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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
31-May-2016
Algeria
Politics
"Change of regime has become more urgent now; Benflis believes it constitutes the biggest threat..."  (El-Khabar)
Democracy and Party Politics
On May 28, an article by Khalid Boudia in the Algerian newspaper El-Khabar said: "Leader of the Vanguards of Freedoms Ali Benflis has said: "The current political regime presents itself as the only fortress against chaos and claims that without it Algeria as a state, nation, people and society would be swept away by deluge. Therefore, we have no choice other than a political regime which leads us from failures to other failures and from lost opportunities to other lost opportunities and the deluge with which it threatens us in order to kill any will for change that we have." Benflis explained yesterday at a popular rally in the southern city of Tamanrasset: "The current regime accuses the national opposition of being another threat to the country because it simply has the courage to demand a democratic change in our country. Here, I want to urge you to think seriously about a question that has to be raised: How could a legitimate and responsible national opposition which campaigns for a harmonious, gradual and calm democratic change pose a threat to the country?'"… (Read More)
Iran
Opinion
"Why is the battle of Fallujah actually Iran’s battle?”  (Al-Rai al-Aam)
On May 28, the Al-Rai daily newspaper carried the following piece by Khairallah Khairallah: “What Iraq is going through is more than natural. Quite simply, Iran wishes to assert that Tehran is the first and last decision maker in the country and that the victory of 2003 where Tehran was a partner shall not be revoked. Iran was the other party implicated in the war on Iraq during the Bush Junior era. Thirteen years later, nothing has changed in Iraq and the Iraqi Shi’is have no room to prove their national Iraqi identity. In addition, there is no room to go back in time under any circumstances. This is what Iran is trying to consolidate by participating in the current sectarian war in Fallujah… (Read More)
Politics
"...Ayatollah Jannati chairs Assembly of Experts"  (E'temad)
Democracy and Party Politics
On May 26, the reformist Iranian daily E'temad reported: "Yesterday morning was perhaps one of the most distinctive days in the lives of two long-standing rivals. Even many of those who entered the inaugural meeting of the Assembly of Experts knew very well that this time the competition over chairmanship of the Assembly would be different. The shock of 7 Esfand taught the Principle-ists the lesson to stand more united this time. The election results for the Assembly of Experts, especially in Tehran, were a huge lesson for the Principle-ists to focus all their efforts in the past three months on securing the chairmanship. Luck was on their side, as their solidarity fared well against the unwillingness of their competing rivals. Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani had no desire for candidacy. He had announced 10 days earlier that becoming chairman of the Assembly was not important to him, nor did he publicly support any particular candidate, demonstrating his unwillingness ! to complete his victory along the path on which he had embarked on 7 Esfand last year. The Assembly of Experts, with all its features, is an entirely different assemblage, an assembly for which no analysis can be made based on lists and numbers. The fifth Assembly of Experts no exception to this rule. Ahmad Jannati, the 16th representative of Tehran Province, took the chair of the Assembly on the day when the first representative of the capital, who already had the experience of the chair, showed no inclination to occupy it… (Read More)
“Kurdish official: Revolutionary Guards enhance their grip on Sulaymaniyah to establish missiles’ base”  (Asharq al-Awsat)
Military Defense
On May 28, the Saudi-owned, London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily newspaper carried the following report: “A Kurdish official revealed yesterday that “the Iranian regime has started to establish the largest missiles’ base and a camp for the Revolutionary Guards near the Sayed Sadeq region, which is affiliated to the Sulaymaniyah governorate in the Kurdistan territory.” He added that a number of officers and commanders from the Guards are constantly visiting the base and monitoring the actions for establishing the base on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards moved a large number of the Unit 400 – which is affiliated to the Al-Quds Force and which is specialized in the affairs of the Kurdish opposition parties – to this region in order to monitor the actions there… (Read More)
Iraq
Politics
“Popular Mobilization fighters shaved beards and wore army uniforms to partake in battles”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi)
Military Defense - Religion
