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TODAY’S DAILY BRIEFING
29-May-2017
Egypt
Opinion
“Why is the Egyptian regime unable to solve the terrorism problem?”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Terrorism
On May 27, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following lead editorial: “Eight armed men targeted a microbus and two vehicles carrying Copts coming from various regions, including children and workers, who were heading towards or returning from a church, a convent and village. According to the latest figures, the death toll has reached 35, knowing that the armed men did not hesitate to kill children, even leave flyers – according to one tale – saying “May Allah accept our fasting and forgive our sins,” in a situation combining monstrosity and the belittling of human life. This attack followed a series of other operations, the last of which was on April 9 on Palm Sunday, when the Islamic State organization targeted two large Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria cities and caused the death of 46 people and the injuring of 124 others… (Read More)
Iran
Opinion
"Social networks winner of media in election"  (E'temad, Iran)   
Democracy and Party Politics - Media
On May 25, a commentary by Mohammad Soltanifar in the reformist daily E'temad said: "If we want to find a winner in the field of the media in the election, we can confidently say that the winner of the election is the production of contents in social media. Social media came forward to the scene as the most important and influential tool. Neither the debate nor street campaigning was as influential as social media in terms of production of contents in the election. Before the election, I referred to the issue in my comments and said that those who invest in this field and use social media appropriately will be the winner of the election. Both main wings that were involved in the elections used the cyberspace networks but the winner was the one that found his audience in a targeted way and produced contents in accordance with the audience's interest and taste. The type and structure of the campaigns used by Mr. Raisi's wing had been predominantly designed to maintain and preserve the supporters of the wing and it produced contents for them. But Mr. Ruhani's wing had planned with the aim to influence floating and undecided voters. The election campaign in such climate should not be mainly focused on changing the view of the supporters of the rival faction, but investment must be made on those who are undecided. In order to attract undecided individuals, reference groups and undecided elite were identified and this had a good effect on undecided voters. Mr. Ruhani's camp produced targeted contents for undecided groups and [promoted it] through leaders of undecided groups. Such context managed to pave the way for production of contents… (Read More)
Politics
"Principalists' proposal to Raisi: A shadow government"  (Shargh, Iran)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On May 23, the reformist Shargh reported: "They have suggested the formation of a shadow government. First Saeed Jalili in his post-election message, and then former state media chief Ezatollah Zarghami in his Telegram channel, suggested the formation of an alternative, or a monitoring government. They are both allies of Ebrahim Raisi, and in recent weeks have accompanied him on his campaign speeches. Ezatollah Zarghami in his Telegram channel wrote: "God give you power Mr. Raisi. Raisi's 16 million votes as a runner up is unprecedented in the country's history. This is an exceptional condition. He can play a historic role in observing and being a powerful alternative for pursuing the people's demands, and ensuring the materialization of the administration's pledges." Saeed Jalili also, in a part of his election congratulation message on 20 May wrote: "Those who believe in the Islamic Revolution's discourse are responsible and have the right to adopt a national and non-competitive approach as a shadow government, within the law and ethics, to help the elected president and his administration to address shortcomings and correct mistakes, in line with serving the people and expressing the people's demands." Principlists have a strange understanding of the elections. They continuously highlight the 16 million votes that Raisi has obtained and believe that as a result of this number of votes, he can organize the people's major demands. Keyhan Newspaper on 22 May, in an editorial note written by Hossein Shariatmadari, compared the executive experience of Ruhani and Raisi stating that Raisi's votes are in actual fact twice as many as those of Ruhani!… (Read More)
“...Okaz reveals details of meeting between Ath-Thani and Soleimani”  (Okaz, Saudi Arabia)
Arab Diplomacy
On May 25, the pro-monarchy Okaz newspaper carried the following report from Baghdad: “Just a few hours separated the talks conducted by Qatari Foreign Minister Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman ath-Thani with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the capital Baghdad on Monday, during which they agreed to reopen the Qatari embassy, the information which spoke about another secret meeting held by the Qatari official at his place of residence in the Iraqi capital with Advisor of the Iraqi government and Commander of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Qassem Soleimani, and the coup staged by Prince of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa ath-Thani against Arab and Islamic consensus and the Riyadh Declaration, with the announcement of his full bias in favor of Iran and its militias in the region… (Read More)
Jordan
Politics
“Amman is watching the Gulf crisis and drawing closer to Qatar…”  (Website, Middle East)   
Arab Diplomacy
On May 28, the Rai al-Youm daily newspaper carried the following report by Farah Maraka: “At the level of the political decision making class, Amman values the phone call made by Qatari Prince, Tamim Bin Hamad, with the Jordanian monarch directly after the tense Islamic summit held at the Saudi capital, Al-Riyadh. It views Qatar’s keenness on communicating as a positive step and one that aims at inducing a rapprochement between all those sides that have come to be known as “the summit’s three victims,” which include Cairo, Amman, and Qatar… (Read More)
Lebanon
Politics
“Hezbollah, the FPM still operating with half a document of understanding”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)
Democracy and Party Politics
On May 29, the Ad-Diyyar daily carried the following report by Khaled Arrar: “Some politicians held their breath and they were worried and afraid for the future of the strategic relationship between the Free Patriotic Movement [FPM] and Hezbollah as a result of the Future movement’s attempts at driving a wedge and rocking the trust between these two major components, a trust that has been strongly reigning between the two of them and that was translated through the document of understanding over the main, patriotic headlines… (Read More)
