Top News: New US Ambassador Deborah Kay Jones Arrives in Tripoli

Top News: New US Ambassador Deborah Kay Jones Arrives in Tripoli

Nine months after the Benghazi murder of US ambassador Chris Stevens and three colleagues in the assault on the American consulate, the new US ambassador Deborah Kay Jones arrived in Tripoli Wednesday.


Brotherhood’s FJP condemns violent protests over new Islamist governors
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has condemned violent protests in Gharbiya over the appointment of a new governor. Clashes in the Nile Delta governorate on Tuesday between supporters and opponents of Governor Ahmed El-Beili, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, resulted in twenty-six injuries, according to the health ministry. [Ahram Online, 6/19/2013]
Azhar chief tells Egypt’s Muslims: Opposing rulers is not a sin
Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb warned members of different Islamist groups against accusing their opponents of blasphemy on Wednesday, adding that peaceful protests against the president are permitted.  This comes after Salafi founding member of the Legitimate Body of Rights and Reformation issued a Fatwa saying that killing the June 30 protesters is permissible. [AP, 6/19/2013]
Mubarak prime minister Nazif to be freed
An Egyptian court ordered the release of former prime minister Ahmed Nazif on Thursday, due to the limit on pretrial detention in a corruption case for which he had been held since the revolution. The court accepted an appeal lodged by Nazif, but he still faces retrial in the case. A lawyer for Nazif, Mohamed Salah al-Buheiri, said he expected his client to leave prison by Saturday at the latest after two years and two months in detention. [Aswat Masriya, 6/20/2013]
Egypt’s current account deficit narrows after trade, tourism boost
Egypt’s current account deficit narrowed in July-March, supported by stronger tourism revenues and a shrinking trade deficit, data showed on Wednesday. The current account deficit shrank in the nine months to end-March to $3.9 billion compared to $7.1 billion in the nine months to March 2012, the central bank said in a statement. [Al Arabiya, 6/19/2013]
Bombs destroy police station in Libya’s Benghazi
Bombs flattened a police station in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Wednesday. There were no casualties as the building had been emptied for repairs following previous attacks, security officials said. [Reuters, 6/19/2013]
UN envoy says Libya democratic transition can benefit from national dialogue
A senior United Nations diplomat told the UN Security Council he believed that managing Libya’s democratic transition is bound to be difficult given the legacy of more than four decades of brutal rule under the regime of Muammar Qaddafi whose rule ended in 2011. In his briefing to the Council, Tarek Mitri, the Secretary-General’s special representative for Libya added that the country could benefit from a national political dialogue on the way forward. [Tripoli Post, 6/19/2013]
New US ambassador Deborah Kay Jones arrives in Tripoli
Nine months after the Benghazi murder of US ambassador Chris Stevens and three colleagues in the assault on the American consulate, the new US ambassador Deborah Kay Jones arrived in Tripoli Wednesday. Describing the ambassador’s role as that of the principal security officer, she said that she would have no hesitation in alerting Washington if she felt that security was in any way inadequate. [Libya Herald, 6/19/2013]
Output at Libya’s Abu Attifel oilfield to resume – source
Production at Libya’s Abu Attifel oilfield will resume on Thursday after a deal was reached with workers who had gone on strike over salaries, a source working at the field said. Workers shut down production last week, demanding that a form of income tax, imposed before the 2011 war that ousted dictator Muammar Qaddafi, be removed or they should be paid higher wages. [Reuters, 6/19/2013]
Russia says it will fulfill S-300 missile system contract with Syria
Russia says it will honor its controversial contract to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria. Russia last month acknowledged it has agreed to sell Syria advanced S-300 air-defense missiles, considered to be cutting-edge aircraft interception technology. [AP, 6/20/2013]
Syria’s warring sides trade wheat for flour
Away from the battlefield, some Syrian rebels are doing business with the same government they are trying to topple. In the northwestern Idlib province, rebels control most of the wheat fields but have no way to grind grain into flour. The government has the flour mill, but cannot get enough wheat to supply it. Every week, rebels deliver tens of thousands of tons of wheat to the mill in Idlib city. The government grinds it down, takes a cut, and sends it back. [Reuters, 6/20/2013]
Syria infiltrators, Jordan military clash, one dead
Jordan’s military says infiltrators from Syria have clashed with Jordanian soldiers near the border. One infiltrator was killed and two were wounded. Jordan is concerned about reports that fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah are reinforcing Syrian troops trying to retake control of Daraa province across the Jordanian border. Daraa is a key supply route for weapons for rebels. [AP, 6/19/2013]
