Top News: AQAP Executes Fourteen Soldiers in Hadramout

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video Sunday night showing the execution of fourteen soldiers in the city of Shibam from August. The video depicts al-Qaeda forces waylaying a military bus and kidnapping the soldiers on board. The leader of the militant force claims the soldiers are Houthis whose political forces have been “handed” Sana’a and Amran by President Hadi.

The video was released as the Houthis continue their hold on the capital and the country awaits the appointment of a new government. On Sunday the ambassadors of the Group of Ten countries urged Yemen to appoint a new prime minister.



Egypt arrests militants recruiting for ISIS
Egypt’s state news agency says security forces have arrested four suspected members of a militant cell recruiting fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS or Islamic State). The four suspects, all of Egyptian nationality, were arrested in the Suez Canal city of Port Said. According to a senior local security official the four confessed to recruiting young fighters to join ISIS militants in Syria. The agency says that according to the men’s confessions, another four Egyptians, also members of the cell, are already in Syria. [AP, Ahram Online, Reuters, 10/5/2014]

Muslim Brotherhood condemns military’s role in politics in October 6 statement
The people will not allow the military to turn into a political party that will dominate the country, the Muslim Brotherhood declared in an official statement issued Monday, the forty-first anniversary of the October 6 War. The group noted in the statement that the army’s defeat on June 5 in the 1967 War was due to the military’s intervention in politics, in a word of warning against the institution’s present-day political activities. Interior Ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif stated that the Armed Forces and the police will remain the backbone of the country’s protection, both domestically and abroad. [Mada Masr, 10/6/2014]

Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi Call clash in Alexandria
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood clashed with members of the Salafi Call in Alexandria on Saturday following Eid al-Adha prayers. An argument broke out when a Brotherhood rally passed by a prayer area set up by the Salafi Call, then escalated into a physical fight involving weapons and chains. Clashes also erupted in Alexandria on Sunday between supporters and opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood. Police dispersed the two groups, which numbered in the hundreds. Four pro-Morsi protesters were arrested and at least two were injured in the clashes. [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 10/5/2014]

Egypt’s budget deficit shrinks to 12.4 percent of GDP in FY2013-14
Egypt’s overall budget deficit fell to EGP 253.7 billion, or 12.4 percent of GDP, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013-14, down from 13.8 percent of GDP in FY 2012-13, according to according to a new report released Thursday by Central Bank of Egypt. [Egypt Independent, 10/2/2014]


More soldiers killed in continued Benghazi violence
Fourteen Operation Dignity troops have been killed and another fifty wounded in two days of fierce fighting as Ansar al-Sharia attempts to capture Benina air base in Benghazi. According to authorities, the Islamist offensive was stopped with the help of war planes and helicopters. The head of Saiqa Special Forces investigations unit accused Ansar and the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shura Council (BRSC) of rejecting the Eid truce announced by General Staff. The number of BRSC’s dead and wounded has not been disclosed. [Libya Herald, Reuters, 10/4/2014]

Sudan announces support for Algeria’s mediation efforts in Libya
Sudan has become the latest country to announce that it is backing Algerian moves to mediate peace in Libya. After denying accusations by the Libyan government of sending arms and supplies to Operation Libya Dawn, Sudan announced that it recognized the Tobruk-based House of Representatives as Libya’s sole legitimate parliament, although it also said it took a neutral position on the crisis in Libya. Algeria has said that it plans to host a conference this month to try and resolve the Libyan crisis. It is unclear whether its efforts will add anything to the UN-sponsored dialogue. [Libya Herald, 10/4/2014]

Around 200 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean off Libyan coast
The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), a privately-funded humanitarian initiative, says it has rescued 196 migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean in one week, with some 2,200 saved since the beginning of August. Many had set out from Libya. On the first anniversary of the Lampedusa tragedy in which more than 350 migrants died after setting sail from Misrata, MOAS recovered 104 sub-Saharan African men attempting to reach Europe in rubber dinghies. The aid organization said a number of them were dehydrated and others were suffering from serious burns after their engine caught fire. [Libya Herald, 10/4/2014]

Britain says Libya hostage freed by militants
A British man who had been held hostage by militants in Libya has been released, the British Foreign Office said on Sunday. The Foreign Office gave no further details of who had held David Bolam, a teacher in Benghazi, or how he was released. British media reported he was taken hostage in May and in August had featured in a video posted online in which he pleaded for his life. His release was reportedly secured through the payment of a ransom, which the Foreign Service does not support, and was facilitated by local political factions in Benghazi. [Reuters, AP, 10/4/2014]


Islamic State raises flag in eastern Ayn al-Arab, Kurds say town has not fallen
Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS or Islamic State) raised their flag on a building on the eastern outskirts of the Syrian border town of Ayn al-Arab (Kobani in Kurdish) on Monday after an assault of almost three weeks, but the town’s Kurdish defenders said they had not reached the city center. At least twenty-seven ISIS militants and nineteen Kurdish forces were on Sunday during the failed attempt to take the city. The head of the Kobani Defense Authority noted the atrocities committed by ISIS militants throughout Iraq and Syria and emphasized that his forces were prepared to fight the militants to the very end. [Reuters, 10/5/2014]

Female YPG fighter launches suicide attack as contest for Ayn al-Arab continues
Kurdish forces in Kobani on Monday announced that one of its female fighters, Dilar Gencxemis, detonated a suicide bomb in an attack claimed to have killed dozens of ISIS militants. A statement confirming the attack was released by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and also confirmed by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [Naharnet, 10/5/2014]

