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TODAY’S DAILY BRIEFING
24-Mar-2017
Egypt
Opinion
“Fighting terrorism”  (Al-Ahram, Egypt)
Terrorism - USA EU
On March 24, the pro-government Al-Ahram newspaper carried the following lead editorial: “British Prime Minister Theresa May’s address yesterday, while commenting on the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge near the British Parliament in London, was probably the best expression of the reality of terrorism. She said: “The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech.” But the question is: Is this not what Egypt has cautioned about a million times, saying that terrorism had no religion, homeland or conscience? Did Egypt not always tell them that linking terrorism to the Islamic religion was wrong, and that the West will pay a heavy price for that?… (Read More)
Iran
Opinion
"What Is the Most Important Challenge Ahead of Rouhani?"  (Siyasat-e Ruz, Iran)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On March 12, an editorial by Mohammad Karimi in the daily Siyasat-e Ruz said: "The election competition field is gradually getting hot. On the one hand, there are activities such as the formation of an organisation by the name of Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces (JMNA) in the principlists' camp, meetings and society circles in the reformist camp, and widening of speeches in criticism of the government. On the other hand, there are activities such as, the fast and sometimes angry response by the head of the government of "Government of Prudence and Hope" [Rouhani] and some of the top officials of the government in response to criticism, plus reactions of some of the activists in the reformist movement in relation to the performance of Rouhani, along with back and forth in reference to cultural, political and other management issues. All of these activities have formed an exciting preliminary picture of the upcoming rivalries. In describing the current political atmosphere of the country we can write; The head of the 11th government was able to obtain close to 50.71 per cent of the general votes with the proposal of the "Government of Prudence and Hope" slogan and display of a " key" for opening what he was considering locked, and took over the helm of the executive management of the country. Now, that three years and some months have passed from the term of the 11th government, the slump of Rouhani's poll numbers is the most important subject of discussion in political circles and in the media. Rouhani's performance has become the subject of many questions by the active political movements. Rouhani may be able to pass through the fields of political discussions utilising various tactics, however, keeping and increasing the percentage of general votes that he had received is a difficult job in the present conditions. This issue has seriously engaged the minds of Rouhani and his supporters with concerns and worries, and this point is very seriously has been discussed and is being discussed in the reformist circles. The question "Is Rouhani able to obtain the trust vote of the Iranians in the upcoming election?" is a question that doubts and worries are attached to it in the reformist circles when they provide a response. By-passing Rouhani and introduction of other alternatives beside Rouhani is an indication of these doubts and worries in the reformists' camp… (Read More)
Politics
"One Should Not Celebrate the Elimination of the Ahmadinejad Current's Candidate"  (Shargh, Iran)
Democracy and Party Politics
On March17, an interview with Hassan Bayadi, secretary general of the Society of Builders of Islamic Iran, by Iranian reformist newspaper Shargh said: "During the years 2011-2012 critical views against the government of Ahmadinejad had reached its height, to include criticism of his former close colleagues. Hassan Bayadi, a principlist political activist, who at that time was deputy director of Tehran city council, had made statements in critical interviews at that time, questioning specific individuals in the circle around the president of the 10th administration who are making the president look bad. Now, in an interview with "Sharq" Hassan Bayadi is supporting the presence of Hamid Baqai in the election… (Read More)
Israel
Politics
“Nasrallah’s silence a source of concern for Israel…”  (Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon)   
Military and Defense
On March 24, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report by Ibrahim Nasseredine: “…The Israeli concerns have once again emerged from the gate of the Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah’s silence regarding the latest Israeli raid in Palmyra and the fact that he slightly brushed on the subject when he gave his last speech on Saturday only a few hours following the Israeli attacks… (Read More)
Jordan
Opinion
“Banned electronics”  (Al-Ghad, Jordan)
On March 24, the independent Al-Ghad newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Mohammad al-Hosini: “The American and British authorities issued instructions preventing the passengers on direct flights from a number of countries, including Jordan, from having their electronic devices with them on board. These instructions, which might look odd at first, conceal purely economic details. Indeed, during the last few years, American airlines companies have been complaining about unfair competition from airlines companies in the Middle East and the Gulf States in particular, because the Gulf airline companies especially, are operating flights to the United States, at prices with which the American companies cannot compete. And the American companies justified that by the fact that the Gulf companies were supported by their states, and could consequently lower their ticket prices… (Read More)
Lebanon
Politics
“West rejects Hezbollah’s control over constitutional institutions in Lebanon”  (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Democracy and Party Politics - USA EU