Saudi to expel Hezbollah supporters over Syria war 
Saudi Arabia plans to deport Lebanese citizens who support Hezbollah because of the militant group’s role in the Syrian civil war, the kingdom’s envoy to Lebanon said.  Saudi Arabia is a strong backer of the mostly Sunni Syrian opposition trying to remove Assad from power. [Al-Arabiya, 6/20/2013]
Tunisia arrests Muslim cleric for hardline sermon
Tunisian police arrested an imam after he delivered a sermon described as "insubordinate," the Interior Ministry said.  According to a brief Interior Ministry statement, the preacher was arrested Tuesday after he called some of his congregation at a mosque in central Tunisia’s Sidi Bouzid province unbelievers and mentioned the government’s hunt for al-Qaeda-linked militants near the Algerian border.  [AP, 6/19/2013]
Tunisia may delay sukuk issue to next year
Tunisia’s first issue of a sukuk is likely to be postponed to next year, adding to pressure on government finances, because of disruptions to legislative business related to the controversial task of drafting a new constitution.  Finance Minister Elyess Fakhfakh told Reuters in April that Tunisia planned to issue a sovereign sukuk this July to raise $700 million and hoped parliament would approve the bill by end April or early May. [Al-Bawaba, 6/20/2013]
Conservative preacher alleges assault by supporters of Popular Front
A conservative preacher and president of the conservative religious organization the Moderate Association for Awareness and Reform has accused leaders of the opposition political coalition Popular Front of attacking and beating him at the National Conference to Fight Against Violence and Terrorism on Tuesday.  Coalition members deny the charges. [Tunisia Live, 6/19/2013]
African Development Bank to leave Tunis
After nearly a decade of operating in Tunis, the headquarters of the African Development Bank has finalized plans to return to Côte d’Ivoire.  Nearly 1,500 employees are employed at the Tunis headquarters, although an official at the Ministry of Development and International Cooperation said the move would have no effect on the local economy. [Tunisia Live, 6/19/2013]
Up to 86 percent of donors’ grants to Yemen allocated: International Cooperation Minister
Yemen and donors have signed $3.2 billion financing agreements, which is almost 42 percent of the donors’ total pledges to Yemen (around $8 billion), minister of Planning and International Cooperation said Wednesday. "$6.7 billion (86 percent) of the donors’ pledges have been already allocated and nearly $1.9 billion withdrawn, including the Saudi deposit," Mohammed al-Saadi said in his speech at the second technical follow-up meeting of the Donors Conference to Yemen. [Saba, 6/19/2013]
Yemen has six more months to meet UNESCO standards
During the World Heritage Conference in Cambodia this past week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) gave Yemen six months to meet the standards it has set for Zabid and Sanaa’s Old City or risk losing its World Heritage List status. UNESCO demanded the removal of recent constructions in the Old City, and for the building of infrastructure in Zabid to be away from historical sites. [Yemen Times, 6/20/2013]
World Bank, IMF pressure Yemen to end fuel subsidies
Before receiving funds from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and donor nations, Yemen must first end government subsidies for fuel, a member of parliament revealed to Yemen Times. The source said that the government intends to issue a decree ending the subsidies. It’s a move the government will be forced to take, he said, to meet the requirements necessary for receiving the economic reform package. [Yemen Times, 06/20/2013]
NDC’s State-Building Working Group presents report on first session activities
The National Dialogue Conference’s (NDC) State-Building Working Group presented a final report on its first session activities to the full body of NDC on Wednesday. In order to boost the prospects for sustainable development and community involvement with government affairs, the report recommended both administrative and financial decentralization. The report recommended a bicameral legislative body and the creation of a high constitutional court. [NDC, 6/19/2013]
Iraqis vote in delayed provincial polls
Iraqis in two Sunni-majority provinces voted under heavy security in delayed provincial polls as the country grapples with a surge in nationwide violence and months of angry protests.  Some 2.8 million voters in Anbar and Nineveh, which lie in Iraq’s west and north respectively, will choose between 1,185 candidates from forty-four political parties jostling for sixty-nine provincial council seats. [AFP, 6/20/2013]
International media watchdog calls for revisiting Jordan press law
The Committee to Protect Journalists on Tuesday sent a letter to Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour expressing concern over the implications of the Press and Publications Law, under which over 200 news websites have been blocked for failing to register with the Press and Publications Department. [Jordan Times, 6/19/2013]

Photo: United States Department of State

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