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TODAY’S DAILY BRIEFING
27-Apr-2017
Afghanistan
Opinion
“America accusing the Russians of supporting the Taliban movement with modern weapons…”  (Website, Middle East)
Military and Defense - USA EU
On April 26, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily carried the following editorial: “The US Secretary of Defense “sneaked” his way into Kabul on Monday where he is carrying out an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, which indicates that, fifteen years following the American occupation, this country is still unsafe and its central government is incapable of controlling the majority of the areas… (Read More)
Iraq
Opinion
“On Popular Mobilization’s eagerness to enter Mosul and America’s threat to strike it”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Military and Defense - USA EU
On April 27, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following lead editorial: “According to a report by Al-Quds al-Arabi’s correspondent in Iraq today, Popular Mobilization leaders threatened to pull out from their positions along the Tal Afar battle axis, if the American commanders were to continue rejecting their participation in the battles in Mosul’s western neighbourhoods. And according to the same report, the American commanders responded to Popular Mobilization’s threats by delivering a message to them saying: “Do not withdraw without our permission, or else the US forces will strike the retreating troops.” Hence, Popular Mobilization’s commanders staged a withdrawal manoeuvre on Monday morning towards Mosul, but returned to their positions after they were informed of the seriousness of the American threat… (Read More)
Politics
“Disputes between Dawa wings enhance Hakim’s chances of staying at the head of National Alliance”  (Al-Mada, Iraq)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On April 27, Al-Mada newspaper carried the following report by its correspondent in Baghdad Muhammad Sabah: “National Alliance Leader Ammar al-Hakim capitalized on the disputes within the Dawa Party by calling on the Shi’i sides to seek an alternative command for the Alliance, just a few months before the expiry of his term. But the Dawa Party, which is leading the largest parliamentary bloc, is afraid to seek a successor for Al-Hakim in light of the disputes sweeping it, which has resulted in the emergence of three candidates fighting over the Alliance’s leadership. Indeed, according to knowledgeable sources, the competition is now between Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Ali al-Adib and Dawa Party Secretary General Nouri al-Maliki, who is expected to be the strongest candidate for the Shi’i Alliance’s leadership… (Read More)
Jordan
Politics
“The King: We will not allow developments on Syrian arena to threaten Jordan”  (Website, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy - Military and Defense - USA EU
On April 26, the Jordanian Ammon News Agency carried the following report: “Today on Wednesday, His Highness King Abdullah II met with a number of former information ministers, official media directors and current and former chief editors, to discuss local affairs and the regional and international developments. During the meeting, His Highness addressed his last visit to the US, saying that on the political level, the main topic during his visit to Washington was the Palestinian cause, followed by the outcome of the Arab summit, the Syrian crisis, the situation in Iraq, and the fighting of terrorism and extremism. His Highness continued that the meetings also stressed the importance of economic cooperation and the US’ support to face the economic and financial challenges, adding he had told President Donald Trump that “the most important thing for me is the economic situation and the challenges facing the Jordanian citizens… (Read More)
Lebanon
Politics
"Intelligence reports behind the pressures on Hezbollah"  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)   
On April 27, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report: “A European diplomat expressed his “concern” to a number of friends in Beirut over the growing Hezbollah Phobia among his counterparts from Arab, regional, as well as western countries whom he met recently. He added that all these people are convinced that the way to weaken the Iranian axis in the region goes through defeating the Party. They also believe that, until the scenarios of besieging and targeting the Party are ripe, there are three matters that the regional and western countries do not wish to see at this phase: first, that the Party achieves any serious accomplishments in the field against the terrorist organizations; second, that the Party re-shifts the compass of the conflict towards Israel; and third, that it enjoys stability in Lebanon. The concerned parties believe that these three No’s are enough to prepare the right circumstances to put the Party in an “out of service” mode as it has proven to have the highest capacity of influencing the events… (Read More)
“Fatah eager for settlement in Ain el Helweh; and suspicions regarding Hamas”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)   
Refugees - Terrorism - Unrest
On April 27, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report by Jad Saab: “With the first bullet that was fired thus opening the door for violent clashes that went on for six days, the following question was raised: Has the settlement time come? However, no question was raised on the timing [of this settlement], which constitutes a vicious indication to the involvement of local, regional, and international players at the battle of Ain el Helweh. This battle broke between factions of the Palestinian security force on one hand and fighters from radical Islamic groups accused of being implicated in terrorist operations and being responsible for a large number of assassinations that targeted Fatah cadres and officials in the past ten years… (Read More)
