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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
23-Sep-2016
Algeria
Opinion
"Bensalah gives a painful prod to the French; stresses cooperation is too important to be confined within commercial framework"  (Asharq al-Awsat, United Kingdom)
Financial Markets - USA EU
On September 19, a piece by Mohamed Meslem in the daily Echourouk el-Youmi said: "In a significant turn, Speaker of the Council of the Nation Abdelkader Bensalah prodded French officials in their capital on the occasion of a visit in response to an invitation by the president of the French Senate, Gerard Larcher. In the presence of his French counterpart, Bensalah said that cooperation between Algiers and Paris must go beyond the commercial framework to productive investment; a statement which hid many indications those relations were unequal at many levels. That issue has been a source of dismay to Algerian officials during the last few years and observers have described the situation as unjustifiable "selfishness" by the French side which had obtained a lot from Algeria but that generosity had not been reciprocated as expected. French investment in Algeria is rumoured to be merely in commercial services which aim at nothing more than quick profit for little effort by exploiting the pervasive French influence in the administration to achieve that, while investment in the productive sectors remain outside the interest of French investors… (Read More)
Bahrain
Politics
"Bahrain: The formation of security committees in the four governorates"  (Asharq al-Awsat, United Kingdom)
Unrest
On September 10, the Saudi owned Asharq al-Awsat reported: "The Kingdom of Bahrain has decided to form security committees, which would be responsible for backing security agencies. Their tasks include creating security plans, securing occasions and places of worship, monitoring the security situation in governorates, increasing security awareness, and preserving private possessions and public morals. According to a decision issued by Staff Lieutenant General Shaykh Rashid bin Abdallah bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, who is the Bahraini minister of interior, there will be a total of four committees with one committee assigned to each of the four governorates in Bahrain. The committees will examine security issues in the governorate and give their opinions on security plans. In addition, the committees will coordinate between the relevant specialised security sides, propose what is needed to maintain public order and morals, propose a security strategy for the governorate, and contribute to creating security plans and programmes, which will play a role in protecting people and possessions. Moreover, the committees will give recommendations for securing and protecting entities and facilities of strategic importance. Furthermore, the committees will exchange security information and data and contribute to creating security plans for the governorate's occasions and activ! ities. They will play role in spreading security awareness, in addition to discussing and studying security problems for each governorate and suggesting solutions for them. Each governor should periodically submit reports to the interior minister on the work of the committee he is presiding over… (Read More)
Egypt
Opinion
“The Field Marshal is almost saying: Take me!”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Arab Diplomacy - Refugees - Terrorism - United Nations
On September 23, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following lead editorial: “Egyptian President Abdul Fattah es-Sisi’s participation in the United Nations 71st session created controversy in Egyptian and Arab political and media circles, due to the different messages which his visit tried to send to the leaders of the world, particularly the United States, whose President Barack Obama abstained from meeting with him, though he did meet with the Republican and Democratic parties’ candidates... In his speech before the General Assembly, Es-Sisi went off script. We do not know exactly what pushed the Egyptian president to do so, but his call upon “the Israeli people and the Israeli command” in such an emotional way requires a political-psychological analysis, because choosing the UN General Assembly to address a message to Israel brings to mind the notion of the Israeli political, media and financial lobbies’ cross-continental capabilities… (Read More)
Iran
Opinion
"Combating Money Laundering or Refuting Sovereignty?"  (Keyhan, Iran)   
Financial Markets - USA EU
