The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Al-Akhbar details key electoral/demographic changes in Lebanon

Translated by our Mideastwire.com (for a free trial, email info@mideastwire.com):

On March 17, the Al-Akhbar daily carried the following report: “Although the date of the parliamentary elections hasn’t been set yet nor has the electoral law been determined, there are some essential basics that cannot be overlooked when bracing for the elections. On top of these basics comes the matter of the number of Lebanese voters. A study conducted by researcher, Youssef Shahid Duwaihi – based on the voters’ lists prior to the final check and the issuing of the lists by the end of March – shows that the number of Lebanese voters in 2017 amounts to 3,685,786 voters compared to 3,257,230 voters in the last elections of 2009, which represents a 13.16 percent growth rate in eight years.

“Among these, there are 1,324,390 Christian voters (35.93%) and 2,341,917 Muslim voters (63.54%). It is worthy to mention that the growth rate for Christians in the past eight years reached 4.33% compared to 19.06% for the Muslims. Among the main comments, the number of the minorities’ voters (most of these are Orthodox Syriacs and Catholic Syriacs) amounted to 51,946 knowing that there’s only one parliamentary seat for the minorities while the number of Armenian Orthodox voters (who have five seats) amounted to 87,611 while that of the Alawite voters (who have two seats) amounted to 30,786…

“Comparing 2009 to 2017: Between 2009 and 2017, all figures and givens have changed. The number of Maronite voters increased from 681,959 to 719,811. However, the percentage among total voters dropped from 20.94% to 19.53%. The Orthodox voters increased from 246,155 to 255,734 while the Catholic voters increased from 162,603 to 170,880. Meanwhile, the number of Armenian Orthodox voters dropped from 91,290 to 87,611. In general, there has been a drop in the number of Christian voters from 38.97% to 35.93%.

“On the other hand, the number of Sunni voters increased from 887,235 to 1,061,123; and that of the Shi’i voters increased from 870,282 to 1,045,771; and the Druze voters increased from 184,430 to 204,237 while the Alawites increased from 24,989 to 30,786 thus making the proportion of Muslim voters 63.54% (with 28.79% Sunnis and 28.37% Shi’is). The imbalance in the figures is partly due to the naturalization decree number 5247 issued in June 1994…

http://www.alghad.com/articles/1504832-سورية-في-حضورها-وغيابها

 

Written by nickbiddlenoe

March 21, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Mideastwire.com Announces Two-Day Conference On North Africa With Human Rights Watch Experts, July 1-2 In Downtown Tunis

Mideastwire.com is pleased to announce that the Ninth Tunis Exchange July 1-8 will begin with a two-day conference led by Human Rights Watch (HRW) Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2. Country experts for Mauritania, Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya – joined by HRW senior staff – will conduct discussions on key issues facing each country, as well as some of the broader human rights challenges in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Participants who wish to only attend the two-day HRW conference – and not the full Tunis Exchange – can do so at the reduced registration rate of $299. For more information or to register email info@mideastwire.com.

The Exchange is an effort by Mideastwire.com and its partners to promote professional and academic enrichment through a variety of small group, direct engagement conferences in the Middle East and North Africa. During their stay, typically lasting five days to one week, participants from around the world listen to and question leading intellectuals, activists and politicians representing an array of different points of view in a specific country. The first Exchange was launched in June 2008 in Beirut, Lebanon. Now, nine years on, more than 550 people from 51 different countries have attended 35 different Exchanges in the region.

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UPCOMING EXCHANGES

April 12-16 – The 1st Yemen Exchange (Hosted in Beirut)
June 18-25 – The 18th Beirut Exchange (Hosted in Beirut)
July 1-8 – The 9th Tunis Exchange (Hosted in Tunis)
July 9-16 – The 1st Erbil Exchange (Hosted in Erbil)
June/July/August – Summer Arabic In Tunis
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To view previous Exchange programs in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Tunis and the Gulf, as well as media coverage of our efforts and alumni comments, visit:

The Exchange
http://www.thebeirutexchange.com

Mideastwire.com
https://mideastwire.com/page/index.php

The Beirut Exchange Group on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/groups/10975175535/

The Tunis Exchange Group on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/groups/342217845855326/

REQUEST AN APPLICATION for any Exchange via info@mideastwire.com

Note that participation fee discounts are available for alumni of previous Exchanges as well as participants who wish to attend multiple Exchanges. For more information, please email info@mideastwire.com. Furthermore, all of our programs are funded on the basis of fees paid by the participants themselves: There is no government, private or non-profit support, an aspect that we believe provides a relatively neutral platform for dialogue and understanding.

