Egypt’s interim government has revoked the permit for a non-governmental organization set up by the Muslim Brotherhood. Tuesday’s move by the cabinet is the latest in its push to dismantle the Brotherhood. The panel formed by Egypt’s interim-cabinet to handle the Muslim Brotherhood’s frozen assets also ordered on Tuesday the seizing of the Islamist group’s funds. The Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority decided Monday not to appeal the court ruling to ban the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and its NGO, making the September 23 court ruling that banned the Brotherhood and its affiliates final. [Ahram OnlineAP, 10/8/2013]


Egypt constitutional amendments to be completed before Eid, says spokesman
Mohamed Salmawi, spokesman for Egypt’s fifty-member constitutional committee amending the country’s 2012 constitution, said that changes will be finalised before the Islamic al-Adha feast next week. A new draft will be ready for the general committee to discuss after the holiday, Salmawi said. Salmawi said that the general features of the new constitution are becoming apparent, and that it lives up to the aspirations of the January 25, 2011 revolution and its hopes for an independent national will and rejection of religious rule. [Ahram Online, DNE, 10/7/2013]

Political forces mark Maspero massacre second anniversary
A number of political forces will hold a press conference on Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of the Maspero massacre that killed at least twenty-five civilians and demand justice for the slain. “Two years have passed since the massacre with no punishment or any form of justice… No one was punished except poor soldiers who obey orders,” read the statement issued by the Socialist Popular Alliance, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the April 6 Democratic Front, and the Youth for Justice and Freedom Movement. [Ahram Online, 10/8/2013]

Gulf states ready to invest in Egypt state projects
Cairo is hoping to start announcing details of its investment program for this fiscal year later this month and Gulf Arab countries have agreed to provide additional financial support, a senior minister said. Ziad Bahaa el-Din, deputy prime minister for economic affairs, did not say how much Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates would contribute but it would be in addition to the $12 billion that they agreed to give Cairo in aid after the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3. Egypt’s cabinet has flagged a 120 billion Egyptian pound investment program for the fiscal year through June 2014. [Reuters/Aswat Masriya, 10/8/2013]


Air strikes target rebel assault on key bases; additional strikes cross Lebanese border
Syrian regime war planes on Tuesday launched strikes in the northwest to repel a major rebel assault against two military bases in Syria’s Idlib province. The rebel offensive, dubbed “The Earthquake,” aims to seize the Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh bases, which rebels have laid siege to for almost a year. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s President on Tuesday criticized Syria for a cross-border raid that he said targeted an ambulance in the east of the country, causing no injuries. The eastern Arsal area is mainly Sunni, and is broadly supportive of the Sunni-dominated insurgency. The mountainous area has long been a smuggling haven, with multiple routes into Syria that have been used since the conflict began to transport weapons and fighters. [Naharnet, 10/8/13]

United States discusses Iranian participation in Syria peace conference
The United States said on Monday it would be more open to Iran taking part in a long-delayed peace conference on Syria if Iran publicly backed a 2012 statement calling for a transitional government in Syria. The June 2012 Geneva Communique sought to chart a path to a diplomatic resolution of the conflict. It was agreed to by major powers such as the United States and Russia, Gulf states and Syria’s neighbors Iraq and Turkey, but not Iran, which was not invited to those talks. On Monday, the State Department spokesperson suggested that the United States might be better disposed to Iran’s taking part in a Geneva II conference if Tehran were to embrace the original Geneva Communique. [Reuters, US Department of State, 10/7/13]

Analyst ranks Syria’s five most influential insurgent leaders
The prominent blog Syria Comment has compiled a list of the top five rebel leaders “with broad appeal in the Arab and Islamist mainstream—excluding both al-Qaeda and Kurdish leaders.” Taken together, however, these leaders represent not even half of the insurgency. The top five are not enough to run the rebellion, but they are either major actors in their core areas or very big nationally, or both. The post also includes discussion of other notable commanders. [Syria Comment, 10/1/13]


Libyan militants seek to avenge al-Qaeda leader capture
Libyan militants have called for the kidnapping of American citizens in Tripoli and for attacks on gas pipelines, ships, and planes to avenge the capture of senior al-Qaeda figure Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai by US special forces. Some Internet messages accused Prime Minister Ali Zidan of having prior knowledge that the raid would be carried out. Zidan has denied this and asked for an explanation from Washington, adding that the event will not affect US-Libya relations but that Libyan suspects should be tried in their country. Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani summoned US Ambassador Deborah Jones, seeking clarification about the operation. Libyans seem to have mixed views about the incident. [Reuters, 10/8/2013]

More Humvees for Libyan army
The first thirty of an order of 350 Humvee vehicles for the Libyan army are due to arrive later this month, according to sources in Washington. The order was placed by the former defense minister under the interim government of Abdurrahim al-Keib. Meanwhile, a Pakistani warship has arrived in Tripoli for a four-day visit focused on how to boost naval ties and bilateral cooperation between the two countries. [Libya Herald, 10/7/2013]

Kufra congressman voted out of GNC
The General National Congress (GNC) voted out independent congressman from Kufra, Tuati al-Aidha, on the grounds that he had made “offensive comments.” Al-Aidha and two other GNC members had their immunity from prosecution lifted as they are being investigated for allegations of defamation, launched by Muslim Brotherhood Justice and Construction Party members. Al-Aidha has since appeared on television, denying any wrongdoing and saying that the legislature “is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, and congress members are being blackmailed.” [Libya Herald, 10/7/2013]

