A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For December 04- 05/2019 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 49th Day

23

A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For December 04- 05/2019 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 49th Day
Compiled By: Elias Bejjani
December 05/2019

Tites For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on December 04-05/2019
Lebanon’s Iranian Cancerous Occupation and The Required Solutions
Man Kills Himself in Latest Suicide Linked to Economic Crisis
Protesters Block Ring Road after Suicide, Overnight Clashes
Protests, Road Blockages after Reported Consensus on PM
Al-Rahi Describes Call for PM Consultations as ‘New Dawn’
Former PMs Denounce ‘Violations’ against Constitution and PM Post, Aoun Replies
Raad Likens Economic Crisis Impact to 2006 Israeli War on Lebanon
US court sentences Hezbollah operative to 40 years in jail
Lebanese Central Bank Instructs Banks to Cap Interest Rates on Deposits
Lebanon to start government formation talks as protests persist
Lebanese banks to cap interest paid on deposits
Aoun calls for binding parliamentary consultations for new PM on Monday
Hariri’s Future party to nominate Khatib as new Lebanese PM: Source
Ex-Lebanese PMs seen dealing blow to chances of govt led by Khatib
Lebanon house speaker said efforts to form govt very positive as of Tuesday: MP Bazzi
Berri: All Parties Have Expressed Readiness to Offer Concessions
Demonstrations, road blocks continue across Lebanon

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on December 04-05/2019
Lebanon’s Iranian Cancerous Occupation and The Required Solutions
سرطان الإحتلال الإيراني للبنان والحلول الدولية المطلوبة
Elias Bejjani/December 03/2019
Lebanon’s current problem is the cancerous Hezbollah’s Iranian Occupation that is systematic, and since 1982 has been covertly and overtly devouring Lebanon and everything that is Lebanese in all domains and on all levels.
The Solution is through the UN declaring Lebanon a rogue-failed country and the strict implementation of the three UN Resolutions addressing Lebanon’s
ongoing dilemma of occupation:
The Armistice agreement
The 1559 UN Resolution
The 1701UN Resolution.
All other approaches, no matter what, will only serve the occupying Mullah’s vicious scheme of destroying Lebanon and strengthening its ironic, terrorist grip on the Lebanese.
All Pro-Lebanon’s Freedom demonstrations in any country in the Diaspora that are carried on by the Lebanese MUST call for this only International solution.
Meanwhile, yes, Lebanon and the Lebanese are facing very serious crises, hardships and problems in all life sectors; e.g., poverty, unemployment, corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering, politicization of the judiciary, electricity shortage, a scandalous disarray in trash collection, lack of health benefits, education, and numerous social services … and the list goes on and on.
BUT, non of these hardships in any way or at any time will be solved as long as the terrorist Iranian Hezbollah remains occupying the country and terrorizing its people. At the same time, the majority of Lebanese officials, politicians and political parties are actually the enemies of both Lebanon and its citizens.
In this context, President Michael Aoun, His son-in-law, the FM, Jobran Bassil, Amin Gymael and his son Sami, PM, Saad Hariri, Druze leader Walid Jumblat, House Speaker Nabih Berri, Lebanese Forces Party leader Samir Geagea, Slieman Frangea and many other politicians, as well
as numerous topnotch clergymen from all denominations are all cut from the same garment of oligarchic, narcissism, trojanism, greed, and feudalism in their mentality and education.
They all, with no sense of patriotism, have succumbed to the Hezbollah’s Iranian savage occupation.
They all and each from his status and based on his capacity and influence, have traded Lebanon’s independence, freedom, decision making process and sovereignty with mere personal power and financial gains.
In reality, they have sold their country to the occupier, Hezbollah, and with no shame have accepted the status of Dhimmitudes, puppets, tools, trumpets, cymbals and mouthpieces for the terrorist occupier. They betrayed, and still betraying, the country and their own people.
In this realm, the Lebanese demonstrators who are loudly shouting the Slogan, “All of them” are 100% right and are righteously witnessing for the truth because all of the above political and official prominent figures are practically mere merchants with numbed consciences.
All Of Them definitely means all of them.
It is worth mentioning that the Lebanese constitution is ideal for the nature of the multi-cultural and multi-religious denominational composition of the mosaic of diversified Lebanese society.
The governing disasters that have been targeting and hitting Lebanon since the early seventies has nothing to do with the great and ideal covenantal (unwritten pact) constitution, but with the foreign occupations and the oligarchic Lebanese corrupted officials and politicians.
My fellow patriotic and God fearing Lebanese from all religious denominations and all walks of life in both Lebanon and the Diaspora, stand tall and steadfast like our cedars. Do not lose faith or give up on hope, and never ever forget that our beloved, country, Lebanon is holy.
Yes, Lebanon is holy and has been blessed by Almighty God since he created man and woman and put them on earth.
Pray for our oppressed and occupied country and that Almighty God shall always guard, protect and defend it through His saints and angels.