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THE FIRST YEMEN EXCHANGE

April 12-April 16, 2017

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Application Deadline I March 15/Deadline II April 1, 2017

35 slots only/Rolling acceptance
The First Yemen Exchange is co-hosted by the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies (SCSS) and Mideastwire.com. During the five day program, participants from around the world will listen and engage Yemeni politicians, civil society figures and analysts in order to provide direct and intensive insight into Yemen, from several differing perspectives. As such, the Exchange is a fundamental part of SCSS’s attempt to increase the content, space and conversations on Yemen with the hope that increased dialogue and understanding will ultimately help to create the conditions for sustainable peace-building. The five day Yemen Exchange rests on two tracks:

Professional & Academic – Participants will attend a series of lectures led by prominent academics, analysts and activists from Yemen and the wider region. Themes will include, among others:

– The factors that spurred Yemen’s 2011 Arab Spring-inspired uprising;

– The underlying issues that doomed the internationally backed transition;

– The root causes of the rise of Yemen’s Houthi rebels;

– The diverse regional factors that increasingly drive Yemen’s conflict(s);

– The economic roots of unrest in Yemen;

– The role of regional actors in Yemen’s ongoing conflict(s);

– The rise of newly empowered actors in the ongoing civil war;

– The dynamics and shifts of Yemeni partisan politics in relation to armed groups;

– The humanitarian fallout from the war;

– The role of the media and civil society organizations;

– Youth politics and activism;

– The role played by women and the work done by Yemeni female activists.

Dialogue with Leaders – Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political and economic actors from across the spectrum in Yemen.

INVITED INDIVIDUAL & INSTITUTIONAL SPEAKERS (Partial List Only):

NOTE: Accepted applicants will receive the full list of confirmed speakers one month prior to the opening of the Exchange, as well as readings pertinent to the sessions.

– Farea Muslimi, Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies/Middle East Institute
– Adam Baron, European Council on Foreign Relations
– Mustafa Noman, Writer/Former Diplomat
– Abdulghani al-Iryani, Independent Analyst
– Maged al-Madhaji, Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies
– Yezid Sayigh, Carnegie Middle East Center
– Ahmed Luqman, Director General of The Arab Labor Organization & Former Minister
– Ali Ashal, MP Al-Islah Party
– Bushra al-Maqtari, Yemeni Socialist Party
– Abdulrahman al-Saqqaf, Secretary General of the Yemeni Socialist Party
– Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, The General Peoples Congress Party/Frm. Minister of Foreign Affairs
– Abdullah Noman, Secretary General of the Yemeni Nasserist Party
– Khaldoun Bakuhail, Independent Politican
– Hussein al-Awadhi, Former Governor of al-Jawf and Tribal Leader
– Mansour Rageh, Central Bank of Yemen
– Jamila Ali Raja, Former Diplomat and Member of the National Dialogue Conference
– Wameedh Shakr, Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies
– Ghaida Al-Rashidi, Southern Activist
– The Houthis
– The Justice and Building Party
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Program Format:

The Yemen Exchange will be held over the five days at the conference room of Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Beirut, from 9am until 6pm. In order to promote small group dynamics, the number of participants will be capped at 35. Sessions themselves will be conducted on an individual rather than a panel basis for all speakers and will allow ample opportunity for question time (translation into English will be provided when necessary). All sessions will also be held under strict Chatham House rules, although we customarily work with our speakers to approve any quotes/references that participants may need for their own work.

Costs:

Participation Fee – $1,200; Reductions are available for alumni of our previous programs and those participants who register for more than one Exchange.

Accommodation – $115 for a single room per night at the five star Crowne Plaza Hotel under our group booking (breakfast, taxes and airport pickup are included). Shared rooms are also available (we will arrange for sharing with other participants) and are priced at $60 per participant.

Airfare – $500, approximate from the European Union.

About the Co-Directors:

Farea Al-Muslimi is chairman and co-founder of Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies and a non-resident fellow at both the Carnegie Middle East Center and Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. In August 2016, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon appointed Al-Muslimi to the Advisory Group of Experts for Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, a study mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2250 to examine the positive contribution of youth to peace processes and conflict resolution and effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels. Al-Muslimi’s writings and analysis on Yemen and the wider region have been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, New York Times, The Independent, The Guardian, Al-Hayyat, As-Safir, Al-Monitor, as well as several other publications. In 2013, Foreign Policy named him to its list of Top 100 Global Thinkers, and in 2014 The Guardian named Al-Muslimi to its Top 30 under 30 list of young leaders in digital media around the world.

Adam Baron is a co-founder of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies as well as a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Baron is also a regular commentator on Yemeni affairs for media outlets including Al-Jazeera English, CNN, Foreign Policy and the BBC. Between 2011 and 2014, he was the Yemen correspondent for The Economist, the Christian Science Monitor and McClatchy Newspapers. He holds a bachelor of arts in Religion and Arab Studies from Williams College and a Masters Degree in International Peace and Security from the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London.

Nicholas Noe recently served as Regional Organizing Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign in Michigan where he managed the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) operation for the crucial areas of Wayne County and Dearborn City. Previous to this, Mr. Noe lived in Beirut (2004-2016) and in Tunis (2012-2014) where he was a co-editor of the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s journal on the Middle East, Perspectives, and co-founder of the news translation service Mideastwire.com (2005-Present) covering the Middle East media. He regularly provides analysis and commentary for Al-Jazeera International, BBC and several US and European publications and is the author of a White Paper for the New America and Century Foundations entitled: “Re-Imagining the Lebanon Track: Towards a New US Policy.” He is also the editor of the 2007 book “Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah” and was a visiting fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations in 2014. Mr. Noe graduated with honors from Cambridge University (MPhil, International Relations, 2006) where he was elected a scholar of Selwyn College and Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University (1999).

