English LCCC Newsbulletin For Lebanese, Lebanese Related, Global News & Editorials
For September 15/2022
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

The Bulletin's Link on the lccc Site

News Bulletin Achieves Since 2006
Click Here to enter the LCCC Arabic/English news bulletins Achieves since 2006

Bible Quotations For today
Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit

John 12/20-28: “Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus. ’Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour. ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on September 14-15/2022

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 14-15/2022

Titles For The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 14-15/2022

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News & Editorials published on September 14-15/2022
Martyr Bachir Gemayal: The Grain of Wheat & the Yeast
Elias Bejjani/September 14/2022
John 12/24: “Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
On September 14, 1982, on the same day that Lebanon was celebrating the Day of the Holy Cross, its President-elect, Sheik Bachir Gemayel, passed away into the hands of the Almighty God after carrying the cross of the country to heaven. He was not even 34 years old, but what he achieved for the freedom and dignity of Lebanon places him among the great men who left a stamp of glory on the history of Lebanon.
Bachir, the hero, dreamt of a sovereign, free and independent Lebanon, and his dream became the objective of all free-minded Lebanese men and women. And even as the hands of evil and hatred took him away through a cowardly assassination plot (14/09/82), his dream lives on in the fiber of our people and their conscience for as long as the Cedars of Lebanon tower over the country from their peaks.
Today we remember Bachir in our prayers. We also remember his fallen comrades who gave so much for our beloved country, and we learn from their sacrifice many a lesson. On this sad day, our hopes are renewed, our determination is re-energized, and our commitment to the cause is re-confirmed.
Bachir’s bright star was high in the skies of Lebanon and with it the hopes of the Lebanese people. But the joy was killed and the hopes dashed when his star fell from the skies, a martyr to his noble ambitions aiming at building a strong Lebanon, confirmed in its sovereignty and independence.
Bachir believed that “the one Lebanon is the Lebanon of the 10,452 km2, that the Lebanese must win back completely so that it belongs to its sons and daughters in all their communities, creeds, and beliefs”. But even as he departed, what he believed in remains in the hearts and minds of all the Lebanese people.
Bachir was raised on the cross of Lebanon on the day we remember the Cross. He was killed in a political act at the intersection of the interests of nations, individuals, and terrorist groups that feared for their own egotistical interests should a unified, free and sovereign Lebanon rise from its ashes. Bachir established the framework and then was unjustly taken from us too soon.
Those same regimes of evil, Syria and Iran, and groups and factions like the terrorists, Hezbollah, continue today to hold the Lebanese people and their country hostage to their greed, hatred, and savage schemes. They have mastered the art of subservience and bowing at the doorstep of the forces of occupation. They are shepherds of doom who have reneged on every pledge they made and abandoned their flock.
They are factions whose job is to drive wedges between the free people of the Land of the Cedars, assassinating their aspirations and hopes in deed, thought, decision and execution. They assassinate Lebanon every morning and every hour of their waking day, killing its sovereignty, its free decision-making, its democracy and culture.
Bachir’s venomous assassination still lingers to this day in all its ugliness, its corruption and its neglect. It still lingers in its displacement and emigration, Dhimmitude, apostasy, with economic, social, financial, political, security and patriotic decline.
It still lingers with the rule of personal over national interests. It still lingers with the dismemberment of the political parties; the politicization of the judiciary; the truncation of sovereignty with the imposition of foreign interference, and the abandonment of human, religious and ethical values.
Bachir’s dream is here to stay and will never disappear, because it is the dream of a people who want a dignified life, a dream that calls upon unity, sovereignty and peace.
We are today together to remember the martyrdom of Bachir and his 22 comrades, lifting our eyes and hearts in the midst of danger and trouble to the redeemer of suffering humanity, Jesus-Christ, who said “And if I were to rise above the earth, I shall take with me everyone” (John12/32). We ask Him for light, faith, strength, and hope to continue our march forward and lift ourselves, our homeland, and our people to victory, to peace, to righteousness, to freedom and to all that is good in this world. For Bachir is alive in our beings and in our minds.
Sheik Bachir, Lebanon’s elected president who was assassinated before assuming his presidential responsibilities was and still is the patriotic blessed yeast that was brewed and produced solid foundations of freedom, sovereignty and independence, as well as perseverance and hope in all Lebanese minds and hearts. Terrorists and powers of evil could not destroy the dream that Bachir left for us. Even the gates of hell shall not be able to shake our deeply-rooted faith in peace, love and democracy. Bachir is the grain of wheat and the yeast. Bachir’s dream is alive and glowing. As expressed in Galatians 5/9: “A little yeast grows through the whole lump”.
Bachir the Dream shall never die

Elias Bejjani’s Video & Text Political Commentary: Aoun Prime Minister (1988) and Aoun President (2016): Both Products of Geagea’s Personal Greedy Agenda and Lack of Political Vision
September 13 2002
Click Here To Watch the Arabic Video, and read the Arabic Version Of The Below Piece
From the outset, there is no real difference between Dr. Samir Geagea on one hand, and President Michel Aoun and his son-in-law, Jobran Bassil, on the other. All three leaders hail from one and the same narcissistic mold, entirely devoid of a national political vision, and their sole interest is lust for power and nothing else. Which is why their political journey has been one of failure with its assortments of catastrophes that have tormented the country for as long as anyone can remember.
Perhaps the single difference between them is that Aoun and his son-in-law have shed all pretenses by blindly subordinating themselves as servile dhimmis to Hezbollah, going so far as to declare their pride openly and shamelessly in doing so. Geagea for his part conceals himself under a cloak of virtuous chastity, all the while trying to outbid the other two in bootlicking Hezbollah under the “Riachi” table in his quest for power, as was apparent in his recent interview with Fadi Abu-Daya on Al-Jadid.
For how can Geagea be against Hezbollah, he who expressed shame in remembering the South Lebanon Army, and who doesn’t have the return of our heroic refugees in Israel as his priority? His shills in his corporate party of the Lebanese Forces, Inc. publicly say that the martyrs of both sides (theirs and Hezbollah’s) are of the same clay, that the Persian party is made of authentic Lebanese fabric that they – Geagea’s Lebanese Forces – are trying to bring back inside the Lebanese house, that Hezbollah has liberated the south, and that their goal is to resolve the conflict with it by dialogue. More dangerous than all of this is that they legitimize Hezbollah’s occupation and hegemony and its Iranian project for Lebanon, by claiming that it is possible to achieve change and liberation and the recovery of decision-making via constitutional mechanisms, including elections and such, while Hezbollah has hijacked the state, the constitution, the institutions, and the authority, and is the ultimate decision-maker.
Let us tease their selective memory by going back to 1988, when Geagea obstructed the presidential election to prevent Sleiman Frangiyeh Sr. from acceding to the presidency, thus allowing Aoun to become the Prime Minister of the military government. In 2016, Geagea cloned the same obstructionist and short-sighted scenario by pushing Aoun’s candidacy, backing him, and praising his glorious achievements. He then co-signed with Aoun the Me’raab Memorandum in which they divvied up the booty between themselves, again with the goal of preventing the accession of Sleiman Frangiyeh Jr. to the presidency.
Who knows what Geagea is scheming today to block one more time the election of Sleiman Frangiyeh Jr. to the presidency? Based on his record of recklessness, lack of vision and treasonous behavior, he might as well back the election of Jobran Bassil as president!!!
In sum, and with good conscience, we believe that the leadership of our Maronite parties, namely Geagea, Frangiyeh, Aoun, Bassil, Gemayel Sr. and Jr. are abject failures. They have not achieved anything positive to their community, and because of them and their egotism, Lebanon has fallen to occupation, disintegration, and alienation. They all have turned a blind eye to the international resolutions on Lebanon and have indeed become hostile to them, for the simple motive of appeasing Hezbollah.
One of the most preposterous and childish justifications for Geagea’s backing of Aoun’s candidacy to the presidency in 2016 was – according to Geagea’s mouthpieces and close associates – to deal a blow to Aoun’s popular aura and bring his downfall by exposing him. What a mind-blowing strategy!
But what is the solution?
First, we need to rid ourselves of those intellectually-challenged and treasonous leaders. We need leaders with a deep sense of duty and moral responsibility, proponents of sovereignty, who are simply Lebanese patriots. Leaders who request the international community to place Lebanon under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and declare it a failed state, and assign its governance entirely to the hands of the United Nations. Otherwise, Lebanon is condemned to remain a hopeless case.
Let us remember that Lebanon is a sacred shrine whose protection and defense fall to the Maronites. Since Maronite leaders have skirted their responsibilities in this patriotic sacred mission, Lebanon has collapsed and won’t rise from its limbo without the advent of honorable, pious, patriotic Maronite guardians who will defend and protect it.

IDF intel chief: If not for Hezbollah, Lebanon would have joined the Abraham Accords
Anna Ahronhein/Jerusalem Post/September 14/2022
IDF’s Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva said the military has discussed the potential for escalation in the north with the political echelon. If it weren’t for Hezbollah, Lebanon would have been part of the Abraham Accords, the head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence said on Monday. “I am convinced that Lebanon would have been part of the Abraham Accords if not for Hezbollah,” Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva said at Reichman University’s Counter-terrorism conference in Herzliya. “Hezbollah is an organization that wears three hats: protector of the Shia community, an Iranian proxy financed and backed by Tehran, and the protector of Lebanon who took the Lebanese people hostage.”Israel normalized ties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan with the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020. Since then, ties between the countries have increased with bilateral defense agreements signed, over 150 meetings between security officials, dozens of joint exercises, and over $3 billion in defense industry cooperation. The chief of staff of Morocco’s military landed in Israel on Monday and was received at the Kirya Military Headquarters with an honor guard. “I hope, for Nasrallah’s sake, that he does not underestimate the Israeli response if he decides to make a move.” According to Haliva, Lebanon is like every other country where Iran has influence, such as Iraq, Yemen and Syria.
“They are at the bottom in every parameter of failed countries,” he said. “The people of Lebanon get up in the morning, try to turn on the electricity and it doesn’t turn on. The value of the currency is also in a terrible state. Life there is very difficult.” Israel, on the other hand, “is a country with assets like water, technology and food in addition to military power. Arab countries are aware of this, and that’s what led to the Abraham Accords.”Lebanon and Israel remain officially at war, and tensions have lately increased over the Karish gas rig and the maritime borders between the two countries.
“A Lebanese gas rig is an Israeli interest, and improving the economic situation of the Lebanese people is also an Israeli interest,” Haliva said. “The people of Lebanon also understand what the result of war would be.” Haliva told the conference that the military has discussed the potential for escalation in the north with the political echelon. The IDF has also carried out large-scale exercises simulating war with Lebanon, including the Chariots of Fire drill, in which troops had trained in Cyprus. “I hope, for [Secretary-General of Hezbollah Hassan] Nasrallah’s sake, that he does not underestimate the Israeli response if he decides to make a move,” warned Haliva. “Israel’s power is great, and I am sure that Hezbollah understands this. Nasrallah is a serious individual and knows what I’m talking about.”
Haliva, who spent years in Lebanon as a soldier and officer, said that Nasrallah calculates every decision he makes by remembering what happened during the Second Lebanon War.
Nevertheless, in the 16 years since the devastating 34-day war, Hezbollah, with Iran’s help, has increased its arsenal with 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at the Israeli home front, along with attack drones and other advanced weaponry. According to Haliva, the IDF believes that Nasrallah is highly regarded in Iran, and “is not a patron but a partner in making decisions vis-à-vis the Iranians. There is a likelihood that in certain events, Hezbollah and Nasrallah as its leader will join Iran’s circle of violence.” Commenting on the increase in violence in the West Bank, Haliva warned that there could be attacks during the upcoming Jewish holiday season. “The holidays are always a sensitive period, but I estimate that there is potential for significant incidents,” he said. The IDF increased its presence in the West Bank following a wave of deadly attacks inside Israel, and has stepped up nightly arrest raids in cities like Jenin and Nablus. The raids have seen violent clashes and heavy gunfire from Palestinians against IDF troops. There has also been an increase in shootings against IDF targets and Israeli civilian vehicles. As a result, more than 80 Palestinians have been killed by the IDF since the beginning of the year, a sharp increase from 2021. While IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi has placed blame for the increased violence on the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians have blamed Israel. “It is a Palestinian interest to lower the amount of terrorism in the area and stabilize the governance of the Palestinian Authority,” Haliva said. At the same time, “We need to do the right things to stabilize the PA. It is an Israeli security interest.”

