MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

February 29, 2016
The death toll in areas of Syria outside jihadist control has fallen sharply since a ceasefire went into effect at the weekend, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Monday. Twenty people were killed on Saturday, the first day of the truce, in areas where the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) is not present. The same number of people were killed on Sunday, SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman said. "To compare, 144 were killed--70 soldiers, 36 civilians, and 38 rebels--on Friday, on the eve of the truce," he added. SOHR reported the average daily death toll for February at 120. Warplanes attacked six towns in Syria's northern Aleppo province early on Sunday, the group also said. Syrian insurgents said the air strikes were carried out by Russian war planes in support of Syria's government, but SOHR said the identity of the jets was not clear. Abdulrahman said some of the towns which were attacked, including Daret Azza, were controlled by Nusra Front and other Islamist groups not included in the ceasefire. Syria's state media reported that militants fired shells into government-held areas in the coastal province of Latakia from their bases near the Turkish border, killing and wounded a number of people, without giving further details. Opposition activists and state media also reported clashes between troops and members of ISIS in Aleppo. High Negotiations Committee head Riad Hijab said that Russian, Iranian, and government forces have not stopped hostilities since the truce went into effect. He cited 24 cases of shelling, five cases of ground attacks, and 26 Russian air strikes on Sunday alone, targeting rebels that are abiding by the truce. Despite the violations, Hijab said the rebels would abide by the ceasefire. A Syrian military source on Saturday denied the army was violating the truce. Russia's Defense Ministry declined to comment. [AFP, Reuters, AP, 2/29/2016]

Egypt welcomes House panel’s draft legislation to label Brotherhood 'terrorist group'
Egypt welcomed on Sunday a move by the US congressional Judiciary Committee to label the Muslim Brotherhood a “foreign terrorist organization.” Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef said, “The move shows that the entire world has started realizing Egypt’s point of view.” The legislation, submitted in late 2015, cites multiple countries who have declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. On Wednesday, a Republican-led House Committee approved the legislation. If passed and made into law, the US would have to deny admittance to non-US citizens who are tied to the Brotherhood. [Ahram Online, 2/28/2016]

Egyptian footballer Abou-Treika referred to prosecution for 'funding terrorist group'
A committee tasked with investigating and appropriating the assets of members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group has referred popular footballer Mohamed Abou-Treika to prosecution for investigation on charges of funding the group. Last May, the committee issued a statement saying it had decided to confiscate the assets of Ashab Tours, a tourism company which was co-founded in 2013 by Abou-Treika and an unnamed member of the Brotherhood. Abou-Treika’s assets were also seized during the process. Abou-Treika, who is known for his religious conservatism and has been regularly accused of Brotherhood affiliation, appealed the decision twice but the appeals were rejected. The committee also referred businessman Safwan Thabet, owner of Juhayna dairy company, to prosecution. Safwan’s assets were seized last August, but Juhayna, the largest dairy company in Egypt, was not affected by the seizure. The prosecution will decide whether or not to take the cases forward. [Ahram Online, DNE, 2/28/2016]

Crackdown on researchers, academics continues
Executive director of the Civilization Center for Political Studies and PhD candidate at Cairo University Medhat Maher was arrested last week for alleged links to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, his brother Hamdy Maher told Mada Masr on Sunday. Maher, whose research focuses on Islamist movements, had his detention extended by 15 days on Sunday. He was arrested at midnight on February 21 from his home, according to his brother, and accused of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization and unlawfully possessing arms. Meanwhile, the head of Management Board of the Egyptian Democratic Institute Hossam al-Din Ali was prevented from travelling to the United States Saturday and was questioned for three hours over the telephone by a National Security Officer. “For the second time, the regime has imposed a travel ban on me. I was invited by the US state department to attend an international conference to combat corruption through legislations, but authorities informed me that I am subjected to a travel ban,” Hossam said in a written statement published on his official Facebook page. The head of the Department of Ophthalmology at Beni Suef University's Faculty of Medicine, Sherif Ahmed, has also reportedly been issued a warning by the university's president, Amin Lotfy, regarding anti-regime statements published by the professor on social media. According to investigations conducted by the university legal committee, Ahmed published statements critical of the president, the army and the police that could undermine the stability of the state and stir public opinion, said Lotfy. In related news, a TV show aired on a state-owned channel was suspended after TV anchor Ayten al-Mogy interviewed Islamic researcher and author Sayed al-Qemany. The head of the channel received a call from the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb who strongly disapproved of interview. According to Daily News Egypt, the show was suspended because defended religious minorities and promoted their ideologies, and allowed Qemany to call on parliament to revoke the contempt of religion law. [Mada Masr, DNE, AMAY, 2/28/2016]

