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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-Jan-2017
Algeria
Opinion
"The human rights league sound alarm bells: African labour and masked slavery"  (Newspaper, Middle East)
Human Rights
On January 20, Mohamed Lahouazi wrote in the daily Echourouk el-Youmi: "The Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) has warned about the exploitation of the difficult humanitarian conditions of illegal migrants in Algeria which it described as a kind of "slavery in the modern age under many guises which cannot be ignored". In a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Echourouk, the league said that it was "following with concern and sounding alarm bells about the exploitation by employers, contractors and owners of big farms and agricultural investments of African illegal migrants in their projects outside the framework of the laws in force including Law 11/90 concerning employment relations particularly Clauses 05 and 06 on rights and obligations, without declaring them to Social Security and without the knowledge of the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Interior Ministry". The league added that it had received news of the death of an African illegal migrant and an Algerian worker on 19 January 2017 in Algiers after a section of a building collapsed because of work carried out by a private company for a private concern at 34 Rue Pointe de Pain, Sidi Yahia District, Hydra Municipality, and asked if the African victim was covered by the Social Security Fund and if the Ministry of Labour and Employment had given the private company permission to employ an illegal migrant… (Read More)
Egypt
Opinion
“The predicament of the Egyptian state”  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon)
Arab Diplomacy - Corruption
On January 23, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following piece by Hussein al-Badri: “The military people always believe they are most suited to rescue the nation at the times of major crises. By looking back at some historical instances, they might find some proofs to support their claim. However, this theory is not always correct especially when it slams into the present facts and future bets… (Read More)
Iran
Opinion
"The JCPOA; Increasing Deterrent Nuclear Power"  (Shargh, Iran)
Energy - United Nations - USA EU
On January 15, a commentary by Seyyed Mohammad Eslami in the reformist newspaper Shargh said: "Is Iran intent on not making use of nuclear deterrence in the international arena? This is a question that has been asked in Iran and in the world during more than a decade of tumultuous nuclear talks. In the past few years, many political and security analysts had always believed that political realities would force Iran to include nuclear weapons in her security doctrine. Nevertheless, throughout all those years, various Iranian governments have stressed the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme and have rejected those speculations, especially as the fatwa of the esteemed leader of the Islamic revolution about the forbidden nature of the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, put an end to all those debates inside Iran. In the month of Farvardin 1389, in a message to the first international conference on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, His Eminence Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stressed: "Any use or even the threat of the use of that weapon will constitute a serious violation of the most obvious humanitarian laws, and will be regarded as a war crime... [as published] We regard the use of such weapons haram, and we believe that it is everybody's duty to try to rescue human beings from such a great catastrophe."… (Read More)
"Turkey's new regional audition"  (Newspaper, Middle East)   
Military and Defense
On January 8, a commentary by Salahoddin Harsani in the daily Ebtekar said: "The relations between Turkey and Iraq deteriorated and became very tense in October 2016 due to the lack of agreement about Turkey's military presence and participating in a part of the Euphrates Shield operation in Mosul region in order to fight against the Islamic State. Now, in order to improve relations between Turkey and Iraq, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim has paid a visit to Iraq at the head of a delegation consisting of some members of his cabinet. As evidence shows, this trip must be considered to be Turkey's effort in order to play a new role in the region because, due to its paradoxical actions regarding regional issues, Turkey has recently been extremely isolated and so it is trying to gain new opportunities in the region during this period of reassessment. Turkey is carrying out this new role for two reasons; one is to prevail over the issues of war with IS and the Kurds in Northern Iraq, side by side with Iraq, and also to highlight its role in the fight against IS and the Kurds in Syria through a strategic coalition with Iraq. This is because, on the one hand, Russia intends to leave Syria after the liberation of Aleppo; and, on the other hand, Turkey has accused Iran of violating the ceasefire in Syria… (Read More)
"Deviated Path Must Be Avoided" - on the Nuclear deal's deviation  (Resalat, Iran)
Energy - Religion - USA EU
