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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.
"...Algeria awaits concrete evidence regarding Belmokhtar's death"  (Newspaper, Middle East)
Military and Defense - Terrorism - USA EU
On November 30, the privately-owned Algerian newspaper Echourouk el-Youmi reported: "An Algerian security source on Tuesday denied that there was evidence yet on the death of the leading figure in Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islam Maghreb [AQLIM], Mokhtar Belmokhtar, in a French raid in southern Libya as reported by the media on Monday. The reports cited a US official, who was not identified in the reports, saying that he thought it was likely that the emir of El Mourabitoune Brigade of AQLIM, Belmokhtar, was killed in a French raid in southern Libya recently. The source, who works on the anti-terrorism file and requested to remain anonymous, told [Turkish] Anadolu news agency: "There has been no evidence so far on the death of the wanted Algerian national, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, in a French air raid in Libya." He added: "The Algerian authorities cannot consider the prominent leading member of Al-Qaeda dead until there is material evidence that would confirm that he had been killed and that would be by receiving his body or parts of it to carried out DNA tests."… (Read More)
"Regulatory authority warns about religious programme that call for fanaticism and extremism..."  (Newspaper, Middle East)
Religion - Terrorism
On november 29, the privately-owned Algerian newspaper Echourouk el-Youmi reported: "The Audio-Visual Regulatory Authority has warned all the audio-visual institutions about the contents of locally-produced or imported programmes which were broadcast and could plant the seeds of all kinds of fanaticism and extremism. In a statement, the authority explained that it "strongly urges and under the weight of the penalties stipulated by law all the public and private audio-visual institutions to be fully vigilant in order to destroy fundamentalism, hatred and intolerance in the locally-produced or imported programme they broadcast which could plant the seeds of all kinds of fanaticism and extremism". The authority noted: "The contents of religious programmes in the audio-visual domain are dominated by dark deviations in view of the violent messages which are the bases of instability, sedition and social disintegration which pose a real threat to our country's security." The statement stressed: "Those messages are often accompanied by fatwas from individuals who have appointed themselves as missionaries without the training that would qualify them to take responsibility which in turn requires sincerity, vigilance and non-exploitation by others.""… (Read More)
“Egypt’s wager on strategic relationship with Trump, Putin”  (Al-Hayat, United Kingdom)   
Arab Diplomacy - USA EU
On December 2, the Saudi-owned London-based Al-Hayat newspaper carried the following report by its diplomatic correspondent in New York Raghida Dergham: “Sources close to Egyptian President Abdul Fattah es-Sisi are convinced that next year will be purely Egyptian, since Egypt will be the only Arab state enjoying strategic relations that are closer to an alliance with Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Donald Trump’s America, while confidently saying that Egypt will recover both economically and strategically, amid an Egyptian national surge relying on the army and wagering on special ties between Putin and Trump. This confidence is prompted by the belief that the Egyptian command invested in the right strategic alliances, namely with Russia, at a time when many in Egypt are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections as though they were American voters… (Read More)
“Management through lies”  (Al-Masry al-Yawm, Egypt)   
Democracy and Party Politics - Unrest
On November 30, the independent Al-Masry al-Yawm newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Karima Kamal: “Will this approach persist in the face of the difficult challenges? I believe that everyone knows Egypt is facing difficult challenges, which might be unprecedented in its history, just as I believe that the gradual discovery of how the state institutions are dealing with these challenges – particularly the institutions boasting the highest voices – using media outlets they have always made sure to control, push to ask the above question. Indeed, whenever a crisis emerges, a tale is fabricated to allow the state to elude its responsibilities for it. Hence, when the sugar crisis broke out, the media mouthpieces condemned the conspiracy devised by the owners of factories that manufacture candies sold on the birthday of the Prophet, in order to sell the candy at steep prices… (Read More)
"DA'ISH has crossed our red line"  (E'temad, Iran)
On November 25, a commentary by Mohammad Kazemi in the reformist daily E'temad said: "The terrorist incident that happened to the pilgrims of Imam Hoseyn in Hilla in Iraq, and the martyrdom and wounding of a number of our beloved compatriots and citizens of other countries, will affect and provoke the feelings of every Muslim and free human being. Pilgrims, who have fervently crossed hundreds of miles to fulfil their spiritual needs, not only do not deserve to be injured or murdered as in accordance with any true humanitarian and divine school of belief, they should be revered and enjoy full security. There can be no expectations of bloodthirsty DA'ISH because they lack the slightest modicum of ethical, humanitarian, and religious values, but there can be expectations of a world that close or far and directly or indirectly, has had a share in the creation of a barbaric and criminal group, and has even confessed to the part it has played. There has been no major wave of condemnation of this act throughout the world, and governments have not even expressed sympathy with Iran. What kind of a world is it when governments shout out in unison and speak in condemnation of a group that carries out a terrorist and violent attack in France or Belgium, but if the same group martyrs a group of Iranian and Afghan pilgrims in the most barbaric way, no voice is raised and no publicity is created against them! Are the victims of terrorism different from one another and is the blood of European victims redder than the blood of others?… (Read More)
“Lebanese Hezbollah steps into “historical settlement” course in Iraq”  (Newspaper, Middle East)   
Arab Diplomacy
