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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
29-Aug-2016
Iran
Opinion
"Seeking Independence or Throwing Monkey Wrench into Plans!!" - On relations with Russia  (Keyhan, Iran)   
On August 23, a commentary by Dr Hossein Kachouyan, professor of social sciences at Tehran University, wrote in the conservative Keyhan: "These days, after Russian jets started a military operation against Takfiris in Syria using Nojeh Airbase in Hamedan, following the strategic agreements between Iran and Syria, we are witnessing a wave of Russophobia from Washington to the heart of Tehran. Meanwhile, understanding the reason behind the wrath and fear of the West, especially their leader the United States, for this cooperation is not difficult. They fan the flame of Russophobia for the purpose of destroying or weakening the strategic relations between Iran and Russia. It is not hard either to understand that Americans expect their good Iranian friends, especially inland friends to help them. Within the framework of this strategic cooperation, it is likely that, for the purpose of fanning the flame, these followers of the governor translate the Qajar Dynasty's Treaty of Turkmenchay and the Treaty of Gulistan and organise a wave of articles, interviews and speeches regarding the history if Iran and Russia, and note some typical remarks again, such as the willingness of Russians to access warm waters at the time of Peter the Great. The strange and interesting point is the statements of some former anti-US people and its subsequent friends and their so-called wise recommendations to Mr [Hassan] Rouhani to continue the strategy. It is not that strange if, by these so-called smart recommendations, they say that Principlists are interested that Russia gains power, and interpret their understanding of national interests as a "naive" understanding. However, it seems strange to accept that some, without any kind of interest in the West and the USA to gain power in Iran, and by suspiciously inviting the president to a contradictory seditious game, they recommend him to create a contradiction in the foreign policy. The more interesting fact is that such recommendation is made in the midst of the conflict with Takfiris and deployment of their terrorist teams to the western and eastern borders and introduced as a good understanding of the problem… (Read More)
"Not a wonder drug, but a deadly poison" - on dialogue with the US  (Keyhan, Iran)
Energy - USA EU
On August 9, a commentary by Sadollah Zarei in the conservative Keyhan said: ""On the surface they make promises and unleash their glib tongues, but in practise they conspire, they destroy, and they hinder the progress of our affairs. This is the United States for you. This is experience for you. Now the United States is saying let us discuss regional issues. Well, this experience tells us that this would be a fatal poison for us." "The line of thought for negotiation and agreement with the United States," which is as old as the period the Iranian nation has been defending its identity, independence, and honour in a hot and ceaseless battle against the arrogant leaders of the United States - knowingly or unknowingly - is being pursued with the goal of helping the United States in this conflict. In fact, when we are faced with the continuous anti-Iran activities of the United States - whether by the Democrats or the Republicans - and at the same time a group of people keep saying we can stop enmity against ourselves through dialogue, they are in fact providing opportunity for the enemies of Iran to reap the result of their tyrannical pressures and their enormous damages that they have inflicted at the negotiation table!… (Read More)
"Opportunism of America and Al-Saud in Hasakeh"  (Javan, Iran)   
Military Defense - USA EU
On August 24, a commentary by Seyyed Rahim Lari in the conservative Javan said: "While the field situation in Aleppo and the struggle of terrorist groups to escape from the siege, and the progresses made by the forces backed by the US-led coalition in Manbij, were Syrian war's top stories, suddenly, the clashes between the Syrian Army and the Kurdish forces stationed in Hasakeh, captured media attention. The reason behind the attention shown by media outlets was not merely due to the sudden nature of this conflict. For over five years of war in Syria, both sides had been greatly respecting one another conditions, and even whenever a fight broke between them, it did not last long and soon ended with a cease-fire… (Read More)
Iraq
Opinion
“Iraq asking KSA to pull out its ambassador: Will the response consist of shutting down the embassy entirely…?”  (Website, Middle East)   
Arab Diplomacy
On August 29, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily newspaper carried the following editorial: “The Saudi-Iraqi relations have been tense for the past 25 years regardless of who was sitting behind the Iraqi steering wheel, their sect, their dogma and regardless of whether these [leaders] were Sunni or Shi’i… The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia summoned half a million American troops to fight the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and oust his forces from Kuwait, which he had invaded in the summer of 1990. It [KSA] covered the expenses of this ousting in full and played the main part in reducing the oil prices to less than 10 dollars per barrel during the Iraqi-Iranian war in order to further affect the [Iraqi] economy… (Read More)
