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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
24-May-2016
Iran
Opinion
"If meeting Baha'is is bad, why was Fa'ezeh Hashemi kept as their inmate..."  (E'temad)   
Judicial Affairs
On May 21, a commentary by Reza Soleymani, head of Public Relations Office of the State Expediency Council, in the reformist E'temad said: "The release of a picture showing Ms Fa'ezeh Hashemi-Rafsanjani's meeting Ms Fariba Kamalabadi, the Baha'i prisoner on leave, was once again used recently as an excuse to attack and insult Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani and family by his opponents. Regardless of the action of Ms Fa'ezeh Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who was probably caught up in a pre-planned trap and scenario, an action which, of course, is by no means tenable, and was, as Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani himself said, "a bad mistake has been made and it should be remedied one way or another", some ambiguities come to mind, two of which that cannot be simply ignored are outlined here… (Read More)
"Time for Change"  (Shargh)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On May 19, a commentary by university lecturer and former Reformist MP, Seyyed Ebrahim Amini, in the reformist Shargh said: "While many prominent Reformist figures, either intentionally or as a result of the vetting process, failed to participate in the Majlis election, the people's vote for the candidates of the List of Hope signalled that the people trust the Reformist movement. They also laid stress on demands, which had been insisted on from the Reform era. In this regard, they have made some achievements. In the 2013 presidential elections, these demands determined the outcome of the elections and since then, some obstacles, practically in the ninth Majlis, confronted these national aspirations… (Read More)
Iraq
Opinion
“Secret behind large smiles”  (Az-Zaman)   
Corruption - Financial Markets
On May 23, the independent Az-Zaman newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Chief Editor Fateh Abdul Salam: “Following the oil setback and the Iraqi government’s financial exposure, the latter engaged in strong negotiations to earn a loan of no more than $1.7 billion from the World Bank. But it was said that the conditions were unfair and that the loan could not be secured. Then everyone remained silent for months, before we were surprised to see the large smile of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund officials, as they granted Iraq a loan of $15 billion, without there being any comments or statements about fair or unfair conditions. Hence, it is that simply that billions [of dollars] were granted to the country that has been defeated by the emperors of corruption, who are still issuing empty and known speeches day and night… (Read More)
Politics
“Iraqi officer: Islamic Party convinced Americans that Fallujah liberation more important than...”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi)
Military Defense - USA EU
On May 24, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Al-Anbar: “An Iraqi Army officer said that the Iraqi Islamic Party asked the United States for its green light to retake Fallujah, which has been under the Islamic State organization’s control for more than two years, after the US had opposed the participation of the Popular Mobilization in the battle, which turned out to be a conflict over the imposition of political will in Iraq between Iran and the United States. The Iraqi officer added to Al-Quds al-Arabi that the Americans had been refusing to announce the launching of the actual battle to retake Fallujah City, due to the Popular Mobilization’s presence on all fronts, and its holding of the military decision of the forces besieging the city. He pointed out that “the American side fears that the inhabitants of Fallujah and its surrounding will interact with the Islamic State fighters… (Read More)
Israel
Opinion
“Netanyahu’s carambole, between Es-Sisi and Hezbollah”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi)
On May 24, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following opinion piece by Elias al-Khoury: “The comedic maneuver led by Netanyahu in Israel, which resulted in Moshe Ya’alon’s ousting from the Defense Ministry and in an alliance with Lieberman through the entry of the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu Party to the governmental coalition, can only be described by one word, i.e. manipulation. Indeed, Netanyahu did not play with Herzog, the leader of the Labor Party, but rather manipulated him; he did not negotiate with Es-Sisi over the regional conference to solve the Palestinian problem, but rather duped him; and he did not listen to Tony Blair’s advice, but rather mocked him. Hence, with one billiard cue ball, the eloquent leader of the Likud was able to score an unprecedented political “carambole,” which in the billiard players’ dictionary means using one cue ball to hit others… (Read More)
Politics
“Expert reveals reasons behind Netanyahu-Ya’alon dispute...”  (Al-Hayat al-Jadidah)
On May 21, the pro-PA Al-Hayat al-Jadidah newspaper carried the following report by its correspondent in Gaza Akram al-Lawh: “Dr. Omar Jehara, an expert on Israeli affairs and a professor of political sciences at An-Najah National University, revealed the reasons behind the dispute between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his resigned Army Minister Moshe Ya’alon, one which ended in an alliance with the leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, hardliner Avigdor Liberman, who succeeded to Ya’alon at the head of the ministry. In exclusive statements to Al-Hayat al-Jadidah, Dr. Jehara drew up multiple scenarios for the next stage and how the extremist right-wing Israeli government will deal with the heated files in the Middle East, particularly the Lebanese and Syrian fronts, the peace file, and the Gaza Strip problem… (Read More)
Morocco
Opinion
“When Morocco starts losing the pillars of its national security”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi)   
Education - Unrest
On May 24, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following opinion piece by Dr. Hussein Majdoubi: “In May 2016, Morocco witnessed four [author only mentions three in the article] incidents that drew a highly disturbing picture, in light of their future repercussions... Some of them seized the attention of the public and followers, while others failed to do so for many reasons, namely the prevalence of sensationalism and superficiality over the media and political agenda of most newspapers and parties. The first incident was the alarming turn taken by the Sahara conflict between Morocco and the Polisario on the international scene, and especially at the UN, and the Moroccan public’s discovery of facts it had not been aware of, namely the fact that some in the West were starting to abandon it, particularly Washington... As for the second incident, it is related to the state of the Moroccan university… (Read More)