Man Kills Himself in Latest Suicide Linked to Economic Crisis
Associated Press/Naharnet/December 04/2019
In a stark reflection of the deepening economic crisis in Lebanon, a man in his 40s shot himself to death Wednesday with a bird rifle when he became despondent over salary cuts in recent weeks, according to his family. The father of 41-year-old Danny Abi Haidar said his son, who worked in a lighting company, spent the day Tuesday warding off creditors, trying to explain that he only received half his salary because of the economic crisis. Many private companies have resorted to reducing staff or slashing their pay to deal with rising inflation and liquidity crunch. Adding to the burden, the son had been supporting his father, his mother and younger brother. The father had lost his job eight months ago and moved in with his older son. On Tuesday, the local supermarket began demanding hundreds of dollars that Abi Haidar, a father of three, owed them. Creditors “called him and he said I only got paid half my salary,” the father, Mohammed Abi Haidar, told The Associated Press. “He said I only have 200,000 liras (barely $100) to spend on my family.” The father, distraught, said he holds senior officials and the protests responsible for his son’s death. “I hold those senior officials responsible; the revolution and everyone, I hold them responsible,” Abi Haidar said. In a statement, Dani’s employer, the Debbas Holding group, said he “continued to receive all his salaries and remunerations despite the difficult economic circumstances,” denying reports claiming that he had been sacked. Protesters meanwhile gathered in central Beirut on Wednesday to mourn Abi Haidar’s death. “How many more suicides do you want?” read one placard raised by a protester. Marwa Saad, a protester who was among hundreds at a rally that blocked a major Beirut intersection, said government officials are wasting time and fail to sense the depth of the public misery. “They are blind and deaf while we burn and kill ourselves. They still don’t feel a thing,” she said, raising a Lebanese flag. The protesters lit candles along the road they blocked. Security forces deployed but didn’t forcefully open the road.

Protesters Block Ring Road after Suicide, Overnight Clashes
Naharnet/December 04/2019
Anti-corruption protesters blocked the vital Ring highway in central Beirut on Wednesday evening, hours after security forces fired tear gas overnight to disperse protesters blocking the same road. Some demonstrators said they came to protest the way they were treated by security forces the night before as others said they were enraged after reports said a 41-year-old man took his own life on Wednesday due to his dire living conditions. Protesters who came from the main protest site in downtown Beirut meanwhile said that they are opposed to the blocking of the road, urging the other protesters to stage a sit-in outside the Interior Ministry. Huge numbers of riot policemen were present on the Ring highway on Wednesday evening. Minor scuffles erupted with the protesters but the demo remained largely peaceful. “How many more people need to commit suicide for them to wake up?” one man told a local television channel, after the second such reported death in four days. Protesters lit candles on the roadside in memory of those who took their lives, apparently crushed by the burden of Lebanon’s spiraling economic crisis. Lea Zeinoun, the director of a non-governmental organization running a suicide prevention hotline, said a person ending their life was chiefly the result of a mental illness. But she said she did fear a rise in cases “especially if the situation in the country doesn’t improve.” “Today we received 15 calls in three hours, while we usually receive 150 on average per month,” she told AFP. The Ring highway has been repeatedly blocked since the eruption of the popular uprising on October 17 and has witnessed many confrontations with security forces and supporters of Hizbullah and the AMAL Movement.

Protests, Road Blockages after Reported Consensus on PM
Naharnet/December 04/2019
Protests and road blockages resumed around various Lebanese regions on Wednesday denouncing reported consensus on businessman Samir Khatib to lead the new government. In the northern city of Tripoli, protests kicked off early on Wednesday where protesters gathered in front of universities, schools, state institutions preventing access for employees, the National News Agency reported. The protesters also gathered in front of the main entrance of Tripoli’s port preventing trucks and employees from access amid heavy deployment of security forces, said NNA. They also prevented access of employees to the central telecommunications offices in Qadisha and the offices of OGERO. NNA said Tripoli’s protesters also blocked the Minieh-Abdeh highway with dirt mounds. In the eastern city of Baalbek, campaigners rallied in front of the central bank chanting slogans in protest at the bank’s policies, said NNA.
In Akkar’s Halba, several roads were blocked with burning tires and metal barriers. Protesters also forced the closure of banks in the city. Moreover, the road in Saadnayl was blocked by protesters and the Lebanese army brought in reinforcements to reopen it. Several protesters were arrested in the process, LBCI said. Demanding an overhaul of the entire political class since October 17, protests showed non abating even after reports emerged on Tuesday that a partial agreement has reportedly been reached on the new prime minister and form of the new government. Outgoing PM Saad Hariri publicly announced Tuesday that he endorses the nomination of the engineer and businessman Samir Khatib for the PM-designate post. Reports said political talks to name a premier-designate have made major progress, amid a reported meeting between Khatib, President Michel Aoun and Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil. Over the past weeks, politicians failed to agree on the shape and form of a new government. Hariri had insisted on heading a government of technocrats, while his opponents, including Hizbullah, want a Cabinet made up of both experts and politicians. It was not clear how the protesters who have been demonstrating against widespread corruption and mismanagement in the country would respond to the possible formation of the government. The frustrated protesters have resorted to road closures and other tactics to pressure politicians into responding to their demands for a new government.
They have insisted that a new Cabinet be made up of independent figures that have nothing to do with the ruling elite that have been running the country since the 1975-90 civil war ended. On Tuesday evening, a number of protesters staged a sit-in outside Khatib’s residents in Beirut’s Tallet al-Khayyat area to reject his reported nomination for the PM post.

