Detailed Lebanese & Lebanese Related LCCC English New Bulletin For September 28/2018
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations
Keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offences, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites
Letter to the Romans 16/07-20: "I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offences, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise in what is good, and guileless in what is evil. The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."

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 28-28/18
Lebanon: Aoun Backing Hezbollah Arms Upsets March 14 Forces/Youssef Diab/Asharq Al-Awsat/September, 27/18
Latest Hezbollah sanctions bill to target Lebanese lawmakers/Georgi Azar/Annahar/September 27/18
Samy Gemayel Puts Forth Solutions to Looming Stagflation/ 27/18
President Aoun Voices Utter Rejection of Settlement Projects in Lebanon/Agencis/NNA/September 27/18
Macron: Ballistic Assistance to Hezbollah and Houthis Is an Alarming Development/Reuters/September 27/18
Unemployment: Women facing stagnant economy and gender inequity/Sally Farhat/Annahar/September 27/18
Lebanon’s weapons of mass deception/Makram Rabah/Al Arabiya/September 27/18
Defense Chief: Israel Prepared to Reopen Golan Crossing with Syria/Bloomberg/September 27/18
Pompeo to Travel to North Korea to Arrange Second Trump-Kim Summit/CNN International/September 27/18
Europeanize America? Not on Your Life/David C. Stolinsky/Gatestone Institute/September 27/18
Why Silicon Valley Pretends It Doesn’t Make Money/Shira Ovide/Bloomberg/September, 27/18
Iran’s blame game deflects attention from regime’s support of terror/Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Arab News/September 28/18
Iraq’s Shiite factions offer Kurds an ultimatum over presidency dispute/Suadad Al-Salhy/Arab News/September 28/18
In Syria, it’s a regime issue, not a missile issue/Khairallah Khairallah/Al Arabiya/September 27/18

Titles For The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on September 28-28/18

Lebanon: Aoun Backing Hezbollah Arms Upsets March 14 Forces
Latest Hezbollah sanctions bill to target Lebanese lawmakers
U.S. House of Representatives Approves Anti-Hezbollah Bill
Berry invites committees for joint session on January 4
Berry, diplomats tackle bilateral ties
ISIS suspect detained in Lebanon for planning to poison troops
Netanyahu Says Hizbullah Has Missile Sites near Beirut Airport
Report: Aoun, Hariri, Bassil Held 'Secret Meetings'
Jaber Urges 'Deep' Electricity Dialogue as Siemens Confirms Offering Help
Maronite Patriarch to Politicians: Get Out of Your Petty Interests
Derian during honoring Shamsi: For a national salvation government
Kanaan: Housing Law comes into effect immediately after its publishing in Official Gazette
Ibrahim, French ambassador talk overall situation
Siemens CEO Confirms Electricity Offer to Lebanese Government
Russian Embassy affirms continuous work to secure refugees' return
Samy Gemayel Puts Forth Solutions to Looming Stagflation
President Aoun Voices Utter Rejection of Settlement Projects in Lebanon
Macron: Ballistic Assistance to Hezbollah and Houthis Is an Alarming Development
Kuwait Embassy in Lebanon: Kuwait's stance over Yemeni file consistent with Arab Coalition’s
Unemployment: Women facing stagnant economy and gender inequity
Empowering Tripoli's carpenters with launch of MINJARA platform
National Women's Affairs Committee signs cooperation agreement with seven municipalities
Rampling after visiting Machnouk: Continual UK support to joint projects with Ministry
USAID, CCIAT launch new services offered by Chamber
An Nahar special issue in partnership with AUB: A road map for better future
Lebanon’s weapons of mass deception

Titles For The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 28-28/18
Trump Supports Two-State Solution, Peace Plan to Be Unveiled in Months
Netanyahu Claims Iran Has Secret Atomic Warehouse
At U.N., Abbas Accuses U.S. of Undermining 2-State Solution
Erdogan Arrives in Germany under Tight Security
US in Hurry to Establish Syria’s Constitutional Committee
Palestinian president Abbas 'shocked' by Trump's peace process approach
Hadi Appeals to World Leaders to Leash Iran, Hezbollah Interference in Yemen
Sisi Calls For Developing Global System to Combat Terrorism ‘Wherever It Exists’
Defense Chief: Israel Prepared to Reopen Golan Crossing with Syria
Pompeo to Travel to North Korea to Arrange Second Trump-Kim Summit

The Latest LCCC Lebanese Related News published on September 28-28/18
Lebanon: Aoun Backing Hezbollah Arms Upsets March 14 Forces
Youssef Diab/Asharq Al-Awsat/September, 27/18
A strong harmony materialized Wednesday between Lebanon’s Michel Aoun and Hezbollah, one day after the President defended the Shiite party during an interview with the French newspaper, Le Figaro. “Hezbollah doesn’t use his arms inside Lebanon, and doesn’t carry out provocations along the border with [Israeli-] occupied territories,” the President said.
Aoun’s comments stimulated the praise of Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-general Naim Qassem, who described them as honorable and responsible.
The Hezbollah official said Aoun’s stances “will protect Lebanon from both the Israeli and the takfiri enemies”.On Tuesday, Aoun told the French newspaper that “Hezbollah’s popular base constitutes more than the third of the Lebanese people.”
He also explained that the group’s sizeable weapons arsenal is linked to the regional situation, especially the conflict in neighboring Syria. “Hezbollah's support base constitutes more than one-third of the Lebanese people,” Aoun said, adding that “international pressure” on the group was “increasing.”However, the political and constitution cover provided by Aoun to Hezbollah’s arms drove on Wednesday the criticisms of March 14 forces.
LF former deputy Antoine Zahra told Asharq Al-Awsat that Aoun’s comments implicate Lebanon and the Lebanese, especially when the President links the fate of Hezbollah’s arms with the region’s crises. “Aoun’s decision to defend the arms of Hezbollah does not reflect the official Lebanese policy towards the issue,” he said. For his part, member of the Future Movement politburo Mustafa Alloush told Asharq Al-Awsat that Qassem’s comments already embarrassed the President, who is currently attending meetings at the UN General Assembly in New York.
“The position of Aoun at the UN is a means to return the favor to the party, but it cannot change how the world sees Hezbollah,” Alloush explained. He added that the President’s position also reflects the depth of national division regarding the issue of Hezbollah’s arms. “Unfortunately, Aoun’s position places Lebanon under the guillotine of international sanctions, and fails to protect Lebanon,” Alloush said.
Latest Hezbollah sanctions bill to target Lebanese lawmakers
Georgi Azar/Annahar/September 27/18
BEIRUT: The U.S House of Representatives, also known as the lower chamber of Congress, passed unanimously this week the latest amendments to the 'Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act' targeting the group's global financial network.
Despite Congress voting on the bill twice last year, both the Senate and House of Representatives have bickered over slight differences, with the latest amendments bringing in Hezbollah's main sponsor Iran into the fold as well as Lebanese parliamentarians belonging to Hezbollah or its affiliates.The bill seeks to introduce "diplomatic initiatives to prevent hostile activities by Iran and disrupt and degrade Hizballah's illicit networks" through efforts to target and expose "illicit finance networks, arrest perpetrators, freeze assets, and address Iran and Hezbollah's use of illicit financial networks using."
The recent amendments go a step further, however, introducing a clause permitting U.S President Donald Trump to report on "individuals who are members of the Lebanese Parliament and who identify as members of Hezbollah." The bill states that the President may designate officials while "blocking property and prohibiting transactions with persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism."“Today’s bill will build on existing sanctions against Hezbollah by targeting its global fundraising and recruiting, as well as those who provide it weapons,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a statement after the vote, expressing hope that the "Senate will take it up quickly.”The bill, first introduced in 2015 by Senator Marco Rubio (R-LF), seeks to clamp down on Hezbollah's global revenue and financial streams by blocking the assets of anyone the U.S President determines “provides significant financial, material or technological support.”In April, two US congressmen presented a bill targeting the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah after introducing to Congress the 'Disarm Hezbollah Act' (HR 5540) which instructs the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to further investigate the group in terms of its "capabilities, arsenal, and the illicit supply routes it uses to procure weapons." The US designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 1997 while the European Union added its military wing to the terrorism list in 2013.  In January 2018, the US also put forth a bill that urges the EU to classify Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist cell, after the EU initially ignored pressure from the US and its ally Israel to ban the organization outright, allowing contacts with its political representatives.
For further reading, check out the complete list of amendments.

U.S. House of Representatives Approves Anti-Hezbollah Bill

Agencis/NNA/September 27/18/The United States House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Congress, approved on Tuesday the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2018 which aims at tightening sanctions against the Lebanon-based group. The bill, an amendment to existing sanctions on Hezbollah, seeks to further restrict its ability to fundraise and recruit, increase pressure on banks that do business with it and crack down on countries, including Iran, that support Hezbollah. "Hezbollah's fighters continue butchering civilians for Assad in Syria, while amassing missiles along Israel’s northern border. Just last week, Hezbollah’s leader bragged about having precision missile capabilities," Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said in a statement issued following the passage of the bill. "Today’s bill will build on existing sanctions against Hezbollah by targeting its global fundraising and recruiting, as well as those who provide it weapons. This legislation is the product of months of bicameral, bipartisan work, and I hope the Senate will take it up quickly.”The bill, introduced by Senator Marco Rubio, was also passed by the Senate in May 2015.

Berry invites committees for joint session on January 4
Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called upon the Committees of Finance and Budget, Administration Justice, National Defense, Interior and Municipalities, National Economy, Trade and Industry, Planning, Agriculture, Tourism, Public Works, Transport, Energy and Water to convene in a joint session on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 10:30 am to study pending draft laws and proposals.

Berry, diplomats tackle bilateral ties

Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Thursday met at his Ain Tineh residence with Indian Ambassador to Lebanon, Sanjiv Arora, with talks reportedly touching on the bilateral ties. Speaker Berri also welcomed at his residence the newly appointed ambassadors to Lebanon, including Ambassador of Turkey, Hacan Cakil, Argentina, Mauricio Alice, and Pakistan Najib Durrani. Discussions reportedly dwelt on the bilateral ties.

ISIS suspect detained in Lebanon for planning to poison troops
Associated Press/September 27/ 2018/BEIRUT: Lebanese security agents have detained a Palestinian refugee suspected of being a member of the Islamic State group who had allegedly planned attacks in Lebanon and abroad. The General Security Directorate said in a statement on Thursday that the 27-year-old had confessed to being in contact with IS operatives in Syria who had instructed him to make bombs and prepare poison. The statement said the man had readied the unspecified poison, aided by an unnamed person residing abroad but who had visited Lebanon seeking to carry out two operations. The first operation involved poisoning water supplied to the Lebanese military in tanker trucks; the second involved poisoning food delivered to parties attended by Lebanese living abroad.

