We’re Cracking Apart From The Inside, With Missiles Aimed At Our Back

We’re Cracking Apart From The Inside, With Missiles Aimed At Our Back

 

I’m sorry, but I don’t exactly like the Title either. Here in our Country we are acting like it is back in the 20’s or something ignorant like that. We have our HollyWood and our Politics, the never-ending battle between the Dems and the GOP and we pick Our Country apart. We have several outside State Players and other well-funded hate groups who are actually in the Chess Possession to make this play. Folks, I hope they do not push the ‘ignite’ button. This would be the end of the world as we all know it all because of a couple of dozen people from around whom have some Power in this world who hate us and hate everything’ the West’ stands for. Attacking us from the inside while we bicker among ourselves is a sure Cancer to our Cells.

 

Our current Government has weakened Us with our long-standing Allies and gotten off to a bad start with several other ‘not so friendly States.’ There is always the issue of other ‘unfriendliness’ such as Hezbollah, Hamas and many others. I pray for our Children, and Theirs. Hate, it is such a disgusting thing when we direct it at each other. Our System has many errors within it but it could be very much better. We need to address these things quickly before there is no tomorrow in which to be concerned about.

 

 

 

Saudi Arabia Seeks Death Penalty for 5 Suspects in Khashoggi Killing

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

(SO, THIS ARTICLE SHOWS THAT THE SAUDI CROWN PRINCE IS NOW PLANNING ON MURDERING 5 MORE PEOPLE WHEN IN REALITY THE ONLY PERSON THAT SHOULD BE ON TRIAL FOR MR. KHASHOGGI’S MURDER IS THE CROWN PRINCE HIMSELF BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN PROVEN THAT HE IS THE ONE WHO ORDERED THE MURDER!) (oldpoet56)

Saudi Arabia Seeks Death Penalty for 5 Suspects in Khashoggi Killing

An autopsy expert. A lookalike. A black van. Our video investigation follows the movements of the 15-man Saudi hit team that killed and dismembered the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.Published On 

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor on Thursday formally requested the death penalty for five suspects in the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, but provided no new information about the murder or the investigation into how it happened.

The killing of Mr. Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul has badly tarnished the international reputation of the kingdom and of its crown prince and day-to-day ruler, Mohammed bin Salman.

After weeks of insisting that Mr. Khashoggi had left the consulate alive on Oct. 2, the kingdom finally acknowledged in November that its agents had killed and dismembered him, and vowed to hold the perpetrators accountable.

After the first court session in the case on Thursday, the public prosecutor’s office released a statement saying that it had requested the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged.

It did not provide any of the suspects’ names, or any details about what role they might have played in the crime. Nor did the statement explain why the prosecutor had sought the death penalty against some but not others.

Turkish officials and investigations by The New York Times have found that Mr. Khashoggi’s killing was the result of a complex operation that involved at least 15 agents who flew into Turkey specifically for the job, many of them closely connected to Prince Mohammed.

They included intelligence agents who had traveled with the crown prince, a physician who specialized in autopsies and brought a bone saw, and a body double who donned Mr. Khashoggi’s clothes and walked around Istanbul seeking to leave a false trail of evidence that he was still alive.

Saudi Arabia has insisted that despite the complexity of the operation, the decision to kill Mr. Khashoggi, 59, was made by the team on the ground and had not been ordered by their superiors in Riyadh.

Mr. Khashoggi had been close to the Saudi royal family before Prince Muhammad’s rise to power. He moved to the United States and became a public critic of the Saudi government, writing columns for The Washington Post.

Demonstrating that it will hold accountable those responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s killing is expected to be a crucial part of the kingdom’s efforts to move past the scandal, which has complicated its foreign relations and scared off Western investors it was counting on to support its cultural and economic reform plans.

But it remains unclear whether the trial, and the lack of public information about the legal proceedings, will quell worries in the West about Saudi Arabia’s respect for the rule of law. The kingdom’s courts enforce a strict interpretation of Shariah law, the legal code of Islam based on the Quran, but are also easily influenced by the country’s royal leaders, critics say.

While the Trump administration, which considers the kingdom under Prince Mohammed’s leadership an important ally in the Middle East, has stood by the prince, United States intelligences services and members of Congress believe that he ordered the killing.