Al-Rahi Describes Call for PM Consultations as ‘New Dawn’
Naharnet/December 04/2019
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Wednesday described the Presidency’s call for binding parliamentary consultations to name a PM-designate as a “new dawn” for Lebanon. “Today I want to talk about a delightful thing and a saddening thing. The delightful development is that the Presidency has announced that the consultations will begin on Monday, and this means that Lebanon will witness a new dawn,” al-Rahi said during a prayer in Bkirki. “The saddening news is that three people have committed suicide over the past days due to financial hardships and it is very agonizing when a person ends their life because they can’t provide money and decent living to their family,” the patriarch added. “Today we pray for the souls of these young men and so that the relevant authorities speed up the formation of the government,” al-Rahi said, cautioning that “this state of recession affects all institutions and leads to laying off citizens from their jobs.”

Former PMs Denounce ‘Violations’ against Constitution and PM Post, Aoun Replies
Naharnet/December 04/2019
Three former prime ministers on Wednesday denounced “gross jurisdiction violations” of the constitution, that drew a prompt reply from President of the Republic, and indirectly criticized a leading candidate to lead the new Lebanese government, Samir Khatib, without naming him.
“Any candidate for premiership who agrees to engage in (parliamentary) consultations on the form of the government and its members prior to his official designation to form a government, contributes to violating the constitution and weakening the position of the prime minister,” said ex-PMs Najib Miqati, Fouad Saniora and Tammam Salam in a joint statement. The statement added: “Ex-PMs are appalled by the blatant violation of the Taef Accord, the Constitution and the jurisdictions of lawmakers and PM-designate, through parliamentary consultations binding for the President to conduct.”
“Anticipating the parliamentary consultations and innovating a leading candidate for the premiership, was what President Michel Aoun and caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil have done, as announced by Bassil himself,” added the statement. Khatib, the head of a major contracting and construction company, was recently nominated for the post of premiership to succeed Hariri. Hariri resigned on October 29 bowing to the demands of people and anti-government protests sweeping the nation since October 17. Media office of the Presidency immediately replied to the ex-Premiers’ statement stressing that the President “did not violate the Constitution and Taef.”“Consultations conducted by President of the Republic do not violate the Constitution, or Taef Accord. The Constitution does not specify a timeframe to complete the binding parliamentary consultations, nor does it set a timeframe for the PM-designate to form a government,” said the Presidency on Twitter.

Raad Likens Economic Crisis Impact to 2006 Israeli War on Lebanon
Naharnet/December 04/2019
Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Mohammed Raad likened the lingering economic crisis in Lebanon to the Israeli-Hizbullah war back in 2006, urging people to support each other in times of crises. “We are about to confront in this aspect of soft war what is equivalent to the July war in 2006. Notice how big the matter is with its objectives, goals and results, but we will win just like we won in that war,” said Raad. Hizbullah MP added that “the economic situation is bitter today,” urging people to offer assistance and help the less fortunate ones if the crisis prolongs further. “We have to act as one, we must cooperate and heal the wounds.” After years of political turmoil, the Lebanese economy is in a sharp downturn as banks have restricted access to dollars while prices have risen. Amid the crisis, thousands of Lebanese say their jobs are under threat.

US court sentences Hezbollah operative to 40 years in jail
AFP/Wednesday, 4 December 2019
An American of Lebanese descent was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Tuesday for buying weapons and plotting attacks on behalf of the Lebanese Hezbollah organization.. Ali Kourani, 34, was found guilty in May of gathering intelligence on potential attack targets, including New York’s JFK International Airport and a federal building in Manhattan. A federal court in America’s financial capital convicted him of eight allegations including conspiracy to use weapons in a violent crime. Geoffrey Berman, attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the lengthy sentence sent an important message to Hezbollah, which the United States considers a terrorist organization. “If you are caught planning harm against this City and its residents, you will face justice and be held accountable,” he said in a statement. Born in Lebanon but naturalized by the United States in 2009, Kourani attended several Hezbollah training camps in his country of birth and took orders from agents of the Iran-backed organization after his 2003 arrival in the United States. Hezbollah was created by Iran in the early 1980s and has fought Israel for decades. The group has been blamed for attacks in France, Lebanon, and Bulgaria, among others.

