Top News: Congress Doesn’t Object to Proposed Egypt Military Aid Package

US lawmakers did not raise any objections to a proposed $1.3 billion military assistance package for Egypt during two days of hearings with Secretary of State John Kerry. Their silence is the clearest sign yet that Congress is lining up behind President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he takes on the Islamic State and other Islamists. 


Report says at least EGP 7 billion to be spent on electoral campaigns
Spending on the upcoming parliamentary elections is poised to be higher than ever due to the omission of the Shura council and rising ”terrorist activity,” according to a recent report by the Cairo Centre for Economic and Strategic Studies (CCES). According to the report, the total expected spending on the elections by candidates will not be less than EGP 7 billion, and may reach as high as EGP 10 billion. Meanwhile, former president of the State Council, Hamed al-Gamal, said at least EGP 1 billion could go to waste if the government proceeds with the parliamentary elections, despite legal challenges to the elections laws and the division of electoral districts. Gamal argued that parliamentary elections should be annulled or postponed during this period. [DNE, 2/25/2015]

Sisi meets with ex-Brotherhood figures, plan to pardon allegedly underway
Presidential sources said that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with several dissident Muslim Brotherhood leaders on Wednesday upon their request. During the meeting, former Brotherhood figures, including Kamal al-Helbawy, Tharwat al-Kharbawy and Mokhtar Nouh, offered proposals to face the extremist ideology of terrorist groups that the country could benefit from later, sources said. In related news, a plan to pardon some Brotherhood members, which would allow them to leave custody in exchange for signing an agreement, is allegedly currently in the works. Informed sources said meetings are taking place among Muslim Brotherhood figures, involved in several lawsuits, and members of the special committee on reconciliation with the group’s prisoners. Helbawy and another former Brotherhood member, Tareq al-Bishbeeshy, are said to be on the committee. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sources said that the meetings are taking place upon request of the security services. [Egypt Independent, 2/26/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Fears expressed over Egypt’s new ‘terrorist entities’ law, despite ‘need for it’ | Ahram Online
  • Former minister criticizes ‘terrorist entities’ law | Egypt Independent
  • Nour Party ladies receive membership cards, but no photos | Egypt Independent
  • Sama al-Masry: I don’t have an electoral program | Egypt Independent
  • Democratic Current to participate in parliamentary elections should Supreme Court accepts appeals | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Nour party: Postponing parliamentary elections better than dissolving parliament | Shorouk (Arabic)


Nine year old child to face military court in Fayoum
A nine- year-old child will be tried by a Fayoum military court after allegedly attacking security forces and burning electricity transformers, relatives and a legal support group told Daily News Egypt. The child is to be tried alongside his father Magdy Mohamed Talib, an engineer and former government official. Talib’s brother Abu Abeeda, said the former head of the Fayoum Roads and Bridges Authority was “removed from his post after the coup and detained for eight months” but later released. Meanwhile, the Cairo Military Criminal Court is scheduled to issue a verdict on March 17 on nine people accused of setting fire to Al-Azhar University’s gate. The defendants were arrested from their homes in November 2014, and charged with ruining public properties, carrying flammable items, and weapons, in addition to belonging to a terrorist group. Four of the defendants are fugitives, including one who is living abroad and is accused of sedition. [DNE, 2/25/2015]

Court sets May 16 for verdict in Morsi’s jailbreak trial
Cairo Criminal Court has set May 16 as the date for its final verdict in the jailbreak trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and 130 others. The court will rule on charges of the jailbreak of inmates from a number of prisons in the early days of the January 2011 uprising, including Morsi, who reportedly escaped from Wadi al-Natroun prison. Morsi and the rest of the defendants face charges of murder and attempted murder of policemen, torching government buildings, breaking into prison and helping prisoners escape. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 2/25/2015]

