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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
20-Sep-2017
Algeria
Politics
“Algeria proceeding towards fifth term for Bouteflika, despite illness and economic crisis”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Corruption - Democracy and Party Politics
On September 20, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report from Algiers: “The Algerian authorities are proceeding with stumbling yet persisting steps towards President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s fifth term. Indeed, around 10 years ago, the regime has retreated into the presidency-for-life maze, despite the president’s illness and the financial storm sweeping the country, thus opening the door to the unknown. The government’s action plan, which was put forward by Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia on Sunday and will be ratified on Thursday without any surprises, did not take into account the possibility of seeing change in the next presidential elections that will be held in 2019. So, the Ouyahia-led government, which is saying it is implementing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, presented a 5-five year economic program, though the next elections will be held in less than two… (Read More)
Egypt
Opinion
“Egypt’s image abroad”  (Al-Ahram, Egypt)
Arab Diplomacy
On September 20, the pro-government Al-Ahram newspaper carried the following lead editorial: “There is no doubt that one of the goals behind President Abdul Fattah es-Sisi’s participation in the United Nations General Assembly sessions, and his meetings with groups of top influencers in American society, heads of states and businessmen, was to convey the right image of the situation in Egypt, and Egypt’s perception of the various regional and international issues. And it was natural for him to focus on the terrorism issue, seeing as how Egypt – as indicated by the president – has been engaged in war on terrorism and extremism throughout the past years, knowing that this war cannot be compared to regular ones, and should be engaged by the international community with a comprehensive approach relying on four pillars… (Read More)
Iraq
Politics
“Clashes in Kirkuk, Turkmen threaten to “internationalize” their cause”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Democracy and Party Politics - Unrest
On September 20, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report from Baghdad: “The security situation in the Kirkuk Governorate (northeast of Iraq) is getting worse as the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum scheduled for September 25 is drawing closer. The last development at this level was the attack staged by a pro-referendum armed group on headquarters affiliated with the Turkmen, who are opposed to the referendum, which caused the fall of victims. At this level, Turkmen Deputy Hassan Touran said to Al-Quds al-Arabi: “In light of the tense situation in Kirkuk and the governorate’s implication in the upcoming referendum, the city has been witnessing clashes that escalated on Monday, when a group of youth, who were promoting the Kurdistan independence referendum, passed in front of a Turkmen party headquarters (the Turkmen National Movement), and a fire exchange erupted between the two sides… (Read More)
Israel
Opinion
“Hezbollah’s drones that infiltrated the Golan skies, a “quality move” stirring the Israeli concern…”  (Website, Middle East)   
Military and Defense
On September 19, Abdul Bari Atwan wrote the following piece in the electronic Rai al-Youm daily: “The fact that the Israeli land defense intercepted a drone through a Patriot missile as the drone had infiltrated the space above the occupied Golan heights might be a regular piece of news for many, one that doesn’t deserve to be pondered in light of the Israeli military supremacy. However, when we learn that this drone was sent by Hezbollah on a reconnaissance mission and that the cost of the Patriot that downed it amounts to two million dollars, then the image might change drastically… (Read More)
Politics
“Experts: US base in Negev confirms (Israel’s) sensing of existential threat”  (Filistin, Palestine)
Military and Defense
On September 20, the pro-Hamas Filistin newspaper carried the following report from Gaza by its correspondent Yahya al-Yaacoubi: “Experts on military and Israeli affairs who spoke to Filistin deemed the Israeli occupation state’s announcement yesterday of the opening of a joint air defence base with the United States for the first time in the occupied Negev to be linked to (Israel’s) detection of a real existential threat which it cannot handle. Hence, it was forced to resort to America in anticipation of whichever confrontation with both the northern and southern fronts at the same time, in light of the growing capabilities of the resistance in Gaza, the sustainment of the suffocating siege, and the ongoing threats being exchanged between the occupation on one hand, and Iran and Hezbollah on the other. And according to the same experts, the announcement of the opening of the base served both the American and Israeli sides… (Read More)
Lebanon
Politics
“The army: a three-clauses plan to confront terrorism at Ain el-Helweh”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)
Military and Defense - Terrorism