On March 24, the pro-monarchy Ar-Riyadh newspaper carried the following report by its correspondent in Beirut Marlene Khalife: “The second constitutional deadline for the summoning of the electoral bodies to stage parliamentary elections expired two days ago, without the Lebanese parties reaching an agreement over the electoral law. And while President of the Lebanese Republic Michel Aoun threatened with vacuum if the 1960 law is not changed, widely knowledgeable circles said to Ar-Riyadh newspaper that the elections will likely take place in September, in accordance with the 1960 law. At this level, Western diplomatic sources assured Ar-Riyadh that it would be in the interest of all the Lebanese sides to hold parliamentary elections, as this is practically related to maintaining the existing balances… (Read More)
Middle East
Politics
New Arab axis to form at Arab summit  (Website, Middle East)   
Arab Diplomacy
On March 24, the Rai al-Youm daily carried the following report: “The massive hospitality with which the Jordanian King, Abdullah II, was received in Morocco during his visit to King Mohammad VI a few days prior to the Arab summit that will be held soon in the latter’s country, indicates that the two kings are restoring their flourishing, bilateral relations. This could also reflect that many discussions will be taking place on breaking the barrier that the Moroccan king had imposed on himself to not attend any Arab summits for years now since he is convinced of their uselessness… (Read More)
Morocco
Politics
Report looks at efforts to form a new government  (Newspaper, Middle East)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On March 22, the Moroccan privately-owned newspaper Akhbar al-Youm reported: ""Don't worry about what they say, focus on what they do": this sentence could be a slogan on a banner hanging on the door of the room where consultations are held between the political parties to form a new government that could not come into being due to a five month-stalemate. This is because the outcome of the legislative elections was unexpected and everybody was surprised by the fact that the candle party came first in the election race that has not seen many competitors. Moreover this victory brought to the fore a very popular leader. The soft statements made by heads of political parties yesterday, at their meeting with El Othmani, and their smiles in Elleymoun district [where meetings are held] before the cameras do not mean anything. In fact they have already said the same things to Benkirane before the latter stumbled on the stalemate rock that broke his ship. The helmsman had to accept his dismissal from the helm of the vessel and to step back despite the fact that he is the secretary general of the party that came first in the elections, that he has won three successive elections and has put himself to the test of a mini referendum in Sale on the occasion of the last legislatives, while most political party leaders had run away from the test and preferred to follow up the elections behind closed doors… (Read More)
“Abdelaziz Aftati to Quds Arabi: Decision to dismiss Benkirane... to fragment Justice and Development Party”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)   
Democracy and Party Politics
On March 24, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following interview with leader in the Moroccan Justice and Development Party Abdelaziz Aftati, by its correspondent in Rabat Fatima az-Zahra’ Karimullah… (Read More)
Palestine
Politics
“Erekat to Zaman: We urge Amman summit to deter Netanyahu’s plan to relinquish two-state solution”  (Az-Zaman, Iraq)
Arab Diplomacy - Peace Process - USA EU
On March 21, the independent Az-Zaman newspaper carried the following interview with Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat, by its correspondent in Cairo Mustafa Amara… (Read More)
Syria
Opinion
“…Political settlement regressing and going back to square one”  (Website, Middle East)   
Peace Process - Terrorism
On March 23, the electronic Rai al-Youm daily newspaper carried the following editorial: “It is hard to expect any real breakthrough when it comes to the Syrian crisis via the Geneva structure, which has launched its fifth session today in the presence of the Syrian government’s delegation and the three opposition delegations in light of the escalating differences and the military escalation that is now at a pinnacle in all the extremities of the capital Damascus, as well as the city of Hama, in addition to the massive veto imposed by the Syrian authorities on the UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura… (Read More)
United Kingdom
Opinion
“The London operation: Terrorism strikes democracy and the Muslims”  (Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom)
Terrorism - USA EU
On March 24, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following lead editorial: “Following the terrorist operation in the heart of London the day before last, the police spokesman addressed the British public by saying: “We must recognize now that our Muslim communities will feel anxious at this time, given the past behavior of the extreme right wing, and we will continue to work with all community leaders in the coming days.” This touched a sensitive nerve for Britain’s Muslims, who expected the worse upon the announcement of the operation, and prayed that the assailant is not Muslim. But in the face of the logical and reasonable statement of Scotland Yard’s spokesman, the British tabloids seized the opportunity to unleash their columnists who specialize in attacking the migrants, refugees and Muslims, although the latter are usually the ones who pay the price of terrorism, as well as the price of poverty, marginalization, and class, social, linguistic and racial distinctions… (Read More)
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