Top News: Algeria Stalled in Light of President’s Absence

Top News: Algeria Stalled in Light of President

Forty days after Algeria’s president was hospitalized overseas, the country is stuck in limbo with its normally predictable politics thrown into disarray. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s absence during a key visit by the Turkish premier has reignited questions over his health and the future of Africa’s largest nation.


Cracks show in opposition bloc after Moussa’s Brotherhood meeting
A Wednesday meeting between leading Muslim Brotherhood strategist Khairat El-Shater and opposition leader Amr Moussa has put the latter under fire. Ayman Nour, founder of the liberal Ghad El-Thawra party, mediated the dinner meeting, which took place at his house. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya]

Egypt president says calls for early election ‘absurd’
President Mohamed Morsi rejected as "absurd" opposition calls for an early election less than a year into his term of office, in comments published Friday that such calls violated the constitution. [Ahram Online]

Egypt to sign $4.8 bn IMF loan by month’s end: Planning minister
Egypt will sign a long-awaited $4.8 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the end of this month, state news agency MENA reported on Thursday, citing the minister of planning and international cooperation. [Ahram Online]

Ethiopia to press ahead with Nile dam: Official
Ethiopia will press ahead with the construction of its Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River, officials said Thursday, the day after Egypt warned "all options are open" if its water supply is affected. Meanwhile, President Morsi said that Egypt was keen not to risk losing a "single drop of Nile water." [Daily News Egypt, Ahram Online]


Wintershall’s Libya oil output still below pre-war levels
The German oil company Wintershall has been unable to raise its Libyan oil production to pre-civil war levels because of lingering infrastructure problems, and protests could continue to disrupt the country’s exports. Production at the North African country’s major El Feel oilfield was shut down on May 29 as a precaution due to a protest at the site. [Reuters]

Libya must hand former spy chief to Hague court: lawyer
The lawyer for Libya’s former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi has demanded his surrender to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, where he would not face the threat of the death penalty. Senussi, the right-hand man to slain Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, is wanted by the ICC on charges of ordering brutal reprisals during the uprising that toppled the Libyan strongman in 2011. [Reuters]

President of Chad warns of Islamist threat in Libya
A volatile Libya poses a growing threat to stability in the Sahara region as Islamist militants who once controlled northern Mali have succeeded in resettling in remote parts of the Libyan desert, Chad President Idriss Déby said Thursday. [Wall Street Journal]

After initial recovery in output, oil prospects dipping
By mid-2012 Libya’s oil production, almost entirely switched off during six months of ferocious fighting, had regained its pre-war level of about 1.5m barrels a day—years earlier than expected. But Libya’s political chaos is spreading to the oil industry as workers and militias now often disrupt production at energy installations, forcing the government to give them money before they will switch valves back on. [Economist]


Syrian troops capture central villages
Following Wednesday’s capture of Qusair, President Bashar al-Assad’s forces appear to have turned their sights to driving rebels from the country’s densely populated heartland, including the Homs and Aleppo. Syrian troops, backed by Hezbollah fighters, pressed on with their offensive Friday in the country’s opposition heartland, taking two small villages of Salhiyeh and Masoudiyeh with little resistance.  [Daily Star, NOW]

Russia can replace Austria in UN Golan peacekeeping force, says Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed Friday that his country’s peacekeepers replace departing Austrian troops in the Golan Heights which monitor the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line.  On Thursday, the Austrian government announced that it will withdraw its troops from the UN peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights, AFP reported.  [Al Arabiya, Daily Star]

Union headed by al-Qaradawi urges ‘Day of Rage’ for Syria rebels
A Sunni Muslim union headed by influential cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Friday called for a "Day of Rage and Support" for rebels fighting Syrian regime troops backed by a Shia axis. The Association of Muslim Scholars urged its millions of supporters to demonstrate, stage peaceful sit-ins, make speeches, and pray for the Syrian rebels on Friday, June 14. [Naharnet, NOW]

United Nations launches record $5.2 billion Syria aid appeal 
The United Nations on Friday launched a record $5.2 billion aid appeal to fund operations in Syria and neighboring nations, saying the number of people affected by the country’s brutal conflict was set to spiral. The United Nations further stated that it expects more than 10 million Syrians, half the population, to need humanitarian aid by the end of 2013.  [NOWReuters


Erdogan visit draws protest in support of Turkish activists
A small crowd in Tunisia protested Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit.  Protesters held banners reading, "The Jasmine Revolution supports the Turkish spring" and, "Choose peace, stop violence." [Journal of Turkish Weekly, AP]

Syria reportedly willing to release forty-three Tunisian detainees
According to radio station Mosaique FM, Khaled Mahjoub, who is described as a Syrian civil society representative, announced that the Syrian government agreed to release forty-three Tunisians detained in Syrian prisons during a press conference held on Wednesday. [Tunisia Live]

Larayedh leaves for Germany, attends Tunisian-German Economic Forum
Interim Prime Minister Ali Larayedh left on Thursday evening for Germany at the invitation of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The prime minister, accompanied by a delegation of ministers and businessmen, will participate in the Tunisian-German Economic Forum to be held at the seat of the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce. [All Africa, Tagesshau]

Hardline Islamists control seventy-six mosques, says government
An official with the Ministry of Religious Affairs claims seventy-six mosques are under the control of hardline Islamists in Tunisia. Although appointed by the ministry, a number of hardline religious conservatives have forcibly expelled the government-appointed imams from mosques and replaced them with individuals sharing their religious and political views. [Tunisia Live]


Presidential adviser talks national security
In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Yemeni presidential adviser Dr. Fares Saqqaf spoke about the security challenges currently facing the government including a series of assassinations targeting military officers and security figures, the plight of arms smuggling, and the alleged role of Houthi rebels, backed by Tehran. [Asharq Al-Awsat]

UN special envoy to Yemen deplores lack of consensus on transitional justice law
UN Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar told reporters on Thursday he deplored National Dialogue Conference (NDC) representatives’ lack of vision when it came to reaching a consensus on Yemen transitional law, one of the key issues of the country’s transition of power. In a visit to Hodeida, Benomar warned that Yemen must find a solution to its transitional justice law dilemma if it had any hope to move forward in creating strong democratic and legitimate institutions. [Yemen Post]

Search still on for South African pair in Yemen
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says it is not abandoning efforts to find and secure the release of two South Africans held captive in Yemen. Amid fresh media reports that the two are held by al-Qaeda, the department said on Friday that South Africa’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia met daily with Yemeni authorities to locate the couple and facilitate their release. [South African Government News Agency]


Algeria stalled in light of president’s absence
Forty days after Algeria’s president was hospitalized overseas, the country is stuck in limbo with its normally predictable politics thrown into disarray. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s absence during a key visit by the Turkish premier has reignited questions over his health and the future of Africa’s largest nation. [AP]

Image: Bouteflika%20with%20South%20Africa's%20Zuma%20-%20April2013.jpg