“Hariri returns from Tripoli disappointed: No projects and no crowds”  (Al-Akhbar, Algeria)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On May 27, Al-Akhbar daily carried the following report by Abdul Kafi as-Samad: “The calls made by the Future Movement in Tripoli upon its supporters to receive Prime Minister Sa’d al-Hariri on Thursday morning at the new bridge being built at Al-Mina City’s entrance to connect Tripoli and Al-Baddawi were pointless, knowing that each visit by the leader of the Future Movement is revealing the extent of the retreat of his popular base. Hence, only a few hundred supporters gathered the day before last to receive the prime minister, about half of whom were security elements and bodyguards of deputies and figures who – for the most part – belong to the blue movement. The total absence of crowds indicates that Al-Hariri’s return to power has not yet secured the return of the desired popular support…, while according to sources from the Future Movement who spoke to Al-Akhbar, the “unsuccessful visit on the popular level” pushed Al-Hariri to voice disgruntlement… (Read More)
Middle East
Opinion
“The secret revealed by the media campaigns between the Gulf States…”  (Website, Middle East)
Arab Diplomacy - Media
On May 28, Kamal Khalaf wrote the following piece in the electronic Rai al-Youm daily newspaper: “The exchanged Gulf campaigns revealed a secret that wouldn’t have been otherwise let out had it not been for the media campaigns between Saudi Arabia and the UAE on one hand, and Qatar on the other hand in the past days… Gentlemen, I am talking about the phenomenon of the commenters, the tweeters, and the voters on the social media websites… (Read More)
“Trump’s speech”  (Az-Zaman, Iraq)
Arab Diplomacy - Military and Defense - USA EU
On May 24, the independent Az-Zaman newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Hussein Ali al-Hamdani: “American President Trump’s speech did not carry a message of reassurance to the region, but rather foreshadowed an even harsher stage. This is especially due to the fact that the visit featured two facets, the first of which was economic, through arm deals and investments with the Arab Gulf States that have so far reached a whopping $450 billion, around $110 billion of which was allocated for armament. The second facet of the visit was to prepare our region for an old and renewed conflict with an American vision this time around, aiming to frighten the Gulf States of the so-called Iranian influence and Tehran’s role in “undermining regional security… (Read More)
Politics
“Terrorists planning to act in Ramadan”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)
Arab Diplomacy
On May 29, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report by George Obeid: “The process of eliminating the takfiris in the barren areas of Ersal has started to become gradually clearer based on two fronts according to a security source… (Read More)
Morocco
Politics
“Assid: Incidents in Hoceima threaten country’s stability, caused by non-neutrality of mosques”  (Website, Middle East)
Democracy and Party Politics - Human Rights
On May 27, the Moroccan Badil Info news website carried the following report by its correspondent Hecham al-Amrani: “Amazigh activist Ahmed Assid considered that “the non-neutrality of the mosques is the reason behind the incidents that have been unfolding in Hoceima since Friday 26 May,” adding that what is happening in the city “is very unfortunate, and taking place at a time when wisdom and alertness should be prevailing.” In statements to Badil, and while commenting on the security intervention and the use of force to arrest prominent activist in the Rif region’s Hirak Nasser Zefzafi, Assid assured: “The authority has no right to engage in escalation against citizens who are demanding their rights, or to arrest anyone for voicing his opinion,” stressing that “what Zefzafi did was a mere technical error which does not require his arrest… (Read More)
Qatar
Opinion
“Qatar is no victim; and the two Mohammad’s are no giants”  (Al-Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon)
Arab Diplomacy - USA EU
On May 29, Ibrahim al-Amin wrote the following piece in Al-Akhbar daily newspaper: “From a distance, an observer may imagine the end of the state of Qatar within weeks. Also from a distance, one may think that the actual conclusion of the latest Al-Riyadh summit with the US President Donald Trump consisted of organizing a coup to topple the regime in Qatar. And also from a distance, one can imagine a work meeting between the two Mohammad’s, Bin Zayed and Bin Salman, where the two split their tutelage over the entire Arabian Peninsula… (Read More)
“Stripping Qatar off the Wahhabi descent: will this lead to it leaving the GCC soon…?”  (Website, Middle East)   
Arab Diplomacy
On May 29, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily carried the following editorial: “The State of Qatar was expected to pull out its ambassadors from three Gulf States: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Bahrain, in response to the media campaign it was subjected to in the past few days on the backdrop of statements allegedly made by the Prince of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, where he flew outside the Gulf flock, opposed the statements against Iran, criticized the Al-Riyadh summits and predicted an imminent fall of US President Donald Trump. These statements were subsequently denied… (Read More)
Yemen
Politics
“...Official source: International supervision over Hudaydah Port would facilitate aid delivery”  (Asharq al-Awsat, United Kingdom)
Peace Process - United Nations
On May 24, the Saudi-owned London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper carried the following report from Aden: “Yemeni Minister of Human Rights Dr. Muhammad Askar stressed the need for permanent peace based on clear foundations and references, namely the “Gulf initiative and its mechanisms, the outcome of national dialogue, and the Security Council resolutions, at the head of which is Resolution 2216.” At the same time, UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh is engaged in discussions in Sana’a with the sides involved in the coup to reach a peace accord that is based on a plan by which the Hudaydah City and Port would be spared any military operation. But Minister Askar believed that the insurrectionists “will not relinquish Hudaydah [Port], which is considered to be the primary source of for Iranian weapons and the collection of revenues serving what they are dubbing the war effort… (Read More)
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