On January 15, Dr Hasan Karbalai wrote in the conservative Resalat daily: "A year has passed since the implementation of the JCPOA. It is good to review the enemies' conduct and discuss our experience of pre-JCPOA and post-JCPOA negotiations. Undoubtedly the wall of mistrust towards the United States has thickened. The 11th administration experienced bilateral talks and this levied a heavy cost on the public and it will take years to make up for this loss. The United States, United Kingdom, international Zionists, and global capitalists have a clear and undeniable animosity towards the people of Iran and they have never hidden this animosity in the past 37 years. The Islamic Republic of Iran has experienced many ups and downs but it has always moved forward and progressed. Our heavenly and valuable Revolution has always had the backing of the deity which has manifested itself in a prudent and wise leader, whose unparalleled management has navigated the country and the nation through the dangerous and harsh labyrinth of crisis. The supreme leader of the Revolution in a meeting with a crowd of people in Qom on the anniversary of the 19 Dey uprising [of the people of Qom against the Shah regime on 10 November 1977] referred to the sworn enemies of the establishment and highlighted a serious internal enemy and warned everyone to be vigilant in the face of this enemy. Unveiling this enemy is not new, but description of this enemy is. The wise and prudent leader of the Revolution pointed out that lack of desire, despair, weakness, lack of joy, and laziness are the internal enemies. Every single one of these attributes can knock out the Revolution. He seeks God's mercy in the face of these enemies by referring to the words of the great prophet of Islam (peace be with him): "God I seek your mercy in the face of weakness, laziness, fear, jealousy, age, callousness, negligence, and poverty." Al-Fesahe, the Prophet, Hadith 510 to 518]. [Arabic:] God I seek your mercy in the face of the fruitless knowledge, a heart without feelings, a prayer that falls onto deaf ears and an unfulfilled breath." The diseases that the leader of the Revolution have referred to damage the Revolution's spirit and prepare the ground for submission to the enemy. The leader then pointed out the actions which can create internal enemies… (Read More)
Politics
"Iran's Refusal To Protest Violation of the JCPOA by the Americans Was Predictable..."  (Newspaper, Middle East)
Energy - United Nations - USA EU
On January 22, an interview With Alireza Zakani in the conservative newspaper Qods said: "The head of the Special Majles Committee for Reviewing the JCPOA pointed out that the path to protesting the JCPOA is legally blocked, and continuing the protests would result in reinstituting all the resolutions against Iran. He said: "According to Articles 36 and 37 of the JCPOA, there is no possibility of making legal use of the JCPOA against America." In an interview with Qods online, Alireza Zakani, head of the Special Committee for Reviewing the JCPOA in the Ninth Majles, referred to the meeting of the Joint JCPOA Commission that was held in Vienna at the level of experts to study Iran's complaint against the American violation of the JCPOA, with the participation of Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi. He said: "In reality, the process of the negotiations that have taken place in Vienna was predictable; meaning that there would be a protest filed against America breaking its commitments towards the JCPOA but that this protest would not be followed up on." Explaining the reason for Iran's decision not to pursue its protest against America's breaking of her commitments, he said: "The reason for this is that the path for protesting against the JCPOA is blocked in legal terms and, if such a protest were to continue, then that would lead to the return of all of the previous resolutions and pressures." The head of the Special Committee for Reviewing the JCPOA in the Ninth Majles added: "It was predicted that a protest would be filed regarding America breaking its commitments to the JCPOA by the Iranian side, but that halfway in the process Iran would give up on its protest." He said: "In fact, Articles 36 and 37 of the JCPOA have created conditions whose outcome is that there is no possibility of making legal use of the JCPOA against America.""… (Read More)
Iraq
Politics
“Maliki preparing for upcoming elections with alliances distancing sectarianism suspicions…”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Corruption - Democracy and Party Politics
On January 23, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report from Baghdad: “The Dawa Party, one of the largest parties in power in Iraq, has entered an early and heated race in preparation for the upcoming elections, by opening new headquarters in the governorates and sealing alliances with parties and powers with the purpose of maintaining its share in the next parliament and government. At this level, the party, with its legislative and executive officials, held a wide meeting headed by Leader in the party Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, to discuss the preparations for the next provincial council elections, while Deputy Rasul Radi from the State of Law Coalition said in press statements that “…the meeting was not attended by Dawa Party Secretary General Nouri al-Maliki, since it was a legislative and executive meeting, not a general political meeting… (Read More)
Jordan
Politics
