Senior Shia cleric issued an urgent call to arms on Friday, telling all able-bodied Iraqis to help the government fight Sunni militants who have seized broad stretches of Iraqi territory. Thousands of shias are signing up to fight in the offensive against ISIS. Yet, the territory grab continues by ISIS as they capture the towns of Jalawla and Saadiyah in the ethnically divided eastern province of Diyala.


Sisi calls for saving on fuel costs by taking part in cycling marathon
During a cycling marathon in Egypt on Friday, newly elected president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi called on Egyptians to walk more to save the country money on fuel. Sisi described the cycling marathon as symbolizing the possibility for Egyptians to “unite around one goal” and that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Around a fifth of Egypt’s state budget is devoted to subsidizing energy, at an estimated cost of EGP 130 billion for the 2013/2014 fiscal year. The government aims to trim the fuel subsidy bill in the coming fiscal year to EGP 104.5 billion. [Reuters, Ahram Gateway (Arabic), 6/13/2014]

Former interior minister Adly acquitted of profiteering; Illicit gains trial postponed
A Giza court has acquitted Mubarak’s minister of interior Habib al-Adly of profiteering and money laundering charges in his retrial Thursday afternoon. Adly, Mubarak’s era longest serving minister of interior, was convicted of money laundering and profiteering, for which he received a twelve year jail sentence in May 2011. In May 2014, the Court of Cassation overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial. Adly still faces other retrials, including one on charges of killing protesters during the 2011 popular uprising that toppled Mubarak, as well as charges over illicit gains worth EGP 181 million. The illicit gains trial has been adjourned to September 18, 2014. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 6/13/2014]

EFG-Hermes sees IMF Egypt loan as Gulf backers seek partners
Egypt will probably restart loan talks with the IMF as Gulf Arab allies say they need partners to help revive the struggling economy, according to the country’s biggest investment bank EFG-Hermes Holding SAE. Egypt needs between $10 billion to $15 billion in the fiscal year starting next month to help finance the budget deficit and stabilize foreign currency reserves that have fallen 50 percent since 2011. [Bloomberg, 6/12/2014]

African court to consider cabinet clashes case
Two and a half years after deadly clashes in front of the cabinet building that left eighteen people dead, the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights has agreed to consider the case against security forces filed by the families of the victims. This would be the first time a case of killing protesters in post-revolution violence would be brought to international arbitration. The violent confrontation started on December 16, 2011. Police and Armed Forces personnel attacked protesters at a sit-in near the Cabinet building as they demonstrated against the appointment of an old regime figure, Kamal al-Ganzouri, as prime minister. The clashes lasted for five days and left more than 900 people injured. [Mada Masr, 6/12/2014]


UN chief urges Libya to hold June 25 elections as planned
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Libya to stick to its plan to hold legislative elections on June 25 and defended the United Nations’ goal of organizing a meeting to promote reconciliation among the country’s competing factions, commending efforts by the UN Special Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), led by envoy Tarek Mitri. The UN announcement to convene a “dialogue” meeting in Libya was met with criticism from the Tripoli government, which complained that the world body failed to consult about it beforehand with Libyan partners. In response to Libyan demonstrations against the United Nations, a Libyan government spokesman urged citizens not to resort to violence against UNSMIL and Mitri. [Reuters, 6/12/2014]

Libyan cabinet urges central bank to release reserve fund for budget
Libya’s government has urged the central bank to release a special multi-billion-dollar reserve fund accumulated from past oil sales to help the country’s crippled finances, a result of loss of crude revenues from almost a year of protests at oilfields. In a statement, the central bank said only that it may ask the Supreme Court to clarify the rules under which it is legally obliged to release funds. Meanwhile, the eastern oil port of Hariga remains closed. A spokesman for the state firm operating the port said there are hopes it will reopen within days as they await a response from a group of state oil security guards blockading the terminal in protest. [Reuters, 6/12/2014]

