Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are discussing the creation of a military pact to take on Islamic militants, with the possibility of a joint force to intervene around the Middle East.


Egypt prepares for parliamentary polls; final legislation expected next week
The Higher Election Committee (HEC), a seven-‎member judicial body mandated with supervising ‎Egypt’s parliamentary polls, took new ‎measures Monday aimed at paving the way for the long-‎awaited polls.‎ After a meeting led by chairperson of Cairo’s appeals ‎court, Ayman Abbas, sources within the HEC said that it ‎has finalized the guidelines which will be adopted by ‎‎affiliated judicial mini-committees formed to ‎represent it in each of Egypt’s twenty-seven governorates.‎ HEC spokesperson Medhat Idris indicated that ‎each mini-committee will be headed by chairperson of ‎the governorate’s lower court and include ‎judges from the appeal and administrative courts ‎and the State Cases and the Administrative ‎Prosecution Authorities. HEC sources on Monday also indicated that judges ‎in charge of mini-committees must instruct security ‎forces that campaigning outside the polling stations ‎is banned and that voters must be heavily inspected ‎to ensure that weapons will not find their way into ‎polling stations.‎ [Ahram Online, 11/3/2014]

Also of Interest
Salafi groups divided over calls for ‘Islamic revolution’ | DNE
Sisi calls on June 30 fact-finding committee to present final report to the public | EGYNews (Arabic)
Fact-finding committee refuses to disclose details of June 30 report before handing it to the president | Ahram (Arabic)


Trial on expulsion of Brotherhood university leaders resumes December 16
The Administrative Court decided on Tuesday to begin the trial calling for the expulsion of Brotherhood-affiliated university leaders and faculty on December 16. Lawyer Samir Sabry filed the lawsuit, explaining, “There are many university professors belonging to Muslim Brotherhood, and they call on students to continue rioting in universities.” He added that there are at least thirty Brotherhood leaders in university positions. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic)

Also of Interest
Badie moved to Minya to attend retrial | Egypt Independent
Sawiris’ OCI says it has won tax dispute with Egypt’s authorities | Aswat Masriya, Reuters, Ahram Online
Rod al-Farag trial of 80, including Mamdouh Ismail, postponed to November 15 | EGYNews (Arabic)
Brotherhood Alexandria spokesman arrested Monday | Shorouk (Arabic)


Kuwait to raise crude oil exports to Egypt
Kuwait plans to raise its crude oil exports to Egypt to up to 100,000 barrels per day from 65,000 bpd now and is ready to supply it with refined fuel too if needed, a Kuwaiti oil official said on Tuesday. Kuwait was studying Egypt’s need for petroleum products, said Nasser al-Mudhaf, managing director for international marketing at state owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC). “We are ready to provide it with diesel,” he told Reuters before travelling to Cairo. Kuwait has said it would ship around two million barrels of crude oil a month in early October to Egypt, giving it priority as a buyer ahead of sales from storage into the Mediterranean market. [Reuters, 11/4/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt signs deal with Norwegian firm to rent LNG import terminal | Ahram Online, DNE
EGAS anticipates natural gas connection to 2.6 million housing units in three years | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
Growth in Egyptian business activity slows in October, says PMI | Reuters
BP to invest $240 million in Egypt through two new exploration blocks | DNE
13 percent growth in telecommunications sector next year, says minister | Egypt Independent
British delegation to visit Egypt in January to discuss investment opportunities | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


HRW urges UN to condemn Egypt’s human rights record
Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement Tuesday calling on the UN to use the UN Human Rights Council’s upcoming November 5 review of Egypt as an opportunity for the UN to condemn “the most dramatic reversal of human rights in Egypt’s modern history under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.” Deputy Foreign Minister for International Organizations Affairs Hesham Badr said the delegation expects comments based on false or politicized information, but they will be corrected and strongly responded to. The final report that Egyptian authorities prepared for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) stressed Egypt’s commitments to the protection of human rights through actions of combating terrorism. Delegation heads of Arab and African countries pledged political support for Egypt during the review. Qatar’s ambassador to the Arab Group will also support the Egyptian government’s position. A group of Muslim Brotherhood representatives, named “Revolutionary Council Abroad,” held a seminar in Geneva a day ahead of the UN meeting. The seminar gathered Egyptian communities abroad to discuss human rights status in Egypt. [DNE, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, 11/4/2014]

Also of Interest
Mohamed Soltan falls unconscious on 281st day of hunger strike | Mada Masr
New labor law to agree annual bonus no less than 7 percent of basic wage | Ahram (Arabic)
Government shuts down twelve media offices abroad to rationalize spending | Egypt Independent
Police forces close downtown Cairo cafes | Mada Masr
Why the battle for control of downtown Cairo is a fight for the future of Egypt | The Guardian


Egyptian militant group denies pledging loyalty to Islamic State
Egypt’s most active militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), denied in a Twitter message on Tuesday that it had pledged allegiance to Islamic State and it distanced itself from a statement that appeared in its name online. “The statement spread in the media about our alleged allegiance to the Muslim caliphate is not ours, everyone should be careful and only take news from our main sources,” the tweet read. The account has been used to claim responsibility for several attacks, including an assassination attempt on interior minister Ahmed Ibrahim. It regularly publishes the group’s official statements and video clips. The veracity of either statement has not been confirmed. Meanwhile, two leading ABM members were killed in army raids, and twelve others were arrested, in North Sinai, on Monday. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Reuters, Mada Masr, 11/4/2014]

Sisi says government to push for more evacuations at Sinai borders
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said that more evacuations will be carried out at the border areas in the Sinai Peninsula, a measure decried by human rights advocates and a number of opposing activists as unconstitutional. The evacuations had started as part of the government’s bid to create a buffer zone designed to give it extra clout in its fight with terrorist groups active in Sinai. Local governor Abdel-Fattah Harhour claimed on Monday that the evacuations are “consensual,” with 662 out of 802 homeowners agreeing to the move. A presidential council recently formed by isi to meet with tribal elders in Rafah, said on Monday that Rafah residents “understood” the situation, but called for more compensation for the evacuations. The Social Development Council said compensations promised for the evacuees must be revised and the heritage of the area safeguarded during military operations. According to Sisi, the cost of the total cost of compensation could reach one billion pounds ($140 million). The evacuation has also led to an increase in moving and housing prices in Rafah. [Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 11/4/2014]


Egypt, Gulf Arab allies eye anti-militant alliance
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are discussing the creation of a military pact to take on Islamic militants, with the possibility of a joint force to intervene around the Middle East. The alliance would also serve as a show of strength to counterbalance their traditional rival, Shiite-dominated, Iran. Two countries are seen as potential theaters for the alliance to act, senior Egyptian military officials said: Libya, where Islamic militants have taken over several cities, and Yemen, where Shiite rebels suspected of links to Iran have seized control of the capital. Three Egyptian military officials discussed details of the talks and a fourth confirmed their comments. A Gulf official, who is aware of the discussions, also told the Associated Press that the governments were coordinating on how to deal with Libya, and the talks were “ongoing on wider cooperation on how to deal with extremists in the region.” [AP, 11/3/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt has restored ‘normal’ relations with the international community, says FM | Ahram Online
Egypt condemns Israel’s decision to build settlement units in East Jerusalem | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, SIS
Israel reopens Gaza border crossings | DNE
US embassy does not fund political activities in Egypt, says Consul General | Aswat Masriya
Egypt, Ethiopia stick to Malabo agreement in fifth round of talks | Ahram Online, DNE, SIS
PM, Dutch minister discuss promoting cooperation | SIS
Media wars hamper Qatari-Egypt relations | Al-Monitor