On May 31, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Baghdad Omar al-Jabouri: “An exclusive military source assured Al-Quds al-Arabi that Popular Mobilization elements had shaved their beards and put on the Iraqi Army uniforms to participate in the ongoing battles to retake Fallujah City. The source, an officer in the anti-terrorism body, added on condition of anonymity: “Following the decision to prevent the Popular Mobilization factions from participating in the operations to liberate Fallujah by both the Iraqi government and the Popular Mobilization commanders, elements belonging to undisciplined factions wore uniforms similar to the Iraqi army’s, shaved their beards, and infiltrated various areas around Fallujah City, to carry out tasks that are exclusive to the anti-terrorism body and the other Iraqi armed forces… (Read More)
Jordan
Politics
“The question on everyone’s mind: What is happening in Jordan?...”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On May 31, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its Amman Office Chief Bassam Bdareen: “What is truly happening in Jordan? An unexpected figure has become the prime minister of a fat-free government, the royal succession institution is becoming more present, and a incomprehensible escalation is being practiced towards the Muslim Brotherhood group, which previously proposed to help with the succession file. Also, preparations are underway to hold elections a few months ahead of time, following the stormy ratification of a new electoral law that toppled the one-man one-vote system, in parallel to the introduction of constitutional amendments protecting the prerogatives of the royal institution in the future, as a prelude for a parliamentary majority government… (Read More)
Lebanon
Opinion
Al-Mustaqbal editorial on Tripoli election results  (Al-Mustaqbal)
Democracy and Party Politics
On May 31, the mouthpiece of the Future Movement, Al-Mustaqbal newspaper, carried the following lead editorial: “Throughout the weeks of the municipal elections, whether concord was possible or the competition imposed, the Future Movement engaged in the race from Beirut and the Bekaa to the North and Akkar, going through Mount Lebanon and the South, to serve one purpose: Development, development, development. Accordingly, the Movement ran in Tripoli without any regard for populist, political or frivolous dimensions, thus focusing on development as a central goal, which rises above all other electoral considerations. It wanted to serve the interests of Al-Fayha’a and its people, who know best about it and its needs… (Read More)
“Lebanon: The political messages of Ashraf Rifi’s victory”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi)
On May 31, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following lead editorial: “The list of resigned Lebanese Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi registered a victory in Tripoli, in the face of a wide consensual list supported by multiple political sides, namely the alliance between former Prime Ministers Sa’d al-Hariri and Najib Mikati, the Jamaa Islamiya [Islamic Group], the Marada Movement of Maronite leader Suleiman Frangieh, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the Arab Democratic Party, former Ministers Muhammad Safadi and Faisal Karami, and deputies representing the city in the Lebanese parliament. General Rifi explained his victory by saying that “Tripoli has spoken,” adding that his political opponents dealt with the municipal elections as though a “mere distribution of quotas,” a “hybrid alliance” and an “underestimation battle of the people of Tripoli.”… (Read More)
“Sa’d needs a hug!”  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon)
Democracy and Party Politics
On May 31, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following piece by Ibrahim al-Amin: “The municipal elections revealed something that goes beyond the voting ballots. This is not a mere local objection to a specific situation here or there. This is rather a preliminary practice for a possible rebellion… Those who love to suggest theories and analyses, may talk for six additional hours without answering the most important question: Why did the public chose to interact with young men who presented themselves as not being part of the politicians’ circle?… (Read More)
Politics
Report says Hezbollah MPs paid in cash  (Asharq al-Awsat)   
Financial Markets - Terrorism - USA EU
On May 29, the Saudi owned Asharq al-Awsat reported: "Hezbollah MPs - who are part of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc (Hezbollah's political wing in the Lebanese parliament) - told Asharq al-Awsat that this issue did not stop at the official level but also included health, social, media and development institutions which are administratively part of Hezbollah. "We are exerting huge efforts to contain anger on the street due to the sanctions and harsh measures taken," one source said. "Shi'i merchants are suffering from measures adopted against them by banks, particularly those who live in Hezbollah stronghold of Dahiyah, the southern suburb of Beirut. These people have been subject to marathon questioning when receiving foreign transfers and they sometimes cannot receive the transfers to their accounts. They are almost entirely relying in the transfer issue on their partners, especially Christian ones," the report continued… (Read More)
“Hezbollah on the sanctions: solution is imminent”  (Website)   
