The Mideastwire Blog

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

TRANSLATED: Saudi Shura Council to vote Monday on merging Vice and Virtue police with Ministry of Islamic Affairs

Translated today by our, in part below:

On September 21, the Al-Sharq daily carried the following report: “Well-informed sources revealed that the Saudi Shura Council will be voting this coming Monday on merging the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. The sources said that the individuals who recommended this merger, Ata al-Sebeiti, Latifa Shaalan, and Ali al-Tamimi, clang to their recommendation despite the attempts of the Islamic and Judicial Affairs committee to dissuade them.

“The sources believe that the recommendations that will be filed by the committee for voting on Monday are “very weak” and “separated from reality and the developments mainly the committee’s new organization that was achieved through a resolution by the council of ministers” in addition to “…not matching the vision 2030” because it relies on general ideas and on courtesy…”


Written by nickbiddlenoe

September 22, 2017 at 7:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Beri Atwan Is Right: key issue, $1000 drone was shot down by $2mil Israeli missile

Translated today by our (in part here):

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…”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

September 20, 2017 at 7:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Registration Deadline Approaching For The 2nd Yemen Exchange Politics Conference October 11-15, Hosted In Beirut, Lebanon

Request a conference registration form via
Partial List Only of Speakers:
Dr. Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi
Dr. Al-Qirbi was Yemen’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2001 to 2014. He was also a member of the GPC negotiation team in the last two rounds of UN-led peace talks. In his talk, Dr. Al-Qirbi will present the GPC perspective on the conflict and prospects for peace.
Ali Ashal
Mr. Ashal is a member of the Islah parliamentary bloc. He attended the National Dialogue Conference and was a member of the southern sub-committee at the NDC. In his presentation, Mr. Ashal will present the Islah perspective on current developments in the conflict and possibilities for a peace.
Muhammed Shihab
Mr. Shihab is a prominent member of the Yemeni private sector. He maintains business relationships with numerous multinational companies, and a warehousing, distribution and logistics network across Yemen serving thousands of wholesalers and retailers. His presentation will focus on the role of the business community in the current conflict
Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sakkaf
Mr. Al-Sakkaf is General Secretary and one of the most senior leaders of the Yemeni Socialist Party. In his talk, he will discuss the Socialist Party’s perspective on the war and its vision for the future of South Yemen.
Nabil A. Monassar
Mr. Monassar is the Vice Chairman of the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic cities of Yemen. His presentation will focus the destruction of Yemen’s historical heritage.
Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani
Mr. Al-Iryani is a political and development consultant who is currently working with the UN Special Envoy for Yemen. His presentation will focus on the origins and development of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the rise of armed militias.
Jamila Ali Raja
Ms. Ali Raja is a career civil servant and policy advisor who has held senior posts in the Yemeni diplomatic corps and various government ministries over the last three decades. In recent years the focus of her work has been Yemen’s transitional period. Her presentation will discuss the deadlock in negotiations between the various parties in Yemen.
Ammar Al-Aulaqi
Mr. Al-Aulaqi is the Yemeni government’s Deputy Ministry of Water. He has an educational background in Engineering, environmental management and Executive Management. His presentation will examine the water crisis in Yemen.
Abdularhman Al-Ghaberi
Mr. Al-Ghaberi is one of Yemen’s most celebrated and well-know photographers. In his presentation he will discuss his experience in documenting Yemen over the past half-century.
Farea Al-Muslimi
Mr. Al-Muslimi is chairman and co-founder of Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, as well as a member of the UN Secretary General’s advisory group of experts for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security. He will be the facilitator of the Yemen Exchange.
Adam Baron
Mr. 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. His presentation will cover the international policy toward Yemen since 2011.
Maged Al-Madhaji
Mr. Al-Madhaji is executive director and co-founder of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, a regular commentator on Yemeni affairs for Arabic media, and a former appointee to the Preparatory Committee for Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference. His presentation will offer an overview of Yemen’s current political dynamics.
Maysaa Shuja al-Deen
Ms. Shuja al-Deen is a non resident fellow to Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies. Her research and analyses are regularly featured in Arabic media outlets. Her master’s degree from the American University in Cairo focused on the radicalization of Zaydism, and her presentation will discuss the rise of the Houthis in Yemen.
Mansour Rageh
Mr. Rageh is chief economist at the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies and has held various managerial and policy positions at the Central Bank of Yemen (CBY) since 2003. His presentation will offer an overview of Yemen’s current economic status.
Muhammed Azzan
Mr. Azzan is a co-founder of the Believing Youth, the precursor organization of the Houthi movement. (Mr. Azzan has since left the organization.) His presentation will cover the domestic aspects of the Houthi’s rise in Yemen.
Ali Al-Mamri
Mr. al-Mamri is the governor of Taiz and a member of the Yemeni Parliament. His presentation will discuss the dynamics of the conflict in Taiz.
Abdulkareem Al-Makdishi
Mr. Al-Makdishi is a prominent tribal figure who has played a key role in mediating and facilitating local ceasefires, prisoner swaps, and other negotiations between Yemeni tribes, and between tribes and foreign stakeholders. His presentation will cover the potential for tribes to facilitate a peace process in Yemen.
Saleh Bin Fareed Al-Aulaqi
Mr. Al-Aulaqi is one of Shabwa Governorate’s most powerful tribal leaders. He is currently a member of the Transitional Political Council for the South. His presentation will be an overview of the status and outlook of the Transitional Political Council for the South.
Dr. Abdulkader BaYazid
Dr. BaYazid is a prominent Hadhrami figure and Secretary General of Hadramout Inclusive Conference. His presentation will discuss the situation in Hadramawt Governorate.
Hussein Al-Awadhi
Mr. Al-Awadhi is a the former governor of Al-Jawf and a prominent sheikh. His presentation will cover the rise of the so-called “Eastern Bloc” in Yemen, which include the governorates of Al-Jawf, Mareb and Shabwah.
Muhammed Al-Asadi
Mr. Al-Asadi is the spokesperson of UNICEF in Yemen. His presentation will cover the challenges of aid delivery during the conflict.
Ghaidaa Al-Rashidy
Ms. Al-Rashidy is a prominent southern activist. Her presentation will focus on the status of youth movements in Yemen’s southern governorates.
Naser Shuraif
Mr. Shuraif is the government of Yemen’s Deputy Minister of Transportation. His presentation will discuss the current status of Yemen’s land borders, sea and air ports, and the movements of goods and individuals into, out of, and within Yemen.