“Armed fighters in Ras Baalbek, Ersal and Qaa faced with two options”  (Website, Middle East)   
Military and Defense - Peace Process
On April 27, the Lebanon Debate website carried the following report: “The operations that are being carried out by the Lebanese army in the barren areas of Qaa, Ras Baalbek and Ersal have a very important aspect since they constitute a crucial security development, the dimensions of which go beyond the Lebanese-Syrian army to affect the entire country… (Read More)
Palestine
Politics
“Separation between Ramallah, Gaza is nearing?”  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon)
Arab Diplomacy - Democracy and Party Politics
On April 27, the Al-Akhbar daily carried the following report: “The Head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is still clinging to his escalation against Hamas and Gaza, knowing that the man will be flying to Washington to meet with Donald Trump this coming week. With the conclusion of the deadline he gave to the Hamas movement in order to hand over the Gaza territory to the government of Rami Hamadallah (the deadline ended two days ago), the Authority’s leadership has started to allude to taking some unprecedented measures affecting additional humanitarian aspects in Gaza. According to the available pieces of information, the Authority is planning on haling the transfer of money to the territory [i.e. Gaza] in addition to halting the support for hospitals and medical rehabilitation centers, and [halting] the issuing of passports… (Read More)
“Fatah spokesman to Quds Arabi: We will end division by all means, except bloodshed…”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On April 27, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Gaza Ashraf al-Hawr: “A Fatah official assured Al-Quds al-Arabi that his movement was waiting for Hamas to deliver its official response to the initiative aiming to end division far away from the media, saying that the steps that will be adopted in case the initiative is rejected will make Hamas fully responsible for the Strip… Hence, Fatah’s official spokesman and Revolutionary Council member Osama al-Qawasmi said to Al-Quds al-Arabi that the Council’s meeting on April 28 was postponed until after President Abbas’ return from Washington…, denying what was said regarding the fact that the president’s speech during the meeting was going to announce “punitive measures” against Hamas… (Read More)
Syria
Opinion
“…Did Putin reduce his support for Al-Assad…?”  (Website, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy
On April 26, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily carried the following piece by Abdul Bari Atwan: “The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Adel al-Jubeir – who according to many has miraculously survived the series of decisions and decrees issued by the Saudi monarch some days ago and that led to wide changes in the state – has appeared in Moscow on Wednesday to repeat, during a press conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, the statement that he likes most, that “there will be no role for President Al-Assad in the future of Syria and its political process because he is responsible for the killing of 300,000 Syrian citizens… (Read More)
Politics
“Why did Az-Zawahiri call for adoption of guerrilla warfare?”  (Website, Middle East)
On April 26, the Lebanese privately-owned En-Nashra news website carried the following exclusive report by Maher al-Khatib: “Although one of the most prominent opposition military groups in Syria, i.e. An-Nusra Front, announced many months ago its disengagement from Al-Qa’idah organization to avoid being targeted under the headline of war on terror, Al-Qa’idah leader Ayman az-Zawahiri called a few days ago, via an audio recording titled “The Levant will only kneel before Allah,” on the armed groups in Syria to adopt a guerrilla warfare strategy, which would “exhaust and deplete the enemy.” This raised numerous questions surrounding the purpose of this call at this point in time, especially in the context of his talk about a long war, because “the Jihadists’ enemies” are targeting them due to their wish to establish an Islamic rule in Syria, and about the West and its allies’ wish to stop “the Islamic tide…”… (Read More)
Yemen
Politics
“Mobilization lectures and trainings for women in Houthis’ regions under Hezbollah supervision”  (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Religion
On April 27, the pro-monarchy Ar-Riyadh newspaper carried the following exclusive report: “Yemeni sources in Sana’a revealed that the Houthis were hosting sectarian Lebanese figures affiliated with the Lebanese Hezbollah, to organize intensive sectarian sessions for Houthi elements at “awareness” centres created in Al-Juraf area of the capital Sana’a, which has been under Houthi control since September 2014. And according to the sources, the sectarian education process that is taking place at the new centres in Sana’a in the presence of Lebanese sectarian figures affiliated with Hezbollah, are relying on sectarian curricula imported from Lebanon and Iran, while the Houthi awareness centres are hosting meetings, sessions and intensive lectures about Vilayat-e Faqih and the injustice endured by the Shi’is… (Read More)
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