Lebanese Central Bank Instructs Banks to Cap Interest Rates on Deposits
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 4 December, 2019
Lebanon’s central bank told commercial banks on Wednesday to cap their interest rates on deposits in foreign currencies at 5% and to cap the rate on Lebanese pound deposits at 8.5%. The central bank also said it would pay interest due on US dollars deposited with it by Lebanese banks half in US dollars and half in Lebanese pounds as an exceptional measure. It said the same applied to US dollar certificates of deposit issued by the central bank. In a circular seen by Reuters, it said the cap on interest rates would apply to all new deposits and those renewed from December 4. It said banks should pay interest on foreign currency deposits half in the currency of the account and half in Lebanese pounds. The measures would be valid for six months, it said. All deposits made before December 5 would remain subject to the agreement between the bank and the customer, it said. The central bank circular said the decisions aimed to “preserve the public interest amid the exceptional circumstances that the country is presently going through and to safeguard the interests of depositors by not decreasing their bank deposits”.

Lebanon to start government formation talks as protests persist
Demonstrators reject latest frontrunner for PM, businessman Samir Khatib, as being too close to ruling elite.
Consultations to form a new government in Lebanon will formally begin on Monday, the presidency has announced, more than a month after a wave of protests led the prime minister, Saad Hariri, to resign. “The presidency has set Monday as the date for the parliamentary consultations” for the designation of a new prime minister, the presidency announced in a short statement on social media on Wednesday. Despite continued pressure from a nationwide protest movement to radically overhaul the political system, President Michel Aoun had so far stopped short of announcing formal talks to agree on a new lineup.
He and several key partners in the fractious outgoing governing coalition had apparently insisted on reaching a deal before announcing the start of formal talks with Lebanon’s parliamentary blocs. Hariri announced his resignation on October 29, nearly two weeks into an unprecedented nationwide protest movement that has been demanding an end to corruption and sectarian-based politics. Several names have surfaced since, each time prompting the scorn or the anger of the protest camp, which has accused the ruling elite of using stalling tactics to cling to their jobs.
In recent weeks, politicians failed to agree on the shape and form of a new government. Hariri had insisted on heading a government of technocrats, while his opponents, including Hezbollah, want a cabinet made up of both experts and politicians.
The latest frontrunner to lead the new government is Samir Khatib, a businessman who is less widely known than most former prime ministers and has no experience in politics.
Hariri, a Sunni politician, said on Tuesday he supports Khatib’s nomination to become the next prime minister, a move that will likely pave the way for the formation of a new cabinet amid a severe economic and financial crisis. “There are still some details and God willing something good” will happen, Hariri said, speaking to reporters on Tuesday night. “Everyone is trying to get through this difficult period.” Politicians from the Future Movement, which is headed by Sunni leader Hariri, as well as powerful Shiite groups Hezbollah and Amal, are all expected to back him at the consultations, sources familiar with their positions said. The support of Lebanon’s main Sunni and Shia Muslim political forces would make Khatib the frontrunner in leading the small Mediterranean country, which faces its worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war. ‘We will not accept this’ The news of the possible nomination of Khatib, the head of a large contracting and construction company, sparked spontaneous demonstrations as protesters perceive him as being too close to the ruling elite.
Protesters demand the wholesale removal of the current political class and have insisted on a government dominated by technocrats. Marching in the middle of traffic with a dozen other protesters on Wednesday evening, Fadi Hamdan, 27, said the latest name being circulated would not do. “This person for us represents the corrupt authorities,” the unemployed pilot told AFP News Agency. “They can’t lie to us and say he’s independent,” he said. On Tuesday evening, hundreds blocked a strategic intersection in Beirut, known as the Ring Road, chanting against Khatib.
Security forces tried to prevent the protesters from blocking the road that links east to west Beirut, and after a warning, used tear gas to disperse them. “We will not accept this as people, and we will not accept this as revolutionaries, because we know that we are heading toward the abyss with this government,” Elie Kayrouz, an anti-government protester at the Ring Road, told the Associated Press News Agency, describing Khatib and other names leaked to the media who may form the new cabinet as connected to the outgoing one. The protests, which kicked off on October 17 over a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls, have brought the country to a standstill and its economy has continued to slide in recent weeks.
Outcry after suicides
Even as Aoun announced the beginning of consultations, hundreds of protesters were gathering in central Beirut for a previously planned rally to block the main highway. They chanted in the middle of the highway after local media earlier in the day reported a father of three in his early 40s had shot himself dead over mounting debt. “How many more people need to commit suicide for them to wake up?” one man told a local television channel, after the second such reported death in four days. Protesters lit candles on the roadside in memory of those who took their lives, apparently crushed by the burden of Lebanon’s spiralling economic crisis. The Lebanese pound has lost up to 30 percent of its value on the black market and many economic analysts now predict

