Top News: Egypt

Interim President Adly Mansour issued a new constitutional declaration for Egypt’s transitional period, and has assigned prominent liberal economist Hazem al-Beblawi to the post of prime minister


Interim president issues constitutional declaration for transitional period
Interim President Adly Mansour issued a new constitutional declaration for Egypt’s transitional period. The declaration includes thirty-three articles regulating the system of the state during the coming period and a timeline schedule for transferring power to a democratic civilian government. It will be automatically canceled when an amended version of the suspended constitution is approved in a referendum. [State Information Service 7/9/2013, Ahram Online 7/8/2013]

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood rejects transition plan
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday rejected a new timetable announced by the military-backed interim leadership that sets a fast track for amending the Islamist-drafted constitution and holding new parliamentary and presidential elections by early next year. The quick issuing of the transition plan showed how Egypt’s new leadership is shrugging off Islamists’ vows to reverse the military’s ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi and wants to quickly entrench a post-Morsi political system. [AP, 7/9/2013]

Liberal economist Hazem al-Beblawi appointed new Egyptian PM
Egyptian presidential spokesman Ahmed al-Muslimani has announced that interim president Adly Mansour has assigned prominent liberal economist Hazem al-Beblawi to the post of the prime minister of Egypt on Tuesday afternoon. Al-Muslimani also revealed that Mohamed ElBaradei has been appointed as Egypt’s vice president for foreign affairs. The hardline Islamist Nour Party said it would support Beblawi’s appointment. The head of the party added that it was still studying ElBaradei’s appointment. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 7/9/2013]

White House says will not immediately cut aid for Egypt as senator calls for aid suspension
The White House said on Monday it is not in the best interests of the United States to immediately change its aid program to Egypt, where president Mohamed Morsi was removed from office by the military last week. Senator John McCain, however, pressed on Monday for the United States to suspend its $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt, saying the removal of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi from office appeared to be a coup led by the military. [Reuters, 7/8/2013]


Libya oil output slides as power cuts mix with protests
Since the 2011 revolution, Libya’s oil industry has become the target of violent attacks and civil protests. The latest challenge is a lack of electricity. Production dropped 16 percent to 1.13 million barrels a day last month, the lowest since January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. To address these problems, the Libyan government is quadrupling the size of a special guard to protect the industry from attacks and has signed a deal with a London-based contractor to provide 450 megawatts of power through mobile generators, the largest ever single contract for temporary power supply. [Bloomberg, 7/9/13]

Second Benghazi booby-trap car killing in twelve days
Former colonel of Qaddafi’s internal security, Hamed Buruki, was assassinated Monday evening by a powerful explosion in his car in Benghazi’s Quarsha district. Spokesman for the Benghazi Joint Security Room Mohamed Hejazi said that the car was completely burned but that there had been no other casualties. If Buruki’s murder was the result of a car bomb, it would be the second recent use of the assassination tactic. On June 26, Col Jumaa Musrati, a serving intelligence officer, was killed when his vehicle exploded near Benghazi’s Dubai Street roundabout. [Libya Herald, 7/8/13]

Zidan: Do not underestimate value of GNC’s legitimacy
At a press conference on the anniversary of Libya’s first post-Qaddafi elections held July 7, 2012, Prime Minister Zidan stressed that Libyans should not underestimate the important value of the legitimacy of the General National Congress (GNC). Zidan called upon the public to accept the responsibility in protecting the legitimacy of the GNC since it is the foundation of the state currently. [Libya Herald, 7/8/13]

Zidan: Anyone who disrupts oil ports wants to fight the Libyan people
Speaking at a press conference, Prime Minister Zidan warned that anyone who disrupts the oil ports wants to fight the Libyan people. He said that it was unreasonable for any small group to block oil sites in protest of salary-related issues, adding that oil is Libya’s source of strength and salaries and that stopping the flow of oil is dangerous. Zidan also said he would nominate a new defense minister soon and that the would be acting defense minister in the interim. [Libya Herald, 7/8/13]


Syria invites United Nations chemical arms chief, but access is in doubt
The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday invited chief United Nations chemical weapons investigator Ake Sellstrom to Damascus to discuss allegations of banned arms use in Syria’s civil war but suggested it would not compromise on access. So far Sellstrom’s team has not been active on Syrian territory because Assad’s government is only willing to allow it access to the city of Aleppo, where both sides have accused the other of using chemical weapons. [Reuters, 7/8/2013]

Wounded dying for lack of medicine in Syria’s Homs, NGO says
People wounded in fighting between rebels and regime troops in the central Syrian city of Homs are dying for lack of medical equipment, activists said on Tuesday. "The army’s continuous bombardment over the past eleven days has made the critical humanitarian situation in rebel areas of Homs even worse," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. [Daily Star/AFP, 7/9/2013]

