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WHAT WE DO
While there are now more than 500 Arabic and Persian language news outlets reporting stories from and about the Middle East, there is currently no affordable means for English speakers to gain access to much of this content. As a result, the overwhelming majority of English speaking businesspersons, students, journalists and others who have an interest in the affairs of the region are largely unaware of what the Middle East media is covering and how they are covering these stories.

Mideastwire.com aims to close this gap by offering a daily email newsletter of concise, translated briefs covering some of the key political, cultural, economic and opinion pieces appearing in the media of the 22 Arab countries, Iran and the Arab Diaspora. Through this effort, we hope to address at least one element of a global disconnect that continues to threaten a wide spectrum of socio-political and economic relationships, both here in the region and beyond.
TODAY’S DAILY BRIEFING
03-May-2016
Algeria
Opinion
“Algeria, Saudi Arabia and the silent crisis”  (Website)   
Arab Diplomacy
On May 2, the Rai al-Youm electronic daily carried the following piece by Wahiba Bou Hlayes, an Algerian writer: “The Saudi-Algerian relationship witnessed a major tension that some dubbed a silent crisis especially following the last visit carried out by the Algerian Minister for Arab League Affairs, Abdul Qader Messahel, to Damascus where he was received by President Bashar al-Assad in person. Al-Riyadh saw this as a clear message indicating: “Yes, we acknowledge the Al-Assad regime.” This step comes as the Algerian President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika refused to receive Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, last December where the latter’s visit was merely confined to talks that he conducted with his Algerian counterpart, Ramtane Lamamra… (Read More)
Egypt
Politics
"[Egyptian] Foreign ministry creates “Egyptian Regeni” in Europe and America"  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon)
Arab Diplomacy - USA EU
On May 3, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report by Ahmad Jamaleddine: “The Egyptian foreign ministry has conducted some extensive attempts to confront the major European action concerning the murder of Italian Researcher, Giulio Regeni, who is believed to have been killed by the police following his arrest and torture last February. The ministry – which hadn’t done a thing to follow-up on the news regarding the death of some thirty Egyptians in Libya during clashes with smugglers… - has been talking about mysterious murders of Egyptian nationals in the USA and Britain over the past two days… (Read More)
Iran
Opinion
"Time is running out for the Rouhani administration to take notice of its miscalculations"  (Keyhan)
Governmental Reform - United Nations - USA EU
On April 28, a commentary by Mohammad Sarafi in the conservative daily Keyhan said: "One thousand days of Rouhani's government have passed. In terms of time, the 11th government is on its descent. The 1,000th day is a proper time to do a brief evaluation, to assess the government's performance, and to predict the government's future trend. However, a multifaceted survey of the government's 1,000-day performance is beyond the scope of this column, which is to deal with the most significant topics. A glance at the major approaches of the government indicates that most of its weaknesses and shortcomings stem from "systematic miscalculations." Miscalculations at macro-strategic levels bring about detrimental outcomes and make correcting the calculation so difficult that it appears to be impossible… (Read More)
"Workers during moderate government"  (Shargh)
Financial Markets
On April 25, a commentary by Seyyed Abutorab Fazel in the reformist Shargh said: "...1. According to statistics, Iran's oil revenue between 1384 and 1391 was more than $750 billion. During the oil price hikes of up to $100, it was expected that together with the increase in oil revenue, first, the around 7 per cent economic growth rate predicted in the fourth and fifth plans would be achieved; and second, that the welfare statistics would improve significantly. However, the figures suggest otherwise. The above-mentioned circumstances have not only failed to lead to a positive and tangible impact on the key economic factors, but the 6.3 per cent economic growth rate and the 4.7 per cent investment growth rate in 1384 dropped to negative 6.8 per cent and negative 23.8 per cent respectively in 1391. Similarly, the unemployment rate at the end of the year 1391 increased to 24.5 per cent from 20.6 per cent in 1384. The social welfare state has been different. This factor - one of the most important factors for measuring the living standards of the lower class people, by monitoring poverty and income distribution - has been mostly declining during the ninth and the 10th governments. The factor has declined from 105.89 in the first year of the ninth government to 84.11 at the end of the final year of the 10th government. The most sobering point is that the highest level of social welfare growth was 11.67 per cent in the year 1383. To be more accurate, the living standards of the workers and lower class citizens declined so much during Ahmadinejad's government that some scholars describe that period as the period of "welfare collapse." Unfortunately, despite their populist claims, labourers' welfare had significantly declined in the course of the previous! government… (Read More)
"Seizure of American commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf in response..." - Shari'atmadari  (Keyhan)   