Netanyahu Says Hizbullah Has Missile Sites near Beirut Airport

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 27/18/Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday claimed that Hizbullah has positioned three missile sites near Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport. During his address before the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu also held up what he called "a picture worth a thousand missiles" and titled "Beirut Precision Guided Missile." Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adrai meanwhile published pictures of the alleged sites on Twitter. He said the sites include the football stadium of the Hizbullah-affiliated al-Ahed club, another site near the airport and the Ouzai fishermen's harbor.

Report: Aoun, Hariri, Bassil Held 'Secret Meetings'
Naharnet/September 27/18/President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil have held “secret meetings” over the formation of the new government, a media report said. “Prior to Aoun's departure to New York to take part in the works of the U.N. General Assembly, he met Hariri secretly on Saturday night,” al-Akhbar newspaper reported Thursday. “A meeting was also held between Hariri and Bassil and was also kept under wraps,” the daily added. In remarks to the newspaper, unnamed sources linked the purported meetings to “the reports that were circulated last week about a progress in the Cabinet formation process.”“Progressive Socialist Party chief ex-MP Walid Jumblat showed leniency when he said in an interview with al-Akhbar that he was 'willing to engage in a settlement over the issue of the government at the right time,'” the sources said. “Jumblat's stance coincided with reports about 'the possibility that the President could accept to give the Lebanese Forces the deputy PM post in addition to three other ministers,'” the sources added. “The two secret meetings likely addressed President Aoun's remarks over the government format that Hariri had presented to him,” the sources went on to say. Sources close to Hariri meanwhile denied that the two meetings had taken place as senior FPM sources declined to confirm or deny the reported talks, only saying that there is “constant communication with the prime minister.”Sources concerned with the formation process meanwhile asserted to al-Akhbar that the two meetings did take place. Al-Akhbar also reported that LF leader Samir Geagea has insisted anew that he “will not back down from his demands.”

Jaber Urges 'Deep' Electricity Dialogue as Siemens Confirms Offering Help
Naharnet/September 27/18/MP Yassine Jaber of Speaker Nabih Berri's bloc on Thursday warned of the seriousness of the electricity crisis in Lebanon and its negative impact on the state's finances. Chatting with reporters, Jaber stressed that there is “no dispute” with the Free Patriotic Movement or caretaker Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil, expressing willingness for cooperation. He however noted that the “national electricity problem” requires “deep dialogue.” “We must sit together to find any chance to address this situation,” Jaber added. “The debate over the electricity file was concluded yesterday after the chairman of Germany's Siemens announced that the company had offered to help Lebanon and that other proposals would be presented,” the lawmaker said. In response to a Lebanese journalist's Twitter question on whether Siemens presented or discussed “any offer to the Lebanese government or Cesar Abi Khalil,” Siemens chairman Joe Kaeser said: “Yes, we did.” “During the visit w/ our Chancellor, I did offer to help improve the whole electricity value chain and have our team to come in and assess what’s best for the people. No response yet from Government. Our door is open! Offer still good. Call Anytime!” Kaeser added. His response comes after controversy in Lebanon on whether Abi Khalil had rejected a proposal from Siemens. After Kaeser's reply, Abi Khalil tweeted in English: “We look forward to cooperating with Siemens on needs assessment, and accordingly maybe receiving a formal proposal.”He also stressed that Siemens did not present a “formal” proposal during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Lebanon. The electricity controversy followed a leaked audio recording in which Jaber accuses Abi Khalil and the FPM of “wasting a great chance for Lebanon.”

Maronite Patriarch to Politicians: Get Out of Your Petty Interests 27/18/Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi sounded the alarm over the current situation in Lebanon, saying that the country has reached a troubling phase with a shaky national unity and unsteady economy. "We demand political leaders to assume their responsibilities and realize that politics is all about serving the public good and establishing the state institutions," the Patriarch said during his meeting with Lebanese expats in Montreal. "No Lebanese who loves the nation can accept to see politics being turned into a platform for personal and partisan interests, as well as squandering." "It is shameful that six months have passed since the three international conferences held in support of Lebanon, while the politicians are busy with their petty and base interests," he said. "Yes, all of them, without any exception, are held responsible. A nation is built with sacrifices, impartiality, and giving more than taking." "Assume your responsibilities and rise up to the level of this nation. Get out of your petty and cheap interests, and form a government that protects and safeguards the nation," the Patriarch addressed the politicians.

Derian during honoring Shamsi: For a national salvation government
Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - President of the Islamic Center in Aysha Bakkar, Ali Noureddine Assaf, hosted at his residence in Shamlan a reception in honor of the UAE Ambassador to Lebanon, Dr Hamad al-Shamsi, attended by Grand Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian.
The honorary ceremony was also attended by former Prime Minster, Fouad Siniora, former Ministers Khaled Qabbani and Hassan al-Sabaa, in addition to Beirut Governor Judge Ziad Shbib, and scores of dignitaries. In his delivered word, Mufti Derian thanked the UAE for its gracious support to Lebanon and its institutions, and called on the Lebanese to remain optimistic and help in the salvation process of their country. The Grand Mufti also saluted the wisdom and persistence of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri to reach a harmonious and successful government capable of resolving standing problems and crises, voicing support to all his efforts. Derain called for the formation of a national salvation government since as he said, "Lebanon is need of a swift rescue operation." He considered that the worsening daily living conditions and the simmering humanitarian, financial and economic situation can only be addressed through an effective government enjoying harmony amongst its ministers. "We want a government which is orderly in its work and harmonious amongst its members... We need legislations," the Mufti corroborated. Derian urged all political forces to waive demands for unreasonable ministerial quotas in order to facilitate government formation and rescue the nation.

Kanaan: Housing Law comes into effect immediately after its publishing in Official Gazette

Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - Finance and Budget Committee Head, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, said in an interview with the Voice of Lebanon 93.3 radio station that "there is no obstacle to the publication of the law to open an LBP 100 billion credit to support the housing interests. The law can be published in the Official Gazette without the need for a new government.""When a law is passed by the House of Representatives, it becomes effective when it is published in the Official Gazette, after the signature of the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister. The question was whether the PM-designate had the right to sign the law. It is assumed that we have overcome this problematic in the light of several precedents and jurisprudence. Therefore, there is no hindrance to the publication of the law in the Official Gazette without the need to wait for the new government," he said.

Ibrahim, French ambassador talk overall situation
Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - General Security chief, General Abbas Ibrahim, on Thursday welcomed at his office French Ambassador to Lebanon, Bruno Foucher, with whom he discussed the general situation in Lebanon and the broad region. Talks also reportedly touched on means of coordination between the General Security and the Embassy.

Siemens CEO Confirms Electricity Offer to Lebanese Government 27/18/The Chief Executive Officer of Siemens, Joe Kaeser, confirmed that the German company had actually made an offer to help solve Lebanon's electricity problem, thus refuting what Lebanon's energy minister had claimed regarding this issue. "Yes, we did. During the visit with our Chancellor, I did offer to help improve the whole electricity value chain and have our team to come in and assess what’s best for the people," Kaeser wrote on Twitter as an answer to a question that was addressed to him regarding this subject. "No response yet from [the Lebanese] Government. Our door is open! Offer still good. Call Anytime!" he added. Last week, it was reported that Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil had refused an offer made by German company Siemens AG during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s June visit to Beirut. The alleged proposal was aimed at building power stations and, therefore, solving Lebanon's electricity problem. However, Abi Khalil denied these allegations and claimed that Germany's Siemens did not submit an offer to the Lebanese government. "We look forward to cooperating with Siemens on needs assessment, and accordingly maybe receiving a formal proposal," Abi Khalil replied to Kaeser's tweet.

Russian Embassy affirms continuous work to secure refugees' return
Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - The Russian Embassy in Lebanon confirmed in a statement that Russia continues to work diligently for the return of the displaced Syrians." "During the meeting of the Russian-Syrian operations room for the return of refugees, held on September 26 in Moscow, Major General Evgeny Ilin stated that 1 million 470,000 displaced persons have returned to their homes in cooperation with several countries and international organizations," statement read. Statement added: "Reconstruction of infrastructure facilities is underway, including 138 schools, 116 kindergartens, 109 bakeries, 113 water pumping stations, 119 electrical substations, 106 clinics, 1468 residences, and 79 institutes and universities.""Russian institutions and diplomatic missions continue to work actively to rally international efforts to facilitate the return of the displaced Syrians," the embassy said. Statement went on to say: "The representatives of the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Syrian National Security Office confirmed in the context of discussions with the Russian side, readiness to resolve the issues which are complicating the voluntary return of the displaced Syrians, through the establishment of an interdepartmental action group to help the Syrian government improve the regulatory framework."The Embassy stressed that it continues to work systematically to assist the Lebanese authorities in the return of the displaced Syrians to their homeland.

Samy Gemayel Puts Forth Solutions to Looming Stagflation 27/18
Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Thursday sounded the alarm over the economic situation in Lebanon, saying that the country's wealth is being shared by a political cartel whose practices are now jeopardizing the economy. “It is pointless to bury our heads in the sand to avoid seeing the truth. We must acknowledge the problem and come up with the right solutions,” he said during a round table hosted by the Kataeb's Social and Economic Council at the party's headquarter in Saifi. Gemayel said that the Kataeb party has somehow remained silent over the past period in wait for solutions to be brought forward to the manifold challenges facing the country, deploring the absence of any sense of responsibility towards the current status quo. “The country is living in constant procrastination. They keep trying to solve the problem itself, while turning a blind eye to the reasons behind it,” he said, adding that the concept of accountability has been dashed in Lebanon. "The country is in a state of erosion that is leading to constitutional violations, loss of international support, chaos and lack of seriousness in dealing with major files."During the round table aimed at discussing the prospects of a stagflation in Lebanon, Gemayel stressed the need for "drastic" solutions amid an increasing inflation, a growing unemployment rate and a decreasing growth. "The state's expenditures have risen by $950 million compared to 2017. The deficit has increased by 127% amid fears that it will transcend $7 billion. Unemployment rate has reached 30% and prices have increased by 7%," Gemayel explained. The Kataeb leader deemed the much-anticipated solution as possible, noting that Lebanon has assets that enable it to rise again, provided that there is a will and determination to build a strong and prosperous country. "The solution starts with forming a government of specialists, ending random employment in the public sector, hiring an international audit firm to assess the ministries' needs, addressing tax evasion which amounts to $4.2 billion and establishing state administration buildings on state-owned properties to cut unnecessary rentals," Gemayel pinpointed. “Investments must be stimulated in the productive sectors and banks have to set reform requirements for the State to meet before getting any loans," he added.
The Kataeb leader also called for open-ended meetings of the parliamentary blocs in order to defuse "unjustified" sectarian tensions, reiterating the importance of consolidating the state's decision-making power, steering Lebanon clear of regional conflicts, acknowledging the Army as the only legitimate armed force and adopting administrative decentralization. Gemayel said that many consider that the Kataeb party committed a mistake by speaking up the truth, standing against corruption and shady deals, disapproving transient and absurd alliances, confronting implicit naturalization schemes and defying all forms of injustice.
"The truth is that we made a mistake at our expense, not to the detriment of the country and its people."“It is the Kataeb's unwavering principle to serve the nation's interests, not its own, and to love without expecting anything in return," Gemayel affirmed.
"We saw many of the political parties that considered themselves to be winners fading away, while we are still here," he said. "I was once advised to get on the authority's train, or else the Kataeb party will continue to stand alone. Today, we are all witnessing where this train is heading. For our part, we have determined the destination points that we are seeking to reach. We just want to build a real state.""Being an independent political force, we are ready to work hand in hand with any party or person that is aspiring to the same change-seeking, reformist project that we are adopting," Gemayel concluded.