Hitto resigns as prime minister of rebel areas
In a blow to the rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, opposition Prime Minister Ghassan Hitto resigned from his post Monday, citing his inability to form an interim government. He had been effectively sidelined since his appointment in March; a result of the rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia who are vying for influence among the Sunni-dominated opposition. [Daily Star, 7/8/2013]


State of emergency extended another three months
President Moncef Marzouki  announced Monday that he had extended the country’s state of emergency for another three months. The decision came after the recommendation of military and security officials and consultations between Larayedh and National Constituent Assembly President Mustapha Ben Jaafar. [All Africa, KUNA, 7/8/2013]

Ennahda feels heat after Egypt coup
As the rest of Tunisia prepares to slow down with the onset Ramadan, the National Constituent Assembly announced it will continue its work, with a session in the morning and another after the breaking of fast at night. Perhaps the dire example of Egypt will push Tunisia’s parliament to put aside differences and advance their country to the next phase of democracy. [Al Monitor, 7/8/2013]

New army chief of staff appointed
A presidential spokesman announced Monday the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Salah Hamdi as the new army chief of staff, replacing Rachid Ammar who resigned last month amid criticism of his handling of recent counterinsurgency operations in western Tunisia. The newly-assigned commander was also promoted to the rank of Army General. [APA, 7/8/2013]


Yemen protesters demand return of Egypt’s Morsi
Thousands of people protested in the Yemeni capital on Monday against the Egypt military’s ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The protest came in response to calls from Yemen’s influential Islamist and tribal al-Islah (reform) party. It is close to the Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hails, and is well represented in the Yemeni government. [AFP, 7/8/2013]

Gunmen kill top Yemeni army officer
Gunmen shot dead a high-ranking Yemeni army officer Monday in the country’s southeastern Hadramawt province as he was heading to work, a military official told AFP. The unknown assailants opened fire on Colonel Ahmed al-Suhaili, commander of a military camp in Hadramawt’s city of Seiyun, the official said on condition of anonymity. [AFP, 7/9/2013]

Hadi calls on government to implement trust-building measures
President Abdrabo Mansour Hadi called on the national unity government to implement the twenty points presented by the National Dialogue’s Preparatory Committee and the eleven points presented by the southern issue working group. The letter, addressed to Prime Minister Mohamed Salem Basindwa, was read on the last day of the National Dialogue’s mid-term general assembly. One of the twenty points discussed is a government apology for the wars in Saada and the south. [Aden Post (Arabic) 7/8/2013, Al Masdar (Arabic) 7/8/2013]

Southerners gather to commemorate end of 1994 civil war
Southerners from various governorates gathered at a massive rally in Mukallah, Hadramawt. It was the eighth such gathering since the establishment of the Southern Movement in 2007. Demonstrators chanted slogans and called for the secession of the South. Nasser al-Nouba, founder of one of the southern movements told Yemen Times that he hoped the mass rally would prove to the international community that southern people want a peaceful separation. [Yemen Times, 7/8/2013]


Dozens wounded in Beirut blast on the eve of Ramadan
At least fifty-three people were wounded after a bomb exploded Tuesday morning in a parking lot in the densely-populated area of Dahiyeh in Beirut’s southern suburb. A group of about one hundred outraged Hezbollah supporters marched in the area after the blast, carrying pictures of Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and shouting in support of their leader and sectarian slogans. Hezbollah operatives fired in the air to disperse people who attacked the interior minister with stones after he inspected the scene of the blast, trapping him for forty-five minutes in a building before he was escorted through a backdoor. [YaLibnan 7/9/20 13, Al-Akhbar English 7/9/2013]

Iraq attacks kill at least twenty-one as violence surges
Attacks around Iraq have killed at least twenty-one people, the latest in a spike of insurgent violence aimed at destabilizing the country and undermining the government, officials said Monday.  The deadliest strike hit the town of Madain, about twenty kilometers southeast of Baghdad, where a bomb exploded near a youth center, killing six civilians and wounding three, police said. [AP, 7/8/2013]

Junior partner to quit Morocco coalition party
Six ministers from the junior partner in Morocco’s governing coalition will resign on Tuesday because of a cabinet dispute over subsidy reforms and other issues, a spokesman for the conservative Istiqlal party said.  Istiqlal is in coalition with the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) that won 2011 legislative elections held after the adoption of the new constitution proposed by King Mohamed to stifle the Arab Spring protests. [Reuters, 7/9/2013]

Three wounded in Beirut grenade attack
Three people were wounded Tuesday after an unidentified assailant tossed a hand grenade on the outskirts of Beirut’s Palestinian refugee camp of Sabra, a security source said. Police have launched an investigation into the dawn attack. [The Daily Star, 7/9/2013]

Photo: AP