Zidan looks to closer economic ties with Morocco
During a visit by Prime Minister Ali Zidan to Rabat, he and Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane agreed to strengthen economic and commercial collaboration and to establish closer security ties. Zidan said Libya could benefit from the Moroccan experience in reconstruction and development projects, and the two officials discussed the importance of bolstering the Arab Maghreb Union and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States to improve regional development and progress. Zidan also met with King Mohammed VI, who expressed his interest in supporting  Libya’s transition. [Libya Herald, AllAfrica, 10/7/2013]


Parties meet to plan start of ‘national dialogue’
Amid speculation that Monday would be the opening session of the ‘national dialogue’ called for in the roadmap agreement signed Saturday, Ennahda and opposition party representatives instead met to discuss procedures for how the national dialogue will take place. Mohamed Hamdi of the Democratic Alliance told radio station Mosaique FM that the first meeting under the roadmap framework will not take place until Thursday. [TAP, Tunisia Live, 10/7/2013]

Tunisian rappers, journalist on trial over court protest
Two musicians appeared in court Monday over their alleged role in clashes with the police at the trial of a fellow rapper, while a journalist implicated in the same case was absent. The three are charged with abusing public officials and attacks on public morals, charges that relate to a confrontation between police and protesters in June outside the Tunis court where another rapper, Weld El 15, was controversially jailed for aggressively insulting the police in a song. [AFP, 10/7/2013]

Teachers at famous language school stage hunger strike
Five Arabic teachers at the Bourguiba Institute of Living Languages are staging a hunger strike as an escalation of a strike by over fifty teachers to protest work conditions and what they describe as poor management. One teacher involved in the hunger strike expressed dissatisfaction with the approach taken by the Institute’s director and the ministry of higher education. “After the revolution, the old director left and we brought in the new director in the hope that he will help with our demands. But this did not happen,” she said. [Tunisia Live, 10/7/2013]

US State Department issues Tunisia travel warning
On Friday, the US State Department issued a travel warning referring to the “state of emergency” declared by the Tunisian government. The warning states that “the ‘state of emergency’ declared by the government of Tunisia remains in effect, and the US embassy continues to operate with limited staffing due to security concerns.” The statement also recommends that US citizens avoid large crowds and demonstrations. [Tunis Times, 10/7/2013]


More problems ahead for the NDC as Southern Movement and Houthis walk out
As the final National Dialogue Conference (NDC) plenary session opened on Tuesday morning, the Southern Movement and the Houthis announced their withdrawal from the talks. The two groups issued a statement demanding the resolution of debates on the structure of a future federal state and the creation of a post-NDC roadmap. The southern secessionist movement Hirak has also called for a million-man march on Saturday to protest against a constitution that would keep Yemen unified. The International Crisis Group has published a report saying that imposing a final settlement for the Southern Issue, even under conditions where trust, legitimacy and consensus were likely, would set back the process, strengthen the more militant Southern views, and likely lead to bloodshed. However, President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi stated at the opening of the plenary session that the country would formulate a unity agreement despite the challenges it faces. [WSJ, 10/7/2013; Yemen Post, Al Masdar (Arabic), Al Tagheer (Arabic), Mareb Press (Arabic), Yemen Times, 10/8/2013]

Diplomatic missions restrict activities in Yemen
Yemeni officials say foreign diplomatic missions have restricted their movements and downgraded their activities a day after unknown gunmen killed a security guard for the German embassy. The officials said on Monday they were informed by a number of foreign missions that meetings outside embassies were suspended, except for meetings with state leaders. [Gulf News, 10/8/2013]

Women march in Sana’a and reject dialogue outcomes that are contrary to Islam
On Monday morning, a women’s march was held in Sana’a demanding that the president of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) uphold Islam and reject any dialogue outcomes that contradict its principles. The marchers also rejected foreign intervention in Yemen’s affairs to uphold the country’s sovereignty in matters of the dialogue and security. [Mareb Press (Arabic), 10/7/2013]

The future of unmanned aircraft after the dialogue conference
The Reprieve human rights organization held a press conference to discuss the future of unmanned aircraft in Yemen after the dialogue conference. The organization denounced the United States’ and Yemen’s frequent violations of international law and human rights. The representatives expressed concern about Yemeni President Hadi’s support for the use of drones and urged that the attorney general investigate deaths of civilians from drone attacks. [Al Tagheer (Arabic), 10/8/2013]


Nine Bahrainis jailed for life over alleged bomb factory
A court jailed nine Bahrainis for life on Monday for forming a militant group, manufacturing explosives, and plotting attacks aimed at destabilizing the kingdom, state news agency BNA reported. The trial was the latest in a series involving alleged anti-government activists in the Gulf Arab state, still beset by political tensions more than two years after security forces quelled pro-democracy protests led by Shia Muslims. [Reuters/Ahram Online, 10/7/2013]

Morocco reaction to al-Qaeda video reflects growing fears
Moroccan authorities quickly enforced the country’s zero-tolerance policy towards jihadist activity after an independent journalist posted a link to an al-Qaeda video calling for jihad and critical of King Mohammed VI. The journalist was arrested and charged with inciting terrorism. The government also threatened El Pais, the Spanish newspaper which carried the video. [AFP, 10/7/2013]

Algerian independent trade union rights are curbed
Independent trade union members and workers in Algeria are facing obstacles hampering their legal rights, a Human Rights Watch report said Sunday. Algerian authorities continue to imprison Algerian union members and clamp down on protests organized by independent unions as opposed to state-run protests. [Ahram Online, 10/7/2013]