President Aoun Voices Utter Rejection of Settlement Projects in Lebanon
Agencis/NNA/September 27/18
President Michel Aoun on Wednesday reiterated Lebanon's stance which seeks to consolidate the right of dignified, safe and sustainable return of the displaced to their land, rejecting "absolutely" any project of settlement, whether for the displaced or the refugee. "In this context, we wish to note our favorable welcome of any initiative which seeks to resolve the issue of the displacement, such as the Russian initiative," Aoun said in his speech at the United Nations 73rd General Assembly. "History has taught us that oppression induces explosion, and the absence of justice and the double-standards create a feeling of grudge, and fuel all the tendencies of extremism, and the violence and terrorism they entail," he noted. Aoun stressed that the neighborhood's crises are still weighing heavily upon Lebanon, adding that the country has tried, to the greatest extent possible, to ensure the conditions of a dignified decent life for the displaced. "Yet, their large numbers and their fallout on the Lebanese society from various perspectives, from a security perspective through the increase in regular crime rate to more than 30%, economically through the increase of the unemployment rate to 21%, demographically through the increase in population density from 400 to 600 people per square kilometer, in addition to our limited resources, and the scarce international assistance for Lebanon, which makes it impossible for us to keep shouldering this burden, especially that most of the Syrian territories have become safe," Aoun explained. "I therefore called for the safe return in my address from this very rostrum last year, and I differentiated between the safe return and the voluntary return; the Syrians who have taken refuge in Lebanon are not political refugees, except for a few; most of them were rather displaced due to the security situation in their country, or for economic motives, and these from the majority," he stated. The Lebanese president presented a map issued on 2014 by the United Nations High Commission For Refugees (UNHCR), showing the evolution of the numbers of registered displaced from 25.000 in 2012 to more than a million in 2014, and their repartition on the Lebanese territories. "This is the best illustration of what I am trying to explain to you," he said, noting that the United Nations has stopped counting the displaced in 2014. "After that date, the Lebanese General Security continued its counts which showed that, since that date and on till the moment, the numbers have exceeded 1.5 million displaced," he noted.
Aoun stressed that Lebanon is groping its way to rise from the consecutive crises that stroke it on the security, political and economic levels. "In security, Lebanon managed to consolidate its security and stability after having abolished the agglomerations of terrorists from its Eastern and Northern barrens, and after having dismantled their sleeper cells," Aoun said. "In politics, Lebanon held its parliamentary elections according to a law based on proportionality for the first time in its history, which led to a fairer representation of all the components of the Lebanese society. Today, the formation of a government is under way, based on the outcome of the elections," he carried on. "In economy, the guidelines of an economic recovery plan which take into account the resolutions of the CEDRE Conference, based on activating the productive sectors, modernizing the infrastructure, and bridging the gap between revenues and expenses in the budget."Aoun also pointed out that Lebanon was steadily moving forward in the promotion of human rights at both legislative and executive levels, saying that the Parliament has already adopted the law on the establishment of the national commission for human rights, including a committee to investigate the use of torture and the mistreatment. "In a related context, we are on the verge of finalizing a national action plan pertaining to the execution of Security Council Resolution 1325 which called on the member States to set action plans to enable women to take part in decision-making processes, negotiations and countering conflicts."Aoun renewed his call for making Lebanon an international center for the dialogue of religions, cultures and races, stressing that the country is considered exemplary thanks to its plural society "where Christians and Muslims live together and co-govern and share the administration," and to the expertise of its citizens spread all over the globe, and to what it stands for as the essence of the civilizations and cultures. Aoun condemned the international political approaches for the Middle East region, saying that they still lack justice and use double standards, which makes our peoples question the concept of democracy in the States considered as pioneers in this respect.
"The Palestinian cause is the best reflection of this picture; for the absence of justice in addressing it triggered many wars in the Middle East and created a resistance that will only end by eliminating oppression and establishing justice."
"A people just found itself overnight who found themselves overnight with no identity and no nation, by the decision of those who were supposed to be the defender of weak countries," he stated. "Let each one of us imagine for a moment that an international resolution about which they have no say, rips their land and their identity off; and while they are trying to hold on to them, the strikes befall them from every side to make them give up… this is the case of the Palestinian people today, wandering stateless in the four corners of the world."

Macron: Ballistic Assistance to Hezbollah and Houthis Is an Alarming Development
Reuters/September 27/18
France’s president said on Wednesday that the United States’ sanctions policy on Iran could force Tehran to negotiate, but only if European powers are able to ensure it sticks to a 2015 nuclear deal that is preventing hard-liners from taking control.
U.S. President Donald Trump used a session on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction at the U.N. Security Council to defend his May 8 decision to abandon the nuclear pact under which Tehran limited its nuclear programme in return for the easing of U.S., European and international economic sanctions. The core U.S. sanctions that seek to choke off Iran’s oil exports, the lifeblood of its economy, will resume in early November, and Trump promised that “after that the United States will pursue additional sanctions, tougher than ever before, to counter the entire range of Iran’s malign behaviour.”In contrast, his closest European allies, France, Britain and Germany, along with China and Russia, are trying to salvage the accord by developing ways to bypass U.S. sanctions so that Iran can still receive oil revenue, giving it an incentive to stay in the agreement. “Perhaps because we’re able to keep this multilateral framework (nuclear deal), avoid the worst and act as a mediator, while the U.S. sanctions create pressure and reduce the amount of money available for Iran’s expansionism, that can accelerate the process we want,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters. “As long as the deal serves our interests, we will remain in the pact,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told reporters in New York. “Remaining members of the deal have taken very good steps forward, but Iran has higher expectations.”The European powers and the United States agree that a broader deal needs to be struck with Iran that tackles its long-term nuclear activities, ballistic missile programme and to curb its regional influence. They accuse Iran of supporting destabilising proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. However, Macron warned that unlike North Korea, Iran was not ruled by one dictator and diehard elements were determined to kill the nuclear deal. “The main risk of the pressure strategy is that it pushes Iran to restart its nuclear activities ... so if we want a chance for this pressure on Iran to produce results, then we need to make sure it doesn’t opt for the worst option.”
Trump asked the Security Council to work with Washington to “ensure the Iranian regime changes its behaviour and never acquires a nuclear bomb.”But highlighting the differences in approach, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under consideration to facilitate trade with Iran could be in place “before November.”The SPV, slammed by U.S. officials, would create a sort of barter system, similar to one used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, to exchange Iranian oil for European goods without money changing hands and avoiding banking exchanges. Whether that is enough to keep Iran on board remains to be seen. Facing a collapsing economy at home, Rouhani is in a bind and is being pressed by hard-liners to abandon the deal as its economic benefits evaporate.
Big European companies have already pulled out and Iranian oil exports have fallen sharply even before Nov. 4 when the next round of sanctions come into effect.

Kuwait Embassy in Lebanon: Kuwait's stance over Yemeni file consistent with Arab Coalition’s
Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - The Embassy of Kuwait in Lebanon issued on Thursday the following statement: "In response to what was published by the Lebanese newspaper 'Ad-Diyar' on September 26, 2018, under the title 'Kuwaiti criticisms of Saudi Arabia over Yemeni file', and in order to state the obvious facts, (...) facing the allegations of some media institutions that do not rise to the desired level of responsible journalism and credibility, the Embassy of Kuwait in Lebanon would like to emphasize that what was reported in the newspaper (...) is completely groundless, and in no way reflect the truth.""In this context, it is necessary to clarify the following points: Firstly, the State of Kuwait is a founding member of the Arab Coalition for the Support of Legitimacy in Yemen, which was established upon the request of the legitimate Yemeni government. Therefore, the position of the State of Kuwait towards the Yemeni file is consistent and fully in line with the position of the Arab coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen; A position that is based on the three references, the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanisms, the outcomes of the Yemeni national dialogue, and the relevant international resolutions, especially UN Security Council Resolution 2216," the statement read. "Secondly, with regard to the incorrect and untrue statements attributed to the Head of Mission of the State of Kuwait in Brussels, it is necessary to clarify that the last meeting of Heads of Missions of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Brussels was in March 2017. Therefore, the information attributed to on one of the sources concerning the alleged quarrel between the heads of the Kuwaiti and Saudi missions in Brussels on September 13, 2018, is completely groundless and has sure never happened, especially since both the Kuwaiti and Saudi missions are constantly coordinating from a brotherly point of view over an array of topics and files including the Yemeni issue."The statement concluded: "The strong and deeply rooted relations between the two brotherly countries are a clear and indisputable fact. These relations are strong and rooted in history, mixed with blood and preserved with conviction and faith in common destiny."

