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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.

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TODAY’S DAILY BRIEFING
17-Aug-2017
Algeria
Politics
"The army preparing for the worst possibilities"  (El-Khabar, Algeria)
Military and Defense
On August 11, the Algerian daily El-Khabar reported: "The People's National Army ended its combat training and annual exercises with exercises carried out by the land and air forces in the Tindouf operation sector. The intensive training and exercises which were carried out by the elite forces in the People's National Army revealed a strategic interpretation of the political events in the region and Algeria. What are the threats expected by the Command of the People's National Army which is preparing to confront them? There has been a significant increase in combat exercises carried out by units of the People's National Army in last six years or the years that followed the Libyan war in 2011 and by following up more than 22 combat exercises by the Algerian land, air and naval forces in the period between the middle of 2011 and the middle of 2017 it becomes evident that the Algerian army is being trained directly for confronting a foreign military force threatening Algeria. The strategic interpretation of the military command emerges through the exercises which are greatly influenced by the hostilities to which Arab countries like Iraq and Libya were exposed. Thus, the military command focused on getting the most modern Banister [as transliterated] and S300 anti-aircraft missiles as well as anti-ship Yakhont missiles which are defensive weapons and this defensive principle is in line with the affirmation by the People's National Army Command of the principles of non-involvement in external wars and refrainment from sending even one soldiers outside the border… (Read More)
Egypt
Opinion
“Presidential elections closer than you think!”  (Al-Ahram, Egypt)
Democracy and Party Politics
On August 17, the pro-government Al-Ahram newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Ahmad Abdul Tawwab: “Among the odd things seen today, and would better be treated as a joke because any serious discussion surrounding it would be a waste of time and energy, are the statements being issued by some intellectuals to apologize to so-called “honourable public” for letting it down, though it is strongly pressuring them to run in the next presidential elections. And these intellectuals are enumerating the reasons preventing them from succumbing to the crowds’ insistence by saying they have lost hope, are not reassured by the process’ integrity, and are busy with their academic research, i.e. their sanctuary, among other things. However, they are not saying one word about the fact that they do not even have a chance to fail in an honourable way… (Read More)
Iraq
Politics
“Pessimism surrounding outcome of Kurdistan delegation’s visit to Baghdad…”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Democracy and Party Politics
On August 17, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report from Baghdad by its correspondents Mustafa al-Obeidi and Mashrek Rissan: “It seems that the Kurdish delegation which is visiting the capital Baghdad to negotiate over the independence referendum that should be organized on September 25 will return to Kurdistan without getting the approval of the central government and the political powers in it. Yesterday on Wednesday, the delegation met with Iraqi Speaker Salim al-Jabouri at Parliament’s headquarters, and a source from the parliamentary media department said to Al-Quds al-Arabi: “The delegation was supposed to hold a press conference with the Parliament speaker upon the end of the meeting, and all the media institutions were informed of that. However, the delegation left without holding the conference… (Read More)
Jordan
Opinion
“MB once again fails in the elections!”  (Al-Ra'y, Jordan)
Democracy and Party Politics - Religion
On August 16, the Jordanian pro-government Ar-Ra’y newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Dr. Salah al-Abadi: “The Municipal and Governorate elections are a solid fulcrum in the democratic transformation process witnessed in the Kingdom, especially since international observers recognized their integrity and transparency. Whoever follows the electoral scene would notice that the number of candidates reached 6,622, of whom 2,440 won, including 2,109 between heads and members of the municipal and local councils, and 335 members of the governorate councils. And those who won these elections represent various sides and tribal alliances, far away from political alliances in light of the specificity of these elections and their service and developmental dimensions. This was true except in the case of the unlicensed Muslim Brotherhood group, which ran in the elections with its political arm represented by the Islamic Action Front… (Read More)
Lebanon
Politics
“The phase of the post-ISIL battle: 1701 awaits Hezbollah?”  (Website, Middle East)
United Nations
On August 16, the electronic Al-Modon daily carried the following report: “In the political and diplomatic backstage, much is being said about the expansion of the jurisdictions of resolution 1701. There is no practical framework for this talk yet except for the statement delivered by the US ambassador at the UN. This statement is being discussed in some Lebanese circles, especially after raising a question on the phase that will follow the battle of the Ersal barren areas and the Ras Baalbek and Kaa barren areas, in addition to declaring the region safe and fighters-free… (Read More)