The Saudi statement did not say when the next hearing in the case would take place. It said the suspects appeared with their lawyers, were given copies of the charges against them and asked for time to prepare their defenses.

Kremlin Denies Erdogan-Putin Meeting

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Kremlin Denies Erdogan-Putin Meeting

Wednesday, 26 December, 2018 – 11:30
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. AP
London – Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday he would most probably meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin regarding US withdrawal from Syria, but Kremlin denied the meeting.

However, Erdogan did not disclose the timing of the meeting.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, for his part, said he will travel to Russia in the coming days to discuss the same issue, Reuters reported from CNN Turk, which quoted him as saying on Tuesday.

On Monday, Erdogan’s spokesman said Turkey would increase coordination with Russia in Syria following the US decision to withdraw.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin does not have immediate plans to meet with the Turkish leader.

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Geneva office Gennady Gatilov announced in an interview with Izvestia on Tuesday that Turkey, which has long common borders with Syria, has certain reasons to respond to threats to its security, especially if those threats come from terrorist organizations.

“We believe that the Kurdish issue is a very sensitive subject of the entire political architecture in Syria.”

“Turkey’s activities in [Syria’s] north is a temporary phenomenon related to [Ankara’s] national security concerns and, first of all, terrorist threat,” Gatilov said when asked about Moscow’s assessment of Turkey’s steps.

Gatilov pointed to the fact that Turkey had expressed support for Syria’s territorial sovereignty and added that Russia had no reasons to doubt its plans.

Turkey: Pointless for France to Remain in Syria to Protect YPG

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

 

Turkey: Pointless for France to Remain in Syria to Protect YPG

Wednesday, 26 December, 2018 – 10:45
French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
London – Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkey warned France that it is pointless to maintain its military presence in Syria to protect the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“If France is staying to contribute to Syria’s future, great, but if they are doing this to protect the (militia), this will bring no benefit to anyone,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters according to state news agency Anadolu.

Cavusoglu hit out at France’s “support” of the YPG, which he said was “no secret”, pointing to a meeting French President Emmanuel Macron had held on Friday with the Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF).

The YPG serves as the military backbone of the SDF.

Turkey views the YPG as terrorist organization affiliated to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara, the US and the European Union.

France is part of the international anti-terrorism coalition led by the US in Syria and Iraq. It dispatched military pilots and artillery soldiers to carry out bombings. Several sources also reported the deployment of French special forces in Syrian territory, but Paris has not confirmed this information.

Last week, US President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of 2,000 US ground forces that had been in Syria to provide training to the YPG under the SDF.

The shock move put allies on the backfoot, with Macron on Sunday saying: “An ally must be reliable”.

On Sunday, Macron avoided commenting on the demands made by two representatives of the “Syrian Democratic Council” after Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

He summed up by the situation by announcing Paris “regrets” the US decision, given that the mission to terminate ISIS was not over yet, adding that the SDF should not be abandoned and allies should not be “left in the middle of the road.”

France confirmed it will remain in the alliance despite the US withdrawal.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Ankara will intervene in the coming months against ISIS and the YPG.

Saudi denounces US Senate vote as ‘blatant interference’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL-JAZEERA NEWS AGENCY)

(THE SAUDI ROYAL FAMILY OF MURDERERS HAS NO CLUE THAT IN A DEMOCRACY THIS IS WHAT A SENATE IS SUPPOSED TO DO, CHECKS AND BALANCES ON THE DICTATORS CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY)

Saudi denounces US Senate vote as ‘blatant interference’

US senators backed measure accusing MBS of ordering Khashoggi’s murder, urged end to support for Saudi-led Yemen war.

Jamal Khashoggi was killed on October 2 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul [File: Sedat Suna/EPA-EFE]
Jamal Khashoggi was killed on October 2 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul [File: Sedat Suna/EPA-EFE]

Saudi Arabia has denounced as “blatant interference” a resolution by the US Senate accusing the kingdom’s crown prince of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and calling for an end to Washington’s military support for a Riyadh-led war in Yemen.

The Senate’s move last week dealt a new warning to US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly signalled his backing for the Saudi leadership even amid a mounting outcry the killing of Khashoggi, a critic of the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the devastating Yemen conflict.

