Top News: Egyptian Army Steps in to Demand Political Truce

Top News: Egyptian Army Steps in to Demand Political Truce

Egypt’s army stepped in to a deepening political crisis on Sunday to demand that the Islamist government and its opponents settle their differences and warned that it would act to stop violence spinning out of control.


Controversial Egypt Islamist quits as Luxor governor
The new governor of Egypt’s Luxor province, Adel Mohamed al-Khayat, announced his resignation on Sunday. Khayat was controversially appointed last week despite belonging to the hardline Islamist group al-Jama’a al-Islamiya that killed fifty-eight tourists in Luxor in 1997. His appointment prompted uproar in Luxor, and workers in the tourist industry around its pharaonic temples feared the new governor could put off visitors at a time when business is already poor due to continued unrest following the 2011 revolution. [Reuters, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 6/23/2013]

Egypt court asks Interpol to arrest Islamists behind prison break
An Ismailiya misdemeanor court has asked the International Criminal Police Organization to arrest the Islamists who raided Wadi al-Natroun prison during the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. The court asked on Sunday that fugitives Samy Shehab from Hezbollah, Ayman Nofal and Mohamed al-Hadi from Hamas, and Ramzi Mowafi from al-Qaeda be captured for investigations in the crimes attributed to them. [Aswat Masriya, 6/23/2013]

Egyptian army steps in to demand political truce
Egypt’s army stepped in to a deepening political crisis on Sunday to demand that the Islamist government and its opponents settle their differences and warned that it would act to stop violence spinning out of control. Issued a week before mass rallies to demand the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi, and following days of friction and increasingly aggressive rhetoric between factions, the statement by the armed forces chief was the most powerful since generals ceded control to civilians after Morsi’s election a year ago. [Reuters, 6/23/2013]

Angry mob kills at least four Shiites in Giza village including leader
An angry mob led by Salafist sheikhs torched and attacked houses of Shiites in the small village of Zawyat Abu Musalam in Giza governorate Sunday afternoon, killing four citizens including a prominent Shiite figure. Not less than 3,000 angry locals attacked houses of Shiites in the village Sunday afternoon after weeks of incitement by Salafi preachers, according to eyewitnesses. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Daily News Egypt, 6/23/2013]


Tripoli SSC hands over Mitiga prison to ministry of defense
The main prison at Mitiga Airbase was handed over by Hashim Bishr, the head of Tripoli Supreme Security Committee (SSC), to the Military Prisons Administration in the ministry of the defense. Bishr said that the move should be seen as an important first step towards building the state and enhancing security, noting that the handover had been organized in order to ensure that the jail was run legally and correctly. Officials called on all battalions and heads other “irregular” prisons to follow Bishr’s lead in the interest of Libya. [Libya Herald, 6/23/13]

Crisis defused as Tawergha return delayed
After personal appeals from Prime Minister Zidan and others, the Tawerghan Town Council in exile headed off rising tensions and a potentially serious crisis by postponing tomorrow’s planned return to their abandoned town. Council President Abdel Rahman Mahmoud demanded that the General National Congress (GNC) take measures to ensure a swift return to the town. In the meantime, he said, the GNC should take action to improve living conditions of the displaced people. [Libya Herald, 6/24/13]

Italy pledges to take responsibility of helping Libya
During a ceremony in Rome, in which Italy presented an award to Libyan human rights activist Alaa Murabit, Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said that Italy would take on the responsibility not only to help Libya but also to look after Italian interests. President Obama requested that Italy assist Libya at the recent G8 summit. Libyan Prime Minister Zidan and a number of other Libyan ministers will visit Rome on July 4. [Tripoli Post, 6/23/13]

Tripoli council boss attacks PM over lack of funding
The Tripoli Local Council (TLC) treasury is running on fumes as the promised budget has not been made available to it. Despite all the high-level meetings and assurances, situation has stayed the same for months. Councillors suspect Prime Minister Zidan of deliberately delaying the budget for local authorities until after the upcoming municipal elections. “It’s frustrating that we are reduced to mere observers,” Sadat al-Badri, head of the TLC, told the Libya Herald. “We cannot perform day-to-day functions.” [Libya Herald, 6/23/13]


Friends of Syria agree to give urgent rebel aid
Western and Arab countries opposed to President Bashar al-Assad agreed at talks in Qatar on Saturday to give urgent military support to Syrian rebels fighting for his overthrow, and to channel it through a Western-backed rebel military command. [Reuters, 6/22/2013]

Syrian rebels renew struggle for Aleppo
Syrian rebels battled President Bashar Assad’s forces in and around the northern city of Aleppo Sunday, seeking to reverse gains made by loyalist forces in the commercial hub over the last two months, activists said. Aleppo has been contested since July last year, when rebel brigades entered the city and captured about half of it. In recent weeks, Assad has focused his military campaign on recapturing rebel-held areas. [Daily Star, 6/24/2013]