Controversial TV anchorwoman sentenced to 18 months for airing personal photos of guest
A Giza misdemeanors court sentenced TV host Reham Saeed to a year in prison and a fine of EGP 15,000 for violating a woman's privacy after she aired personal photos without permission on her show. She was sentenced to an additional six months imprisonment and a fine of EGP 10,000 for libel and slander. The court acquitted the legal representative of private TV channel Al-Nahar, on which Saeed's program was aired. The incident dates back to October 2015 when Saeed interviewed a young woman, Somaya Tarek, on her show and aired personal photos of Tarek which she allegedly stole from Tarek’s phone. Saeed can still appeal both sentences. [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Ahram Online, 2/29/2016]

For more in-depth Egypt news, please visit EgyptSource


Airstrike targets suspected ISIS convoy in Libya
Unidentified aircraft attacked a convoy carrying suspected Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) militants near the northwestern Libyan town of Bani Walid early on Sunday, a local official said. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, and a Pentagon official said the US military was not involved in the action. US sources said later that no other US government agencies were involved. Three huge explosions rocked the area around dawn, according to a member of Bani Walid's municipal council. People living in Ras al-Tbel, about 80 km southeast of Bani Walid, had seen the same convoy of up to 15 vehicles carrying the black flags of ISIS over the past two days. It was not immediately clear if the convoy was hit. [Reuters, Libya Herald, 2/28/2016]

ISIS claims deadly car bomb in Benghazi
At least four members of security forces loyal to Libya's eastern government were killed Friday in a car bombing in Benghazi in an attack claimed by ISIS, the military said. Military spokesman Colonel Abdullah al-Shahaafi said the blast went off in the Hawari district of the city. ISIS claimed the attack in a statement posted online, saying more than 25 were killed and that it targeted forces of General Khalifa Haftar. Haftar's forces on Tuesday recaptured a jihadist stronghold in the city. On Friday, seven soldiers were killed in clashes with Islamist militants in Benghazi. [AFP, 2/27/2016]

Tunisia’s Interior Ministry decides to initiate legal proceedings against police union
Tunisia’s Interior Ministry announced that it will begin legal proceedings against members of the National Union of Internal Security Forces (SNFSI), claiming abuse in a rally staged Thursday outside the Prime Ministry. The protesters violated the constitution and the law, according to an Interior Ministry statement, which added that their actions constitute a serious threat to public order at a time when the state of emergency is in force. Union members of the internal security forces staged a rally outside the Kasbah Palace on Thursday. According to a Prime Ministry statement, they broke into the office’s premises. The leaders of the union will be sued for invading the building of the ministry, brandishing threats of disobedience, and shouting political slogans that harm the prestige of the state and its institutions, said a Prime Ministry press release. [TAP, 2/27/2016]

Algeria jails man suspected of links to Paris attacks ringleader
Algerian authorities have jailed a man with dual Algerian and Belgian citizenship for links with the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a court statement said on Saturday. The court in the Algerian city of Bejaia said 29-year-old Zahir Mehdaoui, a resident of Brussels, had been charged with belonging to a terrorist group active overseas. The court provided no further details and it was not clear when Mehdaoui was arrested. [Reuters, AP, 2/27/2016]


For an excellent resource on the ceasefire in Syria, visit the Syria Ceasefire Monitor website.

