Libya’s defense minister will be removed from his post following fierce clashes between rival armed militias in the capital Tripoli in which ten people were killed and more than one hundred injured, Prime Minister Ali Zidan said on Thursday.


Protests could heap pressure on beleaguered currency
Egypt’s central bank faces an uphill task keeping the country’s currency stable if mass anti-government protests planned over the coming days turn violent or drag on for too long. "Politics has polarized, growth is poor, inflation is high and public finances are deteriorating," said Simon Williams, an economist with HSBC. "In such an environment the currency is bound to be under pressure." [Aswat Masriya/Reuters, 6/27/2013]

Battle intensifies between Egyptian state and broadcasters
The owner of an Egyptian TV channel that satirizes Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was banned from leaving the country on Thursday, hours after Morsi attacked him by name. Separately, a judicial source said a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Tawfiq Okasha, a television talk show host and owner of the private al-Faraeen channel, which has frequently criticized Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. The grounds for the investigation was spreading false information. [Reuters, 6/27/2013]

Support and opposition protests for Morsi
Thousands of protesters demonstrated in Alexandria after Friday prayers, part of a nationwide wave of rallies calling for President Mohamed Morsi’s resignation. Demonstrators launched a march in front of Alexandria’s Qa’ed Ibrahim Mosque, before heading to the city’s Sidi Gaber area. Meanwhile, Thousands of Islamists rallied at Rab’aa al-Adaweya Square in Cairo’s Nasr City to voice their support for Morsi. While chanting pro-Morsi slogans, the demonstrators called for standing up to "the attempts of the former regime remnants to ignite strife in the country". [Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 6/28/2013]

Opposition rejects dialogue with Morsi
Egypt’s main opposition coalition Thursday rejected an offer from President Mohamed Morsi for dialogue, repeating its call for early presidential elections and calling for peaceful demonstrations on June 30. Mohamed ElBaradei, who leads the opposition National Salvation Front, said at a news conference Morsi’s speech on Wednesday was “the opposite of a clear admission that the difficult situation that Egypt is going through is the result of his failure to administer the affairs of the country that he took charge of one year ago.” [Daily News Egypt, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 6/27/2013]


Defense minister removed after Tripoli clashes
Libya’s defense minister will be removed from his post following fierce clashes between rival armed militias in the capital Tripoli in which ten people were killed and more than one hundred injured, Prime Minister Ali Zidan said on Thursday. Calling the repeated violence plaguing Libya "suicidal scenes," Zidan said his government and the national assembly had pledged to clean Libya’s streets of weapons, a mammoth task in a country where militias often do as they please. A new army chief will also be named soon after Yussef al-Mangoush resigned this month’s following deadly clashes in the eastern city of Benghazi. [Reuters, 6/27/13]

Urgent meetings in Tripoli to end recent violence
A number of high level meetings are being held in the capital in an effort to put an end to the recent surge in violence that have so far left five people dead and around ninety-seven injured according to figures released by the ministry of health. Officials have agreed to implement General National Congress decision number 27, completely restricting the movement of armed vehicles within the city. They also decided to ask the Joint Force to immediately secure Tripoli and agreed to make available the funds to ensure the continuity of its operations. [Libya Herald, 6/27/13]

Where green refuses to fade
As the Libyan government struggles to assert its authority over a plethora of ethnic, tribal, and party militias (some of them Islamist, others secular), a growing number of Libyans may be starting to regret the revolution. Rigorous opinion polls are few and patchy, but the best clue to people’s allegiances may be the color of shopkeepers’ doors and windows. Two years after Qaddafi’s fall, many shopkeepers have stubbornly stuck to the old color, despite the best efforts of the thuwar, or revolutionary vigilantes. Nowhere is green more dominant than in Sirte, a small town on the Mediterranean coast where Qaddafi was born and killed. [The Economist, 6/29/13]

Displaced people from Tawergha barred from return – HRW
Libyan authorities should allow displaced residents of Tawergha to return to their homes safely, Human Rights Watch said. Local authorities in Ajdabiya turned back a group of Tawerghans on June 25, 2013. About 35,000 Tawerghans are dispersed across the country after fleeing the civil war and have been prevented from returning by armed groups from Misrata who accuse Tawerghans of fighting with pro-Qaddafi forces during the 2011 conflict. Whereas it is understandable that individuals in Misrata may want justice for crimes committed against them by individuals, widespread or systematic forced displacement carried out as a policy, as in this case, amounts to a crime against humanity. [Human Rights Watch, 6/27/13]


Syria rebels seize strategic position in Daraa city
Syrian rebels advancing from the Jordanian border seized a strategic army position in the southern city of Daraa on Friday as deadly fighting raged in the surrounding province, activists from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Director Rami Abdel Rahman said that the province is “the most important army position that the rebels have seized in Daraa" in twenty-seven months of conflict, and that it could “act as a key conduit for arms to stream in from Jordan to rebels in Damascus province.” [NOW/AFP, 6/28/2013]

