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While there is a broad range of Arabic and Persian language media outlets reporting stories from and about the Middle East, there is currently no affordable and reliable means for English speakers to gain access to this content. As a result, many 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 menu of translations 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
20-Feb-2018
Iraq
Politics
“Yarallah to Sabah: Allocation of massive funds to secure the border”  (As-Sabah Iraq, Iraq)
Military and Defense
On February 18, As-Sabah newspaper carried the following report from Baghdad by its correspondent Omar Abdul Latif: “Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army and Commander of Joint Operations Staff Lieutenant-General Abdul-Amir Yarallah revealed that massive funds were allocated by the state to secure the border with the neighboring countries, at a time when the parliamentary Security and Defense Committee cautioned that the neglect of the border could once again subject Iraq to the events seen in mid-2014. In statements to As-Sabah, Yarallah said that war with ISIL’s remnants was ongoing, and that although the terrorist organization was finished, it was still present in the form of sleeper cells. So, [he assured], “we need time to eliminate it once and for all.” He continued: “The main objective at this level is the elimination of its ideology that continues to exist,” indicating: “Our heroic forces have eliminated [the organization] militarily, but the ideology persists… (Read More)
Lebanon
Opinion
“Meaningless elections” - Part two  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On February 19, Ibrahim al-Amin wrote the following piece in Al-Akhbar daily: “...Among the Shi’is: Two days ago, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah said that the era of the rollers is gone. However, O Sayed, this is not the era of democratic victories. The Resistance’s priorities call, once again, for abstaining from stepping into the internal file… The problem with the Shi’is today is that they do not accept the necessary revision of what they accomplished by joining this sectarian regime and the situation that reigned following the overthrowing of the former feudal leaders… (Read More)
Politics
On the conflict between the FPM's figures  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On February 20, the Ad-Diyyar daily carried the following report by Sonia Rizk: “The war between the consultants of the president, Former Minister Elias Bou Saab, and Journalist Jean Aziz, has not experienced a drop in intensity since the fire is still lurking under the ashes. And although the President of the Republic, Gen. Michel Aoun, did work on extinguishing this fire, it is still raging in the [two men’s] hearts because it led to insulting the former one while the latter lost his job at the presidential palace under the headline of the resignation. In reality, President Aoun asked Aziz to tender his resignation and he accepted it because he had insulted his colleague, Aoun’s consultant for international Affairs, Bou Saab, through a very fiery news bulletin introduction that left no room for reconciliation… (Read More)
“What if “some reports” were to fall in the hands of the donor states?”  (Newspaper, Middle East)   
Corruption - Military and Defense - USA EU
On February 20, the Lebanese privately-owned Al-Joumhouria newspaper carried the following report by George Chahine: “… The international steps in preparation for the conferences for Lebanon are retreating, following mounting talk surrounding the postponement of the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Beirut and the definite postponement of the Paris 4, a.k.a. Cedar 1, conference… This is due to the fact that the international donor sides have registered remarks on Lebanon’s failure to implement some necessary economic, financial and administrative steps, which were stipulated by the Paris 3 conference and the Paris 2 conference before it, especially in regard to the 2018 budget, the anti-corruption projects, the needed administrative reform in the production institutions, and the law on participation between the public and private sectors, whose practical implementation has not yet started despite its ratification…, to reduce public debt and the wasting of funds… (Read More)
“Government is negotiating with the Americans using Hezbollah’s power cards”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)   
Democracy and Party Politics - Energy - Military and Defense - USA EU
On February 20, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report: “This could be one of the rare times where no reactions have been voiced out by the parties and powers belonging to what was once known as the March 14 team on the latest speech of the Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, especially as the positions that he declared were no regular or passing ones but rather positions that determined the features of a “national plan” to deal with the latest Israeli threats regarding the land and marine borders and bloc number nine… (Read More)
Middle East
Opinion
“Israel and the ‘Sunni alliance’!”  (Al-Ghad, Jordan)
Arab Diplomacy
On February 20, the independent Al-Ghad newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Mohammed Abu Rumman: “The quarrel between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif at the Berlin Security Conference (two days ago) reflected the level of tensions and acute polarization in the region, following the Israeli-Syrian confrontations seen a few days ago. Renowned American Analyst Thomas Friedman recently wrote an article about the current conflict in the region, in which he called the Syrian-Israeli border the most dangerous border in today’s world, and considered that Syria was like a “powder keg” that could detonate armed conflicts across the region, even between the superpowers, in the presence of American, Russian, Iranian, Turkish and Syrian armies, militias affiliated with regional and international powers, and conflicting ethnicities, which are all playing on the “brink of the abyss” in this limited geographic area… (Read More)
