Top News: Egypt Official Says Citizens Free to Join Fight in Syria


A senior official in Egypt’s presidential office said that Egyptians are free to fight in the conflict in Syria, and will not be prosecuted on their return to Egypt. In a response to an Associated Press question about the government’s stance on citizens going to fight alongside Syrian rebels, Khaled al-Qazzaz, a foreign affairs advisor to President Mohamed Morsi, said that "the right of travel or freedom of travel is open for all Egyptians," adding that the state was taking no measures against anyone who goes to fight in Syria. 


Al-Jama’a al-Islamiya, Erian attack opposition forces

Al-Jama’a al-Islamiya spokesperson Mohamed Hassan has warned that violence could occur on June 30, the anniversary of President Mohamed Morsi’s inauguration, because "there are domestic entities being funded from abroad that aim to stir chaos and make Egypt like Syria or Libya… If the president is ousted, this will send Egypt into a cycle of violence and the law of the jungle will prevail," he predicted. Muslim Brotherhood-allied forces might protest again after the Islamist ‘renounce violence’ protests on June 21, Hassan added. Essam al-Erian, vice president of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), also belittled supporters of the June 30 protest, saying it would have no effect. He blamed opposition forces for the political crises that make ordinary citizens’ lives difficult. [Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), 6/14/2013]

Morsi leaves mosque after protesters’ cries
President Mohamed Morsi, left a mosque after Friday prayers after cries of ‘irhal’ or ‘leave’ from the worshipers opposed to him. As the president left, many from the congregation chanted “down with Brotherhood rule” and “down the Supreme Guide” as others who support him tried to greet him. Members of the Republican Guard in uniform and other security officials had to protect the president and his motorcade as he was swarmed by demonstrators. Supporters chanted “Morsi, Morsi” as they faced off with protesters, who left feeling satisfied they had delivered their message. [AMAY (Arabic), 6/14/2013]

Also of Interest:
Brotherhood mulls renewing supreme guide’s term | Egypt Independent, AMAY (Arabic)


Public prosecution investigates Alexandria clashes
Public prosecution in Alexandria began investigating the clashes that erupted Wednesday night. Violence between the Tamarod movement and supporters of President Mohamed Morsi escalated in Alexandria, leaving eight injured. The Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria accused Tamarod of commencing a violent campaign by trapping members of the Brotherhood’s FJP in al-Tawhid Mosque and attacking the party’s offices. Khaled al-Qady, a spokesman in Alexandria for the petition movement calling for early presidential elections, claimed that supporters of the president attacked members of the Tamarod campaign and broke into their offices stealing a laptop, a bag with petitions, and left five volunteers injured. [DNE, 6/13/2013]

Five journalists bailed for alleged Brotherhood assault
Prosecutors in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Assiut have ordered the release of five journalists on bail Thursday, despite accusations they assaulted Muslim Brotherhood leader Wahid Mohamed Hassan. Hassan accused the journalists of assaulting him while covering a protest led by teachers demanding permanent employment contracts outside Assiut provincial headquarters. Two of them had meanwhile filed separate claims following the incident, accusing Hassan of beating and insulting them. Interrogations of the five journalists reportedly continued for six hours before they were released on bail, along with the Brotherhood official. [Egypt Independent, 6/13/2013]


Ministry of Interior gears up for June 30 protests

The Ministry of Interior announced it is emptying all police stations of weapons, and will be moving prisoners to public prisons, ahead of the June 30 protests. A security source told Shorouk the decision was taken as a precautionary measure in the event that police stations are attacked during the protests. A security source also revealed precautionary measures being taken in the Canal cities and Sinai, saying that it includes Bedouins securing businesses, while the army will secure security directorates and police stations. Former Intelligence Agent Tharwat Gouda predicted that the army will take to the streets in the event of a sit-in, or if any protesters are killed. No official statement has been made by the army on its role in the June 30 protests. Meanwhile, the March 7 Officers announced that 8,000 policemen would be participating in the June 30 protests. [Shorouk (Arabic), El Watan (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 6/14/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt has 14th most powerful army worldwide | Aswat Masriya, AMAY (Arabic)


US ambassador warns against unemployment crisis in Egypt
US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson said the economic challenges that are attached to unemployment are the most fundamental difficulties that currently face the Egyptian government. Patterson also referred to the significance of the coordination between the US administration and the Egyptian government in addition to the non-governmental organizations in solving Egypt’s economic challenges. [Ahram Online, 6/13/2013]