Two Egyptian policemen held after lawyer’s death in custody
Two Egyptian policemen accused of killing two detainees in custody at the Matariya police station were detained on Thursday on the orders of an Egyptian prosecutor, judicial sources said. The officers, a lieutenant colonel and a major, will be held for four days pending investigations into the death of Karim Hamdy and Emad Ahmed al-Attar on Tuesday, and could be charged with murder. Hamdy, 27, died from torture two days after his arrest and the initial forensic report showed he had sustained fractures in the ribs, bruises and bleeding in the chest and head, they said. Attar, who was arrested on January 26 during protests in Matariya, also died on Tuesday, with his cousin saying he was severely tortured by police agents. Meanwhile, Suez Prosecutors ordered on Wednesday the release of one of two policemen allegedly involved in the deadly shooting of two brothers last month. The prosecution said that according to an investigation, the police officer was not involved in the killings. The other police officer, however, remains in custody. [Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, 2/26/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt reaches EGP 9 billion settlement over Madinaty real estate project | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt: Three arrested over grisly dog killing | AP, Aswat Masriya
  • Trial of nine, including leading Brotherhood member, adjourned to March 26 | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Trial of sixty-eight defendants on charges of storming Helwan police station postponed to March 12 | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Six members of alleged Brotherhood-affiliated terrorist cell jailed pending investigation | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Interior ministry review 3,000 release requests in protest cases | Shorouk (Arabic)


World Bank’s portfolio in Egypt reaches record $5.4 million in 2015
World Bank Group’s current portfolio in Egypt surged to $5.4 billion in the fiscal year 2015, including twenty-six projects. The current portfolio of the World Bank Group in Egypt encompasses seventeen lending operations for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), part of World Bank, worth $5.27 billion in addition to nine major trust funds valued at $139.6 million. The World Bank finances projects for faster delivery of benefits to the people of Egypt in key sectors including energy, transport, water and sanitation, agriculture and irrigation as well as health and education. [Zawya, 2/25/2015]

Egypt army could play role in new Suez industrial hub
Egypt’s military could help build an industrial hub around a new Suez Canal, the project’s manager said, the first suggestion that the armed forces may play an important role in the huge investment venture planned alongside the new waterway. The army began in August digging the new $8 billion canal that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi wants completed within a year. The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, retired admiral Moham Memish, told Reuters the army should also help develop the planned industrial and logistics hub. [Reuters, 2/26/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Petroleum Ministry moves to liberalize gas sector | Mada Masr
  • Egypt headed for strongest growth since uprising | Bloomberg
  • Four years after Egypt uprising, patronage politics dominate again | Reuters
  • Saudi Arabia asserts support for Egypt’s upcoming economic conference | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Sudanese President invited to attend Arab Summit in Sharm al-Sheikh | SIS
  • Sharm al-Sheikh Salam Square to be inaugurated in economic summit | Egypt Independent
  • New body to regulate natural gas market | Egypt Independent
  • Minister: Foreign direct investment in Egypt rose by 7.9 percent to $4.1 billion in 2014 | Egypt Independent


Cairo Air Defense stadium to host matches despite Zamalek deaths
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has announced they will use Cairo Air Defense stadium to host Premier League matches, despite a recent disaster that left twenty Zamalek fans dead. “No talks yet regarding excluding Cairo Air Defense from upcoming football matches,” the association’s Executive Manager Tharwat Swailem told an Egyptian TV program on Wednesday.The EFA official also stated, “We are coordination with the Interior Ministry and we are finalizing procedures of the league resumption and the summer window transfer. The league may be extended to late July and we will be in coordination with the FIFA to legalize our decisions.” {Ahram Online, 2/26/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Ending Al-Bernameg is a message louder than anything that could ever be said: Bassem Youssef | DNE
  • Priests face off with bulldozers razing monastery for new road | Egypt Independent
  • Four years after Egypt revolution, patronage politics dominate again | Reuters
  • Twitter campaign demands presenter expelled over activists’ jail criticisms | Egypt Independent
  • Muslim anti-terrorism conference calls for education reform | AP
  • Amnesty: Egypt human rights continued deterioration in 2014 | Egypt Independent
  • Bird flu infections in first two months of 2015 exceed all cases in 2014 | Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
  • Drug company owners conflicts delay offering of Egyptian Sovaldi | Egypt Independent
  • 500 plays stolen from Egyptian television union, posted on Internet | Egypt Independent
  • Three students expelled from university over anti-army and police chants | EGYNews (Arabic)