Woman with Toy Gun Grabs Trapped Savings from Beirut Bank
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
A woman accompanied by activists and brandishing what she said was a toy pistol broke into a Beirut bank branch on Wednesday, taking $13,000 from her trapped savings. Sali Hafez told the local Al-Jadeed TV that she needed the money to fund her sister’s cancer treatment. She said she had repeatedly visited the bank to ask for her money and was told she could only receive $200 a month in Lebanese pounds. Hafez said the toy pistol belonged to her nephew. “I had begged the branch manager before for my money, and I told him my sister was dying, didn’t have much time left,” she said in the interview. “I reached a point where I had nothing else to lose.” Lebanon’s cash-strapped banks have imposed strict limits on withdrawals of foreign currency since 2019, tying up the savings of millions of people. About three-quarters of the population has slipped into poverty as the tiny Mediterranean country’s economy continues to spiral. Hafez and activists from a group called Depositors' Outcry entered the BLOM Bank branch and stormed into the manager's office. They forced bank employees to hand over $12,000 and the equivalent of about $1,000 in Lebanese pounds.
Hafez said she had a total of $20,000 in savings trapped in that bank. She said she had already sold many of her personal belongings and had considered selling her kidney to fund her 23-year-old sister's cancer treatment. Nadine Nakhal, a bank customer, said the intruders “doused gasoline everywhere inside, and took out a lighter and threatened to light it.” She said the woman with the pistol threatened to shoot the manager if she did not receive her money. Hafez said in a live-streamed video she posted on her Facebook account that she did not intend to do harm. “I did not break into the bank to kill anyone or set the place on fire,” she said. “I am here to get my rights.” Hafez was celebrated as a hero across social media in Lebanon, as many in the small crisis-hit country struggle to make ends meet and retrieve their savings. She encouraged others to take similar action to reclaim their savings.
Some of the activists entered the bank with Hafez, while others staged a protest at the entrance. Hafez eventually left with cash in a plastic bag, witnesses said.
Security forces standing outside arrested several of the activists, including a man carrying what looked like a handgun. It was not immediately clear if this was also a toy gun. Meanwhile, Alaa Khorchid who heads the Depositors' Outcry protest group said that a man communicating and coordinating with the group broke into a bank in the mountainous town of Aley to retrieve his trapped savings. Local media reported that the man entered the BankMed branch alone with a shotgun without any shells loaded, but was unable to retrieve his savings before he was apprehended. Both incidents occurred weeks after a food delivery driver broke into another bank branch in Beirut and held 10 people hostage for seven hours, demanding tens of thousands of dollars in his trapped savings. Most hailed him as a hero. “There is no government, no economic recovery plan, and little reserves left,” Khorchid told the AP, adding that people have no choice but to “take matters into their own hands”. “These people worked for decades, but not for the rulers to build palaces while they can’t afford a bottle of medicine.”Lebanon has scrambled for over two years to implement key reforms in its decimated banking sector and economy. It has so far failed to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a recovery program that would unlock billions of dollars in international loans and aid to make the country viable again. Its government has struggled to function in a caretaker capacity since May, and its recently elected Parliament remains deeply divided. In the meantime, millions are struggling to cope with rampant power outages and soaring inflation. “We need to put a stop to everything that is happening to us in this country,” Nakhal said. “Everyone's money is stuck in the banks, and in this case, it's someone who is sick. We need to find a solution."

UNIFIL Stresses Close Cooperation with Lebanese Army After Amendments to Mission
Beirut - Nazeer Rida/Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) sought to assure Lebanese authorities after amendments were introduced to its mission last month.
In a statement on Tuesday, it said: “Our peacekeepers remain committed to security and stability in south Lebanon and continue to work closely with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), as we have done since the passing of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).”“UNIFIL has always had the mandate to undertake patrols in its area of operations, with or without the Lebanese Armed Forces. As always, our operational activities, including patrols, continue to be coordinated with the Lebanese Army,” it added.bAt the request of the Lebanese government, the UN Security Council extended UNIFIL’s mandate for another year on August 31, with the adoption of Resolution 2650, but for the first time since 2006, it amended the mission of the peacekeeping force. “The Council reiterates that UNIFIL does not require prior authorization or permission from anyone to undertake its mandated tasks, and that it is allowed to conduct its operations independently,” said UNIFIL after the amendment. “It calls on the parties to guarantee UNIFIL’s freedom of movement, including by allowing announced and unannounced patrols. The Council condemns the harassment and intimidation of UNIFIL personnel, as well as the use of disinformation campaigns against peacekeepers,” it added. The rules of engagement in place since 2006 have stipulated that the Lebanese army accompany UNIFIL patrols in its areas of operation. The peacekeepers had been harassed and attacked by citizens in the past for allegedly taking photos of some locations and because their patrols had veered off their usual path. Lebanese authorities have always sought to extend the UNIFIL mission without amendments. The amendments therefore, came as a surprise and sparked criticism from Hezbollah where the South is its stronghold.
The UNIFIL spokesperson said on Monday: “Our peacekeepers remain committed to security and stability in south Lebanon, and to continue to support the people who live here.”"Our operational activities, including patrols, continue to be coordinated with the Lebanese Army, even when they don't accompany us,” he stated. “Our freedom of movement has been reiterated in Security Council resolutions renewing UNIFIL’s mandate, including Resolution 1701 in 2006, and UNIFIL’s Status of Forces Agreement, signed in 1995,” he remarked.
“We work closely with the LAF every day, and this has not changed,” he stressed.
Despite the controversy, Lebanese officials believe the changes to the peacekeeping mission “are theoretical for now” and they are a “product of 16 years of practices that have curbed the international force’s activity.”Former MP Marwan Hamade noted that Hezbollah has acted freely in southern Lebanon in spite of resolution 1701. Moreover, the party has curbed the regular movement of the force and prevented it from carrying out any raid, he told Asharq Al-Awsat. Hezbollah has also employed locals to obstruct UNIFIL’s work, he charged. “Complains have piled year after year. Some UNIFIL commanders had chosen to overlook the issue, while others had complained about it in their regular reports to the United Nations Secretary-General, stating that the situation is a complete violation of resolution 1701,” he continued. Hezbollah has dashed the resolution, especially when it comes to its ongoing smuggling of weapons to UNIFIL’s area of operations south of the Litani River, remarked Hamadeh. The resolution may grant the force freedom of movement in coordination with the military, but the army has never carried out any step stipulated in the resolution, he went on to say. All the army has done was contain tensions when UNIFIL patrols were prevented by locals from carrying out their duties, he explained. At the moment, the amendments are unlikely to have repercussions on the ground, but that may change should the situation deteriorate in case of a security or military development, he added. In the long run, Hezbollah fears that UNIFIL’s mission may be expanded to cover the entire borders to crack down on the arms smuggling to the party, said Hamadeh.

President Aoun meets new Executive Council of the Syndicate of Informatics and Technology
NNA/September 14/ 2022
President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, asserted that the completion of the demarcation of southern maritime borders will enable Lebanon to launch the process of exploration for oil and gas in the specified fields within the exclusive economic zone, which will give the Lebanese economy a positive impetus to start emerging from the crisis that it has been under for years.
President Aoun also pointed out that the contacts to complete the demarcation file have gone a long way in which Lebanon has achieved what makes it able to invest its wealth in its waters, and that there are technical details that are currently being studied for the interest of Lebanon, its rights and sovereignty.
President Aoun’s positions came while meeting the new executive council of the Informatics and Technology Syndicate in Lebanon headed by Mr. George Joseph Ghostine El Khoury. The meeting was also attended by MPs Nicolas Sehnaoui and Ghassan Atallah, Mr. Khoury thanked President Aoun for the support he provided to the Syndicate four years after the issuance of its founding decree, and then electing its new council two months ago.
Mr. Khoury also indicated that the Syndicate is working to develop a serious and effective action plan, and it puts its expertise and technical capabilities at the disposal of the Lebanese state to help when needed, pointing to the Syndicate's endeavor to establish a "lobby" to support and develop the sector and help it establish relations with foreign parties to support workers in the information and technology sector in Lebanon, with the aim of keeping them away from thinking about immigration, within the framework of alleviating the brain drain in Lebanon.
Mr. Khoury also called for inviting members of the union to participate in the activities related to the information and technology sector within the parliament and the government, and to involve it in all decisions related to digital transformation and governance, as well as support and assistance to propose new bills and move them within the parliament as projects related to integrated education in official and private universities and schools, in addition to supporting the professional sector in Lebanon, and support in the study and development of the Internet sector in Lebanon in terms of quality and prices.
For his part, President Aoun wished the new council of the union success in their new responsibilities, pointing out that the e-government project is one of the most prominent projects he mentioned in the oath’s speech and sought to achieve since the beginning of the era. “Sophisticated steps have been taken in the field of automation of a number of public administrations and institutions, to enable citizens to complete their transactions without burdening them with the hardship of moving to official centers and other obstacles they encounter” the President said.
In addition, President Aoun clarified that several projects to develop the administration and achieve governance collided with the harsh conditions that the country went through, in addition to the delay in the work of the procedural, legislative and judicial authorities, and the emergence of artificial obstacles, which further complicated matters, in addition to several mistakes committed in the exercise of some officials’ work.
On the other hand, he President reiterated that the forensic audit in the accounts of the Banque du Liban is ongoing, and the first phase of it is scheduled to end before the end of this month. Finally, President Aoun wished his successor in the presidency to complete the implementation of the projects that have begun and those that have been faltered, and is particularly keen to proceed with the process of combating corruption and holding perpetrators accountable, who bear great responsibility for the state of affairs in the country. The delegation of the new Executive Council of the Syndicate of Information and Technology in Lebanon, in addition to Captain Al-Khoury, included: Vice President Mark Osta, Secretary Najib Abu Shedid, Deputy Secretary Ali Ahmed, Treasurer Tony Abi Rashed, Deputy Treasurer Hassan Taher, representative of the Regulatory Authority Abed Bou Sarkis, Representative of the Board of Trustees Tanios Kayrouz, Public Relations Officer Maya Zughaib, Cyber ​​Security Officer Rony Chahoud, Professional Development and Training Officer Tarek Pasha, Educational Affairs and Digital Transformation Officer Joseph Nakhleh. -------Presidency Press Office

Aoun: Demarcation contacts have made major progress
Naharnet/September 14/ 2022
President Michel Aoun on Wednesday stressed that “the completion of the southern sea border demarcation file will enable Lebanon to launch the process of exploring for oil and gas in the specified fields within the Exclusive Economic Zone.”
“This will give the Lebanese economy a positive impetus to begin exiting the crisis it has been reeling under for years,” the president added. “The contacts to finalize the demarcation file have made major progress, in which Lebanon has achieved what enables it to exploit its resources in its waters,” Aoun went on to say.He added that “there are technical details that are currently being studied in order to realize Lebanon’s interest, rights and sovereignty.”

Lebanon says maritime talks with Israel to conclude in ‘days’
The Arab Weekly/September 14/2022
“We’re talking about weeks, actually, days, to finish the delineation issue. I’m hopeful that the situation is positive,” the head of Lebanon’s General Security agency Abbas Ibrahim told local channel Al-Jadeed. Maritime border talks between Lebanon and Israel which could help allocate oil and gas resources are close to concluding after around two years of negotiations, a top Lebanese security official said on Tuesday. “We’re talking about weeks, actually, days, to finish the delineation issue. I’m hopeful that the situation is positive,” the head of Lebanon’s General Security agency Abbas Ibrahim told local channel Al-Jadeed. Lebanon and Israel have been locked in US-mediated negotiations to delineate a shared maritime border that would help determine which oil and gas resources belong to which country and pave the way for more exploration. Ibrahim attended meetings last week with the US mediator Amos Hochstein, who said his hours-long visit to Beirut on September 9 showed him that talks were making “very good progress.”According to Israeli and Lebanese officials, an Israeli proposal would allow Lebanon to develop gas reserves in a disputed area in exchange for agreeing to a delineation line further north. Lebanese officials have demanded a written version of the proposal before providing a final answer, a political source with knowledge of the talks said.

Christian MPs boycott budget session on Gemayel's murder anniversary
Naharnet/September 14/ 2022
A parliament session over the state budget was postponed on Wednesday due to lack of quorum as it coincided with the 40th anniversary of former President Bashir Gemayel's assassination. The majority of Christian MPs boycotted the session, while fifty eight MPs arrived at the Parliament, expressing discontent over the budget draft law. Reformist MP Waddah al-Sadek said the Change MPs will vote against the budget law, and called on Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to postpone the session out of respect for the assassination's anniversary of former President Gemayel. So did deputy Speaker Elias Bou Saab, who attended while other Free Patriotic Movement MPs boycotted. "I asked Speaker Berri to postpone the session out of respect for the MPs who decided to boycott today's session," Bou Saab said. The session was postponed to Thursday morning and will be held tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.Meanwhile, public sector retirees had gathered since morning in front of Parliament to protest the state budget that they said did not take their demands into consideration. They demanded a wage increase, better health care and education for their children.

Geagea threatens to sue finance minister over judicial appointments
Naharnet/September 14/ 2022
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Wednesday threatened to sue caretaker Finance Minister Youssef Khalil. If Khalil “continues to obstruct the judicial appointments decree, we will have to organize an accusatory petition to prosecute him for dereliction of duty,” Geagea warned in a tweet. The failure to pass the decree has suspended the investigations into the Beirut port blast case.

Rahi meets presidential candidate May Rihani
NNA/September 14/ 2022
Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi met on Wednesday in Dimane with candidate to the presidential elections May Rihani, who presented her electoral program.
Following the meeting, she stressed that her project echoes the Patriarch's calls for Lebanon's neutrality and for preserving its pluralism and identity.

2 dead, 2 wounded as two families clash in Mashghara
Naharnet/September 14/ 2022
A dispute between the Sharaf and al-Ammar families escalated into an armed clash Wednesday in the West Bekaa town of Mashghara, the National News Agency said.
The agency said the dispute was linked to previous tensions over cattle grazing and resulted in the death of H. Sharaf and A. Sharaf and the wounding of M. al-Ammar and his brother A. al-Ammar. An army force later arrived in the town to separate between the two families as the army encircled the Suhmor hospital in West Bekaa.

Corona - MoPH: 220 new coronavirus infections, two deaths

NNA/September 14/ 2022
Lebanon has recorded 220 new coronavirus cases and two deaths in the last 24 hours, as reported by the Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday.