“The recent position of the United States Senate, which has been built on baseless allegations and accusations, includes blatant interference in its internal affairs and the role of the kingdom at the regional and international level”, the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement released by the Saudi Press Agency on Monday.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, was murdered on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul to obtain documents needed for his planned marriage.

In a unanimous vote on Thursday, the Senate approved the resolution condemning Khashoggi’s murder and calling Prince Mohammed – also known as MBS – “responsible” for it.

The senators’ move came after senior intelligence officials from the US spy agency reportedly said that such an operation would have needed the approval of MBS, the kingdom’s de facto leader.

After giving contradictory statements about the whereabouts of Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia admitted that the writer was killed inside its consulate and his body was dismembered. The kingdom maintains that Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the killing, which Turkey said was ordered at the highest level of Saudi leadership.

“The kingdom has previously asserted that the murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi is a deplorable crime that does not reflect the Kingdom’s policy nor its institutions and reaffirms its rejection of any attempts to take the case out of the path of justice in the kingdom,” the Saudi foreign ministry’s statement said.

Yemen war

On the Senate’s Yemen measure, which more broadly attacks Trump’s prerogative to launch military actions, 49 Democrats or their allies voted in favour, along with seven Republicans, while another three Republicans abstained.

Saudi Arabia launched a massive aerial campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels in March 2015, aimed at restoring the government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Since then, the US has been helping the Saudi-UAE military alliance with weaponry and logistical support. Until recently, it was also refuelling the alliance’s fighter jets which were responsible for the more than 18,000 raids carried out on the war-ravaged country, which, according to the United Nations is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

More than three-quarters of Yemen’s population – some 22 million people – need humanitarian assistance, while 11 million require dire help in order to survive.

The Senate resolutions cannot be debated in the House of Representatives before January, and are likely be vetoed in any case by Trump.

In its statement, the Saudi foreign ministry said “the kingdom hopes that it is not drawn into domestic political debates in the United States of America, to avoid any ramifications on the ties between the two countries that could have significant negative impacts on this important strategic relationship”.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

(Poem About A Nation’s National Ethics)   Money, or Lives

(Poem About A Nation’s National Ethics)   Money, or Lives

 

This Man is a Murderer as this the Sane World knows

How much Muddy Water is worth the life on one man

Our War Machine is primed our Bombs dropping every day

Billions can be won or lost on what the Trump Card plays

No doubt the Man is in a spot, what will He Tweet today

 

Common Sense and Ethics tell us how to play this game

But was it truly Common Sense if they take your job away

Chinese and the Russians ready to buy your Friends today

Blood is Blood yet when has been a Royal Prince been hung

Strutting around the World like one Big Ole Bird Fed Cat

 

How much money do we put on the price of one single life

Depends on the Keys you wear and how High Up is Your Ass

Government’s and Corps kill 10’s of thousands every day

Dow Jones is The King Of Crowns His Feet the Big Boys Kiss

For a few Greenbacks a million of us poor folks won’t be missed

 

 

In Yemen, Lavish Meals for Few, Starvation for Many

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

In Yemen, Lavish Meals for Few, Starvation for Many and a Dilemma for Reporters

A woman in the poor mountain village of Al Juberia, Yemen.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Image
A woman in the poor mountain village of Al Juberia, Yemen. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

SANA, Yemen — At a restaurant in the Yemeni capital, Sana, a waiter brought bowls of slow-cooked lamb served with mounds of rice. For dessert there was kunafa, the classic Arab dish of golden brown pastry filled with cheese.

An hour later I was back at work, in a hushed hospital ward filled with malnourished children with skeletal faces, hanging between life and death for want of money and a good meal.

If that juxtaposition strikes you as jarring, even distasteful, it felt that way to me, too.

Crisis zones are often places of stark contrast, but in Yemen the gulf is particularly uncomfortable. The problem isn’t a lack of food; it’s that few people can afford to buy what food is available.

Years of blockades, bombs and soaring inflation have crushed the economy. A crushed state means there is no safety net.

As a result, beggars congregate outside supermarkets filled with goods; markets are filled with produce in towns where the hungry eat boiled leaves; and restaurants selling rich food are a few hundred yards from hunger wards filled with desperation, pain and death.