Financial Markets - Terrorism - USA EU
On May 27, the electronic Al-Modon newspaper carried the following report by Mounir al-Rabih: “Hezbollah managed to reach a quasi-settlement with the governor of the Lebanese central bank, Riad Salameh, regarding a mechanism for the implementation of the sanctions imposed on the Party through the American sanctions law and that affect the Party including some officials and supporters in addition to a number of companies in and outside Lebanon that, according to the American Administration, are close to the Party… (Read More)
Middle East
Opinion
“The Gulf-Russian dialogue”  (Al-Khaleej)
Arab Diplomacy
On May 28, the independent Al-Khaleej daily newspaper carried the following editorial: “The fourth joint ministerial meeting for the strategic Gulf-Russian dialogue held in Moscow two days ago represents a qualitative step in the realm of the GCC’s international relations in terms of enhancing the joint action in a way as to serve the interests of the region’s people and countries and their relations with all the world’s countries that can influence international policies based on the diversifying the relations and expanding them towards the east and the west and at all economic, political, scientific, cultural, and security levels in addition to enhancing the positive aspects of these relations and maintaining an open door for discussion and communication in the event of any differences in the points of view on any specific issues… (Read More)
Politics
Federalism in Lebanon and the region  (Ad-Diyyar)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On May 28, the Ad-Diyyar daily carried the following report by Yasser al-Hariri: “…There are reigning Arab-American atmospheres indicating that federalism is now the [first] choice in a number of Arab countries where people cannot coexist or countries suffering from civil wars as well as countries where there are religious and ethnic groups working on obtaining self-administration under a regime that can allow them to coexist [with the others] and arrange their political, security-related and economic affairs. These atmospheres indicate that the Americans and the Russians believe that there are new divisions for the region that will make it safer and that they are using their own constitutional and political structures as models. They thus believe that these models can be applied to the Arab countries that have several ethnicities, religious, and sects… (Read More)
Saudi Arabia
Business
“Suspension of perks and allowances of government officials…”  (Newspaper - Middle East)
Corruption
On May 30, the Saudi pro-monarchy Al-Madina newspaper carried the following report from Ta’if by its correspondent Sa’id az-Zahrani: “Al-Madina has learned from its sources that many public commissions and institutions, as well as governmental funds, have suspended the perks, allowances and salaries that were being given to some of their officials, in violations of the regulations and instructions. And the sources assured that some of these officials received salaries that exceeded by three-fold those of the ministers under whom they were working. Hence, instructions were issued to all the public commissions and institutions and the governmental funds to implement the rules, regulations, laws and decisions regulating the salaries, allowances and financial perks offered to these bodies’ directors, and stop the payment of any salaries or bonuses that went against them… (Read More)
Opinion
“The file of Iran’s pilgrims and our media army”  (Newspaper - Middle East)   
Religion
On May 31, the Saudi pro-monarchy Al-Madina newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Abdullah Munawar al-Jamili: “Ever since it was founded, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been serving Islam and the Muslims in all areas and on all levels, let alone the pilgrimage, in whose hosting it takes great pride. Saudi Arabia, whose leader and king is honored to be the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, has offered and is still offering care and attention to the pilgrims and the performers of the Umrah, from the time of their arrival until their departure, so that they are able to perform their pilgrimage and visit in absolute ease. More importantly, it has implemented giant projects in the Holy Mecca, in Medina and the sacred shrines in total safety and security. And all of this is recognized by the Muslims from all nationalities, except for the government of Iran (not its helpless pilgrims)… (Read More)
Tunisia
Opinion
“On Geagea’s letter to Ghannouchi”  (Website)
Democracy and Party Politics - Religion
On May 28, Elie al-Kosseify wrote the following piece in the electronic Al-Modon daily: “Since the beginning of the Arab Spring events, the head of the Lebanese Forces party, Samir Geagea, exhibited a special sensitivity regarding the developments in the Arab region like no other Christian leader. When Geagea voiced his famous phrase “Let the Brothers rule” back in 2012, this created an uproar that failed to calm down even when the man explained that his words were taken out of their real context… (Read More)
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