in the regime have been split on whether local Ahvazi groups or IS carried out the operation. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reflected this ambiguity in his initial remarks, referring to "plots [hatched] by the U.S.-led governments in the region that aim to create insecurity." But the Supreme Leader has been unambiguous in ordering Iranian intelligence to respond swiftly, and President Rouhani further called on the country's security apparatus to immediately identify the terrorists and decisively deal with "all those who committed the crime."
In the June 2017 Islamic State hit on Tehran sites, militants stormed Ayatollah Khomeini's grave and the Majlis building, killing and wounding dozens. As after the Ahvaz incident, the regime accused Washington and Riyadh of ultimate responsibility. But in light of IS's plausible acknowledgment, Iran focused its response on the Sunni jihadist group, setting aside Saudi Arabia and the United States for the moment. In particular, eleven days later, Iran rained missiles on IS targets in Deir al-Zour, Syria, later boasting about the force of this bombardment—even though most missiles actually missed their intended targets. Through this statement, the regime sought to convey a deterrent message to other parties in the region.
Earlier this month, Tehran took the same approach when it bombed Kurdish groups in northern Iraq in response to what it perceived as "hostile moves from inside the Iraqi Kurdistan Region against Iran's border areas...[including] acts of Iran's western provinces of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, and Kermanshah." After the attack, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, asserted that Iran would follow a similar course if faced with future provocations.
According to its pattern, then, Tehran accuses foreign powers of responsibility for such events, but proceeds to retaliate against domestic opponents and regional groups. By allowing for vagueness in the identity of the specific attackers, Iran can justify conducting a wide range of potential responses. In the Ahvaz instance, Iran will, first, most likely go hard after local Sunni and Arab groups, hoping to identify and dismantle insurgent networks, and to deter an "emulation trend" in other parts of the country. Second, Tehran may seek to initiate another campaign of assassinations against exile oppositionists in Europe, with one of its latest attacks reportedly targeting a prominent Ahvazi political figure in Netherlands. Third, Iran could take an "eye for an eye" approach and use its affiliated Shia militant groups in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province and in other Gulf states (e.g., Bahrain) to spark instability and target local security forces, as it did last year in the Saudi kingdom.
Last but not least, Tehran could again fire missiles against Islamic State sites in Syria, or Sunni and Arab militant groups in Iraq, in hopes of achieving two ends: avenging the Ahvaz outrage and restoring Iranian dignity, while sending a deterrent message to Washington, Riyadh, and Jerusalem in advance of periods of rising tension to come.
*Omer Carmi is director of intelligence at the Israeli cybersecurity firm Sixgill. Previously, he was a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute and led IDF analytical and research efforts pertaining to the Middle East.