“Chasing after Hezbollah has begun: From the Gulf to Beirut”  (Website, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy - Terrorism - USA EU
On August 16, the Lebanon Debate website carried the following report by Abdullah Kameh: “The project of “nibbling at Hezbollah” breathed a sigh of relief when Donald Trump reached the White House. Perhaps the parties who were mostly infatuated with the powerful rise of the movement of change at the US Republican Party were the Gulf princes and Kings who rubbed their hands in ecstasy and started to flip through the past’s cards in order to use them in the new era. Thus, one cannot possibly break the connection – in terms of time and place – between the stick of the US sanctions on one hand, and the Al-Abdali cell, the Emirati march, the Saudi aiming and the Bahraini attacks at Hezbollah on the other hand… (Read More)
Morocco
Politics
"El-Othman decision awaited for national unity government...signalling ministerial reshuffle"  (As-Sabah, Tunisia)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On August 12, the Moroccan daily As-Sabah reported: "The resignation of Ilyas El Omari from the post of secretary general of the Authenticity and Modernity party has shuffled the cards of the political game between parties. In fact the PAM and the Justice and Development party have exchanged signals giving the green light to the El Othmani's government becoming a national unity government with the participation of the current opposition parties. In fact, Khaled Rahmouni, member of the general secretariat of the PJD, has not hesitated to call for a national democratic front, and Hakim Benchammas has responded with unprecedented cordial messages towards the PJD. In this context, using the PJD official website, Khaled Rahmouni stressed that the democratic transition challenge in Morocco now needs a national democratic front that can face up to despotism and authoritarianism. He pointed out that a single party or a specific trend cannot assume such a task that requires a coalition of democratic forces efforts and a start from a common ground. The PJD leading figure said that what is now required is that nationalists and democrats standing on a common ground against the authoritarian forces and the despotism cancer given that "authoritarianism seeks to disband national, reformist forces, and therefore the prime objective of the democratic reformist forces is postponing political and ideological differences between them for something bigger and common."… (Read More)
Palestine
Opinion
“Hamas’ chaos”  (Website, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy
On August 15, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily newspaper carried the following piece by Abdul Sattar Qassem: “For a non-negligible period of time, Hamas has been stepping into mazes without knowing what to do or how to act. For this reason, the Gaza district stepped into a state of ambiguity and perhaps even intellectual and cognitive chaos. People need to have a compass to lead them and for them to learn the directions and politics in order for their situation to straighten up and for them to move away from fogginess, mystery, and confusion… (Read More)
Politics
Islamic Jihad website: Abbas moving swiftly against Gaza  (Website, Middle East)
Democracy and Party Politics - Financial Markets
On August 6, the Islamic Jihad controlled Filastin al-Youm reported: "Dhu al-Faqar Suwayriju, writer and political analyst, has revealed that PA President Mahmud Abbas intends to take several unprecedented political measures to coincide with imposing financial sanctions on the Gaza Strip. According to leaks, he added that "President Abbas is determined to convene the National Council in the city of Ramallah before 'Id al-Adha. Most of the factions reject convening it there." He added that Abbas would issue a presidential decree to dissolve the Legislative Council if the Hamas position did not change. Suwayriju told Filastin al-Yawm: To preempt any steps that Hamas might take in the Gaza Strip through the Legislative Council, which now includes their new ally, Deputy Muhammad Dahlan -- a political opponent competing with Mahmoud Abbas -- the latter will take a preemptive move by declaring dissolving the Legislative Council through the PNC. He added: President Abbas will dissolve the Legislative Council through the PNC since the PNC is the highest legislative representative body of the Palestinian people inside and outside Palestine and is the one that can make decisions on dissolving PA institutions, including the Legislative Council… (Read More)
Syria
Opinion
“The calls for Al-Assad’s departure retreated, so terrorism retreated”  (Al-Hayat, United Kingdom)
Terrorism - USA EU