REQUEST AN APPLICATION via info@mideastwire.com

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THE EIGHTEENTH BEIRUT EXCHANGE

June 18-June 25, 2017

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Application Deadline 1 April 15/Deadline II May 25, 2017

20 slots only/Rolling acceptance

The seven-day Beirut Exchange program rests on two tracks:

Professional & Academic – Participants will attend a series of lectures led by prominent academics, analysts and activists from Lebanon and the wider region. Themes will include, among others: Recent protest movements in Lebanon; The Arab Uprisings; The Syrian conflict and its regional implications; The Islamic State; The Special Tribunal for Lebanon; The United Nations role in Lebanon and the region; Engaging political Islam; Asymmetrical conflict: The July 2006 Lebanon War; Human Rights in Lebanon and the wider Middle East; and the deployment of sectarianism.

Dialogue with Leaders – Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political and economic actors from across the spectrum in Lebanon.

NOTE: Due to the current security situation in Lebanon, the Eighteenth Beirut Exchange will generally restrict its meetings in and around Beirut, although at least one trip to the North and one trip to the South is planned.

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THE COMPLETED PROGRAM OF THE SIXTEENTH BEIRUT EXCHANGE:

NOTE: Accepted applicants will receive the full list of confirmed speakers one month prior to the opening of the Exchange, as well as readings pertinent to the sessions.

Wednesday, January 11

8pm – Opening Orientation & Security Briefing

Thursday, January 12

9:30am – Nicholas Noe, Mideastwire.com

12pm – Sami Gemayel, Kataeb

1:30pm – Karim Makdisi, American University of Beirut

5:30pm – Bassam Khawaja, Human Rights Watch

7pm – Bashir Saade, Stirling University

Friday, January 13

8:30am – Rami Khouri, AUB

11am – Farea Muslimi, Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies

12:30pm – Omar Nashabe, Consultant for Defense Counsel, STL

3:30pm – Group Discussion

4pm – Ayman Mhanna, Global Forum for Media Development

7pm – Abdallah Dardari, UN/ESCWA & Frm. Vice Premier of Syria

Saturday, January 14

10am – Sari Hanafi, AUB

12:30pm – May Akl, Free Patriotic Movement

2:30pm – Antoine Habchi, The Lebanese Forces

5pm – Mustapha Alloush, The Future Movement

Sunday, January 15

11:30am – Imran Riza, UNIFIL

2:30pm – Mleeta Museum @ South Lebanon

7pm – Walid Jumblatt, The Progressive Socialist Party

Monday, January 16

9am – Mohammad Afif, Hizbullah

11am – Rabih Shibley, AUB

1pm – Yassine Jabber, The Amal Movement

2pm – Alain Aoun, FPM

3:30pm – UNRWA

6pm – Nicolas Pouillard, IFPO

8pm – Marwan Maalouf, Menapolis/#YouStink

Tuesday, January 17

10am – Ammar Moussawi, Hizbullah

1:30pm – The Special Tribunal for Lebanon

4pm – Christina Lassen, The European Commission in Lebanon

6pm – Liz Sly, Washington Post

7pm – Nicholas Blanford, Daily Star/Times of London

Wednesday, January 18

10:30am – Patriarch Beshara Rai

1pm – Osama Hamdan, HAMAS

2:30pm – Shadi Karam, Frm. Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister

4pm – Closing Session

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Program Format:

The Beirut Exchange will be held over the seven days in downtown Beirut and will open with an orientation and security briefing at 8pm on June 18. The Exchange will close by 2pm on June 25, although from June 19-24 we will generally convene from 9am until 7pm, including in locations outside of the conference hotel in Beirut. In order to promote small group dynamics, the number of participants will be capped at 20. Sessions themselves will be conducted on an individual rather than a panel basis for all speakers and will generally allow ample opportunity for question time (consecutive translation into English will be provided when necessary). All sessions will also be held under strict Chatham House rules, although we customarily work with our speakers to approve any quotes/references that participants may need for their own work.

Costs:

Participation Fee – $900; Partial financial aid is available for those participants that can demonstrate need as well as alumni of our previous programs.

Accommodation – $420 for seven nights in a shared double room (we will arrange for sharing with other participants). Except for those persons already residing in Lebanon, we recommend that all participants in the Exchange reside at the conference hotel during the program (only accepted students will be notified of the hotel location). The hotel in downtown Beirut is priced at $60 per person/per night, including breakfast, taxes and airport pickup, for a shared double room. Single rooms are available for $100 per night. Note that we can also arrange for less expensive, private housing near to the conference room which is priced at approximately $40 per person, per night.

Airfare – $500, approximate from the European Union.

About the Co-Directors:

Yamen Soukkarieh graduated in 1999 with a Communication Media Degree from the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Since that time, he has worked as a producer and cameraman for numerous Lebanese and international media organizations, including with CNN, Arte and Al-Jazeera, among others.

Nicholas Noe is co-founder of the Beirut-based news translation service Mideastwire.com covering the Middle East media and the co-director of The Exchange program.