Lebanon's government formation is not helped by marginalising the Aounists
Michael Young/The National/September 14/ 2022
The Prime Minister Najib Mikati would be better of reaching a compromise with the President Michel Aoun.
Following Lebanon’s parliamentary elections in May, parliament tasked the country's prime minister Najib Mikati with forming a new government to succeed the one he had headed prior to the elections. However, with a presidential election scheduled between now and the end of October, after which yet another government will have to be formed, Mr Mikati has seemed reluctant to complete the undertaking.
The reason for this is fairly obvious. Government-formation processes in Lebanon have become exasperating, drawn-out affairs, as the country’s political forces try to secure a large share of ministers as well as lucrative portfolios, all of which have to respect delicate sectarian balances. For Mr Mikati to form a government now, he would need to come to terms with Gebran Bassil, the son-in-law of Lebanon's President Michel Aoun, who wants to ensure that his stakes in the system will be protected once Mr Aoun leaves office. Mr Mikati’s likely calculation is that rather than go through the headache of dealing with Mr Bassil, he is better off waiting until Mr Aoun leaves, meanwhile he can continue to function through his caretaker government. That makes sense, but it also poses major problems.
Mr Bassil is widely seen as a polarising figure who operates through perpetual brinkmanship. He is right to view Mr Mikati’s reluctance to form a government as a tactic to run the clock out on himself and his father-in law. Mr Mikati believes that once Mr Aoun goes home, his own leverage in shaping a new government will increase. That is because the president has often refused to sign decrees to form new governments until Mr Bassil’s demands have been met.
Mr Bassil’s fear, and it may well be justified, is that leading members of the established political class – which he joined only late, in 2006 – and above all parliament speaker Nabih Berri, seek to politically eliminate him and do away with Mr Aoun’s legacy. This explains why Mr Bassil is fighting to retain significant representation in Mr Mikati’s new government, fearing that if he fails to do so, he will lose ground once Mr Aoun exits.
In stark political terms, Mr Bassil is engaged in political survival, not least because during the last elections his Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) lost votes in the Christian community. Mr Bassil also wants to remain in the game because, down the road, he seeks to become president himself. While it is difficult to find redeeming qualities in the man, it is absurd to expect Mr Aoun and Mr Bassil to quietly sign off on their own political elimination.
And Mr Bassil has tools at his disposal. Because of domestic divisions, it seems increasingly unlikely that the political forces will reach a consensus on a new president before Mr Aoun departs from office. Constitutionally, if there is a presidential vacuum, the government takes over the president’s powers. That is what Mr Mikati appears to be waiting for. However, there is a major disagreement: it is unclear if a caretaker government is also entitled to presidential powers. Following parliamentary elections, all governments must resign, which is why Mr Mikati’s government finds itself in a caretaker capacity today. Mr Mikati argues that the constitution abhors a vacuum and therefore does not specify which kind of government can secure presidential powers, so even a caretaker government can do so. Mr Bassil rejects this view.
Indeed, on September 6, Mr Bassil warned that if the caretaker government took over Mr Aoun’s duties, the FPM would refuse to recognise it and would consider the move illegitimate. While there may be ways for Mr Mikati and Mr Berri to circumvent Mr Bassil, such steps could provoke sectarian sensitivities, since the president is always a Maronite Christian and the government is headed by a Sunni Muslim. For the prime minister to manoeuvre to take over the powers of the president may prove divisive. Moreover, Hezbollah may well block efforts to marginalise Mr Bassil, a close ally.
Hezbollah's cautious approach to the Lebanese presidential election. That is why it makes more sense for Mr Mikati to forge ahead and compromise with Mr Aoun. Eliminating the Aounists may be desirable for Mr Bassil’s enemies, but it will not work, and Mr Bassil can still hinder an agreement over a consensual president. However, once a new president is chosen, Mr Bassil’s latitude to put up obstacles will be reduced, as Mr Aoun’s replacement is far less likely to bend to his impositions.
Mr Mikati should also avoid being Mr Berri’s stick in the speaker’s feud with Mr Bassil. Last year, Mr Mikati, who gains from playing the middle, showed he could be patient in dealing with Mr Aoun. As president, Mr Aoun made significant gains in advancing the president’s role in the government formation process. Trying to take him back to when presidents were irrelevant in this procedure is unrealistic. If Mr Bassil’s destiny is to alienate everyone and lose ground, so be it. With Mr Aoun’s departure, this may become inevitable. But at a time when the country needs a measure of political harmony to address its mounting problems, it is better for Mr Bassil’s enemies that he be inside the tent. It is never a good idea for antipathy to guide political decisions.

The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 14-15/2022

Washington Denies Israeli Leaks on ‘Death’ of Nuclear Talks with Iran
Washington - Ali Barada/Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
The Biden administration has rejected Israeli rumors about Washington’s Special Envoy Robert Malley being sidelined from negotiations for the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The US administration also denied other rumors spread by a senior Israeli official who had declared nuclear talks with Iran dead. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said late on Monday in a briefing that Iran has tripled its uranium enrichment capabilities. “Iran has increased its ability to enrich uranium by three-fold at the Fordow facility,” said Gantz, adding that according to the JCPOA, Iran is barred from enriching uranium at that site. Gantz’s statements coincided with what US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Monday evening about Iran’s response to the European proposal to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement making the possibility of reaching an agreement in the near term “unlikely.”In light of Iran’s latest reply to a draft proposal by the European Union, prospects for the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the near future are not looking good, Blinken said. An Israeli diplomatic official, who requested anonymity, told media that an agreement may only be achieved after the US congressional midterm elections next November. Nevertheless, the official pointed out that Israel is actively lobbying behind the scenes with members of the US Senate and House of Representatives to persuade them to support its positions on a nuclear agreement with Iran. On Monday, a senior Israeli official told Israeli reporters accompanying Prime Minister Yair Lapid on a state visit to Germany that Jerusalem’s recent engagement with the Biden administration on talks to revive the nuclear deal had resulted in US decision-making being placed “out of the hands of Malley’s camp by now.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity. In an initial reaction to the anonymous Israeli comments, a State Department spokesman had rejected the suggestion that Malley had been sidelined, or that the US had concluded that efforts to revive the deal had hit a dead end. “We have a very close dialogue with Israel and other allies and partners about Iran, including the JCPOA. Special Envoy Malley is an integral part of those talks,” read a statement from the State Department Monday, distributed in the name of an anonymous spokesperson.

Gantz Presents Documents of Iranian Weapons Factories in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
Security sources in Tel Aviv revealed that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz carried with him to the United Nations headquarters in New York many documents on Iranian activity in the Middle East. Among the most prominent of these documents is a file containing photos and reports showing that Iran is building factories for missile weapons, advanced munitions, and drones, in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. According to sources who requested anonymity, Gantz's documents made it clear that the cited factories were limited to Syria, but in recent months, crews from the Lebanese Hezbollah and Yemeni Houthis were trained at those sites. Gantz spoke personally on this issue during a lecture he gave at The Jerusalem Post Conference in New York. He said 2022 witnessed a significant increase in Iranian military activity, directed not only against Israel, but also against countries in the region and even Europe. There has been a “sharp increase in Iran’s violent activity” in the region since the start of 2022, he remarked. Despite economic hardships facing its own citizens, Iran sends more than $1 billion to its proxy groups, he noted. Iran is establishing an advanced weapons industry in Syria to serve its war plans and to supply its militias, but Israeli raids against those sites had forced it to look for other solutions, he went on to say. According to Gantz, one of the solutions was for Iran to move some of these factories to Lebanon and Yemen. He pointed out that it has resorted to storing arms in buildings “in the heart of residential neighborhoods in several Lebanese and Yemeni towns, threatening the lives of safe civilians.”“Iran is the biggest destabilizing factor in the Middle East,” warned Gantz, explaining that Iranian activity can fuel terrorism and the arms race, threaten the global economy and energy resources, and affect food prices, trade, freedom of navigation and stability in the region.

US Charges Three Iranians for Ransomware Attacks on Women’s Shelter, Businesses
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
Three Iranians have been charged with trying to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from organizations in the United States, Europe, Iran and Israel, including a domestic violence shelter, by hacking in to their computer systems, US officials said on Wednesday. Other targets included local US governments, regional utilities in Mississippi and Indiana, accounting firms and a state lawyers' association, according to charges filed by the US Justice Department.
While the criminal charges do not say whether the alleged hackers worked for the Iranian government, a separate US Treasury Department statement said they were affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, an Iranian intelligence and security force. A senior Justice Department official said the Iran government does not discourage residents from engaging in hacking, as long as it is directed outside the country. Iran's mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The defendants, named Mansour Ahmadi, Ahmad Khatibi and Amir Hossein Nikaein, are citizens of Iran who own or are employed by private technology companies in the country. The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on the three Iranians, as well as several other individuals and two organizations they said were part of Tehran's "malicious" cyber and ransomware activity.
The alleged hackers face little chance of being arrested, as they are believed to be living freely in Iran. But officials said the charges will make it difficult for them to travel or find work outside the country, as is the preference of many educated Iranians. According to the charges, the three men infiltrated the computer systems of a wide range of businesses and governments between October 2020 and August 2022, encrypted their data and demanded bitcoin payments of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some victims, including the domestic violence shelter, opted to pay the ransom to recover their data. Such ransomware attacks have skyrocketed over the past decade, damaging scores of US companies and other organizations around the globe. In June last year, the Justice Department said it was elevating ransomware investigations to a similar priority as terrorism in the wake of a major, disruptive attack on a US pipeline company, which led to localized gas shortages on the US East coast.

Russia forced to import North Korean military kit, Ministry of Defence says
David Hughes, PA Political Editor/PA Media: UK NewsPA Media: UK News/September 14/2022
Vladimir Putin’s forces are being forced to source equipment from North Korea and Iran as the impacts of sanctions and military losses in Ukraine bite, defence experts believe. British defence intelligence analysts think that Moscow is “increasingly sourcing weaponry from other heavily sanctioned states” as its own stockpiles are depleted. An update published by the UK’s Ministry of Defence pointed to claims that Ukrainian forces had shot down an Iranian-made drone as evidence of Moscow’s use of systems sourced from Tehran. Ukraine claimed it shot down the drone near Kupiansk as part of the offensive that has punched through Russian lines around Kharkiv on the eastern front. The image suggested the Shahed “suicide drone” had been shot down by Ukrainian forces and had not detonated on impact as designed, though little information was released by the authorities in Kyiv. The UK’s Ministry of Defence said: “Russia has highly likely deployed Iranian uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) in Ukraine for the first time. “On September 13 2022, Ukrainian officials reported that their forces had shot down a Shahed-136 UAV near Kupiansk, in the area of Ukraine’s successful ongoing offensive. “The Shahed-136 is a one-way attack UAV with a claimed range of 2,500 kilometres. “Similar Iranian-manufactured systems have likely been used in attacks in the Middle East, including against the oil tanker MT Mercer Street in July 2021.” Russian forces have sustained heavy losses since the invasion of Ukraine began in February, and sanctions have restricted access to key components for its weapons systems. The MoD update said: “Russia is almost certainly increasingly sourcing weaponry from other heavily sanctioned states like Iran and North Korea as its own stocks dwindle. “The loss of a Shahed-136 near the front lines suggests there is a realistic possibility that Russia is attempting to use the system to conduct tactical strikes rather than against more strategic targets farther into Ukrainian territory.” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also underlined the impact of sanctions on Russia’s defence industry. “The Russian military is taking chips from dishwashers and refrigerators to fix their military hardware, because they ran out of semiconductors,” she said. “Russia’s industry is in tatters.”

Russia Forced To Import Weapons From North Korea And Iran, British Officials Say

Kevin Schofield/ HuffPost UK/September 14, 2022
Russia is being forced to import weapons from North Korea and Iran as its own supply of equipment “dwindles”, according to the Ministry of Defence. In their latest intelligence update on the war in Ukraine, the MoD said Vladimir Putin is “increasingly sourcing weaponry from other heavily sanctioned states” as the effects of western sanctions on Moscow take their toll. The latest blow for Russia comes after Ukraine launched a hugely successful counter-offensive to re-claim previously-occupied territory. This morning’s MoD update pointed to claims that Ukrainian forces had shot down an Iranian-made drone as evidence of Moscow’s use of systems sourced from Tehran. Ukraine claimed it shot down the drone - known as a Shahed-136 - near Kupiansk as part of the offensive that has punched through Russian lines around Kharkiv on the eastern front. The MoD said: “Russia is almost certainly increasingly sourcing weaponry from other heavily sanctioned states like Iran and North Korea as its own stocks dwindle. “The loss of a Shahed-136 near the front lines suggests there is a realistic possibility that Russia is attempting to use the system to conduct tactical strikes rather than against more strategic targets farther into Ukrainian territory.” Earlier this week, the MoD claimed Ukrainian forces have recaptured an area at least twice the size of Greater London.