Written by nickbiddlenoe

September 20, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Pro-Syrian Regime Op-ED: As victory approaches “…The real Arab spring has started in the Gulf.”

Translated today by our, in part only below: On September 18, the pro-Syrian regime Al-Watan daily carried the following piece by Ammar Abdul Ghani: “In light of the many field and political developments, one can say that the crisis in Syria has been placed on the settlement course. This situation has been imposed by the achievements of the Syrian Arab army in the field, especially after breaking the siege of the city of Der az-Zor and imposing a new reality. It wasn’t long before this new situation was translated at the Astana meetings where everyone, including the enemies and the friends, accepted the Syrian vision regarding the settlement in Syria, which is based on the priority of fighting terrorism by halting the support for it first, and pulling away all its tools second as a preface to launching a political dialogue between the patriotic Syrians who believe in the unity of Syria’s lands and people.

“…The real Arab spring has started in the Gulf. This is quite a natural matter imposed by the fact that no ruler in the 21st century can rule through pre-historical laws. Thus, the support of the Gulf States for what they called the “Arab revolutions” has started to backfire on their own countries… Syria won the war that was launched against it. It will come out of its crisis stronger than it was. The defeated party will have to pay the price for its toying with the region’s security. The next few months will further clarify the situation.”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

September 18, 2017 at 10:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

TRANSLATED: Qatari Emir in Germany for intel sharing and possible mediation with Turkey

A partial translation from our Daily Briefing where it appears in full:

“… The Qatari Prince Tamim Bin Hamad will thus be landing in Ankara on Thursday…and then proceeding with his planned visit to Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin on Friday. This second visit also carries a number of messages when it comes to its timing and even its form and contents… After the conclusion of the Qatari prince’s visit to Ankara, he will thus be visiting the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel in Berlin, where he is supposed to conclude one of the most dangerous intelligence agreements in the world. Qatar will be providing the German intelligence services with all its information regarding terrorism, its funding, training and adherents…

