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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
20-Jan-2017
Egypt
Politics
“Hasm case: Accused trained in Sudan with the knowledge of Al-Qassam Brigade…”  (Newspaper, Middle East)
Terrorism
On January 19, the Egyptian pro-government Shorouk newspaper carried the following report by Ahmad ash-Sharqawi: “The investigations of the High State Security Court in the case of the terrorist Hasm organization, which is affiliated with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group and includes 304 accused in the case, revealed that officials within the organization received training on “intelligence action” to establish an intelligence apparatus for the MB, tasked to implement a number of goals, namely the preservation of the organization against infiltration and the pinpointing of a number of positions inside the country to target them with hostile and terrorist operations, at the head of which are facilities affiliated with the Armed Forces and the Police, and embassies of foreign countries... The investigations also revealed that the accused were preparing for what they dubbed “Hasm [settlement] Day… (Read More)
Iran
Opinion
“The tough Iranian questions after Rafsanjani’s passing”  (Al-Khaleej, United Arab Emirates)
Democracy and Party Politics
On January 20, Mohammad al-Said Idriss wrote the following piece in Al-Khaleej daily: “The sudden passing of Iran’s powerful man, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of the Expediency Council, sped up the launching of dozens of questions that had so far been bottled up in the Iranian people’s minds… Rafsanjani’s passing detonated the following questions: Where is Iran going to? What is the fate of the Islamic Republic? Who will replace Rafsanjani not only at his political posts at the Expediency Council or the Assembly of Experts, but who will also be playing his role in maintaining the balance between the shielding of the national interests without squandering the Iranian regime’s ideological and revolutionary commitments? Moreover, Rafsanjani’s death detonated the biggest question: Who will succeed to Khamenei at the leadership position? And who will be engineering the features of the third republic since the second republic will soon demise after the death of Rafsanjani and also in light of indications to Khamenei’s potential passing soon?… (Read More)
Lebanon
Politics
“Questions around the objectives of the next American sanctions against Hezbollah”  (Newspaper, Middle East)   
Financial Markets - Terrorism - USA EU
On January 20, the Al-Joumhouria daily carried the following report: “A Lebanese parliamentary delegation visited the USA to clarify Lebanon’s comments regarding the financial sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury on Hezbollah. [The clarifications] mainly indicated that exaggeration on this level will actually harm the Lebanese financial stability more than harming the intended party… (Read More)
Interview with Hezbollah’s Sheikh Naim Qassem  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)   
Democracy and Party Politics - Military and Defense - Terrorism
On January 20, the Ad-Diyyar newspaper carried the following interview with Sheikh Naim Qassem: “Despite the many challenges and political and field fronts, the Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General, Sheikh Naim Qassem, seems reassured by the integrity of the allies, mainly President Michel Aoun on one hand, and the firmness of the Resistance in its fight against its enemies on the other hand… In an honest interview with Ad-Diyyar, Qassem stressed that Hezbollah considers that Aoun’s visit to any country in the world except for Israel is a natural right of the president of the republic…and based on that, we never had for a minute any issues with Aoun’s visit to Saudi Arabia, neither in the form, nor in the nature nor the contents of this visit… (Read More)
Middle East
Opinion
“The Iranian “bomb” surrounding Lebanese presidency is not new”  (Website, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy
On January 20, the Lebanese privately-owned En-Nashra news website carried the following opinion piece by Maher al-Khatib: “The “bomb” detonated by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif regarding the Lebanese presidential file was not the first of its kind, since the talk surrounding cooperation between Tehran and Riyadh over this file is old. To confirm that, let us go back to the statement of Special Assistant to the Speaker of the Iranian Shura Council Hossein Abdollahian on October 1 of last year, when he did not hesitate to assure that the action of Prime Minister Sa’d al-Hariri to ensure the election of President of the Republic General Michel Aoun was approved by Saudi Arabia. So far, some local powers, especially Head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea, are still insisting on placing the settlement in its local context, though Parliament Speaker Nabih Birri was the first to deny that, thus talking about an American-Iranian settlement… (Read More)
Politics
“Ali Zermedini: Qa’idah renewing itself, we might witness more sophisticated terrorist operations”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Terrorism