Zelensky visits recaptured hub of Izyum in East Ukraine: Army
AFP/NNA/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday visited the east Ukraine city of Izyum, the military said, one of the largest cities recently recaptured from Russia by Kyiv's army in a lightning counter-offensive.
The military in a statement on social media that Zelensky and military officials "took part" in a ceremony raising the Ukrainian flag over the captured city, which was key for Russia's ambitions to capture the Donbas region. Pictures distributed separately by Zelensky's office showed the Ukrainian leader wearing dark-green and flanked by guards as he was taking selfies with soldiers and meeting troops at a flag-rising ceremony. -- AFP

EU Says Solidarity with Ukraine ‘Unshakeable’, Lays Out Energy Spike Solutions
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
The European Commission unveiled on Wednesday a series of proposals to curb the energy price spike that has hit Europe in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, while stressing that the bloc's solidarity with Kyiv would be "unshakeable." With Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska the guest of honor as she delivered her annual state of the union speech, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said sanctions on Russia were having a real impact and were there to stay. "Never before has this Parliament debated the State of our Union with war raging on European soil," von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, wearing blue and yellow - the colors of both Ukraine's and the EU flags - told her annual address to the European Parliament. "And I stand here with the conviction that with courage and solidarity, Putin will fail and Europe will prevail," von der Leyen said, adding: "Europe's solidarity with Ukraine will remain unshakeable." Von der Leyen, whose proposals to help European households and companies include skimming off windfall profits from energy companies and imposing cuts in electricity usage across the bloc, said the bloc was also working to protect households and businesses. "Making ends meet is becoming a source of anxiety for millions of businesses and households," she said, proposing measures to cap revenues from low-cost electricity generators and force fossil fuel firms to share the profits they make from soaring energy prices. "In these times it is wrong to receive extraordinary record revenues and profits benefiting from war and on the back of our consumers. In these times, profits must be shared and channeled to those who need it most," she said. While some in Europe, pointing at the huge spike in energy prices, have been arguing that the bloc's sanctions on Russia were hitting the West more, von der Leyen said sanctions were hurting Russia. "Russia's financial sector is on life-support", she said, adding that nearly one thousand international companies have left the country. "The Russian military is taking chips from dishwashers and refrigerators to fix their military hardware, because they ran out of semiconductors. Russia's industry is in tatters."At a time when Ukraine is working on securing territory it has reclaimed from occupying Russian forces in a swift counter-offensive, von der Leyen said this was not the time for the bloc to soften its stance. "This is the time for us to show resolve, not appeasement," she said. "We are in it for the long haul." She said Europe had diversified away from Russian energy, but Moscow was still "actively manipulating" the market and gas prices have risen by more than 10 times compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Syria May ‘Return to Larger-scale Fighting,’ UN Warns in New Report
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
Syria's bloody conflict is at risk of further escalation after several frontlines across the country flared up in recent months, the United Nations warned on Wednesday in a new report. "Syria cannot afford a return to larger-scale fighting, but that is where it may be heading," said Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, chair of the UN's Syria commission. The 50-page report found that despite many active battlefronts quieting in recent years, "grave violations of fundamental human rights and humanitarian law" had increased across the country over the last six months. They included fighting in the country's northeast and northwest that left dozens of civilians dead and restricted access to food and water, the report said, Reuters reported. In particular over the last three months, the Commission had documented more Russian aerial bombardments over opposition-held areas, said commissioner Hanny Megally. "We had an idea at some point that the war was completely finished in Syria," Pinheiro told journalists in Geneva, adding that the violations documented in the report proved this was not the case.

UN Warns Against Further Deterioration of Situation in Sudan
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Sudan, Volker Perthes warned that the overall situation in the country will continue to worsen unless a political situation is found to restore a credible, fully functioning civilian-led government.
In a briefing to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Perthes stressed there is a chance of reaching a political agreement that would inaugurate a new transitional period towards democratic governance. He underscored Sudan’s need for a civilian-led government that can re-establish the authority of the state across the country and create the conditions for a resumption of international cooperation, including debt relief. Perthes pointed out that on October 25 will mark a year since the military coup, noting that the past 10 months have been noted for recurrent protests against the coup, during which 117 people have been killed, and thousands injured in the context of these protests. At the same time, he confirmed that efforts to realize the goals of the 2018 revolution have continued, particularly among youth, women, trade unions and professional associations. With regard to the political process, Perthes said some important decisions have been taken by the military, and some promising developments have happened among civilians. The Sudanese army’s announcement that it will withdraw from politics generated momentum among civilian forces, Perthes noted, adding that several major initiatives aimed at reaching a common “civilian” vision have emerged in response. He referred to the draft constitutional framework to the Trilateral Mechanism presented by the Bar Association, saying it gathered a broad spectrum of civilian forces around one vision, including the parties of the Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Committee and Juba Peace Agreement signatories. Moreover, Perthes added that the trilateral mechanism, consisting of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGADI), has engaged with all initiatives and is currently in the process of comparing the constitutional and political visions that have been issued. “Almost all stakeholders, including notably the military, have expressed that they want the trilateral mechanism to play a role – either in bringing the different initiatives together, coming up with bridging proposals, or eventually mediating an agreement with the military,” he remarked. He cited major differences about the institutional division of powers, particularly the role of the military, but he reassured the Council that the gaps have narrowed, and there is wide-ranging consensus now, among other things, on the need for a civilian head of state, an independent prime minister, and a cabinet of experts or technocrats, not party leaders. “There is an opportunity to end the crisis, which military and civilian forces need to grasp,” Perthes said, noting that the trilateral mechanism stands ready to convene the parties around one text so as to bridge remaining differences. Nearly a year after the military takeover of October 25, Sudan still lacks a fully functional and legitimate government. The decision of the military to withdraw from politics and the recent initiatives by civilian forces offer a window of opportunity for both the military and political forces to reach an agreement on the way forward, Perthes told the Security Council. He further warned that the longer political paralysis exists, the more difficult it will become to return to the “transition” which UNITAMS is mandated to assist. He called on the international community and the Security Council to back the UNITAMS efforts and to offer coordinated support to Sudan at this critical time.

Israeli Officer, 2 Palestinians Killed in Shootout
Asharq Al-Awsat/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
Palestinian gunmen opened fire on Israeli troops near a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank Wednesday, killing an Israeli army officer, the Israeli military said. Palestinian officials said that troops killed the gunmen. The Palestinian Health Ministry said that two Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army, without providing additional details. The military said soldiers spotted two individuals approaching the separation barrier in the northern West Bank and that it dispatched soldiers to the area. It said the two suspects were armed with automatic weapons and began shooting at troops, who returned fire. The Israeli army confirmed that Maj. Bar Falah, 30, was killed by the gunmen in the shootout, The Associated Press reported. The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that the Israeli army was holding the bodies of the two men. It identified them as Ahmad Abed, 23, and Abd al-Rahman Abed, 22, both from a village near the city of Jenin. The Israeli military confirmed that Ahmad Abed was a member of the Palestinian Authority security services. The Palestinian militant group Hamas praised the attack, hailing the two gunmen as “heroic martyrs.”Wednesday's violence was the latest in a long string of incidents involving deadly confrontations between soldiers and Palestinians in the West Bank in recent months, particularly around the city of Jenin, which has become a bastion for armed struggle against Israel. Israel has been carrying out nightly arrest raids in West Bank cities, towns and villages since a spate of attacks against Israelis in the spring killed 19 people. Israeli fire has killed scores of Palestinians during that time, making it the deadliest year in the occupied territory since 2016. The Israeli military says the vast majority of those killed were militants or stone-throwers who endangered the soldiers. But several civilians have also been killed during Israel’s monthslong operation, including a veteran journalist and a lawyer who apparently drove unwittingly into a battle zone. Some local youths who took to the streets in response to the invasion of their neighborhoods have also been killed.
Israel says the arrest raids are meant to dismantle militant networks that have embedded themselves. The Palestinians say the operations are aimed at maintaining Israel’s 55-year military occupation of territories they want for an independent state.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians seek those territories for a future state.

UN chief expresses hope that Saudi-Iranian talks will help ease regional tensions
Ephrem Kossaify/September 15, 2022
NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday expressed hope that talks underway between authorities in Saudi Arabia and Iran will help to ease tensions in the Gulf region. “I hope that the dialogue that started between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and other forms of dialogue in the region, will produce results and will allow a reduction of the tension in the Gulf,” he told Arab News. It came as he reflected on the role the Kingdom, the UAE other Gulf nations can play in tackling global crises — including food insecurity, climate-related emergencies and energy shortages — and regional conflicts such as those in Syria, Yemen, Libya and between the Israelis and Palestinians.“I am sure that (Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the entire Gulf Cooperation Council) will be quite active in relation to the promotion of peaceful solutions in their neighborhood: In Syria, Libya, Yemen or in any other country that is close to them,” said Guterres. “I think the people of Syria, the people of Libya, the people of Yemen have already suffered too much. And my appeal is for everybody to come together to solve those problems.”
The UN chief also said he hopes that “GCC countries, which have a huge capacity for production, will contribute to (resolving) the energy crisis in the world.”
Turning to the latest developments in Libya, Guterres said that the supposed ceasefire there “is not in sight.”
He added: “It’s difficult to know what is the biggest challenge that requires action. We must preserve peace between (the rival authorities in the) east and west but that also means preserving peace in relation to the recent confrontations that happened in Tripoli.
“With the militias supporting either (Government of National Unity Prime Minister Abdul Hamid) Dbeibah or (Government of National Stability leader Fathi) Bashaga, we need hostilities (to stop.) That is fundamental.”
Guterres said that legitimacy remains a problem in Libya and he called for a quick agreement between the House of Representatives in the east of the country and the High Council of State that would allow the implementation of legal changes required for national elections to take place.
He urged external actors involved in Libya to “fully support the process of reconciliation” and back the political process that could lead to the election of a “legitimate government that everybody accepts.”
Speaking on Wednesday during a news conference to mark the start of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly the previous day, Guterres, who had just returned from a visit to flood-ravaged Pakistan, prefaced his remarks with a striking message denouncing the “sheer inadequacy of the global response to the climate crisis” and urging the international community to take more-aggressive action to mitigate its effects.
Describing the ongoing “climate carnage” in Pakistan, which has so far resulted in the deaths of more than 1,300 people and caused damages estimated at more than $30 billion, Guterres said his trip to the stricken country was a “window into the future.” He added: “A future of permanent and ubiquitous climate chaos on an unimaginable scale: Devastating loss of life, enormous human suffering, and massive damage to infrastructure and livelihoods. “What is happening in Pakistan demonstrates the sheer inadequacy of the global response to the climate crisis, and the betrayal and injustice at the heart of it. It is simply heartbreaking. “No picture can convey the scope of this catastrophe. The flooded area is three times the size of my entire country, Portugal.”
Guterres once again pointed out that although the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause the planet to heat up and its glaciers to melt are overwhelmingly produced by the world’s richest nations, it is poorer countries such as Pakistan that bear the brunt of resultant extreme-weather events and the death and destruction they bring. “Whether it’s Pakistan, the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, small islands or the least-developed countries, the world’s most vulnerable — who did nothing to cause this crisis — are paying a horrific price for decades of intransigence by big emitters,” he said.
“G20 countries are responsible for 80 percent of emissions. If one-third of G20 countries was underwater today, as it could be tomorrow, perhaps they would find it easier to agree on drastic cuts to emissions.”
He warned that continued inaction now will cause occurrences of devastating weather events to multiply in the future. The repercussions, including instability and global mass migration, will be felt “for years to come,” he added
“My message to world leaders gathering here is clear: Lower the temperature — now. Don’t flood the world today; don’t drown it tomorrow,” said Guterres. Geopolitical divides have never been so extreme, he added, and are paralyzing efforts to address global challenges.
“Our world is blighted by war, battered by climate chaos, scarred by hate and shamed by poverty, hunger and inequality,” Guterres said. The human solidarity enshrined in the words of the UN charter is “being devoured by the acids of nationalism and self-interest, shocking disregard for the poorest and most vulnerable in our world, (and) by politicians who play to people’s worst instincts, for partisan gain.” He concluded by reiterating the importance of offering hope to people. “This year’s general debate must be about providing hope and overcoming the divisions that are dramatically impacting the world,” Guterres said. “That hope can only come through the dialogue and debate that are the beating heart of the United Nations and that must prevail … against all divisions.”

End of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight - WHO chief
NNA/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
The world has never been in a better position to end the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, urging nations to keep up their efforts against the virus that has killed over six million people. "We are not there yet. But the end is in sight," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a virtual press conference. The comment was the most optimistic from the UN agency since it declared COVID-19 an international emergency and started describing the virus as a pandemic in March 2020. The virus, which emerged in China in late 2019, has killed nearly 6.5 million people and infected 606 million, roiling global economies and overwhelming healthcare systems.The rollout of vaccines and therapies have helped to stem the severity of disease. Deaths from COVID-19 last week were the lowest since March 2020, the U.N. agency reported. Still, countries need to take a hard look at their policies and strengthen them for COVID-19 and future viruses, Tedros said. He also urged nations to vaccinate 100% of their high-risk groups and keep testing for the virus. The WHO warned of the possibility of future waves of the virus and said countries need to maintain adequate supplies of medical equipment and healthcare workers. "We expect there to be future waves of infections, potentially at different time points throughout the world caused by different subvariants of Omicron or even different variants of concern," said WHO's senior epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove.
Monkeypox cases, too, were on a downtrend but Tedros urged countries to keep up the fight. WHO officials said last month that it is possible to eliminate the monkeypox outbreak in Europe by stepping up vaccination and testing. read more
"As with COVID-19, this is not the time to relax or let down our guard." -----Reuters