“An agreement like that represents a mine of important and basic information for Berlin, which is working to progress on the ladder of the “strongest intelligence services” since such pieces of information will not only allow Germany to uncover the countries that finance terrorism and thus protect Qatar but they will also grant Berlin the ability to foresee and monitor the actions of individuals involved in terrorist acts…

“The Qatari prince who has proven to be quite smart, realizes the importance of this step vis-à-vis Berlin… In addition, the Qatari prince will likely demand a European cooperation regarding the Qatari opposition… Meanwhile, and also through the above-mentioned agreement, Qatar will be winning an important round against its adversaries. Indeed, Qatar had been promoting the idea that [its adversaries] are involved in financing terrorism. This matter is now being discussed at the level of the western research centers, specifically Saudi Arabia’s support for terrorism in countries like Yemen. The European Parliament thus made a move on Wednesday in an attempt at obtaining a resolution to prevent Al-Riyadh from purchasing weapons.

“A possible mediation at the level of the Merkel-Erdogan crisis: the quick arrangement of Prince Tamim’s visit to Ankara prior to his visit to Berlin might also include an attempt at moistening the Turkish-German atmosphere as tension had been reigning recently following the statements of the Turkish President regarding the German elections. Berlin responded by calling to halt Turkey’s joining of the EU…”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

September 15, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

TRANSLATED: Damascus intends to use reconstruction, refugee return files against Hariri as leverage

Translated today by our (for a free trial email

On September 15, the Ad-Diyyar daily newspaper carried the following report: “The matter of the Lebanese-Syrian relations remains one of the main hanging issues as some parties in Lebanon, including PM Sa’d al-Hariri and his movement, and the head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, and his party as well as other sides, are refusing to re-normalize these relations, which would pave the way for solving a number of issues that Lebanon is suffering from starting with the issue of the Syrian displacement…all the way to the endeavors that some of these objecting parties are making to take part in Syria’s reconstruction.

“According to the visitors of the Syrian capital, there is some improvement of the relations on a number of levels such as the agriculture, the power, the water, the transportation, the transit and some other common matters although many details pertaining to these matters still require additional communication between the concerned parties in both countries. Thus, more meetings will be held in the upcoming days and the Minister of Agriculture, Ghazi Zaiter, will be visiting the Syrian capital for the second time in less than a month. In addition, a Syrian economic delegation headed by the assistant to the minister of economy and the General Director of the ministry of economy, Ali Abbas, will be visiting Beirut to discuss the common matters…

“The visitors indicate that the Syrian leadership is not concerned at all with the statements of some sides in Lebanon such as the head of the Lebanese Forces or others who do not want to acknowledge the Syrian regime since these parties can make no difference whatsoever and since their stubbornness will actually have negative repercussions on Lebanon in a number of areas, especially the issue of the displaced…

“As for the participation of some objecting parties in Lebanon in the reconstruction in Syria, this is impossible even if PM Al-Hariri was to try and channel his participation through Russian companies or Lebanese companies that do not have question marks about them. The visitors are saying that these objecting parties must realize that there will be no return for the displaced without launching a dialogue with Damascus independently of the settlement course in Syria. The same goes for participation in the reconstruction since the decision remains in the hands of the Syrian leadership, and this is a sovereign decision that didn’t change even at the direst circumstances of the Syrian crisis. Therefore, neither Russia nor Iran can impose such matters if Syria is not convinced.

“Thus, the visitors believe that the objecting positions aim at increasing the popularity of the objecting parties in addition to being a response to external demands imposed by Washington and Al-Riyadh… Proceeding to refuse a dialogue with Syria will cause Lebanon to bear major burdens at the level of the displaced. In addition, the objecting parties will not be taking part in Syria’s reconstruction.”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

September 15, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Abadi, Sadr, Hakim and Allawi said to be forming electoral alliance in major challenge to Iran

Translated in part here and in full via our

On September 7, the Al-Akhbar daily carried the following report: “The Al-Arabiya channel recently aired a piece of news about an “electoral alliance” that has been reached in Baghdad between PM Haidar al-Abadi, the head of the Sadrist movement, Moqtada al-Sadr, the head of the Al-Hekma movement, Ammar al-Hakim, and politician Ayad Allawi, in addition to “a number of politicians from the Sunni and Kurdish components.”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

September 7, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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