Lebanese banks to cap interest paid on deposits
Reuters/December 04/2019
Half of the interest on US dollar accounts with Lebanon’s central bank will also be paid in Lebanese pounds.
Lebanese banks will impose new caps on interest rates on deposits and pay savers half the interest due on foreign currency holdings in Lebanese pounds, the central bank said on Wednesday, noting these moves were aimed at protecting deposits. In a circular noting “exceptional circumstances” in Lebanon, which is in a deep economic crisis, the central bank also said it would be using local currency to pay half the interest due on United States dollars deposited with it by Lebanese banks. Economists said the decisions are aimed at easing pressure on foreign currency reserves and helping the economy by lowering borrowers’ interest rates, which have crept higher as Lebanon sought to revive capital flows from abroad. Banks have been imposing tight controls on access to hard currency and transfers abroad for more than a month, fearing capital flight as Lebanon wrestles with the worst economic crisis since its 1975-90 civil war. “Since you have capital controls, why not reduce the interest rates so the economy can benefit because the rates on loans from banks have increased to very high levels?” asked Marwan Mikhael, head of research at Blominvest Bank.
The central bank circular said the decisions aimed to “preserve the public interest amid the exceptional circumstances that the country is presently going through and to safeguard the interests of depositors by not decreasing their bank deposits”. It said interest rates on deposits in foreign currencies should be capped at five percent and the rate on Lebanese pound deposits capped at 8.5 percent. Interest due on US dollars deposited with the central bank by Lebanese banks would be paid half in US dollars and half in Lebanese pounds as an exceptional measure, the central bank said. The same applied to US dollar certificates of deposit issued by the central bank. The cap on interest rates would apply to all new deposits and those renewed from December 4 onward. The central bank said banks should pay interest on foreign currency deposits half in the currency of the account and half in Lebanese pounds.
The measures would be valid for six months, the central bank added. All deposits made before December 5 would remain subject to the agreement between the bank and the customer, it said. The International Monetary Fund said in a report issued in October that the US dollar reference lending rates in Lebanon had risen from around seven percent in early 2018 to 9.7 percent in June 2019, which had in turn translated into higher Lebanese pound lending rates.

Aoun calls for binding parliamentary consultations for new PM on Monday
Tommy Hilton, Al Arabiya English/Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun called on Wednesday for binding parliamentary consultations to designate a new prime minister to take place on Monday. Lebanon has been in political deadlock since Saad Hariri resigned as prime minister in late October. On Wednesday, three former prime ministers criticized the current process of government formation, a move which was widely interpreted as a blow for moves to appoint Samir Khatib as Hariri’s replacement. Hariri had endorsed Khatib as candidate for prime minister. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nabih Berri was reported as saying that the process of forming a new government was going well. Aoun’s announcement comes against continued protests in the country, with several roads blocked on Wednesday. Demonstrators have criticized the entire political class for alleged corruption and called for a government of politically independent specialists to host new elections. Aoun had previously called for consultations late last month, but then announced they would be delayed.

Hariri’s Future party to nominate Khatib as new Lebanese PM: Source

Reuters/Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Lawmakers with the Future Movement led by Saad Hariri will nominate businessman Samir Khatib to be Lebanon’s new prime minister in formal consultations on Monday, a source familiar with Future’s position told Reuters.
A source familiar with the position of the Shia groups Hezbollah and Amal said they would also nominate Khatib for the post, which must go to a Sunni Muslim according to Lebanon’s sectarian system of government. The support of Lebanon’s main Sunni and Shia Muslim political forces would make Khatib the frontrunner to lead the new government that will face the worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.

Ex-Lebanese PMs seen dealing blow to chances of govt led by Khatib
Reuters, Al Arabiya English/Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Any candidate for the post of Lebanese prime minister who engages in talks over the make-up of the cabinet before being formally designated premier is violating the constitution, three former prime ministers said. The statement on Wednesday from former prime ministers Fouad Siniora, Tamman Salam and Najib Mikati was seen as a blow to efforts underway to form a new government led by Sunni businessman Samir Khatib. Later in the day, Siniora told Al Arabiya that there is a denial of what is happening in Lebanon, and suggested that young people across sectarian lines were speaking up. He continued by calling for return to the text of the Lebanese constitution to overcome obstacles to the formation of a government. The post of prime minister is reserved for a Sunni Muslim in Lebanon’s sectarian sytem of government. Statements from Lebanese politicians on Tuesday had appeared to signal progress towards agreeing a new government led by Khatib, though a deal had yet to be done. Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis since its 1975-90 civil war. Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Tuesday he backed Khatib for the post but added that “some details” still had to be hashed out. He said his party would only name technocrats as ministers.

Lebanon house speaker said efforts to form govt very positive as of Tuesday: MP Bazzi
Reuters, Beirut/Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Lebanon’s House Speaker Nabih Berri said that efforts to form a new government had been very positive as of Tuesday evening, according to MP Ali Bazzi speaking on Wednesday.Talks aimed at naming a new prime minister appeared to receive a blow on Wednesday after three former prime ministers issued a statement criticizing the process so far as violating the constitution.

Berri: All Parties Have Expressed Readiness to Offer Concessions
Naharnet/December 04/2019
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday said “things are very positive” regarding the political talks to name a PM-designate, noting that “all parties have expressed readiness to offer concessions.” “No one should evade responsibility amid the financial and economic crises that we are going through,” Berri told MPs during the weekly Ain el-Tineh meeting, stressing the need to “bolster national partnership to face the pressing challenges whose flames are burning the Lebanese.” Berri’s political aide Ali Hassan Khalil and Hussein Khalil, the political assistant of Hizbullah’s secretary general, had held talks overnight with caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who reportedly told them that he endorses the nomination of the contractor Samir Khatib for the PM post.

