Top News: Arab Foreign Ministers Agree to Form Joint Military force

Arab foreign ministers agreed on Thursday to form a joint Arab military force to counter growing security threats in the region, the Arab League’s chief Nabil al-Araby has said. A related draft resolution is to be submitted to Arab leaders for endorsement at an Arab League summit to be held in Sharm al-Sheikh next week.


UNHRC approves Egypt’s draft resolution on effects of terrorism on human rights
The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva approved a draft resolution on the effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights presented jointly by Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty said that twenty-five countries voted for the draft resolution, sixteen against it, and six abstained.  The draft resolution urges the international community to “take measures, including through education, awareness-raising, the media and human rights educational activities and training, to effectively address the root causes of terrorism and the factors that make individuals and groups more vulnerable to the effects of terrorism and increase their propensity to be recruited by terrorists.” Twenty-one non-governmental organizations, among them the Cairo International Human Rights Society, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, had submitted an open letter to the UNHRC urging it not to support the draft resolution. [Shorouk (Arabic), 3/27/2015]

State confiscates assets of sentenced defendants, charity organization for Brotherhood affiliation
The committee established to manage the funds of the Muslim Brotherhood seized on Thursday the assets of a number of sentenced defendants as well as a charity organization for ties with the banned group. The committee confiscated the assets of eighteen defendants sent to prison by a military tribunal after being accused of bombing power transformers, the committee’s secretary general said in a statement. It also seized nearly 1,500,000 Egyptian pounds belonging to Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazy. [Aswat Masriya, 3/26/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian Trade Union Federation to participate in Prime Minister’s meeting with political forces to amend electoral laws | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Conference party: Egypt’s participation in ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ implementation to joint defense force | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egyptian drops lawsuit to declare Hamas ‘terrorist group’
An Egyptian lawyer withdrew on Friday his lawsuit against Hamas, despite achieving a ruling in the case declaring the Palestinian faction a terrorist group under Egyptian law. Samir Sabry had hailed the February verdict against Hamas as historic and criticized the government’s appeal against it, but on Friday said he would drop the suit so that the verdict would not be “an obstacle to Egypt’s reconciliation efforts” between Palestinian factions and Israel. Sabry’s case withdrawal does not automatically cancel the verdict, which was based on two separate suits filed by Sabry and another lawyer, Ashraf Saeed. The Cairo Appeal Court for Urgent Matters will decide on the matter on Saturday. [Ahram Online, 3/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • ANHRI slams former judge’s impeachment over security apparatus sabotage | Egypt Independent
  • MOI to investigate video of police assault on two women in Daqahliya | Mada Masr
  • Morsi ‘Qatar espionage’ trial postponed to March 31 | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Illicit Gains Authority studies Adly acquittal, may appeal verdict | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Alleged Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis leader faces death penalty for crimes he did not commit, lawyers say | The Guardian


Finance ministry says no increase in fuel prices next fiscal year
Mohamed Abdel Fattah, director of the budget department at the Finance Ministry, said at a press conference on Thursday that the state budget of the 2015/2016 fiscal year would not increase fuel prices. Abdel Fattah added that the budget would focus on avoiding subsidy leakages by applying the smart cards system and rationalizing petroleum products. Finance Minister Hany Qadry Dimian said that the government public spending policy aims to reform the energy subsidies system. The International Monetary Fund said Egypt is expected to reduce fuel subsidies from 3.1 percent to 1.2 percent of GDP in the next fiscal year. [Egypt Independent, 3/26/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Supply Minister: New system of subsidized bread saved EGP11 billion | Egypt Independent
  • World Bank: Cooperation plan with Egypt focuses on job creation | SIS
  • Egypt terror attacks fail to scare investors | Al-Monitor
  • Egypt offers land to build EGP500 million trade zone in Gharbiya | Amwal Al Ghad
  • Egypt’s Amer begins construction of Jordan resort | Reuters