Syria ceasefire task force meets, France wants answers on violations
Countries sponsoring the Syria peace process met in Geneva on Monday amid complaints that a new cessation of hostilities deal was quickly unraveling, with France demanding information about reports of persisting attacks on rebel positions. "We have received indications that attacks, including by air, have been continuing against zones controlled by the moderate opposition," French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The countries belonging to the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), led by the United States and Russia, are supposed to monitor compliance with the deal and act rapidly to end any flare-ups, while using force only as a last resort. UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said violations would be discussed, but he declined to comment on reports of poison gas attacks. [Reuters, AFP, 2/29/2016]

World powers trade accusations over ceasefire violations
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says Syrian troops are violating the cease-fire brokered by Russia and the United States. Jubeir spoke to reporters in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Sunday during a press conference with the visiting Danish Foreign Minister. He reiterated Saudi Arabia's position that Syrian President Bashar Assad has no place in the future of Syria and that he must leave power, referring to a potential “plan B.” The Syrian government accused Jubeir on Monday of trying to undermine the cessation of hostilities agreement, calling his remarks “a delusion in the mind of the Saudi regime.” Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Ministry said on Sunday it had received information about an attack on the Syrian town of Tel Abyad from Turkish territory using large-caliber artillery. Turkish media reported that Turkey’s military had struck ISIS positions inside Syria with artillery. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that the Syrian ceasefire covered only one third of the country and he hoped it would be expanded to encompass all of it. Russia warned that armed intervention by Ankara would deal an "irreparable blow" to the ceasefire plan. [AP, Reuters, 2/29/2016]

Ban Ki-moon says ceasefire in Syria is holding
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that a shaky ceasefire in Syria is holding "by and large" despite sporadic fighting that continued across Syria and growing accusations of violations that threatened to derail the truce, now in its third day. Speaking to reporters Monday in Geneva, Ban confirmed receiving a letter from the High Negotiations Committee, the main umbrella opposition group, complaining of continuing violations by the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian backers. The letter sent Sunday urged the UN to help "specify the territory covered by the truce to prevent hostilities in the designated inclusion zones." UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said Friday he plans to resume peace talks on March 7 if a cessation of hostilities "largely holds." De Mistura briefed the UN Security Council warning that "no doubt there will be no shortage of attempts to undermine this process." Shortly after the briefing, the 15-member council voted unanimously to approve a resolution endorsing the ceasefire agreement less than an hour before it was set to start. [AP, Reuters, 2/26/2016]

Russia says federalism is an option for Syria
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on Sunday about increasing the cooperation between their countries' militaries on the cessation of hostilities in Syria. In a news briefing, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow did not object to federalism, or any other new model for Syria’s future, "provided it is not written to someone's dictation somewhere 1,000km away from Syria." In an interview last September, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also did not object to federalism, but said that Syrians must agree on the future of their country and hold a referendum to amend the constitution. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that he is concerned about Russia’s military buildup in Syria, which may threaten the fragile cessation of hostilities, adding that even though the ceasefire seems to be holding, they have reports of violations in some areas. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that Russian military planes would not carry out any air strikes on Saturday, February 27 “to avoid any possible mistakes when carrying out strikes, Russian military.” [AP, AFP, Reuters 2/29/2016]

Humanitarian aid begins to besieged towns
In an encouraging sign, aid workers began the first aid delivery since the deal came into effect, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent said. Ten trucks carrying blankets and hygiene supplies entered rebel-held Moadamiyet al-Sham, encircled by government forces, and another 41 were to follow on Monday. UN humanitarian coordinator Yacoub El Hillo said he hoped the relative calm would allow aid to be distributed to 154,000 besieged people over the next five days. Red Crescent official Muhannad al-Assadi says the 51 trucks are not carrying food, but domestic supplies such as blankets, soap and diapers. Assadi says Monday's is the third aid convoy that has been allowed to enter the suburb of Moadamiyeh in recent weeks. [AFP, Reuters, AP, 2/29/2016]

For more in-depth Syria news and analysis, please visit SyriaSource.