Palestine
Opinion
“Es-Sisi’s initiative: what are the chances of success?”  (As-Safir)
Arab Diplomacy - Peace Process
On May 24, the independent, leftist As-Safir daily newspaper carried the following report by Hani al-Masri: “Suddenly, without any prefaces, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah es-Sisi suggested an initiative to achieve a real Palestinian reconciliation in bracing for a Palestinian-Israeli agreement, one that will pave the way for some deep changes in the region and turn the Egyptian-Israeli peace from a cold one to a warm one... Following Es-Sisi’s speech, several and intersecting Israeli sources revealed that what he said did not come from nowhere but was rather the outcome of an effort carried by several parties including Tony Blair who had made several visits to Egypt and Israel for this purpose in addition to visits carried by Isaac Molho, Netanyahu’s consultant, to Cairo… But how will the Egyptian president proceed with his initiative now that the most radical and most rightist elements have won in Israel?… (Read More)
Syria
Opinion
“The heated Syrian summer”  (Al-Mustaqbal)
Military Defense - USA EU
On May 24, the Future-owned, anti-Syrian Al-Mustaqbal daily newspaper carried the following piece by Assaad Haidar: “Gen. Joe Votel, the commander of the US forces in the Middle East and the former commander of the US Special Forces in Syrian Ayn Arab, spent eleven hours [in Syria] and no one paid attention to that. It is as if an event taking place in Syria is no longer important. Gen. Votel’s mission as it was announced consisted of preparing for a large attack on Reqqa to liberate it from ISIL. But despite the importance of this upcoming battle, this is not enough to explain this intentional and mined silence… (Read More)
“This is the day of the Islamic State and its bloody attacks in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq…”  (Website)
Terrorism
On May 23, the Rai al-Youm electronic daily carried the following lead editorial: “One can say, without any hesitation that Monday was the day of the Islamic State and its deadly suicide bombings that made hundreds of dead and wounded victims in three countries and a number of cities at the same time. The State, that some prefer to call ISIL, is still and will remain at least in the near future the axis of most wars and clashes in the region… (Read More)
Politics
“A Russian constitution for Syria…”  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon)   
Governmental Reform - Peace Process - USA EU
On May 24, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report by Elie Hanna: “…Away from the Syrian field that is currently “restricted” by the internationally-imposed truce and the halted Geneva political course, a hidden war is taking place and ropes are being pulled between the allies over the Syrian constitution and its formula. The UN resolution number 2254 indicated that August will be seeing a new constitution. The clearest statement concerning this matter was the one made by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry from Moscow on March 25: “We agreed (with the Russian side) on a timeline to come up with a working framework for a political transition in addition to a draft constitution. We hope that both will be completed by August… (Read More)
“Anas al-Abdah to Al-Hayat: Request to stay away from Nusra aims to...”  (Al-Hayat)
Peace Process - USA EU
On May 23, the Saudi-owned London-based Al-Hayat newspaper carried the following report by its correspondent in Doha Kamil at-Tawil: “Head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition Anas al-Abdah warned against Russian attempts to push the opposition factions to fight amongst each other, saying that the intertwinement that exists on the battlefronts prevents the separation of An-Nusra Front’s elements from those of the other factions, as per the Russians’ request to begin addressing blows to the first party based on the fact that it is a terrorist organization like ISIL. At the same time, Al-Abdah criticized some of An-Nusra’s actions, particularly pointing to the fatwas of some of its clerics, who authorized the shedding of the blood of the Army of Islam. Al-Abdah’s statements were issued during an interview with Al-Hayat, on the sidelines of his participation in the Doha Forum… (Read More)
Tunisia
Opinion
“Did Ghannouchi reject the teachings of Al-Banna?”  (Al-Masry al-Yawm)
Democracy and Party Politics - Religion
On May 24, the Al-Masry al-Youm daily newspaper carried the following piece by Hamdi Rizk: “Did the Tunisian En-Nahda reject the ideas of Sayyid Qutb and the resulting takfiri fatwas, and bloody crimes? Did it break with the mother group in Egypt…? The En-Nahda leader, Rached Ghannouchi reportedly said: “I am a Tunisian Muslim and I believe that patriotism is important and crucial. I will allow no one to strip me of my Tunisian nationality and I will accept no assault on Tunisia…” Ghannouchi actually aborted his own statement as he did not say that “my Tunisian nationality is higher and more important than the Brothers and the succession!… (Read More)
Politics
“Dr. Mohammad Amara to Rai al-Youm: I followed Ghannoushi’s speech and found no call there to separate state from religion…”  (Website)   
Democracy and Party Politics - Religion
On May 23, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily newspaper carried the following report by Mahmoud al-Ki’ii: “Dr. Mohammad Amara, a member of the Al-Azhar’s senior scholars’ body, said that he has followed Rached Ghannouchi’s speech at the En-Nahda general conference but found nothing there pertaining to separating state from religion as the media is trying to portray things. He added that the speech constituted a call for specialization and for making a distinction rather than a call for separation and seclusion… (Read More)
"Rached Ghannouchi: the decision of a life’s fall"  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon)
Democracy and Party Politics - Religion
On May 24, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report by Mahmoud Mroueh: “…In the past few days, En-Nahda succeeded in turning its tenth conference into a “public affairs” event in the country… This is undoubtedly a success for En-Nahda and its leader, Rached Ghannouchi, who was reelected two days ago as president for a final term that will end in 2021. The man pledged to make everything he can “to reform the movement… (Read More)
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