On January 20, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Tunis Hassan Salman: “Tunisian military expert Ali Zermedini said that Al-Qa’idah was trying to renew itself, by recruiting scientific competencies to stage more technologically “sophisticated” terrorist operations, using the experience of the Islamic State organization at this level... He considered in exclusive statements to Al-Quds al-Arabi that the shape and content of terrorism in general had not changed, rather the people linked to it. Indeed, [he added], “the cluster structure of the terrorist organizations is the same, and the criminal act is the same. There are known “traditional” operations and a methodical approach to which we have become accustomed, such in suicide operations, explosions, and assassinations, using cold weapons, bombs or explosive belts… (Read More)
Morocco
Politics
“Diverging assessments between Algeria, Polisario, of Morocco’s return to AU”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Arab Diplomacy - Peace Process
On January 20, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Madrid Hussein Majdoubi: “Algeria and the Polisario Front have different assessments of Morocco’s return to the African Union, as the first prefers not to see this return, or at least the increase of the conditions leading to it, while the second considers that this return will serve it, and allow the African Union to play a key role in the conflict in the future. According to information acquired by Al-Quds al-Arabi, Algeria wishes to obstruct Morocco’s return to the AU, which is why it is imposing numerous conditions on that step, namely Morocco’s clear commitment to the border inherited from colonialism, and the non-acceptance of that return immediately after studying the request file, believing that Morocco’s return could generate division within the AU… (Read More)
Palestine
Opinion
“Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Peace Process - USA EU
On January 20, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following lead editorial: “Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets yesterday in protest against and defiance of new American President Donald Trump’s expected decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem. This protest was seen in anticipation of a step never before undertaken by any of the previous American administrations, though they were all dedicated to the defence of Israel and its interests, simply because it violated Palestinian, Arab and Islamic red lines, and was considered a prelude for what a Palestinian official dubbed “the killing of all pacts, the undermining of any hope of establishing a Palestinian state, and the strengthening of the occupation.” In that sense, what the Palestinians did was a conscious act by people, for whom the defence of their basic rights has truly become similar to the survival instinct of all species… (Read More)
Syria
Opinion
“Barada Valley: Iran flips against the Astana conference”  (Website, Middle East)
Peace Process
On January 20, the electronic Al-Modon daily carried the following piece by Munir al-Rabih: “Hezbollah will proceed with the escalation at the Barada Valley until the picture becomes clearer regarding the Astana conference. If the marginalization of the Iranian role in Syria was to proceed, the escalation will increase and it will expand from this region to other areas around Damascus, mainly Al-Ghouta… (Read More)
“When Moscow wins”  (Al-Mustaqbal, Lebanon)
Peace Process
On January 20, the Future movement owned, Al-Mustaqbal daily newspaper carried the following piece by Ali Noun: “Not a long while has gone by before it turned out that Moscow won the first round of its political arms’ wrestling with Iran and its official spokesperson in Damascus, the former president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, thus confirming that it [i.e. Russia] has the upper hand in the Syrian situation and is the decision maker there!… (Read More)
Politics
“US delegation visited Aleppo, included current and former Democratic Congress members”  (Al-Watan Syria, Syria)
USA EU
On January 18, the state-controlled Al-Watan newspaper carried the following report by Samer Dahi: “A reliable source in Damascus assured Al-Watan that an American delegation visited the city of Aleppo yesterday, under strict security measures and away from the media spotlight. According to the source, the delegation that landed at the Damascus International Airport yesterday morning and headed directly to the Aleppo Airport included Democratic Congresswoman for the State of Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard, and former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich among others, indicating that Gabbard’s positions were closer to US President-elect Donald Trump, whom he said had met with her after his victory. The delegation visited the Aleppo Castle and the Archeparchies of Germanos Farhat and the Syriacs, toured the city’s eastern neighborhoods and Al-Jabiriya, and checked the residents’ status… (Read More)
United States
Politics
“Between Putin and Trump: Difficult ‘codes’ and internal landmines”  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon)
USA EU
On January 20, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report: “Russia will take into the account the fact that the man who imposed new sanctions, Obama, only has three weeks left as a president.” With these cold words, Dimitri Peskov, a Kremlin's spokesman, responded to the decision of President Barack Obama to impose new sanctions on Russia on the backdrop of the U.S. claims regarding the so-called “electronic piracy” operations… (Read More)
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