For a reporter, that brings a dilemma. Journalists travel with bundles of hard currency, usually dollars, to pay for hotels, transport and translation. A small fraction of that cash might go a long way for a starving family. Should I pause, put down my notebook and offer to help?

It’s a question some readers asked after we published a recent article on Yemen’s looming famine.

Many were touched by a powerful photograph by Tyler Hicks of Amal Hussain, an emaciated 7-year-old girl whose haunting stare brought the war’s human cost into shocking focus.

And many were devastated to learn that, soon after we left, Amal’s mother brought her back to the shabby refugee camp they call home, where she died a few days later.

Amal Hussain, who died at age 7 from malnutrition soon after this photograph was taken.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Image
Amal Hussain, who died at age 7 from malnutrition soon after this photograph was taken.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Some, in their anguish, turned the focus back on us.

Why didn’t we do something to save Amal’s life, they wanted to know. Did we just take the photo, conduct the interview and move on? Couldn’t we have somehow ensured that her family would get help?

“You can take the picture AND provide assistance,” one woman said on Twitter. “One doesn’t rule out the other.”

The questions resonated. Reporters are trained to bear witness; aid workers and doctors have the job of helping people.

Donating money, or other forms of assistance, can be fraught with ethical, moral and practical complications. Is it fair to single out one person or family for help? What if they embellish their story for the next foreigner who comes along, thinking they could get more money?

Plus, we have a job to do.

Doctors show us around, and sometimes we end up acting like them — examining stick-like limbs and flaccid skin with clinical detachment; tabulating figures about weight and age; listening as families recount their tragedies with amazing calm. The prospect of death is discussed. We nod sagely, make a note, move on.

But while we may try to mimic a stone, we are not stones, and every day in Yemen someone told me something that made a lump rise in my throat.

COMMENT OF THE MOMENT

Sandra commented November 30

Sandra
Times Pick

Let’s cut to the chase and get the U.N. and it’s agencies in there. Just do it. The USA should be spear heading the effort. War between armies is one thing. War on starving people is quite another….no grey area! NONE!

SEE MORE

Usually it was a mundane detail, like the lack of a few dollars to take a dying child to the hospital. Yemen, you realize, is a country where people are dying for lack of a taxi fare.

An injured Yemeni fighter with the Saudi-led Arab coalition that is battling Iran-allied Houthis for control of Yemen at a field hospital in Durayhimi.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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An injured Yemeni fighter with the Saudi-led Arab coalition that is battling Iran-allied Houthis for control of Yemen at a field hospital in Durayhimi.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Yemenis have to navigate such terrain, too.

While some are dying, others are getting on with living. One night we returned to our hotel in Hajjah, a town ringed by rocky ridges in a province that has been pummeled by Saudi airstrikes. Lying in bed, I was startled by a loud bang then a burst of light that filled the sky — not a bomb, but fireworks.

Since the start of the war, the rate of marriage in Yemen has gone up. And so, in this town where malnourished infants were perishing at the city hospital, others were dancing and celebrating through the night.

But the surge in weddings, it turned out, was a survival mechanism.

Across the social spectrum, Yemenis are sliding down the poverty ladder. Where once a mother bought a sack of rice to feed her family, now she can afford only a small bag. The hand of a daughter in marriage brings a bride price, and so weddings can be a source of income for stretched families.

Disturbingly, many of the brides are children. According to Unicef, two-thirds of Yemeni girls are married before the age of 18, up from 50 percent before the war.

As we crossed Yemen — from the battle-scarred port of Hudaydah to the Houthi-held mountains — on a bumpy 900-mile journey, we saw scenes of heartbreaking suffering that unfolded against a backdrop of spectacular mountains, and customs that stubbornly endure despite everything.

Every day, town centers bustled with men buying khat, the narcotic leaf beloved by Yemenis. The khat bazaars are a social event. Men, some with guns over their shoulders, gather to trade news, meet friends and prepare for the afternoon chew.

Women in black cloaks flitted between them; in one place, a loud argument erupted into fisticuffs. Even as starvation bites, some are reluctant to cut back on their habit.

In one health clinic, Ibrahim Junaid, a worried father standing over his ailing 5-month-old son, was chewing a lump of khat that left a green stain on his teeth and lips.