USA EU
On May 1, a piece by Hoseyn Shari'atmadari in the conservative Keyhan daily said: "Some time ago, a US court confiscated about two billion dollars of Iran's frozen assets based on a Congress decision and backed by the US administration. The excuse for this massive theft was an undocumented accusation of Iran's involvement in the explosion at the US Marines' headquarters in Beirut in 1983. The government's initial reaction to this overt plunder was to accuse the former administration. Of course, the first vice president said that Iran will take the principal amount and accrued interest from America. Mr. Rouhani also said in his remarks that America must pay reparations to the Iranians for various reasons… (Read More)
“Iran achieves major breakthrough by re-launching its support for Islamic Jihad…”  (Website)   
Arab Diplomacy - Military Defense - Terrorism
On May 2, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily newspaper carried the following editorial: “The Islamic Republic of Iran achieved a major political and diplomatic breakthrough when its Supreme Guide, Sayed Ali Khamenei, as well as other consultants and officials received Dr. Ramadan Abdullah Shalah, the Secretary General for the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine and the accompanying delegation that is currently visiting the Iranian capital, Tehran… (Read More)
Politics
"[New Parliament's direction]: Moderates or principle-ists?"  (Mardom-Salari)   
Democracy
On April 28, the reformist Mardom-Salari reported: "The 10th Majlis will have the highest number of independents, and this has made it difficult to predict the parliament's future approaches. If we cast a glance at the 221 seats whose owners have already been determined, we will understand that neither of the country's two major political factions has the majority of the seats since the independents have managed to win a number of seats themselves. Meanwhile, the remaining 69 seats will determine which proportion will go to each political faction in the 10th Majlis. However, the people, in the 7 Esfand elections, showed that they do not want extremism. Leaders of hardline factions in the ninth Majlis failed to make it to the Majlis, and even some of those who had passed the vetting by the Guardian Council, thanks to its leniency, failed to make it even to the second round when they were up against their reformist or moderate rivals. They were voted out in the first round so that they learn that the people were tired of their presence at the Majlis. Finally, the 10th Majlis will be a Majlis full of moderates and then reformists. It means that, based on a rough estimate, there will be definitely at least three factions in the Majlis… (Read More)
Iraq
Politics
“Escalation of inter-Shi’i disputes over reform, Cabinet formation”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi)
Corruption - Governmental Reform - Unrest
On May 3, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Baghdad: “In a dangerous and unprecedented crisis, the public disputes escalated between the blocs composing the Shi’i National Alliance, against the backdrop of their positions towards reform, the ministerial amendment and the attacks that targeted some of their leaders when the followers of the Sadrist Movement stormed Parliament and the Green Zone last Saturday. A source in the Sadrist Movement thus stated to Al-Quds al-Arabi that the disputes between the forces and organizations of the National Alliance recently escalated and reached the level of public criticisms and exchanged accusations between the blocs’ leaders in the media outlets and in private and public gatherings, which pointed to a crisis between the members of the Alliance that has been leading Iraq since 2003… (Read More)
Jordan
Politics
“Jordanian government’s MB phobia persists...”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi)   
Democracy
On May 3, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its Amman Office Chief Bassam Bdareen: “The arrest of the Jordanian Islamic Action Front representative in the southern city of Aqaba yesterday, regardless of the announced pretext for it, once again shows that the tactical latency adopted by the Muslim Brotherhood group is making the decision-making institutions more suspicious, though it reveals, according to political observers, the “futility” of the closing of the MB headquarters in several Jordanian cities, without having demarcated and determined the next steps. Practically, following the sealing of their official headquarters, the MB symbols in Jordan entered a state of silent latency, and abstained from commenting on the course of events while awaiting the next step. In the meantime, the authority sent two signals, which fall in the context of reaction and reveal the non-existence of a plan… (Read More)
Lebanon
Politics
"Will the revenge operations be launched from the camps?"  (Ad-Diyyar)
Terrorism - Unrest
On May 1, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report by Issa Bou Issa: “The Lebanese crisis is very much related to the ongoing conflict in the region on the political, economic, and demographic levels especially in the presence of more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees in addition to 50,000 Palestinians, which means that half the Lebanese population is actually formed by our Arab brothers who chose to benefit from Lebanon’s hospitality in spite of the country… In light of this Syrian and Palestinian presence in Lebanon – knowing that this presence is both armed and unarmed – it has become impossible to establish civil and social peace in Lebanon except through a major regional settlement according to some Lebanese political circles that are closely following on the situation. The sources said that all the settlements in Lebanon are now definitely delayed despite the timid internal Lebanese attempts that are leading to no more than additional frustration, corruption, and public funds’ looting… (Read More)