VP Biden issues second apology, to United Arab Emirates, over comments
US Vice President Joe Biden apologized on Sunday for the second time in two days, for comments he made suggesting that the US’ Arab allies armed and funded terrorists in Syria. The White House announced Monday that the vice president had contacted Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and apologized for implying that the United Arab Emirates supported terrorists. The call followed an angry statement from the UAE’s Foreign Ministry earlier in the day expressing “astonishment” at Biden’s remarks and demanding a “formal clarification.” [The Washington Post, 10/5/2014]


Judicial inquiry launched into fake sponsorship of presidential candidates
The Public Prosecutor at the Court of First Instance in Tunis announced the commission of a special investigation into the fake sponsorship of presidential candidates in the upcoming presidential elections. The prosecutor explained that his decision was prompted by a complaint filed by the President of the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) Chafik Sarsar that alleged deliberate forgery and illegal disclosure of personal data in the registration of presidential candidates. [All Africa, 10/5/2014]

Legislative campaigns commence over the weekend
Campaigns for the October 26 legislative elections began on Saturday, and are expected to last for twenty-one days. The Independent Higher Authority for the Election (ISIE) noted that 1,327 parties, coalitions, and independent candidates had successfully registered and would compete in thirty-three constituencies, including six created to accommodate Tunisian expatriates. [All Africa, 10/5/2014]

Tunisia imposes new taxes to narrow budget deficit
Officials in the finance ministry last week announced the imposition of new taxes, including a departure levy on foreign travelers, to narrow a deficit expected to reach 8 percent of GDP this year. Government officials explained that seventeen dollar tax on non-resident foreigners would raise $100 million by the end of next year. The finance ministry also proposed cutting 10 percent of income from public and private sector employees who earn more than 12,000 dinars ($6,700), a move that is expected to raise 320 million dinars. Last month the government cut its forecast for economic growth for the third time this year, from 3 percent to 2.4 percent. [Reuters, 10/2/2014]


Yemen reform plan still in line with IMF loan terms
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said that Yemen remains largely within the terms of its $553 million IMF loan deal despite government negotiations with the Houthis that rolled back subsidy cuts. The government agreed to cut fuel prices shortly after the signing of the peace and partnership two weeks ago and the Houthi seizure of Sana’a. Lagarde said, “The economic content of the recent agreement between the government and the Houthis is broadly consistent with this program. Despite some reversal in fuel price increases, the net savings in the subsidy bill remain substantial and will allow to increase spending in infrastructure and the Social Welfare Fund.” [Asharq Al-Awsat, 10/6/2014]

AQAP executes fourteen soldiers in Hadramout

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video Sunday night showing the execution of fourteen soldiers in the city of Shibam from August. The video depicts al-Qaeda forces waylaying a military bus and kidnapping the soldiers on board. The leader of the militant force claims the soldiers are Houthis whose political forces have been “handed” Sana’a and Amran by President Hadi. The video was released as the Houthis continue their hold on the capital and the country awaits the appointment of a new government. On Sunday the ambassadors of the Group of Ten countries urged Yemen to appoint a new prime minister. [Al Masdar (Arabic), 10/6/2014]

Exiled Herak leaders claim return ahead of October Revolution anniversary
Two Herak movement leaders-in-exile in Cairo have claimed that they will return to Aden to participate in protests commemorating the October 14 Revolution against British colonialism in the country’s south. Hassan Bannan claimed in an interview Sunday night that he and Bajash al-Aghbari would be returning to the south, though this was not confirmed by official sources. The two southern movement leaders established themselves in Cairo following their unconditional release from Yemen’s central prison on April 30, 2013, where they served time for participating in the separatist movement. [Aden al-Ghad, 10/6/2014]


IMF Director warns of spikes in oil prices due to conflict in Iraq and Syria
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned of the fragile recovery of the global economy and the effects of the turmoil in the Middle East, especially the war against ISIS and the instability of Iraq and Syria, which could trigger higher global oil prices. Lagarde explained that the expanding conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa will be in the minds of delegates during the IMF Annual Meetings held this week in Washington DC. The director also noted that the impact of the conflict on oil prices has so far been contained, but further escalation and the disruption of Iraq’s oil exports could trigger adverse shocks in the global oil markets. [Asharq al-Awsat, 10/5/2014]

Seventeen killed in fierce clashes in east Lebanon
At least fourteen Syria-based militants and three Hezbollah fighters were killed in fierce fighting on Sunday after jihadists attacked Hezbollah posts near the Lebanese villages of Brital and Nahleh. Sources indicated that Nusra Front and Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants briefly took control of a Hezbollah post in Brital but Hezbollah forces swiftly regained control of the site. Brital has been the target of several cross border rocket attacks from Syria as clashes between the Lebanese military, Hezbollah forces, and jihadist militants intensify in the border region. [The Daily Star, 10/6/2014]

King Abdullah affirms Saudi Arabia’s commitment to fighting terrorism
Reiterating Saudi Arabia’s determination to root out terrorism, King Abdullah on Sunday emphasized the importance of dialogue in combating extremism and promoting world peace. In his keynote address commemorating Haj this year, King Abdullah emphasized the Islamic teachings and values that urge Muslims to live in peace with other sects and faith-based communities. He confirmed that his government will not rest until the threat of terrorism is eradicated and vowed to confront militant groups that use Islam to achieve independent interests and “unlawfully stigmatize the beauty of Islam with their misleading rhetoric.” [Arab News, Asharq al-Awsat, 10/5/2014]