On September 14, an editorial by Ali Akbari in the conservative Keyhan said: "A lot has been said and written about the administration's commitment to implement the agreement to combat money laundering. The proponents and opponents of this agreement have cited many reasons to oppose or support this agreement. Some have gone as far as saying that this agreement will solve all banking and monetary problems in the country, whilst others have stated that this agreement is worse than capitulating. I intend to look into this agreement from a different perspective, regardless of the aforementioned issues. One of the issues that has in the past two to three years been propagated and circulated in different ways by some of the people close to the honourable administration is refuting the sovereignty of the country. Some of the advisers to the honourable president have forthrightly stated that in this day and age sovereignty has no meaning and such words can now only be found in dictionaries. What is important, according to them, is interaction between countries and in these interactions one superior power with hegemony will manage the politics of these affairs and other countries will play their role within this system and cycle. Therefore, from this perspective, any issue that highlights the subject of a country's sovereignty also disrupts the role that a country can play in the international system. On this basis, weakening national sovereignty and at the same time playing by the rules set by the imperialist system are presented as the solution. Some advisers a! nd people close to the administration propagate and spread this policy however, unfortunately, the honourable administration has not rejected this policy and instead has supported it. Those proposing such a policy are in fact praised and introduced as role models, and even the society is invited discreetly to follow in their footsteps. The honourable president's remark is evidence to this claim; when he said that the administration has come to power to enable people who are banned from writing to be able to write freely. At the president's level, any politician chooses his words precisely and carefully. Therefore, the president motivating the writers inside the country to support an individual who is a proponent of refuting sovereignty is very questionable… (Read More)
"The Concerned Ones' Serious Determination to Defeat Government"  (Newspaper, Middle East)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On September 19, a commentary by Kamaleddin Pirmoazen, former MP, in the moderate, pro-reform daily Arman-e Emruz said: "Regretfully, certain elements and particular circles -- whose record of stances and performance has been rejected by the absolute majority of people, and who have constantly been rejected by society -- have formed an organised, unfair, and demagogic current against the president, his allies, and those who are close to him. Apparently, there is and will be no end to finding excuses, causing obstacles, creating ballyhoo, and setting expansive traps by these concerned individuals and currents against the president and the government. Even this time that the president shone brightly across the word for defending the country's and the nation's rights, and fighting violence and terrorism, poisonous waves started flowing from mysterious centres against the president and the government. The majority of Iranian people are well aware that the president's stances have been in line with defe! nding the essence of the system, and to purify the bright image of Islam against some narrow-minded stances and methods of the Middle Ages. His actions have been aimed at putting an end to economic recession by making the most of the golden post-JCPOA opportunity. I have no doubt that pressures, threats, distortions, causing organised and particular obstacles and ballyhoo against the president will have no effect on the president's determination and his companions for defending the honour of the system, the Constitution, constitutional rights, and the nation's true demands at all. The president will not lose the power play to a particular current. In fact, he has and will enrich Iran's positive and rightful image in the global arena. By ignoring society's demand and wish, elements of the particular current are pursuing the project of bringing despair to the nation so that people reach this belief that their votes and opinions are not inf! luential, and their voices are not heard at decision-making centres so that they would be able to have their own people at the presidential office and Islamic city councils with the minimum number of people's votes. Hope keeps human beings alive. Today, there is a big gap between this current's elements and the system's ideals in practice. Therefore, it is not appropriate to pay attention to any of their individual or social activities. They have to reform their minds. Bringing back national hope and joy by valuing society's true demands and wishes -- such as music, economic growth, and political, economic, and social freedom -- is possible. People are fed up of violence, radical attitudes, and useless political disputes… (Read More)
Iraq
Opinion
“Questions about Mosul without question marks”  (Az-Zaman, Iraq)
Military Defense - USA EU
On September 20, the independent Az-Zaman newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Chief Editor Fateh Abdul Salam: “Many questions are reaching me from the readers surrounding the Mosul battle, whether it will take place soon during Obama’s term, so that he can use it to support his partner Hillary Clinton in the presidential elections, whether it will be the responsibility of the next president, or whether will take place between the old and new presidents, i.e. while the United States is being managed by an ineffective president in the off-time. Questions are also revolving around whether or not the battle will go on until the city’s devastation, whether or not any price, no matter how high it is, will be paid to ensure its liberation, and whether or not the Americans are serious about accomplishing the mission… (Read More)