REQUEST AN APPLICATION via info@mideastwire.com

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THE NINTH TUNIS EXCHANGE

July 1-July 8, 2017

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Application Deadline I April 15/Deadline II May 25, 2017

20 slots only/Rolling acceptance

The Ninth Tunis Exchange July 1-8 will begin with a two-day conference led by Human Rights Watch (HRW) Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2. Country experts for Mauritania, Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya – joined by HRW senior staff – will conduct discussions on key issues facing each country, as well as some of the broader human rights challenges in the Middle East and North Africa. Participants who wish to only attend the two-day HRW conference – and not the seven and a half day Tunis Exchange – can do so at the reduced registration rate of $299.

As with our other Exchanges, the seven and a half day program will engage participants from around the world in a multifaceted discussion of some of the key issues facing Tunisia and the wider region. The Tunis Exchange program specifically rests on two tracks this Summer:

Professional & Academic – Participants will attend a series of lectures led by prominent academics, analysts and activists from Tunisia and the wider region. Themes will include, among others:

– The history and internal transformations of Ennahda, including organizational and ideological evolution since the revolution;

– The post-revolutionary evolution of the UGTT, Tunisia’s powerful labor union, and its role in politics (including implications of its role as primary mediator in the National Dialogue of late 2013);

– The composition, platforms of, and alliances between major parties (including Jebha Chaabia, Nidaa Tounes and Afeq Tounes, among others);

– The state of the Tunisian economy, including regional inequalities, budget transparency and decentralization, etc.;

– Security sector reform and the response to terrorism;

– Institutional and legislative reform needs following the passage of Tunisia’s constitution, focusing particularly on reform of the Ministry of Interior (security sector) and Ministry of Justice (judicial sector), Tunisia’s two most problematic ministries;

– Human rights in the new Tunisia (addressing issues such as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, status of women, use of torture and the terrorism debate);

– Salafism, its composition (political, quietist, jihadi) in Tunisia and its relationship to and implications for party politics, stability, and governance moving forward;

– Taking stock of what Tunisia has done regarding transitional justice, what steps are planned to realize the recently passed transitional justice law, and what more needs to be done;

– The role of the media and civil society organizations;

– Youth politics and activism within and outside formal party structure.

Dialogue with Leaders – Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political, religious and economic leaders from across the spectrum in Tunisia.

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THE COMPLETED SCHEDULE OF THE EIGHTH TUNIS EXCHANGE:

NOTE: Accepted applicants will receive the full list of confirmed speakers one month prior to the opening of the Exchange, as well as readings pertinent to the sessions.

Tuesday, January 3

6pm – Opening Orientation & Security Briefing

7pm – Monica Marks, Oxford University

Wednesday, January 4

8am – Ouided Bouchamaoui, Tunisian Employers’ Association

10am – Amine Ghali, Al-Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center

11:45am – Lobna Jeribi, Solidar Tunisie

2:30pm – Chawki Tabib, National Anti-Corruption Commission

4pm – Moncef Marzouki, Al-Irada

6:30pm – Salwa el-Gantri, International Center for Transitional Justice

Thursday, January 5

9am – Filippo Di-Carpegna, UNDP

1pm – Lotfi Zeitoun, Ennahda

2pm – Rached Ghannouchi, Ennahda/MP Naoufel Jemali

4:30pm – Chafik Sarsar, Independent High Authority for Elections

6pm – Chokri Mabkhout, Manouba University

7pm – Noomane Fehri, Afek Tounes

Friday, January 6

8:30am – Olfa Lamloum, International Alert

10am – Meherzia Laabidi, Ennahda

2:30pm – Discussion section

4pm – Tadrek Laamouchi, Tunisian Assoc. for Management & Social Stability

5pm – Rachid Torkhani, Jebhat al-Islah

6pm – Moez Joudi, Tunisian Governance Association

7:30 – Tarek Kahlaoui, Al-Irada

Saturday, January 7

9am – Kamel Morjane, Al-Moubadara

11:30am – Malek Khadraoui, Inkyfada

2:45pm – Corrina Mullin, Tunis University

4pm – Farah Hached, Labo Démocratique

5:30pm – Wafa Ben Hassine, Access Now

Sunday, January 8

1pm – Chaima Bouhlel Al-Bawsala

3pm – Huda Mzioudet, Investigative Journalist

5pm – Thierry Bresillon, Le Monde Diplomatique

6:30pm – Achraf Aouadi, I-Watch

Monday, January 9

9:30 – Discussion Session

11:30 – Alfred Stepen, Columbia University

12:30 – The Truth and Dignity Commission

2pm – Sabrine Goubantini, Nidaa Tounes

4pm – Hafidha Chakir, Tunisian Association of Democratic Women

6pm – Salah Zeghidi, SOS Terrorism/UGTT

8:30pm – Huda Slim, Machroua Tounes

Tuesday, January 10

9am – Khaled Zribi & Bilal Sahnoun, The Tunisian Stock Exchange

11:30am – Taieb Bakkouche, Arab Maghreb Union

12:30am – Selim Abdessalem, International Legal Assistance Consortium

1:30pm – Airport/End Program

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Program Format:

The Tunis Exchange will be held over the seven and a half days in downtown Tunis and will open with an orientation and security briefing at 9am on Saturday, July 1. HRW staff will conduct sessions on Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 5pm. Thereafter, sessions will be held in the Novotel Hotel and at sites outside of the hotel each day from 9am until approximately 6pm. The Exchange will close by 2pm on July 8. In order to promote small group dynamics, the number of participants will be capped at 20. In order to promote small group dynamics, the number of participants will be capped at 20. Sessions themselves will be conducted on an individual rather than a panel basis for all speakers and will generally allow ample opportunity for question time (consecutive translation into English will be provided when necessary). All sessions will also be held under strict Chatham House rules, although we customarily work with our speakers to approve any quotes/references that participants may need for their own work.