Mr. Junaid was 60; his wife, 25, stood silently by his side. The nurses wrapped the boy in a gold foil blanket to keep him warm.

Ibrahim Ali Mohammed Junaid, 60, and his wife Zahra Ali Ahmed, 25, taking their son, Ahmed Ibrahim al Junaid, 5 months old, to a clinic to treat his malnutrition.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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Ibrahim Ali Mohammed Junaid, 60, and his wife Zahra Ali Ahmed, 25, taking their son, Ahmed Ibrahim al Junaid, 5 months old, to a clinic to treat his malnutrition.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Mr. Junaid regretted that his son hadn’t enough to eat, adding that he had a lot of mouths to feed; he had married twice, and fathered 13 children.

The value of practices like chewing khat may be hard to understand in such turbulent times. But for men like Mr. Junaid, it is an integral part of their day. And it is a mark of the resilience of an ancient society, one of the oldest civilizations of the Middle East.

“People say Yemen is in a state of chaos, but it’s not,” said Thierry Durand, an aid worker who has worked in Yemen since the 1980s, and now runs a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Mocha. “There is still structure.”

“You can’t put it in three lines in your paper or describe it in three minutes on TV,” he continued. “This country is structured by family, tribe, traditions — and despite everything, those structures are still there, and they are strong.”

Still, Yemeni society is being ravaged by war. Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, aided by American bombs, have killed thousands of civilians, and displaced many more. But for most Yemenis, war strikes their lives in quieter, more insidious ways.

Bombs blow up bridges or factories, killing jobs, causing the currency to crumble and prices to soar, and forcing families to abstain from meat, then vegetables. Soon, they are dependent on international food aid or, in the worst cases, resort to meals of boiled leaves.

A bridge in Bani Hassan was damaged by a Saudi airstrike.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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A bridge in Bani Hassan was damaged by a Saudi airstrike.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Small but vital things, like a cab fare, become unattainable.

As we drove away from the small hospital in Aslam, where Amal Hussain was being treated, we passed a young couple hitching a ride on the side of the road. They were holding a small infant. We stopped and offered them a ride.

They squeezed into the passenger seat — the father, Khalil Hadi, enveloped by the black cloak of his wife, Hanna, who held their fragile 9-month-old son, Wejdan, who had just been released from the malnutrition ward.

Theirs was a typical story. Their home near the Saudi border had been bombed, so they rented a room in a house near Aslam. Mr. Hadi tried to earn money driving a motorbike taxi, and by foraging for wood to sell at the market.

But it wasn’t enough, and when he tried to go home, the Houthi soldiers told him the area was a military zone. Their diet was reduced to bread, tea and halas, the vine that grew locally. His wife was four months pregnant with their second child.

Mr. Hadi wasn’t looking for pity; many people were in similar trouble, he said. “I’d do anything to make some money,” he said. “The situation is so hard.”

At a junction in the road, the couple stepped out, offered thanks and began to walk away. Fumbling in my pocket, I called them back.

I pulled out a wad of Yemeni notes — about $15 worth — and pressed it into his hand. It seemed so futile, in the greater scheme of things. What could it buy them? A few days respite, if even that?

Mr. Hadi accepted the money with a gracious smile. As we drove off I saw the couple amble down a dusty road, toward their shelter, their ailing son held tight.

Khalil Hadi and his pregnant wife, Itanna Hassan Massani, carrying their 9-month-old son, Wejdan, from a clinic in Aslam.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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Khalil Hadi and his pregnant wife, Itanna Hassan Massani, carrying their 9-month-old son, Wejdan, from a clinic in Aslam.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Follow Declan Walsh on Twitter:@declanwalsh

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Contrast in Crushed State Presents Journalists With Ethical Dilemma. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
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AN F.U. Statement To The World: Saudi Crown Prince Arrives in Argentina

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Crown Prince Arrives in Argentina

Wednesday, 28 November, 2018 – 10:15
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
Asharq Al-Awsat

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, arrived in Argentina on Wednesday after leaving Tunisia on the last leg of his Arab tour.

Upon leaving Carthage Presidential Palace, the Crown Prince was seen off by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

At the Presidential Airport, the Crown Prince was also seen off by Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, and a number of senior officials, it said.