On August 17, the Saudi-owned London-based Al-Hayat newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Hassan Haidar: “Throughout six and a half years of popular uprising in Syria, Al-Assad’s regime and its Iranian and Russian allies used various means and tools in the war they launched on the revolution, the revolutionaries and all those who showed political solidarity with them or practically supported their steadfastness, using an American and Western policy that was avoiding direct or wide intervention and trying to distance the threats from their soils and interests, but also using the Arab divide and reluctance, which was reflected in wavering aid, reinforcements and positions. But the best and most efficient among the trio’s tools was the scorched earth policy which relied on the use of unlimited violence in the opposition’s regions…, thus causing, in addition to the horrific human losses, a massive wave of displacement that was in turn used to pressure and exhaust states near and far… (Read More)
Politics
“More than 600 elements announce secession from Elite Forces in Deir Ezzor…”  (Website, Middle East)
Military and Defense
On August 16, the opposition Shaam News Network carried the following report: “Media sources from Deir Ezzor reported the secession of more than 600 elements from the Elite Forces affiliated with Chairman of Syria's Tomorrow Movement Ahmad Jarba in Ash-Shadadi area of Deir Ezzor’s countryside, where this force is deployed. Hence, Al-Khabour website [could not be found], which carries news from the Eastern region, quoted an exclusive source as saying that a large number of elements headed by prominent leader in the Free Syrian Army Yasser ad-Dahla seceded from the Elite Forces, stressing that their number had reached 600 and could increase. And according to the source, this secession was seen against the backdrop of the latter elements’ refusal to participate in the battles along the Raqqa front, seeing as how the priority for their commanders is the liberation of Deir Ezzor… (Read More)
Interview with Egyptian chargé d’affaires in Syria  (Al-Watan Syria, Syria)   
Arab Diplomacy
On August 16, the pro-Syrian regime Al-Watan daily carried the following interview with Mohammad Tharwat, the chargé d’affaires at the Egyptian embassy in Damascus: “…Q. Since you have been present in Damascus for three years, how do you assess the present situation in Syria with regards to the present developments of the Syrian crisis?… (Read More)
Tunisia
Opinion
“On Tunisian president’s call for women’s equality in inheritance”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Women
On August 17, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following lead editorial: “Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi’s call during a speech on National Women’s Day on Sunday for gender equality in all areas, especially in the area of inheritance, triggered wide-scale battles between political and religious sides inside and outside the country, including Al-Azhar in Egypt, Dar al-Iftaa in Tunisia, and many parties and political figures which had diverging opinions, even within the same party at times… Hence, some rushed to welcome that call, support it, and justify it politically or religiously, while others strongly rejected and condemned it, threatened the one who made, and called for his ousting. At the level of the religious institutions, the Mufti of the Tunisian Republic was clear in supporting the call based on the Qur’anic text {And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness}, and the international charters ratified by the Tunisian state… (Read More)
Yemen
Opinion
“Most recent western leaks confirm that Prince Bin Salman wants a ‘way out’ of the war in Yemen…”  (Website, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy - Peace Process - United Nations
On August 15, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily carried the following editorial: “We were not surprised by the leaks carried by a number of international newspapers and websites such as the Independent, Global, and the Middle East Eye about the talks that took place between former American officials and Mr. Youssef al-Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to Washington, on the desire of Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, to find a way out for his country from the war in Yemen, for a simple reason: the Al-Hazm storm launched by Prince Bin Salman, who is also the minister of defence, has failed to achieve any of its original objectives, primarily forcing the Houthi-Saleh alliance to surrender and bringing the Yemeni President, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, back to Sanaa… (Read More)
Politics
“Differences on the rise between the UAE and the Yemeni president”  (Al-Sharq, Qatar)   
Arab Diplomacy - Peace Process
On August 16, the Ash-Sharq daily newspaper carried the following report: “The differences are escalating between the Yemeni government and the UAE as President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi refused to sack the governor of Aden, Abdulaziz al-Maflahi, and as the UAE prevented jets carrying cash to the central bank from landing in Aden. The consultant to the Yemeni Ministry of Information and the former secretary at the presidency of the republic, Mokhtar al-Rahbi insinuated that the difference with the UAE reached a pinnacle. He further insisted that the Emirati messing around won’t be long. Al-Rahbi wrote on his Facebook page: “We are partners and we are no followers to anyone. Let anyone know that we have one case and a joint fate with our brothers and neighbors. However, the sovereign decision remains a Yemeni one… (Read More)
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