NAYA | Unemployment: Women facing stagnant economy and gender inequity
Sally Farhat/Annahar/September 27/18
As the low employment rate unhurriedly progresses and expeditiously dwindles, the labor force firmly remains predominated by men.
BEIRUT: Unemployment in flashing red is an ideal representation of what a person’s nightmare would look like if it were to become real. While low employment rates remain a setback worldwide, it is to no one’s surprise that the former is an alarming problem in a country like Lebanon, beset by a six-year slowed economy since the beginning of the neighboring Syrian war. Adding to the problem, there is a certain gender inequity in hiring, according to data, Annahar examined. The labor force firmly remains predominated by men. Regardless of what this acclaimed monopoly stands for and how many factors play a role in explaining it, this domination points out another worrying drawback in the country: the potential of employing candidates based on sex. “The number of women recruitment depends on the industry, job category, and working conditions,” Adib Dorra, HR consultant, told Annahar.
As per the World Bank, the estimated percentage of women employment and women in the workforce are generally lower than that of men. This international actuality is influenced by social, legal, demographic, and cultural trends of different countries.
The research additionally points out that although women have been acquiring more educational opportunities over the years, their access to occupations in general and good-paying jobs in specific, remain unequal to men all over the world.
“I think women unemployment rates are higher because Lebanon is mostly dependent on the industrial sector, which is dominated by men, and because some remaining mentalities limit the employment of women and her role in the society,” added Dorra.
According to the World Bank and data retrieved from the ILOSTAT database, the employment to population ratio of Lebanese women only reached 20.62 percent in 2016 while that of men reached 67.234 percent during the same year. These numbers can also project the inefficiency of the economy in providing its citizens with job opportunities.
“The numbers forecast the ongoing domination of men in some fields,” Tarek Naccache, PhD, economist, told Annahar. “However, from an optimistic perspective, the percentage of women could potentially continue to increase.”The unjust coexistence of high unemployment rate and low wages remain a barrier to many Lebanese women. “I thought gender gaps are closing, but apparently they are not!” Sahar Malle, a woman who has been unemployed and looking for a job for over a year now, told Annahar. Malle is not the only woman who’s infuriated from the issue. According to Mirna Abou Amo, another unemployed woman, lack of job opportunities is a setback for women. "When you have sent many resumes and landed multiple interviews, all without success, it's hard not to get discouraged," Abou Amo said. While some spend their time diving into the world of application filling, others found a way around the situation and decided to freelance. “I am currently freelancing as I had to face the economic pressure and the constant hustle in the journey to finding a sustainable work,” Nour Jaber an unemployed graduate told Annahar. Cherine Jneid, an HR expert, considers that one of the main reasons for the low women employment rate are some recruiters’ convictions that men can be more available at work. This emanates from some people’s beliefs that women would willingly benefit from “long” maternity leave, may be absent to take care of their children, and that they would not accept to work overtime to follow up on family matters. “More awareness should be spread to demonstrate the effectiveness of women at work," Jneid said, "the importance of diversity in the workplace and the possible easy solutions to make the workplace adaptable for both men and women, should be highlighted,” she added.
*Tala Ramadan Contributed to the article.
Empowering Tripoli's carpenters with launch of MINJARA platform
Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - In a press release by the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, it said: "Under the high patronage of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and in the presence of the European Union Ambassador Christina Lassen, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists with Expertise France officially launched the MINJARA platform at the Oscar Nemeyer pavilion at the Rachid Karami International Fair Tripoli. This 1,500m2 platform is funded by the European Union and aims to contribute to Lebanon's economic development by empowering Tripoli’s long-established carpenters and uniting them with architects, designers and owners of furniture showrooms from Lebanon and the world in order to revive the wood industry in the region. The creation of the MINJARA platform was made possible through the European Union's Private Sector Development programme that has the ambitious objective of promoting economic development and supporting small enterprises to become more competitive. It is the biggest project funded by the European Union that is solely focusing on private sector development in Lebanon. EU Ambassador Christina Lassen underlined that "this opening is an indication of the level of importance that the European Union is attaching to entrepreneurship in this country.""Lebanon's economy needs successful small enterprises and entrepreneurs like you", she added. "We hope that this new platform will become a Centre of Excellence for carpenters in Tripoli and North Lebanon and a national hub for the Tripoli furniture community".For his part, Herve Conan, Director of Operations at Expertise France, stressed that "the collaboration between the public and private sectors is crucial to revive the furniture industry in the region, and the next challenge is to ensure that this platform will survive beyond the project's duration". Conan also announced that the first collection of furniture will be launched in December 2018. During the event, Akram Oueida, President of the Rashid Karami International Fair explained that "there are more than 1,200 sawmill factories in the heart of Tripoli, the capital of furniture", adding that "the economic recession has heavily affected the wood industry and this project comes to revive the hopes of the carpenters as well as furniture designers and vendors".
MINJARA is funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France. The platform was developed with the support of the Rashid Karami International Fair in Tripoli, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, the Chamber of Commerce of Tripoli, the Business Incubator 'BIAT', syndicates as well as all other stakeholders involved in the initiative."

National Women's Affairs Committee signs cooperation agreement with seven municipalities

Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - The National Committee for Lebanese Women's Affairs has signed, in its training center in Baabda, a cooperation agreement with the municipalities of Amioun, Jezzine, Hammana, Zouk Mikael, Sidon, Kfarnabrakh and Niha - Bekaa, partners in the project on "Strengthening the Participation of Women in Politics at the Local and National Levels in Lebanon". Attending the signing ceremony was the Committee President, Claudine Aoun Roukoz. Aoun said that strengthening the status of women and their participation in decision-making is essential for the progress of societies. "Development will not happen if the concerned components do not cooperate to implement it," she said, adding that city councils were the first to be involved in citizens' affairs and should work on creating a climate conducive to a decent life. "In becoming aware of the key role that municipalities should play, the National Committee for Lebanese Women's Affairs has cooperated with them (...) in coordination with the German Agency for International Cooperation," she went on to say. "The Committee will spare no effort in carrying out the tasks entrusted to it, and will strive to find the right legal environment to develop the society and the capabilities of its sons," Aoun concluded.

Rampling after visiting Machnouk: Continual UK support to joint projects with Ministry
Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - Caretaker Interior Minister, Nuhad Machnouk, on Thursday welcomed at his ministerial office the British Ambassador to Lebanon, Chris Rampling, who came on a courtesy visit upon assumption of his diplomatic duties in Lebanon. Ambassador Rampling stressed continual UK support to all joint projects with the Interior Ministry, particularly supporting the Internal Security Forces (ISF) and the Lebanese municipalities hosting Syrian refugees. Minister Machnouk, for his part, thanked the UK for its support to the Interior Ministry and its apparatuses, especially the ISF. Machnouk highly valued the British contribution in the five-year plan set for the institution. Inquiring about the row that occurred yesterday at the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, Machnouk assured that the "dispute was over" and a transparent military investigation into the matter was launched in a bid to take the appropriate measures.

USAID, CCIAT launch new services offered by Chamber
Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Tripoli (CCIAT) launched new business support services at the Chamber today, including facilities to test the quality of olive oil, collect and bottle honey, and dry fruit for local producers. The ceremony to launch the new services was held at the Chamber in the presence of USAID Economic Growth Office Director, Dr. William Butterfield, Toufic Dabboussi, President of the CCIAT, Lebanese businesses, and other stakeholders.
In a press release by USAID, it said: "With $266,500 in total support from the USAID-funded Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development (LIVCD) project, CCIAT established a fully equipped organoleptic panel test room (sensory analysis) for olive oil to complement the existing laboratory (chemical analysis). This is the first laboratory of its kind in Lebanon and critical for the classification of Lebanese olive oil as'extra virgin' following internationally recognized standards that require both chemical and sensory testing.
CCIAT also established a pre-testing collection and bottling center for honey to support small and medium Lebanese beekeepers in quality honey marketing.In addition, CCIAT received support from the USAID-funded LIVCD project to inaugurate a fruit-drying facility to serve apple, grape, and cherry farmers, among others, by providing them with an opportunity to sell their second grade fruits. The facility includes freeze-drying technology that is new to Lebanon and yields a final processed food product that is seeing growing demand in high value end markets.
USAID Economic Growth Office Director, Dr. William Butterfield, highlighted the major challenges in accessing marketsfaced by agricultural producers in Lebanon and emphasized U.S. government support in addressing these challenges through committed partners such as CCIAT. In turn, Mr. Toufic Dabboussi, President of the CCIAT, stated "We believe that our partnership with the USAID-funded LIVCD project will enable CC
An Nahar special issue in partnership with AUB: A road map for better future
Thu 27 Sep 2018/NNA - In a press release by the American University of Beirut, it said: "A special issue of An-Nahar newspaper, with AUB President Dr. Fadlo R. Khuri as its editor in chief, was published and distributed around Lebanon on September 27, 2018.
In this issue, Khuri presents, along with over 100 leaders in their fields who contributed as writers, a comprehensive vision and strategies to ensure Lebanon's continuity and prosperity by investing in its youth. Lebanon has suffered from a great deal of internal and external struggles over the past half century, after a period of development following its independence, when the country was at its peak. This special issue of An-Nahar includes the road map for the next 25 years, with emphasis on 30 vital areas grouped into six categories: strengthening our arts and humanities, transforming the educational experience for all, celebrating our inclusive cultural diversity and depth, developing accountable and consistent shared governance, planting viable seeds for a sustainable economy, and towards a healthy Lebanon. The hope is that bringing attention to these areas, along with a systematic and transparent methodology, will lead to a prosperous, educated, diversified, healthy, and economically viable Lebanon before 2050.
An official launch of the issue was held in front of a packed audience in AUB's historic Assembly Hall, attended by individuals from various backgrounds such as politics, media, culture, and academia, including many of the writers and artists who contributed to the issue.
President Khuri described the event as "the beginning of the end of the accumulated problems," adding that "the role of younger generations is now beginning, with our pledge to all that we will not leave them alone, but will work with them so that they will not be solely responsible."
He also expressed his confidence that cultural initiatives such as this issue and its intellectual content will lead to a bright future for Lebanon. "The contributors that were chosen were those who not only presented the problems but also proposed solutions."
Khuri continued, "This is a long-term project, in which we will not be satisfied with the release of this issue, but will work in the future with all corners of the Lebanese society to find basic solutions to all the issues that Lebanon and the Arab world suffer from."
An-Nahar Editor in Chief Nayla Tueni spoke at the launching event about the new generations which she believes can prevent the destruction of Lebanon. "We place in the hands of all those concerned, a road map for qualitative investment in Lebanon, and in its creative forces. That is what An-Nahar wants. This is what An-Nahar has worked on, and this is an approach that we will continue with, proceeding from our belief in the ability of the word and the depth of content to build a public opinion capable of achieving change."
"We wanted to combine reason and thought, in a collaboration between An-Nahar and the University, to make this extraordinary issue foundational. For its part, An-Nahar will continue to take upon itself the task of contributing to making Lebanon a country in terms worthy of the word, the truth, the decent life and the freedom."
President Khuri and a team from AUB collaborated with the An-Nahar team, led by Tueni, to assemble subject experts who would not only write their opinions in this issue, but also follow up over the years to come, in order to ensure moving forward. Writers were approached based on the need for credible, accomplished leaders who would write columns and propose solutions to the problems Lebanon faces.
"Over the past few months, we have met, brainstormed, and argued points with these extraordinary individuals, and while I am cautiously optimistic that paths forward exist, with several identified in this inaugural issue, none should doubt that that path forward is difficult, demanding, requiring resilience and the ability to take the long view," said Khuri.
"The makers of this issue, its writers and artists, women and men, believe in the ability to find solutions to the Lebanese problem, refusing to be content with the logic of characterization, diagnosis and rotation in its vicious empty circle," said Tueni. "They look forward to the future and set the central goal of investing hope for younger generations."In the front-page article of this special issue, written by its editor in chief, President Khuri, he says, "we frankly see no alternative to assertive progress, as time is not the friend of the Lebanese people, should this level of environmental destruction, economic waste, patronage, corruption, and institutional decay continue. In that case, consequential and negative change will become increasingly difficult to reverse. And there is no real reason that it should. The citizens of Lebanon, and those of Syria, Palestine, and Iraq, deserve much better. Armed with that conviction, and the provision of some concrete solutions, we are convinced that the time is nigh for a more abundant life."