Demonstrations, road blocks continue across Lebanon
Joanne Serrieh, Al Arabiya English/Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Protesters continued to block roads using tyres and vehicles across cities in Lebanon on Wednesday, while many staged a sit-in in front of the Central Bank of Lebanon in Baalbek, east of Beirut, the National News Agency reported. This comes after a night of clashes between protesters and anti-riot police where tear gas was used to disperse the demonstrators blocking the Ring Bridge in the capital Beirut. Meanwhile, in Tripoli, protesters gathered in front of universities, schools and public institutions, blocking students and employees from reaching amid tight security measures. The NNA also reported that protesters set fire to tyres, blocking roads in the eastern city of Zahle. In Sidon, protesters put signs on bank buildings saying, “Down with the banks’ rule.”Protestors have been taking to the streets of Lebanon since October and are fueled by deep resentment for a ruling class seen as mired in corruption, which drove the economy into crisis. Lebanese banks recently imposed new curbs on access to cash, fueling depositor worries over their savings despite government assurances they are safe. The banks have tightened limits on withdrawing US dollars and blocked nearly all transfers abroad amid worries about a capital flight and political gridlock over forming a new government. Lebanese politicians signaled progress on Tuesday towards agreeing a new government to tackle the country’s worst economic crisis in decades, though a deal had yet to be done.- With agencies

Titles For The Latest Lebanese LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on December 04-05/2019
Lebanon’s Iranian Cancerous Occupation and The Required Solutions/Elias Bejjani/December 03/2019
Death of Naji Fleity shows just how Lebanon has failed its poor/National Editorial/December 04/2019
Lebanon’s Hezbollah Joins Search for New Iraq PM as UN Slams Protest Violence/Hamza Mustafa and Ali Barada//Asharq Al-Awsat/December 04/2019
And They Tell You: Why Gebran Bassil and the Aounists?/Hazem Saghieh/Asharq Al-Awsat/December 04/2019

The Latest Lebanese LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on December 04-05/2019
Lebanon’s Iranian Cancerous Occupation and The Required Solutions 
 Elias Bejjani/December 03/2019

 Lebanon’s current problem is the cancerous Hezbollah’s Iranian Occupation that is systematic, and since 1982 has been covertly and overtly devouring Lebanon and everything that is Lebanese in all domains and on all levels.
 The Solution is through the UN declaring Lebanon a rogue-failed country and the strict implementation of the three UN Resolutions addressing Lebanon’s
 ongoing dilemma of occupation:
 The Armistice agreement
 The 1559 UN Resolution
 The 1701UN Resolution.
 All other approaches, no matter what, will only serve the occupying Mullah’s vicious scheme of destroying Lebanon and strengthening its ironic, terrorist grip on the Lebanese.
 All Pro-Lebanon’s Freedom demonstrations in any country in the Diaspora that are carried on by the Lebanese MUST call for this only International solution.
 Meanwhile, yes, Lebanon and the Lebanese are facing very serious crises, hardships and problems in all life sectors; e.g., poverty, unemployment, corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering, politicization of the judiciary, electricity shortage, a scandalous disarray in trash collection, lack of health benefits, education, and numerous social services … and the list goes on and on.
 BUT, non of these hardships in any way or at any time will be solved as long as the terrorist Iranian Hezbollah remains occupying the country and terrorizing its people. At the same time, the majority of Lebanese officials, politicians and political parties are actually the enemies of both Lebanon and its citizens.
 In this context, President Michael Aoun, His son-in-law, the FM, Jobran Bassil, Amin Gymael and his son Sami, PM, Saad Hariri, Druze leader Walid Jumblat, House Speaker Nabih Berri, Lebanese Forces Party leader Samir Geagea, Slieman Frangea and many other politicians, as well
 as numerous topnotch clergymen from all denominations are all cut from the same garment of oligarchic, narcissism, trojanism, greed, and feudalism in their mentality and education.
 They all, with no sense of patriotism, have succumbed to the Hezbollah’s Iranian savage occupation.
 They all and each from his status and based on his capacity and influence, have traded Lebanon’s independence, freedom, decision making process and sovereignty with mere personal power and financial gains.
 In reality, they have sold their country to the occupier, Hezbollah, and with no shame have accepted the status of Dhimmitudes, puppets, tools, trumpets, cymbals and mouthpieces for the terrorist occupier. They betrayed, and still betraying, the country and their own people.
 In this realm, the Lebanese demonstrators who are loudly shouting the Slogan, “All of them” are 100% right and are righteously witnessing for the truth because all of the above political and official prominent figures are practically mere merchants with numbed consciences.
 All Of Them definitely means all of them.
 It is worth mentioning that the Lebanese constitution is ideal for the nature of the multi-cultural and multi-religious denominational composition of the mosaic of diversified Lebanese society.
 The governing disasters that have been targeting and hitting Lebanon since the early seventies has nothing to do with the great and ideal covenantal (unwritten pact) constitution, but with the foreign occupations and the oligarchic Lebanese corrupted officials and politicians.
 My fellow patriotic and God fearing Lebanese from all religious denominations and all walks of life in both Lebanon and the Diaspora, stand tall and steadfast like our cedars. Do not lose faith or give up on hope, and never ever forget that our beloved, country, Lebanon is holy.
 Yes, Lebanon is holy and has been blessed by Almighty God since he created man and woman and put them on earth.
 Pray for our oppressed and occupied country and that Almighty God shall always guard, protect and defend it through His saints and angels.