Abadi renews vow to fight corruption amid demonstrations
At the National Reconciliation Conference in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that no party can paralyze the institutions of his government, that he will fight corruption, bring about social co-existence and liberate areas still held by ISIS. In his speech, Abadi said that they are "aiming to lay the groundwork for social, religious and political consistence if we are meant to live in peace together on this land … We have formed the Commission of Integrity, but it appears there are officials from various [political] parties have not answered the request of integrity to reveal their assets.” [Rudaw, 2/27/2016]

Twin suicide bombing kills 73 in Baghdad
A twin suicide bombing claimed by ISIS killed 70 people in Sadr City, a neighborhood of Baghdad on Sunday in the deadliest attack in the capital this year. Police sources said the suicide bombers were riding motorcycles and blew themselves up in a crowded mobile phone market, wounding more than 100 people in addition to the dead. On his official Facebook page, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the attacks were in response to ISIS’s recent defeats, after Iraqi forces backed by airstrikes from US-led coalition drove ISIS back in the western Anbar province in preparation for an offensive to retake the northern city of Mosul. [Reuters, AP, NYT, 2/29/2016]

Turkey starts repairs on Iraqi Kurdish oil pipeline as violence flares
Turkey has begun work to repair a pipeline taking crude oil from northern Iraq to the Mediterranean through its southeast region and aims to restore flows soon, the Turkish Ministry of Energy said in a statement on Saturday. The statement furthered that militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) carried out a bomb attack on the pipeline in the Idil district of Sirnak province on February 25. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is holding the PKK responsible for the damage to the pipeline, which has been repeatedly sabotaged in recent month. [Reuters, 2/27/2016]

Iraqi security forces repel ISIS attack on Abu Ghraib suburb
Iraqi security forces repelled an attack by ISIS militants on the capital's western suburb of Abu Ghraib on Sunday, officials said. Three suicide car bombers struck a security force barracks as gunmen opened fire, according to two police officers. At least eight government and paramilitary forces were killed and 22 wounded, they added. The commander of military operations in western Baghdad, Major General Saad Harbiya, said the situation is "under control" and a local curfew has been imposed. [AP, 2/28/2016]

Kurds say investigating suspected ISIS chemical attack
Kurdish authorities said on Friday they are investigating another suspected chemical attack by ISIS against Peshmerga fighters in northwestern Iraq. Dozens of Peshmerga and civilians were treated for nausea and vomiting after homemade rockets, that appeared to have contained a chemical substance, were fired at them in the Sinjar area on February 25, the Kurdistan Region Security Council said on its official Twitter account. The US-led coalition is helping with the investigation, the Security Council said. [Reuters, Bas News, 2/27/2016]

United States issues evacuation recommendations over Iraq's Mosul Dam
The United States has been closely monitoring Iraq's largest dam for signs of further deterioration that could point to an impending catastrophic collapse, and on Sunday, the US Embassy in Iraq issued evacuation recommendations for the residents of Mosul, Tikrit, and even Baghdad. If the dam collapsed, it would unleash a wave that would devastate the city of Mosul and flood much of the capital, Baghdad. The statement read, “We have no specific information that indicates when a breach might occur, but out of an abundance of caution, we would like to underscore that prompt evacuation offers the most effective tool to save lives of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis living in the most dangerous part of the flood path in the event of a breach. Proper preparation could save many lives.” [AFP, Radio Free Europe, Bas News, 2/29/2016]


Suicide bombing kills four in Aden
A suicide car bombing killed four people Monday when it hit a gathering of pro-government forces in Yemen's Aden, the southern city serving as a government base. Five others were wounded in the attack in the residential Sheikh Othman district. The suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into an area where security forces and pro-government militiamen had assembled. [AFP, 2/29/2016]