United Nations renews Golan peacekeeping mission as war rages
The UN Security Council renewed for six months on Thursday a peacekeeping mission in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights monitoring a decades-old truce between Israel and Syria that has been shaken by a spillover of violence from Syria’s civil war. The unanimously agreed resolution stresses the need for the peacekeepers, who currently just carry handguns, to boost their protection. Diplomats said troops would likely now get equipment such as flak jackets, armored vehicles, and machine guns. [Daily Star/Reuters, 6/28/2013]

Bombing in Damascus Christian area
A suicide bomber killed at least four people in the heart of the Christian area of the Syrian capital Thursday, as the national army pushed ahead with an offensive to take rebel-held areas in central Homs. State media said the bomber struck near a Maronite church, and the information was confirmed by the opposition-aligned activist Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [Daily Star/Reuters, 6/28/2013]

Aid groups unable to keep pace with Syria crisis, Red Cross says
Relief organizations in war-torn Syria are unable to keep pace with the ever-growing suffering of tens of thousands of victims despite dramatic increases in aid, the Red Cross said Thursday. "There is a huge discrepancy between the ability to cope with the Syrian crisis and the escalating speed in which the demands in Syria are growing," said Peter Maurer, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). [NOW/AFP, 6/27/2013]


Refugee camp’s closing leaves hundreds in limbo
Some 200 people in a camp in southeast Tunisia for those who fled the Libya conflict in 2011 will be evicted on Sunday when the UN refugee agency closes it. Around 700 people, most of them sub-Saharan Africans, are still living in the camp near the Libyan border; the majority are waiting to be resettled in Tunisia and the United States, according to the UNHCR, but the remaining 200 have had their asylum requests rejected and will no longer be the responsibility of the UNHCR when it closes the camp on June 30. [News24, Tunisia Live, 6/27/2013]

Draft legislation barring former regime officials from office fiercely debated
A draft law that would ban former regime officials from holding political office in Tunisia was fiercely debated yesterday in parliament. Opponents criticized the legislation, calling “immunization of the revolution,” as too broad, and saying it could affect as many as 60,000 people. Some Tunisians have welcomed it as necessary for the country’s democratic transition. [The National, 6/28/2013]

President Marzouki calls for revision of fuel subsidies
Speaking at an energy conference Thursday, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki called for a revision of fuel subsidies, accounting for nearly 11 percent of the state’s budget, and said Tunisians must find more efficient methods of consumption. Given the prospects for the development of conventional sources of energy in Tunisia, Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said Tunisia needs to launch a real energy reform campaign. [All Africa, 6/28/2013]


Street cleaners union protests outside president’s home
Hundreds of street cleaners protested outside President Hadi’s residence, threatening to go on strike if the government does not follow through on its promise to hire them as government workers. Street cleaners threatened to strike in April but postponed their plans when Sanaa mayor Abdel Qader Hilal requested three months to meet their demands. Ten days remain of the three-month period requested. [Yemen Times, 6/27/2013]

President Hadi meets with political party leaders to mediate parliamentary crisis
In a meeting with parliamentary bloc leaders, President Abdrabo Mansour Hadi warned that failure to reach agreement regarding the parliamentary crisis could lead to severe consequences. The parties agreed to have a full parliamentary session on Saturday in the presidential palace with Hadi leading the session. Several former opposition parties have been boycotting parliament since May, and the minister of legal affairs is facing an impeachment motion. [Al Masdar (Arabic), 6/27/2013]

Minister calls for international support to enhance human rights in Yemen
The human rights minister on Thursday called for regional and international support to enhance human rights in Yemen. "Yemen needs the help of the great countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) countries sponsoring the political settlement in Yemen in order to support human rights and the relevant civil society organizations," Houriah Mashhour said in the opening of the third meeting of the human rights promotion group and the launch of the Human Rights National Strategy in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s embassy in Sanaa. [Saba, 6/27/2013]


Thousands of Shia protest in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province
Thousands of Shia protested against Saudi Arabia’s ruling Al Saud family at the funeral of a wanted man shot dead by police, a killing that ended months of relative calm in the kingdom’s Eastern Province. Footage of the procession Wednesday night posted on YouTube show thousands of young and old men marching down a street in the town of Awamiya chanting “Death to Al Saud.” [Al-Bawaba, 6/28/2013]

Neo-Sunni alliance accentuates regional sectarian conflict
The June 23 lynching of four Shia Muslims in Egypt and the June 16 killing of four Shias in Lebanon mark a new escalation in a regional conflict that is growing increasingly sectarian in nature. This neo-Sunnism—a new, seemingly unified front of authoritarian Sunnis and their ex-critics—has brought together Saudi-backed Salafis, Sunni autocrats, and the "moderate" Islamists such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s Justice and Development Party against an (alleged) common enemy. [Al Monitor, 6/27/2013]