Egyptian anger grows over Suez Canal development plan
A plan by Egypt’s Islamist-led government to develop the land along the Suez Canal faces fierce opposition in districts that have been flashpoints for violence before, and may even threaten traffic on the strategic waterway. Officials say a draft law aims to raise $100 billion in yearly revenues, bypass bureaucracy and create an industrial hub for shipping along the 192 km (120-mile) strip. Those opposing argue it gives the president absolute powers to seize land. They argue such a clause [authority’s finances are considered "private funds”] will allow the state to use land as an asset against sukuk debt raisings, which if Egypt is unable to repay, can be claimed by investors.[Reuters, 6/13/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian Business Council of Europe asks for Nile Basin development plan | AMAY (Arabic)
Egypt targets 13 million tourists in 2013 | DNE
Tourism Minister says any violence on June 30 will hurt tourism | AMAY (Arabic)
Egypt’s Wheat Harvest Becomes Mired in Politics | AP
Suez Canal May revenues up 1 percent year-on-year | Egypt Independent
Egyptian pound weakens on black market | Ahram Online


‘Tamarod Week’ commences; Clashes break out in 6th of October city

Tamarod campaign announced ‘Tamarod Week’ of continuous visits to numerous governorates across Egypt to coordinate with all political and social factions their plans for June 30 and their demands for after the fall of President Morsi. Tamarod campaigners are traveling to as many governorates as possible in the upcoming week, including South Sinai and Upper Egypt. Alexandria campaigners, despite violence on Wednesday, will continue to campaign in the same location. Clashes broke out between the Brotherhood and Tamarod protesters in 6th of October following Friday prayers. [DNE, Ahram Online, AMAY (Arabic), 6/13/2013]

Culture ministry sit-in continues for tenth day
Filmmakers, writers, intellectuals and activists continued their sit-in at the Ministry of Culture for a tenth day on Friday. The protesters are calling for the dismissal of Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz. Dozens of activists and intellectuals gathered in front of the cultural palace in Damietta, capital of Fayoum governorate, on Friday in protest at what they say are the culture minister’s attempts to ‘Brotherhoodize’ the ministry and to show solidarity with protesters in Zamalek. Additionally, Sheikh Sayed, a representative of al-Azhar, delivered a Friday sermon followed by both Christian and Sufi songs sung with the protests at the culture ministry.
[Ahram OnlineAMAY (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic), 6/13/2013]

Also of Interest:
Sitcom with all-male cast to air on Islamist satellite channel in Ramadan | Ahram Online
Egypt’s Brotherhood ‘exclusionary political sect’: Bishop | Ahram Online
Meet the Black Bloc: Egypt’s most talked about radical opposition group | Ahram Online
Imams in Beni Suef: The media corrupts Egypt’s religion and morals | EGYNews (Arabic)
Egypt’s Sufis thrive despite attacks | AP


Morsi discusses Syria with UN chief, Islamic scholars

President Mohamed Morsi received a phone call from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, during which they discussed a number of regional issues, including the Syrian crisis and Egyptian-Ethiopian relations. Morsi stressed the necessity of the international community to shoulder responsibility for taking measures to end bloodshed in Syria, the statement said. The president said that Egypt supports all efforts aiming at holding Geneva II conference as soon as possible and that Egypt will put forward its initiative to settle the ongoing Syrian crisis. Morsi also discussed Syrian developments with Islamic scholars from around the region during a conference in Cairo on Thursday. Morsi said during the meeting that the suffering of the Syrian people requires uniting efforts of the Islamic and Arabic world. [SIS, DNE, 6/14/2013]

Egypt official says citizens free to join fight in Syria; Gov’t says it was a misquote
A senior official in Egypt’s presidential office said that Egyptians are free to fight in the conflict in Syria, and will not be prosecuted on their return to Egypt. In a response to an Associated Press question about the government’s stance on citizens going to fight alongside Syrian rebels, Khaled al-Qazzaz, a foreign affairs advisor to President Mohamed Morsi, said that "the right of travel or freedom of travel is open for all Egyptians," adding that the state was taking no measures against anyone who goes to fight in Syria. The presidency, however, stated that al-Qazzaz was misquoted, and published excerpts of the interview on the Egyptian government’s Foreign Policy blog. Meanwhile, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members rallied in support of Syria after Friday prayers at the Amr ibn al-Aas Mosque in Cairo, calling on Morsi to open the doors of Jihad to Muslims to participate in liberation of Syria. [Ahram Online, AP, AMAY (Arabic), 6/14/2013]

Also of Interest:
Ethiopia ratifies Nile accord opposed by Egypt | Ahram Online, AP, ONA (Arabic)
Uganda backs Ethiopia in dam conflict | DNE, Ahram Online
Ethiopian PM calls for cooperation with Egypt | Aswat Masriya
Subcommittee hearing in DC: tolerance for NGO verdicts “next to nil” | DNE

Photo: FreedomHouse2

Image: Syria_2.jpg