Top News: Army Chief Sisi Does Not Rule out Presidential Bid

Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, held open the possibility he might run for the presidency in an interview published on Thursday in a Kuwaiti newspaper.


Army Chief Sisi does not rule out presidential bid
Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, held open the possibility he might run for the presidency in an interview published on Thursday in a Kuwaiti newspaper. When asked directly at the beginning of the interview whether he would run for president, Sisi answered with a number of questions. “Would this be satisfying to the people? Would it satisfy some outside powers? Would this mean that I would work on Egypt’s problems? Anyone who realizes the extent of Egypt’s problems would turn away from the presidential race,” he said. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Gate (Arabic), Mada Masr, Reuters, 11/21/2013]

Curfew won’t return but anti-terrorism law in progress: Cabinet
A spokesman for the Egyptian cabinet said on Wednesday that it has no current intention to re impose emergency law, but that it hoped a counter-terrorism law would be issued soon. A cabinet meeting on Thursday will discuss the attack on Wednesday on a military bus in Sinai which left eleven Egyptian soldiers dead and thirty-seven injured. It will also discuss the assassination of Mohamed Mabrouk, a senior officer in Egypt’s national security on Sunday, spokesman Hany Salah told Al-Ahram. [Ahram Online 11/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Interim president says Egypt does not depend on foreign assistance | SIS


Egypt panels approves military trials for civilians, gives military eight-year veto over defense minister
Egypt’s fifty-member constitution committee has approved an article allowing civilians to be tried by military courts. At Wednesday’s session, thirty members voted in favor of the article, seven against, with two abstentions. The remaining eleven were absent. The assembly also has passed an article that grants the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) the right to choose the country’s defense minister for the next eight years. The president will have the right to appoint the defense minister, but this will come into effect after two presidential terms have elapsed. The article grants the president the authority to remove the defense minister when he wishes though, as well as the right to appoint one with the permission of the SCAF. Ahmed Maher, leader of the April 6 Movement, announced the rejection to any constitution that grants military trials for the civilians. Meanwhile, the constituent assembly has decided to introduce a quota for women, Coptic Christians and youths in parliament, sources said. The sources added that the assembly has formed a subcommittee to decide on the ratios before presenting them to the general committee for a vote. Debates continue concerning disabled rights and judiciary related articles.  Fifty-one civil society organizations, associations, and public figures objected to the text in a draft article of the constitution that deals with the rights of disabled citizens, proposed by the fifty-member assembly. Judges have differed on the response of the constituent panel to the judiciary and public prosecution´s demands regarding the new draft constitution. Some welcomed the articles on assigning the Supreme Judicial Council with choosing the public prosecutor, setting a single figure for judicial bodies´ budgets, and not amending the law on the judicial authority without the consent of two-thirds of the members of parliament, while others felt the committee ignored the issue of setting a retirement age for judges. Egypt’s new constitution will consist of 241 articles, including fifty-one articles in the section on basic principles, fifty-eight articles in the rights and freedoms section, and 123 articles in the governance system section, according to the official spokesman of the drafting committee. In a press conference held on Wednesday, Mohamed Salmawy said that the new text would contain thirty-nine completely new articles. [Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), Mada Masr, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, DNE, Egypt Independent, 11/21/2013]

Also of Interest:
Trial of twenty-one Alexandria detainees postponed to November 27 | DNE
Up to forty students sentenced to prison in Nasr City clashes | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online


Government financial bodies suffer EGP 10 billion losses
Egyptian government financial bodies suffered losses of EGP 10 billion during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, according to the latest report issued by the Ministry of Finance. The financial bodies received around EGP 3.4 billion in term of financing from the government, however, their revenues registered EGP 108 billion, representing only 91 percent of the targeted figure.“These losses are mainly directed by the increased expenditure on wages and the increased prices of electricity and water,” said Soad Bakhaty, the head of the Central Budget Department for Economic Bodies. Increasing minimum wage, Bakhaty said, would not necessarily result in additional net losses, since a balance could be achieved using the surplus from the application of maximum wage law to compensate [DNE, 11/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian government to settle public textile sector debts | Ahram Online
Egyptian Pound strengthens at Dollar sale | DNE