Costs:

Participation Fee  – $900; Partial financial aid is available for those participants that can demonstrate need as well as alumni of our previous programs. Participants who wish to only attend the two-day HRW workshop – and not the seven and a half day Tunis Exchange – can do so at the reduced registration rate of $299.

Accommodation – $480, for eight nights in a shared double room as we advise participants to arrive on June 30 (we will arrange for sharing with other participants). Room rates at our conference hotel – IBIS/Novotel – vary depending on arrangements, but generally fall within the range of $60 per night, per student for a shared double room (breakfast, taxes and airport pickup are included). Alternative accommodation, including in a single room at IBIS (approximately $85 per night), is available upon request. Students are also welcome to arrange for their own housing.

Airfare – $300, approximate from the European Union.

About the Co-Directors:

Monica Marks is a North Africa analyst, Rhodes Scholar, and visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Her work, which focuses primarily on Islamism and institutional reform in Tunisia, has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed academic publications and news outlets including The Guardian, The New York Times, Foreign Policy as well as think tanks such as the Barcelona-based Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT), the Carnegie Endowment, and the Brookings Doha Center. A former Fulbright Scholar to Turkey, Ms. Marks returned there to work as an instructor at Istanbul’s Bogazici University in 2013 and again in 2014.  She is currently a doctoral candidate at St Antony’s College Oxford.

Nicholas Noe is co-founder of the Beirut-based news translation service Mideastwire.com covering the Middle East media and the co-director of The Exchange program.

REQUEST AN APPLICATION via info@mideastwire.com

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THE FIRST ERBIL EXCHANGE

July 9-July 16, 2017

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Application Deadline I May 1/Deadline II June 1, 2017

25 slots only/Rolling acceptance

The Erbil Exchange is co-hosted by the French Association Noria (www.noria-research.com), and Mideastwire.com. During the seven days in July, participants from all over the world will listen and engage local politicians, civil society figures and analysts. The aim is to provide direct and intensive insight from several differing perspectives into Erbil and Iraqi Kurdistan in general, as well as when it comes to the disputed areas between the Islamic State, Erbil and Baghdad. The seven-day Erbil Exchange program rests on two tracks:

Professional & Academic – Participants will attend a series of lectures led by prominent academics, analysts and activists from Erbil and the wider region. Themes will include, among others:

– The hegemony of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP);

– The KDP-Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) relationship inside the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG);

– The rise of the political op

– The relationship between the KRG and Baghdad;

– Kirkuk and the disputed territories;

– The political game around the Islamic State;

– The political dynamics of the battle for Mosul;

– Gender and politics in Kurdistan;

– NGO and the clientelist game;

– The place of Minorities in KRG and the Kurdish sectarian system;

– Shi’i militia structures;

– The PKK and the Struggle for Sinjar;

– Kurdish Iranian parties in KRG;

– The Kurdish political parties and the Syrian Civil War.

Dialogue with Leaders – Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political and economic actors from across the spectrum in Erbil and Iraqi Kurdistan.

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INVITED INDIVIDUAL & INSTITUTIONAL SPEAKERS (Partial List Only):

NOTE: Accepted applicants will receive the full list of confirmed speakers one month prior to the opening of the Exchange, as well as readings pertinent to the sessions.

– The Kurdish Democratic Party

– Hesmat Rejat, Director of the ex-PDK office in Mosul

– Hemen Hawrami, Head of the Office of Foreign Relations KDP

– Sheikh Shamo Shekho Namoo, MP at the Kurdish Parliament

– Khasro Goran, Ex-Deputy Governor of Ninewa

– The Barzani Foundation

– The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan

– Saadi Ahmed Pire, Member of the Political Office of PUK

– Khaled Shwani, PUK Member

– Adnan Mufti, PUK Political Office Member

– Rizgar Ali, Head of PUK-Erbil

– Halo Penjweeni, Head PUK-Mosul

– The Goran Party

– Awad Amin, Independent Kurd (ex-Goran)

– Kurdistan University

– Duhoc University

– Salahadin University

– The American University of Kurdistan

– Bayar Dosky, American University of Kurdistan

– Sheikh Adjmi, Hawija

– Hatem Taï, Political Analyst (Kirkuk)

– Atheel al-Nujayfi, Mosul

– Amar Kaya, Advisor of ex-Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaffari

– Riyaz Sarikahya, President of the Turkmeneli Party (Kirkuk)

– Chevan Hussein, Leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party for Syria (PDKS)

– Khaled Domlee, Journalist

– Jabar Qader, Director of Hawler Newspaper

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Program Format:

The Erbil Exchange will be held over seven days at the conference room of the Dedeman Hotel in Erbil and will open with an orientation and security briefing at 6pm on July 9. The Exchange will close by 2pm on July 16, although from July 10-15 we will generally convene from 9am until 7pm, including in locations outside of the conference hotel in Erbil. In order to promote small group dynamics, the number of participants will be capped at 25. Sessions themselves will be conducted on an individual rather than a panel basis for all speakers and will generally allow ample opportunity for question time (translation into English will be provided when necessary). All sessions will also be held under strict Chatham House rules, although we customarily work with our speakers to approve any quotes/references that participants may need for their own work.