Gunmen kill pro-government Sunni cleric in Aden
Gunmen killed a pro-government Sunni Salafist cleric on Sunday in Yemen’s main southern city of Aden, home to a growing militant presence, a security official said. Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Adani was shot dead as he was heading to a mosque near his home, the official said. Adani headed a Salafist religious school which attracts both local and foreign students. He was known for his stance against the Shia Houthi militants as well as against ISIS (or ISIL) and Al-Qaeda, which are becoming increasingly active in Aden. In another sign of growing unrest in Aden, clashes broke out near the entrance to the presidential palace in the port city’s Kreiter district between presidential guards and soldiers demanding their salaries, an official told AFP. The fighting spread to nearby residential districts, resulting in a number of casualties. [AFP, 2/29/2016]

Thunder of the North military exercise begins in Saudi Arabia
Armed forces from 20 countries have begun maneuvers in northeastern Saudi Arabia that the official Saudi Press Agency described as one of the world's biggest military exercises. Troops from Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, and Sudan are among those participating in the "Thunder of the North" exercise, which began Saturday and involves ground, air, and naval forces. Forces from the other five Gulf Arab states are also taking part in "one of the world's most important military exercises based on the number of forces participating and the area of territory used," the news agency added. It said a major goal of the exercise was to improve training in responding to the threat posed by "terrorist groups." [AFP, 2/28/2016]

Yemen says Aden airport to reopen in weeks
Yemeni Information Minister Mohammed Qobati said Sunday that Aden airport is expected to reopen fully for commercial traffic within weeks. The southern port has been gripped by violence since pro-government forces seized it from Iranian-allied Houthi militants in July. The airport has operated only sporadically since then, amid constant security fears. The minister told Reuters the airport was being guarded by local fighters recently incorporated into a new Yemeni army which President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi had been rebuilding since July, together with troops from the United Arab Emirates. He denied reports that the UAE had withdrawn its forces from the airport, saying there was only a routine rotation of forces. [Reuters, 2/28, 2016]

Yemeni minister criticizes UN over Taiz, hails Gulf contribution
Minister of Local Administration and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Relief in Yemen Abdul Raqeeb Saif Fateh criticized the UN for not doing enough to help break the siege on the southwestern province of Taiz, hailing the Gulf states as the main contributors of relief to the country. Fateh told the London-based Al Arab newspaper this week that the UN and its humanitarian agencies had not been able to lift the ongoing sanctions against Taiz for the past nine months. He criticized the UN for accusing “all sides” in the conflict of wrongdoing after sending one of its teams to Taiz, saying the international organization should know who is responsible. [Al Arabiya, 2/28/2016]

Yemeni official says Houthis recruiting African fighters
A top military Yemeni official said the Iran-backed Houthi militias and their allies have started recruiting mercenaries coming mostly from African countries, Al Arabiya News reported Monday. Deputy Chief of Staff General Nasir al-Tahiri said the move by the Houthis and forces allied to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh was to buttress their weakening fronts at the capital Sana’a and the northwestern governorate of Saada. Meanwhile, military sources said Saleh has ordered Republican Guards forces to withdraw from central al-Bayda, southwestern Ibb, and Dhammar (west of al-Bayda) to be consolidated in Sana’a as battles heat up. [Al Arabiya, 2/29/2016]