“… “Jordan relief” sermon generates wide controversy, clarifications behind the scenes by Sheikh Halil…”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On January 23, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its Amman Office Chief Bassam Bdareen: “Jordan Justice Chief and Imam of the Hashemite Hadra Sheikh Ahmad Hilal opened the door wide before all scenarios surrounding all the files in the country, following his famous sermon under the headline of “Jordan’s relief.” And for the fourth day in a row, this commotion generated repercussions and questions in all directions, regarding the relationship and future of that relationship between Jordan and the Gulf States, especially since newly-appointed Foreign Minister Ayman as-Safadi reiterated during the Davos Conference, in parallel to Sheikh Halil’s sermon, his country’s position towards “Iran’s dangerous interferences in the Arab region.” Sheikh Halil, who announced his resignation yesterday, had also warned against the “Magian and Persian” tide targeting the Sunnis… (Read More)
Lebanon
Politics
“New ‘electoral dish’ being cooked between FPM and Hezbollah”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)
On January 23, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report by Ali Dawi: “Despite all the fuss raised at the level of the media regarding the electoral law…, prominent March 8 political sources stressed that there will be some important developments that might modify the course of action concerning the elections. These developments are quite fresh… (Read More)
“Is this how Taymour Junblatt is preparing for political transition?”  (Website, Middle East)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On January 22, the Lebanon Debate website carried the following report: “The handshake between Taymour Junblatt and the Syrian ambassador to Lebanon, two weeks ago, might not be the last handshake between the young Socialist leader and figures from the Syrian regime. This conclusion is being revealed by sources that are well-informed about the details of the situation within the Socialist movement. The sources further indicated that Taymour Junblatt, who will be coming to the world of politics in succession to his father, is seeking to open up to everybody for his political debut… (Read More)
“Security trio strikes with force: The army, the resistance and the CIA”  (Website, Middle East)
Terrorism - USA EU
On January 23, the Lebanese privately-owned En-Nashra newspaper carried the following exclusive report by Muhammad Allouch: “In March of last year, two Lebanese ISIL-affiliated armed men threatened to attack the Lebanese people in a video clip shot by ISIL organization in Raqqa Governorate. At the time, the two terrorists addressed the Lebanese people, their leaders and “tyrants,” not just Hezbollah or a specific Lebanese faction. And the security and military forces took the threat seriously, which marked the beginning of a new stage in the war between Lebanon and terrorism. ISIL’s threat to Lebanon is not new, since war on terrorism started before ISIL’s birth. But according to a knowledgeable source, those in charge of Lebanon’s security are aware of the fact that ISIL’s threat increases whenever the organization is hit or besieged in its main areas of presence in Iraq and Syria… (Read More)
Morocco
Politics
“Othmani: Morocco’s return to African Union will change balance of powers in its favor”  (Website, Middle East)
Peace Process
On January 22, the Moroccan Al-3omk [Depth] news website carried the following report: “Head of the National Council of the Justice and Development Party [PJD] Saadeddine Othmani said that Morocco’s return to the African Union “will drastically change the balances of power in its favor,” adding that what was constant in this return was “the Kingdom’s territorial unity, and the confrontation of the secession calls as a general principle in the UN Charter, which insists on the territorial integrity of states, a principle that Morocco has been defending around the world.” During an appearance on pjd.tv, which is affiliated with the party’s official website, the leader in the lantern party [the lantern being the symbol of the PJD] considered that Morocco’s return to the African organization did “not mean the recognition of the fictive republic [proclaimed by the Polisario Front]… (Read More)
Saudi Arabia
Opinion
“Security is a collective responsibility”  (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Terrorism
On January 23, the pro-monarchy Ar-Riyadh newspaper carried the following lead editorial: “In highly complicated circumstances, the Saudi security apparatuses are dealing with terrorist elements, who are relying on every possible means of covertness and deceit. Still, each and every time, the security men are able to reach the crime pits with high levels of professionalism, to rid society of the evil of the terrorists who are left with no other choice but to surrender or commit suicide, as the escape doors are being closed in their faces in light of the tight control imposed on the scene of events by the security bodies. Terrorist ideology is evolving, just like the means to fight it and the situation on the field. As for the duration of the battle against terrorism, it cannot be predicted, amid a burning region and the support [offered to terrorism] by states and organizations targeting the Kingdom’s stability… (Read More)
Syria
Politics
“George Sabra to Quds Arabi: Resumption of Geneva talks linked to success of Astana meeting…”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Peace Process - USA EU
On January 23, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following interview with member of the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Commission George Sabra, by its correspondent in Paris Hisham Hassass… (Read More)
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