Strict measures ahead of Egyptian league resumption
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has conditioned the resumption of the domestic league on the implementation of newly-introduced rules following a six month hiatus in the wake of the Air Defense tragedy last month. With the league set to resume behind closed doors on March 30, the EFA has set specific measures in an attempt to avoid the repeat of February’s disaster. The rules, which were issued after coordination with security officials, include staging all league games in daylight as well as holding each round over a maximum period of two days if possible. Teams’ contingents should also not exceed thirty-five members including the eighteen-man squad and technical staffs, as a maximum of 15 board officials will only be allowed to attend their respective club games. [Ahram Online, 3/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Pro-Brotherhood students protest for colleagues’ release in Alexandria | Egypt Independent
  • Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh: I cited al-Hudeiby’s book to refute the Brotherhood | Egypt Independent


NGOs urge Arab leaders to consider non-security roots behind terrorism
Twenty-one Arab human rights NGOs have sent an official letter to Arab leaders condemning the unilateral use of security and military solutions for dealing with terrorism, leading to unprecedented human rights abuses and proving its failure regionally and internationally, particularly after September 11, 2001. The letter explains that the security solutions that produced the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) because Arab countries were completely ignorant to the deep political and religious roots of this phenomenon. The twenty-one NGOs include the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Tunisian Association Vigilance, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, the Saudi Arabian Human Rights First, the Yemeni Human Rights Training and Information Center, the Libyan Network for Human Rights Defenders and the Moroccan Human Rights Forum. [Egypt Independent, 3/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Seven Brotherhood affiliates arrested in Sharqiya over clashes that left conscript injured | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Three Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis members killed while planting bomb in Sheikh Zuweid | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Interior ministry arrests forty-one middle-ranking Brotherhood members | Shorouk (Arabic)


Arab foreign ministers agree to form joint military force  
Arab foreign ministers agreed on Thursday to form a joint Arab military force to counter growing security threats in the region, the Arab League’s chief Nabil al-Araby has said. A related draft resolution is to be submitted to Arab leaders for endorsement at an Arab League summit to be held in Sharm al-Sheikh next week. Araby’s statements come days after a Saudi-led regional coalition launched air strikes against the Houthi rebels that have taken control of large parts of Yemen. Araby added that the regional military intervention in Yemen was to defend the rights of the Yemeni people and the legitimacy of its government. Yemeni President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi left Aden for Egypt on Thursday, and is scheduled to attend the summit on Saturday, a few days of the country. Libya will also participate in the upcoming Arab League Summit with a delegation led by the head of the Libyan House of Representatives, Aqila Saleh. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Reuters, SIS, AP, 3/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt pledges military support in Yemen, again| Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
  • Yemen crisis tops Arab League agenda in Sharm al-Sheikh  | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Analysts: The war in Yemen may turn into a regional conflict | Egypt Independent
  • Sisi tells Saudi king Gulf’s security is a red line for Egypt | Ahram Online
  • UK more accepting of Saudi’s strikes in Yemen than Egypt’s Libya strikes | Ahram Online
  • Yemeni politician warns Egypt of participating in anti-Houthi military operation | Egypt Independent
  • EgyptAir: Flights between Egypt, Yemen suspended indefinitely| Egypt Independent
  • Sisi gets phone call from Saudi King, Defense Minister | SIS
  • Egypt, Germany prepare for joint summit | SIS
  • Military source confirms Egyptian engagement in first wave of Yemen airstrikes | Mada Masr
  • Armed Forces take part in restoring stability in Yemen – Presidency | SIS
  • Yemen conflict poised to escalate as Egypt says it is ready to send troops | The Guardian
  • Sisi allocates office at presidential HQ for Ethiopian popular diplomacy |SIS
  • Consultant office on renaissance dam to be chosen next week | SIS
  • Sixty-seven Egyptians arrested for trying to enter Libya illegally, 173 return via Salloum Crossing | EGYNews (Arabic)