CIA secretly providing training for Syrian rebels, report says
The CIA and US special operations forces have been training Syrian rebels for months, long before President Barack Obama announced plans to arm the opposition, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. Training for rebel forces covers the use of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons and has been carried out at bases in Jordan and Turkey since late last year, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed US officials and rebel commanders. [NOW, 6/22/2013]


Tunisian parties sign charter against terrorism
Tunisian political parties are joining hands to fight terrorism and promote a culture of human rights and coexistence. Several factions, including the leftist Popular Front and Nidaa Tounes, signed a national charter at the conclusion of the two-day "National Conference to Fight against Violence and Terrorism" in Tunis last week to combat terrorism, hatred and intolerance, and to enact legislation punishing terrorist crimes. [All Africa, 6/23/2013]

Government seeks to regain control of conservative mosques as Ramadan nears
As the Islamic holy month of Ramadan approaches, the government is continuing its efforts to reassert control over certain mosques where conservative religious groups have established their own clerics. The Ministry of Religious Affairs has sole legal responsibility for appointing imams, yet groups of conservative Muslims that were granted legal permission to associate after the Tunisian revolution have taken the helm over a number of mosques. Now they enforce their own doctrines and rules. [Tunisia Live, 6/21/2013]

Tunisian president counts days before no-confidence vote
The National Constituent Assembly (NCA) will this week debate a no-confidence motion against President Moncef Marzouki, a motion given slim chances of succeeding, for failing to stand up to his Islamist allies. The NCA office which determines parliament’s schedule fixed June 26 for the vote. [Middle East Online, 6/22/2013]

New watchdog site monitors work of Tunisian leaders, criticizes absenteeism
To give Tunisians an opportunity to watch their new government at work, Amira Yahyaoui founded al-Bawsala, or the Compass, a website that monitors the workings of the National Constituent Assembly as it draws up a new post-revolutionary constitution. From keeping tabs on assembly members’ attendance record to publishing committee transcripts, al-Bawsala seeks to fight absenteeism and promote transparency. [Washington Post, 6/22/2013]


Ahmed Bazara: National Dialogue extension will be a disaster for the economy
During an interview with Al Masdar, head of the Economy and Investment Working Group, Ahmed Bazara, warned that failure to complete the constitution in a timely manner and extending the dialogue further will lead to a disastrous economic crisis. Bazara discussed Yemen’s dire economic conditions, the need to privatize Yemen’s Economic Corporation, and criticized the Central Bank for its failure to monitor banks and carry out its duties. [Al Masdar, 6/23/2013]

Seventy-five percent of Yemen’s problems are economic: president
Yemen’s President Abdrabo Mansour Hadi said that 75 percent of Yemen’s problems are economic, calling on Arab countries to help Yemen overcome those problems. Hadi made the remarks during a meeting on Saturday with a visiting delegation of the Arab parliament, Yemen News Agency Saba reported. [Gulf News, 6/23/2013]

US to provide training for Yemen police force
Yemen and the United States discussed security cooperation and coordination between the two countries and ways of enhancing them, particularly in the area of training policemen. This came in a meeting that brought together Minister of Interior Abdul-Qader Qahtan and US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein. [Saba, 6/23/2013]

EU urges Yemen to conclude National Dialogue in line with GCC initiative
The EU Foreign Affairs Council Monday warmly welcomed the progress achieved by the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) in Yemen and expressed its full support for its unhampered work. It reiterated "the importance of respecting the agreed timelines for the conclusion of the NDC set out in the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative, to allow for a constitutional referendum followed by general elections," said the Council, which is meeting in Luxembourg, in a statement. [Kuwait News Agency, 6/24/2013]


Abbas accepts Palestinian prime minister’s resignation
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday accepted the resignation of his new prime minister, whose quick departure clouded efforts to project government stability after Western favorite Salam Fayyad quit the post. Rami Hamdallah, an academic and independent who became prime minister two weeks ago, decided to step down after a dispute over authority with his deputy, who is an Abbas loyalist and is close to the ruling Fatah party. [Reuters, Al Arabiya, 6/23/2013]

Lebanese army surrounds Islamist gunmen as Syrian crisis spreads
Lebanese soldiers fought Sunni Islamist gunmen in the southern city of Sidon for a second day on Monday in one of the deadliest outbreaks of violence fuelled by sectarian rifts over the civil war in neighboring Syria. The Lebanese army entered a mosque complex to the east of the ancient Mediterranean port city, where hardline Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir was believed to be sheltering with his supporters. [Reuters, AFP, 6/24/2013]

Photo: Gigi Ibrahim

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