Politics
“Electoral Commission: Will not allow registration of [Popular] Mobilization as political entity”  (Al-Mada, Iraq)
Democracy and Party Politics - Military Defense
On August 29, the independent Al-Mada newspaper carried the following report from Baghdad: “The High Electoral Commission announced on Sunday that Popular Mobilization was a security institution that could not be registered as a political entity to participate in the elections, assuring that the political parties’ law prohibited the registration of any political entity shaped as a military organization. In a statement, a copy of which was received by Al-Mada, the IHEC said: “Popular Mobilization is a military institution that has security ties with the security bodies. The political parties’ law, no. 36 of 2015, which was drawn up by parliament and ratified by the presidency of the republic, prohibits the registration of any political entity shaped as a military or para-military organization... So, the Commission confirms the non-registration of any political entity under the name of Popular Mobilization, as the law prohibits it… (Read More)
Lebanon
Politics
“A secret meeting between the [Lebanese] Forces and Hezbollah: The full story”  (Website, Middle East)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On August 29, the Lebanon Debate website carried the following report: “The war of the leaks has started to invade the narrow corridors between the politically-opposed parties. In addition to the leaks on a meeting between Gen. Aoun’s and PM Sa’d al-Hariri’s delegates, news emerged about a meeting between two MPs from Hezbollah and the Lebanese Forces at a restaurant in the Southern Suburbs [of Beirut] based on an invitation from Hezbollah. The leak, which is closer to a rumor, indicates that “the Party communicated indirectly with Me’rab [the Lebanese Forces stronghold] through an MP from the Change and Reform bloc to ask for [a meeting with] a representative of the head of the Lebanese Forces in order to give him a message… (Read More)
“Will Al-Lino’s appearances pave way before rapprochement with Fatah?”  (Newspaper, Middle East)
Terrorism
On August 29, the Lebanese privately-owned Al-Joumhouria newspaper carried the following report by Ali Daoud: “The wanted in Ain el-Helweh camp are continuing to surrender to the army intelligence, as Hussein Muhammad Hamdan surrendered to ensure the settlement of his security file, knowing he is affiliated with the terrorist Bilal Badr... On the other hand, in light of the repeated media appearances of former Commander of the Palestinian Armed Struggle General Mahmoud Issa, a.k.a. Al-Lino, Al-Joumhouria has learned that he was paving the way before a new rapprochement with Fatah, and was talking about its unity after he had waged an attack on President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah supervisor in Lebanon General Azzam al-Ahmad following his ousting. According to the information Al-Lino has received promises to return to Fatah… (Read More)
“Western attempts in New York to exclude Lebanon from refugee naturalization plans”  (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Arab Diplomacy - Refugees
On August 29, the pro-monarchy Ar-Riyadh newspaper carried the following report by its correspondent in Beirut Marlene Khalife: “Lebanon is participating in two international conferences on the refugees in the world on September 19-20 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly activities in New York, while represented by Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gibran Bassil. The first conference was summoned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and the second by American President Barack Obama. However, non-reassuring leaks came out about the content of the paper drafted by President Obama, a copy of which was received by circles at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, in which Obama calls for keeping the refugees wherever they are present… (Read More)
“Birri to Al-Akhbar: I am protecting the Aounists from themselves”  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On August 27, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report by Firas al-Shoufi: “…Speaker Birri doesn’t know what the Free Patriotic movement has obtained (or will be obtaining) by boycotting the council of ministers’ session two days ago. To start with, the movement did not want to boycott. Had the mediation of the Minister of Education, Elias Bou Saab succeeded during his last visit to Birri, and had the cabinet’s session been postponed as suggested by the minister who had been dispatched by the head of the Change and Reform bloc, MP Michel Aoun, then the latter would perhaps not have boycotted the session… (Read More)
“Erdogan mediating with Tehran for Hezbollah to abandon the General”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)
Arab Diplomacy - Democracy and Party Politics
