Top News: Kerry’s Pro-Army Remarks Stir Controversy in US, Egypt

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood lashed out Friday at US Secretary of State John Kerry for saying the Islamist group “stole” the 2011 popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, saying he was twisting facts.


Cabinet to issue new anti-terrorism resolutions
Egypt’s cabinet plans to issue a pact outlining resolutions against terrorism, the government announced after a Thursday meeting. The pact is an answer to what the Cabinet called the Egyptian people’s demands to swiftly end the war on terror. These resolutions would include reviewing the cases of prisoners granted amnesty by former President Mohamed Morsi — particularly cases of pardoned Islamist political prisoners — as well as reviewing his decisions to grant Egyptian citizenship to certain non-nationals. According to Egypt’s State Information Service, the cabinet aims to “provide all forms of support for the Armed Forces and Police to enable them to fight terrorism,” including calling for “courts to witness terrorism crimes’ trials in order to achieve justice and swiftly issue rulings related to these kinds of crimes.” In addition, the Cabinet also recommended renewing the process of drafting a bill on the right of protest. Egypt’s cabinet also ruled on Thursday that police may enter university campuses without prior permission if facilities or students are under threat. The decision – which reverses previous regulations requiring that police receive permission from the university president or judicial authorities before entering campuses – comes amidst a wave of violent clashes in universities across the country. The decision, which provoked anger amongst students, comes one day after clashes between students and police at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University left student Abdel Ghani Hammouda dead due to a shotgun wound. [Mada Masr, SIS, Ahram Online, 11/22/2013]

NASL denounces Brotherhood figure’s call for roadmap referendum, reconciliation
Several members of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) expressed rejection towards calls by Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohamed Ali Beshr to accept a referendum on the roadmap declared after Morsi’s ouster. Ihab Sheeha, head of the Salafi Asala Party, said, “We reject (the roadmap) or being put to referendum; as we will not recognize what happened on June 30 so how would we recognize it now after thousands of victims from Islamist movements were killed.” He added that no reconciliation will take place without Morsi being reinstated. Meanwhile, al-Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Construction and Development Party has called for a truce between all parties in Egypt, so it can pave the way to initiate dialogue between them. The initiative calls on the government to stop all security procedures against Morsi’s supporters. In return, the NASL would stop calling for any marches or rallies. [Egypt Independent , AMAY (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), 11/22/2013]  

Also of Interest:
Strong Egypt Party rejects army related articles in constitution | Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic)
Rights groups demand cabinet halt draft protest law | Mada Masr
In Egypt, a darkening mood as instability persists | AP


Constituent Panel approves terrorism article in constitution
The fifty-member panel of the constitution approved an article that aims to combat terrorism and its intellectual, societal and material sources in accordance with United Nations standards, Spokesman Mohamed Salmawy said on Thursday. In a press conference, Salmawy said the articles aim to fight terrorism that threatens Egypt and Egyptians without violating public rights and freedoms. The approval of this article comes twenty-four hours after a terrorist attack that targeted four buses carrying non-commissioned officers in Sinai on Wednesday, he noted. With the panel approving the military related articles in the constitution, Tamarod has said that the constitutional material regarding military trials of civilians is the best it could be for now. Once stability and democracy are attained, the campaign added, a two-third parliamentary majority can amend it. The decision was, however, rejected by the April 6 Movement, which and threatened to mobilize protesters against the constitution. The “No to Military Trials for Civilians” campaign also announced it is going to mobilize citizens against the constitution. Although the final draft of Egypt’s new constitution has yet to be released, campaigns for and against it have already launched in anticipation of the national referendum. Starting a few weeks ago, a television campaign encouraging people to vote in the referendum began airing, without naming the sponsors behind the ad. While the campaign doesn’t explicitly push for a yes vote, it clearly shows the yet-to-be-released constitution in a positive light. Underplaying the historic importance of this document, the ad acknowledges this may not be the best constitution ever, but assures viewers that this isn’t the last one Egypt will have. [SIS, AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Mada Masr, Shorouk (Arabic), Egypt Independent, 11/22/2013]

Also of Interest:
Seven children investigated after Mohamed Mahmoud clashes | DNE