Abraham Accords inspired a daring new path in the Middle East
The Arab Weekly/September 14/2022
The foresight and courage of Emirati and Bahraini leaders two years ago set the Middle East on a new path, toward greater opportunity, greater prosperity, greater security. After decades of disconnection, denial and distrust, two years of normalised and remarkably warm relations between Israel and two Arab Gulf states have shown how ready the Middle East was, and is, for fundamental change. Who would have predicted that even before the ceremonial signing of the Abraham Accords on the White House lawn, by Foreign Ministers Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates and Dr Abdullatif Al-Zayani of Bahrain, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Trump, the first of dozens of memoranda of understanding would be announced between Gulf and Israeli companies and government entities? Who would have predicted hundreds of thousands of tourists being welcomed in countries they were so recently forbidden to enter; that packed flights of national airlines would be transiting daily between Tel Aviv and Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Manama, through Saudi airspace; that kosher restaurants would be opening (and would thrive) in Dubai and that hotels in Abu Dhabi would be instructed to provide kosher options on their menus? Who would have predicted the security cooperation agreement reached between Israel and Bahrain, less than 17 months after mutual recognition, or the defence cooperation agreement that preceded it, the first between Israel and an Arab state, that was signed during a visit by Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz to Morocco in November 2021, less than a year after bilateral relations were announced, or the free trade agreement concluded in record time between the UAE and Israel?
Far from public view, the foundation for these and other breakthroughs was laid by a cohort of Arab and Israeli visionaries, along with a small circle of policy analysts in US and Middle East think tanks and civil society advocates for regional peace, who saw the emerging outlines of strategic transformation years, even decades, ago. It had been clear for years, and brought into sharp relief by both the rise of al-Qaeda and ISIS and the political upheavals of 2010-11, that the Arab status quo was inhibiting progress and incubating extremism across the Middle East and North Africa. More innovation, openness, recognition of diversity, opportunity for women and regional cooperation would raise living standards and counter the appeal of radical ideologies. It was equally clear that attempting to isolate the region’s greatest non-hydrocarbon-based success story, Israel, rather than seeking to integrate it and partner with it, was a colossal missed opportunity. While sympathising with the cause of justice and political rights for the Palestinians, the justification for their long-closed door to Israel, Arab leaders grew increasingly frustrated with the fractured and ineffective Palestinian leadership, less inhibited about expressing that frustration to each other and to outsiders and more and more open to discreet explorations of trade and other forms of cooperation with Israel.
It was also apparent, in meetings I and my American Jewish Committee colleagues had with Arab officials and analysts a decade ago, how profoundly perceptions of the US role in their region had changed after the unipolar heights of the early post-Cold War period. There was a sense that Washington, by declining to stand with President Hosni Mubarak against the reformist throng in Tahrir Square in 2011, had revealed its unreliability and its naïveté regarding the intentions and methods of the Muslim Brotherhood. Negotiations with Iran several years later over its nuclear programmme, negotiations to which no regional player was a party, deepened suspicions in Arab capitals. Sharing and openly expressing those same suspicions were the leaders of Israel, a country that had proven again and again its will and capacity to confront extremists and to take extraordinary risks to neutralise threats.
Partnering with Israel, transforming the Jewish state from pariah to potential ally, grew increasingly attractive to wise regional leaders, as did the prospect of reaping political benefits in Washington from breaking the seemingly impenetrable logjam to Middle East peace.
What could be seen over the horizon a decade or two ago, and pitched by that cohort of daring believers as the likely yield from new relations, technology sharing in a range of sectors, educational exchanges, public health and environmental cooperation, joint water and energy projects, billions of dollars in trade and investments, has been the stuff of almost daily headlines these last two years.
Also envisioned early on but not routinely in the headlines has been the growing security relationship between Israel and its Abraham Accords partners, a bulwark against Iranian aggression. It does not need to be in the headlines. The enemies of regional peace and stability know the game has changed.
In advance of President Biden’s visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia two months ago, there had been speculation he would announce a new security architecture for the region, focused on the multiple threats posed by Iran and its proxies and that Israel would be one of its pillars. That his trip ended with no such announcement does not mean this “architecture” was not discussed, nor that military and intelligence units of countries with growing ties and facing common challenges are not cooperating. It does not mean that the US Central Command, which incorporated Israel into its area of responsibility one year ago, is not tasked with coordinating regional air defence; CENTCOM chief General Michael Kurilla made Israel’s cutting-edge partnership clear in his recent visits to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The foresight and courage of Emirati and Bahraini leaders two years ago set the Middle East on a new path, toward greater opportunity, greater prosperity, greater security. These leaders were ready for fundamental change. As the bold leaders of other states assess the advantages to their people and to the cause of peace from further regional integration, and we know these assessments are well under way, the successes of the Abraham Accords’ first two years are sure to multiply.
*Jason Isaacson is the American Jewish Committee’s Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer.

Qatar, Egypt sign memoranda of understanding as Sisi visits
Agence France Presse/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
Qatar and Egypt signed several memoranda of understanding Wednesday, official media said, as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi makes his first visit to the Gulf country since the nations healed a diplomatic rift. Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Sisi "witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Qatar Investment Authority and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt for investment and development", the emir's office said on its official website. They also signed an MoU on "cooperation in the field of ports" and another on "cooperation in the field of social affairs", the website added.
Qatari and Egyptian ministers and other officials also attended the signing ceremony, the office said. Sisi and the emir discussed ways of strengthening relations between the two countries, particularly in the fields of investment, transport and social affairs, the emir's office said. Sisi also met with business representatives on Wednesday, the official news agency QNA said. Cairo joined Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, in cutting ties with Qatar in June 2017, alleging it backed radical Islamist groups and was too close to Riyadh's rival Iran -- allegations Doha denied.
They lifted their blockade in January 2021. The emir met Sisi at the airport on Tuesday, for a visit QNA has said marked "a new era in relations". The emir visited Cairo in June, when Qatari investments in cash-strapped Egypt were on the agenda, as well as cooperation in the energy and agriculture sectors. In late March, Cairo said Qatar planned to invest $5 billion in Egypt, while hydrocarbon giant QatarEnergy announced an agreement with US major ExxonMobil to acquire a 40-percent stake in a gas exploration block off Egypt in the Mediterranean.

Armenia, Azerbaijan trade blame for renewed shelling
Associated Press/Wednesday, 14 September, 2022
Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of new rounds of shelling on Wednesday morning as hostilities reignited between the two longtime adversaries.
Armenia's Defense Ministry accused Azerbaijani forces of launching combat drones in the direction of the Armenian resort of Jermuk overnight and renewing the shelling from artillery and mortars in the morning in the direction of Jermuk and Verin Shorzha village near the Sevan lake. The Azerbaijani military, in turn, charged that Armenian forces shelled its positions in the Kalbajar and Lachin districts in the separatist Narogno-Karabakh regions. Fighting on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan erupted on Tuesday, killing about 100 troops in total. Armenia said at least 49 of its soldiers were killed; Azerbaijan said it lost 50. The two countries have been locked in a decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. Azerbaijan reclaimed broad swaths of Nagorno-Karabakh in a six-week war in 2020 that killed more than 6,600 people and ended with a Russia-brokered peace deal. Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers under the deal. The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday urged both parties "to refrain from further escalation and show restraint." Moscow has engaged in a delicate balancing act in seeking to maintain friendly ties with both ex-Soviet nations. It has strong economic and security ties with Armenia, which hosts a Russian military base, while also has been developing close cooperation with oil-rich Azerbaijan.
The international community also urged calm. The Armenian government said it would officially ask Russia for assistance under a friendship treaty between the countries, and also appeal to the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Moscow-dominated security alliance of ex-Soviet nations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refrained from comment on Armenia's request but added during a conference call with reporters that Putin was "taking every effort to help de-escalate tensions."

The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 14-15/2022
IDF Officer Killed in Battle With Palestinians Terrorists
Two terrorist gunmen also killed, one later identified as a member of the Palestinian
Israel Today Staff/September 14/2022
An IDF officer was killed Tuesday in a clash with terrorists near the Gilboa Crossing, in the Jenin area in northern Samaria. The IDF stated that its observation posts identified two suspects in the area of the security barrier near the Arab village of Jalama. The IDF forces that were rushed to the point surrounded the suspects and commenced an arrest procedure, during which the suspects shot at the troops. The soldiers shot back at the suspects and neutralized them. As a result of the exchange of fire, an IDF officer was killed. After the exchange of fire, the Gilboa Crossing was closed to vehicle traffic until Friday morning. The passage of workers and goods will continue as usual. The two terrorists were identified as Ahmad Ayman Ibrahim and Abdul Rahman Hani Abed.
Not so peaceful partners
Abed was a member of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, the third time in two weeks that a PA security official is involved in a terror attack. Some reports say that the terrorists were wearing IDF uniforms. Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack. Fatah is the organization led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and in turn dominates the politics of the Palestinian Authority. The fact that Fatah gunmen, especially those who are also members of the Palestinian Authority Police, are involved in so many violent incidents again calls into question whether or not Abbas can be seen as a genuine peace partner.
Worrying uptick in Palestinian attacks
A similar shooting attack occurred in the same area earlier in the day. Terrorists shot at a tractor working for the Ministry of Defense at the security barrier near the Jalama checkpoint. The tractor driver was not injured, but the tractor was heavily damaged. Kan 11 news recently reported an uptick in the number of shooting attacks in Judea and Samaria since the beginning of the year. About 60 such attacks have occurred since the beginning of 2022, compared to about 50 shooting attacks in all of 2021, 48 in 2020, and 61 in 2019. With reporting by TPS.

Semi-Frozen: The Middle East's Intractable Conflicts
Y. Carmon and Alberto M. Fernandez/MEMRI Daily Brief No. 409/September 14/2022
The term "frozen conflict" came into vogue in recent decades to describe a variety of border conflicts between Russia and neighboring countries, often over breakaway regions like Abkhazia or the Donbass.[1] There are also historic conflicts like Kashmir or the Arab-Israeli Conflict that go on for decades, sometimes hot and sometimes cold, that seem to also be "frozen," neither conclusive war nor outright peace, but an uneasy, volatile reality in between.
But aside from the old conflict over Palestine, the Middle East seems to have engendered new conflicts in recent decades that are, at least, semi-frozen, lasting for a decade or longer. Often extremely violent and damaging to the future of nations, they also simmer down to situations approaching some type of wary truce, mere political turmoil or low-grade instability only to flare up again. This seems to be the case in places like Libya, Yemen, and Iraq, all three countries where the overthrow of a longtime brutal dictator unleashed forces that have not yet played out years later.
Of course, the region is flush with conflict. In Lebanon and Syria, one side (Hezbollah and Assad) is more or less victorious and dominant, though there is still some opposition on the ground. Morocco and Algeria are increasingly at loggerheads, though not at war. In Sudan, political crisis and societal turmoil could lead to open conflict between rival groupings inside the military regime. Transnational Salafi-Jihadism and Iranian-inspired terrorism still exist in the region and still claim victims.
But it is the cases of Iraq, Libya, and Yemen that are particularly haunting and costly to the future of the region. All three countries had been ruled by long-standing dictatorships that while they may have provided some of the aspects of stability, were still very volatile regimes. Two of them, Saddam's Iraq and Qaddafi's Libya, were actually major "exporters" of instability, promoting terrorism globally, repressing local citizens internally and attacking their neighbors.
Iraq has been at war, albeit sometimes at relatively low levels, since the Americans overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003. But even before that was the Kuwait War of 1990-1991 and the Iran War of 1980-1988. On top of that were internal conflicts, the regime's decades-long war against the Kurds, the savage repression of a Shia insurgency in 1991, and then after the American forces left in 2011, an increasingly sectarian Iraq under Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and the war against ISIS beginning in 2014. That war greatly increased something that had already existed, Shia paramilitary groups, which echoes today in the ongoing conflict between the militias and parties closest to Iran against those arrayed with Muqtada Al-Sadr.[2] The open armed clashes in Baghdad and Basra of August 2022 have ebbed thanks to the mediating efforts of Iraq's prime minister and of the Shia clerical authorities in Najaf, but the political crisis continues.[3]
The American overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 essentially dethroned Sunni power in Iraq and handed it over to the long-oppressed Iraqi Shia. Today's clashes in Iraq are less about good versus evil than an internal civil war within different factions of the Iraqi Shia political establishment, all of whom in one way or another, have colonized, subverted, and become parasites on the Iraqi state.[4] A 40-year-old Iraqi citizen alive today knows nothing but war and violent political turmoil inside the borders of his country.
Libya's Second Civil War ostensibly ended in October 2020 after six years of bitter fighting that drew in many foreign powers. The complexities can be dizzying but essentially an Islamist-dominated coalition based in Tripoli, supported by Turkey and Qatar, fought a nationalist coalition based in the country's east, supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Both sides, but especially Turkey, used Syrian mercenaries in the fight.[5] Also involved were Sudanese mercenaries from Darfur and Russia's notorious Wagner private military company (PMC), on the nationalist side. The United States and the UN mostly supported the Islamist-dominated coalition. After months of political impasse and rising tension, outright bloody violence broke out again in the Libyan capital Tripoli in July and August 2022 as Islamist Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, blessed as a compromise candidate by the UN in 2021, continued a slow, constant effort to gain ultimate power before, or despite, repeatedly delayed elections now scheduled to be held in December 2022.[6] Most Libyans alive today have known nothing other than the Qaddafi regime or the internecine conflict of the past decade.
Yemen's conflict has been especially brutal, including famine and malnutrition. Unlike oil rich Iraq and Libya, Yemen was destitute even before the uprising against long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011. It was Saleh who, after losing power and being forced to step down in 2011, helped engineered the pro-Iranian Houthi takeover of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in early 2015, triggering a military response from an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia. Saleh, who allied with the Houthis, would turn against them and be killed by them.
While the Houthis fight a brutal internal war against Yemeni rivals, they have developed, with the help of Iran and Hezbollah, a regional capacity that Yemen never had.[7] Houthi television was formulated by Hezbollah while Houthi drones of Iranian manufacture launched long-range attacks against Saudi cities and, in early 2022, on Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE. In an echo of North Korea, Yemen's people may be hungry but the Houthis can launch deep strikes in the Arabian Peninsula and threaten to strike Israel as well, in the furtherance of Iran's regional ambitions.[8] As in Libya, the UN has been able to – on paper and to some extent on the ground – achieve a shaky truce but that has not prevented other violence by Yemen's own Al-Qaeda branch (AQAP) targeting South Yemeni separatist forces in Aden on September 6th. The 49 percent of the Yemeni population under the age of 19 has grown up in a dark era of constant turmoil and near permanent conflict.
It was the Americans who overthrew the regimes in Libya and Iraq years ago and it is Iran that stokes much of the violence today in Yemen and Iraq. Other countries have played an often-deadly role, including Turkey. Interestingly enough the one country that has not played a role in these three conflicts is Israel. Without minimizing the role of the West or the venality of local leaders, the situation in all three Arab countries would have been much clearer and probably much better absent the toxic role played by Turkey or Iran.[9]
Today all three conflicts – Iraq, Libya, and Yemen – are simultaneously on the verge of cooling down and of heating up. Certainly, all three have seen bloodier days in the recent past but improvements and deterioration seem equally possible. The cost from these conflicts to the 80 million people living in these three countries has been tremendous in terms of broken lives and lack of investment in people, infrastructure, and industry. While in two of the cases oil wealth has prevented a bad situation being even worse, billions have been wasted in unproductive ventures, in buying weapons, buying politicians, or short-term fixes in the context of an unceasing struggle for power. Iraq in particular is country with great lost (so far) potential. And the price has been high for everyone else involved, for an international community trying to provide relief or broker peace, and even for those foreign powers who feel driven to intervene in these conflicts.
All this human and fiscal waste comes in the face of massive unaddressed existential challenges. Iraq, Libya, and Yemen are three of the most water-scarce countries on the planet. All three will see increasing deleterious effects as a result of climate change in the near future, results that could make life in these countries increasingly harsh.[10] Both Iraq and Yemen, larger countries with rapidly growing populations, have not been able to invest in providing young generations with the education and economic futures they crave. The easier way out has been to pick up a gun or work for the government (or both). These conflicts may freeze or unfreeze but the weight of these costly, lost decades makes future prospects look increasingly incendiary.
*Yigal Carmon is President of MEMRI. Alberto M. Fernandez is Vice President of MEMRI.
[1] Marshallcenter.org/en/publications/concordiam/resolving-frozen-conflicts-challenges-reconciliation/myth-frozen-conflicts, April 2010.
[2] See MEMRI JTTM report Iran-Backed Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq Closes Its Offices Across Iraq After Bloody Clashes With Shi'ite Cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr's Militia In Basra, September 1, 2022.
[3] Foreignpolicy.com/2022/08/30/iraq-politics-moqtada-al-sadr-protest-election, August 30, 2022.
[4] Ideasbeyondborders.substack.com/p/the-search-for-iraqs-political-future?utm_source=%2Fprofile%2F97495483-ideas-beyond-borders&utm_medium=reader2, September 5, 2022.
[5] Nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/inside-bloody-business-turkey%E2%80%99s-syrian-mercenaries-204589?fbclid=IwAR2Vq-7l5fyeDF-PiJfVGGuyk_0OS7xD7JKjySXJtuev4JxHZxKw6V0idtg, September 5, 2022.
[6] Middleeastmonitor.com/20220106-scandal-stricken-dbeibehs-marriage-gifts-policy-backfires, January 6, 2022.
[7] Washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/yemens-southern-hezbollah-implications-houthi-missile-and-drone-improvements, April 1, 2021.
[8] See MEMRI TV clip no. 9803, Houthi Music Video Threatening Israel: The Zionists Will Be Disgraced, Jerusalem Will Be Cleansed Of The Filth Of The Jews, September 4, 2022.
[9] See MEMRI TV clip no. 9778, Saudi Writer Abdullah Bin Bijad Al-Otaibi: Iran Has Friends From The Obama And Biden Administrations; Obama Aimed For Peace With Iran, Wanted The Muslim Brotherhood, Other Terrorist Groups To Control the Arab Countries, August 19, 2022.
[10] News.climate.columbia.edu/2020/05/08/fatal-heat-humidity-emerging, May 8, 2020.