Death of Naji Fleity shows just how Lebanon has failed its poor
National Editorial/December 04/2019
In Lebanon’s impoverished town of Arsal, two little children have lost their father – not to illness or accident but poverty. After he lost his job at a stone quarry, 40-year-old Naji Fleity was struggling to pay back his debts. On Sunday, he was unable to give his hungry daughter a mere 1,000 Lebanese pounds (roughly Dh2) so that she could buy herself a manoushe, a popular breakfast dish in Lebanon. He took his own life that same day. The fact that someone died for lack of Dh2 is proof that poverty kills and that the Lebanese state, which is supposed to care for its most vulnerable citizens, has failed in its role to protect the needy. It has in fact, consolidated a political system that has thrived off economic mismanagement and corruption, costing the country’s poor their lives.
Mr Fleity was a family man, kind enough to leave his job in the army six years ago in order to care for his ill wife. He was a veteran, a man who had worked to defend Lebanon. Yet society failed to help him feed his children. No one should have to die because they cannot pay for life’s basic necessities.
And the injustice that has been done to Mr Fleity is far from being an isolated incident. In February, Georges Zreik, another Lebanese citizen in need, self-immolated in front of his daughter’s school in the northern town of Koura, in protest against the tuition fees he could not afford.
Mr Fleity’s tragic story has become emblematic of Lebanon’s troubles and its ongoing uprising, driven widely by economic strife and lack of job opportunities.
News of his death went viral on social media, with many Lebanese expressing compassion for Mr Fleity and anger at a system that let such injustice take place. Some are even referring to him as a “martyr of the revolution”, in reference to the Lebanese uprising.
For the past two months, Lebanon’s people of all sects and backgrounds have joined forces in protest against the political class. Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government resigned after two weeks of intense demonstrations, as Mr Hariri expressed his own disdain for the dysfunction of the political system. Since then, the country’s financial crisis has intensified, with the pound losing half of its value against the US dollar on the black market. Protesters blame a corrupt sectarian system for looting the state and failing to solve the country’s economic woes, after years of a widening wealth gap between the rich and poor. According to the United Nations Development Programme, close to a third of all Lebanese live on less than 10 dollars per day. That number has remained virtually unchanged for more than a decade.
Mr Fleity’s death is only a drop in a sea of economic despair. Many more Lebanese are in need of money and job opportunities, despite possessing skills and talents that should allow them to make a decent living, and provide for their children. Protesters are now asking for a government of technocrats to be put in place. But President Michel Aoun, who is allied with the powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah, has stopped short of naming a successor for Mr Hariri, as traditional parties refuse to give up their power. It is time for the people’s demand to be taken seriously. Lebanese lives depend on it and, as the economic situation deteriorates, every single day counts. When Mr Zreik died nearly a year ago, Lebanon’s political elite did not take stock of this tragedy and this week another man lost his life to poverty. This is no time for self-serving political bickering. The people of Lebanon deserve leaders who will put their own wellbeing above political interests before more lives are lost.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah Joins Search for New Iraq PM as UN Slams Protest Violence
Hamza Mustafa and Ali Barada//Asharq Al-Awsat/December 04/2019
Lebanon’s Hezbollah party has joined the search for a new Iraqi prime minister following the resignation of Adel Abdul Mahdi last week.
An Iraqi informed source revealed on Tuesday that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Hezbollah official, responsible about the Iraqi file, Mohammad Kawtharany have joined negotiations to find Abdul Mahdi’s replacement.
“Soleimani is in Baghdad to push for a particular candidate to succeed Abdel Mahdi,” the source told Agence France Press, without providing details.
Kawtharany, who is Hezbollah’s pointman on Iraq, “is also playing a large role in persuading Shiite and Sunni political forces on this,” the source added.
Meanwhile, in New York, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said Iraq is at a crossroads that cannot be resolved by “buying time with band-aid solutions and coercive measures.”
In a briefing to the Security Council, she stressed that without full accountability and justice, “it will be nearly impossible to convince the people that political leaders are sincerely willing to engage in substantial.”
She called on Iraqis to build a sovereign, stable, inclusive and prosperous country: “Now is the time to act. The great hopes of so many Iraqis call for bold, forward thinking,” she said.
Hennis-Plasschaert emphasized that while talks about the Prime Minister-designate are ongoing between political leaders, there is urgency of current circumstances. “Political leaders do not have the luxury of time and must rise to the moment,” she explained.
The UN official said “the harsh reality” is that live fire, tear gas and unlawful arrests and detentions persist, “as do abductions, threats and intimidation.”
Noting that most protesters are peacefully seeking a better life, the Special Representative stressed that “it is the primary responsibility of the State to protect its people”, spelling out that all forms of violence are intolerable and must not distract from “the rightful demands for reform”.
Protests in Iraq erupted two months ago over rampant corruption, lack of jobs and poor public services. Despite the oil wealth of OPEC’s second-biggest producer, one in five Iraqis lives in poverty and youth unemployment stands at one-quarter, the World Bank says.
Abdul Mahdi is the first premier to step down since Iraq installed a parliamentary system after Saddam Hussein’s overthrow in 2003.