Costs:

Participation Fee – $900; Reductions are available for alumni of our previous programs and those participants who register for more than one Exchange.

Accommodation – $100 for a single room per night at the Dedeman Hotel under our group booking only (breakfast, taxes and airport pickup are included). Shared double rooms are also available upon request and are priced at $60 per participant (we will arrange for sharing with other participants).

Airfare – $700, approximate from the European Union.

About the Co-Directors:

Arthur Quesnay is Assistant Researcher and PhD Research Fellow in Political Science at the ERC-funded Sociology of Civil Wars program at the Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris 1) since 2015. He was previously (2010-2014) a Junior Research Fellow in Iraq at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (IFPO). His doctoral thesis focuses on sectarian conflicts in Northern Iraq, where he conducted extensive fieldwork since 2009. He has also conducted parallel fieldwork in Libya (2011-2012) and Syria (2012-2013 and 2016) with insurgent groups. Taken together, his work highlights social and political transformation through the Middle East Civil Wars. As co-director of Noria MENA Programme, Mr. Quesnay calls for social scientists to adopt new methodological and conceptual approaches to understanding these extreme situations and for combining micro and macro analyses.

Robin Beaumont is a PhD candidate in Political Studies at the Paris-based École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). A former student at École Normale Supérieure (ENS, Paris), he joined the European Research Council-funded program WAFAW in 2014, and is currently based in Amman, Jordan, as an associate to the French Institute for Near Eastern Studies (Ifpo). His research explores the reconfigurations of Shia political authority in post-2003 Iraq through a study of the structure of, and relationships between, the religious field (marja’iyya), the Iraqi State, and the various Shia militias.

Nicholas Noe is co-founder of the Beirut-based news translation service Mideastwire.com covering the Middle East media and the co-director of The Exchange program.

REQUEST AN APPLICATION via info@mideastwire.com

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SUMMER ARABIC IN TUNIS

June/July/August

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The ACT Center is pleased to partner with Mideastwire.com and offer students from around the world the opportunity to study Arabic this Summer in the vibrant heart of downtown Tunis!

SUMMER COURSE OFFERINGS:

1) Summer Term 1 – May 29-June 23

2) Summer Term 2 – July 3-July 28

3) Summer Term 3 – July 31-August 25

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Modern Standard Arabic:

— Weekday Mornings 9am-12pm/Monday-Friday (20 days);

— 60 hours total;

— $390 tuition per term;

— Small group MSA classes (from 3-6 students) are available at the following levels:

* Beginner (Alif Baa+Al-Kitaab 1, Units 1-7)

* High-Beginner (Al-Kitaab 1, Units 8-14)

* Intermediate (Al-Kitaab 1, Units 15-20+ACT Media Book 1)

* High-Intermediate (Al-Kitaab 2+ACT Media Book 2)

* Advanced (Al-Kitaab 3+ACT Media Book 3)

Tunisian Dialect:

— Weekday Afternoons 2pm-4pm/Monday-Friday (20 days);

— 40 hours total;

— $260 tuition per term;

— Small group Tunisian Dialect classes (from 3-6 students) are available at the following levels:

* Beginner Tunisian Dialect (ACT Dialect Book 1)

* Intermediate Tunisian Dialect (ACT Dialect Book 2)

* Advanced Tunisian Dialect (Media & Politics Immersion)

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APPLICATION DEADLINE I APRIL 1/DEADLINE II MAY 1

— Limited spaces available/Rolling acceptance

— Email actcenter.contact@gmail.com to sign up!

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About Us:

Since its establishment in 2013, ACT has steadily risen to become one of the leading Arabic language schools in the Middle East and North Africa. Located in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, ACT offers semi-intensive and intensive group/individual classes for students from around the world throughout the year. ACT’s teaching team is composed of highly qualified teachers from Tunisia and the wider region, specializing in local dialects as well as formal Arabic instruction. Led by its director, Mohammed Labidi, ACT also regularly conducts language classes for the NGO community, foreign embassies and journalists. Like Us on Facebook and please email actcenter.contact@gmail.com for more information if you have any additional queries.

Mideastwire.com is an Internet-based news service that employs a team of translators around the region to gather important stories from and about the Middle East. Established in Beirut, Lebanon in June 2005, we cover news from all 22 Arab countries, Iran, and the Arab media Diaspora generally. Thus our reach extends across the North Africa region as well as to the UK and other countries that host Pan-Arab media. For more information, including in regards to our politics conferences in the region, please visit www.mideastwire.com.