Crown Prince Mohammed will attend the G20 summit in Buenos Aires at the end of this week.

His Arab tour included Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Tunisia.

Lebanon Questions Int’l Stances for Ignoring Syrian Refugee Right to Return Home

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Lebanon Questions Int’l Stances for Ignoring Syrian Refugee Right to Return Home

Tuesday, 27 November, 2018 – 10:15
Lebanese President Aoun meets with President of the Belgian House of Representatives, Siegfried Bracke, and his accompanying delegation at Baabda. (Dalati & Nohra)
Beirut – Asharq Al-Awsat
Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Monday emphasized the need for Syrian refugees to return to safe areas in their country.

Aoun was speaking during a meeting at the Baabda palace with President of the Belgian House of Representatives, Siegfried Bracke, in the presence of his accompanying parliamentary delegation.

The president said linking the Syrian refugees’ return to their homeland to reaching a political solution in Syria “raises doubts regarding their stay in their host countries,” citing the example of the Palestinian refugees.

“Seventy years have passed and the solution of the Palestinian issue has not yet been reached,” he noted.

Aoun informed Bracke that Lebanon has asked the international community and the international organizations affiliated to the United Nations to provide assistance to the displaced Syrians after their return, because they are contributing to the reconstruction of their country.

In response to a question, Aoun expressed his surprise at “international positions that ignore the need for the return of Syria refugees.”

He stressed that Lebanon was witnessing an economic crisis due to accumulating challenges, the impact of the international economic situation and the influx of displaced Syrians.

Bracke, for his part, said his country would become a member of the Security Council as of next January, and would contribute to supporting Lebanon’s causes at international platforms.

Also on Monday, Speaker Nabih Berri and Bracke signed a three-year extension to 2021 of a partnership protocol between the two countries’ councils, which provides for parliamentary cooperation in sharing expertise in legislation and supervision.

Don-key Trump: Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Trump: Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia

Defending stance on Khashoggi killing, US president suggests that without Washington’s ‘strong ally’ Riyadh, Israel would be forced ‘to leave’ region

US President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that Israel would face major regional difficulties in the Middle East if it were not for the stabilizing presence of Saudi Arabia.

“Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” Trump told reporters after a Thanksgiving Day telephone call with members of the military from his Mar-a-Lago resort home in Florida.

The US president was asked to comment on reports that the CIA had concluded that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman ordered the brutal murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

“If you look at Israel, Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” Trump said. “So what does that mean, Israel is going to leave? You want Israel to leave? We have a very strong ally in Saudi Arabia.”

“The fact is that Saudi Arabia is tremendously helpful in the Middle East, if we didn’t have Saudi Arabia we wouldn’t have a big base, we wouldn’t have any reason probably…” Trump said, without finishing the sentence.

Critics in Congress and high-ranking officials in other countries have accused Trump of ignoring human rights and giving Saudi Arabia a pass for economic reasons, including its influence on the world oil market.

Noting that Saudi Arabia helps keep oil prices down, Trump on Thursday argued that almost no country is without its faults.

“If we go by a certain standard we won’t be able to have allies with almost any country,” he said.

People hold posters picturing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and candles during a gathering outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, on October 25, 2018. (Yasin Akgul/AFP)

Citing vehement denials by the Saudi crown prince and king that they were involved in Khashoggi’s killing, which he termed “an atrocity,” Trump said, “maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place. The world is a very, very vicious place.”

Trump said this week he would not impose harsher penalties on the crown prince over the death and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi.

On Tuesday, Trump also mentioned Israel in justifying why US-Saudi ties would not suffer over the Khashoggi scandal.

“The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel, and all other partners in the region,” he said.

Earlier this month, in Israel’s first public comments on the murder of Khashoggi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while the killing was “horrendous,” it was still necessary to preserve stability in the Arab kingdom.

Netanyahu’s comments came a day after the Washington Post reported that the Israeli leader had recently urged the White House to maintain its support for the crown prince amid growing criticism over the killing of Khashoggi. Netanyahu told Trump administration officials that the crown prince was a key strategic partner and a linchpin of the alliance against Iranian encroachment in the region, according to the Post.

In this May 20, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Israel does not have diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia although the two countries have found a common foe in Iran.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, according to a US official familiar with the assessment. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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