HSBC says Gulf states face $94 billion in debt
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries may struggle to refinance $94 billion of debt over the next two years as the region faces slowing growth, HSBC Holdings Plc has said. GCC states have to refinance $52 billion of bonds and $42 billion of syndicated loans, mostly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, HSBC said in. The countries also face a fiscal and current account deficit of $395 billion over the period. Gulf countries have about $610 billion outstanding in foreign exchange denominated bonds and syndicated loans, HSBC said. This includes financial, corporate, and sovereign debt, mainly in the UAE. Bahrain, and Qatar. HSBC is confident that the funding gaps will be covered and expects a "raft" of foreign sovereign bond issuance to fund budget deficits. Any new issuance will have to compete with upcoming refinancing needs, the bank said. Meanwhile, the latest forecast from the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) says that GCC gross domestic product growth will fall to 2.2 percent in 2016 from 4.1 percent in 2015 due to low oil prices. The ADCB also expects that the GCC countries’ widening fiscal deficits, which are expected to be covered mostly through domestic borrowing, will adversely impact banking sector liquidity in the region. [Bloomberg, 2/28/2016]

Saudi says to work with oil producers to limit market volatility
Saudi Arabia will continue to work with all major oil producers to limit market volatility and is committed to meeting global oil demand based on commercial considerations, the cabinet said Monday. In a statement, the cabinet said that Saudi Arabia will continue to invest in its energy sector to maintain its oil production capacity to help meet demand and deal with any disruptions in global oil supply. "The kingdom seeks to achieve stability in the oil markets and will always remain in contact with all main producers in an attempt to limit volatility and it welcomes any cooperative action." Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has reportedly drawn up a new strategy to attract US investment as it addresses the impact of low oil prices. “The point is to attract inflows of cash and create jobs, which is why there is a focus on retail and healthcare, which are both labor intensive sectors,” a Saudi banker said. [Reuters, 2/29/2016]

Moody's cuts Oman credit rating two notches before bond issue
Moody's Investors Service sharply cut Oman's sovereign credit rating on Saturday citing damage to state finances from lower oil prices. The move comes weeks before the Oman plans to launch its first international bond issue in nearly 20 years. Moody's lowered Oman by two notches to A3 and kept the rating on review for a further downgrade, noting that Oman has fewer financial reserves than other Gulf countries to cope with an era of cheap oil. "Oman has a comparatively weaker asset cushion, with government financial assets amounting to only about three years of spending," the ratings agency said. Oman's current account deficit will reach almost 25 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, improving slightly to 16 percent of GDP by the end of 2018, Moody's said. Its new rating for Oman is three notches above an assessment by Standard & Poor's, which recently lowered the country two notches to BBB-minus, one notch above junk status. [Reuters, 2/27/2016]

Egypt to sign soft loans of $575 million with Japan, South Korea
Egypt will sign three concessional loan agreements with Japan and one with South Korea worth a total of $575 million to finance projects in energy and transportation. The deals come amid President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s third visit to Asia, which began on Friday. The loans will have interest rates of less than one percent and will be repaid over 40 years with a ten-year grace period, Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said. Japan's lending package includes a $155 million loan to expand Egypt's Borg al-Arab airport, $210 million to increase the efficiency of electricity distribution companies, and $95 million to construct a power plant in Hurghada. Nasr said Egypt also aimed to negotiate financing for the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. South Korea will lend Egypt $115 million to finance an upgrade of the railway signaling system between the Qena and Luxor governorates in Upper Egypt. On Monday, al-Sisi met with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) President Shinichi Kitaoka to discuss financing for projects in the education and energy sectors. [Ahram Online, DNE, 2/28/2016]

Egypt launches investment scheme to lure expat dollars
Three state-owned Egyptian banks will offer US dollar-denominated certificates to Egyptian expatriates at a minimum subscription price of $100 in an attempt to attract dollar savings, Immigration Minister Nabila Makram Ebeid said Monday. She said the dollar-denominated "Belady" certificates “come to answer the request of Egyptians abroad to use their savings to help their country's economy.” The National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, Banque Du Caire will offer maturities of one, three and five years, with yields of 3.5 percent, 4.5 percent, and 5.5 percent, respectively. The Central Bank of Egypt will guarantee the right of investors to repatriate the yields they earn in dollars to banks abroad. The certificates will be available starting Tuesday and are being offered at higher yields than typical market equivalents to encourage expatriates to invest. [Reuters, Ahram Online, 2/29/2016]