EBRD steps up lending to Arab states hit by unrest
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) aims to invest up to €800 million next year in key Arab countries hit by political turmoil to help bolster regional stability and spur growth, according to Betsy Nelson, EBRD’s Vice President for Risk. Last month, EBRD set up offices in Tunisia and Jordan. According to Reuters, EBRD vice-president for risk, Betsy Nelson revealed that the organization has invested about $527 million until now in seventeen projects in countries including Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. EBRD granted Egypt’s Universal Metallurgical Company $24 million to help it boost production of washing machines. [Reuters, TR, 11/22/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt manpower ministry accuses ETUF of financial crimes | Ahram Online
Egyptian Exchange indexes up last week | SIS
Minister predicts tourism slowdown by end of 2013 | Egypt Independent


Clashes in Alexandria, Suez and Haram as pro-Morsi alliance protests
As the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy urged Egyptians to take part in week-long demonstrations held under the title “The Massacre of the Century” starting Friday November 22, it has also  called for a million-man-march on Sunday under the banner “We Are All Raba’a,” on the 100-day mark since the dispersal of sit-ins supporting former president Mohamed Morsi at Raba’a al-Adaweya and Nahda squares. As rallies kicked off on Friday in different areas in Egypt, small-scale clashes broke out between residents of Alexandria and Suez and demonstrators who support the deposed President Mohamed Morsi. In Alexandria’s Asafra, residents and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood hurled stones and empty bottles at each other. Gunshots were heard in the area shortly after the Brotherhood allies set out on marches in the area while chanting slogans against the Armed Forces and the Interior Ministry. Rallies were also staged in Cairo and Giza, with clashes breaking out in the Haram area, where police fired teargas to disperse the pro-Morsi rally. In anticipation of the protests, the police and army, once again, shut down Raba’a square and tightened security in the vicinity of the presidential palace. [Aswat Masriya, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Shorouk (Arabic), Tahrir (Arabic), 11/22/2013]

Also of Interest:
Supreme Electoral Commission excludes April 6 from election monitoring | Ahram Gate (Arabic)  
Islamist students protest against Al-Azhar University violence | Ahram Online
Al-Azhar Student Union holds Al-Tayyeb accountable for violence | DNE
Syrian, Palestinian refugees held in Egypt begin hunger strike | Reuters


Egypt officer shot dead in Ismailia
An Egyptian police officer was killed in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia after two assailants fired at him from a moving motorcycle on Thursday. Captain Ahmed Abu Doma died from a bullet wound near his heart after being transferred to the hospital. Police forces were able to arrest one of the perpetrators, Saad Gaber, who is now under investigation. Another two men were arrested in Qaha, Qalyubiya on Thursday following the shooting of police Captain Ahmed Samir during raids on suspected criminal hideouts. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has been put under pressure to speed up investigations into security breaches in his ministry after the assassination of a high level security official this week. A high-ranking government source told Al-Ahram that the government was putting pressure on Ibrahim after Mohamed Mabrouk, an officer in charge of investigating espionage charges against ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, was shot dead near his home this week. [Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), Egypt Independent, 11/22/2013]

Also of Interest:
Military spokesman says twenty-nine Takfiri elements arrested in Sinai | EGYNews (Arabic), Aswat Masriya  (Arabic)
Military continues security operations in Sinai | EGYNews (Arabic), Tahrir (Arabic)


Kerry’s pro-army remarks stir controversy in US, Egypt
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood lashed out Friday at US Secretary of State John Kerry for saying the Islamist group “stole” the 2011 popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, saying he was twisting facts. Some analysts say Kerry’s statements mark a rift within the White House as President Barack Obama’s administration continues to struggle to find a cohesive stance on Egypt. In a statement Friday, the Brotherhood said Kerry was “twisting realities and ignoring facts.” It said the Brotherhood “rose to parliament and the presidency through elections” and accused the United States of “supporting the military coup … and ignoring the massacres and oppressive measures that the coup government is carrying out in Egypt.” Amr Darrag, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, also said on Thursday that Kerry’s remarks were proof that the US government supported the “coup” that ousted Morsi, and is trying to abort the revolutionary movements sweeping the region since the 2011 Arab Spring, reported the Turkish Anadol news agency. [Mada Masr, AP, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, DNE, 11/22/2013]

Image: Photo: US Department of State