Why Did Russia Change Its Tune on the Iran Nuclear Deal?
Saeed Ghasseminejad/The National Interest/September 14/2022
The growing strategic ties between Moscow and Tehran mean that the Islamic Republic’s access to billions of dollars may lead to more and bolder intervention in Ukraine.
In late August, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s chief nuclear negotiator in Vienna, urged the United States and Iran to “successfully overcome their last differences as soon as possible” in order to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. This encouragement contrasts with Moscow’s position in March, when it called for the exemption of Russian-Iranian trade from international sanctions against Russia as part of a final atomic agreement. The Kremlin’s demand ground the talks to a halt. Six months later, Moscow’s worries about its energy sector have become particularly pressing, as European countries have pledged an energy boycott of Russia by the end of the year. In 2021, members of the European Union (EU) imported 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil from Russia. Normally, Russia’s oil exports to the EU give Moscow political leverage over it. But a boycott means that EU countries will be looking to import oil from other countries, including the Iranian oil that the nuclear deal would add to the market.
According to an estimate by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, during the first year of a resuscitated agreement, Iran could export 2 million barrels per day of its crude, around one million barrels more than what it exports now. Per the Islamic Republic News Agency, 38 percent of Iran’s crude oil export in 2017 went to Europe. Since then, due to U.S. sanctions against Iran’s oil industry reimposed by the Trump administration in 2018, Europe has not bought any oil from the country. If the share of Iran’s oil exports to Europe relative to its total oil exports goes back to its 2017 level, it will give Europe access to 800,000 bpd of newly arrived crude oil. As a result, the deal has the potential to decrease Russia’s leverage over the European Union and allow European countries to decouple themselves from Russian oil with less pain this winter. In light of this reality, why has the Kremlin changed its tune on the nuclear deal?
The answer is likely that Russia’s assessment of the costs and benefits of the accord has changed. Even if the agreement reduces Russia’s leverage over Europe, Moscow may benefit from the revival of the accord in five ways.
First, Western sanctions have limited Moscow’s access to the international banking system. If Washington lifts banking sanctions on Iran, Moscow can access the international financial network through Iran. Tehran, a key partner to Moscow, has years of experience in sanctions-busting, which it can use to assist Moscow. Second, the sanctions relief in the deal enables a $10 billion contract between Moscow and Tehran to build a nuclear site in Iran. The deal has remained dormant due to sanctions. However, the new nuclear deal will provide Iran with resources to pay Russia.
Third, with the expired sunset of the UN arms embargo against Tehran, Russia can now sell Tehran a wide array of conventional weapons that may be worth billions of dollars. For years, Iran has expressed its intention to buy modern weapon systems from Russia. However, sanctions and Iran’s lack of financial resources, among other things, have prevented such deals so far. With Iran’s access to tens of billions of dollars and Russia’s international isolation, Tehran’s wish list may finally become reality. Fourth, over the last few months, Tehran and Moscow have engaged in extensive negotiations to expand their cooperation in the energy sector. Iranian officials are on the record confirming that Tehran and Moscow, as part of a new nuclear deal, may swap oil as a way to bypass sanctions against Russia. In fact, Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom signed an early-stage $40 billion oil and gas deal with Iran in July. While the return of the Islamic Republic to the oil market can increase pressure on Russia, the two sides seek to mitigate those negative effects through cooperation.
Finally, a massive injection of cash into Iran’s coffers means that Tehran may be able to offer more help to Russia for its war in Ukraine. Tehran has already provided robust military and diplomatic support for Moscow’s invasion. In a recent meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei expressed support for the Kremlin’s decision to go to war. In April, the Guardian reported that Russia was using Iranian-made weapons smuggled through Iraq. In August, U.S. officials said that Iran had begun shipping scores of combat drones to Russia for use in the war.
Russia, the Islamic Republic, and Tehran’s Shiite militias fought alongside each other in Syria. The growing strategic ties between Moscow and Tehran mean that the Islamic Republic’s access to billions of dollars may lead to more and bolder intervention in Ukraine. As Russia’s international isolation continues to grow, Moscow will find the mere possibility of such support invaluable.
*Saeed Ghasseminejad is a senior advisor on Iran and financial economics at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), where he contributes to FDD’s Iran Program and Center on Economic and Financial Power (CEFP). Follow Saeed on Twitter @SGhasseminejad. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, non-partisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

Biden may be plotting to keep Congress out of the Iran nuclear deal
Greg Nash/The Hill/September 14/2022
Negotiators from Iran, the United States and the European Union have once again nearly concluded indirect talks over the “final text” of a nuclear deal. Like the 2015 deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the new deal imposes temporary restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for broad sanctions relief. Though the talks appear to have reached another impasse, they could rapidly conclude in the coming weeks if Iran decides to show flexibility.
As it prepares to market the deal to a skeptical Congress, the Biden administration has hinted that negotiations in Vienna did not result in a new agreement, but merely all sides returning to compliance with the JCPOA. This may seem likely a purely semantic point but may actually be a calculated effort to avoid a congressional vote after a review of the nuclear deal, as required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA). In May, the State Department Special Representative for Iran Rob Malley pledged to submit any prospective agreement with Iran for congressional review. INARA specifies that within five calendar days after reaching any agreement with Iran relating to its nuclear program, the president must transmit the full agreement to Congress. INARA also lays out procedures for congressional review and an expedited process for voting on the deal if Congress so chooses.
The Biden administration may still be hoping to avoid a congressional vote by claiming that it is merely returning to the JCPOA, which went through the INARA review process in 2015. Thus, the White House may try to argue that, while they are submitting the text of an agreement for review there is no need for Congress to vote on it again. Democratic leadership in Congress may be tempted to indulge in such an argument and use their majority positions to avoid a tough vote as the midterms approach. That would be a dereliction of Congress’ important oversight role.
The authors of INARA anticipated chicanery from the executive branch. Congress enacted the law in 2015 while the JCPOA was in the final stages of negotiations. Once the Obama administration made clear its intent to circumvent Congress and not submit the agreement as a treaty, lawmakers of both parties demanded a say, noting the scale of U.S. commitments under the deal. An overwhelming majority of Congress — 98 senators and 400 House members — ultimately voted to pass INARA, thereby ensuring their ability to review the agreement. Crucially, Congress took pains to define the term “agreement” broadly to prevent the Obama administration from circumventing lawmakers.
Under INARA, the term “agreement” means an agreement “related to the nuclear program of Iran that includes the United States, commits the United States to act, or in which the United States commits or otherwise agrees to act, regardless of the form it takes.” The president must transmit that agreement regardless of whether it is legally binding or merely a political commitment. Finally, the administration must transmit additional materials related to any agreement, including annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements. The terms of the new agreement with Iran are not yet public, but reportedly involve substantial amendments to the JCPOA. That should not be surprising. The Trump administration pulled out of the JCPOA more than four years ago, so Washington and Tehran cannot just flip a switch and go back to the way things were. From a statutory point of view, reentering a substantially amended agreement effectively amounts to “reaching an agreement” under INARA, thereby triggering the law’s transmittal and review requirements.
During the period in which Congress reviews and votes on the new agreement, the administration cannot provide sanctions relief from measures imposed by Congress, which greatly curtails the administration’s flexibility in providing Tehran immediate, unobstructed benefits. That is one reason the administration wants to get around INARA. They have apparently found another way: according to leaked audio from the lead Iranian negotiator, prior to submitting the deal to Congress the Biden administration will simply lift or suspend three executive orders relating to Iran.
We reconstructed the details using other public Iranian and U.S. government documents and found that this would result in the lifting of over 170 sanctions on critical Iranian banks, terrorists and foreign sanctions evaders. This includes sanctions relief for Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, and senior IRGC generals responsible for the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing and the 1994 AMIA bombing.
If the Biden administration enters the deal without due consideration and action by Congress, House and Senate members could initiate a lawsuit against the president. According to the Congressional Research Service’s 2014 study, based on the Supreme Court’s guidelines in Raines v. Byrd, individual members of Congress have legal standing against the executive branch when they have suffered an “institutional injury” that amounts to vote nullification in the past or future. Since INARA lays out the procedure for voting on nuclear agreements and provides an expedited vote, a court may find that evading the law amounts to vote nullification. If members of Congress filed suit against the administration for injunctive relief, it could delay further sanctions relief, would raise the profile of the JCPOA’s deficiencies and draw attention to provisions in the deal that the Biden administration may be hesitant to publicize. It could also prove as a useful dilatory tool to permit a full accounting of the hidden concessions and side deals rumored to come, such as a widely-reported $7 billion hostage payment for the release of 4 American citizens — a rumor the administration has denied.
The Iranians pay close attention to the sentiments of Congress — in fact, Iranian officials frequently cite objections from Congress as reasons against rejoining the JCPOA. Even if the effort fails, this vote would send an extraordinary message to the regime and the international business community that any deal struck would not survive by any future Republican administration. Ultimately, it is risk-averse businesses and their leadership, not politicians, who make investment decisions.
This vote and its message would severely temper any economic investment in Iran (having a similar effect to sanctions), could prove to be a death knell for these misguided negotiations and would set the stage for the next administration to take a stronger approach.
*Matthew Zweig, former senior advisor at the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Special Representative for Syria Engagement and senior professional staff member at the House Foreign Affairs Committee is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy. Gabriel Noronha is a fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) and previously served as the State Department’s special advisor for Iran from 2019-2021. He also served in the Senate Armed Services Committee from 2017-2019.