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

March 18, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Report details divisions in Lebanon Baath Party, amid storming of HQ in Beirut

Translated today by our Mideastwire.com:

On March 15, the Lebanon Debate website carried the following report: “The piece of news on members of the Arab Socialist Baath Party raiding the party’s headquarters in Ras al-Nabeh just went by unnoticed. More than fifty armed men invaded the headquarters, occupied it and remained there for three days. Still, the security forces did not act or ask any questions on how this large number of armed men, most of which were Syrian nationals, managed to enter an area within the capital, Beirut, as per Baath sources who spoke to Lebanon Debate. The incident was deemed a political matter, one that can be solved through a consensus within the party, which has been suffering from an internal division for months now!

“The division started when the party’s official, Naaman Shalak, objected to the course of action that has been followed recently to unify the party and that led to holding an exceptional regional conference, which resulted in MP Assem Kanso winning the post of Regional Secretary. Shalak rejected that and asked armed men to invade the headquarters and seize them by force. This story represents the version of the sources affiliated to the winning side. It is contested by the version presented by the opposing side, which accuses the earlier side of “disloyalty and monopolizing the party’s decision making process by “deifying” one man alone and no one else!”

“Lebanon Debate’s sources from within the elected regional leadership of the Baath party indicated that Shalak crossed all the taboos. The sources revealed that the man “would not have taken any step had he not obtained a cover from the Syrian Ambassador in Lebanon, Ali Abdulkarim Ali.” The sources further accused the latter of “trying to impose his say on the pro-Syria parties in Lebanon while benefiting from the fact that the Damascus leadership is preoccupied by the ongoing war on its land.”

“The differences escalated when MP Kanso went to Syria and met with the head of the National Security Bureau, Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, at his office. On that day, a phone call took place between Kanso and President Bashar Al-Assad who asked the man to solve the crisis and divisions within the Baath party’s Lebanon branch. However, Ambassador Ali’s behavior clashes with this course of action. It is as if he is opposing the regional leadership of the Baath party and trying to impose his power in Lebanon.

“The Baath party fears that the problem in Beirut could spiral out of control. The party is thus hoping that the security forces will act and solve the crisis by ending the coup at the elapse of the three days’ term (that ended yesterday) in order to avoid any confrontations or clashes…”

http://www.lebanondebate.com/news/320016

Written by nickbiddlenoe

March 16, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Is a major Shi’i-Kurdish rift/conflict about to occur?

Translated today by our mideastwire.com:

On February 23, Shirzad Shikhani wrote the following piece in the Saudi-owned, Elaph website: “The Kurdish leaders are characterized by their constant failure when it comes to the political alliances. Indeed, throughout the history of the successive Kurdish revolutions, none of the Kurdish leaders made any good choices with respect to selecting their allies as well as the diplomatic management of the Kurdish liberation movements. This is perhaps the reason why the Kurdish people’s only friends are the mountains…

“The rapprochement between Barazani and Turkey has severely harmed the historical relationship between the Kurds and the Shi’is by weakening the ties they had formed during years of resistance against the Baathist dictatorship. Thus, a quasi-total estrangement occurred between the Barazani led Kurdistan territory and the Shi’i led federal government. To make things worse, Barazani monopolized the oil resources in Kurdistan and adopted the politics of economic independence from Baghdad with the aim of stealing the resources of the Kurdish people.

“These failed politics forced Baghdad to cut the Kurds’ from the state’s budget, thus resulting in the tragic situation that the people of Kurdistan are currently living through in light of the massive corruption that affects all the main aspects of life. These people are suffering from poverty, hunger and deprivation from the simplest components of a good life despite the fact that the exported quantities of oil are enough to cover the territory’s needs in terms of salaries and necessary funds for the economic and developmental revival. Instead, this money is finding its way to the pockets of the Barazani family.

“There have been some recent pieces of news indicating that Barazani and his party will be allying with some Sunni and Shi’i forces to prevent Mr. Al-Maliki from returning to power in Iraq at the next elections… Although we support the right of every political party to select its allies and agree with them, we are certain that this alliance is the result of Mr. Barazani’s personalization of the political differences. Indeed, there is no reason why Barazani should ally with forces that have been oppressing his people for the past thirty years.

“Perhaps the most serious indication in this regard consists of the news on the presence of some Baathist leaders in the city of Irbil, Barazani’s party stronghold. According to media reports, there are many signs indicating the presence of former Baathist leaders in Irbil, which raises questions on the presence of the “Baathist devil” among us, the devil that killed and massacred thousands and thousands of our people. If these pieces of news are correct, then this means that Kurdistan, thanks to its leaders, is proceeding into a deep abyss or a collapse similar to the 1975 collapse…”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

February 23, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Popular anger rising in Jordan, with price increases and a debt ratio nearing 100%

Translated today by our Mideastwire.com:

On February 22, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following lead editorial: “The decisions taken by Hani al-Mulki’s government to raise the taxes, prices and levies… upon the request of the IMF, with its known traditional recipes, subjected that government, once the taxes and prices bit the citizens – both rich and poor – with their fangs, to a wide popular surge. The fact that the first protests erupted in Al-Karak (40 kilometres south of the capital) could have carried an additional and concealed political meaning, as the latter has not yet awakened from the surprising terrorist attack in December 2016, which caused the death of ten people, including two civilians, a Canadian tourist and the four assailants, and was followed by a wide campaign of arrests. However, the protests quickly expanded to the Tafilah, Madaba and As-Salt governorates, and reached the point of demanding the toppling of the government, which is accused of failing to face the economic problems.