Libya set to pay reparations to victims of rape as a war crime
A decree issued Wednesday in Libya would recognize rape committed during that country’s revolution as a war crime and pay rape survivors reparations, according to sources. An initial decree issued back in February sought to recognize the mass rapes perpetrated during the 2011 revolution as war crimes but required congressional approval to move forward. The new decree bypasses congress and establishes a commission to begin evaluating who will receive financial and medical support and the scope of reparations, according to war crimes lawyer Céline Bardet who helped draft the policy with Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani. The new decree also extends compensation eligibility to rape victims under the former regime. [Newsweek, 6/12/2014]

Ansar al-Sharia and Hafter deny ceasefire deal
In a statement released yesterday, Ansar al-Sharia denied and denounced media reports of the Libyan Crisis Committee’s announcement that the group had agreed to a ceasefire with General Khalifa Hafter. The claim was a fabrication, Ansar said. They went on to say that there would be no dialogue with the “tyrant” Hafter other than the “dialogue of weapons” because he was destroying their buildings and killing innocent people. They would only engage in dialogue with those that they trust, they said: their people and tribal chiefs. Hafter’s camp has also denied news of a ceasefire. [Libya Herald, 6/12/2014]


Syria Islamist militants pause and reinforce from Iraq
The Syria branch of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has put fighting on hold in Syria while it brings in weapons seized inside neighboring Iraq. ISIS may have negotiated a truce with rival rebel brigades in Syria, although it was still laying siege to parts of the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, where Assad’s forces and al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front rebels are also dug in. This development Indicates the scale of resources that ISIS has devoted to their mission in controlling large swaths of Iraqi territory. [Al Arabiya, 6/13/2014]

ISIS’s Iraq advance impossible without Syrian base
The Economist argues that the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS)’s storming of Mosul and Tikrit would have been impossible without its Syrian presence, namely its stronghold of Raqqa city. ISIS recent advances would have been impossible without its control since January of the eastern Syrian town of Raqqa, a testing ground and stronghold from which it has made forays farther afield. It has seized and exploited Syrian oil fields in the area and raised cash by ransoming foreign hostages. [The Economist, 6/13/2014]

Germany plans to take in another 10,000 refugees from Syria
Germany has agreed to double the number of Syrian refugees that are coming into the country escaping the Syrian conflict. The decision was announced on Thursday at a meeting of officials from Germany’s sixteen states, which share responsibility for housing refugees. So far about 6,000 have arrived in Germany, officials say. Germany has offered to shelter the highest number of Syrians of any European Union country. [Al Jazeera, 6/13/2014]

Somali-Americans join anti-government fight in Syria
US federal investigators say as many as fifteen Somali-American men recently traveled to Syria to join Islamist militants who have been fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s government. FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said Thursday that authorities are trying to identify other Somali-Americans who may be considering travel to Syria to join militant groups. [Voice of America, 6/13/2014]


Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for attack on interior minister’s home
A statement circulating online under the name Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for the May 27 attack on the home of Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou in the western town of Kasserine. Four security officers were killed in the attack, but Ben Jeddou was not in his home at the time. The statement criticizes the current government and its banning of the militant group Ansar al-Sharia last year. Authorities have said all along that the militants in western Tunisia are linked to al-Qaeda but, until now, it has not been confirmed by jihadists. [Tunisia Live, 6/13/2014]

Italy, Tunisia work in concert to step up security cooperation
On Thursday, Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa received Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti. At the end of the talk, the Italian official said the talk mainly focused on security. The cooperation accord on maritime security concluded between Tunisia and Italy is a “model agreement,” Pinotti highlighted. She emphasized that the two countries are working in concert to step up security cooperation. “We are following with interest the efforts expended by the Tunisian Government in security and fight against terrorism,” which are also a concern for Italy, the minister indicated. [TAP, 6/12/2014]

