Top News: Egypt Offers Military Training to Libya

Egypt has offered to train pro-government forces battling rival armed groups in Libya, stepping up efforts to eradicate what it says is a threat to its own stability from the anarchy engulfing its neighbor.


Egypt’s Sisi forms new ‘specialist councils’
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday announced the formation of two subsidiary specialist councils aimed at addressing nationwide social and educational issues. Sisi issued presidential decrees to form the Community Development Council and the Education and Scientific Research Council. The Community Development Council, according to a presidential statement, has been formed to tackle negative social phenomena like street children, sexual harassment, and to combat extremist thought, improve religious discourse, and address preventative medicine and public health. Meanwhile, the Education and Scientific Research Council aims to achieve more coordination between Egyptian research centers and to maximize their role in “confronting the challenges facing Egypt’s society,” particularly education. [Ahram Online, 9/30/2014]

Pro-Morsi alliance condemns Istiqlal Party dissolution
The Pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy condemned on Tuesday the dissolution of the Islamist Istiqlal Party, describing it as “retaliation against the January 25 Revolution.” The alliance said the decision is an extension of the policies of the “failed coup as well its judiciary, media, and police,” in attempt to counter any revolutionary mobilization by parties or groups. The statement also claimed that the verdict is unlawful, arguing that the court that issued the statement is not specialized in the affairs of political parties. State media reported that the party was ordered to be dissolved on Monday by the Cairo Urgent Matters Court on the grounds of “terrorism” and inciting violence. However, the party denied on Tuesday that it is banned, adding that it will continue its activities. “The party does not seek its legitimacy from courts.” [DNE, 10/1/2014]

Also of Interest:
I can’t work against the people’s will: Sisi | Aswat Masriya, SIS
Sisi calls on youth to participate in Egypt parliamentary vote | Ahram Online


Nine members sentenced to two years in prison for ‘illegal assembly’
A group of nine people, among them three members of the April 6 movement, were sentenced on Tuesday to two years in prison for illegal assembly. The defendants were not in custody when the verdict was issued. They were arrested in January for organizing a protest in Cairo’s Talaat Harb Square, and were released a month later on bail. April 6 coordinator Amr Aly said: “The assembly was very small and did not violate the protest law; as soon as the first five persons showed up, the police forces arrested them.” The controversial protest law defines a demonstration as the gathering of more than ten people in a public space to express their opinions, make demands, or for political purposes. [DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 10/1/2014]

Morsi absent from jailbreak trial ‘for security reasons’
The Cairo Criminal Court postponed on Wednesday the trial of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and 130 others for escaping from the Wadi al-Natroun prison to October 18. Sources said that Morsi would not attend the session due to security concerns. The court had mandated the prosecution during the previous session to ask general intelligence and military intelligence whether the incident — sneaking through the state’s eastern borders during the uprising — was recorded on video. The defense team’s Mohamed Damati said the videos would reveal whether Hamas members did indeed infiltrate the borders to help the prisoners escape. [Aswat Masriya, 10/1/2014]

Also of Interest:
Probe ordered into Sabbahi remarks on awaited verdict against Mubarak | Egypt Independent
Prime minister blames Nasr City officials for water cut, refers them to prosecution | Egypt Independent
Minya court orders detention of 161, postpones retrial | DNE
Trial on banning religious parties from parliamentary elections postponed to October 15 | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egypt secures $1.4 billion in loans from banks to repay foreign oil firms
A consortium of banks signed a EGP10 billion ($1.4 billion) loan agreement with Egypt’s petroleum sector on Wednesday, state-run news agency MENA reported. The loan, granted by the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), Commercial International Bank (CIB), the Arab African Bank, and Qatar National Bank (QNB), will be used to repay some of Egypt’s debt to foreign oil companies. It consists of a EGP6 billion loan in the local currency to be repaid over five years, including a one-year grace period, and $550 million (EGP4 billion) loan in US dollars to be repaid over four years with a one-year grace period, according to NBE chairman Hisham Okasha. Egypt plans to repay between $2-3 billion of its $6 billion debt to foreign firms by the end of the year. [Ahram Online, 10/1/2014]

Also of Interest:
Egypt sees most tourists in three years in August: Minister | Ahram Online
Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris blames ‘cowardly’ minister for tax dispute | Ahram Online
UAE firm signs deal to build Egypt’s first coal-fired power plant | Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr
BP begins drilling new offshore well near Damietta | Mada Masr


