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TODAY’S DAILY BRIEFING
27-Mar-2017
Iraq
Opinion
“Intelligence [bodies] in Mosul: Whose battle is it?”  (Az-Zaman, Iraq)
Terrorism
On March 26, the independent Az-Zaman newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Chief Editor Fateh Abdul Salam: “The intelligence [bodies] are more efficient, important and useful than fighter jets, cannons and heavy artillery. Many experts have tried to uncover the secret behind ISIL’s infiltration of and control over the Iraqi cities, before they militarily collapsed, but they had diverging views. However, Mosul’s inhabitants know how to diagnose the flaw better than all of the latter, and better than the local or international intelligence bodies. A few days ago, I asked a man from Mosul, who works at a sweets shop in Erbil, to which he resorted when ISIL invaded Mosul less than three years ago: Will you go back after full liberation? He replied: I do not think so. And when I asked him why, he said: We want to feel that the security bodies are not infiltrated… (Read More)
Lebanon
Politics
On the situation of the Hezbollah hostages in Aleppo  (Website, Middle East)
Military and Defense
On March 27, the Lebanon Debate website carried the following report: “For one and a half years now, the Hezbollah hostages have been detained in Aleppo. These were taken by the fighters of An-Nusra Front during the battles that they engaged at on the city’s outskirts. The hostages were taken in two batches: the first batch was taken in mid-November 2015 and it included three fighters: Hassan Nazih Taha, Mohammad Mehdi Shouwaib, and Moussa Kourani. As for the second batch, this includes Mohammad Jawad Yassin who was taken by mid-August 2016, i.e. a few months following the first hostage-taking operation in addition to the dead bodies of fighters lost in action… (Read More)
“What was the offer rejected by Bassil...?”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)
Arab Diplomacy - USA EU
On March 27, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report by Imad Marmal: “…In the past week, Minister Gibran Bassil visited Washington where he participated in the conference of the international counter-ISIL alliance at the headquarters of the U.S. State Department, which was attended by the representatives of 68 countries including 55 foreign ministers… (Read More)
“Lebanon’s choices in Jordan include pullout”  (Website, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy
On March 27, the Lebanon Debate website carried the following report: “Tomorrow, the President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, will be heading to Jordan along with a delegation to participate at the Arab League. According to political sources, he is expected to be faced with a strategic question, one that will be asked by most Arab leaders mainly the Gulf leaders from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait since Hezbollah’s activities affect these countries either through cells operating there or through the attacks of the Party’s officials against them… (Read More)
Middle East
Opinion
“Trump wipes “ISIL from the face of the Earth!””  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Military and Defense - Terrorism - USA EU
On March 27, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following lead editorial: “At a time when the world was busy with the latest terrorist incidents in Europe and concerned about their possible expansion…, the new US Administration’s planes were implementing their new President Donald Trump’s vision which says: “We will obliterate the Islamic State,” and “wipe it out from the face of the Earth.” Trump’s violent discourse… was translated in horrific massacres that targeted hundreds of civilians in Syria and Iraq, as seen in the last few days in Mosul, and before that at Omar ibn al-Khattab Mosque in Adlib and a school in a village near Raqqa, pushing Airwar Organization to call in a statement on Friday for halting the monitoring of the Russian’s massacres, and for focusing on what the Americans and their allies were doing, after the death of more than 1,000 civilians was registered in March… (Read More)
Palestine
Opinion
“The soft assassination and the change of equations”  (Filastin al-An, Palestine)
On March 26, the pro-Hamas Filastin al-An website carried the following piece by Issam Shawer: “Targeting the Al-Qassam leader, Mazen Fuqaha, has been placed, since the very first moment, in the context of an Israeli offensive and an assassination rather than a regular murder. Thus, the Al-Qassam Brigades laid out the beginning of their new equation as a response to the assassination. They stressed that they will break the equation of the “soft assassination” that the Israeli Occupation is trying to implement on the Al-Qassam heroes and further indicated that the Occupation will regret the day when it thought of launching that [technique]. The Al-Qassam’s threats were not limited to the statements issued by the military wing as they also included the extensive statements of the Hamas movement’s political leaders, which is an indication to the major nature of the crime and the major nature of the expected response… (Read More)
Politics
“…Palestinian officials: No new peace initiative during the Amman summit”  (Al-Ghad, Jordan)   
Arab Diplomacy - Peace Process