“Hezbollah and the Palestinian Salafists: revision followed by confronting the Takfiris”  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon)   
Unrest
On May 3, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report: “It seems that the meeting that brought Hezbollah together with Osbat al-Ansar and the Jihadist Islamic Movement yesterday has paved the way for a new phase in the relationship between the Party and these two Salafist organizations following a phase of mutual suspicions between the two sides. This isn’t the first meeting of its kind between the Party and these two movements. However, this meeting comes a long while following the preceding meeting and signals a new agreement in light of the sensitive phase lived by the camps mainly Ain el-Helweh now that the takfiri phenomenon has been introduced there and has obtained the support of some youths… (Read More)
Libya
Politics
“...Khachaneh to El-Khabar: Foreign intervention in Libya will create new rifts”  (El-Khabar)
Arab Diplomacy - Military Defense - Peace Process - USA EU
On May 3, the independent El-Khabar newspaper carried the following interview with Director of the Research Center for Libya Rachid Khachaneh by its correspondent in Tunis Othman Lahyani… (Read More)
Palestine
Opinion
“The Takfiri organizations and the Palestinian resistance”  (Filistin)
Terrorism
On May 3, the pro-Hamas Filistin newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Dr. Issam Shawar: “Arab and Palestinian media outlets released a recording attributed to the [Islamic] State – ISIL organization, attacking President Mahmoud Abbas and the leaders of the Palestinian factions. The unidentified elements also attacked the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades and accused them of weakness, and targeted those standing alongside the Palestinian people, such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After checking the recording, in which no ISIL fighters or men were seen – unlike what is usually the case – and which was limited to a report tainted by many slurs and misinformation, read by a voice that did not appear to be that of a man, let alone a fighter, I do not exclude the possibility that it was mere boyish fun… (Read More)
Syria
Opinion
“A regional battle in Aleppo”  (Al-Watan Syria)
Peace Process
On May 2, the pro-Syrian regime Al-Watan daily newspaper carried the following piece by Bassema Hamed: “The media campaigns accompanying the bloody Aleppo scene do not require much explanation and analysis to deduce that the settlement in Aleppo will greatly affect the field and political course of action in Syria and will have direct repercussions on the regional countries. For this reason, the Obama Administration is currently merely expressing its “concern” and calling on Russia to pressure “the regime into halting its attacks against the opposition” since it [i.e. the Obama Administration] has no interest in launching this battle right before leaving the White House in order to avoid losing all its cards on the Syrian file especially since the American estimates point to the impossibility of modifying the power balances in the current circumstances… (Read More)
“Syrian extermination”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi)
Human Rights
On May 3, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following opinion piece by Elias Khoury: “Can we read blood? In the past, the Palestinian Writers’ Union raised the slogan “We will write for Palestine with blood.” However, Palestine’s writers, even those who were martyred, considered that this slogan was a mere naive mobilization tool, and only wrote with ink. Blood cannot be written with. It is rather shed. And those who write with blood are the occupiers, the tyrants and the fascists. Those who wrote with the blood of Abdul Rahim Mahmoud, Ghassan Kanafani and Lamal Nasser are the Israeli murderers, while Kanafani and his companions wrote with the ink of the Nakba the story of the victim. Even the writers, the pseudo-writers and the pseudo-poets glorifying the killers are not writing with blood, rather prostrating before those who are shedding blood… (Read More)
Politics
“Kurdish politician: PYD has become the Kurds’ ISIL in Syria”  (Website)
Military Defense - Peace Process
On May 2, the Turkish Anadolu News Agency carried the following report by its correspondent in Istanbul Amin Elry: “Abdulhamid Tammo, a member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and the foreign affairs director of the Kurdish Future Movement, stated that the practices of the PYD (the armed branch of the terrorist PKK in Syria) were no different than those of the terrorist ISIL, and that the PYD had become the “Kurds’ ISIL.” Speaking to Anadolu’s correspondent, Tammo commented on the PYD’s displaying a few days ago of the corpses of Free Syrian Army elements on an open truck in the city of Afrin in Rif Aleppo by saying: “When the Arabs see such scenes, they do not say that the PYD stands behind them, rather that the Kurds committed these horrific acts. We in the Kurdish Future Movement thus released a statement in which we clarified that the Kurdish people had nothing to do with this organization’s practices… (Read More)
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