Is This the End of Executive Privilege? Or Only for Trump?
Alan M. Dershowitz/Gatestone Institute/September 14/2022
[L]et's see how this would have played out if the shoe were on the other foot.
What if Obama had been called by a congressional committee to turn over all internal communications — written and oral — regarding his decision, and he claimed executive privilege? And what if then President Trump were to have waived Obama's privilege?
One thing we know to be certain: many of the academic "experts" and media "pundits" who now support the argument that an incumbent president can waive the executive privilege of his predecessor would be making exactly the opposite argument. They would be saying — as I am saying now— that presidents would be reluctant to have confidential communications with their aides if they knew these communications could be made public by their successor in order to gain partisan electoral advantage. It would essentially mark the end of executive privilege, which is rooted in Article II of the Constitution.
Accurate predictions today require us to know which persons or parties will be helped or hurt by particular outcomes. Hypocrisy reigns. And those who engage in it are not even embarrassed when their double standards are exposed. The current "principle" is that the ends justify the means, especially if the end is the end of Trump.
"Because we can" has become the current mantra of both parties. Neutral principles, which apply equally without regard to partisan advantage, is for wimps, not party leaders or other government officials. "They do it too" has become the excuse de jure. Both parties do it, but that is not a valid excuse even in hardball politics. Two constitutional violations do not cancel each other. They only make things worse.
Executive privilege is important to both parties -- and to the constitutional rule of law. Today's partisan victory for Democrats, if their waiver argument is accepted, will soon become their loss should Republicans take control.
So beware of what you wish for. Today's dream may well become tomorrow's nightmare.
What if Obama had been called by a congressional committee to turn over all internal communications — written and oral — regarding his decision, and he claimed executive privilege? And what if then President Trump were to have waived Obama's privilege? President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama talk on the East front steps of the US Capitol after inauguration ceremonies on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
In its appeal from Judge Aileen Cannon's order appointing a special master, the Biden administration is taking the position that the incumbent president can waive claims of executive privilege by his predecessor even if his predecessor is likely to run against him in the next election. So, let's see how this would have played out if the shoe were on the other foot.
Imagine if President Donald Trump had tried to waive his predecessor's executive privilege, relating to President Barack Obama's decision to allow the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel for its continuing "occupation" of the Western Wall and the roads to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital. Many in the Obama administration opposed this one-sided resolution as anti-Israel and wanted the United States to veto it, as it had vetoed previous anti-Israel resolutions. But Obama instructed his UN representative, Samantha Powers, not to veto it.
Trump knew he would be running against Obama's vice president and that he might gain an electoral advantage if Congress held hearings on the controversial Obama decision. What advice did Biden give Obama? Is it true that Powers wanted to veto the resolution, but Obama forbade it in order to take revenge against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his speech opposing the Iran deal?
Disclosing these privileged negotiations might well have hurt Biden with pro-Israel voters.
What if Obama had been called by a congressional committee to turn over all internal communications — written and oral — regarding his decision, and he claimed executive privilege? And what if then President Trump were to have waived Obama's privilege?
One thing we know to be certain: many of the academic "experts" and media "pundits" who now support the argument that an incumbent president can waive the executive privilege of his predecessor would be making exactly the opposite argument. They would be saying — as I am saying now — that presidents would be reluctant to have confidential communications with their aides if they knew these communications could be made public by their successor in order to gain partisan electoral advantage. It would essentially mark the end of executive privilege, which is rooted in Article II of the Constitution.
The weaponization of the Constitution and the law for partisan advantage has become so pervasive, especially in academia and the media, that predicting what position many experts and pundits will take is no longer possible on the basis of neutral principles or precedents, since these have ceased to be the basis for their positions. Accurate predictions today require us to know which persons or parties will be helped or hurt by particular outcomes. Hypocrisy reigns. And those who engage in it are not even embarrassed when their double standards are exposed. The current "principle" is that the ends justify the means, especially if the end is the end of Trump.
Nor are Democrats the only guilty party. Perhaps the most blatant example of partisan hypocrisy was how the Republican Senate treated the 2016 nomination of Merrick Garland and the 2020 nomination of Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court justices. The Republicans refused to give Garland a hearing in 2016, because it was too close to the election, but then rushed through the nomination of Barrett just weeks before the 2020 election. Whenever asked to justify their obvious double standard, their only response was "because we can."
"Because we can" has become the current mantra of both parties. Neutral principles, which apply equally without regard to partisan advantage, is for wimps, not party leaders or other government officials. "They do it too" has become the excuse de jure. Both parties do it, but that is not a valid excuse even in hardball politics. Two constitutional violations do not cancel each other. They only make things worse.
Executive privilege is important to both parties -- and to the constitutional rule of law. Today's partisan victory for Democrats, if their waiver argument is accepted, will soon become their loss should Republicans take control.
So beware of what you wish for. Today's dream may well become tomorrow's nightmare.
*Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School, and the author most recently of The Price of Principle: Why Integrity Is Worth The Consequences. He is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute, and is also the host of "The Dershow," podcast.
© 2022 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.

Iran and Russia: The New Alliance
Judith Bergman/Gatestone Institute/September 14/2022
Significantly, Russia and Iran's cooperation extends to the military and space fields, with Russia recently helping Iran to launch a new satellite into space.
Iran's Khayyam satellite "will greatly enhance Tehran's ability to spy on military targets across the Middle East... [and give] Tehran "unprecedented capabilities, including near-continuous monitoring of sensitive facilities in Israel and the Persian Gulf." — The Washington Post, August 4, 2022.
"Iran could share the imagery with pro-Iranian militia groups across the region, from the Houthi rebels battling Saudi-backed government forces in Yemen to Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon and Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria." — Unnamed Middle Eastern official, The Washington Post, June 10, 2021.
"As Iran perfects its missile arsenal... alongside its growing UAV capability throughout the Middle East –being able to sync those capabilities with satellite capabilities and surveillance will only increase the lethality of the Iranian threat." — Richard Goldberg, former Iran analyst in the Trump administration's National Security Council, The Washington Post, August 4, 2022.
Iran has also become a major developer and producer of drones.... Most recently, Iran claimed that it had developed a long-range suicide drone "designed to hit Israel's Tel Aviv, Haifa."
Despite this acknowledged "profound threat" emanating from the mutually beneficial alliance between Russia and Iran, the Biden administration nevertheless has been making dangerous concessions to revive the nuclear deal, which would only deepen the threat and benefit not only Iran, but also Russia.
Let us hope that the new "Iran nuclear deal," reportedly "off the table for the time being" is off the table for good.
Russia and Iran's cooperation extends to the military and space fields, with Russia recently helping Iran to launch a new satellite into space. Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi hold a meeting in Tehran on July 19, 2022. (Photo by Sergei Savostyanov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
Iran and Russia have been strengthening their alliance recently, growing it gradually to such an extent that the Wall Street Journal wrote on August 27 that the two countries were "forging tighter ties than ever," as both countries face continued international isolation.
In recent months, Russia and Iran have signed a multitude of agreements, especially in trade, oil and gas, and military cooperation.
In June, an agreement on the establishment of mutual trade centers in St. Petersburg and Tehran was signed, to generate further trade between the two countries in the sectors of energy, transportation, electronics, agriculture, food, pharmaceuticals and construction, by helping Iranian and Russian businessmen establish contacts and conduct financial transactions.
In May, Russia and Iran signed agreements on settling their trade and energy payments in their national currencies instead of the US dollar. In addition, they agreed to continue talks to connect their electronic payment systems as well as their financial messaging systems. Since then, Russia and Iran have gradually begun trading in their national currencies.
In 2021, the volume of bilateral trade between Russia and Iran increased by 81% from the previous year, rising to $3.3 billion. In January, after a two-day visit to Moscow, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that the two countries would increase trade even further.
"We agreed to remove trade barriers and boost the economic exchanges between the two countries. Currently, the level of mutual trade is not acceptable, so the two countries agreed to increase trade to $10 billion a year. The two countries can take steps to break the dominance of the dollar over monetary and banking relations and trade with the national currency."
During Raisi's visit, the two countries also signed agreements to deepen energy cooperation and in July, Russia announced that it would invest $40 billion in Iran's oil industry, Russia's largest ever investment in Iran. Russia announced the investment deal as Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting Iran for talks.
According to Iranian state news outlet IRNA, Putin and Raisi "discussed ways for expansion of bilateral relations in different areas, including energy, transit, trade exchanges and regional developments as well."
Significantly, Russia and Iran's cooperation extends to the military and space fields, with Russia recently helping Iran to launch a new satellite into space: On August 9, Russia launched Iran's new Khayyam surveillance satellite from the Baikonur space station in Kazakhstan.
The launch of the satellite is a telling example of the kind of dangers that a strengthened Russian-Iranian alliance poses to US interests.
Iran's Khayyam satellite "will greatly enhance Tehran's ability to spy on military targets across the Middle East," according to unnamed Western and Middle Eastern officials quoted by the Washington Post. The satellite's high-resolution camera apparently gives Tehran "unprecedented capabilities, including near-continuous monitoring of sensitive facilities in Israel and the Persian Gulf."
Iran will also be able to "task" the new satellite to spy on locations of its choosing, as often as it wishes, according to the officials.
"It's not the best in the world, but it's high resolution and very good for military aims," a Middle Eastern official familiar with the hardware of the satellite told the Washington Post in June 2021.
"Iran could share the imagery with pro-Iranian militia groups across the region, from the Houthi rebels battling Saudi-backed government forces in Yemen to Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon and Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria."
"This is obviously a clear and present danger to the United States and our allies in the Middle East and abroad," said Richard Goldberg, a former Iran analyst in the Trump administration's National Security Council.
"As Iran perfects its missile arsenal – from short-, medium- to longer-range missiles, alongside its growing UAV capability throughout the Middle East –being able to sync those capabilities with satellite capabilities and surveillance will only increase the lethality of the Iranian threat."
For the time being, however, the Iranian satellite is meant to be helping Russia's war effort in Ukraine, another example of the mutual benefits accruing to both Russia and Iran from their alliance.
"Russia, which has struggled to achieve its military objectives during its five-month-old assault on Ukraine, told Tehran that it plans to use the satellite for several months, or longer, to enhance its surveillance of military targets in that conflict," the Washington Post wrote.
Equally significantly, Iran is now actively helping Russia with its war effort in Ukraine, which puts on display the extremely negative effects of the new Russian-Iranian alliance.
Russia has ordered hundreds of Iranian military drones as Russia suffers from a severe lack of attack drones that are precision-capable. Russia has bought at least two kinds of drones from Iran, the Mohajer-6 and the Shahed-series drones. The first batch of drones, according to the Washington Post, was picked up by Russian cargo flights in late August. Iran reportedly has been training Russian soldiers in using them in Russia's war in Ukraine. On September 13, Ukraine said that it had shot down an Iranian-produced Shahed drone.
Iran has become a major developer and producer of drones. In October 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported the concern of defense officials from the United States, Israel and Europe that Iran's progress in developing, building and deploying drones was changing the security situation in the Middle East region.
"The drones themselves are often made with widely available components used in the ever-growing commercial drone market and by hobbyists, the officials say," the Wall Street Journal reported.
"Some mimic the designs of Israeli and American military drones... Tehran's engineers rely on imported components to create aerial vehicles that can accurately strike targets at long distance and rapidly change direction to avoid air defenses and radar, say European and Middle Eastern security officials who have studied wreckages of the drones."
Most recently, Iran claimed that it had developed a long-range suicide drone "designed to hit Israel's Tel Aviv, Haifa."
In July, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan denounced the new cooperation between Russia and Iran:
"Russia deepening an alliance with Iran to kill Ukrainians is something that the whole world should look at and see as a profound threat."
Despite this acknowledged "profound threat" emanating from the mutually beneficial alliance between Russia and Iran, the Biden administration nevertheless has been making dangerous concessions to revive the nuclear deal, which would only deepen the threat and benefit not only Iran, but also Russia.
"Several of Russia's top state-controlled nuclear companies stand to gain billions of dollars in revenue as part of a new nuclear accord with Iran that will waive sanctions on these firms so that they can build up Tehran's nuclear infrastructure," the Washington Free Beacon reported in April.
"Russia's state-controlled Rosatom energy firm and at least four of its major subsidiaries will receive sanctions waivers under a new accord so that they can complete nuclear projects in Iran worth more than $10 billion, according to the 2019 document, which details all the Russian entities involved in these projects. With a new nuclear accord being finalized, the Biden administration has repeatedly guaranteed Russia that it will not face sanctions for its work on Iranian nuclear sites, even as Moscow faces a barrage of international penalties for its unprovoked war in Ukraine. The Biden administration renewed a series of sanctions waivers to permit Russia's nuclear work in Iran as part of a package of concessions meant to entice both countries into signing a new accord."
Let us hope that the new "Iran nuclear deal," reportedly "off the table for the time being" is off the table for good.
Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
© 2022 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.