Jordan
Opinion
“The elections have succeeded, but the electoral system has failed”  (Al-Ghad, Jordan)
Democracy and Party Politics
On September 23, the independent Al-Ghad newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Issa ash-Shuibi: “It might be too early to issue final judgments regarding the elections’ results..., which have just come out and are still the object of debate within many relevant circles. However, what we now know about the outcome of this process, which came as a shock to more than a 1,000 candidates who failed the test and to others, allows us to say that the electoral elections succeeded based on the standards of integrity, transparency and turnout, but that the electoral system, including the electoral law, widely failed, and was disappointing to most voters, and maybe even to the winners in the 18th parliament. No one, except for those who have a specific purpose in mind, can deny the efforts of the organizers of this civilized competition in these difficult times, or disregard the positive points that accompanied this electoral process since its launching several months ago… (Read More)
Morocco
Politics
"Interior Ministry bans Salafi Qabbaj from running for elections: he has spread rancour and hatred, attacked Jews..."  (As-Sabah, Tunisia)
Judicial Affairs - Religion - USA EU
On September 17, the daily As-Sabah reported: "The Interior Ministry had banned Salafi Hammad El Qabbaj, candidate of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) in the Jeliz constituency, in Marrakech, from running for elections. To this effect, he has received a letter from Abdelfattah Bjioui, governor of the Marrakech-Safi region and prefect of Marrakech to the effect that he is banned because he incites hatred and violence. Justifying his refusal to allow the candidacy of Qabbaj in the elections, Bjioui said that the person concerned has openly and publicly declared positions against the basic principles of democracy approved by the Moroccan kingdom's constitution. He also spreads extremist ideas inciting discrimination and hatred as well as rancour and division among the elements of Moroccan society. Moreover, some of his lessons showed that he has attacked Moroccan Jews, particularly Andre Azoulay, and he has declared a number of intellectuals and journalists as unbelievers and called for the marriage of minor girls. He has also declared that playing football is religiously prohibited and he considers the game as sedition. The ban decision made by the Interior Ministry was seen as courageous to put an end to the interference of the US Embassy that has urged Moroccan political parties to put forward Salafi candidates in elections. This happened during secret meetings held under the patronage of Kyle Spector, US diplomat in charge of political affairs at the US embassy in Rabat. Assabah in fact was the first to report this information by revealing the pressure put on political parties leaders to integrate Salafi cheikhs in political life… (Read More)
Palestine
Politics
On Iranian involvement in Hamas internal elections  (Asharq al-Awsat, United Kingdom)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On September 15, the Saudi owned Asharq al-Awsat reported: "Palestinian sources have reported that Hamas is considering the prospect of amending its statute, which pertains to holding internal elections, specifies the powers of the chairman and members of both its Political Bureau and Shura Council, and determines where the Political Bureau chairman should reside. It wants to do this prior to the internal elections due to be held at the end of 2016 with the aim of making Ismail Haniya chairman. Hamas is due to hold new elections to select the members of a new Political Bureau and a new chairman to succeed Khaled Meshaal, whose term has ended and who does not have the right to run again for the post. The internal elections, which are held every four years, will also choose the members and chairman of a new Shura Council. Informed Palestinian sources have stated that as the time draws near for electing a new person to sit at the top of the Hamas Movement's political pyramid, and after Haniya and Musa Abu-Marzuq have been nominated to succeed Meshaal, Iran has been making energetic efforts, through General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, to exploit Hamas's elections for its own purposes by ensuring that Haniya is chosen. Haniya, by the way, is Soleimani's preferred choice and is close to Tehran, especially after an Abu-Marzuq recording was leaked accusing Iran of lying about its aid to Hamas… (Read More)
“A Palestinian revision, not far from Hezbollah”  (As-Safir, Lebanon)   
Arab Diplomacy - Military Defense - Terrorism