Russia
Politics
“Why now? Lebanon opens its airports and seaports to Russian fighting jets and warships!”  (Website, Middle East)
Military and Defense
On February 7, the Al-Mayadeen.net website carried the following report: “The Russian PM’s office has instructed the Ministry of Defense to launch talks with its Lebanese counterpart with the aim of signing a military cooperation agreement between the two countries that includes, among others, conducting joint military maneuvers and the mutual use of the two countries’ airports and seaports by their fighting jets and warships. The decision of the Russian government falls against the backdrop of the tension between Lebanon and the Israeli entity, which is planning to build a concrete wall beyond the “blue line” in addition to Tel Aviv’s claims of owning the oil and gas rich bloc number nine located in the Lebanese economic waters. What stands behind the Russian decision?… (Read More)
Syria
Politics
“Eastern Ghouta’s settlement on hot plates”  (Al-Watan Syria, Syria)   
Military and Defense
On February 20, the pro-Assad Al-Watan daily carried the following piece by Mohammad Nader al-Omari: “It is quite clear this time that the geographic map of Damascus’ eastern Ghouta has started to experience a new fate or a crossroads between either one of these two options: Either a peaceful course of action via the reconciliations, or a purely military option, the features of which have begun to rise to the surface concomitantly with rapid developments seen at the level of the Syrian crisis… (Read More)
“Expected scenarios for Operation Olive Branch’s future if Syrian regime forces were to enter Afrin”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Military and Defense
On February 20, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report from Istanbul by its correspondent Isma’il Jamal: “In parallel to increasing signs pointing to the imminent entry of the Syrian regime forces or forces allies with it to Afrin City in the context of the agreement with the Kurdish units, questions surrounding the expected scenarios and the future of the Turkish Army’s Olive Branch Operation in the city, and the possible eruption of a confrontation between Turkey and Al-Assad’s regime, were also mounting… On Monday, the Syrian regime’s news agency had said that popular forces (affiliated with the regime) will be arriving to Afrin within the coming hours, after weeks of negotiations which had previously failed to achieve any results, due to the regime’s insistence on the Kurdish units’ surrender of their heavy artillery, which the latter had rejected… (Read More)
Tunisia
Politics
“Jewish community leader angry, comments to Al-Ikhbaria on Ennahda’s nomination of Simon Slama...”  (Website, Middle East)   
Democracy and Party Politics - Religion
On February 19, the Tunisian Al-Ikhbaria Attounsia news website carried the following report from Tunis: “Leader of the Jewish Community in Tunisia and President of Ghriba Foundation Perez Trabelsi revealed in statements to Al-Ikhbaria today on Monday 19 February, 2018, that Tunisia’s Jews had decided not participate in the electoral and political events a long time ago, adding: “We are all Tunisians, despite our different religions. And Simon Slama, the Jewish Tunisian businessman, is free to run in the municipal elections or practice politics. But we reject Ennahda Movement’s exploitation of Tunisia’s Jews by including a Jew on one of its electoral lists in the municipal elections in Monastir District to achieve its narrow political goals.” Trabelsi continued to Al-Ikhbaria: “The decision of Ennahda Movement is not as important as it is being claimed. Tunisia’s Jews could have run on the lists of other parties, not just on one of the lists of Ennahda… (Read More)
“Samir Ben Amor: Tunisian officials gave Haftar sensitive information...”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Democracy and Party Politics - Financial Markets - Terrorism - USA EU
On February 20, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report from Tunis by its correspondent Hassan Salman: “Samir Ben Amor, the head of the Congress for the Republic Party’s political committee, revealed that Tunisian officials and politicians surrendered sensitive information to General Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the forces affiliated with the Tobruk Parliament [in Libya], indicating that this could affect the country’s security and stability... And he assured in an exclusive interview with Al-Quds al-Arabi: “The government is dealing with espionage with shaky hands, and is trying to cover up this file to avoid the prosecution of its main protagonists. Some of those involved in this case are even threatening to sue those accused of espionage, though none of them has yet resorted to the judiciary. I demand that justice takes its course and pursues whoever is involved, regardless of his title or position… (Read More)
Turkey
Politics
“The expected Syrian forces’ entry to Afrin: Will it lead to dialogue or to confrontations between Ankara and Damascus…?”  (Website, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy - Military and Defense
On February 19, Abdul Bari Atwan wrote the following piece in the electronic Rai al-Youm daily: “The official Turkish objection expressed by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Moloud Jawish Oglu, on the entry of Syrian official or popular forces to the city of Afrin seems understandable because this means the reshuffling of all the cards and increasing the difficulties facing the Turkish Olive Branch operation, which is still stalling behind for a month now and has so far failed to achieve its objectives… (Read More)
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