On March 27, the independent Al-Ghad newspaper carried the following report by its correspondent in Amman Nadia Sa’deddin: “Palestinian officials denied the existence of a “new peace initiative” that will be launched during the Arab summit hosted by the Kingdom in the Dead Sea region in two days. They thus said: “We do not have a new peace initiative” to be launched during the summit, rather “a steady position based on changing mechanisms that will be confirmed during the summit, featuring the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 border with Jerusalem as its capital, and a willingness to see a demilitarized state and the exchange of lands...” In identical statements to Al-Ghad, the officials added: “The Palestinian side is constantly consulting and coordinating with Jordan and the Arab brothers, and there is a common agreement over the Palestinian positions at this level… (Read More)
“…How will Hamas respond to “soft assassination” of Faqha?...”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Military and Defense - Unrest
On March 27, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report from Gaza: “The Palestinians are waiting to see how Hamas’s armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigade, will respond to Israel, which was accused of assassinating liberated detainee Mazen Faqha, in light of the exclusion of Gaza’s most armed faction’s adoption of the open war option, as it had happened upon the assassination of former commander of the armed wing Ahmad Jaabari. Still, there are Israeli expectations surrounding a possible military response… In a military statement, Al-Qassam Brigade pledged to undermine the occupation’s “soft assassination” approach adopted towards the heroes of the resistance in Gaza, thus threatening: “We will make the enemy regret the day it considered adopting this equation,” and assuring: “The enemy will pay the price for this crime in a way that befits the size of the assassination… (Read More)
Sudan
Politics
“Sudan: Ali al-Haj succeeds to At-Turabi at the head of Popular Congress Party...”  (Quds Press Agency, United Kingdom)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On March 26, Quds Press Agency carried the following report from Khartoum: “The general conference of the Popular Congress Party elected Dr. Ali al-Haj as the party’s secretary general, after he earned the support of the candidates who had been selected by the party’s Shura Council, and adopted a “renewal system” which calls for the formation of a new entity. Last Thursday, the Popular Congress’ Shura Council had chosen three candidates to the party’s general secretariat, and subjected their name to voting at the general conference... And unlike the expectations of many observers, the surprise during the Shura Council meeting was former Secretary General Ibrahim as-Sanusi’s nomination of his deputy Ali al-Haj, which settled the controversy surrounding the successor of Sheikh Hassan at-Turabi… (Read More)
Syria
Opinion
"Will Reqqa constitute the trap?"  (Al-Watan Syria, Syria)
Military and Defense - USA EU
On March 26, the pro-Syrian regime Al-Watan daily carried the following piece by Feras Aziz Dib: “For Erdogan to threaten the Europeans that they “won’t be able to walk in the streets” and for this to be followed by a terrorist attack in London is an indication that we have to sit and wait for additional capitals where Erdogan has planted his sleeper cells. However, we must not overlook one main question: …Have the Europeans started to understand the lesson that this Erdogan has and is still biting them however he wants?… (Read More)
“Rouhani in Moscow: Why now…?”  (Website, Middle East)
Military and Defense
On March 26, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily newspaper carried the following piece by Hesham Habeshan: “The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is launching a visit to Moscow following an invitation by his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to discuss a number of files including the enhancement of the relations between the two countries. This is the ninth of its kind meeting between the two leaders in the past four years. During their meeting, Rouhani and Putin are expected to sign ten “important documents” one of which pertains to the Iranian-Russian agreement on canceling the touristic visas… (Read More)
Tunisia
Politics
“Deputy Head of Tunisian Ennahda Movement Abdelfattah Mourou talks to Echourouq...”  (Echourouq al-Yawm, Algeria)
Arab Diplomacy - Peace Process
On March 26, the Algerian Echourouq newspaper carried the following interview with Deputy Head of the Tunisian Ennahda Movement, Deputy Speaker of the Tunisian Parliament and scholar Abdelfattah Mourou, by its correspondent Abdelsalam Sekia… (Read More)
United States
Opinion
“Another defeat for Trump at the U.S. Senate…”  (Website, Middle East)
Health - USA EU
On March 25, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily carried the following editorial: “Donald Trump has sustained the biggest defeat since he accessed power in the United States, sixty days ago, as he was forced to pull a draft law he had proposed as an alternative for the Obamacare act because his proposed draft failed to obtain the support of the Congress, which is controlled by the Republican party. This means that the Party’s lawmakers are divided and most of them do not support President Trump and his suggestions… (Read More)
Yemen
Politics
“…Ambassador Al-Jaber to Okaz: Houthis chose language of arms, thwarted dialogue”  (Okaz, Saudi Arabia)
Arab Diplomacy - Military and Defense - Peace Process
On March 27, the pro-monarchy Okaz daily carried the following interview with Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al Jaber, by its correspondent in Jeddah Faheem al-Hamed… (Read More)
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