On September 20, the Ad-Diyyar daily carried the following report by Michel Nasr: “Away from the controversy raised by the diplomatic warnings about imminent terrorist operations in Lebanon, and the confusion created by these warnings…, the observers were able to tell, in the past few days, that the army command is fully aware of the real situation. This was highlighted through the statements of Gen. Joseph Aoun when he spoke at the martyrs and soldiers’ honoring ceremony in Yarzeh and also through his message to the soldiers, a message that he delivered from the Riyak airbase, where he stressed that the war against terrorism hasn’t ended although we did win a battle… (Read More)
Middle East
Opinion
“Terrorism’s alternatives: the referendum and the normalization”  (Al-Watan Syria, Syria)
Democracy and Party Politics
On September 20, the pro-Syrian regime Al-Watan daily carried the following piece by Mohammad Obeid: “The rapid strategic transformation of the course of the war on terrorism in Syria and Iraq took the international and regional axis that supports this terrorism by surprise. This axis was betting on benefitting from the remaining time to the inevitable demise of terrorism as an investment project for the USA, Israel, and their followers in the region… (Read More)
“The rules of the regional system”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)
On September 20, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following piece by Nabih al-Borji: “The statements made by Turkish commentators close to the Justice and Development Party – indicating that “the Jewish institution not only wants to dismantle Syria and Iraq but also Turkey and Iran” – are quite interesting and noteworthy… (Read More)
Palestine
Opinion
“Dahlan, both absent and present at the agreement between Fatah and Hamas around Gaza”  (Website, Middle East)   
Arab Diplomacy - Democracy and Party Politics
On September 19, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily carried the following piece by Omar al-Raddad: “Perhaps the most important characteristic of the agreement between the Fatah and Hamas movements that was signed in Cairo under the supervision of the general intelligence services of Egypt consists of the fact that this agreement reconnects the Gaza territory, on the demographic and political levels, to the general understanding of the Palestinian cause knowing that, for ten years, this concept had been confined to the West Bank alone. There are however doubts regarding the possibility of implementing this agreement on the ground especially in light of the many experiences and agreements…that were all doomed even before they were launched for reasons pertaining to the internal situation of Fatah and Hamas… (Read More)
Politics
“Palestinian president to Al-Quds al-Arabi in Amman: We oppose Arab normalization with Israel…”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Arab Diplomacy - Peace Process
On September 19, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following interview with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman by its correspondent Ali as-Saleh… (Read More)
Qatar
Opinion
“Will the Qatari “pressure cooker” blow up as a result of the wood placed by the four boycotting countries…?”  (Website, Middle East)   
Arab Diplomacy - Unrest
On September 20, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily carried the following editorial: “…Three main developments confirm that the possibility of an escalation of the latest Gulf crisis that has moved, at least partially, to New York is much higher than the possibility of détente. However, this doesn’t mean that there is absolutely no hope that “some sort of a breakthrough” might occur… (Read More)
Saudi Arabia
Opinion
Ayoon Wa Azan (Saudi economy is strong, opponents are lying)  (Al-Hayat, United Kingdom)
Human Rights - Military and Defense
On September 20, the Saudi-owned London-based Al-Hayat newspaper carried the following opinion piece by regular columnist Jihad el-Khazen: “Is the value of the Saudi Aramco oil company around $2 trillion as we are reading day after day? I am not an oil expert, but I do claim to know the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and believe that Aramco’s real value is much higher than the Western experts’ estimates, because most of the Saudi territories have still not been geographically surveyed, and there is no way of knowing how much more oil they hold. The Saudi command is more cautious than I am, seeing as how it is in a position of responsibility, which is why it is not going beyond the $2 trillion figure. However, my responsibility is limited at this level. And I believe that Saudi Arabia holds between one quarter and one third of the world’s oil reserves, which is why I think that although the value attributed to Aramco is good, it is still beneath reality… (Read More)
Syria
Politics
“Signs of upcoming confrontation between Syrian regime, Kurds, in Deir Ezzor”  (Website, Middle East)
Military and Defense
On September 18, the Lebanese privately-owned En-Nashra news website carried the following exclusive report by Paula Astih: “It seems that the direct confrontation which the Syrian regime and the mainly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] have been avoiding for the past years might soon erupt in Deir Ezzor Governorate, where the two sides are fighting the ISIL organization. Indeed, on Saturday, the SDF officially announced they were attacked by the Russian Air Force and the regime troops on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, right across from Deir Ezzor City. The announcement coincided with a series of positions issued by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s advisor Bouthaina Shaaban, in which she assured that the Syrian government was ready to fight the SDF, and that the regime forces were prepared to cross to the eastern side of the Euphrates… (Read More)
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