Lebanon’s weapons of mass deception
Makram Rabah/Al Arabiya/September 27/18
A founding pillar of Lebanon, or at least the Lebanese like to promote, is its people’s ability to act as a bridge between East and West and to retain excellent relationships with their Arab surroundings. This, however, is a thing of the past as successive Lebanese government actions and policies saw Lebanon drift and finally falls prey to the Iranian sphere of influence thus alienating Lebanon from its Arab surroundings. Luckily enough, Lebanon’s full alienation was stalled when PM Saad Hariri revoked his resignation and declared the Lebanese state, including President Michel Aoun Hezbollah’s main Christian ally, would pledge to a policy of disassociation vis-a-vis the ongoing regional schism. Recently however this so-called disassociation policy proved to be a mirage much similar to Aoun insistence that his Faustian deal with Iran and the Assad regime and his peddling of Iran’s agenda is in Lebanon’s national interest.
Over the weekend, al-Manar TV, Hezbollah’s mouthpiece, provided a so-called political commentator who prides himself to be a supporter of Assad and Iran, with a platform to insult the Prince of Kuwait accusing him of succumbing to pressures from US President Donald Trump on his recent trip to the White House. According to this scoffer commentator – who barely speaks a word of English – the Emir was ordered to revoke an 11 billion oil contract with China and sign with American oil companies in its stead. The so-called disassociation policy proved to be a mirage much similar to Aoun insistence that his Faustian deal with Iran and the Assad regime and his peddling of Iran’s agenda is in Lebanon’s national interest
Mindless transgression
Almost immediately the Lebanese President, PM and Speaker scrambled to contain the aftermath of such an unprovoked and mindless transgression against Kuwait and its sovereign, issuing what amounted to an apology and underscoring the fraternal bonds which exist between the two nations.
Yet the crux of this predicament goes beyond a simple PR fiasco on the part of a number of hired guns who are allowed to go on various media outlets and parade as journalists spreading their misinformation and above all their hate. Genuinely It further reveals how the Lebanese state and its political elite are mere hostages to Hezbollah who simply do not heed any of the country’s interest and are willing to expose the country and its economic security merely to serves Iran’s interests. Ironically, the Emir of Kuwait has always publically stood firm in his support of Hezbollah, but he also called upon the other Arab nations to extend their hand in friendship to both Qatar and Iran and thus ending the current state of affairs. Rather than earning him the friendship of Hezbollah and Iran, Hezbollah abused the Emir’s good graces and in 2015 setup, Kuwaiti Shiite sleeper cells back to be used to disrupt the country’s stability when needed.
Overstepping boundaries
Al-Manar recent attack and its subsequent backlash were construed by the state and the friends of Kuwait as merely an act by a senseless individual who overstepped his boundaries, a deed which would be swept away with the usual rebuke and futile judicial action. Yet this premeditated verbal crime is neither petty nor easy to dismiss because the scoffer is merely a tool Hezbollah used to attack the Emir and other Arab countries who refuse to succumb to Iranian bullying and to. Above all it is the collective responsibility of all the ruling elite who have nurtured this breed of bards and scoffers who they host at their dinner tables and give instructions and information thus making them Weapons of Mass Deception. This unfortunate incident will certainly not be the last as the Lebanese will have to further suffer from the continued transgressions of Hezbollah and its Lebanese allies who will stop at nothing to ensure that the noose of economic sanctions over Iran are relaxed even if it means destroying what remains of Lebanon and its feeble economy.

The Latest LCCC Bulletin For Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 28-28/18
Trump Supports Two-State Solution, Peace Plan to Be Unveiled in Months
London - Ali Barda/Asharq Al-Awsat/September, 27/18/US President Donald trump announced Wednesday his support for a two-state solution, marking the first time that he officially endorses creating separate Israeli and Palestinian nations since his arrival to the White House. Trump also said he has a plan for peace in the Middle East and that he would unveil it in about two to four months. He spoke to reporters following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. "I like the two-state solution," the US President said. "That's what I think works best. I don't even have to speak to anybody. That's my feeling." The surprise announcement came despite Trump’s provocative decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem earlier this year. Since Washington has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinians have boycotted the Trump administration. Trump said, "When they talk about tough deals, they always say Israel and the Palestinians. That's the toughest of all deals.”The President added that it is his dream to be able to get that done prior to the end of his first term. “I don't want to do it in my second term. We'll do other things in my second term,” he said. When asked if he thinks Palestinian leaders will return to the bargaining table, Trump said, "Absolutely. One-hundred percent."Separately, Trump lashed out at the Iranian regime for the second day on Wednesday following similar comments he delivered a day earlier. He called on all world leaders to respect sanctions imposed by the US on Tehran and said there will be more sanctions to punish the regime. Trump also urged world powers to work with the US to "ensure the Iranian regime changes its behavior and never acquires a nuclear bomb.”
His comments highlighted a rift between Washington and its European allies over the Iran nuclear deal. Both, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May announced they still back the Nuclear Deal signed with Iran in 2015.
May said it "remains the best means of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” while Macron said that concerns about Iran cannot be tackled with "a policy of sanctions and containment."

Netanyahu Claims Iran Has Secret Atomic Warehouse
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 27/18/Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday claimed that Iran had a secret atomic warehouse in Tehran, holding up a map and a photograph of an outwardly innocuous looking building. "In May we exposed the site of Iran's secret atomic archive. Today I'm revealing the site of a second facility, Iran's secret atomic warehouse," Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly. The Israeli premier said the "secret" warehouse was used for "storing massive amounts of equipment and material from Iran's secret nuclear weapons program.""Iran has not abandoned its goal to develop nuclear weapons... Rest assured that will not happen. What Iran hides, Israel will find," he added.

At U.N., Abbas Accuses U.S. of Undermining 2-State Solution
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 27/18/Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday accused Donald Trump's administration of undermining efforts towards a two-state solution, a day after the U.S. president said he would unveil a new Middle East peace plan. "This administration has reneged on all previous U.S. commitments, and has undermined the two-state solution, and has revealed its false claims of concern about the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people," the Palestinian Authority president told the U.N. General Assembly. Abbas also insisted that the Palestinians want entire East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state and not merely a part of it such as the Abu Dis village which borders Jerusalem.

Erdogan Arrives in Germany under Tight Security
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/September 27/18/Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Germany Thursday for a controversial three-day state visit that both sides hope will help rebuild relations that have been battered in recent years. Ties between the NATO allies plummeted after Erdogan's government arrested tens of thousands of people in a mass purge following a 2016 putsch attempt, including some who were also German nationals. Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is home to a three-million-strong Turkish community, has repeatedly stressed the importance of good relations with Ankara, a partner she relies on to help stem the flow of migrants arriving on European shores. With no shortage of political and economic issues hanging over the visit, the shadow of football also looms large. Turkey and Germany are locked in a bitter contest to host the Euro 2024 tournament, with the winner to be announced several hours after Erdogan's arrival. Security was tight in the German capital, where Erdogan was to be greeted outside Tegel airport by press freedom protesters of the group Reporters Without Borders. Thousands of Erdogan critics have vowed to take to the streets in Berlin and across Germany to protest against everything from Turkey's record on human rights to its offensive against Kurdish militia in Syria. Erdogan has said he would use the visit to improve relations and also to press Germany to step up the fight against "terrorist groups" like the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the movement of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the failed coup. Despite the tensions, Berlin and Ankara have been at pains to rebuild ties at a time when Erdogan is openly sparring with U.S. President Donald Trump and the Turkish economy is in rapid decline.
The gradual rapprochement began after German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel was freed in February, while journalist Mesale Tolu was also allowed to return to Germany last month. Both still face terror-related charges in Turkey. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will welcome Erdogan -- on his first official visit to Germany since he became president in 2014 -- with military honors and a state dinner at Bellevue Palace on Friday -- which several opposition politicians have vowed to boycott. During his stay he will also twice meet Merkel for talks that are also expected to focus on the Syria conflict. On Saturday, Erdogan will travel to Cologne to open one of Europe's largest mosques, commissioned by the Ankara-controlled Ditib organization.

US in Hurry to Establish Syria’s Constitutional Committee
London - Ibrahim Hamidi/ Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 27 September, 2018/US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to hold a meeting on Thursday in New York with his counterparts from the so-called “small group” to discuss the next steps for Syria and a final statement related to the establishment of the country’s Constitutional Committee.A similar meeting was held Wednesday between a Russian delegation and Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy for Syria who is urging the launch of a constitutional committee for Syria as soon as next month. Western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat said that following their meeting Thursday, members of the small group are expected to call on de Mistura to hold a meeting of the constitutional committee as soon as possible, in order to present results of their discussions before Oct. 31. Therefore, western countries and their allies are trying to put pressure on Iran, Russia and Turkey, the three guarantor states, to agree on the committee’s principles and activities, in addition to naming its head and the shares of each party. The small group includes Germany, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, France, Jordan, the United Kingdom and the United States. An agreement on a constitutional committee in Syria was reached at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on January 30. De Mistura already said this committee should not have more than 50 members and that it will be tasked to work out recommendations on amendments to the Syrian constitution. Following those amendments, general elections will be held in Syria under the UN auspices. During their meeting with de Mistura last Sept. 10, guarantor states did not seem in a hurry to establish Syria’s constitutional committee, particularly that Moscow and Ankara were still waiting for the outcome of their agreement signed on September 17 in Sochi and which stipulates that heavy weapons should be withdrawn from Idlib by October 10 and that “terrorist groups” will be removed by October 15. Meanwhile, international lawyers sent to de Mistura 10 conditions for contributing to Syria’s reconstruction efforts, including the non-support of ethnic and sectarian cleansing and the launching of reforms at the security and judicial levels.
Palestinian president Abbas 'shocked' by Trump's peace process approach
Arab News/September 28/18/UNITED NATIONS, New York: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday said Donald Trump's promise of a peace agreement contradicted decisions made by his administration since taking office, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He said Palestinians has welcomed the US president's launch of a peace initiative, but said they were "shocked" by decisions and actions that clearly contradicted his commitment to the process. "With all of these decisions, this administration has reneged on all previous U.S. commitments, and has undermined the two-state solution," Abbas said in his address to the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations. "I renew my call to President Trump to rescind his decisions and decrees regarding Jerusalem, refugees and settlements. "It is ironic that the American administration still talks about what they call the 'deal of the century'. But what is left for this administration to give to the Palestinian people? Humanitarian solutions?"He also called on Trump to rescind his decisions recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and cutting aid to the Palestinians, which he said had undermined the two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

Hadi Appeals to World Leaders to Leash Iran, Hezbollah Interference in Yemen
New York- Asharq Al-Awsat/Thursday, 27 September, 2018/Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi addressed world leaders with details on developments taking place in his country as coupist Houthi militias, backed by Iran and Hezbollah, continue to crack down on legitimacy forces. In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Hadi called on world leaders to pressure Houthi militias and the Iranian regime to restore stability in his country and achieve peace based on agreed benchmarks. He also expressed his displeasure at some countries sympathizing with Houthi militias. “We are not advocates of war. We support peace, harmony and stability in Yemen, but this will not happen by cajoling these militias as some member states do,” he said. “With this in mind, I call on the international community to shoulder its responsibility to bring pressure on Iran so that it stops intervening in Yemen and supporting Houthi militias,” he later added. Hadi said that peace can only be reached "through implementing the Security Council measures, and the international community must act on that." Resolution 2216, which was passed in April 2015, demands the end to violence in Yemen and that all sides, in particular the Houthis, unconditionally end violence and refrain from disrupting the political process. Hadi also said that Saudi Arabian assistance had helped lessen the effects of Yemen’s economic crisis, but called on the support of the international community to stop Iranian interference in Yemen and its financing of terrorism. He then underlined his government’s efforts to protect civilians, especially women and children. The government has instructed the various units of its army not to recruit children, but rather strive to protect them and to rehabilitate those that have been detained while in the ranks of coupists. Economic hardship felt by Yemen is due to the militias having wasted resources and reserves, Hadi added. “In the face of that, and to stop the continued deterioration, the Government has introduced measures, including the setting up of an economic commission which has been authorized to take all measures to stop the deterioration of the currency,” he said. “In the twenty-first century, the rule of the mullahs could no longer be accepted, as represented by the Houthi militias that want to see a return to the dark days of despotism,” he said towards the end of his speech on Yemen’s contributions, despite internal strife, to counterterror efforts.