Biden Calculates Iran and the American Elections
Robert Ford/Asharq Al-Awsat/September,14/2022
We see a new impasse in negotiations about renewing the 2015 agreement that limits Iran’s nuclear program. Members of Congress are pressuring the Biden administration not to make any concessions. Many Democrats and Republicans in Congress want no deal. A group of fifty representatives from the House of Representatives, including 34 from Biden’s Democratic Party, on September 1 sent the President a letter laying out 4 objections to a potential new nuclear agreement with Iran.
First, the representatives complained that the deal would relax limits on Iranian production capabilities in 2025. They also warned that the deal would depend on Russia for implementation and Russia cannot be trusted. Third, they insisted that the International Atomic Energy Agency finish its investigations of the suspicious Iranian activities at the three nuclear sites before any reduction in American sanctions against Iran. Finally, the representatives complained that the deal would relinquish to Iran about 100 billion dollars that it could use to finance terrorist groups. Israel is lobbying intensively in Washington, and Defense Minister Gantz is visiting Washington again this month. It is worth noting that Israel often uses the same four arguments in the representatives’ September 1 letter.
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez told the press that the Biden administration would submit any new Iran agreement for review to the Congress. There is, of course, an American domestic political angle here with the approach of the November 8 legislative elections. Probably the House of Representatives would reject an Iran agreement because already at least 34 Democratic members oppose it. The Senate with its 100 members becomes the key battleground. Probably all or almost all of the 50 Republican senators would vote to block a new deal with Iran. With about 10 Democratic senators’ votes they might get a majority of the 100 members in the chamber to kill the deal, probably by blocking easing of sanctions. In that case, however, very likely President Biden would veto the final Congressional resolution in order to save the deal his team had negotiated. According to the Constitution, two-thirds of both senators and representatives must vote in favor of overriding the President’s veto (and therefore block the Iran deal).
In the Senate, therefore, this vote to override would need the votes of 50 Republicans and 17 Democratic senators. This is unlikely. There are at least 11 Democrats who support a new deal already. In addition, Biden, the Democratic party leader, would remind the Democratic senators about his tough line on the Iran Revolutionary Guards and the International Atomic Energy Agency investigation and urges unity among the Democratic Party. Biden excels at this kind of legislative pressure. For this reason, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a major opponent of a nuclear agreement with Iran, acknowledged that the Congress probably cannot stop a new deal with Iran.
There is one risk to the Biden administration in this scenario. Far from the Iran issue, the Democratic Party needs to win more senate seats on November 8 in order to control the Senate comfortably and pursue the Democratic Party domestic agenda. The Iran deal itself will not be a big issue for American voters. First, a public opinion survey from the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations in late July showed 59 percent of Americans support renewing the Iran agreement. Second, American voters focus on the economy and social issues. However, senators who vote to support a new Iran deal in late September or October would risk provoking lobby groups who oppose the Iran deal to give financial donations to their opponents in the last weeks of the election campaign. Money sometimes can change the result of a close election, and the Democratic Party faces at least five close senate election races.
If Iran were to suddenly accept the American terms in the negotiations, before moving ahead Biden would consult with the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Charles Schumer (who in the past opposed the Iran nuclear agreement) and other Democratic Party figures about the timing in Congress. On September 5 Lindsey Graham predicted that Biden would take the safer domestic political choice and wait until after the November 8 election before concluding a deal with Iran. Israeli officials similarly predict that Iran won’t make more compromises to Biden and there is no chance of an agreement before the American election. A bigger question is whether after November 8 it will still be possible to reach a deal with Iran or whether, as some in Israel and Washington want, the Biden administration will shift to a stronger military stance to pressure Iran. It is not a coincidence that the Americans bombed militias loyal to Iran in Syria August 24 and on September 4 flew some American B-52 bombers near Iran as clear warnings.

Azerbaijan’s Anti-Armenian Jihad

Raymond IbrahimظTrey Blanton, STEPANAKERT, Artsakh (CINFUSA.org)/September 14/2022
Armenians in the Republic of Artsakh woke up on September 13, 2022 to an uncertain future after Azerbaijan attacked Armenia in the dead of night. Armenia’s Ministry of Defense reports Azeri forces hit several villages using drones, artillery, and mortars. More than 100 Armenian soldiers have been killed in the attack so far. Azerbaijan made numerous statements leading up to the attack that Armenia had been provoking the Azeris with “subversive actions.” This accusation has been rejected by Armenia as misinformation. Instead, Azerbaijan has violated the cease-fire several times since I have arrived in Artsakh at the end of June, including the shooting death of a 20-year-old Sergeant on Sept. 5. Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on social media that Armenia would seek assistance from the United Nations Security Council, as well as the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has made several claims since 2020 that Armenian territory, including the capital Yerevan, rightfully belongs to the Azeris.These Azeri claims and assaults on Armenia violate international law, but many Westerners only fault the Armenians.
Luke Coffey is a Senior Fellow with the Hudson Institute. Coffey’s social media posts display hypocrisy as he cheers for Ukrainian success against Russia’s invasion, but advises that Armenians capitulate to Azeri aggression.
In a previous article, I observed a similar policy with the Heritage Foundation who advises a greater alliance between the United States and Azerbaijan.
Correcting Misinformation
Europeans and Americans who support Azerbaijan’s oil-rich dictator often cite “international law” to report that Nagorno-Karabakh, another name for the Republic of Artsakh, is Azeri land that Armenians have “occupied” since the end of the first Karabakh war in 1994.
This is incredibly misleading and doesn’t reflect the complex history.
Armenians have inhabited the south Caucasus since ancient times. The Kingdom of Armenia under its king Tiridates III converted to Christianity in 301 — the first nation to do so. The advance of Islam, beginning in the 7th century, saw Muslims systemically conquer Christian lands. Of particular note to Armenia and Azerbaijan, the ethnic breakdown of the modern Azeri is predominately Oghuz Seljuq Turk, who didn’t arrive in the area until the 11th century, and Iranian bloodlines that were formed under Islam.
All other composites of Azeri DNA come from the rape and inter-marriage with the indigenous populations of the region. “Azerbaijan” as a country didn’t exist until 1918. Prior to that, the land was divided between the Russian and Iranian-Persian empires.
Armenians located in the city Baku (then under the Russian empire) comprised only 17% of the population in 1897 but contributed the most to modernizing industry and held prominence in governance. The Azeri population, with support from the Ottoman Empire/Turkey, massacred hundreds of Armenians in Baku in 1905, 1918, and then 1990, which led to the expulsion of 200,000 Armenians, who had also been terrorized by violence. Cries of, “Ya Allah [with God],” could be heard in the streets, signifying the importance of Islam, even as Azerbaijan became a nominally secular state.
While under the Soviet Union, Stalin declared that Nagorno-Karabakh, though populated mostly by Armenians, would be under the control over Azerbaijan — though the Armenians were granted a great deal of autonomy.
The pending fall of the Soviet Union led to internal debate in Nagorno-Karabakh whether to declare independence or join with the Republic of Armenia. This debate led to the 1990 massacre of Armenians in Baku and sparked the first Karabakh war for independence.
Azerbaijan, with the support of Turkey, enjoyed a great deal of success in the Azeri-Armeno War of 2020. The international community refused to condemn the invasion, citing “international law,” and allowed Azerbaijan to commit war crimes, while the supposed NATO-ally, Turkey, flew in jihadist terrorists from Syria and Libya. Many in the West refuse to accept the Islamic component of these wars. Yes, there are non-religious reasons to conquer land, but the underlying motivation for the Turks, since their conversion in the 11th century, has been to be a relentless, Islamic army for Allah.
One need only observe the words and actions of Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan to see he desires a renewed Turkish-Islamic Caliphate. Now that Erdogan’s “brother,” Aliyev, has violated international law by invading a sovereign nation, will the international community finally respond with the same efforts it has for Ukraine?

There is nothing ‘reasonable’ about Iran’s behavior
Sir John Jenkins/Arab News/September 14/2022
What’s in a word? On Aug. 22, Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, who has been negotiating with Iran over the rebooted Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, called the latest response to his proposals from Tehran “reasonable.” Really? Is this perhaps a taster of what we can expect at the UN General Assembly in a few days’ time, when the Iranian foreign minister, the hard-line Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, will doubtless again perform the injured innocent act in front of a global audience?
What made Borrell’s comment even odder was that it came 10 days after the savage attack on Salman Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution in tranquil upstate New York. The attacker, from a Lebanese Shiite background, reportedly held a forged driving license in the name of one of the most prolific assassins Hezbollah ever produced. And he seems to have been an uncritical admirer of the Islamic Republic and all its works.
The history of the Rushdie affair is well known, of course. Ayatollah Khomeini’s poisonous fatwa against him, issued in 1989, was an attempt by the ailing leader of the massively destructive Iranian revolution to reassert his global relevance after the humiliating ceasefire with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and his regime’s failure to export the revolution beyond Iran’s borders.
But Rushdie is not the only casualty of the Iranian leaders’ impulse to procure the murder of people they do not like, including their own citizens. It has been an integral part of the ideology of the regime since the very beginning of the revolution in 1979, when the shah’s nephew was assassinated in Paris, and then 1980, when Khomeini ordered the summary execution of scores of officials and military officers who had served the shah. Other killings followed like clockwork, including hundreds of helpless prisoners executed in batches without trial in 1988, the shah’s last prime minister, Shapour Bakhtiar, again in Paris, in 1991 and the chain of assassinations of opposition intellectuals and artists between 1988 and 1998.
The recent revelations of an Iranian plot to assassinate senior US officials, just like the attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington in 2011 (and perhaps even the most recent threats against his colleague in Beirut), are part of the same pattern. When Iraqi Kurds decided they wanted a referendum on independence in 2017, there were credible reports that senior politicians received death threats direct from Qassem Soleimani: An honor indeed.
At the same time, Iran — either directly or through its friends in Hezbollah, the Houthis and some of the Iraqi Shiite militias — has attacked oil installations and airports in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. For decades, it has sponsored terror attacks in Iraq (where, whatever voters want, a government is only acceptable if it is owned by Tehran), Lebanon (ditto), Kuwait, Bulgaria, Thailand, East Africa, Argentina and elsewhere. It continues to do so.
And yet too many people — including senior Western politicians and officials — still give Iran the benefit of the doubt. Rushdie is a case in point. Because nothing much had happened to him for years, it was tempting to assume the threat had gone away. The apparent deal that the British government struck with the Khatami government in the late 1990s over the implementation of Khomeini’s fatwa seemed to some to herald a greater realism in Tehran.
But Tehran’s actual behavior — subverting and destroying other states, murdering its opponents both outside and inside the country, seizing hostages, interfering with navigation in international waters, building up Shiite Islamist movements around the region, covertly seeking a nuclear weapons capacity, making claims to Islamic leadership, threatening the destruction of Israel, and establishing the conditions that would enable it to put all this into practice — never changed.
In 2003, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a statement that some saw as a fatwa forbidding the production and use of weapons of mass destruction. But the Iranian nuclear program continued at full pace. And Tehran now says publicly that it has the capacity to produce such weapons. Mohammed Khatami may have once said that Iran would not actively seek to implement Khomeini’s fatwa against Rushdie. But the fatwa was never rescinded or superseded. So it retained its power. On both counts, we now see the result.
And this is a warning to us all. The original JCPOA in 2015 was designed not just to constrain Iran’s ability to construct nuclear weapons, but to buy time — 15 years or so — within which, it was hoped, Iran itself would change and become a more normal member of the international community.
Fat chance. Even if we had had a plan for the 15 years or so that the agreement actually bought us, the Iranians simply saw it as a means to relieve intolerable economic pressure while continuing to build capability. In the event, the Obama administration seemed to regard the JCPOA as an end in itself. The mere fact of signature was the achievement it wanted. The rest of the international community followed suit. Donald Trump’s abandonment of the deal was undoubtedly damaging. But more damaging was our complacency.
And this brings its own lessons — as does Chautauqua. First, never underestimate the malevolence of the regime in Tehran. Its tame newspapers greeted the news of Rushdie’s stabbing with horrible glee. There is no sign that anyone who matters ever thought the affair was closed.
Too many people — including senior Western politicians and officials — still give Iran the benefit of the doubt
The same goes for what we hear about the current negotiations over a revived JCPOA. The Iranians want cash. They want guarantees to enable them to do business internationally. They want the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — the instruments of Khomeinist control within Iran, the spearhead of its aggression outside and, with Hezbollah, a major global criminal enterprise — de-designated by the US as a terrorist organization. And they want any investigation into certain previously undeclared sites and their previous nuclear weapons development activity, without which it is impossible to fully understand their current position or future intentions, ended.
They continue to develop a range of ever-more-accurate missile systems and proliferate them to allies throughout the region. They are reportedly exporting drones to help Russia destroy Ukraine. They continue to support the worst elements of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda (one of whose leaders-in-waiting, Saif Al-Adel, they probably still host — as they did family members of Osama bin Laden — and after Ayman Al-Zawahiri’s death may now have allowed to travel to Afghanistan). This is not the behavior of a country at ease with the world. Quite the reverse.
Of course, I understand that policy is not made in a vacuum and that international affairs are not a sophomore class in ethical idealism 101. Given the current global energy crisis, I can also see that a deal that returns an extra 1 million barrels per day or so of Iranian production to the market — plus maybe 100 million barrels in storage — would be attractive. And I can see why some might think a deal that provided at least some sort of international control of the Iranian nuclear program could be better than nothing; after all, we collectively face major security threats not just in the Middle East but globally, so parking one might help us address the others.
But they are interlinked. And they need to be addressed together. The Reagan administration made its red lines clear not just in Europe but in the Gulf. Tehran — like Moscow — understood what they were. George W. Bush’s administration aggressively went after Iranian funding of political violence, subversion and organized crime in the Middle East, South America, West Africa and elsewhere. That helps explain why Khamenei agreed to proper negotiations on the nuclear file after years of prevarication.
We need to remember how to be tough. And we need to be realists, as both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been in their cautious bilateral approaches. Talking to Iran — or indeed Damascus — does not imply approval or indeed acceptance. It is a way of exploring the limits of the possible and protecting those parts of the relationship, trade for example, that work. It does not mean wishful thinking about the nature of the regime in Tehran. And it does not preclude prudent self-defense. Iran will remain a major threat to regional security, deal or no deal.
Sources in Washington say this is precisely what they are now doing. The US domestic politics of the deal remain tricky. But this new US resolve may be having an impact, if the disputed reports of Iranian offers of concessions on the IRGC and the past nuclear file are true. And it may be encouraging that, while the Iranian Foreign Ministry has described the latest Iranian response to Borrell’s proposals as “constructive,” the US has pointedly said it is “not constructive.”
But there are still major risks. Borrell’s words reflect a tendency, common at least in Europe, to think that Tehran will come to see sense with enough exposure to political reality. But Khamenei’s reality is not ours. His reasons are not ours. And in practice he has too often taken our words to mean that the West is weak and decadent. We are neither. But we need to show it. Whether a deal is done or not, our watchwords must be “distrust and verify.” We need strategic patience, determination and a detailed plan to confront Iran’s worst behavior, in the Gulf, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Afghanistan and through its global criminal partnerships. And let’s not use the word “reasonable.”
• Sir John Jenkins is a senior fellow at Policy Exchange. Until December 2017, he was corresponding director (Middle East) at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, based in Manama, Bahrain, and was a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. He was the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia until January 2015.