Student killed at Al-Azhar University protest
A student supporter of deposed president Mohamed Morsi has been shot dead during clashes with security forces at Al-Azhar University. Police stormed the campus late on Wednesday as violence flared between students throwing petrol bombs and police replying with teargas, state news agency MENA reported. The Ministry of Interior accused the protesting students of attempting to break into Al-Azhar, also accusing them of blocking the Salah Salem road and describing them as belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. It announced the arrest of twenty-four “rioters”, adding that one of them is of Turkish nationality. Around 1,500 students from Al-Azhar University marched on Wednesday from the university campus in Cairo’s Nasr City to the Al-Azhar headquarters, Al-Ahram reported. Following Wednesday’s violence, Al-Azhar University Chairman Osama Al-Abd announced a ban on all protests within the university campus. Students nevertheless staged a protest on Thursday morning inside university campus, condemning Wednesday’s clashes. Al-Azhar has also called for an immediate investigation into the death of the student, adding that security forces responded to attempts by students to burn and vandalize the university grounds. In a statement, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party accused the interim government of using the clashes at Al-Azhar were an attempt to distract attention from the fact that the interim government has failed in securing Egyptians, protecting the troops in Sinai, accusing the government of masterminding the attacks.  [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, Reuters, Shorouk (Arabic), 11/21/2013]

Pro-Morsi coalition calls for protests dubbed ‘The Massacre of the Century’
A pro-Morsi coalition has called for protests at the location of two sit-ins that were violently dispersed by security forces on August 14, leaving over 600 dead. Ali Khafagi of the Pro-Legitimacy and Anti-Coup Coalition called for supporters to gather on Sunday at Raba’a al-Adaweya Square in Cairo and Nahda Square in Giza to commemorate the hundreds of victims. The announcement was made on the website of the Freedom and Justice Party newspaper.  There would also be protests at other venues on Friday dubbed ‘The Massacre of the Century,’ Khafagi said. [Ahram Online  Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), Egypt Independent, 11/21/2013]


Egyptian police officer killed on anti-terrorist mission
An Egyptian police officer was killed Thursday in a mission targeting militants involved with a high profile national security assassination earlier this week, Al-Ahram reported. Security sources said Captain Ahmed Samir Mahmoud was killed in an exchange of fire with suspected militants near a hideout. National Security and special operations officers were also on the mission in Qalubiya province outside of Cairo to the north. Initial investigations showed Mahmoud, killed Thursday, was shot in the neck at short distance and instantly killed. Funeral prayers were held in a local mosque at noon. Meanwhile, a high security alert has been declared in Qalubiya province in anticipation of further incidents. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, Reuters, 11/21/2013]

Also of Interest:
Sinai car-bomb casualties died ‘confronting terrorism’: Al-Sisi | DNE
Seven arrested over Arish bomb attack | SIS
Assassinated police officer disclosed evidence Morsi spied for Hamas: Sources | Egypt Independent


US Secretary of State says Brotherhood stole Egypt’s revolution
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday accused the Muslim Brotherhood of stealing Egypt’s revolution, in some of his toughest comments yet about the party that took power in the nation’s first democratic election. In a speech to a forum on enhancing links between private sector businesses and diplomatic security agencies, Kerry said “the best antidote to extremism is opportunity.” “Those kids in Tahrir Square, they were not motivated by any religion or ideology. “They were motivated by what they saw through this interconnected world, and they wanted a piece of the opportunity and a chance to get an education and have a job and have a future, and not have a corrupt government that deprived them of all of that and more,” the top US diplomat said. “They tweeted their ways and Facetimed their ways and talked to each other, and that’s what drove that revolution. “And then it got stolen by the one single-most organized entity in the state, which was the Brotherhood.” Kerry’s statements are the fiercest against the Brotherhood since Egypt’s military deposed President Mohamed Morsi, who hailed from it, which was prompted by mass protests against his rule. [AFP, Aswat Masriya, 11/21/2013]

Foreign Ministry dismisses reports of Russian arms deal
Official Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Daily News Egypt on Wednesday that reports of an arms deal with Russia are not true, stressing that the recent visit by the Russian ministerial delegation was the beginning of the fledgling relationship between Egypt and Russia. Badr Abdelatty said the quadrilateral meeting held between Egypt and Russia’s Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs last week showed that the “political will” for cooperation exists but dismissed the idea that Egypt is signing a $2 billion deal for helicopters and air-defense systems, as has been reported recently in international media. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry also quoted Russian officials as saying that the statement made ​​by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the Gazeta Rossiyskaya newspaper about his country’s desire to establish a military base in Egypt was inaccurately translated, pointing out that the minister did not use the term “naval” base. [DNE, Egypt Independent, 11/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Russia lifts travel warning on Egypt | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Shorouk (Arabic)
Sisi meets British national security adviser | Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), SIS
EU to decide on observing upcoming referendum | DNE
Ethiopia rejects Egypt’s request to build Renaissance Dam jointly | Egypt Independent

Image: Photo: Egypt Armed Forces