On September 20, the independent, leftist As-Safir daily newspaper carried the following report by Daoud Rammal: “The Palestinian movements and factions are conducting a critical review now that the mess reigning over a number of Arab countries has exposed the Palestinian cause to the Arab “grudges” and that Palestine turned into a mere slogan. As usual, Hezbollah is disregarding its wounds “and not shutting the door or the window of light in order to maintain the unity of the Resistance course throughout the confrontation fronts with the Israeli enemy although the Party has always been blamed by its supporters and its allies for refusing to deal with the others in a reciprocal manner. Indeed, the Party has been keen on treating the nationalistic interest represented by Palestine as a top priority and one that rises above every other consideration… (Read More)
Syria
Politics
“The Syrian truce and the message behind the American strike against regime’s army”  (Al-Mustaqbal, Lebanon)
Military Defense - USA EU
On September 23, the mouthpiece of the Future Movement, Al-Mustaqbal newspaper, carried the following report by Thurayya Chahin: “European diplomatic sources noted that despite the truce reached by the Americans and Russians in Syria, the existing problems persisted. [They added that] the agreement they sealed was secret, but that all the signs pointed to the existence of secondary issues that remained pending between the two sides, at a time when the Russian tensions are ongoing following the American strike that targeted soldiers affiliated with the Syrian regime. Indeed, the Russians fear that the American strike might have been an indirect message, saying that if the regime proceeds with its airstrikes, the Americans can do the same. So, the Russians are tense, and their reaction reveals that this was hardly a mistake… (Read More)
“Dissidence in Ahrar ash-Sham Movement over fatwa allowing seeking of Turkish Army’s help”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Military Defense - Peace Process - USA EU
On September 23, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following exclusive report by its correspondent Abdullah al-Omari: “In a statement carried by Jihadi websites, the Ashedda’ [Stout] Brigade, which is affiliated with Ahrar ash-Sham, announced its secession from the movement. This was the most recent development pointing to the confusion and schism within the movement, after its religious leaders released a fatwa allowing its fighters to resort to the Turkish Army to carry out the buffer zone project in Northern Syria. A few hours earlier, three religious leaders in Ahrar ash-Sham had announced their resignation from the movement, in protest against its policies and control by Labib an-Nahhas’ wing, which they accused of implementing foreign agendas... So, senior judges and clerics resigned, including Egyptian cleric Talha al-Massir, who called on those whom he referred to as being the truthful in the Syrian North to gather in one faction… (Read More)
“American-Turkish conflict resulting in division among Syrian armed groups”  (As-Safir, Lebanon)
Military Defense
On September 20, the independent, leftist As-Safir daily newspaper carried the following report: “It seems that Ankara’s military incursion in the Syrian north under the headline of the Euphrates Shield is trying to benefit from the timeout until the new White House resident is known in order to circumvent the politics of creating balance that the present U.S. Administration is adopting between [Turkey] and the Kurds… (Read More)
“Washington without gloves: towards swallowing the Syrian North”  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon)
Military Defense - USA EU
On September 19, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report by Elie Hanna: “Washington is not hoping for major gains resulting from the present fragile truce. In form, it is cooperating with Moscow to halt the war and revive the political course. However, away from the demarcation lines between the Syrian army and the “moderates” or their brethren in An-Nusra, it [Washington] is working on establishing a zone of pure authority in the Syrian North, a calm zone only facing ISIL; thus [Washington] is working on weakening the Syrian army in the city of Deir ez-Zor, to pave the way for obtaining the “legitimacy” of fighting ISIL alone after pushing the other players out… (Read More)
Tunisia
Politics
“Mohamed Abbou: Tunisian government responsible for large part of Petrofac crisis...”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Democracy and Party Politics - Energy - Unrest
On September 23, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Tunis Hassan Salman: “Founder of the Democratic Current Mohamed Abbou considered that the Tunisian government was responsible for a large part of Petrofac’s departure from the country, though he rejected the logic of sit-ins and the closing of factories which pushed the British oil company to take this decision... He assured in exclusive statements to Al-Quds al-Arabi: “We oppose the closing of factories or economic institutions, especially after we have lost many such institutions that have moved to more stable countries. Therefore, the logic of sit-ins and the closing of factories among others is completely rejected, though Petrofac’s case and others might feature corruption or suspicions related to the Tunisian state’s interests. And we are still calling for the opening of those files… (Read More)
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