Sisi Calls For Developing Global System to Combat Terrorism ‘Wherever It Exists’
Cairom, New York- Waleed Abdurrahman and Asharq Al Awsat/Thursday, 27 September, 2018/Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Sisi called for a comprehensive international framework for the development of counter-terrorism cooperation policies. Speaking at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, Sisi said his country launched counterterror operations in 2018 with the approach to eradicate extremism completely through addressing security, and ideological development aspects. “As you are well aware, Egypt is engaged, since the beginning of this year in the comprehensive operation "Sinai 2018" to combat and decisively eradicate terrorism. This is taking place through a comprehensive strategy that integrates the security, ideological and developmental dimensions,” Sisi said in his speech. “Based on this experience and on Egypt's overall experience in supporting counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East and North Africa, I can assure you that the level of finance, the sophistication of arms and training, as well as the means of communication obtained by these extremist groups, and the facilitation of movement and travel of foreign terrorist fighters, point to the inevitable need to develop a global system to combat terrorism wherever it exists, and to counter whoever provides it with support in any possible way,” he added. Sisi blamed defragmentation plaguing nations worldwide under civil strife on the rebirth of sectarian loyalties as an alternative to national identity and patriotism.“They chose the nation-state to be their vehicle for reform and to realize their aspirations for freedom, development, and dignity,” he said. “The disintegration of nations as a result of civil strife or regression to sectarian loyalties is responsible for the most dangerous phenomena in our contemporary world, including armed conflicts, human trafficking, illegal migration, organized crime and illicit trade in arms and drug trafficking,” he added. Sisi also addressed the need for emboldening human rights globally. “We need to address the major shortcomings in the international community's handling of human rights issues.”“The credibility of the United Nations cannot be restored, as long as millions continue to suffer from extreme poverty, live under foreign occupation or fall victim to terrorism and armed conflict,” he said. Sisi’s speech rallied strong support back in Cairo, with parliamentary, religious and popular figures lauding and supporting the president’s statements. Al-Azhar, Egypt’s top religious authority, praised the vision of galvanizing international efforts to confront terrorism. In a statement, Al-Azhar stressed the need to preserve a just national state, based on the concepts of citizenship, democracy, and equality, and protect it from caving and breaking under pressures of civil strife and sectarian zeal.

Defense Chief: Israel Prepared to Reopen Golan Crossing with Syria

Bloomberg/September 27/18
The companies developing Israel’s largest natural gas fields and their Egyptian partner have bought control of a pipeline to Egypt, clearing the main obstacle to a $15 billion deal to export gas from the Jewish state to its former enemy. Shares of Israeli gas stocks rose.
Israel’s Delek Drilling LP, Noble Energy Inc. and Egyptian East Gas Co. signed a deal to buy a 39 percent stake in pipeline owner Eastern Mediterranean Gas Co., according to a statement released to the Tel Aviv bourse Thursday. The buyers will pay $518 million, with Delek and Noble contributing $185 million each and the remainder being paid by East Gas. The agreement gives the buyers exclusive rights to lease and operate the subsea gas pipeline owned by EMG, which connects southern Israel to Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. The partners in Israeli reservoirs Tamar and Leviathan will use the EMG pipeline to implement a deal signed in February to export 64 million cubic meters of gas to Egypt over 10 years. Egypt’s oil ministry welcomed the agreement, which eliminates legal obstacles that were impeding the export of gas from Israel to the most populous Arab country. It adds an economic dimension to a relationship dominated by security since the two countries signed a peace treaty that changed the face of the Middle East four decades ago. Delek expects gas to start flowing in “early 2019,” the statement said.
“The deal is an indication that the bilateral relationship is at its peak – probably the closest ties the two countries have had since the peace agreement in 1979,” said Riccardo Fabiani, geopolitical analyst at London-based Energy Aspects consultancy.
Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP and Delek, shareholders in the Leviathan field, led the gains on Israel’s main energy index. The shares climbed 4.6 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively, at 10:09 a.m. in Tel Aviv.
The deal also advances Egypt’s plan to capitalize on its own giant Zohr gas field and position itself as an energy re-export hub on the doorstep of gas-hungry Europe. Egypt has idle liquefaction plants that would make it suitable for a regional hub. For Israel, using existing infrastructure to export via Egypt saves it the cost of building its own facilities. The deal could place Egypt on par with “significant global energy centers,” Delek Chief Executive Officer Yossi Abu said in an emailed statement.
2019 Gas Flow
Delek and its partners will begin working on reversing the flow of the EMG pipeline, which used to carry Egyptian gas to Israel. The companies still need to test the state of the pipeline, which has been idle for years after Egypt halted exports in 2012 due to a domestic energy shortage and repeated attacks by Islamist militants on a connecting overland stretch of pipeline in the Sinai. The deal is subject to that due diligence, as well as regulatory approvals in Israel and Egypt, and the restructuring of EMG’s existing debt to Egyptian banks, the statement said.
The partners bought a 37 percent stake in EMG held by Sam Zell and Yosef Maiman, among others, who had successfully filed arbitration cases against Egypt for canceling the previous deal in 2012. They also purchased 2 percent from another investor. The EMG shareholders bought out by Delek and its partners agreed to relinquish all claims that were delaying the gas export deal, the statement said. The EMG pipeline can currently transport 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, enough to honor the contract to supply Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings Ltd. The pipeline’s capacity can be increased to 9 bcm per year, the statement said. Consummation of the deal with EMG will allow the company to pursue more contracts, Abu said. Among the options is a bigger deal with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which is considering buying gas from Israeli and Cypriot fields partly owned by Delek and Noble.
“Israel needs export outlets for its natural gas – this deal will help it monetize its otherwise locked resources,” Fabiani said. “Egypt has taken a step towards becoming a regional gas hub, which could help improve its external accounts in the medium to long term.”

Pompeo to Travel to North Korea to Arrange Second Trump-Kim Summit

CNN International/September 27/18
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel again to North Korea to meet with senior leaders there in preparation for a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un. Trump said Wednesday that the summit will happen "fairly quickly" and showed reporters a new missive he received this week from Kim, describing it as an "extraordinary letter." Kim "wants to see things happen for North Korea that are great," Trump said, speaking to reporters during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"They really have the potential" to be an economic power, Trump said. "A lot of good things are happening," he added. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo met earlier Wednesday with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly where plans for his travel were made. "Secretary Pompeo accepted Chairman Kim's invitation to travel to Pyongyang next month to make further progress on the implementation of the commitments from the US-DPRK Singapore summit, including the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, and to prepare for a second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim," Nauert said in a statement.
Nauert made the announcement as Trump hosted a UN Security Council meeting on non-proliferation and after Pompeo's meeting with Ri.
"Very positive meeting with #DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho @UNGA to discuss upcoming summit & next steps toward denuclearization of #NorthKorea," Pompeo tweeted Wednesday morning. "Much work remains, but we will continue to move forward."The trip would be Pompeo's fourth to North Korea and comes a month after Trump canceled a trip the top US diplomat had planned for August. At the time, Trump said there hadn't been enough progress on denuclearization. "I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Trump tweeted on August 24. It isn't clear whether North Korea has made any substantial changes when it comes to denuclearization, but Trump and Pompeo have been telegraphing the possibility of a second summit for several days. In his remarks at the top of the non-proliferation meeting, Trump said there have been developments that aren't yet publicly known. "There will be another summit," Pompeo told CBS News Wednesday morning. He said that the location and date hadn't been set yet, but that the US was working "diligently to make sure we get the conditions right so that we can accomplish as much as possible during this summit. But we hope it will be soon. I'll personally be traveling to Pyongyang before too long to continue the work that's ongoing even today to try and deliver on that."
'Quite soon'
Trump, speaking at his first meeting at the United Nations General Assembly, said Monday that a second summit with Kim will happen "quite soon.""It looks like we'll have a second summit quite soon," he said. "As you know, Kim Jong Un wrote a beautiful letter and asked me for a second meeting. We will be doing that." Critics have pointed out that the Singapore declaration contained no firm commitments from North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs and US officials have expressed frustration at North Korea's evasion of sanctions. Earlier this month, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused Russia of "cheating" and acting like a "virus" for helping North Korea evade international sanctions through ship-to-ship transfers on the high seas.
An 'emotional' statement
Russia's ambassador to the UN denied the accusation and said Haley had made an "emotional statement."Despite signs that North Korea is sidestepping sanctions, Pompeo and Trump have said that the US campaign to exert maximum pressure on Pyongyang will continue and Turmp has repeatedly claimed progress. "The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction. Nuclear testing has stopped," Trump told the General Assembly on Tuesday. "Some military facilities are already being dismantled. Our hostages have been released. And as promised, the remains of our fallen heroes are being returned home to lay at rest in American soil."