And They Tell You: Why Gebran Bassil and the Aounists?
Hazem Saghieh/Asharq Al-Awsat/December 04/2019
It is difficult to separate the parts that integrate to eventually perform one action. But within the limits of separation, the parties to the Lebanese ordeal may be coded as follows: banks are the biggest looters, Hezbollah is the most repressive, and Gebran Bassil and the Aounist movement are the best to represent wicked politics and bad values.
Bassil’s Aounist movement, and the movement in general, is similar to those novels with many beginnings. But each of these beginnings strikes the other. Let’s go back to the party’s history:
The “war of liberation” against the Syrian army in March 1989 required at least an invitation for unity among the Lebanese, beginning with the Christians. On the contrary, the war was accompanied by unprecedented shelling of Muslim-populated areas, and then “complimented” by the “war of abolition” against the Lebanese Forces. There was a 10-month difference between the first war and the second. The French exile was also a founding beginning of Aoun’s emerging leadership. That beginning paved the way for positions and alliances with the more radical American and Western adversaries of Syria and Assad.
At the beginning of 2006, white turned black: the “Mar Mikhael Understanding” was signed, which associated the Aounist movement to Hezbollah, and then to Syria. It happened a year after the series of assassinations that started with the killing of Rafik Hariri.
In the summer of 2001, from his French exile, Michel Aoun called on his supporters to demonstrate in solidarity with members of the Lebanese army, who stood by him in wartime and were then unfairly tried.
The partisans’ sit-in was instrumental to the open public presence of the Aounists, especially after being ferociously suppressed. Fighters and cadres, who were screened by that experience, became in their majority outside the Aounist stream. The Aounists introduced into the Lebanese political language issues of corruption and traditional ways of exercising power. It is another beginning. But as the son-in-law of the leader and the subsequent president, Gebran Bassil became the man who delayed the formation of governments just to secure himself a decent government post.
He also became president of the Free Patriotic Movement and head of its parliamentary bloc. Today, amid fateful concerns, rumor has it that Bassil is the one forming the government, keeping for himself the ministry of Interior! Corruption is therefore just a tool of revenge.
The Aounists have resorted in all their political propaganda to the expression of “power”: they promised to make the Republic “strong” and the State “prestigious”. The opposite happened. In response, they said that the Taif Agreement prevented them from achieving their promises. They believed their pretext and were happy with it.
They talk a lot about secularism and poison space with sectarianism. Their wisdom: Secularism now; otherwise a maximum degree of sectarianism.
A catalog of contradictions… When Michel Aoun became president in 2016, he himself became a reflection of the rule and a mirror of its eagerness. On the other hand, one should acknowledge that these contradictions did not fall out of nowhere. The most important element that intervened in their elaboration was the “quartet alliance”, which was forged shortly after the Syrian withdrawal and before the 2005 elections. Back then, the Christians felt that they would be always deceived with or without the Syrian army. They believed that this was the will of the Lebanese Muslims.
This thinking widened the popularity of the Aounists as much as it made Aounism a frustrating movement. Since then, until the presidential elections in 2016, the party has only moved with the power of the triangular hatred towards the Lebanese Forces, the Sunnis, and the Druze.
It is, therefore, a policy of hatred. Exhuming past disputes with intensity, persistence, and stubbornness. It was the mentality of the civil war that led them to ally with Hezbollah and Damascus.
But the most dangerous thing about Aounism is precisely its past. Here, most likely, we fall on the fuller interpretation of the dilemma posed by Bassil’s followers in the form of an innocent and sacrificing question: “Why were we targeted by the revolution with insults, while we were not the rulers of the country and its economic policymakers in the last 30 years?”
Let us try to visualize the image of Aounism and Gibran Bassil in the eyes of the young men and women of the revolution: let’s imagine, for example, young men or women, in their twenties, aspiring to live in a modern, democratic, and secular country. Let us imagine them watching the political rise of Bassil, just because he is the “president’s son-in-law” and the way he exercises his royal power within his party… Let us imagine that all what they hear from him or from his political environment is warnings against jeopardizing the “rights of Christians”, calls for the “restoration” of their quotas, positions against hiring Muslims in Christian areas, and daily incitement against refugees and foreigners…Such a scene is more than enough for the aspirants to another future to cast the image of the enemy on Bassil and his movement. These young people, who are the best among us, find in him and his movement only the worst in us. They find in him the most aggressive voice and the bluntest attitude. Are they to be blamed for the insults?