On August 27, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report: “One question is being raised on the political scene: Is Sa’d al-Hariri Saudi or is he Turkish? Yesterday, Sheikh Sa’d participated in the inauguration of the Sultan Selim I Bridge in Istanbul. We don’t know if he knows that the inauguration timing was set to coincide with the 500 years anniversary of the Sultan’s invasion of Syria and from there the entire Arab region. And while Al-Hariri was rejoicing the occasion, the Turkish tanks were proceeding with their incursion into the Syrian lands that neither belong to the regime of Bashar al-Assad nor to anyone else… (Read More)
Syria
Opinion
“Darayya’s birds”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Human Rights
On August 29, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following lead editorial: “The deportation of the inhabitants and opposition fighters from the city of Darayya, which is close to Damascus, acted as a new shock to the Syrians and the Arabs sympathizing with their struggle against the ruling regime. Hence, the images of the city’s full vacating of its remaining inhabitants generated popular disgruntlement in the Syrian South, where demonstrations took over the streets in many cities and towns of Hauran to protest against what the people perceived as being the failure of the opposition factions to support a town whose population persisted for more than four years in the face of a suffocating starvation, and deterred alone massive military operations, during which explosive barrels, Napalm bombs and cannon and air bombing were used… (Read More)
Politics
“Clash of the wills: Qatar made a promise that it failed to keep and Turkey is taking its time”  (As-Safir, Lebanon)   
Arab Diplomacy - Military Defense - Terrorism
On August 29, the independent, leftist As-Safir daily newspaper carried the following report: “There is an almost entire regional/international control over the “jihadist” scene in Syria… However, the difference in interests between the supporting countries has started to overshadow the degree of intersection between them. One of the first outcomes of this situation might consists of the failure to announce the unification between the armed Syrian factions prior to the meeting between the Russian and American Secretaries of State, Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry this last Friday. This [the unification] had been planned by some countries with the aim of aborting the meeting and preventing the American-Russian coordination from reaching its desired outcomes… (Read More)
“Syrian opposition journalist: Priority is to confront Kurdish militias that have lost their minds...”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Military Defense
On August 29, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Istanbul Ismail Jamal: “Syrian opposition journalist Ahmad Kamel considered that the priority of the Free Syrian Army fighting in the context of the Euphrates Shield operation in Northern Syria was to “confront the expansionist Kurdish militias, which aim to occupy all the Syrian North.” For his part, member of the National Coalition Ahmad Ramadan stressed the need to fight ISIL and the Kurdish militias, as they are both “terrorist occupation forces.” Hence, after the Free Syrian Army forces were able to expel ISIL from the city of Jarabulus, with Turkish air and artillery support in the context of the Euphrates Shield operation, they are now focusing on expelling the Kurdish People’s Protection Units from many villages surrounding the city… (Read More)
“Ahrar al-Sham movement knocking on the Iranian door…”  (As-Safir, Lebanon)   
Military Defense - Peace Process
On August 27, the independent, leftist As-Safir daily newspaper carried the following report: “A secret committee at the Islamic Ahrar al-Sham movement…recently conducted some major amendments to the movement’s political principles and vision for the future of Syria. Thanks to these amendments, in case they are endorsed, the movement will be more likely to accept the political process and its possible agreed-upon outcomes regionally and internationally. In addition, there is a growing tendency among the movement’s leaders to open a window of dialogue with Iran now that the movement and its main cadres have realized that toppling the Syrian regime is impossible and that reflecting on a solution for the Syrian crisis without Iran is like reading outside the book… (Read More)
Tunisia
Politics
“Tunisia: Controversy surrounding picture of new prime minister with 8 female ministers...”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Democracy and Party Politics - Women
On August 29, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Tunis Hassan Salman: “A picture showing Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed with his female team (six ministers and two ministers of state) generated various reactions among social media activists and users, with some praising the new prime minister’s confidence in Tunisian women, and others mockingly comparing it to the Turkish series “Harim as-Sultan” [The Women/Harem of the Sultan], which is widely popular in Tunisia. Hence, dozens of Facebook users shared a picture of the young prime minister standing in the middle of his female team, which holds important ministerial portfolios, namely the finance, energy, health and youth portfolios. A female user called Basma Belhadge wrote: “I am a woman and I am proud of the female representation in the government… (Read More)
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