The Latest LCCC Bulletin analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on
September 28-28/18
Europeanize America? Not on Your Life
David C. Stolinsky/Gatestone Institute/September 27/18
Europe did not invent racism and religious bigotry, but it surely perfected them.
Europeans lived for centuries under kings and emperors. They came to believe that power flowed from the top down. The "elite" decide what is best for the "common people" -- the "masses" -- and then cram it down their throats.
The "elite" send their children to the best schools and universities, and relegate the children of the "common people" to lousy schools, where they get lousy educations, which prepare them for lousy jobs, which pay lousy salaries, which leave them dependent on the government for a lifetime of "assistance." But they expect the "common people" to be grateful for the "universal education" -- and for the "assistance."
The American idea of individuals being responsible and taking responsibility is utterly foreign to the "elite," who seem much more comfortable with the European idea of infantilizing subjects to make them dependent on a parentified government to protect them, care for them, dole out money to them, and in general control their lives. If people cannot even choose their own light bulbs, toilets, or dishwasher detergent, in what sense are they free?
The Normandy American Cemetery is the burial place of thousands of American soldiers who fought and died to liberate Europe during World War II, many of them on D-Day, June 6, 1944. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Wallace)
If Europeanize were not a word, we would have to invent it, because that is what many are doing to America. Remember when candidate Obama was asked if he believed America is exceptional? He answered yes, but only in the sense that Britain, Greece, and other nations are exceptional.
As Gilbert and Sullivan said, "When everyone is somebody, then no one is anybody."
If every nation is exceptional, none is.
It is not that Obama and his friends really think America is unexceptional. They may well believe it is exceptional, but that it should not be. So they do everything they can to end its exceptional nature, and to make it resemble other nations. They are Europeanizing America.
Do not get me wrong. I love Europe. That is, I love to visit it:
I love to see the towers in Ireland, where monks hid from Viking raiders while preserving knowledge for the West. But now, Ireland's church is scandal-ridden.
I love to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, a reminder of the time when Britain controlled one-fifth of the Earth. But now the British army is a shadow of its former self. In 2013, a British soldier was murdered and almost beheaded on a London street.
I love to see the unsurpassed beauty of Paris. But now France is undergoing a demographic transformation.
I love to see beautiful cathedrals, where Christianity inspired great works of art. But now they have few worshippers.
And there are other things in Europe that I do not love, but I feel obligated to see:
I feel obligated to visit Clifford's Tower in York, England, where in the year 1190, Jews were massacred because of their faith. Europe did not invent racism and religious bigotry, but it surely perfected them. Europe invented the blood libel as far back as 1144, falsely accusing Jews of using the blood of children for Jewish rituals.
I feel obligated to remember (because it no longer exists) the Vélodrome d'Hiver, the Paris bicycle-racing stadium where in 1942 the French police rounded up thousands of Jews for shipment to Auschwitz. And today in France, Jews are targeted for assault or murder.
I feel obligated to visit Belleau Wood, where U.S. Marines fought and died to liberate Europe in World War I.
I feel obligated to visit Omaha Beach, where U.S. soldiers fought and died to liberate Europe in World War II.
I feel obligated to read (insofar as I can) European newspapers, to remind myself of ingrates who condemn "American militarism."
I feel obligated to visit the reading room at the British Museum, where many people say Karl Marx sat and fantasized an ideal communist society -- as a result of which about 100 million died.
I feel obligated to visit the site of the Munich beer hall where Hitler launched his first attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic.
Thanks a lot, Europe, for giving us two world wars, socialism, communism, fascism, Nazism, and for perfecting racism as exemplified by the Holocaust. You have done so much for the world in the last century. No wonder "progressives" think Americans should be more like you.
Europeans lived for centuries under kings and emperors. They came to believe that power flowed from the top down. So they felt comfortable when their new rulers called themselves Führer, the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the Council of the European Union, or whatever. The idea was similar:
The "elite" decide what is best for the "common people" -- the "masses" -- and then cram it down their throats.
The "elite" dream up notions of the "ideal" state, and leave the "common people" to deal with the inevitable mess that results.
The "elite" are cared for in the best hospitals and clinics, and relegate the "common people" to the tender mercies of "gatekeepers" who may -- or may not -- allow you to see imported doctors from who-knows-where. But they expect the "common people" to be grateful for "universal coverage." Government-run health care is a major step in the demolition process. If bureaucrats can tell people what care they and their loved ones can receive -- and what care they cannot receive -- in what sense are those people free citizens, and not subjects of a domineering government that imposes life-and-death decisions on them?
The "elite" send their children to the best schools and universities, and relegate the children of the "common people" to lousy schools, where they get lousy educations, which prepare them for lousy jobs, which pay lousy salaries, which leave them dependent on the government for a lifetime of "assistance." But they expect the "common people" to be grateful for the "universal education" -- and for the "assistance."
The "elite" view schools and universities as a source of indoctrination, not education. They require students to regurgitate the "correct" doctrine, whether it is Nazi, communist, socialist, or environmentalist. Original thought is punished with lower grades.
The "elite" view our children as wards of the state, for whom we have only limited responsibility. They view home-schooling with alarm, and they want to imprison parents who home-school their children, as is already done in (surprise!) Germany.
The "elite" view the government as the source of help for those in need. So they vote the "correct" way, but like Europeans, they give little to charity, and they actually discourage giving to charity.
The "elite" see nothing wrong with the fact that 52% of American children now live in households receiving means-tested government assistance. In fact, the "elite" would like 100% of children to depend on government assistance ‒ that is, on them, the "elite."
The "elite" care little for foreigners who suffer and die, so like Europeans, they want to shrink the military until it is too weak to intervene to stop tyranny or mass murder. They run up huge debts and push new social programs, leaving less money for defense. Europeans could let their defenses atrophy, because America defended them. But if we weaken ourselves, who will defend us? Belgium? Who will fight global terrorism? Liechtenstein? Yes, war is terrible; is surrender better? Is what China is engineering now -- total spying, grading and controlling all of its citizens -- what the West really wants for its children and grandchildren?
Americans, on the contrary, believe that power flows from the bottom up. We believe in trying something, and if it doesn't work, trying something else. We do not believe in allowing the "elite" to impose their unworkable notions of the "ideal" state. We view our children as gifts, for whom we have ultimate responsibility to bring up to be self-reliant, ethical citizens.
Americans, in fact, do not believe in the "elite" in the first place. So, predictably, the self-anointed "elite" do not like American ideas, and they seem to be doing their best to demolish the American system.
And now, with the unaffordable Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), we can look forward to increasingly severe doctor shortages. Many young people are willing to spend the best years of their lives training to be independent professionals, but not to be government underlings. And waiting times are growing progressively longer. I wish you good luck and good health -- you will need both.
The American idea of rights is utterly foreign to the "elite," who are much more comfortable with the European idea of privileges granted -- or withdrawn -- at the whim of the government.
The American idea of individuals being responsible and taking responsibility is utterly foreign to the "elite," who seem much more comfortable with the European idea of infantilizing subjects to make them dependent on a parentified government to protect them, care for them, dole out money to them, and in general control their lives. If people cannot even choose their own light bulbs, toilets, or dishwasher detergent, in what sense are they free?
Yes, the "elite" want to Europeanize America. But in view of what has happened in Europe in the last century, and what is happening there now, this seems like a really abysmal idea. And I'll keep that in mind when I vote.
*Dr. David C. Stolinsky, a retired physician, is based in the US.
© 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.

Why Silicon Valley Pretends It Doesn’t Make Money
Shira Ovide/Bloomberg/September, 27/18
I am constantly amused that some of the world’s richest companies pretend they aren’t trying to make money. The Wall Street Journal had a smart article on Wednesday about why Apple Inc. is selling the two more expensive of its three new iPhone models five weeks ahead of the lower-priced version. The company did the reverse last year, putting its $700-and-up iPhone 8 models on sale six weeks before the iPhone X with its $1,000 starting price. This year’s strategy gives Apple more than a month to sell the more expensive iPhone models to the most eager buyers, without lower-priced competition from itself.
The staggered approach also give Apple more visibility into sales trends and simplifies logistics, the Journal reported. Companies in other industries would be happy to crow about such sound strategies.
Not Apple. The company told the Journal that it releases products when they’re ready. End of discussion, OK? It just so happens that iPhones are ready each and every September, by magic. I’ve written before that Apple doesn’t get enough credit for its brilliant product pricing and segmentation. Three years ago, Apple effectively sold two new iPhone editions each year, at a starting price of $650 in the US.
Apple now has made it normal to pay $1,000 or more for a phone, and it currently sells more than 10 different old and new models at prices ranging from modest to supersonic.
Sure, iPhones get more sophisticated and powerful over time, but most technology products tend to get better and cheaper over time. Not the iPhone. The climbing average sale prices for iPhones are the biggest reason Apple’s revenue has continued to climb this year. Apple deserves credit for having so much sway that people will pay up for a product that has become a commodity in most of the world. The company doesn’t want any credit, though. Apple never, ever talks about the increasing sale prices resulting from a deliberate strategy — even to investors and other financial-minded audiences. It’s crazy. Apple didn’t simply trip over a barrel of cash to become the most profitable company in the US.
Meanwhile, retailers are talking their investors through the tactics they’re employing to spur more shoppers to pay full price for Coach handbags and Ralph Lauren sweaters, rather than hold out until those items are on sale. Other companies, in short, talk openly about how they act like for-profit businesses. Apple’s gross profit margins have remained very consistent, suggesting the company is building its business around a certain level of profit — no matter the cost of the components and ever-more-advanced technologies that go into its products.
When Apple is asked about its power and wealth, Tim Cook is fond of saying that he still views Apple as a small company. This is a ridiculous thing to say about a titan that sells products to hundreds of millions of people, generates an average of $140,000 in cash every minute, and is the most richly valued public company on the planet.

Iran’s blame game deflects attention from regime’s support of terror
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Arab News/September 28/18
Iran’s state-owned Persian news outlets have this week dedicated significant coverage to the attack that occurred during a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on Saturday. Gunmen opened fire, killing at least 25 people and wounding 55 more. The military parade was being carried out by members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its elite Quds Force.
The attack casts doubts on the Iranian leaders’ claim that it is the safest country in the region. Last year, a pair of attacks shocked the capital of Tehran, where at least 12 people were killed at the Iranian Parliament and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s mausoleum, which is one of Iran’s most sacred places.
Iranian leaders have long been attempting to project Iran as the safest and most secure country in the Middle East in order to further rally and galvanize domestic and international support, as well as increase the popularity of the IRGC, which safeguards the nation.
An important issue to address is the Iranian leaders’ reaction to this development. In such scenarios, the theocratic establishment resorts to various tactics. First of all, instead of examining the underlying causes of the attack, it plays the blame card.
For example, immediately after the attack and without providing any evidence or proof, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accused other countries in the region, particularly the Gulf Arab states. He said in a statement on his website: “This crime is a continuation of the plots of the regional states that are puppets of the United States, and their goal is to create insecurity in our dear country.”
The message was the same across the Iranian regime’s political spectrum. Even the so-called moderate politicians of Iran joined the hardliners in pointing fingers at other nations. For instance, Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif blamed other countries in the region and their “US masters.”
Such a tactical game played masterfully by the Iranian regime will only escalate tension in the region, and increase distrust among nations.
The attack casts doubts on the Iranian leaders’ claim that it is the safest country in the region
It should be noted that the reason behind this strategy is to deflect attention from the regime’s support for terrorist and militia groups across the region. Iran has been providing military, financial, intelligence and advisory assistance to various Shiite militia groups in countries including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The Islamic Republic has also sheltered terrorist leaders from extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda, according to several intelligence reports.
Iran’s sectarian agenda of supporting Bashar Assad and Shiite militia groups across the region has intensified regional sectarianism and empowered extremist groups such as Daesh to recruit more fighters. In a recent survey on global terrorism, the Islamic Republic was again ranked as the top state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
Iranian leaders will more than likely attempt to buttress their unfounded arguments that extremist groups are Tehran’s rivals, or that Iran is fighting extremism and terrorism in the region. This is to assist the hardliners in further justifying the deployment of more forces and intensifying their involvement in the region.
By blaming other nations for the attack, Iranian leaders are also attempting to deflect media attention away from the dire situation of the people in Ahvaz, which is the capital of Khuzestan Province. The IRGC parade, which was intended to show Iran’s military strength, was conducted in one of the country’s most neglected cities.While the Iranian people have been struggling politically and economically, the citizens of Ahvaz in particular have been encountering extreme difficulties for various reasons. In spite of the fact that Ahvaz is rich in natural resources, the indigenous Arab residents of Khuzestan are plagued with severe socioeconomic deprivation, suffer from one of the highest rates of poverty in Iran, and have a high level of water and air pollution. The nearby oil facilities surround and suffocate the city by releasing toxic materials and pollutants into the air. In fact, Ahvaz was in 2015 ranked the most polluted city in the world by the World Health Organization. The failures of the Iranian regime mean that Ahvaz’s residents are facing such difficulties and poverty while they are living in one of the most oil-rich cities of the Islamic Republic.
Finally, Iran should be cognizant of the fact that its policy of supporting terror groups can have unintended consequences. In the next phase, the IRGC will most likely attempt to impose fear in the country, capitalize on rally round the flag syndrome, justify its military engagements in the region, galvanize more public support for involvements in other regional countries, increase the military budget, and tighten domestic control through heightened securitization by police and intelligence forces.
*Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. He is a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy, a businessman and president of the International American Council. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh

Iraq’s Shiite factions offer Kurds an ultimatum over presidency dispute
Suadad Al-Salhy/Arab News/September 28/18
BAGHDAD: Iraq’s main political forces in Baghdad have laid down an ultimatum to rival Kurdish parties locked in a bitter dispute over who should be the next president.
The rift between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is the latest hurdle threatening to derail the tortuous process of forming Iraq’s next government. Under Iraq’s power-sharing agreement, the post of president is allocated to Kurdish parties, which have traditionally allowed the PUK to make the selection.
But increased tension between the two factions after a failed independence bid for the Kurdish region last year has led to the KDP wanting to nominate its own candidate.
The two main Shiite factions in Baghdad agreed last week to vote for the same Kurdish candidate. The vote was meant to take place in parliament on Tuesday but this was delayed until next week because it was not clear that one of the 31 candidates would have won the necessary two-thirds majority among MPs. The Kurdish split over the presidential candidate is the first of its kind since 2005. The two parties usually manage to settle their differences in the autonomous Kurdistan region and act in Baghdad as a unified bloc in their negotiations with the Shiite and Sunni political forces. Officially, the PUK has nominated the veteran Barham Saleh for the post while the KDP nominated Fouad Hussien, head of the presidential office in the Kurdistan region and personal secretary of the most prominent Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani.
“There is a Kurdish division. Until now, the Kurdish (blocs) have not been able to agree on one candidate,” Sarwaa Abdulwahid, a female Kurdish candidate said.“The competition between this number of candidates reduces the chances of any candidate winning and obtaining the required number of votes.”The 210 votes needed to win the presidential post can only come from the two main Shiite alliances, which themselves have been competing to build the largest coalition and form the next government. Reform coalition, controlled by the powerful cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, and the Iran-backed Al—Binna’a, which is headed by Hadi Al-Amiri, who also commands Badr Organization, the most prominent Shiite armed faction. Both Saleh and Hussein have been shuttling between Baghdad and the holy city of Najaf this week to persuade Shiite leaders to vote for them.
The leaders of the two alliances have refused to align with either of the candidates and told Kurdish leaders that if they can not agree on a single nominee, they have two alternatives, Shiite negotiators told Arab News. The two candidates would compete in the first round of voting in parliament, and whoever wins will be baked by all the parties for the second round or the Shiite blocs will vote on a candidate of their own choosing regardless of the PUK and KDP’s position, negotiators said.
“We clearly told them (Kurds) that they both (PUK and KDP) have to agree on one candidate or choose one of the suggestions that we proposed,” a key Shiite negotiator told Arab News.
The United States and Iran, the main international players in Iraqi since the 2003 US-invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, have been deeply involved in the negotiations to form a government since the May election.
Brett McGurk, the US envoy to Iraq and Syria, and Gen. Qassim Sulaimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force, helped persuade the leaders of the PUK to nominate Barham Saleh as president. Both men traveled between Baghdad and the homes of the PUK and KDP leaders in the northern Kurdistan region to persuade the Kurds to unify their position and agree on a single candidate, Kurdish and Shiite negotiators told Arab News.
McGurk and Sulaimani are supporting Barham Saleh and are trying to persuade Barzani to give up his candidate and put aside his disputes with the PUK’s leaders until the negotiations to form a government are over. It is not yet clear what the two envoys will offer Barzani, but he is expected to make demands over the disputed areas between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government, the administration of the oil city Kirkuk, Kurdistan’s border crossings and the export of oil, negotiators said. “Both men (Sulaimani and McGurk) are trying to persuade Barzani to support Barham (Salih), in return they will offer him (Barazani) some guarantees that he will get what he wants,” a key Shiite negotiator told Arab News. “They have not agree on anything yet, so we have no details of what Barzani wants exactly and what the Iranians and Americans have offered. “The only confirmed thing is that we cannot waste more time and the Shiite blocs will vote for whom they believe is the best if Kurds could not agree on just one candidate by Oct. 3.”

In Syria, it’s a regime issue, not a missile issue!
Khairallah Khairallah/Al Arabiya/September 27/18
Whether Russia provides the Syrian regime with S-300 missiles or not, this is not the issue. Russia’s problem in Syria lies somewhere else and has nothing to do with weapons and missiles regardless what their type, range, capabilities and effectiveness are.
The Russian reaction to downing a Russian aircraft using a Syrian missile represents an investment in an operation with no horizon. The name of this failed operation is saving the Syrian regime headed by Bashar al-Assad.
The Russian decision in terms of the missiles’ network announced by Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and the phone call, which Russian President Vladimir Putin made to Bashar al-Assad confirm that Russia insists to walk in the wrong path and deepen its crisis in Syria.
The Russian decision in terms of the missiles’ network announced by Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and the phone call, which Russian President Vladimir Putin made to Bashar al-Assad confirm that Russia insists to walk in the wrong path and deepen its crisis in Syria
It’s doing so instead of going to the core of the problem. The core of the problem is that the Syrian regime is not viable in any way as it does not have legitimacy to begin with. The Syrian regime was established following a military coup on March 8, 1963, and it gradually developed into a minority-regime during Hafez al-Assad’s era and eventually became a ruling family regime during Bashar al-Assad’s era and in full cooperation and coordination with Iran.
Foreign hands in Syria
Those who have the slightest doubt about the organic relation between the Syrian regime and Iran’s mullahs can go back to the prosecution findings of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague few days ago. The findings exposed the extent of the depth in the relation between Damascus and Tehran in terms of the preparations to assassinate Rafic Hariri and his comrades on February 14, 2005 and the implementation of this operation using an Iranian tool.
It’s no secret that Israel has indirectly caused the downing of the Russian Il-20 off the coast of Latakia and killed all the military personnel on board. Israeli jets raided posts on the Syrian coast without giving the Russians enough time to distance their aircraft to a secure area. This certainly conveys Israel’s underestimation of coordination with Russia when it comes to shelling posts which Israel views as targets that it has the right to attack in the entire of Syria.
Russia thus acknowledges Israel’s right to attack targets in Syria but Israel has violated the rules of the game and agreements with Moscow, perhaps intentionally or intentionally.
Russia had to react, at least to save face. What’s certain is that the S-300 missiles will help in that, at least in the short term. The Russian authorities’ reaction will help restore its prestige inside Russia. This is very important for Putin who figured out how to incite the Russian people’s deep feelings that the Russian nation is a great nation that must take its natural place in the world. Moreover, Putin restored the Russian people’s feeling that their country is a superpower like it was during the days of the Soviet Union.
The Russian reaction served the purpose on the short term but it does not mean that Russia found itself a solution in Syria where it wants to control the entire threads of the game. Before anything else, Russia will have to answer a question that mainly relies on the American reaction. Can it guarantee Iran’s military withdrawal from Syria or not?
If the US insists that Iran withdraws, then we can see that Russia is incapable of what’s required from it on the Israeli and American levels. In the end, Russia cannot justify its incapability by betting on a losing horse which is the Syrian regime. The Syrian regime has ended, just like the regimes of Eastern Germany, Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia or Romania under Nicolae Ceaușescu ended. It’s well-known that Syria which we’ve known no longer exists. There’s nothing that can be done to reunite Syria and keep the country under the control of a ruling family that runs it as if it’s the board of a holding company and that controls all lives, property and wealth and exports terrorism to its neighbors.
Searching for a political solution
It’s normal that Russia is working to restore its prestige but what’s more normal is seeking to exit its crisis in Syria by accessing the door to the solution which may require a long time. Perhaps the first step in this regard is represented in being convinced that the current regime has no future and that the solution definitely passes through Iran’s withdrawal from Syria.
The earlier Iran withdraws, the easier it is to search for a political solution. There’s no escape from the fact that several parties may participate in finding the aspired solution. The US, which seems that it insists to stay in East of the Euphrates and which insists to meet all what Israel demands from it especially regarding South Syria and the smuggling of Iranian weapons to Syria, is one of these major parties.
If Moscow’s announcement about supplying the Syrian regime with a new defense system serves its purpose on the Russian level, we have to ask the embarrassing questions such as what if Israel resumes shelling posts and targets within the context of its war on Iranian presence in Syria? Can Russia engage in a confrontation with it at a time when it knows well that the Israeli lobby in Moscow is very strong and that the Russian lobby in Israel is as strong?
Let’s put the part about Israel aside. There is a reality we cannot escape, and it’s related to the reconstruction of Syria one day. One of the funniest things Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Mouallem said during his recent visit to Moscow is that Damascus will reward Russia by giving it all the reconstruction projects. What Mouallem said may be accurate if Russia has what it can invest in Syria in reconstruction projects. Mouallem’s remarks are nothing more than a joke that falls within the context of the mutual exchange of illusions. The Syrian regime sells Russia promises, and Russia sells the regime anti-aircraft missiles that will not achieve anything given the massive gap between American technology and Russian technology.
In brief, the first step, if Russia, along with Israel and America, really wants to stop Syria’s programed fragmentation, is summed up in searching for a new regime. It must be a regime that’s completely distant from the current regime which gave all it can give and did all it can to protect itself. This began with handing over the Golan to Israel in 1967 and ended with it being a forgotten cause in 2018.