Tunisia cannot stand any delay of election date, says Jomaa
“Tunisia cannot stand any delay of the election date,” Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa said. Though the national dialogue plans to resume today to decide the issue of order of the legislative and presidential elections, party leaders have not given indication of impending compromise. President of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) Mustapha Ben Jaafar and President of the Independent Higher Authority for the Elections (ISIE) Chafik Sarsar met Thursday to discuss possible scenarios for the upcoming elections given the failure of the national dialogue. Each delay further increases pressure and dangers which impact the electoral process, Sarsar said. ISIE has no opinion on the separation or concurrency of the elections, he added. Voter registration begins June 23. [TAP, 6/12/2014]


Electricity back on in Yemen after four consecutive power line attacks and three days in the dark
A series of attacks on power lines left Yemen without electricity, prompting mass protests and a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday. An official at the ministry of electricity and energy announced that technicians have repaired power lines in Marib after the Yemeni army launched a military campaign against the attackers, killing and wounding several of them. [Al Masdar (Arabic), 6/13/2014]

How the Gulf Initiative worsened Yemen’s crisis
Al Monitor argues that Yemen has been stuck in a transitional phase while the state is collapsing as a result of failing government performance and a decline in basic services for citizens. The Gulf Initiative, signed in November 2011, was unable to achieve the minimum of the people’s aspirations. It has lowered the ceiling of the 2011 Yemeni events, turned a revolution into a mere crisis, as written in the agreement, and granted legal immunity for all crimes committed during former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s rule for three decades. [Al Monitor, 6/13/2014]

Yemen and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations sign $2.5 million agreement
On Thursday, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Farid Mujawar and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) representative, Salah al-Hajj Hassan signed a $2.5 million agreement for the implementation of cooperation programs in the field of food sovereignty and security. The first project, funded by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) of the United Nations, aims to support displaced families in Jawf province through the distribution of seeds, fertilizers, forages, poultry and goats to more than 550 households.The second project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), aims to support over fifty organizations working in food security and agriculture.[Saba (Arabic), 6/13/2014]

Yemen Today taken off air
In an unexpected move, President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi ordered authorities to shut down Yemen Today offices on Wednesday, setting a dangerous precedent. Forces belonging to the presidential guard entered television and newspaper headquarters and seized their equipment. Yemen Today media group is owned by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and has often been subject to controversy as its reporting and editorial approach are openly bias toward the coalition government and critical of President Hadi. [Yemen Post, 6/13/2014]


Iraqi Shia cleric issues call to arms
Senior Shia cleric issued an urgent call to arms on Friday, telling all able-bodied Iraqis to help the government fight Sunni militants who have seized broad stretches of Iraqi territory. Thousands of shias are signing up to fight in the offensive against ISIS. Yet, the territory grab continues by ISIS as they capture the towns of Jalawla and Saadiyah in the ethnically divided eastern province of Diyala. Thursday, President Barack Obama said that Iraq would need additional support from the United States to push back a rapidly spreading Islamist insurgency. Meanwhile France declared that world powers needed to act urgently to deal with the situation in Iraq, as the advance by Islamist militants put the country’s unity in doubt and posed a wider risk for the region. [Al ArabiyaNY TimesThe Daily StarVoice of America 6/13/2014]

Hundreds killed by Islamist militants in Iraq according to the United Nations
Hundreds of people were killed, many of them summarily executed, after Sunni Islamist militants overran the Iraqi city of Mosul this week. Many of the killed were members of the army and police. Prisoners released by the militants from Mosul prison had been looking to exact revenge on those responsible for their incarceration causing the death of seven former prison officers. [Reuters, 6/13/2014]

Gulf states to tighten control on social media
Gulf Arab states have formed a joint team to speed up legal action against websites and social media accounts accused of violating the laws governing the use of cyberspace in the region. Bahraini official issued that 3 percent of Bahrainis using social networking websites are misusing them, and that the judiciary is looking into their cases. The goal of the joint team is to establish a united stance toward social among member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. [Al Arabiya, 6/13/2014]