One killed, nine injured in six blasts at mobile shops, two police stations in Giza
Six bombs detonated in Giza early on Thursday morning, killing one and injuring at least nine people. An explosion outside a fast food restaurant in the neighborhood of Imbaba killed one of the restaurant’s employees and injured two others, said the Interior Ministry. Police told Ahram that the explosion led to the amputation of the leg of one of those injured. Another explosion occurred near a police station in the neighborhood of Warraq, leaving six people, among them four police officers, injured. Three other bombs exploded in Mohandiseen, targeting outlet shops of mobile network providers, Vodafone and Etisalat. The glass fronts of two Vodafone shops and one Etisalat shop were damaged by three explosions, which left three injured, according to the health ministry. Two improvised explosive devices also went off at a bus station in the governorate of Daqahliyah on Thursday, leaving no casualties, reported state news agency MENA. Security forces dismantled a third explosive device in the station. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, AP, Aswat Masriya, 2/26/2015]

At least thirty-eight suspected militants killed in Egypt’s North Sinai say security sources
Egypt’s military killed dozens of suspected Islamist militants in an operation in Sinai, security sources said on Wednesday, while state media reported the kidnapping of a businessman in the region. Apache helicopter gunships killed eighteen suspected militants after they destroyed four vans in North Sinai, security sources in the remote but strategic region said. Twenty were killed when the military bombed a residence, a school and a youth center where the suspected militants were gathering near the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, the sources said. Twenty-eight militants were wounded, they said. Another security source in Cairo said the military launched an operation in North Sinai that had left “scores” dead. Egypt’s state news agency, MENA, also said that unidentified gunmen kidnapped the local director of a water distribution company from his home in Sheikh Zuweid. [Mada Masr, Reuters, 2/25/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Military source: Conscript injured in border shooting in Sinai | Aswat Masriya


Congress doesn’t object to proposed Egypt military aid package
US lawmakers did not raise any objections to a proposed $1.3 billion military assistance package for Egypt during two days of hearings with Secretary of State John Kerry. Their silence is the clearest sign yet that Congress is lining up behind President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he takes on the Islamic State and other Islamists. Kerry indicated that a decision to release more aid is imminent. During his testimony at the US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Kerry said that Egypt can offer much to counter extremism and fight terrorism in Sinai. He also highlighted the Egyptian role within the peace process in the Middle East as well as the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. [Al Monitor, MENA, 2/26/2015]

Russia, Egypt sign customs agreement
Egypt and Russia signed four customs agreements aimed at facilitating trade between the two countries, the Finance Ministry announced Wednesday. According to Egyptian Customs Authority Commissioner Magdi Abdul Aziz and his Russian counterpart, the agreements will help open up the Russian market to Egyptian exports, particularly agricultural products. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reaffirmed his country’s participation in Egypt’s March economic conference, during a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart in Moscow late Wednesday. [Mada Masr, SIS, 2/26/2015]

Also of Interest

  • More Egyptians return to Egypt from Libya | DNE, Ahram Online
  • Ministry: 800,000 Egyptian workers in Libya | Egypt Independent
  • Britain to support Egyptian parliament | DNE
  • Sisi to visit Saudi Arabia next week | Egypt Independent
  • Libyan PM stresses “full coordination” with Egypt in facing “terrorist groups” | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt hands over feasibility studies, designs of dam to South Sudan | SIS
  • Cabinet forms committee on death cases by terrorists in Libya | SIS
  • Red-carpet reception for Jordan’s King Abdullah II | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Egypt’s interior minister, Libyan counterpart discuss border and security| EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah discuss regional and international issues | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Body of Egyptian shot dead in Libya arrives to Cairo| EGYNews (Arabic)