On December 1, the Al-Araby al-Jadid newspaper carried the following report: “A prominent Iraqi politician revealed to Al-Araby al-Jadid on Thursday that the Lebanese Hezbollah has stepped into the line of the mediation between the blocs of the ruling National Alliance in Iraq to convince them about the “historical settlement” suggested by the alliance’s head, Ammar al-Hakim, with the aim of arranging what he deemed the phase following the elimination of the Islamic State organization (ISIL)… (Read More)
“The singularities of March 8…”  (As-Safir, Lebanon)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On December 2, Imad Marmal wrote the following piece in the independent, leftist As-Safir daily: “Have the “traditional” adversaries of President Michel succeeded in getting closer to him while estrangement is taking place between him and his supposed allies? That’s what the political scene seems to indicate now that Aoun’s first month in office is coming to an end in one of the paradoxes produced by the presidential elections… (Read More)
“What future is there for the “Maarab understanding?””  (Newspaper, Middle East)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On December 2, the Lebanese privately-owned Al-Joumhouria newspaper carried the following report by Tarek Tarshishi: “On the sidelines of the ongoing political battle revolving around the government formation and the obstacles and complications it is facing, many are wondering about the future of the understanding between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces after General Michel Aoun reached the presidency, and its repercussions on the future of the Christians’ political and popular reality on one hand, and Lebanese political life on the other. This question was prompted by the effect of the Aounist-LF understanding on the government formation, in light of the ministerial share, which some deem to be excessively large, that will be given to the LF, based on this understanding that was imposed by the temporary convergence of both sides’ interests… (Read More)
Middle East
“Return of the “blood borders:” New Arab maps”  (Website, Middle East)
On December 1, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily newspaper carried the following piece by Yehya al-Sharafi: “Moshe Dayan, a former Israeli defense minister, says: “The Arabs don’t read; and if they do read, they don’t understand; and if they do understand, they don’t act.” Ten years ago, precisely in July 2006, an American military magazine, the Armed Forces Journal, carried a new map for the Middle East designed by retired US army General Ralph Peters, under a report titled “the Blood Borders.”… (Read More)
“The Aleppo victories reflect on Lebanon and the region”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)
Military and Defense
On December 2, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report by Yasser al-Hariri: “Clearly, some important changes will be taking place in Lebanon and the region. The essence of these changes can be seen in light of the developments taking place in the Syrian city of Aleppo and the Iraqi city of Mosul specifically at the western axis in the direction of the borders with Syria. The actions of the Iraqi Islamic Resistance and the fact it is nearing the Syrian borders while the Syrian army, Hezbollah and the Resistance factions are now close to the borders with Syria: All this will surely lead to the inevitable outcome of an Israeli intervention, which has already been translated through the Israeli raids near the capital, Damascus… (Read More)
"False Algerian passports for Polisario leaders"  (Newspaper, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy
On November 30, the daily Moroccan As-Sabah reported: "Informed sources have disclosed to As-Sabah that the Algerian authorities have issued passports bearing false identities for a number of Polisario leaders in order to facilitate their movements abroad and avoid their being arrested. This is so particularly for those on a designated complaint list made to the Spanish judiciary. According to the same sources, the issuance of passports with false identities and names for Polisario leaders obstructs and misleads justice in a number of European countries visited by the victims of terrible abuses committed in Tindouf camps seeking justice against their torturers. The sources added that Algeria has granted Polisario Front leaders travel documents with bogus names and false passport details to protect them from lawsuits... The case of Algeria granting false passports to Polisario leaders was exposed when the woman named Souilma Beirouk, member of the Panafrican Parliament where it represents the Polisario Front, was prevented from entering Morocco to attend the summit on climate change, COP22, with a false identity in her Algerian passport.Security services were alerted to this manoeuvre and deported her to her destination, Algeria."… (Read More)
“The winners and losers at the seventh conference”  (Website, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy - Democracy and Party Politics - Peace Process
On December 1, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily newspaper carried the following piece by Fayez Abou Shamaleh: “Regardless of who took part at the conference…, the mere holding of this conference constitutes a massive success for Mahmoud Abbas who represents the only winner from holding it. At the conclusion of the conference, the man will pride himself for being the only headline for the Palestinian people, the father of the Palestinian revolution, and the point of intersection for all the conflicting movements within Fatah especially in light of Fatah’s and the Islamic Jihad’s participation at the conference’s opening session since these are two important groups in the Palestinian arena and their presence constitutes an important moral support for the conference participants… (Read More)
“What reasons pushed President Erdogan to retract his statements…”  (Website, Middle East)   
Peace Process
On December 1, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily carried the following piece by Abdul Bari Atwan: “One who follows the positions and statements of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since the failed military coup attempt last July will notice that the man is living through a state of confusion, which could be due to the siege that his cabinet is experiencing as well as the stumbling of most of his political choices mainly when it comes to the neighboring countries such as Syria and Iraq, as well as the many political and military fronts where he is fighting these days… (Read More)
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