“The government justified its harsh decisions by the fact that they “aim to salvage national economy and lower the budgetary deficit.” Consequently, it increased the sales tax on many goods, and raised the gasoline, passports, cigarettes, sodas and internet prices, which was met with condemnation by the Jordanian citizens, at a time when deputies in parliament drafted a memo to withhold confidence from the government, and opposition movements voiced their disgruntlement inside and outside parliament. The recent developments place the Jordanian Cabinet in a difficult position, as the country’s debt has reached around $37 billion, i.e. 95.6% of GDP, while the interests and instalments have reached around 2.5 billion… In the meantime, the Jordanian elite enjoy wide academic, scientific and political experience.

“And in the presence of a democratic economic and political system, they would be able to apply previously-tested recipes in smaller and larger countries than Jordan, instead of blindly succumbing to the IMF’s conditions… Indeed, the latter countries did not just abide by the IMF’s recipes, and widely relied on various forms of economic protectionism, while supporting modern industries and informational and digital economy. In Jordan, development could also affect other successful sectors, such as the tourism, alternative energy and service economy sectors, and the media directed towards the Arab surrounding. The economic question is therefore a purely political one, linked to the Jordanian elite’s ability to learn from previous, successful experiences, and ensure a political system capable of opening the country to political, economic and scientific competencies, who would participate and offer solutions in a world that is growing more competitive, brutal and dangerous by the day.

“Popular anger towards the government is understandable and rightful. And part of its importance resides in its ability to urge the ruling Jordanian institution and political elite to think strategically on the long run, and not rely on fast and harsh solutions that would burn the poor citizens, pushing them to yell and shout, even resort to futile suicidal solutions based on the ideologies of retaliation and death if they do not find any other outlet.”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

February 22, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A gifted (and then lost) wristwatch said to be behind leaked audio of Sisi and his foreign minister

Translated today by our Mideastwire.com

“…According to the source, Shoukry is being blamed for these leaks because the preliminary investigations that were conducted by a number of Egyptian services indicated that the Egyptian minister received a wrist watch as a gift during one foreign visit. He wore the watch for a while and then lost it during a business trip abroad. It is believed that this watch constitutes the main reason behind the leaks…”

http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/272908

Written by nickbiddlenoe

February 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Al-Akhbar describes UAE-Saudi conflict playing out in Yemen

Yes, it is from the Anti-KSA monarchy daily Al-Akhbar, but nevertheless an important piece about intra-GCC conflicts: UAE vs. Saudi Arabia, with the emphasis on the anti-Wahhabi aspect of the conflict. Translated today by our Mideastwire.com (for a free trial, email info@mideastwire.com).

On February 21, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report: “The UAE views the southern and eastern governorates of Yemen as a new arena to enhance its religious, anti-Wahhabi methods… The competing between the “Gulf brothers” is not limited to the military authority, the economic weight and the political status. The competing exceeds all that to touch on the religious and spiritual leadership of the Muslims…

“This is how the situation currently looks like between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The history of the hostility between the two countries dates back to 1971, the year that saw the unification of the princedoms at the western coast of the Gulf. Back then, the Al-Nahyan family was worried since the Al-Saud family had crossed their eastern borders and were threatening the oil rich princedom of Abu Dhabi. Since that time, the UAE has been trying to demolish the self-proclaimed Saudi leadership of the Islamic world…

“This strategy started to escalate following the September 11 events in light of the anger against Al-Riyadh felt at the level of the western public opinion. The UAE saw this as an excellent opportunity to pull the rug from under its neighbor’s feet and to enhance its own presence under the slogan of “moderation” and “confronting extremism…” The UAE worked on attracting sheikhs and scholars known for their “moderation” and their affiliation to Al-Azhar. The polarization reached a pinnacle in July 2014 upon the establishment of the “Muslim Council of Elders” in Abu Dhabi under Al-Azhar’s Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayeb…

“The UAE is working today in South Yemen based on this same strategy… The available pieces of information indicate that Abu Dhabi’s agents are enticing the southern sheikhs to travel to Al-Azhar by securing all the necessary financial, physical, and logistical facilitations to them with the aim of restricting the Saudi-affiliated circles and preventing their ability to act on the religious call level…

“Moreover, sources from Aden indicate that the Sufi centers in the city and the areas around it have started to regain their activities under an Emirati support knowing that their role had gone dim in the past phase… The sources added that, in addition to the direct financial support, the UAE is rehabilitating the Sufi centers and fixing the damages that occurred there as a result of the battles in addition to supplying their clinics with necessary medical equipment and drugs. In Hadhramaut as well, Abu Dhabi is working on enhancing the Sufis’ presence and authority…

“In conclusion, it appears that Abu Dhabi is proceeding in enhancing its anti-Saudi Arabia religious methods and trying to book itself a front seat in the train of the new U.S. President, Donald Trump, who is brandishing the slogan of “fighting the Islamic extremism…” This is pushing Al-Riyadh to take some preventive measures, the last of which was reflected at the Aden Airport where – by hiding behind the decisions of the ousted President, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi – the Kingdom expressed an unprecedented insistence on scaling down the Emirati force…”

http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/272905

Written by nickbiddlenoe

February 21, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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