Contradictory accounts over activist Ahmed Douma’s hunger strike
The current status of activist Ahmed Douma’s hunger strike has been marred with contradictory statements. While the official Facebook page of “Freedom for the Brave” quoted Douma’s family as saying he temporarily suspended his hunger strike after his health deteriorated, his brother, Mohamed Douma, denied this news. His brother said that Douma is currently on an intravenous drip for the first time since he began the strike, and also denied that he had been admitted to a prison hospital. Meanwhile, the Freedom for the Brave Movement has said that there are 150 people currently on hunger strike, including 136 detainees and fourteen others. [DNE, 10/1/2014]

Over 2,000 residents forced from homes, denied work on Suez Canal project
Egypt’s Suez Canal Project has displaced over 2,000 longtime residents living by the planned course of the new megaproject.  According to lawyers for the displaced, well over 1,000 residential units have been torn down and their agricultural lands confiscated in villages just east of the central part of the Suez Canal. No monetary compensation has been paid for the demolitions, nor has alternate housing been provided, although state officials have pledged allotted plots of empty land, amounting to 150 square meters per family. Displaced families have been told that they will be repatriated in villages around 130 kilometers northeast of Cairo. Evicted residents are also being denied work opportunities in the New Suez Canal Project, due to unspecified security concerns. [Mada Masr, 10/1/2014]

Also of Interest:
Poll conducted by Baseera on Sisi’s US visit | DNE
Cairo University to examine appeals by suspended students | DNE
The Brotherhood diaspora | Mada Masr


Police officer shot dead in Egypt’s Sohag
A police officer was killed and another officer was injured when assailants opened fire on them near a checkpoint in Sohag governorate, Upper Egypt, on Tuesday afternoon. The two officers were on duty in the city of Dar al-Salam when they were shot several blocks away from a security checkpoint, according to Sohag’s security directorate. Ahmed Farouk was killed while Ahmed Omar was injured in the attack and transferred to Sohag General Hospital. [Ahram Online, DNE, 9/30/2014]

Seven militants killed, fifteen arrested in Sinai
Local Sinai journalist Ahmed Abou Deraa told Daily News Egypt that a military campaign was launched on Tuesday against militants in South Sheikh Zuweid and South Rafah in Sinai that left seven militants affiliated with Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis dead and fifteen militants arrested. According to Abou Deraa, the campaign’s main aim was to maintain security and prohibit any “terrorist operations” during Eid al-Adha or the celebrations of 6th of October. [DNE, 10/1/2014]

Also of Interest:
Two blasts rock Kafr al-Zayyat area, no injuries reported | Egypt Independent


Egypt offers military training to Libya, cites Islamic State threat
Egypt has offered to train pro-government forces battling rival armed groups in Libya, stepping up efforts to eradicate what it says is a threat to its own stability from the anarchy engulfing its neighbor. Egyptian military officials and representatives of pro-government Libyan forces have met several times over the past two months in Cairo and Marsa Matrouh, Egyptian security officials said. An intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “intelligence and training” assistance were on the table. The Egyptian government spokesman declined comment, but Ahmad Buzeyad al-Missmari, spokesman of the Libyan General Chief of Staff, confirmed Egypt had offered training for troops. [Reuters, 10/1/2014]

Turkey hits back at Egypt amid diplomatic row
Turkey’s foreign ministry has attacked Egypt’s response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent criticism of the Egyptian government, amid a diplomatic standoff between the two states. The Turkish ministry said in a statement late Tuesday that “the principle of non-interference in states’ internal affairs cannot be used as a means to legitimize human rights violations.” It also said that Egypt’s foreign ministry statement on September 29 included “claims and allegations about Turkey that cannot be accepted or taken seriously.”  Turkey struck hard at Egypt’s current human rights situation and said that the administration in Egypt has not acknowledged its “sincere” calls for a rapid transition to democracy in line with the will of the people in Egypt. [Ahram Online, DNE, 10/1/2014]

Also of Interest:
EU’s Ashton to visit Egypt ahead of Gaza donors’ conference | Ahram Online
Egypt-Ethiopia talks ‘overcame confidence obstacle’: Minister | Ahram Online
Cairo, Addis Ababa to meet over Renaissance Dam on 22 October | Egypt Independent
Egyptian pilgrim arrested in Mecca for ‘chanting against Arab rulers’ | DNE
Crisis of thirty Egyptian trucks held in Libya’s Ajdabiya ends | Egypt Independent